Mad Hatter: Let’s Go Crazy! Let’s Get Nuts!

Jul-03-08

Mad as a...uh...well, you know.

What is it with comic book writers inventing characters who can hypnotize people with their hats? Look, there is nothing inherently frightening or intimidating about a weird dude in a top hat. And yet, at the same time, there most definitely is something…off-putting about it.

Jervis Tetch is either a simple character to write that has just been over-thought, or he’s an impossibly complicated character to write that has never been handled correctly. When you’re that completely crazy, it’s really hard to make it believable (and unbelievable too). Here’s another villain whose background has been muddled over the years. At times he’s been obsessed with Lewis Carroll and reciting silly nonsense rhymes. At other times he’s shown as being unhealthily drawn to hats. He’s pulled simple crimes and ornate schemes. He’s used mostly mind control as his modus operandi, kidnapped little girls to sell as sex slaves, and even used his hats on himself to induce pleasure and lucidity. He’s one messed up little man.

On paper, he holds a lot of similarities to Scarecrow. The main difference is that while Scarecrow seems relatively sane while committing his crimes, Mad Hatter is quite the opposite. The little bugger is, to put it simply, mad. Cuckoo. Nutso. Off his rocker. Clinically wacko…from manic depressive, to obsessive-compulsive, delusional, schizophrenic and dangerously homicidal. However, where The Joker comes across as being a bit off and obsessed with taking down Batman, Tetch appears to just be totally chaotic. His schemes make no sense, they have very obtuse goals and roundabout processes. He babbles nonsense. He seems to be playing along only to turn and sink a knife into someone’s back. One moment he’s foaming at the mouth, the next he’s sipping a cup of tea and talking to stuffed animals.

Before we get into our regular back-and-forth session, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I think Gail Simone handled him beautifully in his recent Secret Six appearance. He was weird, creepy, helpful and one hundred percent dangerous all at the same time. She made you feel bad for him and then she made you feel bad for anyone who was around him. The little quirks, like only eating food with hats on it, really gave his character some much-welcomed dark humor.

So where do you start with a revamp ? What’s the big idea here? Who is Jervis Tetch and where does he fit in the DC Universe? Can the Mad Hatter be made into a big time villain?

Since you brought her up, can I just say that I think Gail Simone is one of the best writers in comics today, and doesn’t get nearly enough credit for being as good as she is? She’s excellent with character, but doesn’t neglect plot (so many writers seem to favor one element over the other), she doesn’t feel the need to eject years of continuity to tell her stories, and she does a very good job of balancing serious subjects, yet injecting a little bit of humor into a book as well. I am a huge fan of hers, and I have been ever since I first read her column “You’ll All Be Sorry”, which was consistently one of the funniest columns on the internet. I am always entertained by her work.

Of course, that first paragraph has nothing to do with the Mad Hatter, probably because I’m stalling for time and trying to fill up space. I’ve been contemplating Mr. Tetch since we first mentioned the Bat-Villains as our next group of characters we wanted to explore, and I’ve focused really hard on him this morning, since now he was on the blog, in black and white, with a nifty picture. It hasn’t helped. I’ve never really had a handle on this character, perhaps because nobody else has a handle on him either. We keep coming back to this fact with a lot of Batman’s villains, but you mention here again how the Mad Hatter has been depicted in a variety of ways over his career. I suppose, when characters have been around this long, that’s to be expected. Honestly, my most vivid (and fond) memory of the character is what was done to him in Batman: The Animated Series (another subject that keeps popping up for us) and even then the character didn’t interest me much; I just liked Roddy McDowell’s voice work.

So, what do we do with the Hatter? Um, I have no idea. Let him be a casualty the next time a character needs to be killed to prove a point? Team him up with the Ringmaster in an intercompany crossover? Perhaps Marvel and DC could trade some characters, the way pro-sports teams trade players? I’m stumped on this one….but I have no doubt you have a crafty plan up your sleeve. I’m anxious to hear it.

Nice cop out. Let me see if I can struggle out from under this sudden and unexpected “right back at ya!” weight. Jerk.

I have to admit that my thoughts were all over the place on this character as well. I always saw him as a bit of a goofy, themed villain in my earliest exposures to the Batman world. Then, when I dove into the Loeb/Sale stories, I started to see him in a different light. Now, he’s actually one of my favorite Bat-foes. And after reading your befuddled response, I have reached an epiphany about Mr. Jervis Tetch. His origin and previous appearances are not at odds with his current incarnation. In fact, there is nothing overtly conflicting about his character at all. He is just totally and one hundred percent crazy.

How liberating it must be, as a professional comics writer, to be able to pluck an established character out of the ether and use him as you see fit without any reverence to his previous appearances, knowing that you always have the ultimate editorial excuse in your back pocket: he did it because he’s crazy. Why has he stopped reciting nursery rhymes and is now fixated on hats? Because he’s nuts. Why is he obsessed with little girls yet manages to create advanced technological gadgets? Because he’s an ACME Brand loony-tune! Why was he a brunette, then a blond (with a pet monkey), then a gray-haired older man with a penchant for stabbing strangers? Because reality has no use in his mind!

Batman would be spending as much time assuring that Tetch was not a threat to himself as he would be keeping Hatter from causing trouble for others. And the unpredictability would be truly enlightening. He could crack in mid-sentence and go on a killing spree that only ended when he finally got his hands on a bowl full of green gummi bears. He could cook up a scheme to steal all the pants in Gotham City as an offering to the aliens that contacted him in his sleep last week. He could start blowing up post offices after he believes that the President is ignoring his subliminal messages involving a National Custard Pie Day. Jervis Tetch can do ANYTHING.

It would be liberating to write dialogue for a madman and you could really push your creative limits when coming up with plotlines and reactions. Imagine Batman sitting at the Bat-computer as it spits out theory after twisted theory on what Hatter was going to do next, what hidden meanings may or may not be present in his motives and how he could be stopped or at least derailed (if that’s even possible with a schizophrenic showman).

I’m not sure this is a big idea as much as it is a revelation into the truth of the character. I still haven’t really answered any of the questions I posed at the end of my initial post. So how does it all fit together?

You’ve discovered my super-hero identity….Cop-Out King. I’ll sit around the Watchtower, sipping mai-tais and eating Cheetos, and when the rest of the Justice League comes back from smacking down Amazo, I’ll tell them that I was going to help, but I had to take my Kingmobile in for service at Jiffy Lube. Or I was going to help them decipher the newest super-riddle from the Riddler, but I was really busy talking to the Police Commissioner about a possible charity gig for us. Gee, and I would have enjoyed being part of the team that busted Darkseid, but I was trying to finish the latest Neil Gaiman novel. I expect Cop-Out King to take the comics world by storm.

Anyway, I do like what you’re suggesting with the Hatter. We’ve basically been spending most of our time in these Bat-Villain entries explaining that, yeah, this villain may be a little crazy, but it’s a very functional crazy. I like the idea that Hatter is simply bat-guano insane (are we a PG blog?; I didn’t want to be slapped with a mature readers label, so I’m keeping it sanitized). As you say, it actually gives the writers a lot of room to work with him. It could be considered a cop-out in its own right, if we were using it to label every villain. However, for this one villain, I think it works well. Hatter is actually crazier than the Joker, and I like that.

As for those questions you ask, as to how he fits into the DCU and if he could be a big time villain, I’d have to give the latter question a big fat, “NO!!!” While I like the idea of Tetch as you describe him, I think his insanity would prevent him from ever being truly effective. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure Tetch does very well with his own schemes, and he might even plan big, but I wonder if someone with his level of insanity would ever be able to bring a detailed plan to fruition. I don’t think so. Of course, as I say that, I think of the things he’s been able to accomplish and some of those plans were incredibly detailed, but they never had a huge scope. I think, to be a really big time villain, you have to be able to perfect and execute not just one plan, but a whole series of them, leading to something really big, and I’m not sure that Tetch could do that.

I see the Hatter being very effective, however, on whatever scheme he’s currently working. After all, because the man is completely loony, it makes it that much harder for Batman to get inside Tetch’s mind and predict his next move. In many ways, Hatter’s very insanity is the best defense he has against Batman’s analytical mind. Hatter may not always take the next logical step, even if the next logical step is also the best step to accomplish the Hatter’s goals, and while that would normally be a weakness, it would be a strength if it allowed the Hatter to confound the Dark Knight. I like the edge that would give the Hatter, and think it could make him a very interesting foe.

This is why I see him as perhaps not a major villain in terms of world domination, but a major villain in terms of nuisance and effectiveness. As long as he can avoid being captured, the Mad Hatter can wreak havoc throughout the DC Universe. No one knows where he’ll strike next or what he’ll do or what the consequences will be. And he shouldn’t be chained to Gotham City either. I see nothing in his origin or operation that is Gotham-related specifically. He could be used effectively in just about any title that DC prints right now. Of course, that doesn’t really help us redefine him as a Bat-villain either.

But I think the biggest thing you’ve pointed out is the fact that Jervis Tetch is much more insane than the Joker. Hatter is so crazy he’s barely within the scope of reality. Joker is just unpredictable. Hatter sometimes switches up the way he handles situations, preferring to play along sometimes if it helps him attain his goals more efficiently. Joker is just an evil jerk. If Batman has to stare down the face of madness in order to counteract any personal demons he may be struggling with, I think it’s far more productive to have him battle the diminutive Tetch than it is to have him go toe-to-toe once again with the overused Joker whose only goal is to eliminate Batman, and not to simply cause chaos in spite of him.

And, with that proclamation, I assume we should move the discussion on to The Joker himself…

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Young Justice: Where has all the justice gone?

Apr-22-08

In the long and storied history of the “Meanwhile….Comics!” blog, we have only really dealt with Marvel matters. This is not because we are not fans of DC, or of other comics companies. Partly it’s been because Jason and I are much more conversant in Marvel history than we are in DC history. Partly it’s been because Marvel seems to have issues which we had more of a passion to discuss than anything in DC. And, at least for me, partly it was because DC comics has, in my eyes, become a violent, unhappy, soulless entity over the past few years, and trying to discuss any character they currently publish is likely to be painful. While I’m not particularly stoked about the direction of the Marvel Comics line, it has me doing cartwheels compared to the direction of DC Comics, which has me often feeling somewhat nauseous.

Many people would point to Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis as the tipping point where DC Comics began to move away from telling stories about spandex clad do-gooders, and began telling stories about psychologically scarred arrested adolescents living out some sort of power fantasies by beating the living snot out of each other. And rape. That became an important part of many of these stories. Those people who look to Identity Crisis as the starting point of the degradation of these great heroes are not entirely wrong, but there is an event for me that predates this 2004 miniseries by some time….the cancellation of Young Justice in 2003. That was the beginning of the end for my close relationship with DC Comics.

Young Justice began life in 1998, during one of DC’s Fifth Week Events called “Girlfrenzy”, in a one shot written by Todd DeZago entitled Young Justice: The Secret. The team at that time consisted of three of DC’s hottest young heroes, all proteges of an established DC A List character: Robin, partner of Batman; Superboy, inspired by Superman; and Impulse, nephew of The Flash. The three of them joined forces again in a two issue prestige format miniseries called Justice League: World without Grown-Ups, again written by Todd DeZago. Apparently these issues were successful enough to merit a series of their own, and very soon, Young Justice #1 debuted in September of 1998.

The creative team for the first issue, and almost every single issue thereafter, was writer Peter David and artist Todd Nauck. The three young heroes spent the first few issues as the only members of the team, save for a recently resurrected Red Tornado, who served as their “adult” supervisor. However, David quickly expanded the group by introducing some female members; the Secret, who had appeared in their first adventure; Wonder Girl, who had worked with Wonder Woman; and Arrowette, who had appeared earlier in the comic Impulse and acted as a female Green Arrow-type.

Many people attempt to pigeonhole Peter David as a comedy writer, and coupled with Todd Nauck’s artwork, which had a lighter, more cartoony feel, these people may have written Young Justiceoff as a silly book for kids. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Yes, Peter David can be quite amusing, but his humor is always in service to the story, and he can handle serious storylines with the best of writers. Alternating between lighter issues with those that handled very serious subject matter, David kept the series always enjoyable (and proved that adult topics could be handled with indulging in the sort of hysterical melodrama and violent power fantasies that now seem to characterize so much of DC Comics’ output). Todd Nauck’s artwork was likewise a joy, and while it may have seemed cartoony to some, he was able to handle drama and tension very well.

I could go on raving about the series, and may in follow up posts, but for now let’s move on to it’s tragic resolution. In 2003, Warner Brothers debuted a new cartoon series called Teen Titans, which was going to star the characters from DC’s long running comic series of the same name. Unfortunately, DC didn’t currently have a Teen Titans series, as most of those characters (and the niche that series filled in the DC Universe) was being filled by Young Justice. DC became convinced that they needed a Teen Titans comics series to match the new cartoon, so they cancelled Young Justice (whose sales did not warrant such a cancellation). They then published the execrable Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day miniseries, which served as the launching point for the new Teen Titans and Outsiders series.

Unfortunately, rather than bringing Peter David and Todd Nauck over to the new Teen Titans series to continue their stellar work, DC decided to bring in Geoff Johns and Mike McKone. Now, I’m personally quite a big fan of both Johns and McKone, and gave the new series a try. Unfortunately, within a few issues they had already begun the task of dismantling the character development and relationships which had been cultivated in Young Justice, and by the third issue they had changed Impulse into Kid Flash, showing a complete misunderstanding of who Bart Allen really was. I left the series as a reader in disgust.

The purpose of our blog is not just to point our problems in continuity or in publishing, but to try and fix them. Sadly, I’m not sure if this is fixable. Besides trying to reunite David and Nauck on a book, the characters that were once a part of Young Justicehave been scattered since the end of the series. Both Superboy and Impulse are now dead and Secret has been depowered. Of course, this would all be a moot point anyway, as it does not seem that DC’s editorial policy would allow a series with the sort of sensibility that Young Justice possessed to be be published. I’d like to come up with something and I’m open to suggestions.

First of all, I agree that we need to dip into the DC end of the pool every now and then just to be fair. Unfortunately, just like you (and even though I owned a comic book store for a while) I don’t have the same deep knowledge of DC’s history. I can cover the Justice League, Flash and Green Arrow pretty well, but other than that I only know the names of characters and not much else.

That said, let me start my response to your post with the information I gleaned from last week’s New York Comic Con. During one of DC’s many panels, the question of collecting Young Justice into trades came up and was pretty quickly brushed aside by the higher-ups at DC Comics. So, I think that raises some questions that our website was designed to tackle. This might not be along the lines of “how can we fix it?”, but it does cover the ground of “what went wrong?”

You were obviously a dedicated reader of the title and my experience with it consists of seeing a few covers here and there. Therefore, I defer to you to explain the appeal to me a little more in depth. For instance, what were the circumstances that brought the group together? What villains did they face during the title’s run? What were the relationships that were built? How was the strength of the supporting cast?

I think by studying some of these points, we may be able to do a re-pitch of the series (or at least convince the editors that releasing the trades would be beneficial). I’m encouraged by the fact that the main series kept a consistent creative team, that usually helps with a book’s quality and direction. So let’s start there and see what builds.

What went wrong? With the title itself, I’d say precious little. Let’s start at the beginning. The original three members of Young Justice were Robin, Superboy and Impulse. Each of them had worked with the others once or twice, but the trio first worked as team to save a young girl called Secret from the D.E.O., who were keeping her under lock and key and trying to determine the extent of her powers. The boys managed to free her and found they worked well together. They next met when an ancient Atlantean force called Bedlam transported all the adults of the DC Universe to a parallel world. With only children and teens left, the three young men found themselves elevated to the status of senior heroes, and teamed to defeat Bedlam.

After this adventure, the three of them decided to stay together as a team. Why? Mostly because they simply needed the friendship and comraderie of being with other people their own age, who understood the pressures of being the next generation of a superhero legacy. Although they were a super-team, they were also friends; it was almost more of a club in those early days. Soon, Red Tornado, who had lain inactive in the old JLA Secret Sanctuary, awoke from his stasis, and he became the mentor for the group. It was inevitable that the group would not remain a “boys club” and sure enough, shortly after they formed their group, they became embroiled again with The Secret, as well as Wonder Girl and Arrowette. The girls joined the team, and the full roster of Young Justice was formed.

Again, the series was somewhat lighthearted, but there were also some very serious stories. One of their early villains was named Harm, a young man who seemed completely evil. His parents knew their son was a monster, but were afraid of him. While Young Justice battled Harm, the true meat of the story was the psychological battle within the mind of Harm’s father, who wrestled with the question of whether, if you knew your son was an evil person, totally devoid of merit, could you take the necessary steps to stop him?

Arrowette also had a fasincating story arc. Relatively early in the series’ run, one of her favorite teachers at school was killed by a jealous ex-boyfriend. Arrowette was enraged, and hunted down the killer. She soon had him at her mercy, and would have killed him if not for the intervention of Superboy. Later, after her emotions were calmer, Arrowette realized what she had done, and was scared to learn she was capable of murder. She vowed to give up being Arrowette, which she did. One would have thought that she would have either disappeared from the comic, or she would have eventually reclaimed her mantle. She did neither. She remained true to her vow, never donning the costume again, but still staying an important character in the further adventures of Young Justice.

Red Tornado, as the group’s mentor, could have been ignored. However, he was given some strong plots, as he tried to reclaim his humanity and make a life for himself with his estranged family. Eventually, he realized that his family needed him, and was more important to him than the team, so he resigned as their mentor. In his place, the group found a new mentor in Snapper Carr. Of course, Snapper has been knocking around the DC Universe for over four decades, but he often doesn’t seem to fit. Putting him in an adult role, mentoring kids who were experiencing some of the same things that he had experienced as a teenager, gave Peter David the chance to explore Snapper Carr’s personality in ways that it had not really been explored.

The interactions between the six main members of the team were also interesting. Robin acted as the leader, but was often challenged by Superboy and the developing relationship between the two of them, as Superboy came to respect Robin, despite Robin’s lack of powers, kept the team dynamics fresh. Wonder Girl began the series as an inexperienced and unsure heroine, but matured throughout the series’ run, eventually winning election as the new leader toward the end of the series. The mysteries surrounding Secret continued to be explored. Members became romantically involved (as teenagers do) and some new members joined the team, including the Ray, who finally found a place on a team with members closer to his own age.

In essence, it was a dynamic series, not taking itself too seriously, but willing to tackle adult subject matter when it was a natural outgrowth of the story being told. It never went for sensationalism, but instead contented itself to tell strong, solid stories that you could enjoy reading.

Okay, so from what I understand – and from a quick blast of Wikipedia knowledge – two of the team members are dead (Superboy, Impulse), one has decided not to be a hero anymore (Arrowette) and another is depowered (Secret). Not only that, but their initial mentor (Red Tornado) is possessed by Amazo while their later mentor Snapper Carr is working as some sort of spy for Checkmate. I have no idea how you could put this all back together again. And would it be worthwhile anyway? After all that these characters have been through, the innocence and youth is gone from them (as it is from 98% of the DC Universe).

From your description and from what I’ve been able to deduce online, the series sounded like an unofficial version of the original Teen Titans…formed out of a kinship based on being “sidekicks” or younger versions of their inspirations. Add in the world-weary mentor role and you could almost say it was a Fagin and the orphans scenario played out in comic style (without all the stealing and such).

There’s three trains of thought that I can come up with on this one. The first one is the most realistic: DC puts out collections of the 55 issues plus all the one-shots and miniseries, somewhere between 6-8 trades and it’s done. The second path is kind of a cop-out but ultimately makes sense with what’s going on in the DC Universe right now: make one of the 52 Earths a “World Without Grown-Ups” planet. This would give the team a chance to play out their adventures in a unique setting. They’d be THE heroes of the world yet would still embody all the insecurities and angst of their age and maturity level. Could be a fun way to play with all the toys in the sandbox. The third way is probably the most difficult: find new youthful characters in the DC-verse and bring them together logically to form a new Young Justice team. I don’t know which young heroes remain unblemished by the current goings-on at DC nor do I understand how they could be coaxed into befriending each other anymore, but that is one way to make the magic happen again.

There’s also the problem of who would handle the title? Peter David is exclusive to Marvel, as of February 2006. And the last I knew, Todd Nauck was at Marvel too, drawing Spider-Man. You and I both approve of the writing of Geoff Johns and his handling of superhero types, but I wonder if he’s too steeped in the current DC malaise to properly infuse this proposed title with the jolt of youth it needs.

While I may not have an immediate solution to the writing, I think Karl Kerschl would be an excellent choice for the art. His Teen Titans: Year One and All-Flash #1 work is both quirky and beautiful at the same time.

Writers and artists aside (though I think it’s interesting to discuss), which of the three solutions I offered do you think is best for Young Justice?

At this time, I’d just like to see them acknowledge that the team existed, and issue trades containing the entire series. I think it deserves that much. Let those of us who were fans of the series have the opportunity to enjoy it again, and perhaps they can draw in some new readers at the same time. I don’t see any point in trying to recapture the series with the same characters, as that would require so much continuity twisting that my head hurts just thinking about it. I also don’t see a point in putting them in another world in the multiverse. I’m not usually a fan of that sort of thing, since it never seems like the stories matter much when it’s not the mainstream universe that the rest of the comics line is based in. That being said, I’d like to choose both your first and third options. Let’s see them replace this group with something akin to Young Justice in tone. DC needs a book like that.

I realize that this post probably makes it seem like I am rabidly anti-DC and that’s honestly not true. While I admit that my early comic experiences were overwhelmingly of the Marvel variety (I found most of DC’s output in the early 80s to be rather dull and stodgy, while Marvel seemed cool and hip), I did soon begin to branch out to many other companies, DC among them. During the late 80s I came to like a lot of DC comics, and for some years during the 90s, I was reading more DC than I was Marvel, thanks to both a plethora of strong DC series, and Marvel taking a huge downswing in quality (teenage Tony Stark? Was that really necessary? A clone saga in Spider-Man that lasted for years? The Invisible Woman wearing a bikini top on her Fantastic Four outfit?). I have always loved the Justice League (thanks probably to the Superfriends cartoons of my childhood) and I think DC has some great characters and books. They also, as a company, understand the concept of a legacy much better than Marvel, and I love the way some identities (Flash, Green Lantern, Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite and others) have been handed down from hero to hero.

That being said, I’ve become quite disillusioned with DC over the past few years, and it’s not just because I’m not a huge fan of this dark turn they’ve taken. It should not come as news to anyone who follows comics that it isn’t the strongest business in the world. Many articles have been written on how one brings new readers into the fold. I don’t believe that most of DC’s current output, mired in continuity and dripping in death, dismemberment and rape, really reach out to a new audience. I think it plays to the same aging audience that has been reading the book for years, and it sure as hell isn’t going to draw in any children. Young Justice had the potential to appeal to a younger audience. Please note that it wasn’t written for a younger audience; Peter David wrote mature stories. However, his stories were accessible to people of any age, and I would argue they were appropriate for readers of all but the youngest ages (and truly, some of the sexual innuendo would have passed right over the heads of the really young anyway). Moreover, Nauck’s artwork was the sort of pleasant, happy artwork that would catch the eye of a younger reader, and he was such a strong storyteller, that no one would have trouble following the story. While we may not be able to use David and Nauck, surely we could find some creators who could do the job, and perhaps provide a safe haven for some younger readers (and older readers who don’t want to read about rape, death and decapitation on a monthly basis) in the DC Universe.

You mention Geoff Johns, and while I was very disappointed by his Teen Titans series, I do think he’s a very good writer. Moreover, he did a book with a similar theme in his very entertaining Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. series, so I think he could handle it. Another writer who does a lot of work for DC and can handle anything she’s given is Gail Simone. She certainly has a lighter side, and her books always rise above the norm. A writer who I haven’t seen anything from for awhile, but who has an excellent eye for character is Devin Grayson. She worked on a previous Titans series and really did a nice job bringing the characters together and bouncing them off each other. As for artists, I’m somewhat familiar with Karl Kerschl’s stylized art, and while it’s taken me some time to adjust to it (you could take an eye out with his pointy knees and elbows), I think he would fit the style. I know he’s working for Marvel (and I’ve heard rumors he’s retiring), but I’d also recommend Mark Bagley, one of the strongest, most reliable, and perhaps most underrated pencillers around, who’s proved he’s good with teenagers in Ultimate Spider-Man. Sadly, Mike Weiringo would have been perfect; his death was such a loss to the comics community.

As for characters, I’m afraid I may not be as familiar with who would work as I once was either, and I’m also not sure who’s been spoken for other places. I think you could use Robin and Wonder Girl, and the Ray joined in later issues, and I believe he’s available. I also believe Empress, who joined in later issues is available, and perhaps they could use Supergirl. I also think it would be cool if they used Mia Deardon, the current Speedy. There’s six characters, and all of them except Empress have a heroic legacy to live up to. We’d just need a new mentor. Hmmmm…someone who hasn’t been used in awhile. How about Major Disaster? He’s tried to be a hero many times…when last seen he was an alcoholic, but if he got over that and acted more like he did as a leader of Justice League Antartica, he might fit in. There was also a group called Old Justice in the original series, comprised of sidekicks from previous decades, and included Doiby Dickles. He’d be perfect! He’d be more like a grandfather, but it could be an interesting direction; he’s certainly seen his fair share of odd stuff, and doesn’t seem fazed by anything. Do you have other suggestions?

The first character that came to mind for me was the new Blue Beetle, but I believe he’s tied up in the new Titans series somehow (again my lack of current DC lore comes to light). There’s also the newly rediscovered Traci Thirteen who’s started a relationship with Jaime Reyes (Blue Beetle)…her father could be a pretty wacky mentor too. Maybe Klarion the Witch Boy…wasn’t he briefly in Young Justice?

Regardless of membership, I’m still not convinced that a lighthearted, youthful team like this has a place in the current DC Universe. Perhaps it is best to just release some trades and let this one shuffle off the mortal comics coil.