Rainmaker should replace Element Woman in the new Justice League series. Cyborg’s costume should be redesigned immediately. Making Hawkman look a great deal like Jason Momoa, the Rock, Vin Diesel, or one of the other musclebound, multi-racial action heroes known to dominate big and small screens? Not the worst idea in the world! Firestorm getting bumped for Light? A metahuman (teleportation) Onyx replacing Green Arrow? I ain’t even mad. Mera being replaced by Kobalt (with an immediate new costume design) and Deadman quietly vanishing from this series wouldn’t be a problem for me either.
I feel rather guilty commenting on this image. After all, a character is a character is a character where a superhero is concerned. The redundancy that occurs is so rampant that a mainstream comic is only as good as the creative team attached to it. The concept? The character’s design? Well, it has all been done before, hasn’t it? Any complaints I have simply come down to a matter of personal taste. My opinion is no more valid than the opinion of any other reader.
A company only has to worry when a large number of negative opinions correspond. And even in this instance action is not necessarily needed right away. Trademarks can take quite a few blows before one is forced to assess the damage and make crucial changes. DC could have happily coasted on America’s love for Batman for several more years if need be. However, its second base, Superman, seemed to be wearing away beneath a wave of apathy and continuous court proceedings. It was clear that a change was needed. But have enough changes been made?
Aside from the addition of Cyborg, DC’s “big seven” are the same characters we have always seen. And so far, the costume designs and origins have not been altered enough to spark my interest. But on a positive note, these small changes might be the exact changes needed to rein in lapsed DC fans. Personally, I would have swapped Cyborg out for Mr. Terrific. Yes, Cyborg is a known intellectual property, but the majority of individuals familiar with the character know him as a teen. Placing him in the JLA is akin to putting Blade in a children’s cartoon. It can be done, but why? Mr. Terrific is a better fit as the JLA’s resident tech hero and a JLA placement would have helped to bolster sales of his solo series. Again, just one opinion. I would have also swapped Barry for Wally, but most Americans couldn’t care less which character is in the suit. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. All of DC’s most powerful trademarks are lined up in a neat little row—as it should be.
The second tier is where DC veers severely off course. And sadly, the second tier is more important than the first, for that is where the powerful trademarks of the future are found. Judging from this group? DC’s future looks weak and out of touch with mainstream America.
But let’s focus on the good first. The Atom. If that is a poorly rendered Ryan Choi, then I’m very impressed. Bringing an Asian American character into the “big leagues” is a great move. Bringing back a dead character that fans thought of fondly? Even better. Bringing in a character that can bring a fun Spider-manesque quality to the table that is truly unique for the crew assembled? Enjoy your home run, DC. You’ve earned it. Still, that could be Ray Palmer depicted, but I’m not even going to contemplate the possibility that DC would make such a backward-looking and uninspired choice.
Moving on, we have Deadman, Element Woman, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Mera, and an unknown woman who could be any number of DC’s light-haired heroines. The first thing that comes to my attention is how overwhelmingly white the troop is. This wouldn’t be an issue, but given the minimal ethnic and racial diversity within the “big seven” it is a troubling problem. This is supposed to be the future of the DCU. These are the intellectual properties that will be DC’s building blocks for the next several decades. And they in no way reflect the future of America visually. They in no way reflect the present of America visually. I think making this incarnation of Hawkman multi-racial/ethnic would help—especially given America’s latest crop of action heroes. However, DC’s new characters of color seem to be exclusively male. This should also be rectified. Replacing a redundant character such as Mera or Element Woman with a female character of color would be an improvement—preferably a woman who is not the same ethnicity as Atom or Cyborg and doesn’t have the same exact powers as another member of the team (Aquaman or Firestorm). Energy blasts or magical powers, perhaps?
The addition of Green Arrow is another misstep. The character’s skills are dated. A character that shoots arrows in an age of guns? The character’s appearance is dated. A Robin Hood pastiche? And there are already two white male blondes on the team. Why has a third one that brings nothing to the table and has failed consistently in connecting with fans been added? The answer to that question had better not be because the character appeared in Smallville—a show that is now cancelled.
As for Deadman, Firestorm, and Mera, being showcased in high profile events and series have not roused fan interest. Why the continual promotion of characters that fail to perform? Is it because DC is looking to place these characters in film or television? Note: What works in one medium does not always work in another. I think Hitman would work well as an HBO series. Hitman would also be a terrible addition to the JLA. Everything has its place. Research and common sense help to identify that place cheaper and faster.
And with that? The constant DC coverage comes to an end. I mean, really. DC doesn’t pay my bills and doesn’t even produce the comics I actually read!
Shout out to Dark Horse, by the way.
Well, everyone else is talking about it! I might as well throw my two cents in.
Aquaman: Isn’t he dreamy? Kudos for going the pretty boy route. Is Aquaman next up to get the CW treatment? I could totally see this Aquaman standing out in the rain casting lovelorn looks at some chick from a dysfunctional home near the docks. This is your heart throb, DC. Your Jax Teller. Your Thor. I want to see some epic angst-ridden romance with this dude. And then farm it all out to television and wait for the Tumblrs to start tumbling. Late 20s on this one. Noble. Brooding. Suffering in silence.
Flash: Get rid of that chin guard! So ’90s. Just stick with the classic look! And I hope that’s Wally. I don’t give a damn about Barry. Let Barry be a blissfully happy family man in his 50s. And Bart can get kicked to the future. And I know this is going to make some people mad, but I don’t want Flash married with kids either. Knock him down to his mid 20s. We don’t need a million characters with speed powers running around. Give Barry some kids and let him be a mentor to Wally. One Flash. That’s it. It’s a title that gets handed down through the family. And why does he look so serious? Flash should be fun!
Cyborg: No. No, no, no. Again, so ’90s! Technology is getting smaller and sleeker by the day. What is this? The good thing is that Cyborg’s costume should be constantly updating; you can get away with quickly changing this design. I understand that Cyborg needs to be the “big guy” on the team to keep him in line with what people remember from the Teen Titans cartoon. Fine. He can be big. The costume should be sleek. Something akin to the Engineer from The Authority. Remember Adam Warren’s take on Cyborg from his Titans one-shot? I want to see Cyborg doing crazy stuff like that too. As for the man inside the weapon? I’d like to see him look like a regular guy when off-duty. White suits. Low haircut (Google Reggie Bush or 50 Cent). Glowing eyes to let people know that something’s not quite right with this dude. Early 30s. Can be a bit abrupt or cold. There’s a danger of him getting lost in the machine.
Green Lantern: Honestly? I just don’t care. It’s fine, I guess. Mid thirties. Established. And boring—just like he’s always been.
Superman: Why so young? You need to bump his age up to early thirties. He’s the Cap of the DC universe! Plus, nobody feels like sitting through this dude’s origin again. Real talk? I’m not a long-term DC fan, so I could care less if you make him single again. But long-term fans will care. A lot. You’d better have Lois in there somewhere as a viable, likeable love interest. Learn from Marvel’s mistake on that one, baby. And don’t chain him to the paper either. Or to Metropolis. Print is dead and globalization is here to stay. Make him an investigative journalist. A younger, wilder Anderson Cooper. A Superman story should be able to take place anywhere at any time. Never mind. Just let Morrison do whatever the hell he feels like. Fans will buy it on his name alone. And there a 99.9 percent chance it will be amazing.
Batman: Mid thirties. Established. Old money. Long money. Honestly, I’d go back to basics. One Batman. Anyone else running around with a Batman symbol on is doing it without his approval or training. I’d make Cassandra Cain his Robin. He’d use her for minor jobs where he felt the risk involved was very low. She’d keep pushing for more. I like the design! But it’s fairly impossible to screw up Batman. No matter how insane the design or story, it always seems to work.
Wonder Woman: Sigh. Either use the classic design or go with the final one from the pilot! And please cut it out with the man-hating Amazons! Look, I’ll make this easy for you. Female Thor. Showed up in the late 1800s as Lady Liberty, but was so disgusted with “Man’s World” that she returned home. Popped up again in the ’20s and ’70s. Rumored to have vanished in the late ’70s to give birth to a child in secret. She doesn’t like when people bring up that rumor.
Uh, that’s it! We can sift through the other rumors later—especially any pertaining to the WS characters. You know I’ll be on those soon.