Amazing alternate costumes for superheroes are always entertaining, but what about alternate superhero characters? The topic of “legacy characters,” or replacement superheroes, has led to many heated debates in the world of comic book fandom. Publishers have attempted to add diversity and “fresh ideas” to their comic book universes by replacing their most popular heroes with younger and more diverse vigilantes. The results have been, at best, mixed.
Fan outrage is high anytime a popular character goes away - even the times when Marvel changes a character for no apparent reason aren't met with as much resistance. Nothing is worse than seeing your favorite superhero feign death for awhile so that a precocious teenager can take up their mantle to spout internet slang and share crossovers with Spider-Man.
Now, this may be considered sacrilege in some corners of the fandom, but some legacy heroes turn out pretty cool. In fact, there's a rare handful of second generation superheroes who are actually better than the originals. It's not easy to replace a legendary hero, but as the following characters can attest to, it is doable. Check out the list below and vote up the coolest second generation heroes who you believe are an improvement from the original.
The original Batwoman was an almost insultingly derivative character. Inserted into Batman lore in the ‘50s to abate the ridiculous “controversy” that Batman and Robin were gay, Kathy Kane was Bruce Wayne’s love interest and carried a utility purse with weaponized lipstick. The character was thankfully phased out in the ‘60s and the name remained dormant until 2006, when a new version of Batwoman appeared.
This Batwoman was named Kate Kane, but was unrelated to Kathy Kane from the '50s. Kate Kane is a socialite with a military background, who identifies as a lesbian. This broke new ground for DC Comics and Kane's career was inspired, but not facilitated, by Batman’s. This Batwoman proved to be much more of a peer to the Dark Knight than the previous one, and she has stuck around ever since.839516Better hero than the original?
For an entire generation, Wally West is The Flash. While Barry Allen has recently become the most famous individual to wear the costume, thanks to his popular television series, he spent over two decades of continuity dead, from 1986’s Crisis on Infinite Earths to 2008’s Final Crisis. For the majority of the interim, Wally West was the Flash, and nobody seemed to mind at all. In fact, during this time, things like the animated Justice League series boosted the Flash’s profile, which means that Wally is probably just as responsible for the character’s modern relevance as Barry is.1,012641Better hero than the original?
Batman is quite possibly the most famous superhero ever created. Bruce Wayne has held the mantle for most of the character’s near century-long existence, so to claim anyone is a better Batman than Wayne is quite a statement. Nevertheless, when the original Dark Knight appeared dead in the wake of Final Crisis, former Robin Dick Grayson stepped into his boots.
Grayson had a lot going for him, with his status as a non-billionaire making him a bit more relatable to about 99% of comic book readers. Dick was also far more likable than Bruce Wayne ever was, especially since he could admit something that Wayne never could: being Batman is an awful lot of fun.974663Better hero than the original?
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Shazam-types aside, the original Captain Marvel was an alien Kree warrior named Mar-Vell. Mar-Vell was a classic character, so much so that his death the basis of the first Marvel original graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel. Along the way, Mar-Vell was involved in the empowering Carol Danvers, a human who gained his powers and took on the name Ms. Marvel.
However, Danvers never really established herself as an A-list character until she took on the legacy of Captain Marvel several decades after the original’s death. As a captain, Carol was free to emphasize her military background and leadership abilities. She quickly rose through the ranks of influence in the Marvel universe, to the point where she is now considered a peer of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.896646Better hero than the original?