I'm wondering why we haven't heard more from these characters since either the New 52, or shortly after. I think there has to be more content out there for these characters...

Blue Beetle (come on, quit teasing...Ted Kord can be Blue Beetle too...)

Elongated Man and Sue Dibney

Fire (she's still out there, right?)

Ice (see Fire)

Peacemaker

Checkmate (characters are too cool not to use)

Rocket Reds (come on, with the current climate? It writes itself!)

Manhunter Mark Shaw

The New Guardians (I have never understood how these characters are in limbo...)

Captain Atom

Jade and Obsidian (okay...how about the JSA?)

Halo (new Outsiders series on the way...make sure she's a part)

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I'm not someone who insists "Dead Means Dead," and I certainly believe that any character who was killed off should be under consideration to appear again after a line-wide reboot.

So -- why haven't we seen these characters back? It's a new day, and any and all of them should be back in play!

Exactly.

Plus, wasn't Ralph at least a part of the Secret Six series, I believe, before Flashpoint?

Can we just have the LSH back?

Ralph was a member of the Post-Flashpoint version of the Secret Six.  In current continuity his powers are much closer to Plastic Man's, and he used his abilities to infiltrate the group posing as a super-villain called "Big Shot".  In the final issue of the series he was reunited with Sue (who's once again alive and well after the history rewrite) and set out to resume his super-heroing career as the Elongated Man.  Although as far as I can tell, neither he nor Sue have appeared since the book's cancellation.

Glad to hear that they brought Sue back along with Ralph.

If someone is familiar with both the Secret Six version and the version on TV's Flash series, are his powers presented the same? The Plastic Man portrayals I have seen had the character forming different shapes but still looking like the character and his costume. Ralph was portrayed on TV, eventually, as an out-and-out shape shifter able to convincingly impersonate other people.

I'd love that, too!

Richard Mantle said:

Can we just have the LSH back?

I haven't revisited those Secret Six issues since they were initially published 3-4 years ago, but from what I recall, Ralph's New 52 powers are essentially the same as his tv powers.  He can now shift his body into all kinds of different shapes, and can indeed impersonate other human beings.

By the way, since I forgot to mention it before, Ted Kord is once again alive as well.  He's currently serving as the mentor to Jaime Reyes.

I also recall that both Fire and Ice were members of the Post-Flashpoint incarnation of the Justice League International, but much like Ralph and Sue, I don't think either of them has been seen since that series ended.

Richard Willis said:

Glad to hear that they brought Sue back along with Ralph.

If someone is familiar with both the Secret Six version and the version on TV's Flash series, are his powers presented the same? The Plastic Man portrayals I have seen had the character forming different shapes but still looking like the character and his costume. Ralph was portrayed on TV, eventually, as an out-and-out shape shifter able to convincingly impersonate other people.

Yeah, I guess my point with these characters is why isn't DC making more of them? Let Ted Kord get in on the action (or let there be two Blue Beetles, better yet...), let Fire and Ice do a guest-spot in a Green Lantern Corps book (with Guy Gardner), or let Ralph and Sue be around in Detective Comics.

It's probably a generational thing -- well, it's almost certainly a generational thing -- but most of the characters listed in the original post don't interest me. At least not as they have been presented. At the risk of offending with my old-guy opinions, I'll explain:

 

BLUE BEETLE

I don't have any interest in Jaime Reyes, picked by an alien object of power to bear it, like Hal Jordan or Jane Foster. But not because he was fearless or adjudged worthy, but totally at random. Toss in yet another coming-of-age story without anything particular original in it, and this is just not for me.

And this might be heresy, but I've never been big on Ted Kord, either. I was there when Ditko launched the character and I thought, "Oh, Ditko still wants to draw Spider-Man, just not at Marvel." Because he drew the Beetle exactly as he drew Spider-Man, with Spider-Man-type poses and Spider-Man-type agility. Except that Kord didn't have spider-powers -- he was just a lab rat. But suddenly he's got Olympic-level everything? It just annoyed me.

So I had a grudge against Kord from the get-go. I will allow that I enjoyed the comedy stylings of Blue & Gold in Justice League, but I think that was a lightning-in-a-bottle event. The League and DC in general have moved beyond that era, and the lighthearted vibe that was the context for Blue & Gold is long gone. I don't think that schtick would fly again. So I just don't have any further interest in the character.

As others have said, though, he was doing something in the last Blue Beetle series. I only read a couple of issues -- duh, I had no interest -- so I can't advise further.

But you know what I would like? The original Blue Beetle! I'd love an omnibus that would gather all those stories from the Golden Age and Charlton's Silver Age (pre-Ditko) that starred Dan Garrett. And that's because I know so little about the character. I think he started out wearing a bullet-proof shirt, or maybe taking a super-vitamin. Or maybe both. See how little I know? When Charlton picked up the character (or perhaps before) Beetle had flight and super-strength, thanks to a magic Egyptian scarab. I'd like to read those stories, too, beyond those I have in my collection.

Recently the character appeared in, of all places, Bug: The Adventures of Forager #4. The Bug had gone back in time to World War II, and fell into an adventure with a bunch of "mystery men," one of which was Blue Beetle. To my knowledge, that's the first time that DC has acknowledged a Blue Beetle in World War II -- probably because he was being published by Fox or somebody at the time -- and I want to see more.

 

ELONGATED MAN AND SUE DIBNY

I actually do want to see more of these characters, but only if they're done right.

They really do make a great Nick and Nora Charles-type team, but only if the right writer gets them. I read every Silver Age story with them as a lad, and did not realize that their dialogue was supposed to be funny! In fact, I found their bickering -- which is what it sounded like to the Li'l Capn -- irritating and didn't care for their appearances.

So, by all means, use them as guest stars or supporting cast or whatever, but make sure you've got a writer who can pull it off!

FIRE & ICE

I've never been attracted to dumb and/or shallow characters, and Fire appears to be one of the latter. She had some sort of superficial background -- model? actress? -- and wasn't interesting. As a hero, she was a bargain-basement Human Torch.

As for Ice, I liked the first one, who had an interesting background in Norse mythology, at least tangentially. And she was shy, which was endearing. But she was replaced by a tough-gal lesbian, who is likely to be the one revived. We already have a tough-gal ice-maker in the League currently (Killer Frost), so she'd just be redundant.

CAPTAIN ATOM AND PEACEMAKER

I rather enjoyed the Charlton action heroes in the day. But they lost all their charm when they joined the DCU, where they were doubly and triply redundant. The publisher's solution to this was to make them terribnle characters.

Captain Atom was the most powerful superhero at Charlton, the apex superhero. But by the time DC bought him, they not only already had Superman, but all the apex superheroes from Fawcett, WildStorm, Quality and MLJ!

So what they did was play up Captain Atom's military connection. Which wasn't a bad idea. But evidently all the writers decided that being military meant being a thuggish martinet. "Mindless government gorilla" wasn't a very attractive look. Then they started throwing him around time and space to guarantee he'd never have a stable status quo or supporting cast, and here's a character guaranteed to fail.

Something similar happened with Peacemaker. The "brilliant international munitions-maker" niche was already taken a few times over, so they decided to make him -- a lunatic! DC's Peacemaker talked to, and argued with, the voices in his helmet. I'm sure eventually it would have been shown that the voices were real, but honestly, it was pretty off-putting from the get-go. Again, a series guaranteed to fail, because the character was so unlikeable.

I honestly believe that the solution to all these character redundancies is not to make them awful, but to send them back where they came from. Send the Quality characters back to Earth-X. Send the Charlton characters back to Earth-4. Send the Fawcett characters back to Earth-5. They will all flourish better if they don't have to compete with the Justice League.

 

CHECKMATE

I'm a bit burned out on amoral espionage agencies. In the DCU you have Spyral, the DEO, A.R.G.U.S. and probably a few more I haven't thought of yet. Give this group a rest until you have a good idea to marry up to those cool visuals.

ROCKET REDS

DC has a bunch of Russian superhero groups, including Red Trinity, Red Shadows, Soyuz and People's Heroes, so another would just be redundant. And DC already did a Chinese super-group in The New Super-Man, and despite being done really well, it didn't sell.

 

MANHUNTER

The definition of redundant in his last incarnations. I could maybe be interested if he didn't interact with superheroes at all, and was a crime noir detective character. But his superhero/villain turn was noxious.

 

THE NEW GUARDIANS

These characters are not only redundant -- the actual Guardians are back -- but they were some of the worst characters I have ever read. Extrano in particular was such an embarrassing stereotype that everyone involved should formally apologize. I can't reach back to some previous incarnation for a better version, either. This was a short-lived idea that was terrible, start to finish, and deserves oblivion.

 

JADE AND OBSIDIAN

I actually have a soft spot for Jade -- she was the first girl that made a GL uniform look sexy to me -- but she was fridged to motivate slacker Kyle Rayner -- again. Hey, fellas, next time kill Rayner to motivate a girl! But sure, if they could bring her back painlessly, and give her something genuine to do, I'd have no problem seeing her in a GL uniform again. (Or something similar.)

But Obsidian had powers that make no sense -- he inherited darkness from Green Lantern? -- but was absolutely the whiniest hero of his generation, and he was on a team with Hector Hall! I can go the rest of my life without seeing him again. But I bet I don't.

But again, if they do find a painless way to bring him back, what for? With no JSA, neither Jade nor Obsidian have any reason to exist. So, really, let's talk about that.

THE JSA

Attention, DC: Restore the JSA's World War II history in the DCU immediately! Thank you.

I'm kind of ambivalent about a new JSA -- the charm of the characters is those wonderful All-Star Comics. When Roy Thomas started adding everybody and their brother to the "All-Star Squadron," I started reading about a whole lot of characters I didn't really care about. I mean, any team that calls itself JSA better star Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman, or it's some other team. Then came the modern era, with Star-Spangled Kid and Brainwave Jr. and aye-yi-yi.

So yeah, I'd be a little worried about a new JSA. But for God's sake, at least let us keep the old one in DC's official history,.

HALO

Weirdly, when Halo debuted she resembled the girl I was dating at the time. Despite that, though, she was just too dumb/naive/shallow to interest me. She can stay in limbo forever as far as I'm concerned, unless they completely re-invent the character. In which case, why call her Halo? Leave her alone for those who liked her.

OK, those are my cranky old-man opinions. I know some of these characters are cherished parts of the childhoods of some Legionnaires, or are favorites for some other reason. I respect those opinions, and hope you don't get too upset at my own.

One of the things I always liked about Astro City is that some characters just evoke a certain era in the city's history. That's not something Busiek and Anderson spun out of whole cloth -- it's how superhero publishing works. Characters go in and out of fashion. Some come back (like Luke Cage, a character that screamed 70s until he was reintroduced in the 2000s). Others never come back or when they do, come back as a nostalgia act. 

Most of these characters, I'd be very happy to have just represent their era. I liked Fire and Ice fine, but I don't need more stories about them unless there's a very good one to tell. Checkmate is a spy organization that could be mothballed -- or show up as the antagonist in a Spyral or ARGUS based story. 

On the list, the only ones I miss more than little pangs of nostalgia for comics I read as a kid (hi, Halo!*) are the JSA (legitimately important to DC history), Ralph and Sue (perfect foils for lighthearted, romantic adventure-mysteries), and to a lesser extent, Ted Kord -- a good-natured striver of a superhero. I'd be happy to see most of the rest of them just for the jolt of nostalgia they bring. But I'm just as happy to see DC allocate its resources to creating new characters and situations. Maybe 20 years from now, The Silencer will be indicative of comics from the 2010s -- but that's fine with me.

*The best thing about Halo didn't have a lot to do with Halo herself. It was that she made Katana an infinitely more interesting character by putting her in a maternal position to this naif. That gave Katana something to do other than be tough, and it also served as a constant reminder of the husband and children she lost. 

In defense of Jaime Reyes, I agree that most of the comics he's starred in have been...forgettable. However, I will defend his first run as the Blue Beetle, as John Rogers and Rafael Albuquerque made Jaime into a well rounded character with one of the best supporting casts I've seen in comics. Jaime had a great family, great friends, a strong mentor in Peacemaker, and quality villains to fight. There are moments--especially in the latter half of the series--that can have one rolling on the floor laughing or bawling their eyes out. Unlike many other characters thrust into this situation, Jaime wants to make the best of his situation, and help as many people as possible.

I would rank Blue Beetle #1-24 up there with Amazing Spider-Man #1-33.

Captain Comics said:

BLUE BEETLE

I don't have any interest in Jaime Reyes, picked by an alien object of power to bear it, like Hal Jordan or Jane Foster. But not because he was fearless or adjudged worthy, but totally at random. Toss in yet another coming-of-age story without anything particular original in it, and this is just not for me.

And this might be heresy, but I've never been big on Ted Kord, either. I was there when Ditko launched the character and I thought, "Oh, Ditko still wants to draw Spider-Man, just not at Marvel." Because he drew the Beetle exactly as he drew Spider-Man, with Spider-Man-type poses and Spider-Man-type agility. Except that Kord didn't have spider-powers -- he was just a lab rat. But suddenly he's got Olympic-level everything? It just annoyed me.

So I had a grudge against Kord from the get-go. I will allow that I enjoyed the comedy stylings of Blue & Gold in Justice League, but I think that was a lightning-in-a-bottle event. The League and DC in general have moved beyond that era, and the lighthearted vibe that was the context for Blue & Gold is long gone. I don't think that schtick would fly again. So I just don't have any further interest in the character.

As others have said, though, he was doing something in the last Blue Beetle series. I only read a couple of issues -- duh, I had no interest -- so I can't advise further.

But you know what I would like? The original Blue Beetle! I'd love an omnibus that would gather all those stories from the Golden Age and Charlton's Silver Age (pre-Ditko) that starred Dan Garrett. And that's because I know so little about the character. I think he started out wearing a bullet-proof shirt, or maybe taking a super-vitamin. Or maybe both. See how little I know? When Charlton picked up the character (or perhaps before) Beetle had flight and super-strength, thanks to a magic Egyptian scarab. I'd like to read those stories, too, beyond those I have in my collection.

Recently the character appeared in, of all places, Bug: The Adventures of Forager #4. The Bug had gone back in time to World War II, and fell into an adventure with a bunch of "mystery men," one of which was Blue Beetle. To my knowledge, that's the first time that DC has acknowledged a Blue Beetle in World War II -- probably because he was being published by Fox or somebody at the time -- and I want to see more.

 

I never did understand why, when DC introduced the Charlton heroes to its lineup, it started with the Ted Kord Blue Beetle and told us Dan Garrett was his predecessor, instead of starting with Dan Garrett right off the bat. Not that I'd seen either character before they showed up in DC comics.

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