NEW 52: Whatever happened to…? (Part One)

There are a few big characters missing from the New 52, and while it’s only a matter of time before Bizarro shows up in a Superman title, Stephanie Brown is probably going to be hanging out with Merryman in comics limbo for a while, according to Batman series editor Mike Marts. There are a few characters who’ve yet to make an appearance that I’d be interested in seeing, not because they were handled especially well pre-Flashpoint, but because they could’ve been  awesome. Since the New 52 is an opportunity for DC to do whatever they want unbound by the restraints of continuity, this would be a perfect time to reintroduce a few second-tier characters in new and exciting ways. Among the candidates:

1. Geo-Force

With the exception of Brad Meltzer, few writers have ever shown Geo-Force much love. Sure, his name is kind of stupid (though nowhere near as ridiculous as, say, Mister Terrific), and his back story isn’t terribly inspiring (vain and pampered prince), but I always felt like Geo-Force had the potential to be one of the greats. Slade Wilson calls him a D-lister in DCU: Last Will & Testament, but I think he could be a solid B-lister if one of the more talented scribes at DC gave him a chance to shine.

As he tells Sandman and Starman in The Lightning Saga: “I’ve got both your powers combined.” He’s strong, he can fly, and he can manipulate the earth. He’s tied to one of the most enduring Teen Titans of the past 30 years: his sister Terra, who’s currently appearing in The Ravagers. And both his costumes have been pretty cool, though I prefer the green-and-gold version.

Meltzer did an amazing job of adding depth to Geo-Force by making him into a suicidal depressive out for revenge in DCU: Last Will and Testament. It seemed like Peter J. Tomasi would breathe new life into him into the 2009 relaunch of Batman and the Outsiders (didn’t really happen, though). So far, the Terra of the New 52 bears no resemblance to the psychotic traitor of The Judas Contract, so maybe this is a chance to give Geo-Force a makeover as well?

2. Match

My fondness for Match is a result of the way Geoff Johns introduced him post-Infinite Crisis. Instead of being a blonde clone of Superboy, he was now a junior Bizarro, with the same backwards caveman talk and the rotting white flesh. He’d made appearances before, in the Superboy title, and as a surprisingly emotional Joker-fied love-stuck teen in the “Joker’s Last Laugh” issue of Young Justice, but nothing substantial until the “Titans East” arc in Teen Titans.

“Titans East” took place about a year after Superboy’s death in Infinite Crisis, and it’s hinted-at in the text that Match might actually be an on-the-mend Conner Kent, similar to how Superman was slowly recovering from death in a Kryptonian healing matrix during the Reign of the Supermen! storyline (the Legion of Super-Heroes would eventually throw Conner into the same matrix during Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds). Match says things like, “Me AM Conner!” and both Tim and Cassie remark on how similar he sounds to the real Superboy. This theory proved false, however, similar to when Scar indicated to Lex Luthor that a Blackest Night zombie version of Superboy would be his salvation (didn’t happen).

Match would later be possessed by an out-of-control Jericho, and then kidnapped and killed by Superboy-Prime to make three additional Superboy clones. This development was courtesy of writer JT Krul, whose choices on Teen Titans were questionable, including the decision to have the Titans kill the three clones, despite the clones being the same genetic material as Conner (Wonder Girl justifies it by saying Conner’s different due to having friends and family, which I guess means orphans and loners should’ve been watching their backs around this girl).

Despite being kind of a waste pre-Flashpoint, a New 52 clone of Superboy could be a compelling idea, showing the Titans what might’ve happened had they failed to rescue Conner from the dark side.

3. Little Barda

In the lead-up to Final Crisis, writer Jim Starlin killed off all of Jack Kirby’s Fifth World characters in Death of the New Gods. He justified this by claiming that writers weren’t doing the characters justice and managed to say this with a straight face despite working for a company that thought hiring Felicia D. Henderson was a great idea.  Dan DiDio echoed Starlin’s sentiments by explaining that DC featured the New Gods in stories more out of obligation than a genuine interest in the characters. So a mysterious killer methodically wiped out Orion, Lightray, the Forever People, and all the rest, including popular Justice Leaguers Mister Miracle and his wife Big Barda.

During 52, a makeshift band of substitute Teen Titans debuted, among them a new character named Little Barda, who insisted that “Maybe one day I’ll be the Big.” Introduced alongside Little Barda was another escapee of Darkseid’s Apokalips: Power Boy. Power Boy was famous for being the abusive boyfriend of Kara Zor-El in Supergirl, so when he was brutally murdered via tree-impalement in Titans East Special #1, nobody was too upset.

What was notable about Power Boy’s death was the timing. It happened while Death of the New Gods was underway, and since DC was retiring its New Gods characters, it was easy to assume that Power Boy’s death was part of this effort. Little Barda survived the attack that killed Power Boy and ended up being one of the only New Gods to survive the company-wide culling and live through Final Crisis. Arguably, this is because Jim Starlin and Grant Morrison forgot she existed (if they were aware of her to begin with), but it would’ve been more interesting to see Little Barda pop up in the final battle against Darkseid than it was to see Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew materialize out of nowhere.

Darkseid and his omega beams have already popped up in Justice League. It’s not completely out of the question to have a teen hero from Apokalips could eventually join the Titans.

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4 Responses to NEW 52: Whatever happened to…? (Part One)

  1. Justthatkid says:

    I would like to see Geo-Force and I do prefer his orange/red suit and do like his name.

  2. Hanniel Idung says:

    If they excluded Batman the outsiders could be DC’s x-men.

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