Those who have been reading comic books for a long time may have some strong feelings about the way things have changed over the years, and we don't mean just recently in the last two. Since the New 52, and even a bit before then, there have been characters that maybe made an impact on you as readers that you maybe really fell in love with, but haven't heard or read about in a very long time. Since the reboot of the DC Universe many recognizable characters have been missing from the pages of some of our favorite DC comics like Cassandra Cain, Wally West, Donna Troy and Stephanie Brown. Yet, there are plenty of other characters who are just as memorable that we miss very dearly and would love to see appear in comics once again. We've compiled a rather short (and incomplete) list of characters we would love to see return to the DC Universe below, the first being Ragman.
It was not until the late 70's and early 80's that there was a serious shift in comics. Before this time, characters were wholesome, sometimes campy: but there was a definite change in the types of characters that really interested readers. The shift was to darker characters with more somber, tragic stories. These were the kinds of stories readers were looking for. Enter Ragman in late 1976, a character whose origins were born out of the cold-blooded murder of his father. The original Ragman was created by comic creators Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher, but as time went on the character evolved. Following his 1991 short-lived series, the character underwent some serious changes which included his change in powers: he was given a costume that allowed him to absorb the souls of his victims, turning said soul into a rag patch.
At his core, Ragman is a pretty interesting character. Not only does he have a tragic origin story (which always makes for tortured characters), but his special abilities are also rather unique. Ragman is able utilize the physical powers he has absorbed from the souls that make up his suit, making him incredibly versatile. As a result, he has an array of different powers at his disposal at any given time which would certainly give him an advantage in a confrontation. His most recent costume design is also pretty neat: his face is covered and shrouded in a hood so his enemies can only really see his eyes. Aside from his solo series, Ragman has also made appearances in Batman comics (going so far as to save the 'Caped Crusader' at one point). The character most recently appeared in 2009/2010 during the Battle for the Cowl story arc and later in Blackest Night, but both appearances were very brief and hardly memorable. We, however, think he would be a great choice to return to the new DC universe. Ragman is interesting because he teeters the line between dark, grim and mysterious and the supernatural; meaning he could fit very well with characters like John Constantine. Ragman would also make an interesting addition to the current BATWOMAN series which has dealt with many supernatural elements whilst managing to maintain a connection to a dark, grim and a story relatively grounded in reality. The two would, in fact, make a rather interesting pair being as how both are loosely affiliated with Batman but don't quite mesh with that part of the DCU perfectly.
Renee Montoya, hard-nosed Gotham PD cop, partner to Harvey Bullock was first created for Batman: The Animated Series. Yet, Montoya would not be contained to merely the B:TAS universe and would go on to transcend mediums, becoming a staple in DC comics and serving a very important role in the '52' story arc. But let's go back a little bit. Renee Montoya's character first appeared in BATMAN #475 in 1992. Montoya began making appearances in the series more frequently, but it wasn't until the 200's where she fell under the pen of writer Greg Rucka who really made her a staple in his DETECTIVE COMICS series. Rucka launched Montoya's character into being one of the most prominent homosexual and latina characters in comics, giving her an edge few other female characters had and allowing her to take a more prominent role in important story arcs like No Man's Land and Bruce Wayne: Murderer. The stories were grounded in realism and really fed off the notion of Batman as this detective, something that allowed Montoya (a human without super powers and also a detective) to shine quite a bit.
Montoya went on to team up with Vic Sage, The Question, in the 52 story arc, eventually taking on the mantle for Vice following his tragic death. Prior to the New 52 Montoya had established an ongoing and rather serious relationship with Kate Kane, Batwoman. The two were romantically linked up until the launch of the New 52. Now, Montoya has been missing from the pages of DC's comics, appearing only briefly in a photograph on the walls of the Gotham Police Department and no real mention has been made of her. This begs the question, did the romance between Kate and Renee actually happen, or was it ret-conned from Kate Kane's character? And if so, why? Renee Montoya was well liked by readers, she was interesting, strong and there are few characters like her. She could very easily return to the BATMAN series as a member of Commissioner Gordon's police force, or any number of other Bat-related titles. Additionally, there's no real reason why she can't make an appearance in BATWOMAN, is there? Regardless, she is a character that could have very easily brought over into the New 52 and we hope to see that happen.
Speaking of Renee Montoya reminds us of the man who trained her to become a better fighter : Richard Dragon. Richard Dragon first appeared in RICHARD DRAGON, KING-FU FIGHTER #1 in 1975. Dragon's character was created by writer Dennis O'Neil and Jim Berry and was inspired by the popularity of Kung-Fu at the time, and although he never became very popular, he has been central to developing some very interesting characters in comics.
Dragon's character is considered to be one of the greatest martial artists in the DC Universe and he has trained a very long list of characters: from Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon to Renee Montoya and even Bruce Wayne. Dragon's character became an important "second tierer" because he helped mold and influence some of the most powerful fighters in the DC Universe, and there are few characters like him. It would be great to see Dragon return and demonstrate his full abilities by taking on some students. After all, where did so many of these DC heroes go for training? It would be great to delve into the training of characters like Nightwing, for example, particularly since there is already an established connection between his character and Lady Shiva's, one of Richard Dragon's rivals.
One character that had become a major player just prior to the launch of the New 52 was Jade. The daughter of Green Lantern Alan Scott and Rose Canton, Jade was born with the power of the Starheart (which is why her skin and hair are green). She too eventually became a Green Lantern in her own right, becoming the first female Green Lantern from Earth (even if it was only for a short time). Although she did become a Green Lantern, her powers are like her father's in that with the 'star heart' she never has to recharge her ring and can create green power constructs like any Green Lantern. Jade has appeared in 'Infinite Crisis' and 'Blackest Night,' where she was resurrected from the dead to torment her former lover, Kyle Rayner. Jade went on to return in Brightest Day and was made an important character in the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series, written by James Robinson. The series drew on the relationship between Jade and her brother Obsidian as well as their respective relationship with their then father, Alan Scott. What was most interesting, however was the fact that Jade was written as a leader and a very interesting character, but this only lasted until DC's Flashpoint series which led to the re-boot of the entire universe. Since the previous JUSTICE LEAGUE series Jade is nowhere to be seen. Yet, she was interesting, so could she possibly return? Well, that's tricky.
If you've been reading the current EARTH 2 series then you know that Alan Scott has been a prominent character in that book. You likely also know that Robinson has changed a few things about Scott's character that make it a bit more difficult for Jade to exist. Essentially, now that Alan Scott's character is gay, there's a lot less of a chance that Scott ever engaged in a relationship with Rose Canton (Jade's mother), although it isn't entirely impossible. So does this mean that in order to bring Jade into the fold her ties to the Earth 2 Green Lantern Alan Scott must be severed? Not necessarily. Who is to say that Alan Scott didn't adopt a young daughter who just so happened to also have been affected by the Starheart? It's not an impossible notion, right?
There are many characters that have yet to make an appearance in the new DC Universe, and we've listed only a few of the many we would love to see make their return, but what about you? What characters would you like to see return to the DC Universe and how do you think they could be fit in? Let us know in the comments below!