Replacing beloved heroes with new or younger ones has become the trendy thing to do over the last decade. We’ve seen it happen with Batman (twice), with Captain America (twice), and even with Iron Man and Spider-Man. It’s almost a time-honored tradition at this point, as someone always seems to get the bright idea to do a replacement in an attempt to drum up new sales. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, athough at least a few fans always like the attempt to alter the status quo.
It’s only a matter of time until we see something like it happen again, so here’s a look at a group of heroes that should get a shot at the big time and join the Justice League the next time DC decides they want to shake things up and let some new people take on some old identities.
10 BLACK CANARY: CASSANDRA CAIN
It’s true, Cassandra Cain has spent more time under the Batgirl outfit than spent time around Dinah Drake. But Barbara hasn’t been back as Batgirl all that long, and even if someone disagrees with that decision, they should stick with it long enough for it to be worth it.
But Cassandra still deserves to take on a bigger role in the franchise. As the daughter of Dinah’s long-time rival Lady Shiva, and as probably the most talented martial artist in the DC Universe this side of Richard Dragon, having Cass take on the role of Black Canary in the absence of Dinah would be neat.
9 GREEN ARROW: CONNOR HAWKE
Of all the 90’s heroes, Connor got the most disrespected. Wally legitimately supplanted Barry in the minds of Flash fans because he got to develop as a character—he got married and had children. Kyle eventually grew on everyone thanks to him being in a great solo and being a member of the Grant Morrison’s JLA.
But Connor never really got to settle into the job. Ollie came back before Hal did, and long before Barry was even thought about being brought back into the picture. But of course, before he can take anyone’s place, they’d have to make Connor canon again.
8 MARTIAN MANHUNTER: MISS MARTIAN
This one’s so obvious it reminds one just how little Martian Manhunter’s mythology has been allowed to grow compared to someone like Flash, or even Green Arrow. J’onn’s the last Green Martian, which means if he were to step down then there really couldn’t be another Green Martian to replace him.
But while M’gann is a White Martian, she’s put in the work as a hero with the Titans to be elevated to the next level. There’s nothing in the rules that says the “Manhunter” has to be a man, and she’s got all the powers J’onn has—the rest she could learn on the job.
7 AQUAMAN: GARTH
The obvious choice here is Kal’dur, as after all it happened in Young Justice. In that world, he's now Aquaman and leads the Justice League. But in this world Jackson Hyde barely knows how to use his powers, and no one seems to be eager to teach him.
Asking him to become Aquaman is throwing him into the deep end of the pool. And while Mera hastaken on the role of Aquaman before, it seems like it’d be nice to see Garth do it for a while. He’s a master mage, so he could bring magical expertise to a new era of the League, and serve as a sort of elder statesman for the group.
6 FLASH: AVERY HO
It's easy for 90's and early 2000's Flash fans to want to jump to Wally West when it comes to replacing Barry Allen. And that’s understandable, as he was the Flash for a generation of comic book fans and arguably was better developed and written than Barry ever was back then.
But being the Flash has cost Wally his wife Linda, his twin children, and his own existence. If he survives Flash Forward, he deserves some time to be that mentor figure Jay was to him. Meanwhile, Avery Ho’s already garnered plenty of experience. She’s had time in the Justice League of China and worked alongside Wallace to take down plenty of rogues in Central City. She’s as ready as Wally was when he first took the job.
5 GREEN LANTERN: SIMON AND JESSICA
The natural instinct might be to have Keli from Bendis’ Young Justice or the upcoming lead of Far Sector into the next Green Lantern. And while neither of those are bad choices, it ignores the fact that we have a pair of rookie Lanterns already.
We got to see the two of them grow beside one another in Green Lanterns, which over time turned into an enjoyable buddy cop series. If they were to get the spotlight again, it’d be with more experience, which means someone could put them against even larger threats and give them some rank in the Corps?
4 SHAZAM: MARY MARVEL
In the aftermath of 52 we saw the role of the wizard Shazam be taken over by Billy Batson. It was a status quo with lots of potential, but it never lasted very long because the New 52 storyline appeared just a few years afterwards. When that storyline happened, Freddie Freeman was upgraded to be the next Captain Marvel, even though he wasn’t really next in line.
What should have happened is the role should’ve gone to Mary. During Countdown she did unspeakable things to regain power, when it should have simply been gifted to her by her brother, the same way he stumbled onto his own. Why can’t she be the World’s Mightiest Mortal?
3 WONDER WOMAN: DONNA TROY
Diana Prince has been replaced a few times over the course of DC Comics history. First it was when Artemis was given her powers so Hippolyta could stop Diana from dying. Later, Hippolyta took the role and even spent some time working along with the Justice Society. But Diana’s apprentice Donna has never taken the role, and it’s always felt a bit off.
She’s not “Wonder Girl” anymore, but she can certainly be Wonder Woman if someone bothers to let her. Just give her a new costume that doesn’t hearken back to her Troia or Wonder Girl identities, along with a new set of armor, and we’re already there.
2 SUPERMAN: KENAN KONG
It seems like the most obvious thing to give the role of Superman to Conner Kent. But as a clone of Superman, he should be allowed to find his own way in life and not necessarily be forced into replacing Clark.
His son Jon has equal or greater rights to the name, but leaving him in the future with the Legion of Super-Heroes and then later maybe making him a Superman who explores the galaxies would seem apropos for the beginning of the Superman Dynasty. Kenan Kong had one of the best books at DC with New Super Man, and would need to continue to grow to fill out a role like this.
1 BATMAN: TIM DRAKE
We’ve seen Dick Grayson as Batman. We saw Jean Paul Valley as Batman, though we didn’t ask for that. With Tim, the only time we’ve seen him as Batman is in those awful Titans of Tomorrow futures.
And while that’s a pretty good argument that Tim shouldn’t ever become Batman, it’s also a great reason as to why he should. Instead of letting his sense of responsibility get out of hand and making him be “too” efficient at being Batman, he needs to learn how to overcome that ghost of his future. Of course he’d have to get past Damian first.