The word relaunch is included in a shameless attempt to get people to read this blog. Think of this as my version of the Flash. Any version of the DC Universe that I created would have the elements of racial diversity, prominent female characters, and the normal passage of time.
For my versions of female characters I usually have them keep their maiden name when married and pass on their maiden name to their daughters. For example, Elizabeth Lawrence would still be Elizabeth Lawrence after marrying Jonathan Chambers and their daughter would have the name Jessica Lawrence.
Jonathan Chambers would be a Kansa Native American scientist from Keystone City. While working for Checkmate as a chemist he would develop a drug that gives the person who takes it super speed abilities. He would use his super speed abilities to become the Flash. His costume would consist of bright red boots, yellow pants, a bright red shirt with black thunderbolt, and a silver helmet with gold wings. He would be active from 1940-1952. The Rogues Gallery would begin its activities during Jonathan Chambers’ career but would not be finally eliminated until the late in the second Flash’s career.
Tanaka Rei would succeed Jonathan Chambers as the Flash in 1956. His costume would consist of black boots, black pants, a dark red shirt with white thunderbolt, and a silver helmet with silver wings. He would be married to Linda Park. He would retire in 1974.
Jessica Lawrence (Flash III) would be the daughter of Jonathan Chambers (Flash I) and Elizabeth Lawrence (Liberty Belle). She would succeed Tanaka Rei as the Flash in 1974. Her costume would be almost identical to her dad’s. She would primarily devote herself to scientific pursuits. She would be married to Richard “Rex” Tyler (Hourman II). Rex Tyler would use improvements to his father, Warrick “Rick” Tyler’s, time travel technology both to fight crime and as a scientist in his own right. Jessica Lawrence and Rick Tyler would retire in 1986.
Iris Park (Flash IV) would be the daughter of Tanaka Rei and Linda Park. She would succeed Jessica Lawrence as Flash in 1986. Her costume would be almost identical to the one used by Tanaka Rei. She would be married to Jeven Ognats and would be the mother of Jennifer Park (Trajectory). Iris Park’s brother Jason Rei (Impulse) would be married to Meloni Thawne and would be the father of Thaddeus Rei (Inertia). Thaddues Rei would be married to Valerie Perez. Iris Park and Jason Rei would be active from 1986-2006. Jennifer Park and Thaddeus Rei would be active starting in 2025.
Elizabeth Lawrence Jr. (Flash V) would be the daughter of Jessica Lawrence and Rick Tyler. She would be the Flash in the present and would use her mother’s costume.
In the 30th Century Henry Allen and Charlene Thawne would be the parents of Bartholomew Allen (Hot Pursuit) and Malcolm Allen (Cobalt Blue). As adults Hot Pursuit and Cobalt Blue would be members of the Legion of Superheroes. Bartholomew Allen would be married to Iris Russell and would be the father of Carrie Russell. Malcolm Allen would be married to Christina McGee and would be the father of Eobard Allen (Cobalt Blue II). Walter West (Hot Pursuit II) would be married to Angela Margolin and would be the father of Bartholomew West (Hot Pursuit III).
The word relaunch is included in a shameless attempt to get people to read this blog. Think of this as my versions of Green Lantern and related characters. Any version of the DC Universe that I created would have the elements of racial diversity, prominent female characters, and the normal passage of time.
For my versions of female characters I usually have them keep their maiden name when married and pass on their maiden name to their daughters. For example, Rose Canton would still be Rose Canton after marrying Alan Scott and their daughter would have the name Jennifer-Lynn Canton.
The Maltusians would never have split into the Oans, Zamarons, and Controllers. Krona would be a good guy. His two main contributions to Maltusian civilization would be the discovery that alternate universes/timelines are a normal part of existence and the creation of the seven Lantern Corps’ to bring order to the 3600 sectors of the Galaxy. The seven Lantern Corps would protect the galaxy from cosmic threats such as Mongal, Imperiex, Despero, Queen Bee, Starro, and the King of Tears. I would have the Spectre be the Guardians’ most powerful agent of order/justice/wrath. Eclipso would be the most powerful agent of the Black Lantern Corps.
Alan Scott (Star Sapphire, 1940s to Mid 1950s) would be married to Rose Canton (Thorn). Their children would be Todd James Scott (Star Sapphire, 1970s to Mid 1980s) and Jennifer-Lynn Canton (Green Lantern). Todd James Scott would be married to Al Rothstein (Red Lantern). Jennifer-Lynn Canton would be married to Henry King Jr. (Brainwave). Their daughter would be Nicole “Nicki” Canton (Green Lantern, the Present).
Coast City would be the home of most of the Lantern Corps’ members from Earth. It would also be the home of Daily Planet analogue Global Broadcasting, owned by Alan Scott. During the 1950s Coast City would be protected by Sportsman (Lawrence Crock) and his wife Tigress (Paula Brooks). Their daughter would be Artemis Brooks (Tigress II). In the 1980s, Artemis Brooks would protect Coast City along with her husband Cameron Mahkent (Icicle II). In the present their daughter Doyle Brooks (Icicle III) would protect Coast City.
The word relaunch is included in a shameless attempt to get people to read this blog. Think of this as my version of Wonder Woman. Any version of the DC Universe that I created would have the elements of racial diversity, prominent female characters, and the normal passage of time. I welcome reader comments, even the negative ones, so if you want to discourage me from posting more blogs just don't comment at all.
There are several changes I would make if I got the chance to do my own version of Wonder Woman. I would make the Greek gods powerful humanlike aliens from another reality. The Greek goddesses would create Themyscira to spread their ways. In the modern world, Themyscira would be a technologically advanced city-state populated entirely by women. One example of their technology would be planes that can turn invisible. They would have diplomatic relations with other nations. As such, Themyscira would have several ambassadors and not just one.
One change that I would make to the DC Universe is to have superheroes under direct control of the United Nations and/or their member nations. As was the case in the Earth-D universe, my version of the Justice League would be called the Justice Alliance. Diana of Themyscira would form the team in November of 1941. In the process she would take the codename Wonder Woman. The subsequent leaders of the Justice Alliance would be Troia, Artemis, Nubia, and Cassandra. These women would also use the name Wonder Woman.
Justice Alliance 1940s to Mid 1950s-Wonder Woman (Diana), Starman (Mikaal Tomas), Plastic Man (Patrick O'Brien), Dr. Mid-Nite (Beth Chapel), Wildcat (Yolanda Montez), Roulette (Victoria Sinclair), Red Tornado (Android), Crimson Avenger (Jill Carlyle), Black Condor (John Trujillo)
Justice Alliance Mid 1950s to 1960s-Wonder Woman (Troia), Miss Martian (M’gann M’orzz), Jemm Son of Saturn, Starwoman (Courtney Whitmore), Jakeem Thunder, Element Woman, Animal Man (Buddy Baker), Elasti-Woman, Mento
The word relaunch is included in a shameless attempt to get people to read this blog. Think of this as my version of Batman. Given that my version of Batman would exist in an alternate reality please keep in mind that the past or present might be very different on an alternate earth.
My thought for a relaunched Batman is to have Bruce Wayne be raised by Katherine Kane, his aunt, and Renee Montoya, Gotham City Police Chief, following his parents’ murder. Bruce Wayne would begin operating as Batman in 1939 with Talia al Ghul as Robin. Bruce Wayne would also participate in founding Checkmate. Bruce Wayne’s primary allies would be Alfred Pennyworth, Catwoman, and Tarantula. Bruce Wayne’s primary enemies would be the Religion of Crime as led by Elizabeth Kane, his other aunt. Bruce Wayne would stop operating as Batman in 1951 with the defeat of the Religion of Crime. During most of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman, Harvey Kent (with half his face scarred) would be Gotham City’s District Attorney and James Gordon would be Gotham City’s Police Chief. Bruce Wayne would succeed James Gordon as Police Chief. In his later career Bruce Wayne would serve as a United States senator and then as U.S. President.
DC's new 52 has gotten me thinking about what I would do if I had control of the direction of the DC Universe. My three favorite versions of the DC Universe are Earth-D for its racial diversity, the earth from Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl and Batgirl for its prominent female characters, and the Generations earth because time passes normally. Any version of the DC Universe that I created would have the elements of racial diversity, prominent female characters, and the normal passage of time.
My thought for a relaunched Superman is to have a black Superman (Kal-El) come to Earth in 1938 as an adult along with his wife Superwoman (Kara, not a relative). Kandor would come along in shrunken form but its return to normal size would be delayed due to reasons of Earth security. While on Earth, Kal-El and Kara would have a son named Mon-El who would become the second Superman. Mon-El would marry Shadow Lass, a native of the 20th century, and have a son named Kon-El. Kon-El would become the third Superman. Kon-El would marry Tana Moon (Insect Queen) and have a daughter named Laurel Moon. Lana Lang (physically resembling Kristen Kreuk) would be the Insect Queen of the 1940s and her husband Pete Ross (Physically resembling the Smallville version) would be Elastic Lad. Power Woman would be a white resident of Kandor who would become active in the 1950s after Kandor is returned to normal size and placed in Antarctica. She will marry Brainiac (Vril Dox), hero of the planet Colu and have a daughter named Ariella (Brainiac II).
Lex Luthor would be an ally of Superman rather than a villain. His job would be to find a way to stop superhumans whether that means imprisoning them or killing them. He would be a businessman, scientist, and member of Checkmate. Clark Kent would be a human reporter who is not related to Superman and is married to Lex Luthor's sister Tess Mercer. Clark Kent and Tess would have a daughter named Lori and a son named Joel. Joel would be married to Laurie Lemmon and have a daughter named Mia. Villains such as Toyman (Hiro Okamura) and Parasite (Alexandra Allston) would exist but would not be recurring because once captured they would stay in jail or be reformed.
Upcoming When I Feel Like It Relaunch Blog Posts For:
In 1999 DC Comics published a comic called Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths. The story tells of the destruction of Earth-D during the Crisis. The Justice League of Earth-D, called the Justice Alliance, is pictured above. Earth-D is rumored to represent what Marv Wolfman, who wrote the original maxiseries, thought the DC Universe should be like after the Crisis. If I were given the task of rebooting the DC Universe, or the Marvel Universe, I would probably want it to look something like Earth-D. Below are some reasons why I tend to want a more ethnically diverse DC Universe along with a couple of barriers to something like Earth-D becoming the main DC Universe.
Reasons for a More Ethnically Diverse DCU
In my own life I have friends who are of various ethnic backgrounds. Obviously, I am not a superhero. However, if you list the kinds of occupations commonly held by superheroes: scientists, business leaders, soldiers, and law enforcement officers you will also have a list of occupations for which some level of ethnic diversity is a reality. It should be noted here that I am thinking of the United States.
In my experience, most people want to read stories and watch TV shows/movies about characters they can identify with on some level. This goes beyond how a character looks. For example, some people prefer Jason Todd's methods to those used by Bruce Wayne. Increasing the ethnic diversity among DC's primary heroes would enable more readers to see themselves in the heroes and to the extent that diversity of viewpoint accompanies ethnic diversity it would enable more people's viewpoints to be represented among the core heroes of the DC Universe.
DC Comics has a number of ethnic minority superheroes such as John Henry Irons, Batwing, John Stewart, Xs, Lorena Marquez, Ryan Choi, Jason Rusch, Michael Holt, Jamie Reyes, and Sonia Sato. However, even though DC Comics has come a long way in terms of inclusion of ethnic minority characters, they still have a long way to go in my opinion. At this point two questions are worth considering. First, do we find we identify in some way with the comic book characters, writers, or artists we follow most often? Second, do we consume much in the way of media not geared towards people of our race, gender, etc.? While it is certainly not a problem if different groups of people like different things, fairness becomes relevant to the extent that one group, in this case white people, find it much easier to find characters they can identify with across media and genres compared to other groups.
Barriers to a More Ethnically Diverse DCU
It is fairly easy to say either that some change to a character can't be made due to financial considerations or that a person who changes a character in a way that we don't like is only thinking of financial considerations. Popularity and financial motives tend to go somewhat hand in hand when discussing the rightness or wrongness of some change to a character. This raises the question: How do comic book publishers know when something truly is popular? Sometimes there is a general consensus among fans but this isn't always the case. Also, sometimes it can take a while for fans to accept a change to a character. If there truly are issues beyond profit and popularity that should be considered when writing comic books, I tend to think that comic book creators need to find a way for changes made for reasons other than popularity to become popular.
When Superman, Batman, and the other members of the JLA were first created it would have been hard to imagine an ethnically diverse JLA. As a result readers who might accept and enjoy ethnic diversity in a different title, such as the X-Men, could find it difficult to accept if Superman were suddenly black or the Flash was suddenly an Asian American. However, the popularity of things such as Elseworlds stories or titles like Birds of Prey suggests to me that there are ways to make the mainstream DCU more diverse ethnically and in other ways as well.
The Fantastic Four, currently known as the Future Foundation, is somewhat uncommon in that they are a relatively stable family of superheroes. It seems to me that the Fantastic Four model could work for many of the existing superhero characters including Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and even Wolverine. When superheroes do have stable families it is typically in some sort of alternate reality. The purpose of this blog is to explore why superhero families aren’t more common and to suggest alternatives.
The Damsel in Distress
In my mind, the classic superhero love interest is Lois Lane. I wasn’t around when Superman and other superheroes first came on the scene but my impression is that the main function of the female love interest was to be someone that could always be counted on to need saving. When I think about romance in my own life I think about sharing what is important to me with someone who is my equal. If you are someone like Superman, it could be hard to find someone who is your equal. Lois Lane probably isn’t Superman’s equal but it might be hard for fans to accept Superman being with someone else or with a super powered Lois Lane.
The Sidekick Syndrome
Periodically, folks have wondered why Batman would adopt a kid like Robin as his partner in crime fighting. Without going too much into the subject, my assumption was always that Robin is best viewed as something like Batman’s son. Most of the time, this relationship is figurative but Robin gives children someone to identify with. Children can also imagine growing up to be Batman.
Comics are for Kids
For years, and to a certain extent today, it was assumed that comic books were primarily for kids. It seems to me that this assumption is largely why comic books have not historically depicted romantic/familial relationships in a realistic way. When I use the word realistic I am thinking of the whole process from initiating a romantic relationship, to having children, to seeing those children grow up, to those children repeating the process with their own romantic partners. Think about Reed Richards and Susan Storm having Franklin Richards who grew up to have a kid with Rachel Summers.
A while back there was a video discussion of whether or not Wolverine will ever be a father. Wolverine already has two children in Daken and X-23 but he has not been the most involved of fathers. Wolverine the father could be just as tough as Wolverine the loner. My advice for Wolverine would be to find someone who is just as tough as he is, or at least can give him a challenge, begin a romantic relationship with that person, have children, and raise those children. Given who Wolverine is, and given what we know about X-23 and Daken, I can’t imagine Wolverine’s kids being less tough than he is.
Start the Conversation
Below are my thoughts on what would happen if superheroes/villains were real:
I realize that it is unreasonable to expect comic books to completely reflect reality. Consider the thoughts below my attempt to see how close to reality they could conceivably get and keep in mind that this is just for fun.
Who, What, and How:
If people really were running around with superpowers I tend to think that governments would want to know who the people are. For example, even though we know Spider-Man is a good guy, there is no logical reason to expect that he would never become a threat to public safety. To me the Fantastic Four model works best in this regard. If they ever went rogue you pretty much know who they are and where to find them. The easiest way to keep track of people with superpowers would be through medical records. If you have superpowers then there is a reasonable chance that your powers affect what can be done to treat medical problems you may have. Thus, it would be nice if your doctor knew you had superpowers. The need for governments to protect people from superpowered threats need not conflict with the idea of doctor-patient confidentiality. In most cases what governments would need to know is the type of threat they might face. For example, do they need to guard against psychics, speedsters, or shapeshifters? Once the danngers are known steps can be taken to protect people. For example, if Kryptonians might be a threat then law enforcement/military officials would use kryptonite to deal with the threat.
Rules of Engagement:
In comic books many superheroes are essentially vigilantes. If superheroes were real then I don't think vigilantism would be tolerated. The model that makes the most sense to me is a hybrid of what SHIELD did with the 50 State Initiative and Heroes' Primatech Paper's policy of pairing powered and nonpowered operatives. Superteams would need to follow rules for when they can get involved on a case. Essentially, I think that Batman would need to get a warrant before he could search a building and heroes would need to focus more on saving lives/reducing property damage than on fighting villains. However, I do think you could have superpowered bounty hunters, private investigators, athletes, etc. so long as they follow rules designed to keep things fair.
Compensation: If people could really have powers then being a superhero would essentially be a job. Thus, I am in favor of superheroes getting paid. One could argue that paying superheroes makes them less heroic but paying police officers or firefighters doesn't make them less heroic.
Start the Conversation
Types of Villains: Part of how easy or difficult it is to defeat a villain depends on the goals of the villain. There are several types of villains with their own corresponding goals. First, some villains are simply out for money. One example of this type of villain would be Captain Cold. Such villains should be relatively easy to capture and imprison/rehabilitate. Second, some villains have personal motives. Mr. Freeze would fit into this category. Such villains should be relatively easy to capture and imprison. Third, some villains are serial killers. The Joker would be an example of this type of villain. Such villains should be moderately difficult to caqpture but once imprisoned should stay there until they die. Fourth, some villains are members of organized crime/terrorist organizations. Kingpin would be an example of this type of villain. These villains would most closely resemble the comic book supervillain. They should be very difficult to capture and the hero should rarely interact with them directly. Law enforcement should need to spend considerable time and resources building a case against villains involved in organized crime/terrorism. Once captured they should remain in jail until they die.
Villain Imprisonment: In real life law enforcement typically doesn't sit idly by and let criminals escape from prison whenever they like. I tend to think comic book law enforcement should work the same way. It has been mentioned that someone like Mirror Master would be difficult to keep locked up. There are certainly villains powerful or intelligent enough to find a way to escape from a traditional prison but their are also heroes smart enough to find ways to prevent their escape. I find it difficult to believe that if Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Bruce Banner, and Peter Parker worked together to create a metahuman prison, villains could just break out at will.
Mirror/Evil Universes: One common theme in comic books, particularly DC, is the notion of a universe where the counterparts to Superman etc. are evil. However, in my opinion there are a few problems with the way these universes are depicted. First, I often find myself liking the evil universe better than the regular one. I particularly feel this way about Star Trek's mirror universe because there are more aliens, the people are better dressed, and seem to be sexier. A reader or viewer shouldn't like the evil universe. Second, evil is somewhat hard to define. If Spider-Man is a brutal dictator, then that would lead to one type of universe. However, if Daredevil has conned the citizens of the United States, that would lead to a different type of universe. Third, reversing the roles of heroes and villains would not necessarily lead to a world in which villains always win. Imagine if Owlman had to overcome heroic versions of Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, and Bane. I tend to think he would have a rather difficult time overcoming all seven of them at once.
Iconic Characters, Legacies, and Modernization: I am a big Batman fan. Batman is one of DC's "Big Three". When just about everyone thinks of Batman they think of Bruce Wayne. Similarly, doing things like creating a lesbian Batwoman can feel gimicky because it departs from what has happened before with characters. However, there is nothing set in stone that says Bruce Wayne always needs to be Batman or that Batman always must be a vigilante loner. Bruce Wayne could have easily gotten married and/or had children. I'm not the first person to say this but allowing characters to age would allow for fresher stories. By my count we should be on our fourth or fifth Batman by now. Maybe the fifth Batman does things in a completely different way than Bruce did things. Maybe the police commissioner operating the Bat-Signal is someone like Roman Cavallo. Maybe Pyg could become just as big a threat as the Joker.
Death/Big Events: I just had this thought recently when I was reading a comparison of Blackest Night and Dark Reign. If characters aged, big events could serve as a means for establishing chronology/continuity. Obviously, a year's worth of comic book issues don't represent a year's worth of real time. If a different Big Event happens each year in the DCU then these events could serve as markers for change over time. One result of character aging would be death but death often happens during a big event of some sort. Supergirl's death during the Crisis on Infinite Earth's comes to mind. Big Events and any deaths, or injuries, that happen during those events could serve to create permanence in the DC Universe as characters age.
The Marvel Universe: Everything above can be applied to Marvel as well. Just imagine if Marvel were on its third Spider-Man and Professor David Xavier ran the Xavier Institute.