While we were chatting comics a few posts back, we got on the subject of reboots, and specifically DC’s attempt to reboot Hawk and Dove. Which has failed.
Again. This will mark no less than the seventh time DC’s tried to reboot this series in twenty years.
We get it: editors and writers play favorites. And every now and then, somebody mines gold: Peter David turns Jamie Madrox into a funny and engaging character, or James Robinson turns “Starman” into one of the classic books of the ’90s. But it seems like that for every classic hero, there’s some second stringer who tries, and fails, to get rebooted every few years like clockwork.
So, who do you think should be put out to pasture, dumped in an alternate universe, or otherwise gotten rid of? We’ve got a few nominees.
This is every Punisher story ever written: there is a mobster. He annoys the Punisher. He avoids death for three to six issues. He dies. Rinse, repeat.
True, Garth Ennis has breathed new life into Frank: “Welcome Back, Frank”, and then his highly political Max books.
On the other hand, most recently they turned him into the Frankenpunisher. So maybe it’s time to give Frank some closure.
The JSA, as a rule, has a hard time in the current DCU: they’re either redundant thanks to the Silver Age, ridiculous thanks to the demands of the time, or goofy enough to need a serious reboot, but DC has even managed to make back-benchers like the Crimson Avenger at least vaguely interesting. All except Fate, since not even DC’s resident Golden Age revivalist James Robinson could ever do much with this one.
The main problem with Doctor Fate is that he has absolutely no hook whatsoever that isn’t done better somewhere else. Hawkman is constantly reincarnated. The Spectre is the tormented Left Hand of God. Zatanna has daddy issues. Fate is a smug dork in a funny helmet. The closest DC got to making him interesting was putting his helmet in the hands of a washed up drunk in a miniseries that had promise and ultimately went nowhere. It says a lot about Kent Nelson that he’s way more interesting when he’s dead.
At least it beat the time they rebooted him as a supposedly threatening mercenary in a ridiculous mullet.
OK, so Spawn hasn’t been constantly rebooted, unless you count the endless attempts to shoehorn him into every conceivable era of human history for the purposes of selling action figures. Which we do, since McFarlane Toys apparently will stop that only when the sun goes out. But he has been beaten into the ground so badly that 200th issue couldn’t even muster some ’90s nostalgia and got terrible reviews. Maybe it’s time to let Al rest?
Here’s how you know a concept is well past its prime in the Spider-books: Flash Thompson gets dragged into the mess.
We could do an entirely separate bit just on Flash: Spider-Man writers have wasted page after page trying to make this jock interesting. The thing is, they’ve largely succeeded, or at least haven’t failed so badly they drag down the character. Not so much with Venom, although considering he’s a Lovecraftian horror, it’s hard to shoehorn in any character development.
That said, the fact that the current Venom needs a gun, a “Multi-Gun” no less, kind of makes us wonder if Marvel had dug out a pitch from, say, 1995. Maybe it’s time for the symbiote to go back to space.
What do you say about a character that last had his heyday sixty years ago?
You’ve got Superman. Everybody knows Superman. Everybody loves, well, enjoys Superman. But nobody cares about Captain Marvel anymore, unless Jeff Smith is involved, and he’s got other things to do. Every attempt to tie him into the larger DCU has been met with yawns, and with reason: he’s just too, well, simple in a universe where even your most boring invincible hero, Superman, at least got some character development.
image courtesy DC Comics