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Which characters have not lived up to their full potential?

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Initial post: Nov 19, 2012 11:28:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 11:47:48 PM PST
Which comic characters do you think have not fulfilled their full potential in terms of having good stories told with them or not been used as well as they could be?
For example Batman has a lot of good, great, and classic stories. Probably the most of any major character. Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year 1, The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke, etc. And Superman has Man of Steel, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? Superman For All Seasons, his role in Dark Knight Returns, and Kingdom Come was mostly about him.
But Wonder Woman if you had to pick her best stories what would you list? Kingdom Come, the George Perez 80's revamp? Not that much else to choose from. You'd be even more hard pressed to list the best Hawkman stories or the Atom. Green Arrow has the late 60's early 70's run with Green Lantern and the Mike Grell run.
Marvel characters also have a very limited best of (after the Lee/Kirby/Dikto years): Daredevil probably has the most. Thor has the Walt Simonson issues, Captain America has surprisingly few. Some really like the J.M. Dematteis/Mike Zeck run/The Kevin Maguire mini/ and the Ed Brubaker run but are any of those great or just pretty good? His Ultimate version is surprisingly good considering what bad/shallow/shock value addicted writer Mark Millar tends to be.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 11:40:02 PM PST
Strangely Magneto has probably had more good or even near great stories than most heroes. Maybe because Claremont liked him so much and wanted him to becme a hero or noble-anti-hero. Dr. Strange could probably have more done with him if they could ever find the right writer who could balance the need for action and story momentum with the abstract elements of magic and mysticism. Have there been any really good Namor stories? Just in the Lee/Kirby FF? Didn't care for what Byrne did with him. Aquaman may be just to limited in his conception to make exciting. Even in Kingdom Come he played a very small role as did the Martian Manhunter. MM is one that I love the idea of and what he represents (the mystique of Mars and superheroes roots in pulp sci-fi especially John Carter Warlord of Mars) Liked what J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen did with him in Justice League and his mini, loved when Grant Morrison writes him, and his cameos in Gaiman's Sandman. Not sure if I like his new costume. Best all time use of him was probably in DC: The New Frontier. I think some of the Vertigo-ish characters have untapped potential: Phantom Stranger, Deadman, Zatana, Dr. Fate, but some seem to be played out: Swamp Thing, John Constantine, the Doom Patrol. Maybe with the current financial crisis it would be relevant to bring back the Green Team: Boy Millionaires!

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 7:47:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 20, 2012 7:49:29 PM PST
Wonder Woman has the unusual distinction that far and away the best depiction of her was the 1970's TV series with Lynda Carter. IMO, it still stands as the best live action super hero TV series ever done--partly because she was absolutely perfect for the part, but mostly because it's one of the very few live TV adaptations of a comic book superhero to play itself absolutely straight. Not overly campy, not "dark and gritty," not in plainclothes as if apologizing for itself. Just a super-powered costumed crimefighter combatting evil disembodied brains and stuff like that there. It was perfect. In the comics, no two writers have been able to agree on Diana's personality or even her supporting cast since... ever, practically. The TV show's portrayal was just right.

An awesome Aquaman story, which unfortunately nobody paid attention to, was Atlantis's war with the surface nation of Cerdia, written by Dan Jurgens around the year 2000. You should pick up those back issues. They're terrific. It was shortly before that run of the title was canceled, and then the last issue of that run harkens back to that storyline. It should have had a huge impact on all later depictions of Atlantis, but later writers completely ignored it.

John Ostrander's Martian Manhunter series was wonderful. It didn't last very long, though.

Some characters who I'd like to see more done with are:

Machine Man (Aaron Stack)
Chronos (Walker Gabriel)
The Vision

The Starjammers -- Their 4-part miniseries by Warren Ellis and Carlos Pacheco is some of the best comic book space opera I've ever seen. Absolutely nobody read it.

Spider-Woman would once have been at the top of my list, but then of course Bendis revived her. I haven't been entirely happy with his use of her, but at least she's back in the spotlight.

And some obscure villains:
Angle Man
The Prankster
The Mad Thinker

Posted on Nov 20, 2012 10:27:59 PM PST
Thanks for the recommendations. I didn't know about the Warren Ellis Starjammers miniseries. I'll have to seek it out. I read some of Ostrander's Martian Manhunter. It was decent but Tom Mandrake's art is mediocre to me. I have most of their run of the Spectre because of the writing and the great covers and each issue has an interesting quote at the beginning and in the mail column. I haven't seen the Wonder Woman tv show since I was a child. Do you prefer the WW II episodes or the modern day ones? And did they explain why Steve Trevor didn't age?
I forgot mention All Star Superman as one of the best Supes stories. Hawkworld was pretty good for Hawkman. Haven't read the Kubert issues but I love his art. John Ostrander wrote the spin off series. Too bad DC decided it was in the "present" when it was an origin story thus causing them to erase/ignore the entire Silver Age Hawkman's existence and membership in the JLA. The exact same mistake they made with the Perez Wonder Woman. Crisis on Infinite Earths was such badly executed event along with Legends and all the new DC universe changes that followed in their wake. Power Girl really suffered from that. So did the Shazam Capt Marvel.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2012 3:14:31 AM PST
Nicos says:
Well in that vein, I think the animated DCU show had the best iterations of several characters. The Justice League series in particular. Also, Batman Brave and the Bold gave us the best version of Aquaman. Whether or not that counts as "living up to their full potential" or not, I dunno.

As far as the Marvel heroes... I think they have had more "all time great" movies made about them than comics. What would be the Marvel equivalent to something like The Dark Knight Returns or All-Star Superman? I dunno. For the FF it would probably be the original Galactus arc + "This Man, This Monster!" for Spider-Man... I would go with "The Day Gwen Stacy Died."

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 4:37:32 PM PST
Some might say John Byrnes FF or one of the storyines from that run, some might say Ultimate FF and the Ultimate Galactus mini Warren Ellis did. Some might say FF Big in Japan! I would say the Four from Planetary.

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 4:50:45 PM PST
J. Case says:
Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) The Demon in Control has not been shown enough. He needs to fight Apocalypse,Loki, Enchantress and Executioner (Skurge), Ares, Abomination, Doctor Doom, Super Skrull, Mandarin to show how powerful he is.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 12:38:26 AM PST
What if he were to loose one of those fights? Loki might be too powerful for him. Then he might get sent to Muspelheim and have to fight Surtur. Is really that important how powerful he is? As important as how good he is? How much love he has in his heart? How about a story where Ghost Rider has to save Christmas with the help of the Hell's Angels? Maybe Johny Blaze should move to a Latin American country. Then Ghost Rider's skull imagery would make him be revered and admired.

Does anyone think there might be a really good Red Tornado story to tell? Maybe a lost Amalgam story where he is merged with the Vision.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 4:15:48 AM PST
Esgaldil says:
I would agree with the Manhunter being underused if it were not for his horrible grab bag of powers - if that hasn't been fixed in the new 52 I have a hard time seeing how anyone less than Moore could make him the center of an ongoing series.

As far as Wonder Woman, I'd actually say she's been overused - her status as the most iconic female superhero certainly isn't based on anything praiseworthy about the comics she's been in. She's got some very awkward, off-putting baggage in her history, and while she certainly could get a successful reboot, I'd just as soon see her make way for someone who doesn't have a Lasso of Bondage.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012 7:35:46 PM PST
J. Case says:
Has Loki done anything that has a consequence people have been killed? If he has then Loki would be defeated with Ghost Rider using the penace stare.

It's important for how powerful he is because Doctor Strange in World War Hulk.
might be equally as powerful as the Green Scar persona of Hulk. You have more feats shown with the demon in control than that could be proven right, and it would be known how powerful he is.
Flash Rogues, Catman, The Mad Hatter, etc all of these characters suffered from bad writing but I do think there are characters that are bad or crappy characters that need to be revamped.
There are characters in Comic Books that could be written better than they have been and powers abilties could be shown more but having suffered from bad writing, or not having the right writer.

With the Demon in control Ghost Rider goes at high speed chains wrapped around Loki contine to slam in the ground,shoot him with hellfire, hit him with a chain, and to finish him he gives him the penace stare. Or he wraps the chain around his contine to pull back on it until Loki passes out.
The demon in control needs to be shown more.
Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), and he doesn't have as many feats as Superman, Thor, etc his best feats are fighting Doctor Strange, and World War Hulk.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012 10:02:25 PM PST
Nicos says:
Hey now! Martian Vision is not a grab bag power! It is... um.. uh...

I always thought that the whole immesnse psychic power + complete mastery over molecular form was enough for him to have without all the extra Superman powers.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 10:18:40 PM PST
Characters I'd like to see more of (great characters, not enough great stories):

The Demon Etrigan
Atari Force

My fave Marvel characters are pretty much over exposed but most of their stories are pretty shite these days- Iron Man, Spiderman, Deadpool, Wolverine, Venom

= ) But I'm glad for smaller comic companies and their work- The Goon, Atomic Robo, Orc Stain and a lot of the Dark Horse, IDW and Image stuff

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 2:34:47 PM PST
Art Franklin says:
Songbird - the future as foretold by Busiek and Perez has yet to arrive and we haven't seen her take her place as an Avenger yet or what that journey will mean.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 9:00:26 PM PST
I'd be happy to see that prophecy happen. I remember Avengers Forever fondly. But didn't that future also require the late Genis-Vell to become an Avenger some day? He's... well, as dead as Marvel characters ever get, at the moment. (Not that death counts for much in the modern Marvel universe, especially for a cosmic being like Genis.)

Posted on Dec 2, 2012 4:15:37 PM PST
J. Case says:
I think he needs to be used more with making lots of money. He was able to create his battlesuit in Prison he shouldn't be working for other Super Villains unless it's to make money. I think he has enough power to maybe knock out Luke Cage, beat Tiger Shark or Namor if they have been on land for more than 14 hours.

He needs to return. I think he could be the Green Lantern's Darkseid.

Posted on Dec 8, 2012 1:35:16 AM PST
Maybe I should break it down more

Which characters seem underused or underdeveloped from:
Dark Horse
I think that The Authority had a lot of untapped potential. I think Warren Ellis should have written at least another year if not two. Mark Millar could have done a better job on his run if he had dug deeper into the characters' drama and pain and been less glib. I would have loved to see what Grant was planning to do with them but sadly he has never got more than two issues into his run before abandoning it. (I love you Grant but that I do not forgive).
I also think there was more that could be done with Doc Brass and his team of pulp heroes from Planetary, and the earlier team called the "Open Conspiracy." But I could see how that might be too similar to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Ignition City I thought missed the potential of the concept and was very drab, flat and boring. So if Warren doesn't redo it someone else should.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012 2:40:24 PM PST
J. Case says:
Well I think that Shocker is underdeveloped. He acts in a more proffesional manner I think this should be shown in a mini seires to what it means, why did he become safe cracker bank robber and drop out of School. Also stop being a jobber, and have him beat Black Panther, X23, Sabretooth, and other characters.
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Discussion in:  Comics forum
Participants:  7
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  Nov 19, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 9, 2012

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