The Replacement Heroes
The Falcon is Captain America. Commissioner Gordon is Batman. And Amadeus Cho will soon become the “Totally Awesome” Hulk.
Everything will probably snap back into the status quo sooner than later. But sometimes these replacements stick around and have a lasting impact. Here’s a look at 10 who have:
10. X-Factor – X-Factor started as the five original X-Men trying to help young mutants by posing as mutant hunters. But the best-known version came when Cyclops’ brother Havok led a government-sponsored squad consisting of Polaris, Quicksilver, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy and Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man. A number of these cast members joined Madrox’s detective venture, X-Factor Investigations.
9 and 8. Blue Beetle (Ted Kord, Jaime Reyes) – Since 1966, the Blue Beetle was Ted Kord, a genius inventor who later joined the Justice League and formed one of the greatest comedic duos in superhero comics with Booster Gold. He took over the role from his college professor, Dan Garrett. A few years ago, Ted was killed off and replaced by teen Jaime Reyes who, unlike Kord, had access to the scarab that gave Garrett powers. This armored version of the character has appeared in cartoons like “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” and “Young Justice.”
7. Iron Man (Rhodey) – When Tony Stark’s alcoholism forced him out of the Iron Man suit, his pilot and longtime friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes took over the mantle. When Stark returned, Rhodey donned the heavily armed War Machine armor and became his own superhero.
6. Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) – Johnny Blaze, the original motorcycle-riding, flaming-skulled Ghost Rider, had faded into obscurity by the early ’90s. That’s when Danny Ketch debuted, as a Rider more focused on avenging the innocent than Blaze’s Zarathos, a diabolical demon. Eventually Marvel made Blaze the Rider again but he was more heroic, a la the Ketch incarnation.
5. Guardians of the Galaxy – The original Guardians battled the evil Badoon in the 31stcentury. Only one of them, Yondu, made it into the 2013 movie, which was based on the updated version of the concept set in contemporary continuity. Star-Lord’s motley crew featured lesser-known characters like Mantis and the Bug rounding out the roster with Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora and Moondragon.
4. Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) – Kyle was chosen to carry on the legacy of the Green Lantern Corps after headliner GL Hal Jordan snapped and tried to wipe them out as the villainous Parallax. The fan backlash against Hal’s epic heel turn dragged on for years. When he returned to the side of the angels, Kyle hung around as a member of the Corps and recently mastered all the lights of the emotional spectrum, making him a White Lantern.
3. Robin (Tim Drake) – The first Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson, was adopted by Bruce Wayne after the murder of Grayson’s parents, while Jason Todd was taken under the Dark Knight’s wing in an effort to deter him from a life of crime. Tim Drake volunteered, deducing Batman’s identity as a child and convincing the hero to make him the new Robin after Todd’s death. While Grayson and Todd moved on to become Nightwing and Red Hood, respectively, Drake remained Robin for some time, making a name for himself on his own. He now goes by Red Robin.
2. The Flash (Wally West) – After Barry Allen sacrificed his life in the landmark 1985 series “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Wally West, formerly Kid Flash, inherited the costume and codename of the Flash. In a resurrection that made no sense, DC brought Allen back after a generation of fans had come to know Wally as the Flash.
1. All-New, All-Different X-Men – For decades, the X-Men were the biggest thing in comics. But before writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum remade the team in 1975, the book was on the brink of cancellation, just reprinting old stories. “Giant Size X-Men” #1 found original member Cyclops leading a new team including Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus and some guy named Wolverine. Chris Claremont took over the ongoing title, which he oversaw for nearly 200 issues, one of the most influential runs in comic history.
Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic Support Group, www.supportgroupcomic.com