Thursday, October 9, 2008

Great Unused Characters Part 2

We looked at some of the great unused secondary characters a few weeks ago, but there were far too many to put on one list.

Marvel and DC have a tendency of taking their "power players" and flooding every single comic with them, while neglecting some great characters who deserve some attention. Next week, we'll talk about those characters who are around waaaaaaay too much, but for now here's a few more who should get some face time in comics:

Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu

While he appeared in Heroes for Hire and even made an "Ultimate" appearance in Ultimate Spider-Man a few years ago, we haven't really seen him get to cut loose in a long time. He's one of those characters who could really be a huge hit in the right hands.

Marvel has an abundance of "powerless" characters who are headlining books now (Black Panther immediately comes to mind), so why not bring Shang Chi in there? If nothing more, let him guest star in Iron Fist's title for a bit. Anything to see this top fighter back in action.


Boston Brand gets no love. With the exception of a recent guest shot in Brave & The Bold, he's been relegated to just floating around and talking to characters when they have some existential experience or another.

The guy can possess practically anyone. That means he could be any hero or villain he so chooses, which opens up endless possibilities. I know he can only be seen by certain individuals (or those having a near-death experience), so that makes his regular use in a team book impractical, he could still run his own title. Why not bring him into one of those twisted Final Crisis offshoots as a foil for Spectre's "You have been judged" tirades and let him be the human side of the team? He ran his own title for years more than once, so he's a proven commodity. Where's the risk in bringing him back?

The Black Knight

The Groovy Agent contributed this hero a few weeks ago during the original list run, but I agree. He's one of those characters who could be cool, and in this post-300 world we live in, guys with swords are considered pretty tough again. Sure he could be put down by a guy with a gun at 30 yards, but that's never stopped Batman, right?

And while I like the new look he's been given during the recent Captain Britain miniseries, there's just something about the armor and cape that rings true to character. Oh, and let's not forget the winged horse!


Since his creation, he's been seen mostly as Cyclops' little brother. The funny thing is that he's a lot more powerful that Cyclops, and honestly he's a much better team leader. While Cyclops has led the X-Men forever and a day, Havok has led X-Factor and is even now in space fighting the other Summers brother, Vulcan. Cyclops seems to be one of those "tough talk" leaders who gets very little done, while Havok seems to be a man of action. Let's get Havok (and team) back to Earth and put him in charge of something.

He's missed most of the major events too. He was gone during Civil War and World War Hulk, and he could have been a big asset during both. And let's be honest, if he'd been around during the Skrull invasion, I think it's safe to say he'd have gotten involved a lot sooner than Cyclops did. He's powerful, tough, and decisive. Let's get him back in action (and in the original suit).


He's pretty much disappeared since his run in Exiles a few years back (and I consider that time to be the best of the team incarnations), so why not bring him back? His time with the Exiles showed us just how powerful he could really be if someone used his character right. I mean, he took on Proteus and managed to get several good shots in despite the reality-bending mutant's powers! That's got to count for something, right?

I've never been a fan of the Mojoverse Marvel has always seemed to tuck him away in either. Bring him back to the real world (and not as a Skrull as in the recent X-Factor run we saw him in) and let him do his thing.

Spider-Man 2099

Ok, so let's just all admit it: the regular Spider-Man title is crap right now. Since "Brand New Day", the title's been trying too hard to prove it's cool again, so where are we to turn for a good Spidey fix? Why not bring back Miguel O'Hara? We saw him in the Exiles book at the same time Longshot was there, and he's got one of the coolest costumes ever. I know he's in some other dimension now with his own personal version Mary Jane, but let's get him back to the regular Marvel universe. He's got really cool variations of Spidey's existing powers, but he's original enough to be different.

The Phantom Stranger

This guy has a seriously shady origin (who really knows where he came from?), but he never seems to get much time in the comics by himself. Like Deadman, he's rarely seen unless there's some major cosmic problem about to occur. Unlike Deadman, he can be seen by anyone when he wants to be. This brings a whole new dynamic to any team or solo book.

With shows like X-Files, Supernatural, and others out there giving us a peek into the "weird and unknown" on a regular basis, why not give us a monthly title of the same? Bring Phantom Stranger in to have to "fix" some of the weird things happening in the DC world. But here's the key to making it work: no superhero guest stars! You could bring Deadman in every once in a while, but no Batman, Superman, or anyone else like them. Keep the series grounded in the supernatural and keep it moving. Don't put us in some constant 6-part storyarc. Give us simple one- or two-shot stories that stay fresh and never have time to drag. It could work.

1 comment:

Rick said...

I have to agree with you but there are two exceptions. I know you are a fan of Spider-Man 2099 but I have never been a fan of him. Deadman I am a fan of but once he caught his killer the first time that should have ended his run in a series. But I love him enough that I will still read any book in which he appears.

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