The DC reboot has been so focused on what will change for the heroes of their universe, there hasn’t been much talk on what will happen to the villains. DC boasts a powerful rogues gallery and, while some of them continue to create havoc and fear, some of them have worn out their welcomes. I don’t mean easy targets like Ratcatcher or Mad Hatter, but real heavy hitters who just don’t cut it anymore. Some of these are simply because the times don’t welcome them, others because they’ve become too easy a fall back position for the DC writers. After checking out all the facts I’ve come up with five DC villains I’d like to see vanish after the reboot.
5. Gorilla Grodd
Don’t get me wrong; I love the character of Gorilla Grodd. Anytime there’s a giant, super smart, pissed off gorilla with an ego the size of a small country, I’m on board. That being said, what does the character really bring to the table? Grodd jumps around, screams and yells, makes huge claims of being the smartest and best there is and then nothing else. He even managed to be part of the Justifiers during the Final Crisis series, and yet still it doesn’t amount to much. The recent Gorilla Grodd one-shot during Flashpoint was fun to read, but still a lot of the bluster and bravado. Even if Grodd manages to take on Emperor Aquaman and the pissed off Wonder Woman, is he really going to become a big deal in the DC Universe?
The main problem is that Grodd was created in the sixties during a time when giant thinking animals were an amazing idea. Now, Grodd seems like the football jock of the DC Universe. He’s always running as a second tier guy to somebody else, like hired muscle with no place to go. If DC wants to bring Grodd back after the reboot (that’s not a reboot) then he has to be less bluster and more sinister in what he does. If not, then let the world’s smartest and most evil Gorilla go the way of the dodo.
Here’s another enemy that’s run his course. The original idea of the villain that killed Superman was very cool. Born and bred to be the ultimate in rage and hatred, Doomsday used to drum up real dread and terror. The bones pushing through his skin, the blind and unending ire, he was a powerful enemy and written so well that his killing of Superman completely worked. As the character has returned over time, he’s been watered down to a point that he doesn’t even matter anymore. To be honest, he’s become like the Energizer bunny combined with an easy out for the DC writers. First, Doomsday was chained to an asteroid, then he was left at the end of time, and then found by Brainiac and so forth and so on. While it continues to fascinate me how DC will bring the grey goliath back, it doesn’t amount to much besides a lot of smashing. Imagine the Hulk but without any of the personality, charm or charisma. Superman is going to have enough trouble fighting off the work boots and ripped jeans look, why waste his time with Doomsday?
3. The Riddler
I know, I know, sacrilege, but hear me out. The Riddler is an enemy out of his time. When the character first debuted in 1948, the idea of a criminal mastermind that spoke in riddles was a little more edgy. The Riddler was part of a series of criminals with masks and neat costumes; it was the way of the era. Since then, the Riddler has lost step and become a rather boring character. It’s not totally Riddler’s fault either, as it is hard to remain menacing after being portrayed as a big goof by both Frank Gorshin (Batman TV series) and Jim Carrey (Batman Forever). DC tried to generate some new interest in Riddler by curing his insanity and making him a good guy. Now, since a bomb went off near him, The Riddler is crazy again and even has a nifty whacked out daughter named Enigma. With all this full circle work, The Riddler fails to be anything but a silly criminal in a bad jacket.
With the decades of history behind The Riddler, it would’ve been hard to just re-write the character or change his methodology but now, with the reboot (that’s not a reboot), The Riddler can be re-born!! For The Riddler to work in today’s world, he needs to be seriously and effectively creepy. Not just sinister or evil, but creepy, hair-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck creepy. The new Riddler can keep his love of puzzles and riddles, but they should lead Batman to horrible crimes that test his ability to remain in control. The new Riddler should be depraved, the kind of killer that makes other killers scared. If DC wants to breathe new life, real new life, into The Riddler then in a post re-boot world he needs to be on par with the Joker, but slightly more brutal.
2. Cyborg Superman
This is a no brainer. Is everybody else tired of this character and his incessant whining? For someone who is supposed to be so powerful, who has crossed paths with everybody from Darkseid to Sinestro, Cyborg Superman is like the emo bitch of the rogues gallery. Outside of that, the character hasn’t really found a place in the DC Universe. Instead, he bops from scenario to scenario, more a piece of equipment than a real character with the kind of gravitas that allows fans to care about them. It seems weird to say, but caring about a villain is just as necessary as caring about a hero. If you don’t care, then what’s the point? Let Cyborg Superman sit out the big reboot. In reality, nobody is going to care.
Now before anybody gets out the baseball bats and lays out the plan to crush my skull, I’m not saying obliterate the character completely. What I am saying is remove the whole scarification of Two-Face, at least on the outside. Things have gotten rather repetitive with Dent’s alter ago and I feel he could be much more interesting if allowed to turn his disease completely inwards. In the reboot (that isn’t a reboot) let’s keep Harvey Dent and get rid of Two-Face, at least on a superficial level. Imagine Harvey Dent as the DA, but still just as twisted and evil. Then, take that evil and focus it on criminals from a high bench of power and a new version of the classic character is born.
From there, the stories become endless for the new Harvey Dent. To keep with some of the origin, why not have a traumatic event split Dent’s personality but only in his brain. It could even be set up that Harvey Dent, the DA, doesn’t know that he has an alter ego who targets criminals and anybody he finds to be on the wrong side of the law. Imagine Dent trying to chase down and convict somebody who is actually he himself? Between a good costume and being incredibly smart, even Batman wouldn’t know. The ideas can spiral from just that setup and give a new identity to Two-Face, Dent and introduce an aspect to the character we can invest in.
So there it is, my life of villains I’d like to see dropped and or reinvented during the DC reboot (that’s not a reboot). If DC really wants to shake things up, they should make sure they do more than just hand out new outfits and drop the hero era down to five years. They’re taking an awful risk with their entire catalog; they’d do well to make it as interesting as possible.