Legacy characters, modern characters built for a modern audience. If you’ve seen even half of the books that I reviewed or any of my editorials, you know that I have a bit of an obsession with them. I think their appeal stems from seeing new, diverse faces – like us – inspired by the heroes we grew up with and taking up their mantles.
These characters are a pretty big deal nowadays. I mean, with characters like Miles Morales headlining blockbuster movies, they are only getting bigger. So big in fact that they are rising from the page to the screen faster than ever. Ms. Marvel’s even getting her own Disney Plus as early as next year.
Most of these characters either appear in various titles or star in their own books: Super Sons, Teen Titans, Champions, and, most recently, Strange Academy. All great books and while their respective series/groups are great, there is one place I would like to see them go – the big leagues. I’m proposing books where the Justice League or Avengers are made up of today’s younger heroes.
What The Hell Am I Talking About?
One of my biggest pet peeves is the big two reliance on the old guard. I wrote a bit about my frustration in my “Dear DC, What Happened to the New Age of Heroes?” piece. There is a hesitation to move away from classic heroes and their alter egos. What I do love is a good time jump. You know, where characters age and things change a significant amount. Logic dictates that if time were to move normally, our heroes would have to retire at some point and others would have to take their place.
Okay, so hear me out. What do comic book fans love more than anything? It’s Elseworld/What If stories and future versions of our favorite characters. Don’t believe me. Both Batman Beyond and Spider-Man 2099 were so popular that they inspired a whole line of future comics. Some of the best episodes of the Justice League animated series were time travel episodes or glimpses of the future. Young Justice got even better after the five-year time jump. As you can see, we like this shit.
Understand, I’m not talking about messing with the status quo. I’m talking about creating books focused on possible futures. Yes, 2099 and Beyond series have done this before. We’ve seen what happens when Bruce Wayne gets old or Peter Parker is no longer there to be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. However, said future books would focus on the adult versions of today’s legacy heroes forming a new version of the Avengers and Justice League.
Avengers and Champions
Marvel’s Future Avengers would be made up of:
- Captain Marvel (Kamala Khan)
- Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
- Wiccan (William “Billy” Kaplan)
- Iron Heart (Riri Williams)
- Vision (Viv Vision)
- Hulk (Amadeus Cho)
- Captain America (Elijah Bradley)
- Miss America (America Chavez)
- Nova (Sam Alexander)
Now I know most of these members are from the Champions but logic dictates that most of these members would eventually take over for their adult counterparts when they get older. Characters like Kamala rising to become Captain Marvel, Miles becoming the only Spider-Man, Elijah taking over his true legacy as Captain America, and so on. Throw in a few notable Young Avengers and we have the makings of a classic line-up.
What would be interesting about a Next Avengers-like team composed of grown-up Champions and Young Avengers is to see if they can put their money where their mouth is as adults. The current era of Champions is all about doing the right thing, helping the helpless, and not being tied up by the same issue as the adult heroes. As a younger generation, they fought against the established order of things as we saw post-Civil War II and currently with Outlawed. However, what happens when they are the established order and the premiere heroes that the world depends on? Will the former Champions and Young Avengers be able to stick to their morals without becoming the same kind of people they accused the OG Avengers of being?
It’s an exciting prospect to see these characters as adults. If I had to pick anyone to spearhead this kind of story it would have to be either Saladin Ahmed or Eve Ewing. Both writers understand and are currently building definitive versions of the young heroes. Ahmed has a slight edge over Ewing. Even though Ewing is about to start her run on Champions, it’s still too early to tell how well she will handle these characters together. Ahmed, however, has experience writing both Miles and Kamala’s series, the two characters that would likely lead the future version of the Avengers.
Justice League Birthright
In the case of DC Comics, the New Justice League would be formed from:
- Batman (Damien Wayne)
- Superman (Jonathan Kent)
- Wonder Woman (Cassie Sandsmark)
- Superwoman (Kara Zor-El)
- Batwoman (Cassandra Kane)
- Aquaman (Kaldur’ahm)
- Static (Vergil Hawkins)
- The Flash (Wallace West)
- Mysterious Blue Lantern
My interest in seeing a new Justice League would be seeing characters who are either closely related or actually related to the original members. The idea of this new team is birthright. Seeing characters who were sidekicks, for the most part, all grown up and compelled to live up to their families’ legacy and seeing if they can. The Bat and Superfamilies are fairly large, so choosing two members from each camp felt right. Other members are pretty obvious with the exception of Static and a human who becomes a Blue Lantern being wild cards.
The Justice League was built by iconic heroes who are larger than life. Keeping those classic symbols is important and at the same time, filling those shoes is an almost impossible task. Most of these characters have a good dynamic with one another, like Damien and Jon, as well as previous members of the Titans. Most of them are stepping into their rightful roles, like Cassandra being acknowledged as a full-fledged member of the Batfamily and Kara finally accepting Earth as her home. The idea behind a team like this is a bunch of characters proving that they deserve to be there, proving it to the world and themselves.
If you are wondering about Static and Blue Lantern, they would tie into the theme of Legacy as well. Vergil represents all the forgotten heroes from Milestone, giving them the recognition they deserve. Meanwhile, a Blue Lantern who can only use their powers to heal and defend would be there to redefine the idea of corps members on earth and inspire hope. I would probably pick Tom Taylor for the task. Taylor is no stranger to dealing with multiple big-name heroes and his work on the Injustice comic series shows that he can know how to work with the freedom of an Elseworlds story like this.
Why This Should Happen (And Not Just In My Head)
Well, there you have it. My wild headcanon for promoting legacy characters to the two premier teams in comics a.k.a the teams they deserve. I’m a big fan of stories that move forward, time passing by, and passing of the torch. If you give them a chance, sometimes better characters take over the mantle. Look at the original Wally West as the Flash, John Stewart’s Green Lantern, or even Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel. All it takes is giving them the spotlight and focusing on stories that make them great. Plus, c’mon, all of this just sounds really dope.
What do you folks think? Should legacy characters follow the natural progression of their story? Would this make for a great Elseworlds/What If? tale? What does your lineup for each team look like? Sound off in the comments or social.