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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

7 Super Heroes We Can Live Without

by Larson Hill

Before we roll out our list of super heroes we "can't" live without, there are a few out there in comic book/animated land that we'll never yearn to see, even if they do end up coming back in some form or another. For every badass super hero that's been created, even more forgettable heroes have been forced into existence as super-filler. Whether they're just downright lame or hokey, they're out there. Whether they're dead, gone, or cancelled, they might be back. Although we here at The Deadbolt love a wide range of leading heroes and supporting characters, the super hero universe is becoming even more crowded a mutant cesspool now that Hollywood has finally realized their potential as bonafide box-office protagonists.

Although we respect the creative brain power it takes to bring any character to life with a rich, rewarding, and complex back story, there are some we just haven't been able to buy into. Here's a look at 7 Super Heroes We Can Live Without:

#7 - Robin:

You can't have a "do without" list without mentioning Robin, Batman's longstanding and trusty sidekick. That's the problem - the word sidekick. To a large degree, sidekicks often make their stronger, more super counterparts weaker. How strong and super is Batman as a hero when he needs Robin to bail him out? Think about it. The coolest thing about the early Robin character was actor Burt Ward who played him in the classic 1966 TV series. But that was 42 years ago and the classic Robin character hasn't been cool (or relevant) since. Seriously, what purpose does Robin serve other than pointing the way to the Batcave? Sure, he's always been a second set of eyes to peripheral happenings and lends a hand in tough battles, but, like we said, many sidekicks often make their stronger, more super counterparts weaker. The coolest incarnation was the transformation of Robin into Nightwing, who at one time actually served as Batman when Bruce Wayne got sick. Now that's a super hero. When Dick Grayson decided to move on from the "Robin" moniker to find his own independence as Nightwing, it was the best move he ever made.

#6 - The Wonder Twins:

Two sibling super heroes who needed each other to activate their powers? For a villain, they're easy prey. Why not just pull an Indy Jones and shoot them both with a gun. Although the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, were revamped into deeper, edgier, less cartoony heroes with better back stories in the 1990s, it's hard to call them cool super heroes. We did like their Extreme Justice reincarnation, but they've always been lightweight characters. Would anyone really miss the Wonder Twins if they were gone forever? Originating from the Super Friends Universe, the first Zan could turn into anything water based - glacier, water, mist, etc - while Jayna could transform into a variety of animals, real or mythological. Taking the sidekick element one step further, the Twins also had their own trusty pal in a blue space monkey named Gleek, who could help them unite their powers if they weren't close to each other. We haven't seen Zan and Jayna in years, and we're not missing them either.

#5 - Dazzler:

Take any American Idol wannabe, any young and fit female auditioning for "So You Think You Can Dance?", any American Gladiator wannabe, or any young vixen in search of celebrity and you have Dazzler (aka Alison Blaire). The fact that Dazzler survived the Disco craze of the late '70s where she first tried to make her mark as a singer is truly amazing. That very well might be her crowning achievement as a super heroine. Although Dazzler is a knockout of a mutant who can convert sonic vibrations into white light and use it to defeat the forces of evil, she's never felt like a bonafide super hero. How can you take any super hero seriously when they're wearing roller skates? While we respect her legacy within the X-men universe, Dazzler just hasn't been able to "dazzle" us over the years. Trust us, the world doesn't need an American Idol super hero on rollerblades. And, despite efforts to make her more alternatively edgy with a punk revamp, she's still the same old Dazzler from her Disco days.

#4 - Matter Eater Lad:

Poor Matter Eater Lad, if only he had a cooler name and real super power. It's not the fact that Matter Eater Lad (aka Tenzil Kem) comes from a Legion of Super Heroes era that younger fans can't relate to that we have a problem with; it's the fact that he's got THE worst name in the history of the super hero universe. It's kind of along the same lines as if Batman was really named "Bat Inhabitor Man". It has similar phonetic awkwardness. The little known "matter" of fact about Tenzil Kem is that he's responsible for saving the world more than once, which does make him a legitimate hero. Although Matter Eater Lad can chomp his way out of almost anything, which does give him a few more super options than some higher profile badass heroes when caught in a jam, it's still hard to take him seriously. A guy that can eat through almost any substance seems more like sideshow act from the Jim Rose Circus than a super hero.

#3 - Hoppy the Marvel Bunny:

Yep, he's a pink rabbit in a Shazam suit. Hoppy was spun off into his own comic from the Shazam world way back in the 1940s and was part of the Funny Animals series of the day. It's clear Hoppy was nothing more than a fun character geared toward kids. But weren't kids the ones who were already reading comic books anyway? Obviously 2-year old comic book geeks of the ‘40s needed something colorful to look at while their older brothers read the real comics. Any sympathy we had for the character went out the window when we learned Hoppy the Marvel Bunny was renamed to "Happy the Magic Bunny". Sounds more like an imaginary character you'd see inside a Chill Tent at Lollapalooza. He's basically Shazam with big feet, buckteeth, and floppy ears. We know there's a Shazam movie in the works, but if it does get off the ground and Hoppy makes an appearance in the film to battle Carrot Top, that'll be our cue to flee the theater.

#2 - Squirrel Girl:

If you can believe it, the mutant Squirrel Girl and her rodent allies actually kicked Dr. Doom's butt, beat Deadpool, even Mandarin. She's also Iron Man's friend, too. But much like Happy the Magic Bunny and Shazam, if we see Squirrel Girl in Iron Man 2, we're outta there. Sure she can whip some evil ass, but she's a buck-toothed mutant squirrel for crying out loud. A squirrel! Tony Stark and Iron Man, now that's cool. Did we say she's a squirrel? Although we can buy into the concept that Squirrel Girl understands the language of squirrels, the notion that squirrels can understand her when she speaks English simply takes her to Snagglepuss, Hanna-Barbera territory. If that's not enough, Squirrel Girl also carries snacks/friendly rewards in "nut sacks" on her utility belt, which takes her into Ron Jeremy territory. Please!

#1 - Captain Planet and the Planeteers:

Despite the admirable environmentally friendly ideals that Captain Planet and the Planeteers stand for, they've done a god-awful job of protecting the planet. Although Captain Planet and his environmentally friendly compatriots were created in 1990 by Ted Turner to defend the Earth from destructive human activity and help in the aftermath of natural disaster, they've gotten their asses handed to them in recent years. Since humans have been hell bent on destroying their existence on Earth, producing more pollution by the year and raping the planet of just about everything living and organic, it's clear Turner underestimated the super power of the people. The funny thing is: since the Earth gave the Planeteers their powers, and Captain Planet consists of their collective forces, you could say the Earth has done a horrible job of protecting itself. Where were the Planeteers during Hurricane Katrina? We don't have a problem with the morality of Captain Planet and the Planteers and their environmentally friendly messages, but they're caught in the middle of a contradictory battle that they'll never win.

-- Larson Hill

Original here

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