The New Age of DC Heroes

It is always great when new characters come out in Comics, sometimes they make introductions and you can tell from the offset that it’ll suck, but sometimes a writer comes in and makes a character so good they become an instant pillar of that universe.

In recent times the main reboots, newbies or overhauls have been in Marvel’s court.

We had Squirrel Girl rebooted into a genuine hero. Spider Gwen in 2015 took people like Pab by storm. Out of the crop of new (ish) heroes that came about, they’ve stood out as memorable ones for me.

They did some rather lazy ‘female iron man, thor vision and captain america’ heroes that felt more like they’d ran out of ideas but knew they had to do something to represent women better and this was the best they had.

DC have just kicked off ‘The New Age of DC Heroes’ off the back of Dark Metal.

My honest opinion is that these heroes – for the most part – wont last long enough to consider them part of an ‘age’ at all.

Look up ‘Sideways’ – here’s three ways to explain that hero:

Summary One: Derek James – fell through a rift into the dark matter dimension and now, as Sideways, he can create rifts in midair and leap through dimensions at will.

Ok so he sounds cool right? He can leap between dimensions – I can’t even imagine what sort of things he’d get up to – are we talking Rick and Morty dimensions or literal physical dimensions?

Summary Two: High School Junior Derek James fell into a dark matter rift and now, as Sideways, he can create rifts midair and leap through dimensions at will! – with that much power becomes great liability,

Summary Three: Blue Spider Man!

Now I vented this on Twitter and someone replied to me that ‘it is intentional’ and ‘it is just a bit of fun’ but both are poor excuses if you ask me.

They had the premise of a good, original idea. A hero that can rift through dimensions at will, presumably a fancy way of saying teleportation.

Let’s forget that they’re basically duplicating the CW version of ‘Vibe’ in The Flash, who can vibe between dimensions and from A to B.

They could have given this hero any build, any shape, any costume, they could’ve made him a woman, they could have made him an adult rather than a high school teen.

They could have stayed away from the ‘accidental hero with great responsibility’ trope altogether, and it would have been a better fit.

Instead of making a cool, original, new hero – they’ve laboured the point that they’re ripping off Spider Man, their own promotion for #1 includes the “with that much power becomes great liability” line – he’s the same age, shape and frame as Peter Parker – the writer even said they’re trying to do a similar thing but for modern kids – why doesn’t he just write for Marvel instead?

I feel like DC have undermined themselves massively with this. If they can’t be bothered to put any time and effort into making an original character, what is there to suggest their plots will be worthwhile for him? Will he be fighting the Blue Goblin and Professor Crustacean too?

It isn’t just Spider Man who is getting ripped off.

The Terrifics are a massive rip off of The Fantastic 4.

There’s 4 of them…lets say that’s a simple mirror, nothing too shocking there.

Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), a scientific genius, can stretch, twist and re-shape his body to inhuman proportions.
Plastic Man is a super-hero whose unique completely malleable body chemistry allows him to stretch to great lengths and contort himself into any position imaginable.

Invisible Girl/Invisible Woman (Susan Storm), has the ability to bend and manipulate light to render herself and others invisible.
Phantom Girl has the power to turn intangible, allowing her to phase through solid objects

The Human Torch – can control and create fire.
Metamorpho – can control and create elemental abilities.

The only character that doesn’t match another Fantastic 4 member is Mr Terrific himself, because The Thing already matches ‘Damage’ another new comic they’re bringing out. Mr Terrific just feels like an armour-less Iron Man…

Introducing the Hulk/Thing Rip Off:

DAMAGE

Tasked as the government’s own living, breathing ticking time bomb, Ethan retains no control when the monster takes over. The beast is cheaper than a nuclear warhead and twice as effective, and Ethan fights to rein in the damage he unleashes when it springs free for one hour a day. With everyone around him in danger, Ethan struggles to contain the DAMAGE he inflicts on the DC Universe.

It goes on and on like this in their announcement blog and they’re completely unapologetic about it.

I get that these could be outstanding – someone at DC may have just said ‘take everything they’ve got, and do it better’ and this could be their attempt to do so – but all at once? In such a brazen way? Get lost!

I was talking to a colleague today and we agree that a more sensible thing to do would have been to scour the world for up and coming writers and artists and pay for their interesting ideas.

Invest in unusual, new and different stories and shed the nonsense of just copying one another – I know both sides do it and I know that I could easily write a Marvel article covering the same stuff.

It’s just madness that in 2018, with this much money to be made in heroes, they can’t get their act together and write something new that isn’t just a clone.

Cloning other people’s ideas is something that I thought companies had grown beyond.

Whoever is responsible isn’t working hard enough and for me it feels like a lack of respect for their readers.

This is at a time when Dark Metal and DC Rebirth are two fantastic stories that really made me think DC were miles ahead of Marvel in storytelling.

If this clone thing is an attempt to really really one up them by taking their own ideas and blowing them away with enhanced story telling them I’ll eat my words, but if the writing is as lazy and thoughtless as the premise suggests then screw DC.

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