The Comics 8 Ball 11.04.13: Top 8 Replacement Superheroes
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 11.04.2013
From Tim Drake as Robin and John Walker as Captain America to Wally West as The Flash, James Rhodes' run as Iron Man and more, 411's Anthony Kennedy counts down the top 8 replacement superheroes!
Welcome back to the Comic 8 Ball in the Movie Zone everyone! If I took the time last week to disect the worst that comic books had to offer when it comes to repalcing our fave superhero characters, it would only be fitting that I'd do the same and list the Best!.
But first my favorite part of doing this column….READER FEEDBACK!!!!
Last week's Comic 8 Ball yielded some spirited conversation on the listed Hook Ups I suggested as well as readers offering a few of their own:
CyberVenom: I respectfully disagree on almost all of them! Some of those changes made sense for it's story. Here's mine, in no order:
8. Ben Reilly as Spidey. OK. You got that one. Gotta admit that I did like the new outfit though.
7. Mac Gargan as the Venom host. Even with the newer spy Venom/Flash series that's decent, the host will always be Eddie Brock to me. I included him due to Eddie being an Anti-Hero.
6. Clint Barton as Giant Man. The whole idea just didn't jive to me that he'd change that much
5. Wildcat 2. Yolanda Mendez (I believe). The character change felt shoehorned by DC.
4. Nick Fury Jr. Marvel shoehorning the Cinematic Universe into the comics....when they already have that version established.
3. Nova. The current, kid version. I just don't like him. At all.
2. Lobo. I haven't read the new version of the new 52 Lobo. It might not even be out yet. But the idea of saying "Yes, he was introduced, but he isn't the REAL character" is going to open the door for every writer in DC to claim that if they need to change the character.
1. Hal Jordan as the Spectre. It made God's Vengeance..... boring.
Nice list. Glad we found common ground on Ben Reilly, and totally forget about Hal Jordan becoming the new Spectre, another horrible DC Comics decision.
Erik Vandermark: I hated the Clone Saga, but loved Ben Reilly as a character, he was a breath of fresh air compared to 90's "I am The Spider" Peter Parker. He could have worked as his own stand-alone character in the vein of what they did with Kaine.
I liked the concept of bringing back the Spider-clone, even that he's been alive living his life as Ben Reilly. But they ruined it by having the clone be revealed as the real Peter tho!
duh: good list but u could have done Barry replacing Wally as the Flash since that is what just happened and annoys me to no end.....also the hal replacing kyle. KYLE AND WALLY FOREVER
HIGH FIVE!!! Kyle and Wally are my GL and FLASH! There's an affinity for Barry Allen and Hal Jordan as most fans grew up with them, but by the 80's they were two boring characters that took up valuable print real estate with their own titles. Change can be good.
duh: whats wrong with being a 90s kid? Kyle is still the only green lantern thats interesting. also the author said he preferred those as well. i was merely suggesting ways he could change the article
Appreciate your support, however, for me, the best Green Lantern was John Stewart's portrayal in the Justice League cartoons. That's the GL I want to read and see in any film adaptation.
LZ: Sorry, but the four Supermen do not belong on this list. They were never meant as replacements. The point of the story was that not even four super men could not take Superman's place. I thought "Reign" was well done and I still remember being blown away from the Cyborg twist, and not fully trusting the fifth Superman.
How were they not meant as replacements? Eradicator definitely was a replacement.
Thanks to everyone posting their comment, keep it coming. Now on to this week's 8 Ball.
The 8 Best Hero Replacements
While digging through my long boxes, something became pretty evident to me: DC Comics gives zero fucks with regards to our childhood comic heroes. Some would argue that it's forward thinking with having a replacement (read: the teen sidekick) already existing in particular heroes book and ready to step in and take over as the top babyface for their comic series.
Or maybe it's too much over thinking on the editor's part, as they tend to do, when sales slip a bit, and rather than take an honest look at what is and isn't being done in a particular comic to guarantee success. Marvel, on the other hand, has been pretty risk adverse. Sure they replaced Captain for a bit, and had a stand in for Iron Man, but Wolverine and Spider-Man for a lengthy period of time, they weren't willing to take that gamble. WIth that being said, I present to you the Top 8 Best Hero Replacements.
Barry Allen (Flash): The Silver Age Flash definitely belongs on this list having been a replacement for Jay Garrick. Unlike a certain other silver age replacement (::coughHalJordanCough::) he left a lasting impression that his successors strive to achieve.
Beta Ray Bill (Thor): A very interesting story as a horse-faced looking alien proved worthy to wield Mjolnir and eventually get his own hammer forged by Odin himself.
Damian Wayne (Robin): Batman's bastard child was a lil' bratty stinker, but his dynamic with his brother, Dick Grayson, and eventually, his father, as Batman created a run that this generation of comic readers won't soon forget.
John Stewart (Justice League Cartoons) If his portrayal was anything like it was in the cartoons, he would be in my Top 3. Sadly, this GL has not made it to comics.
She-Hulk (Fantastic Four): Technically I count her as she replaced a singular hero amongst a team, and while she didn't have the chemistry with the Human Torch that the Thing had, she provided the muscle the FF lacked with the Thing's AWOL.
#8 Spider-Man, Wolverine,
Ghost Rider, and the Hulk
Fantastic Four (1990-1991)
Replacement Scenario: One of the craziest replacements of all time, as for a four-issue story arc, the entire team of the Fantastic Four was replaced by the ridiculous combination of Spidey, Wolvie, Ghost Rider and the Hulk. A female Skrull was the culprit as she captured Marvel's first family and, while impersonating the Invisible Woman, falsely reported the deaths of the other members and recruited this foursome to avenge them. Ultimately it was a plot to steal a weapon from Mole Man, but this short-lived team shocked readers with the issues being among the most highly sought after back issues in comics at that time.
Was their replacement better? We'll never know as this line-up was done as a temporary storyline that culminated in the disbanded team and return of the original FF. We only have "What Ifs" literally, as Marvel addressed this team in issue #78.
#7 John Walker
Captain America (1986-1988)
Replacement Scenario: I have him here because of the great story arc of replacing Captain America that this sprung from. We saw Steve Rogers stripped of his name, costume and the Vibranium shield from the US government when he resigned over not wanting to represent the US! The great Mark Gruenwald gave this new Cap edge as this was a Captain America that had no prime directive that prevented killing of his enemies. What resulted was a nearly two year story arc of Walker being trained to fill the iconic shoes of Rogers, an overarching plot to slowly drive him mad by the returning Red Skull, Rogers adopting "The Captain" persona with a killer new red, white and black costume, the inevitable confrontation between the two and eventual return of Rogers as Cap.
Was their replacement better? Ultimately, the time away as The Captain revitalized Steve Rogers to readers. Walker would go on to have a career as USAgent and join the West Coast Avengers for a brief stint before fading to obscurity.
#6 James Rhodes
Iron Man (1983-1987)
Replacement Scenario: One of the best known Marvel replacements heroes of all-time. Rhodes stepped in as Iron Man as Tony battled his alcohol addiction. He donned the armor for the first time after Tony's defeat at the hands of Magma while turnt up. Being too inebriated to save the day, Stark passed out and Rhodes donned the armor becoming Iron Man for the first time, saving Stark International from Magma's rampage and was asked him to continue on as Iron Man. What makes this more interesting is due to Stark's secrecy of keeping his identity from his Avengers teammates, those same team members had no idea that this was a replacement.
Was their replacement better? Well, we got Tony back in the suit, so YES! Following his four year stint as Iron Man, Rhodey went on to be the red & Yellow Iron Man II for a time, even working with the West Coast Avengers, before getting an armor to call his own with the new persona of War Machine.
#5 Dick Grayson
Batman (1999, 2009-2010)
Replacement Scenario: Twice Dick Grayson donned the cape and cowl of Batman to protect Gotham. After Azrael's controversial run as the Batman, Dick took over being Batman for a short period during Prodigal storyline. But what puts him on this list is his nearly two year long stint replacing a "dead" Bruce Wayne during Grant Morrison's Batman & Robin series producing one of the best portrayals of the Dynamic Duo ever.
Was their replacement better? As DC want to do, they returned Bruce Wayne to the mantle of the Dark Knight. It's Bruce so of course with him gone for a while, fans accepted the original back.
#4 Kyle Rayner
Green Lantern (1994-2004)
Replacement Scenario: When it was decided to turn Hal Jordan into the villain Parallax—a decision that should have never been reversed IMO—a new Green Lantern was needed and seemingly chosen at random with slacker artist Kyle Rayner becoming the newest Green Lantern for sector 2814. We got fresh GL stories as we watched Rayner grow into the role of hero while wielding the most powerful weapon in the universe in new and creative ways that a washed up Jordan couldn't dream of.
Was their replacement better? This is DC so of course they caved to the pressure of H.E.A.T. and brought Hal back; at least it was with a good retcon. Thankfully we got 10 years worth of stories from Kyle before they did. They've kinda messed up a great character as Ion is just there now. Sometimes you shouldn't look back.
#3 Cassandra Cain
Replacement Scenario: In my own opinion, the female embodiment of Batman. DC hit it out the ballpark with this character, from a dope costume, the mechanics of her fighting style –she reads/understand body movement, as opposed to actually knowing any language—to the revelation that she is the offspring of deadly assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva. Unlike her predecessor, Barbara Gordon, this Batgirl could whoop damn near anyone's ass, yieldeding some of the best female led solo comics in years.
Sadly, DC ruined this great character, first by stripping her of the body language reading ability and making her talk. We knew it would happen, but by issue #8 of her new series and eventually having the asinine idea of making her villain. Since the New 52 relaunch, she's been incognito, which is a shame for one of the most original characters DC created in quite a while.
Was their replacement better: A resounding no! They decided to put the former Spoiler, Stephanie Brown in the bat-suit. While she worked as a love interest of Tim Drake and friend to Cassandra, as the new Batgirl, she didn't capture the same interest of the Batgirl that I came to follow.
#2 Wally West
Replacement Scenario: The best example of a sidekick stepping up to replace their mentor's persona. Wally got to last twenty years, during that time he grew into the role of the Flash. It's a situation they'd try to duplicate with GL and Green Arrow, but clearly perfected here of an insecure teenager in over his head and ending up as a strong-willed, iconic hero in his own right, able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the heavyweights of the DC Universe. Like most readers and cartoon viewers, Wally West IS the Flash.
Was their replacement better? A resounding HELL NO!!! As I wrote in last week's Comic 8 Ball, the decision to duplicate Crisis on Infinite Earths by having Wally get lost in the speed force and promoting Bart Allen to Flash was a colossal blunder. Why were they trying to fix what wasn't broken, but that's DC for you. We eventually got Wally back but only to be (permanently???) replaced by Barry Allen.
#1 Tim Drake
Replacement Scenario: If Jason Todd was the hated, antithesis of what fans wanted to see in a Bat sidekick, DCs writers got it right with Tim Drake. The whiny teen was done away with by a capable and mature young adult that Drake was portrayed and even proved to be just as smart (if not smarter) than Dick Grayson. The results, fans got a Robin they could get behind, and was rewarded with his own ongoing series, the first Robin ever to get one.
Was their replacement better? Yes and no. There was stint there when Tim's ex-girlfriend took up the role of Batman's sidekick with lackluster results. Just as her time as the Batgirl replacement, she worked as sometimes mentioned supporting character, upgrading her to a prominent player, and as Robin was too much to ask fans to accept. We eventually got a better Robin, more so due to the dynamic of Bruce Wayne son as Robin playing sidekick to his "brother" Dick.
Well that's my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss someone that deserved to make this list? Let me know! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, have a great week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! I'm done.