Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Digging Up Lost Characters with the Energy Analyzer

The Prowler appearing in Amazing Spider-Man!

Sometimes, Energy Analyzers rediscover lost treasure.

We are in a golden age for lower tier characters from Marvel and DC comics. When I was a kid, one of my favorite things about the greater comic universe was the endless depth chart when it came to guest stars and villains.

These days we have D-Man appearing in Captain America: Sam Wilson. We have Cassie Lang taking on the name of Stinger in Ant-Man (along with Grizzly and Machinesmith!). We have Gilgamesh appearing in Hercules. Doctor Druid, Modred the Mystic, and Thundra are getting quality airtime in Squadron Supreme. Heck, James Robinson even used Sleepwalker in his recent Fantastic Four run! I’m sad to announce that my fave Black Knight’s book was recently cancelled, but at least he headlined for a few months.

(I will say that while I enjoy seeing Gilgamesh appearing in Hercules’ current book, I really miss the fantastic redesign that Daniel Acuna used in the most recent Eternals series.)

Look at Deadpool’s Mercs for Money; it has Stingray, Terror, Foolkiller and more. And Nightwatch was a big part of the recent She-Hulk series. Talk about obscure…

Since every character is just a spit-and-polish away from being an interesting supporting character or possible lead, I’m going to point out some characters that haven’t been used for years and years. I’m going to try to avoid folks who appeared in recent storylines, even if I miss them greatly. Folks like Richard Rider/Nova and Darkhawk fall into this category.

Gilgamesh's short-lived costume.
I’ll lead off my character profiles by making some observations about the characters Costume and Power Set. Unique costumes and great powers will earn more points than generic abilities and boring looks. Characters like D-Man and Amazing Spider-Man’s Prowler prove how easy it is to revamp a character’s look for modern sensibilities. I LOVE that Prowler redesign!

Take note, I will also not let myself be dissuaded by little problems like the character being dead. Comic companies forget who is alive or dead on a constant basis. And if the character was killed off in a little-read book or so quietly that a big nerd like me missed it? Well then that character should pretty much be alive anyway, right? If the character is currently dead, I will decide on the Importance of Death. If no one read it, why should it “stick?” How many times has Grim Reaper been killed off only to show up with no comment? Take note, this will hurt dead characters like Nomad or Black Goliath, who died during widely read runs or crossovers.

D-Man triumphant!

For Marvel characters, I’ll also make a judgment on how easily the characters’ origin could be rewritten to find out if he or she is Really an Inhuman. With inhumans overtaking mutants as the focus of the line, the difference between languishing in obscurity and a triumphant return might come down to whether or not Marvel can retcon the character’s genes!

Finally, we all see that Cosplay Potential is an important part of any character’s popularity these days. Gwenpool, Gwenom, and more are all actual characters basically because of cosplay. So how likely are people to latch onto this forgotten character as a con feature?

The final categories for judging the characters return will be the following. Each category can earn the character up to 20 points towards his or her Return Potential.
Power Set:
Importance of Death:
Really an Inhuman?:
Cosplay Changes:

So follow @MrTimbotron on Twitter as I’ll be posting new characters along with a few thoughts as I find them. 

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