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Comic Dictionary – False Epiphany Characters

by  in Comic News Comment

This one is by T.

False Epiphany Characters are characters that writers have become obsessed with writing the ultimate end-all/ be-all story for. Writers are so attracted with writing breakthrough stories for these characters that they regularly negate the previous writer’s breakthrough for the same character and simply hit the reset button. After seeing how Miller was able to make a legend out of himself by writing the breakthrough maturation of a B-level character like Daredevil or how Morrison made his mark with Animal Man and Doom Patrol, a lot of writers want to do breakthrough stories of their own with well-known, B-level characters in hopes of making legends of themselves also. It’s harder to do a breakthrough with Batman and Spider-Man because they have had so many classic runs, but lower-tier characters give a better chance at this. For some reason, certain characters attract this phenomenon more than others:

Iceman – many writers over the years, writers keep fixating on showing that Bobby is an insecure slacker who has not been using his powers for their full potential for the longest time…until now. He will now be more mature AND realize the full extent of his powers. Lobdell, Nicieza, Austen and whoever was writing him during Zero Tolerance and more that I probably missed have all had Bobby become more mature and realize his powers’ full extent…until the next writer comes along and starts it all over again.

Nightwing – I have lost count of the amount of times a storyline has promised to take Nightwing “out of the shadow of the bat.” Seriously, just retire that phrase already. Wolfman defined the template of post-80s Dick Grayson for all time: Can never win fights unless against henchmen, wallows in his inadequacies and daddy issues, cries a lot especially when mind control villains make him hallucinate about his daddy Batman hating him. Then we have Judas Contract, where he supposedly becomes his own man. He does this by getting tossed around and running away from Deathstroke and putting on a new costume and making grand speeches about getting out of the shadow of the bat. Right after he gets out of the shadow of the bat, he’s right back to losing fights and crying over how Batman didn’t love him during the Trigon storyline. Since then, we’ve seen him step out of Batman’s shadow and “come into his own” over and over again, and a recent Devin Grayson/Phil Hester issue even had the term “out of the shadow of the bat” appear on the cover…face it, HE’S NEVER GOING TO BREAK THAT ROLE! Astonishing are the New Teen Titans apologists that keep citing that book as the one that made Nightwing into a confident independent solo hero all his own. Have they read the past 27 years of Dick Grayson appearances?

Roy Harper – Meltzer once again has shown how Roy has put the shadows of his past behind him and has graduated to the big leagues and has confidence to show for it. After Devin’s miniseries did the same before that. As well as his stint as Titans leader under Wolfman’s final issues did before that. Yet we see Karate Kid mocking him as a loser again in Countdown. Nothing will change.

Anyone have any others?