I’ll mention that Multiversity issue here in the subject line, since I forgot to do so in the body of the post.

§ June 16th, 2016 § Filed under question time § 9 Comments

ScienceGiant looms over me with

“Wow, have the Charlton heroes been ill-served by DC, or what? With the most egregious example being what’s happened with The Question.”

Oh, I don’t know. I mean, if all that was ever done with the Charlton heroes at DC was serve as inspiration for Watchmen, that would have been a worthy use of them.

Overall, though, I think DC has found some good use for the Charlton heroes over the years. I remember when DC first acquired said heroes from that publisher, this was just before Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the Blue Beetle was introduced in that series as, I guess, the representative of whatever parallel Earth he was supposed to be from. “Earth-Charlton” didn’t last very long, as the characters were folded into the DC Universe proper and we got that Blue Beetle series, Captain Atom, a Peacemaker mini, and so on. Plus, of course, we got Blue Beetle as part of the more humor-inclined 1980s Justice League series, which has pretty much defined that version of the character to this day.

In more recent comics, we have the new Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, who’s had a couple of short run series with a new ongoing on its way, and has been prominently featured in several of DC’s animation projects.

Now, the Question…he had a sizeable and well-regarded run of a series (that even featured him “meeting” his Watchmen counterpart Rorschach), a weird but great mini by Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards, and was replaced by Renee Montoya from the Batman comics (and cartoon). A popular interpretation of the character was his portrayal as a super-conspiracy theorist in the Justice League cartoons (voiced by fellow Oxnard native Jeffrey Combs).

So overall, the Question’s done okay, though his most recent, post-New 52 interpretation as some kind of being from parts unknown, punished by cosmic powers with the removal of his face and memories and cast down to Earth, where he hung out with Pandora and the Phantom Stranger, was…perhaps a little off-model. Points for trying something different, but it just didn’t seem right. Also, the Question’s alter ego Vic Sage appeared in one of the Suicide Squad titles, but I didn’t know about that ’til I looked at the Wikipedia page. So, yeah, the Question’s use of late has seemed a little sloppy, but as we all know after reading DC Universe: Rebirth, New 52’s continuity/character issues were all caused by Dr. Manhattan, which seems kind of fitting in the Question’s case given the relation between his Charlton origins and the inspiration for Watchmen.

As a whole, the Charlton heroes have had a fair shake at DC, I think, despite some recent lack of use/misuse. I’m sure they’ll pop up again…plus, there’s Blue Beetle, who is popping up again, like I’d said.

And ScienceGiant had another question:

“Also (yeah, yeah, one per commenter. I know. But I gotta know) what was the deal with Pandora from DC’s New52? Or should I call her Poochie, based on the way she disappeared after Trinity?”

…which was sort of made moot by recent events, which ScienceGiant responded to just a few days ago. Yes, you can ask another question if you’d like!

Anyway, my initial answer was that I thought she’d have a more metatextual function, relating to whatever undoing of the New 52 continuity would eventually happen, given her introduction in Flashpoint presented her knowledge of multiple timelines/universes/etc. I guess that was sort of right, considering her ultimate fate and where/how it happened. And there was that bit of business where she had cameos in every(?) New 52 launch title, implying that she was super important, and, well. You got that one Justice League story and that one short-lived series, and I suspect whatever ultimate plan was originally plotted out for her, it never really came to fruition. I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes stuff works out, sometimes it doesn’t. What Can You Do?

9 Responses to “I’ll mention that Multiversity issue here in the subject line, since I forgot to do so in the body of the post.”

  • Skinslip says:

    Were there any Charlton characters that never got their moment to shine post DC merge that maybe should get one now?

  • Rich Handley says:

    I have a feeling, given Rebirth, that we’re going to be seeing more of the Charlton gang soon.

  • Thwacko says:

    I’ve been rereading the Len Wein/Paris Cullins “Blue Beetle” series and those are some damn fine comics. I also still love the humor-inclined Justice League era, even if it’s been irrevocably passe since about 1993.

  • I liked that Dr. Manhattan killed off Pandora Rorshach-style. I don’t think she had any real sort of mission once DC realized that the readers didn’t really care about the WildStorm characters.

  • philfromgermany says:

    If every comic about the Charlton heroes had been as good as Watchmen, they ‘d still be ill-served by that foul L.A.W. series alone. God, that was a terrible book.

  • Chris G says:

    I believe the Charlton characters’ world was designated Earth-4.

    I’ll be really amused if, once it’s on CW, Supergirl’s earth is dubbed Earth-S.

  • Thom H. says:

    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here my favorite Charlton hero who was folded into the DCU: Nightshade. She had a great run in John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, where she even got a power upgrade and a snazzy new costume.

    Honestly, I feel like she’s the one Charlton hero who got kind of short-changed by Watchmen. I mean, Sally was defined so much by the people around her that I never really felt like she had much time to shine on her own. And she had no powers at all, which was a downgrade from the original character.

  • Thom, Moore has said many times that Sally was based on Phantom Lady, she’s the one non-Charlton analogue in the cast.

    You’re totally on the ball about how great Ostrander’s use of Nightshade in Suicide Squad was though. Her tickle fight with Captain Atom was perhaps her shining hour.

  • Thom H. says:

    Michael — I didn’t even realize. That’s so interesting. Using a character *with* powers would have broken the world Moore was building, I suppose. I’m still not a big fan of Sally, but thanks for the info.