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Off My Mind: How Will the DC Villains be Updated During September's Relaunch?

Heroes will be getting tweaks and updates but we haven't seen much information on the villains in the DC Universe.

DC Comics and the September relaunch of 52 new #1 comics has been all over the news these last couple weeks. We've seen the images of heroes getting updates and new looks to their costume. We know what creative team will be working on the books and have a tiny idea what the first issues will be about.

What we don't know a lot about is the villains.

Some heroes are only getting a costume change while retaining their current history. Other characters sound as if they are getting a completely new origin. Jim Lee has been busy redesigning the costumes of many iconic heroes but we've only seen a couple villains in the September books. Are we going to see the familiar villains returning as they were or will be have a bunch of new bad guys running around?

== TEASER ==

A safe assumption is most of the existing villains will return. It wouldn't make sense to throw away existing villains and their backstories with the heroes. There's also the years of history these villains already have. DC has made it clear that this isn't a reboot. From some of the solicits for issue #1, we know existing events will carry over. But if some heroes are getting new looks or tweaks, why shouldn't the villains get them as well?

A couple of the villains that we've seen so far are Deathstroke and Harley Quinn. Deathstroke doesn't look too different than what we're used to. His costume appears to have some changes but nothing as dramatic as Harley Quinn. She will have a look slightly closer to her Arkham Asylum/Arkham City video game look. Whatever the reason for this look, we deserve an explanation. Her costume doesn't seem to be too practical, especially if she's going on crazy missions as part of the Suicide Squad.

Just as the heroes have iconic looks, so do the villains. It would be unfortunate for some of those classic looks to be severely altered but we would all agree there are a few that could be improved with a Jim Lee makeover. It only makes sense that the villains should get updates as well. Granted, the updates that are being done are in order to make the heroes fresh and exciting for new readers. Villains are a selling point for comics but won't be the main reason someone buys an issue.

All of the focus has been on the heroes. They are the stars of the books. There is a chance that all the energy in updating has been placed solely on the heroes/stars of the comics. DC has to have given the villains consideration as well. If this is the moment to make some changes or tweaks, they better take advantage of it and make any adjustments to the villains they see deserving or in need on them.

Besides a possible new costume, should we see changes in the villains actual histories? If you look at the solicits for Supergirl #1 or Superboy #1, changes have been made. Change is good sometimes but there will be that sense of dread in things going horribly wrong. We won't know what might happen to our favorite villains until we see them in September. I am just as fearful as the next DC fan but I will hope for the best. This isn't a decision made at the last minute. Everything has been considered. This will be our chance to see some of our favorite characters again for the first time. I am looking forward to September and can't wait to see what changes the villains will go through.

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Posted by Michiel76

wow, working late G-MAN?

Edited by Michiel76

Since i'm new to the DC universe it will be an exciting new experience for me. i just hope i can get into it pretty quickly without having to do a lot of research on character histories.
Then again that's the whole point of a reboot right? so there shouldn't be a problem.
It's really funny that i have 20+ years of marvel and image reading and you can count the DC comics i've read on 2 hands. 
So i'm really excited, but i understand as a comic fan that a reboot can be pretty stressfull for fans of the DCU. I would not know how i would feel about a reboot of the marvel universe. (although i wished some things would never have happend)  
September might turn into a tricky time for me, maybe i'll like the (new) DCU so much i'm switching from Marvel to DC completly.................................... Nah probably not i like my X-men and Spidey comics too much, but i hope some DC stuff will stick, i will try all 52 comics though.

Posted by 5ive

I feel DC strength has always been in their villains. What would Batman be without Joker. What would Superman be without Lex. This relaunch is going to be either really great or really terrible. No room for any grey area. 
http://coverx.tumblr.com

Posted by Emperormeister734

this is goin g to be ... TIGHT i like that design on Harley Quinn and Deathstroke

Posted by Battlepig

Harley Quinn's impractical costume makes sense in the sense that it makes no sense. Remember who inspired her? The Joker. And he's not known for making a lot of sense. Calculating, that he is, but he rarely makes sense.

Posted by Outside_85

am i the only one that gets the feeling that Jim Lee has been looking a little too closely at japanese RPG designs with both DS and Harley?   

Like Deathstroke has the standard car-sized sword to swing around (try googling Final Fantasy or Soul Calibur for an example)and a suit of armor that looks too heavy for a man that prefers not getting hit in the first place. (Since he seemed to rely on only half a chain/promethium-shirt to cover his upper body and a cloth mask.)  

And Harley, well besides that she is nuts, seems to have foregone any sense of practicality in favor of looking sexy. Oh and a hammer of that size would in the real world be completely useless because of its weight (looks to be around 5-10kg, where an old fashioned warhammer barely reached 3kg...but then again, this is comics.)

Posted by Eyz

Poor Harley...turned slutty for Arkham Asylum/City fans who won't even buy comics but download them off some filesharing sites!

Posted by Grim
@Eyz said:
Poor Harley...turned slutty for Arkham Asylum/City fans who won't even buy comics but download them off some filesharing sites!
Posted by Bluefox170

In my opinion, they've gone above and beyond with Slade and Harley, I don't think they'll disappoint with the others. 

Posted by brc2000

We've seen Deadshot as well. Not to crazy about his redesign.

Edited by sj_esposito

I was waiting for this Off My Mind; or at least for someone to bring it up. I'm kind of surprised DC hasn't released more pictures of or information regarding their villains. I would think that the villains are a big draw for them... 
 
I like what we've seen so far -- Harley, Deadshot, Catwoman, and Joker -- except for Deathstroke. He looks terrible, like a bad Transformer or something. I'm excited for the book, because Higgins is a great writer, but I really hate the costume. 
 
I'm not sure why Harley's new design is catching so much heat... I'm not saying that it's great, nor am I claiming it to be better than her original design, but it's not as bad as everyone makes it seem. The word impractical is thrown around a lot, but is that really fair? We've seen a lot of characters with much more impractical designs, especially female ones. 
 
It's definitely not practical, nor standard issue attire, but there are females that can do their job and dress like Harley:

Posted by TDK_1997
@Emperormeister734 said:
"this is goin g to be ... TIGHT i like that design on Harley Quinn and Deathstroke "
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

DC Continuity seems to be throwing everything it's got this year

Posted by doordoor123

Ive thought about it, and its a relaunch/revamp in most cases, but charcters like the Teen Titans seem to be getting reboots of sorts. Its kind of a mix of everything its a relaunch/revamp/reboot/re-something. I think that the most popular villians will be pretty much the same, the other villians will be a little different. I think if they have thier own books, then they should be popular enough to keep it alive. So why change them? 
 
BTW if you havent seen the new Joker and Two-Face looks, here 
 
 
Posted by darth_brendroid

I'm most worried for the villains. Especially since some of my favourites include the slightly less iconic guys. 
 
I mean, Gentleman Ghost is a great concept but he's nowhere near Joker level. Is he still around? How about Black Mask, or Great White, which version of Metallo have we got; these are points I'd like to see answered soon. If they want to freshen things for a modern audience, providing us good updates on old villains is one way to keep at least a small element of continuity with the past (see B:TAS and S:TAS) and still feel new.

Posted by Lost_Exile

The cover to one of the Batman books shows Batman fighting several of the villians. You don't get a good look but you can see The Riddler's awesome new haircut. Sorry no link my phone is acting crazy today.

Edited by lord_canti

for me villains are a big draw im more likely to pick up a ark with venom and carnage in spiderman that most others and for dc harley quinn is possibly the biggest draw for me. i personaly think shes the most interesting character if done well but im not sure on her current re design her costume is too revealing and impractical it just screams were trying to make her sexy rather than explore her character

Posted by elayem98
@doordoor123 said:
BTW if you havent seen the new Joker and Two-Face looks, here 
Yes! this is what I always wanted two face to look like. where did you find these?
Posted by Lilja

Why not just make Harley topless? Because that's clearly what the artist wants anyway... 

Posted by BlackRoseTessa

we also know ivys redesign sucks becuse of the 1  bop cover , its a horrid look for her
Edited by Adnan
@Eyz said:

Poor Harley...turned slutty for Arkham Asylum/City fans who won't even buy comics but download them off some filesharing sites!

Let's wait until her book arrives before calling her names. Wonder Woman has, until recently, looked slutty, yet she's not percieved to be as such (atleast not whilst I've been reading her. I suspect she was more slutty until the 90s, when strong female archtypes really came into prominence) whereas Catwoman, who shows as much skin as the classic Harley Quinn look, has made out with Dick Grayson.
Posted by thecheckeredman

Both of these redesigns looks bad, bad, bad... 

Posted by djotaku

I've been thinking about Harley a lot.  I wonder if it's just a case of  "Comic Book Covers Always Lie"?

Posted by SirSparkington

Honestly, not a huge fan of the Jim Lee redesigns. I don't want to be constantly reminded of how awesome he thinks the 90s were.

Posted by The Poet
@Lost_Exile said:

The cover to one of the Batman books shows Batman fighting several of the villians. You don't get a good look but you can see The Riddler's awesome new haircut. Sorry no link my phone is acting crazy today.

my god. they've...mutated him! The riddler has a qestion mark mohawk! I didn't notice him until you said something!
 
Whats the purpose of that? for Batman to know who to attack when he is flying through a skylight?
its only seen from above him, so why have it? To have a nice cover where you recignise the characters? *shouts* DC!!!!!!!! what have you done!!!!!?????
Moderator
Posted by darth_brendroid
@The Poet: Yeah... I prefer the good old business suit Riddler. Even just slight updates on that would have been better than giving him a question mark mohawk.
Posted by GLCorps2814

Whats to design about someone like Captain Cold, he's looked the same for his entire existence, and its fine, he's a top rate bad guy in a second rate costume, not everyone is gonna need armor and glowing parts or whatever, just leave some of them be, in some cases, what worked then, works now. 
 
Hey! Maybe Lex can have his hair back! (although he looks best without it, but I bet he wants it back)

Posted by The Poet
@darth_brendroid said:
@The Poet: Yeah... I prefer the good old business suit Riddler. Even just slight updates on that would have been better than giving him a question mark mohawk.
Amen!
Moderator
Posted by Deadman1595

I hope Joker has the scarred smile and make up That Would ROCK

Posted by Adnan
@GLCorps2814 said:
Hey! Maybe Lex can have his hair back!
BLASPHEMY! DON'T EVEN JOKE ABOUT SUCH AN IDEA!
 
*ahem* I don't like Riddler's question-mark mohawk either. I'm hoping that it's just one of his henchman or something (not likely)
Posted by darth_brendroid
@GLCorps2814 said:
Whats to design about someone like Captain Cold, he's looked the same for his entire existence, and its fine, he's a top rate bad guy in a second rate costume, not everyone is gonna need armor and glowing parts or whatever, just leave some of them be, in some cases, what worked then, works now.  Hey! Maybe Lex can have his hair back! (although he looks best without it, but I bet he wants it back)
I think there are ways for an artist to make their own personal stamp on a character while still being faithful to the original design, without the need to completely redesign them. (I did my own attempt at Captain Cold and just tried to make it seem a little ski-gearish while making it still look reasonably Captain Cold) 
 
@The Poet said:
@darth_brendroid said:
@The Poet: Yeah... I prefer the good old business suit Riddler. Even just slight updates on that would have been better than giving him a question mark mohawk.
Amen!
Amen indeed :) 
Besides, isn't Riddler a narcissist? He definitely sees himself as very intelligent and slightly evil-Sherlock Holmes (the whole solving problems complex and dressing well and proving he's more intelligent than you are), so I can't really see how that mohawk works in with his traditional character. 
(I know he solved a lot of his problems some years back before Infinite Crisis, but he has slightly reverted since OYL hasn't he?)
Posted by SleepyDrug
@5ive said:

                I feel DC strength has always been in their villains. What would Batman be without Joker. What would Superman be without Lex. This relaunch is going to be either really great or really terrible. No room for any grey area. http://coverx.tumblr.com
           

This is an interesting topic.  I've always thought the reverse: villains in the DCU are less interesting overall; only Batman and Superman have reallly good rogues galleries.  Wonder Woman is one of DC's top three (or four) characters, but she has a short list of villains and many of them are more recent.  Aquaman has perhaps four or five good villains.  Green Lantern has had very few worthy foes until more recent years. 
 
An improvement in villainy would be a big draw to me.
Posted by The Poet
@darth_brendroid said:
@GLCorps2814 said:
Whats to design about someone like Captain Cold, he's looked the same for his entire existence, and its fine, he's a top rate bad guy in a second rate costume, not everyone is gonna need armor and glowing parts or whatever, just leave some of them be, in some cases, what worked then, works now.  Hey! Maybe Lex can have his hair back! (although he looks best without it, but I bet he wants it back)
I think there are ways for an artist to make their own personal stamp on a character while still being faithful to the original design, without the need to completely redesign them. (I did my own attempt at Captain Cold and just tried to make it seem a little ski-gearish while making it still look reasonably Captain Cold) 
 
@The Poet said:
@darth_brendroid said:
@The Poet: Yeah... I prefer the good old business suit Riddler. Even just slight updates on that would have been better than giving him a question mark mohawk.
Amen!
Amen indeed :) Besides, isn't Riddler a narcissist? He definitely sees himself as very intelligent and slightly evil-Sherlock Holmes (the whole solving problems complex and dressing well and proving he's more intelligent than you are), so I can't really see how that mohawk works in with his traditional character. (I know he solved a lot of his problems some years back before Infinite Crisis, but he has slightly reverted since OYL hasn't he?)
well, he's become somwhat good guy detective for a little and then reverted back to the villain we all love
Moderator
Posted by darth_brendroid
@The Poet: I still don't see him being the sort to get a green question-mark mohawk though. 
 
*sigh* 
 
Still, at least he exists. Besides, maybe he'll grow his hair back by next year.
Posted by Doctor!!!!!

This is why I can never keep track of anything!

Posted by goldenkey

didn't we see the Joker face already with the smeared lipstick look?
Posted by ImperiousRix
@GLCorps2814 said:
Whats to design about someone like Captain Cold, he's looked the same for his entire existence, and its fine, he's a top rate bad guy in a second rate costume, not everyone is gonna need armor and glowing parts or whatever, just leave some of them be, in some cases, what worked then, works now.  Hey! Maybe Lex can have his hair back! (although he looks best without it, but I bet he wants it back)
Agreed.  Well, about Captain Cold anyway, and some heroes/villains having such classic looks that it's just WEIRD to change them.
I mean, I can understand the impetus for changing many, but to fix something that isn't broken is essentially breaking it.
Posted by NodNolan

Its been said that only Batman, Green Lantern and LOSH titles are continuing almost as they were. And that the new DCU will be a universe wher Stormwatch and the DC heroes have always coexisted. I think we can expect more than a few changes to established villains.

Posted by The Impersonator

The new Deathstroke looks cool.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

New Deathstroke is pretty badass, but It might be too different. We'll have to see. New Harley is downright sexy, but what really bothers me is new Deadshop up there. He looks NOTHING like the Deadshot we know, and I'm afraid they're going to completely dismantle the Deadshot we know and love from Secret Six.

Posted by jointron33
@SleepyDrug: how are wonder womans villains recent? theyve been around since the 40s!
Posted by sesquipedalophobe

Lex Luthor will be given a curly wig, he'll shout during his monologues and be accompanied by a quirky woman and a yes man. Oh wait.

Posted by SleepyDrug
@jointron33 said:

                @SleepyDrug: how are wonder womans villains recent? theyve been around since the 40s!
           

I did not say Wonder Woman hasn't any villains from her earliest appearances.  I said it was a short list.   
How many WW villains still plague her on a regular basis from the '40s and '50s, or even 70's?  Angle Man, Ares, Cheetah, Circe, Dr Cyber, Dr Poison, Dr Psycho, Giganta, Silver Swan, Red Panzer
How many more recently created WW villains are there? Dark Angel, Devastation, Genocide, Maxwell Lord, Veronica Cale, White Magician, Deimos/Phobos/Eris, Decay, Hades, Cyborgirl. 
 
At least half of Wonder Woman's noteworthy foes are recent.  But my main point is that this is a short list of villains for a hero who is supposed to be a flagship character.
Posted by StarKiller809

I really do hope that they keep some of the classic villians in their coustume. I though some of them were really nice.
Posted by CombatSpoon86

Deashot and King Shark look totally different. I'm sorry but its gonna be a long while until I like Suicide Squad. And Harley, they just make her look like a stripper. Trying too hard to go the emma frost look

Posted by Shadowdoggy
@StarKiller809

some of them, yes, but a few of them are far past dated now

Amazo, Captain Cold, and Sinestro need redesigned costumes like whoa

Posted by Herx

Deathstroke's new look im digging. Harley, well i think she needs a dash of blond in that hair of hers. As far as redesigning villains goes So long as their keeping the basic designes alright, or not moving to ar from their current look im fine with it (plus riddler has a questionmark over his head so that when batman passes over him now he'll have to question himself weather he's actualy seeing the riddeler or not :P )

Posted by maxicere

"""Granted, the updates that are being done are in order to make the heroes fresh and exciting for new reader"""
This thought always destroys the characters and comic titles ... These changes are games market . Nothing is done to the health of the readers.
I think many of the villains will lose their souls

Posted by Trodorne

I would not be surprised if DC tried to pander to the movie audience and make the joker look like heath ledgers joker, at which point I would dislike the joker... more so.

Posted by CrimsonTempest

The biggest crime committed here: No Secret Six. That is the epitome of villain comic books.

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