Let’s face it. Things change. Especially in the comic book realm, most especially in the DC Universe, where the everything-altering Crises “events” abound. In the more intense cases, these comic cross-overs affect multiple universes, creating either a proliferating effect or destroying everything (because DC writers have severe OCD and want everything to be consistent).
You have your 1961’s “Flash of Two Words” (which brought about the Multiverse), 1985’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (eliminating said Multiverse), 1994’s “Zero Hero: Crisis in Time!” (which only created more inconsistencies, even with Hypertime), leading to 2005’s “Infinite Crisis” (bringing about many aspects back pre-Crisis), and 2008’s “Final Crisis.”
Then there are miscellaneous events like 2011’s “Flashpoint,” which led to the short-lived New 52 continuity that eventually collapsed into itself like a neutron star, creating the much-less-than-52-comic-line Rebirth. We’ve lost many heroes due to these events. Or sometimes characters just die. Crap happens. DC has been around for a while. Here’s a list of characters that have either been forgotten entirely and need to come back now or, if they do still exist, deserve more love.
15. Magno — Hero to Zero
It’s a shame Cosmic Boy gets all the glory and Magno (Dyrk Magz) doesn’t. But why even compare the two? They’re both in Legion (or were) and are (again … or were) magnetically gifted, similar to Magneto in X-Men, played by Sir Ian Murray McKellen in the films. But Magno is more cosmic than Cosmic Boy because Magno has lost his abilities.
That’s right. They’re gone. Kapoot. Nada. Blame Mordru.
Magno is now just your average Joe or, in his case, your average Dyrk. And that’s what makes him great. See, while many superheroes have lost their powers before (thrusting them into a pit of utter despair), 99.99999999999999% of the time, they get them back. Yes, Magno’s powers returned at one point, but only briefly, and they’ve been gone ever since. Interestingly, the story continued to follow Dyrk even after he was no longer a superhero … for quite some time, too. He volunteered to stay in Legion as part of the Outpost’s support staff and, when the Legion disbanded, joined the Science Police. That’s intense.
14. Polar Boy — Leader of A Group of Rejects
All Brek Bannin (Polar Boy) wanted was to join the Legion. But he was rejected because he couldn’t control his powers. So what did he do? He created his own little “club,” calling it the Legion of Substitute Heroes. They only had one prerequisite: you had to have been rejected by the Legion.
Who doesn’t like underdogs? Heck! Who doesn’t like the leader of a group of underdogs? That makes Polar Boy a beneathdog or something. Even though the Substitutes were later reduced to comic relief, the concept of his character (and his club) were capable of producing rich, complex themes of seclusion and maverick society.
As for Polar Boy, he’s like a DC X-Men, having gained his powers through evolution, or, more precisely, survival of the fittest: his family came from one of the hottest inhabited plants in the galaxy and lived in the hottest valley (of course), forcing them to develop snow and ice powers. Cool! A power-by-evolution story is always a welcome addition to any continuity. Always.
13. Princess Amethyst — Magic-Wielding Royal Chick
You can never have too many magical superheroes. You also can’t have too many magical superheroes who’re princesses—and actually useful. All hail Princess Amethyst!
A profoundly awesome character, Amethyst must never be confused with or compared to the many worthless princesses saturating fandom—like Princess Peach in Mario. Amethyst is actually badass, casting spells, manipulating energy as well as contorting matter. And, similarly to Goku’s Spirit Bomb (minus the bomb part … and with magic), Amethyst can draw from other energy sources to augment her powers. Heck, this princess has even stood up against the Spectre … and lived to tell the tale.
Like all great superheroes, Amethyst has a tragic past, too: she lost her parents at the hands of one of the many other characters named after stones: the evil Dark Opal.
It’s later revealed that Amethyst, like her father, is a member of the Lords of Order, which Amethyst has trouble dealing with. Why? Those in the Order are essentially clusters of mystical energy (the exception being Amethyst) that cannot enter the physical realm unless they possess the bodies of “servants.” This makes her dad nothing more than a ball of energy that lived in a human host. Twisted! While DC brought her back for The New 52 (after years of silence), she’s, once more, gone. That’s stone-cold, DC!
12. Technocrat — Another (Better) Iron Man?
Yes, you read the title correctly. Both Geoffrey Barron—later known as Technocrat—and Stark (Iron Man) created suits that later bring them glory, Barron’s being the Technocrat 2000.
Like in Jon Favreau’s movie adaptation of Iron Man, where Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is captured and forced to wear (after creating) his armor, so, too, did Barron. Except Barron was attacked by Prince Roderick and his vampire troops, yes, vampire troops. Plus, Barron didn’t originally make the suit for himself. He created it to sell.
While a relatively obscure character, Technocrat can be so much more than just “another” Iron Man. He has the potential of becoming stronger (and smarter) … if given the chance. For one thing, after defending the alien planet Nekrome from Eclipso, Technocrat’s armor is upgraded with alien technology. And that was a long time ago. Stark didn’t implement alien technology into his suits until 2014’s “Superior Iron Man #1” with Venom symbiote.
Barron is also a genius in trans-disciplinary fields, including cybernetics (which is like the study of everything), and he’s a gifted polymath. To give you an idea behind the sheer magnitude of what a polymath is capable of, Leonardo da Vinci was one. Meanwhile, Stark’s expertise is limited to mathematics, physics, chemistry and computer science and a few other things. Yah, Stark doesn’t hold a candle to what Barron is capable of. So where’s Technocrat at?
11. Immortal Man — The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Don’t let the word “immortal” in Immortal Man’s name confuse you. He doesn’t live forever because, well, he dies a lot. He should be called Reincarnation Man; every time Reincar…uh…Immortal Man dies, he comes back to life as someone else, sometimes as an adult and sometimes appearing right where he died.
While Immortal Man’s habit of perpetually dying minimizes the sheer shock (and effects) of death, it also makes the events in his story more believable (minus the reincarnation bit). Unlike every other comic out there, Immortal Man isn’t saved by random miracles again and again, nor does he always “find” a new power just in the nick of time … because he dies before anything can happen. This actually empowers the “powers that be” because “be” can actually “defeat” him.
10. Doctor Fate — Sorcerer Man
This isn’t just some lame doctor. Doctor Fate should be called something like Sorcerer Fate (but cool). That’s right. “Doctor Fate” is a designation bestowed upon lucky jerks who’re part of a succession of sorcerers. And sorcerers are awesome. As such, these “doctors” have various magical abilities that manifest in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs … an added bonus.
Out of the Doctors Fate, Hector Hall stands out as the most prolific … in regards to superhero identities, having adopted various “names” before becoming Fate. Hector began as the Silver Scarab, complete with a space-traveling, solar-powered-ray-projecting suit, and later, the Sandman, after he was ostensibly killed, instead cast into the Dreaming dimension. After returning to the realm of the dead, Hector was reborn, chosen to adopt the vestments of Fate. With so many identities, not allowing Doctor Fate to star in his own Rebirth comic is sacrilegious.
9. The Phantom Stranger — Cool Stories, Bro
Even though Phantom Stranger has been around for a long, long time, his history is still a complete mystery. There’s nothing more intriguing than a wholly ambiguous character.
Of course, this hasn’t prevented postulations from popping up, adding additional dynamics to this ever-elusive stranger. Heck, most of these stories involve some aspect of Heaven and Hell, take place Biblical times and, eventually, culminate to him being damned to walk the Earth. What’s not cool about that?
Of his many cursed-to-wander-the-land-of-the-living stories, one tells the tale of a man who’s condemned after committing suicide for questioning God’s actions. In another, his wife and son are killed during King Herod’s search for baby Jesus and, seeing as soon-to-be “phantom guy” blames Jesus for it all, bribes his way into flagellating Jesus before the crucifixion. Dang!
8. Kid Quantum — “House” Man … Huh?
It sucks when a series is rebooted, especially when a cool aspect of a character’s history is completely erased. Such is the case with the first Kid Quantum, James Cullen. Originally, it was believed that James was the first Legion of Super-Heroes member to have died. But it was later revealed that he didn’t die. He was in hiding … because he wasn’t a person … because he was some sort of moving “safe house.”
James was a constructed identity, created by a cluster of shape-shifting amoeboid “Proteans” trying to evade an imposing threat. Having “James” hide was just another way of the Proteans protecting themselves. Sadly, James’ character was completely retconned with the creation of the Zero Hour mini-series.
The only semblance between the new and old Kid was the name—they’re both named James Cullen—and their major accessory— each had a “stasis belt,” which could augment their ability to create stasis fields and freeze time within a limited area.
7. Lobo — “He Who Devours Your Entrails and Thoroughly Enjoys It”
First off, the title of this particular segment is actually what this character’s name, Lobo, roughly translates to. In other words, Lobo is an inveterate badass. And yet, when oscillating from The New 52 to Rebirth, Lobo lost his own book. Yah, he’s made appearances in Rebirth since then, but his story has been exponentially torn to shreds, making him nothing more than a random fill-in.
Heck, even Stan Lee (you know, Marvel Comics guy) has said that Lobo is his favorite DC character.
Plus, Lobo was originally created as a joke, the purpose being for him to be an intense caricature of certain blood-lusting characters. Keith Giffin, in a 2006 interview, admitted he never understood why Lobo took off, saying that Lobo was an “indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine hero prototype.” And yet, Lobo became one of DC’s most popular character in the 1990s. But rather than continue riding that wave, Lobo continues to fade into obscurity. For the love of Pete. Lobo thought it would be fun to unleash a plague of flying scorpions upon his home world! He’s now the sole survivor of his species.
6. The Omega Men — Cooler Guardians of the Galaxy
Again, this is yet another title we lost when Rebirth killed off The New 52. The Omega Men are … err, were … a group of alien creatures that were essentially the non-lame version of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, seeing as Omega is comprised of intense monster-like creatures, not a tree (Vin Diesel), raccoon (Bradley Cooper) or humanoids (yah, you, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista).
The Omega Men also have a more distinct purpose than the Guardians who just … guard: to fight against the Citadelians who have ruled tyrannically over their home, the Vega system (where 23 of the system’s 25 races were created from Okaaran DNA).
In The New 52 continuity, The Omegas Men, dubbed The Omegas, were given a newer (ha!) goal that not only drove the story line forward more effectively but added a compelling dynamic appeal: each of the Omegas’ parents were enslaved by Lobo … and sought revenge. But now it’s all gone.
5. Starman (Jack Knight) — The Superhero Who Didn’t Want To Be A Superhero
The DC Universe is inundated with Starmen—and one Stargirl—beginning with Ted Knight.
Out of the bunch, the best Starman was undoubtedly Ted’s son Jack Knight because of his rebellious nature that eventually evolved into an overall rejection of his father’s superhero way of life. And yet he had to become Starman—the very thing he resented— because his older brother David, who continued his father’s legacy as Starman, was killed. Hilariously, Jack went “halfway” in his “transformation” … refusing to don a costume. Yes. Jack just flew around in regular T-shirts and jeans. He did, however, make some major, major compromises later on: getting a small sheriff’s star and a leather coat … with a stylized star symbol on the back. Oh my stars!!
While Jack eventually passed Starman’s cosmic rod onto Courtney Whitmore (“Stargirl,”) Jack’s unique disposition made him utterly unique … in a good way. Heck, comic writer Geoff Johns wrote that Starman had become ‘the’ favorite hero, saying Jack was “just a regular guy flying around in his jacket and sneakers … but it worked. It totally worked.”
4. Kid Eternity — “Monkey’s Paw” Syndrome
By Kid Eternity, we’re not talking about his original rendition once DC acquired him from Quality Comics. This is the Kid introduced in the 1990s with the messed up past—featuring the beautifully rendered goth, grotesque art.
Here’s a major change from old to newer: a boat captain who Kid originally referred to lovingly as his grandfather becomes a sexual predator who preys on the Kid. Luckily, the Kid is later killed—yes, luckily—when, on a fishing trip, a U-boat just so happens to show up and blasts them to smithereens.
But his story didn’t end there … and Kid doesn’t go to heaven. But he doesn’t go to hell either. Kid is “intercepted” by the Lords of Chaos who bring him back to life so he can be their unwitting servant. Sucks. But at least he’s given a very unique power … and probably best one ever: he can summon anyone, like, anyone or anything, real or fictional, good or bad. And all he has to do is say “Eternity.” But seeing as he’s just a tool of Chaos, what he summons are actually demons in disguise. Eek!
3. Ragman — “Evil Soul”-Absorbing Man
It’s rare when a superhero’s story is cool in both pre- and post-Crises universes, but such is the case with Ragman (Rory Regan) because he’s intrinsically awesome. While the post-Crisis canon is undoubtedly better, the fact that Rory, in pre-Crisis, obtains his abilities from an electrical wire—the same wire men used to torture Rory’s father—is too awesome to ignore. However, the costume Ragman wore was just that … a rag costume. Lame.
Luckily, in post-Crisis’ reiteration, Ragman’s “costume” was supplemented with an otherworldly garment. Yah! The patches are now made from the souls of evildoers Ragman has both punished (they must be truly evil, though) and absorbed (the process of which gives him cramps and nausea). Whoa! Oh, and these patches aren’t just some fancy decorations. Ragman can utilize the patches’ powers (err, the souls’ powers) and can summon somewhere over one hundred souls at a time!
2. Sparta of Synriannaq — The Ultimate Fallen Hero
The profound irony of Sparta’s past is that she was originally reared to become one of the eventual saviors and successors of the Titans of Myth—called the Titan Seeds. And yet she essentially became the very antithesis of that.
Basically, Sparta goes insane, a madness that leads her to destroying the Seeds, stealing their powers in the process. In what only exemplifies the overall irony, Sparta was soon defeated by the very beings that she and her former “colleagues” were created to “champion,” the Titans of Myth. While Sparta was reduced to a mindless husk after her defeat, she returned in DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy, only to be killed off.
1. Breach — “My Superpower Is Suffering”
First of all, it’s Breach. Not Bleach. It stars Tim Zanetti. Not Ichigo Kurosaki. Ignoring the fact that Tim is the product of yet another experiment-gone-horribly-horribly-wrong cliché, his life is just, well, horrible.
Not only does the meta-human-ability-bestowing accident cause Zanetti to fall into a coma—one that lasts for 20 years—but his coma-induced state was exploited: he “became” a conductor for a deadly energy, where his body was dampened with a special containment suit. What!?
And Zanetti’s new powers are later used by his former colleague, Major Mac McClellan, to fight against the Rifters, a race of transdimensional creatures that inhabit and take over human bodies.
Oh, and these powers drive Breach to the brink of madness. The only way he’s able to maintain his sanity is by thinking about his family, which is sad because his family is now with McClellan.
Tim’s life sucks. Keep him alive so he can suffer more!
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