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2/2 – Curious Cat Asks…

Who was the best replacement hero (not counting legacy heroes, like Wally West or heroes like Green Lantern where there are multiple heroes with the same name)? Bucky Barnes as Cap? James Rhodes as Iron Man? Eric Masterson as Thor? Jean-Paul Valley as Batman? Artemis as Wonder Woman? Ben Reilly as Spider-Man?

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60 Comments

Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle. I just got into the current Blue Beetle series, and it’s one of the most enjoyable super-hero comics of the last few years.

Otherwise, I’d say the android Hourman, but he is a sort of legacy character, programmed with his creator’s “geneware.”

I always liked Rhodes as Iron Man, but that’s mostly for his hilarious tell-off of Johnny Storm in Secret Wars:

“Lemme get this straight… a guy who can burst into flames has doubts that this broad from planet Mongo can help this mutant dude? Thank God he ain’t black, huh?”

Good stuff.

Ladytron as Grifter, or Grifter as Ladytron…

Wildcats 3.0 for the win!

Wally West, followed by Kyle Rayner.

When one of the Endless says you’re better than Hal Jordan, you’re better than Hal Jordan.

Also, I like Tim and Stephanie as Robin.

I am also a Jamie Reyes fan. I never got the old Blue Beetle, the appeal was lost to me, but I am really enjoying the new Blue Beetle, one of my favorites from DC by far.

I’m going to get crap for this, but… I always liked Connor Hawke. But Tim Drake, Kyle Rayner, Wally West… as far as I’ve read they’ve all worked out well too.

If Tim Drake counts, he’s gotta be it. But I never cared for Dick Grayson all that much, so I might be biased.

It kind of depends on what you mean by best. Rhodey was the most worthy, but I think John Walker as Cap generated the most interesting stories.

Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle.

And Ayla Ranzz and Lightning Lad was pretty good, too.

Ben Reilly as Spider-Man. The Clone Saga may have sucked, but Ben’s character (which was basically 70s Spider-Man gone adrift, returning to the life that he thought was not his) was genius. The execution was spotty, at best, but had Marvel embraced it at the time and just ended all the super-long plot arc, it would have worked well.

Assuming Wally West does not count, I would have to say Jim Rhodes. Iron Man could have kept that status quo on a indefinitely. That has to be the benchmark.

Here is a question: who is the best Green Lantern? I’d have to rank Hal Jordan as maybe third. John Stewart is great in other media, but under-used in the DCU. Guy Gardner was not easy to like, but he was certainly INTERESTING. Kyle Rayner had a character arc, which Jordan never had outside “New Frontier”, etc.

I like Jaimie Reyes. I also like Michael Holt as the new Mister Terrific (does that count as a legacy?). But honestly? Swamp thing replacing Alec Holland Swamp thing.

Not counting legacy heroes? Beta Ray Bill replacing Thor, because whenever you’re replaced by anything that resembles a velociraptor, that is always amazing. Shiloh Norman for Scott Free, and Steel for Superman. Heck, Steel’s still around…

I’d have to say that I enjoyed Eric Masterson’s tenure as Thor. With DeFalco and Frenz showing their love for the classic Kirby/Lee Thor. Sure the stories weren’t groundbreaking but they were always entertaining.

Andy

I’m not sure what you mean by “legacy” heroes. You say Wally West is one, but Bucky Barnes isn’t — even though they’re both former kid-sidekicks taking over their mentor’s name and identity.

What’s the nuance I’m missing?

I question the characterization of “legacy” heroes. With the government assigning a number of Caps, and with Bucky, his kid sidekick, taking Steve’s place, I see little difference between Cap and Flash.

“Legacy” is just a way to say “we’re not replacing characters to goose sales…it’s part of story tapestry!”

Random Stranger

February 2, 2008 at 2:48 pm

“‘Legacy’ is just a way to say ‘we’re not replacing characters to goose sales…it’s part of story tapestry!'”

Then Wally wouldn’t be a “Legacy” character. He replaced Barry mainly because sales on the original Flash series were so low so they killed Barry off and replaced him. It seems like “Legacy” is something you define well after the fact.

How about we look at it this way: a “replacement character” is one where they step into the hero’s shoes for a time (typically with the editorial staff swearing up and down that it is a permanent change) but eventually hand the spot light back to that original main character.

Defining it that way my favorite would have to be Connor Hawke since he’s one of the few where I’d rather have the replacement than the original.

Dasbender: I’d say the difference is that a Legacy hero comes in, takes over the identity, makes it their own and then continues on with it. Something happens to the original hero (they retire or, more often, they die), and the new hero steps into the identity and continues on, honoring the legacy of their predecessor. So characters like Wally West, Jaime Reyes, Renee Montoya, and Scott Lang fall into this camp. This happens a lot in the DCU.

A replacement, then, is a hero who steps into the role temporarily, eventually being cycled out when the original returns. Sometimes the replacement goes on to form a new, really similar identity – War Machine, Thunderstrike, Azrael, USAGent. Sometimes they just end up dead – Ben Reilly Spider-Man, Thunderstrike, Artemis (she got better). In either case, the change is temporary and the original hero comes back while the replacement gradually fades away until they become the answer to a superhero trivia question.

Personally, my favorite replacement hero will always be Ben Reilly. I thought he was a fun character who brought a breath of fresh air and excitement into the Spidey books. Sure, the clone saga was dragged out far, far longer than it needed to be, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was a great character with a very cool costume (I loved the Scarlet Spider outfit, and will defend its admittedly quite mid-90s aesthetics to the grave). I did regret the fact that all of Spidey’s supporting cast was shoved aside, but Ben was doing a good job of developing his own. It really irks me that Marvel just killed him off instead of finding somewhere to use him. To this day I’m still boycotting the Spider-books for Ben’s murder (not that I’d read the current dreck anyway, but still…).

Tim Drake, for sure, although Glorb makes a strong argument.

Easily Jim Rhodes. He was the best developed character of the available candidates, and his personality was used to good effect in the plots of the time. Too bad that didn’t carry over to his War Machine identity.

Chris:

When one of the Endless says you’re better than Hal Jordan, you’re better than Hal Jordan.

Assuming the Endless in question is being truthful and well-written, that is. Which was not the case there in Morrison’s JLA.

Elijah:

“Lemme get this straight… a guy who can burst into flames has doubts that this broad from planet Mongo can help this mutant dude? Thank God he ain’t black, huh?”

Doesn’t ring a bell. When did that happen during SW?

had Marvel embraced it at the time and just ended all the super-long plot arc,

The two acts seem mutually exclusive to me. In order to really embrace the idea, Marvel would have had to keep Ben Reilly as Spider-Man for a long time, thus making it a super-long plot arc.

I always liked Jim Rhodes.

Does the 2 issues Dick Grayson spent as Batman count him as a legacy hero?

Would Dan Ketch as the second Ghost Rider count? I also had a soft spot for Scott Lang as the second Ant-Man, before Bendis “pulled a Bendis” on him.

Hm. Seems like a pretty thin line between ‘replacement’ and ‘legacy’.

I was going to make a case for Jason Rusch as Firestorm, actually… he picked up the identity completely unexpectedly, and really did a nice job of growing into the role. Like Jaime Reyes, he’s a strong example of someone learning to be a hero through trial and error.

DC, however, seems to breed legacy heroes like no one’s business… and very few ‘replacement’ heroes apart from whoever tries to take over the Big Three (or so). It seems that just about every role can be considered a legacy at this point, especially by M. Bloom’s definitions.

So… I’m still debating internally. Jim Rhodes was definitely a great replacement Iron Man, and a rather long-lasting one comparatively speaking.

why isnt bucky a legacy? he was a sidekick and before he turned bad probably assumed he might take up the mantle.
Anyway i like azrael, you saw slowly him descend into madness.

Beta Ray Bill. Probably the most audacious product of Simonson’s run on Thor, which was pretty wildly audacious overall to begin with.

Bucky isn’t considered a legacy because it’s generally assumed Steve Rogers is coming back. Wally West is a legacy because at this point, Barry Allen’s pretty dead.

Why didn’t Dick Grayson become Batman when Bruce stepped down? Aside from the fact that Azrael was 90s “bad-ass” in a way Dick could never be.

How about we look at it this way: a “replacement character” is one where they step into the hero’s shoes for a time (typically with the editorial staff swearing up and down that it is a permanent change) but eventually hand the spot light back to that original main character.

Yeah, that’s it exactly.

Luis Dantas: It was when the weird alien broad (for lack of a better term, I’ll go with Rhodes’ wording) who healed people was hooking up with Human Torch, and Rhodes asks him to send her over because Colossus is injured. Johnny then asks if her healing touch thingy would even work on a mutant, and there we are.

Of course, Colossus would end up falling in love with her himself, but that comes later.

Holy shit, Rob. How did I not think of that?

I’d have to go with Ben Reilly, just because, well, he pretty much WAS the main character with (arguably)less baggage.

Another vote for Ben Reilly. There was Joey Q’s way out of the Spider-marriage if Ben had stayed on ;)

Yeah, I’m echoing the love for Ben. If I ever got my hands on a Spidey book, one of the first things I’d do is bring him back. I really got into comics when he first debuted, so I definitely have a soft spot for him.

I’m gonna toss out my plug for Jacques Foccart. Became a hero purely to save his little sister, could have walked away from the hero role after, ended up President of Earth.

J.

Darnice as Rocket when Raquel was on maternity leave!

Ben was a lot of fun, especially in the Sensational book. The Mysterio arch was great, as was two part Swarm stuff which was only topped by the guy stealing Spidey’s web-shooter. I was much more happy with the clone saga than the OMD and BND dreck I’m seeing now. I certainly didn’t think about dropping the book then (deleting all of the story’s in the only comic I’ve collected since 4th grade tends to put me in a dropping mood).

Vincent Paul Bartilucci

February 3, 2008 at 9:14 am

Since John Stewart was specifically recruited by the Guardians of the Universe to be Hal’s substitute when needed, I’d say he fits the criteria of a “replacement hero.” I’d also say he’s my favorite.

But Hal’s still cooler.

JACK KNIGHT, who is kind of a legacy but technically was sworn to be a permanent change but ended up just filling the role of Starman for a few years so I got to say him

yes, jack knight. fantastic.

I thought of Jack Knight first, but thought he was a legacy character.

I can’t believe I forgot about Beta Ray Bill! If I were in charge of Marvel, he’d have his own series, cartoon, action figure line, disappointing movie, horse-skull-&-hat-with-wings-shaped snack-food, and hip-hop clothing line, Stormblinger.

Beta Ray Bill. I mean, with Ben , you endorse the clone saga. Bill, you endorse Simonson on Thor. No sane man objects to the Simonson run.

It always cracks me up to see how often people explain their belief that Ben Reilly was a good character with “he was popular when I started reading the book”.

You know that says nothing about the character, right?

I’ll go with Jim Rhodes as Iron Man just because it was the first such replacement I encountered in comics and it freaked me out a bit. Not in small part, ’cause I learned about it through Iron Man’s Marvel Universe entry, which was quite the double-take. Also, because I was not the jaded reader I am now, it did look like it could very well be permanent (he did last over two years as the title character).

Slightly more objective reasons for the choice are that it seemed very logical and organic to the story of Tony’s alcoholism and Jim was a well-established character who just got more cool moments from this development (like his uncomfortable adjustment to the West Coast Avengers and the Secret Wars scene mentioned in other posts).

Tony Stark’s comeback was very cool, but it always bugged me that with Tony’s new armor on the scene, the gold and red “Iron Man II” armor started getting downplayed as an inferior model, as if it hadn’t spent a little under two decades as one of the most powerful weapons in comics.

Still a cool replacement story arc, though.

Buck Wild: Mercenary Man standing in for Icon.

Unfortunately, I’ve never read much of the Rhodey-as-Iron Man stuff. The John Walker Cap stuff was very good, but I felt like he didn’t come into his own as a character until he became the Agent.

Is eight years too long to be considered a replacement? Because Genis-Vell was/is my favorite Marvel character, period, and within months of his death in T-Bolts we knew his daddy was returning.

Monica Rambeau. She was a better character than Mar-vell ever was. It is unfortunate that they mucked her up so badly after she left the Avengers.

Hal Jordan, replacing Abin Sur.

Donna Troy as Wonder Woman!

Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin, hands down.

(As best replacement character that is. For a hero, I’d go with the brief tenure of the female Vigilante who’s name I can’t recall off-hand. Or Steel.

Does Poochie count?

Wow…..great question with a lot of great responses. Hard for me to pick just one. Right now I’m really liking Bucky as Cap………but I also liked Rhoady as Iron Man, Connor Hawke, and Ben Reilly.

Heck…even liked Genis as Captain Marvel.

Beta Ray Bill and Scott Lang were also favorites of mine.
As was Kyle Rayner and Tim Drake…….let’s but it this way. I know who my least favorite is. The new Firestorm. Always liked those classic Ronnie Raymond stories by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick.

I am the only person to put Ben Reilly as my number one pick in the top Marvel characters vote a few months ago, but I wouldn’t pick him for this category. Ben Reilly, Scarlet Spider = great concept. Ben Reilly, Spider-man = not such a good idea.

I say Ben Reilly as Spider-Man, even though, as the story went, he wasn’t actually a “legacy” character, but the real Spider-Man. I enjoyed reading Ben’s Spidey. It was still the real Spider-Man, the real Peter Parker, but, new situations, new supporting cast, inexpereince at being Spider-Man, all the relationships with heroes and villans had changed since he had last worn the webs, all these financial troubles. It was the best. Did everything that One More Day tried to do, but 1) actually succedded, 2)kept Spider-Man as a hero, as opposed to a whimpering child, and 3) did not screw up the rest of Marvel continuity. After i read the issue where they killed off Ben, i stopped reading American comics for around 4 years or so.

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