The Comics 8 Ball 10.27.13: Top 8 Worst Replacement Superheroes
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 10.28.2013
From Cyborg Superman and Azrael as Batman to Ben Reilly as Spider-Man, Guy Gardner as Green Lantern and more, 411's Anthony Kennedy breaks down the top 8 worst replacement superheroes!
Your comments, my thoughts…
Last week's Comic 8 Ball on comic beatdowns generated even more venom from readers. As always I enjoy these discussion and look forward to any criticism that leads to spirited to debate.
Night81: Batman vs. The Mutant Leader from Dark Knight Returns. The rematch in the mud.
I had not given those one much consideration, but it would not have made it on my list as we saw Bats take an ass kicking himself from the Mutant Leader in an earlier fight. This fight seemed kind of clichéd, that the hero, after getting beat up and nearly dying from a previous encounter, regroups, licks his wounds and beats up the villain in the return match.
JAMRenaissanceI think everyone is going to have a "Favorite Fight That Got left Off The List".
Mine was Captain America vs. Giant Man from "The Ultimates". I'm sure more than one person felt some catharsis by seeing the wife beater get taken down while at his strongest.
I will say that I was hoping Bats vs Guy made the list... I wasn't expecting that to be #1. I'm not complaining though...
Good call on the Cap beatdown on Giant Man, that was a satisfying one to read. It not only showed Cap willing to go pick a fight with a bigger opponent, but highlighted his chivalrous side for standing up for the Wasp.
Franco :Superboy Prime versus Superboy (and his back up) in Infinite Crisis should get an HM at least.
That was a pretty epic beatdown and I thought about, but decided not to as despite its viciousness, Superboy Prime was sooooooo whiny during it that I felt it negated his accomplishment.
CyberVenom:Awesome picks!! Here's mine, in no real order:
8. Punisher vs the Gnucci Family. Zoo deaths rule.
7. Thanos vs Everyone. Especially the scene with Cap making his nice little speech
6. Superman vs Doomsday
5. Miracleman vs Kid Miracleman. Horrendous.
4. Batman Protocols vs the JLA
3. Batman vs Superman. Dark Knight
2. Superman vs Capt Marvel. Kingdom Come
1. Wolverine vs Hulk. Old Man Logan
I wouldn't have qualified the Tower of Babel as it's a one by one, calculated trap that took place over time, with a huge organization taking down the JLA. Whereas Under Siege (somewhat similar) had the entire group breaking into Avenger mansion and going about damn near killing the Avengers as they came across them. Good list otherwise.
TheR: Bane "breaking the Batman", that had to be one there but if you notice, Batman is the one beating people down in two of the top eight so its seems there was a little bias. I guess Batman getting his ass handed to him didnt fit in.
No I do not have a Batman bias, its just that, and I know I'm going to get flamed for this, the one's I listed resonated more with me. Bane breaking the Bat felt like a marketing ploy, and structured to cash in on replacing Bruce Wayne as Batman, as opposed to telling a good story. What were the lasting ramification from that event other than the image of the armored Bat-rael? The others listed had more of a lasting impact on the characters or the portrayal of the characters than Bane's Argentinian backbreaker.
Gordon:Let's not forget Magneto ripping the adamantium out of Wolverine's skeleton.
I wouldn't have considered it as Mags was almost killed by Wolverine on a claw strike and he never put HANDS on Logan.
BobbyYoungblood:I can not for the life of my understand how you got your job writing on this site. Your writing itselfis atrocious, you sound like a middle school drop out, your subjects you pick are stupid, and your opinions are horrible. 411 could have done a lot better than you. I gave you two weeks after the first abortion of column and this the click you get from me. Thank you for ruining what could have been a great column.
That was uncalled for, but glad, despite my horrible writing, you keep reading!
Travis Homewood: With Inferno Cyclops only left to see if jean was really back. He then went back to Maddie and she was gone. And it was then explained that sinister was messing with Cykes head the whole time
Glad we're still discussing this. I still believe this was handled poorly by the writers, who were understandably in a bad situation to make sense of bad circumstances. Having the leader of the team depicted as abandoning his wife and child was not a good look and unfortunately was a retcon to get any residual nuclear heat off of Cyclops.
Now on to this week's Comic 8 Ball...
The 8 Worst Hero Replacements
#8 Julia Carpenter
Replacement Scenario: Created by Stan Lee to avoid another comic company getting the copyright on the Spider-Woman name, Jessica Drew became a fan favorite in her own right, with a series that ran for 50 issues and her own carton show. She abruptly vanished from the Marvel Universe altogether in 1983. Marvel wanted to keep the copyright so a new Spider-Woman debuted during the Secret Wars Maxi-seires, this time Julia Carpenter. Why abandon a known character that maintained a dedicated fanbase for a carbon copy of the male Spidey seemed asinine. She never got her own series and wound up becoming a member of the government mutant team, Freedom Force.
Did the original return? In 2004, Brian Michael Bendis revived the original Jessica Drew Spider-Woman with original powers, costume and all. But ended up being a Skrull agent in disguise. Eventually we got the real Jessica Drew back and now she is now a high profile member of the Avengers.
Replacement Scenario: The affects of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths was to lead to a massive retcon of their heroes, including Superman himself, and an editorial mandate was issued that Kal El be the only Kryptonian to survive the transition. Which meant his lil' cousin Supergirl was SOL and ended up dying in issue #7 of Crisis. After the storyline was over, with a new universe established, she was said to have never existed in the first place. Just like Marvel with Spider-Woman, DC wanted to protect their copyright and in 1988, introduced a new Supergirl, sorta.
The new Supergirl was Lana Lang from an alternate universe, with an Earth totally destroyed by an alternate General Zod. But it turned out she wasn't really Lana but a protoplasmic creation of a heroic Lex Luthor named Matrix, who could mimic Superman's powers and shape shift. She came to our Superman's universe, where she protoplasmically joined with a dying human girl named Linda Danvers, and eventually became an angel. Yes this was the best story they could come up with. Thankfully DC stopped trying to get her over and cancelled her series after eighty issues?!?!?
Did the original return? Yup!!! In 2004, DC brought back the original cousin of Superman back, during a Superman/Batman in an excellent story arc with tweaked origins but the blueprint remaining the same.
#6 Ben Reilly
Replacement Scenario: This is here not so much for the character, as I really liked Ben Reilly, but due to the horrible storyline Marvel choose to introduce "The Scarlet Spider". Rather than have a new, different character don the spidey tights, they went back in time and resurrected the Spider-Clone. We all believed that the Spider-Clone had died after the 1970s story arc, but no we were wrong. It survived and had been living his life as Ben Reilly. When he returned to being a superhero, it officially launched the "Clone Saga" and gave us one of the biggest black eyes in Marvel Comics' history. They revealed that the Peter Parker we'd been following since 1975 was in fact the clone, and Ben was the "real" Peter. This gave Marvel what they'd been craving for years at that point, an unmarried Spider-Man. Peter and Mary Jane went off to start a family, and Ben Reilly was the official Spider-Man, with an all new costume. They couldn't have just had Petey get a divorce or, better yet, killed MJ?
Did the original return? Of course, fans hated this idea. The editors went about concocting a massive retcon to fix this situation and thus, led to the return of Norman Osborn. The original Green Goblin was revealed to be behind the entire fiasco to drive Petey mad by making him believe he was the clone, not Ben. Eventually the "real" clone was killed off with, thus far, no plans to bring him back (GOOD!!!).
#5 Bart Allen
The Flash (2006-2007)
Replacement Scenario: I know I'm going to offend some people (oh well, fuck it) but Wally West is my Flash of choice. So you know I was pissed off to the highest level of pisstivity when DC decided to replace him for no real reason during Infinite Crisis with Impulse, Barry Allen's grandson, Bart. Ya, know, because Infinite Crisis was a "sequel" to Crisis on Infinite Earth, so they decided to pull a George Lucas and have symmetry with a Flash sacrificing himself and a new Flash debuting. ::rolls eyes::
But DC half assed it, as they didn't kill Wally off (he disappeared into the Speed Force) which let readers know that the Flash they really liked would be returning.
Did the original return? Bart worked as Kid Flash, not as THE Flash. Thankfully, DC gave up on this after less than a year and he was even killed off, with MY Flash, Wally West, returning. For those that liked Bart he came back eventually but de-aged back to teenagehood, where he works best.
#4 Guy Gardner
Green Lantern (1986-1990)
Replacement Scenario: More of a demotion than a full on replacement, DC for the second time introduced a new Green Lantern. Not someone cool that was obviously a blaxploitation knock-off (calm down, John Stewart is awesome in the Justice League cartoons, but make no mistake, he was based off those characters) they decided to got with temperamental ginger named Guy Gardner. That alone makes him horrible, a hot headed, red head? How got a bit of popularity, but the writing of him was terrible as he was an unlikable douche anti-hero. He became the main GL in the Green Lantern series as well as Justice League, while Hal would only appear in Green Lantern Corps. But eventually, fans grew tired of his one-note, chip on his shoulder act and changes were needed.
Did the original return? Of course, Hal wasn't exactly replaced and ultimately got to star in his solo title again after GLC was cancelled. They would eventually get Green Lantern write in the 90's with a more modern take with the character of Kyle Rayner. Unfortunately, more outcry from H.E.A.T. would lead to Hal's return once more. What is people's affinity with this boring character?
#3 Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, Steel and Superboy
Replacement Scenario: The epitome of the "superhero replacement story", although not the worst. DC Comics' Reign of the Supermen ran through four Superman titles in 1993 –why was Superman given four solo on-going series in the first place? Sadly, it was a sales gimmick that resulted in massive sales, actually the biggest in years. From jump, it was never meant to be permanent, which makes it egregious that this went down to begin with. Superman got merc'd by Doomsday in a heck of a battle (read last week's column here to see what I thought of that fight) and instead of one replacement, why not four. And wouldn't it be great if one of these "replacements" were actually a villain.
Did the original return? Hell Yeah!!! DC had money to make. The lasting effects of the Death of Superman was ironically what happened to Hal Jordan and the convoluted saga that spawned, but read my retcon Comic 8 Ball for my thoughts on THAT. Funny that this whole thing happened because DC editorial was forced to postpone the wedding of Lois and Clark so that they could time it with the on-screen wedding for their TV show, Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman.
Replacement Scenario: As you can see, DC sure does like replacing their heroes. Superman was one thing but Batman, he's human, there's no regeneration matrix for him to heal his mortal wounds. So instead they decided to have a boss new villain named Bane give him an Argentinean backbreaker and we got Jean-Paul Valley as the Batplacement. The new costume wasn't as bad as people like to believe, but what did not resonate was him being more Punisher than the Batman we knew, allowing criminals to die. It was just a matter of time, before Bruce Wayne would be back.
Did the original return? Bruce was healed and reclaimed his title as the Batman. The big question every fan had was why didn't Dick Grayson just take over as Batman? At this point, hadn't he deserved it? As for Azrael, he get his own title that lasted 100 issues, eventually got killed off and, thankfully was never brought back.
#1 Jason Todd
Replacement Scenario: Of course he's number one. I mean we killed him off. Don't play dumb. There was a 900 number to save Jason Todd and fans voted to put him six feet deep. JT came about over an editorial conflict as the Titans scribes wanted more control over Dick Grayson's portrayal but was technically still a Batman character. No problem, Dick Grayson became Nightwing and Batman got this new Robin. The writers didn't give him a much chance to be accepted by fans as he was a hot headed, whiny character, which was the complete opposite of what we made us like Dick Grayson. Heck, even leading up to his death, we couldn't stand him as he disobeyed Batman and got tricked by his mom.
Did the original return? Yes and no. He returned but not as Robin. A few years later we got a character worthy of being Robin, Tim Drake. Eventually Jason Todd came back from a Superboy Prime reality altering punch. He started out as a villain, the Red Hood, before being reformed and becoming a productive member of the Bat family.
Well that's my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss a couple that should have made this list. Let me know and join next week for a new Comics 8 Ball.