While comic book movies have been taking the world by storm, comic books themselves have had their major downs these last few years. So low, in fact, that certain decisions have been interesting (to say the least), and some of these decisions have been controversial while others a welcome reception. Starting with the latter, we have the Superior Spider-Man — a dying Doc Ock switched bodies with Peter Parker and Peter died inside Ock's body, leaving Otto the responsibility and life of Spider-Man.
While odd and definitely a shocker, Superior Spider-Man soon became a hit and even I won't deny that the comics were surprisingly decent. But then you have the choices that writers make that make you want to slam your face into the nearest wall, such as the idea of making Jim Gordon into the new Batman.
Definitely was not a fan of this choice but luckily for us readers, Bruce Wayne was soon brought back. Could be worse right? It's not like Bruce has a son who is possibly the most irritating comic book character brought to us since Superboy Prime, right?
Ugh...that's right. If you know me, then you know how much I absolutely despise the character of Damian Wayne. From his rash, angry, and ungrateful personality to the fact that his entire creation basically ousted my personal favorite Robin: Tim Drake. However these choices are all quite a few years old, so why don't we take a look at recent decisions that have struck a few nerves with readers.
Amadeus Cho, the New Totally Awesome Hulk....seriously. Don't get me wrong, the character is interesting on his own but why does he have to be a replacement of Bruce Banner? Everyone loves Bruce Banner so what's the point of ousting him out? Now before any of you start jumping into the comments and start accusing me of not liking this choice because he is both Asian and homosexual, trust me that's just not the case in any way shape or form.
The most recent one to surprise people is the new "Iron Man" named Riri Williams, a genius who builds her own suit of armor and is basically going to replace Tony Stark as the Invincible Iron Man. Again, why? Everyone still loves Tony Stark so why do we need to replace him?
The new DC universe has come in the Rebirth series and almost all the books have been surprisingly great...except Batman which had a rocky start. There was some interesting focus on minor villains like Calendar Man but it also brought in Duke Thomas as not a Robin but a brand new Bat-themed hero in a completely stupid suit. First off, I was already annoyed when he was a Robin because I am sick and tired of Batman getting a new sidekick every other year. If you count Batwoman, Batman has had TEN members of the Bat-Family. Now Duke is now this Golden Bat thing that really makes me just facepalm.
And now we come to possibly the single most controversial change in recent comic book years: Captain America was a Hydra agent all along. That's right, Marvel's most noble and humble hero was a spy working for Hydra this entire time....excuse me for just one moment.
The Captain America thing is a problem that can fit in an entire article but it's not entirely what this article is about. It's about the fact that comic book companies have one of two problems:
- 1. They have run out of ideas since all their focus is not on the movies based on their work.
2. They are afraid of doing something new.
Personally I think it is the latter because characters like Amadeus Cho, Riri Williams, and Duke Thomas? They are all interesting on their own but why do they have to be replacements or new sidekicks?
Marvel seems quite obsessed with wanting diversity which is nothing but awesome and I say that more diversity in characters IS what we need but I don't want a 15 year old girl as the new Iron Man, I don't want a new Hulk, and I don't want a villainous Captain America. Don't try to fix what isn't broken. Take the character of Riri Williams and make a brand new superhero with it: not a replacement of some other hero, not a protege, not a spin-off of another hero. A brand new iconic hero for people to enjoy. A brand new homosexual superhero with the proper writing could be brilliant but making Cho into the Hulk just feels like a forced way to shove political correctness into the readers' faces.
DC's problem is that they keep adding spin-off and sidekick heroes: Duke Thomas is an apprentice of Batman when he could have been his own great hero, we don't need anymore speedsters, we don't need anymore Green Arrow sidekicks, now that we have the Son of Superman and Lois Lane A.K.A. Superwoman, we don't need anymore Super-Family members, etc. Don't get me wrong though, many sidekicks and spin offs have been fantastic: Tim Drake's Robin, Nightwing, Superboy, Impulse, and Harley Quinn are all great characters that I love but I want to see more originality.
Look at Booster Gold, he's a hero who has become a new favorite and he was something brand new, not some new generation of a previous hero or some sidekick. The character of Cyborg began as just a member of the Teen Titans and has evolved into his own hero and a member of the Justice League as well as a favorite character among readers. In fact most of the Titans are original heroes that people have come to love: Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy.
And replacements have worked before such as Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle or Miguel O'Hara as Spider-Man but there have been way more that haven't worked such as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes as Captain America or Cassandra Cain (in my opinion was terrible) as Batgirl.
Now maybe there is a reason why companies have been sticking with the same schtick of proteges and spin-off heroes for years. If it's a character nobody recognizes, they might not pick up the comic but if he or she is related in someway to another already iconic hero then it might get picked up more. If that's the case then that makes me think that the companies have become cowardly and put too much focus on money rather than giving us good stories and characters. It's a shame because there are so many indie-writers out there coming up with heroes and villains that have the possibility of becoming as iconic as say Spider-Man or Superman if given the chance. Example: my friend and fellow Movie Pilot creator Autumn Henderson-Brazie created a story called Anomalies and just from the small bit of it I've read, it's already great but I'm scared that her story would never be published by DC or Marvel because it has no connection with other heroes and if that is the excuse they give her then why should I pick up their other stories?
Look I love comic books, they have created some of the best fictional stories in existence but if the lack of creativity continues to get worse and worse, I'm scared that comics might die off. Marvel and DC need to allow more new characters to join their universes without mooching off the success of their other heroes or by completely changing a character for shock value when really it's just forced and contrived.
What do you think? Do we need more original characters like Cyborg or should we just continue getting new sidekicks and replacements? Let me know in the comments below and I hope you enjoy!