Where Are The Lightweights?

September 29th, 2008 by | Tags: , , , ,

I was pleased to see Kevin Smith returning to the DCU, with Batman: Cacaphony. Smith’s style is wordy, distinct, and irreverent, and I look forward to seeing him injecting a little humor into the Batverse. I’m also happy to see that Onomatopoeia, the Green Arrow villain, will be returning. Onomatopoeia has the right set of characteristics for a comics villain; a superhuman set of skills, a recognizable goal, and a quirky gimmick.

The only thing that bothers me about Onomatopoeia is that he fits too well with the villains we see these days; he’s deadly, he’s more out to get the superheroes than to commit crimes that might benefit him personally, and he’s the best, baddest villain ever. Poison Ivy moved from thief and environmental terrorist to random sadist and mass murderer with the powers of Swamp Thing. Two-Face now knows how to spar and goes on random killing sprees. Even Croc manages to do a lot of damage. Damian kills off villains and beats up Robin. Talia manages a national web of terrorists. And Hush – don’t even get me started on Hush.

There seems to be an unfortunate rate of inflation going on in comics. No more talented bank robbers or minor thugs. Everyone has to be the biggest, baddest, darkest, most formidable opponent Batman has ever encountered. It’s not that I don’t understand that it looks a little silly to have Batman go from a life-altering confrontation with the Black Glove one month to chasing down a safe-cracker the next, but it would be nice to see some variation.

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5 comments to “Where Are The Lightweights?”

  1. Perhaps another crime alley story is in order. Batman comes to realize to his horror that while he was undercover in Bangladesh for a month a carjacking gone wrong leaves two children orphaned. He vows never gain to lose sight of the little picture.

  2. I think it’s just a symptom of the “BIGGER! FANCIER! MORE IMPORTANT!” trend that I lot of books seem stuck on. Big goofy events, sweeping status quo changes that either don’t make sense or are inevitably renegged on, stories that show you “WHAT REALLY HAPPENED” with pre-established events, etc, etc

    i think i just made myself depressed. i’m gonna go read a marvel adventures book.

  3. with Norman Osborn around, Menace seems like a lightweight.

  4. I call this “Mr. Sinister Syndrome,” and it annoys me. What does your typical created-since-1980 supervillain aspire to? Killing superheroes, stealing superheroes’ powers, bothering superheroes’ families. You get into a situation like the X-Men books for a long time where the stories are just guys in costumes slapping each other around with none of it affecting anyone but guys in tights. It’s the same thing that happened in DC in the 90s, where every other storyline was a hero searching for his/her lost powers.

    If your villain’s motivation can be eliminated by heroes just taking their costumes off and not being superheroes anymore, it’s not a very good villain. The only exception to this rule is Zoom.

  5. I guess one of the problems in the case of Batman is the way Batman himself has changed since his inception. Most of Batman’s villains were conceived back in the day when Batman was pretty tough, but humanly beatable. As time’s gone on, Batman’s really been been built up as the pinnacle of human-ability, being completely alert, a combat-god and having numerous fail-safes and plans, so that it’s hard for most of his villains to come off as a threat to him as they once were.