Friday, June 19, 2015

Discuss: Character Changes (Good or Bad) That Never Reverted


Doug: The Beast from human-looking genius to wise-cracking furball, the Cat costume from Greer Nelson to Patsy Walker... shoot -- Greer Nelson from the Cat to Tigra! Dick Grayson from Robin to Nightwing. What are the character changes that never reverted to original form -- that you love and that you loathe?


Humanbelly said...

Ha! Grey Hulk to Green Hulk- excellent move!

But actually, keeping with my favorite (Hulk) theme, the effective elimination of the Hulk's base-line, simple, third-person-speaking childlike persona has always made HB sad. Dumb, nice Hulk was HB's favorite Hulk of ALL Hulks. Ever. -----And although he's sort of popped up largely as a cameo every now and again, he really was erased as his own, unique character, which has always left a void in my somewhat broken fanboy heart.

Oh geeze, and on a whole 'nother track, can I just say (with a nearly terminal rolling of the eyes): Betsy Braddock/Psylock??? I assume that, if she's not currently dead, she's still somehow an Asian ninja psychic assassin who used to be a proper, lady-like British noblewoman-?? For years after that inane transmogrification I prayed that some non-Claremont writer or editor would come to their senses and somehow change her back.


Anonymous said...

The second version of Captain Marvel was a huge improvement on the original but I prefer the original version of Ms. Marvel. I also liked the original, more dangerous, She-Hulk before she became the safer version who had a proper costume and was in the FF and the Avengers and was breaking the fourth wall etc (and that original She-Hulk appears on the BAB masthead). And Warlock was much better than "Him".

Anonymous said...

My favorite permanent redesigns:

Deadshot: one-off villain from the Golden Age who dresses in formal wear and a domino mask -> Marshall Rogers-designed badass with a faceless costume and wrist-guns.

Daredevil: ugly yellow & red... thing -> sleek all-red number.

Black Widow: Gah!-inducing monstrosity -> black leather.

- Mike Loughlin

Anonymous said...
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david_b said...

Ok, put me down for liking the original Kree uniform on MarVell.., melodramatic stories (pre-Starlin), but still had a nice Silver innocence resonating. Thanks to Starlin I stayed with the original MarVell until he moved on.

Others..? Most of the post-Crisis changes, like Wally leaving Kid Flash and becoming his elder hero's guise. Terrible beginning there. Also as mentioned, Grayson leaving Robin for Nightwing. It's nice that Marv and George addressed the 'not-so-teen' Titans concept, but it's a day I didn't want to see (plus Speedy's later change to Arsenal..). NTT issue 39 was when the NTT fun left as well.

Pym becoming Doc Pym in WCA.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmm, interesting Colin, She-Hulk occurred to me, too, but I reached the opposite conclusion: I liked it when she changed from a watered-down, female version of Banner/Hulk into someone who enjoys being a hero.
Another that comes to mind is the sort of gradual transformation of the Thing's appearance from lumpy and leathery to rocky (and glad that when Byrne tried to revert it for a while, he quickly came to his senses).
Also liked Greer Nelson's 'evolution' into Tigra, although I hated the various personality changes foisted upon her in the '80s.

J.A. Morris said...

Kitty becoming Shadowcat was an improvement over Sprite/Ariel. I think she was Ariel for about 5 seconds.

Martinex1 said...

Initially I had trouble thinking of any, and you all came up with some great examples. I like both the Green and White Captain Marvel and the later one as well; that is a tough one for me. They almost seem like totally separate characters.

I like the Sensational She Hulk better than the Savage She Hulk. It makes her less of a clone of Banner. I am just mystified by the Psylock transformation; not a fan. I like the NTT transformations, but also miss the old versions. Not a fan of Doc Pym.

How about Nighthawk? I like him better as the heroic Defender rather than the villain.

And speaking of villains, Paste Pot Pete or Trapster? Ha.

The entire team of the Thunderbolts is intriguing to me. Not a fan of Atlas; preferred the villainous Power Man. I do like Songbird, but also thought Screaming Mimi had a cool and different look and power. Baron Zemo is one of the great villains, but Citizen V was cool in his own way; I see he is coming back somehow. But I hate Techno; Fixer was one of my favorite villains. Fixer and Mentallo need to come back!

Anonymous said...

HB ol' buddy I was gonna mention the change from the Grey Hulk to the Green Hulk too, although that was due more to the limits of colouring back then than a deliberate character modification. Hmm how about Captain America's adoption of a round shield from the triangular shield in his very first appearance? Nowadays, that round shield is the defining symbol of Cap.

Also, Angel's transformation via Apocalypse to a blue-skinned being that threw knives from his wings, quite a radical change from the human looking playboy in his earlier years. Not my favourite, but some people liked it. While I loved the new furry wisecracking Beast, I gotta say I loved his original genius persona in the early X-men also.

Thor's growing a beard (thanks to Walt Simonson) is another change that I've welcomed; for the first 25 years of his comics appearances he was almost always clean shaven (guess Asgard has good razors!) but now most people accept the bearded version without even thinking 'hey he didn't have a beard in 1975!'.

- Mike 'now I need a shave' from Trinidad & Tobago.

ColinBray said...

I have always enjoyed the various iterations of the intelligent Hulk. Currently reading Mantlo's run and he addresses interesting questions about the relationship between the Banner and Hulk personalities that Peter David would develop and explore further.

Don't get me wrong, I like to know the savage Hulk is there somewhere but 'Hulk Smash' did get a bit one-note by the late 70s.

ColinBray said...
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Anonymous said...

I always liked the "Professor Hulk" version...he was smart, kind of a wiseass, and still morally flexible.

I never liked Carol Danvers as Binary, I'm glad they changed her back to Ms. Marvel/Warbird.

I always liked Sandman as a good guy, I wish they hadn't reversed that.

I prefer Wonder Girl to Troia or Darkstar or whatever other identities she cycled through.

And I think I prefer "corporate raider/corrupt politician" Luthor to "weird battlesuit" Luthor.

Mike Wilson

Anonymous said...

Galactus losing the silly 'G' on his chest.

Humanbelly said...

Totally with Mike W on Sandman as good guy-- that one crossed my mind as well. An interesting and unique instance of growth for a loooong-time 2nd/3rd tier villain, which made him so much more memorable. So naturally it eventually had to be reversed/done away with. Sheeesh.

I know that citing more modern developments is probably sort of pointless-- but I still have to pound my head on the table in response to the Gen.Ross as Red Hulk ludicrousness. I hatehatehatehate it.

One that has played well over the years was getting Valkyrie out of her Barbara Norris body and back into her own Asgardian-ish incarnation.


Martinex1 said...

Oh HB, I could not agree with you more. Red Hulk may be the worst idea ever; how did they justify that? I am judging it without reading the origin, but it just makes no sense knowing the history that I know.

Colin, that "G" comment is awesome.

I know we are talking about lasting changes, but I am so glad the Wasp did not stay as an insect creature in the 90s. Awful.

I am not a fan of the Wonder Man ionic form. I really prefer the late 70s version. I can deal with the powerful but fearful Wonder Man in the red and green costume, and even the red leisure suit/ safari jacket costume... but the ionic version is not for me.

Also, I liked Frankie Ray in her initial fire version, but I don't like the herald Nova version she became.

And strictly costume rather than transformation comment; I personally like Captain Britain's original togs better.

Cheers to all.

William said...

One of my favorite permanent changes was Scott Lang taking over the Ant-Man identity from Hank Pym. (Hey, he wasn't using it anyway). Scott Lang/Ant-Man's two-part origin story (in Marvel Premiere 47-48) still stands to this day as one of my all-time favorite reads. (It doesn't hurt that it was drawn by John Byrne either). They even adapted it into an episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

I was really pleasantly surprised that they went with Scott instead Hank for the Ant-Man movie as well. Very interesting choice that I personally approve of.

Anonymous said...

Most of the modern Guardians Of The Galaxy have changed quite a bit from their original versions - Drax is a completely different character from the one in Captain Marvel and Star Lord has a different look and personality to the original while Groot first appeared as a (much larger) alien menace intent on conquering Earth.

david_b said...

Oh, and yes, WonderMan... Each time Simon changed outfits, I instantly missed the previous one. But dunno, when he dropped his shades, I never liked his look since.

The covered-eyes was integral to his character look for me, for some reason.

Scott Lang's alright as Ant-Man to have the character back in the Universe, sans the Pym angst, while Hank was YJ. NOT happy that YJ's a villain in the new movie, but that's how life goes.

Rip Jagger said...

I'm probably one of two humans who actually preferred the vintage green and white Kree Captain Marvel to the red and blue and gold cosmically aware Captain Marvel, though to allow the character to survive I understand the change. I just don't like it a much.

Rip Off :)

Anonymous said...

Since the Peter David Hulk is what got me into comics, I prefer the more intelligent incarnations. As much as the savage Hulk was a childhood favorite (and his return in issue 372 prompted me to buy the issue) I would rather read about Joe Fixit or the merged "Professor" Hulk. The major exception is Steve Gerber writing Hulk in Defenders. He did the best job of making the character childlike, especially in regards to Hulk not grasping the consequences of his actions.

Red Hulk was a dumb idea and most of the Jeph Loeb issues were pretty rough. Jeff Parker, however, did a good job writing the character and he turned me around on the concept's potential. Rick Jones as (ugh) A-Bomb is irredeemably stupid, though. That might be my least favorite character transformation, although I doubt it's permanent.

Hmm... How about Wasp? She went from semi-useless ditz to strong, effective Avengers leader. I really liked her character in the Stern run.

- Mike Loughlin

Dr. Oyola said...

Colin S. I read some contemporary X-Men sometimes and Psylock is still a ninja (though thankfully out of the ridiculously impractical buttfloss), and presumably still in the body of an Asian woman. Maybe the artist Claremont worked with for Nightcrawler changed it on his request (pretty sure he was not responsible for that change, though I could be misremembering).

That change is definitely the worst, not because Betsy was "lady-like" or whatever, but because it is a slap in the face when diverse representation of superhero is such an issue to make a white character into a (not really) Asian one. A relevant excerpt that I wrote in a post about the all women X-title is here.

Anyway, I love the Beast change (who doesn't!).

Does the ramping up of Wolverine's healing factor to godlike levels count? Because if so, I think you know how I feel about that one.

I disagree about Shadowcat. I like the name, but enough with everyone being a ninja!

Maybe more later, gotta head out to brunch!

Darci said...

It was bittersweet to read Giant-Size Creatures #1. Great to see Greer Nelson again, but sad it was her last outing as the Cat. Maybe some day we'll get to see "Night of Terror, Night of Grief", the story promised at the end of issue #2?

Anonymous said...

ITA Darci! The Cat was an interesting experiment in a solo superheroine for Marvel that never quite found its footing. Tigra wasn't IMO a fitting substitute, nor was Hellcat, who, while a decent enough character with a long history, was destined to be a group member rather than a star of her own series. Marvel has since "played it safe" by resorting to relying upon female versions of male characters, something they ridiculed DC for for years. The lone exception that I can think of off the top of my head being Dazzler.

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