End of Summer
 
Baker's Dozens:
DC Heroes in Limbo!!!
by "Kevin Baker"

Hi all!
This is Kevin Baker, taking over for my estranged brother, Chet Baker. Seems that, against the advice he received from many friends, he insisted on binging on a mixture of fun dip and Yoo-Hoo chocolate beverage…with nasty results. The shock sent what sanity he had left into a sort of limbo. Which brings us to our topic…

Now…normally my big illegitimate bro would pick a topic that was a little more tangible…but in honor of his lost sanity, our Baker's Dozen list for the month of February is…DC Heroes in Limbo!

HONORABLE MENTION:
Elongated Man - Would have easily made the top 12, but editor Michael Hutchison thinks this character should stay safely in limbo until HE can write for DC. After all, do we really want Ron Marz attempting to make Ralph Dibny interesting?
Guy Gardner - Oddly, when we talk about how Ron Marz really screwed over Hal Jordan, we forget how popular Guy was until the fallout from "Emerald Twilight".
Thunder & Lightning - Like many Marv Wolfman leftovers, this duo dropped off the face of DC Earth.
Animal Man - Morrison took a title that could've been canceled faster than Brother Power, The Geek and made it one of the most-talked-about comics of the late 80s.
Polar Boy - He started as the joke leader of the Legion Subs and rose to become leader of the actual Legion. Let's get him back in the rebooted LSH.
Dan Dynamite - What can we say? We loved the Young All-Stars!
Nuklon - Gosh-darn-it, he's one of the nicest guys around. He's loyal, honest, devoted to his Jewish heritage… and his powers go beyond the standard "big, muscle-bound member of the team." So forget those last miserable years of the previous JLA… get him on the new team!
Red Star - Haven't seen him since his membership in New Titans.
Rocket Red #4 - Hokey Smokes! The end of the Cold War was great for the real world, but our entertainment sure has suffered. Espionage films are passe, Boris and Natasha are out of work…and the Rocket Reds are an anachronism. The Rocket Reds made for a great menace…and Rocket Red #4 was a devoted member of the Justice League. Let's bring back Dimitri and his Apokoliptian armor as his own hero with a non-commie name.
L.E.G.I.O.N. - Regardless of whether they have their own book, the team still exists under the leadership of Captain Comet and should be showing up more often. Perhaps when Starman goes into space…?
Captain Comet - DC's first mutant superhero, Comet hs the unique position of being an active superhero long after the JSA went into retirement and long before Superman's first appearance. Isn't that concept rife with possibilities? Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew - What ARE they up to? (Let's hope you read the proposal for a new Zoo Crew comic in this issue.)
Gentlemen Ghost - Okay, not a hero (at least, he isn't now that his Hawkman appearances were retconned away)…but he's got a unique look and a lot of panache. Why isn't he showing up somewhere?
Adam Strange - Another fun character destroyed by an attempt at "making him realistic." If anyone finds a way to renew Hawkman, they should throw Adam in for good measure!
The Top Twelve
12 Onyx - OK…I am starting obscure here. This was a African-American female martial arts hero introduced in the Green Arrow mythos years ago. She was a back-up feature for a little while…and alas…she isn't even that now. Its hard to describe why she should be brought out of limbo…I guess you will just have to go find her back up features, if you really want to know.
11 Captain Atom - It seems these days, until Bob Layton's mini-series debuts, the Charlton Heroes are just languishing in DCU limbo. Captain Atom is no stranger to this place, as a creation of a writer and as a character in the DCU. His military back-story is a great asset…but…as is the case with many limbo victims…he is weighed down with massive baggage from his last outing. Monarch, anyone? Yuck!
10 Robotman - Oh…the classics…they never di…what? He hasn't seen the printed page in how long? Last time he did, he was a twisted, psychotic Robotman at the end of THE GOLDEN AGE? Oh…well…that is not the Cliff I want to sermonize here. I want the faithful member of All-Star Squadron/Doom Patrol (I know there is Robotman I and II, but I never could discern much difference in their portrayal). The classic look…the feeling of him being pulled out of the 50s vision of what a robotic man would look like…the tie to another generation of comic book heroes (and fans).
9 Flying Fox - The Young All-Stars…I have some fond memories of this book. It seems there aren't as many people with these fond memories since they seem to have been all but forgotten. The character of the Flying Fox always seemed to be one of great (say it with me, folks) POTENTIAL. A young shaman deriving his powers from the beliefs of his culture…using them in a world that is, for the most part, ignorant to those beliefs. If a writer like Ostrander or Morrison could write his stories…since they have no fear of examining cultures and beliefs (even when controversial)…hoo boy…it would be a wild ride.
8 Timber Wolf - Sure…it seems like EVERYONE loves the LSH reboot. In truth, I have nothing bad to say about it. But it does seem a shame that a character that was such a fan favorite (from what I have been able to gather from some newsgroups and message boards) has to spend so much time in limbo. Of course, the one good thing the reboot did for him is make it possible to completely forget his time as a big pile of fur in later years!
7 Aztek - Morrison and Millar sure wrote a weird book with this character. Well…maybe weird is too strong a term…and carries too many negative connotations. All I know is the character was definitely good, in a new situation, and had the action taking place in a city rich with strange and bizarre goings-on. One-shots have been scheduled, I believe…so hopefully we will hear more from Grant's baby.
6 Blue Beetle - Once again….another Charlton Hero on the list. IMHO, Blue Beetle has been, at his best, the DCU version of Spider-man. Sure…he has no powers…but he has that flippant attitude that Spidey used to have. Of course, it is important that you realize I am talking about how he was treated in his solo series (drawn by Paris Cullins and, I believe, written by Len Wein (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong! <g>)). I think we could all use a dose of their Blue Beetle these days.
5 Blue Devil - Another character missed for the type of stories he was involved in as much as his own character. Daniel Patrick Cassidy had his own series that had a flare for humor. Humor (kid-friendly humor) seems to be something missing in DC's mainstream comics. But of course, like what was the case with Captain Atom, he has been changed in a way that has only served to give him unneeded baggage. What…didn't Mark Waid get the memo that "grim and gritty" was on the way out before he gave Blue Devil that over-haul?
4 Damage - Once again…buzz words here are: potential…ties to another generation of heroes…ties to the Golden Age (through his genes, that is). Damage was a character whose series was canceled right out from under him when they had just gotten to the good stuff. The genes of so many golden and silver age super-heroes combined together, held together by the alien tissue extracted from J'Onn J'Onzz (The Martian Manhunter), in some twisted experiment by Vandal Savage. If that doesn't sound interesting to you…well…I don't know what would!
3 Hawkman - This character is LITERALLY in limbo. Not just one Hawkman, but due to some weird amalgamation of all the Hawk Avatars of old, ALL of the Hawkmen that ever were. How? Oh…forget it…I don't even know anymore. And that…is the real reason he is in limbo: almost nobody could figure out exactly what had happened to Hawkman or, at times, what was going on with him now. That should never happen in a comic book. These things have to be written so adults AND kids can understand them (unless its one of them "FOR MATURE AUDIENCES" things). I am certain that Hawkman has some of those fun, easy-to-understand stories left in him…waiting for some good writer to come along.
2 Swamp Thing - Oh….how cheated mainstream DCU fans were when Swamp Thing was pirated away to the Vertigo universe. The magic and elemental aspects he brought to the DCUniverse every month are sorely missed in today's DCU. Now…even his Vertigo series is dead and suffering in limbo. It is time to go forth into that limbo…retrieve him…and restore him to his proper place in the DCU.

and….the character most undeserving of DCU Limbo…
1 Black Lightning - Ah…Jefferson Pierce. An Olympic hero deserves better than limbo. Tony Isabella deserved better than to have some editor insist he have Mr. Lightning kill someone. Black Lightning was once up for a membership in the JLA in a story that was CLASSIC from the moment it hit the press. He deserves another shot because the only reason his last chance got killed was because of problems at DC editorial. And that, my friends, is the most cruel reason to spend an eternity in DCU limbo. Black Lightning has plenty of good stories left in him…he is just waiting for a good (Tony Isabella) writer (Tony Isabella) to come (Tony Isabella) along. A pretty good (Eddie Newell) artist (Eddie Newell) wouldn't hurt either. :-)
As Easily Spotted As Bigfoot
Vixen - Recently spotted in the new Hawk and Dove mini, although the writer's under the misconception that she actually changes into animals

Firestorm - There are possibly plans for him to receive a new monthly before the end of the year

Firehawk - Seen as a card in Chase #1, there are plans for her to join this hot, stylish new series.

Obsidian - Appearing in the new Green Lantern/Sentinel mini.

Gone for Good? GOOD!
Triumph - Priest wanted to create an unlikeable character…and that's what we got!
Article © Kevin "Baker" Huxford & Michael Hutchison 1998
Layout and text © Fanzing 1998

 
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