The ’00s — the start of a new millennium and a host of new advances in technology, education, and politics. It was an amazing time to be alive. We got see DVDs take off, the smartphone invented, and the rise of some very interesting pop music. Needless to say, a lot of people like to forget those fairly awkward years for more than one reason. For us at CBR, we’d like to forget a lot of the comic characters that were introduced in that decade. There aren’t many new heroes and villains being created today, so the ’00s was the last decade to really attempt it. After seeing a lot of the results, it’s no secret why they decided not to continue that trend.
There were some great things going on in the comic book world at the time, like the Ultimate Universe and The Runaways. However, it doesn’t stop a lot of the less-interesting aspects taking center stage. Each publisher had a few characters that we could’ve done without. They were either poorly conceived, mismarketed, or just downright offensive to the public audience. Here are 15 comic book characters introduced in the 2000s who wouldn’t be accepted with open arms today.
Gordon Thomas didn’t exactly have a good life. Being a member of the military, he fought in a war for several years before returning home. However, he didn’t come back to his loving wife and son. They left him, forcing him to his own thoughts. He decided to become a signsmith for a while and enjoys the odd profession. Then his company is bought out and he gets laid off. At that point on, he begins painting letters on his body and goes by the name Typeface.
The reason Typeface doesn’t work is that it takes the PTSD one would experience from coming home and losing everything they love and turns it into some ridiculous supervillain name. On top of that, his actual design is poorly conceived and has turned him into either a trivia answer or the punchline to a lot of jokes.
14. BLACK FOX II
Batman is an incredibly popular hero, and many people have tried to replicate that success, including the competition over at Marvel Comics. Many people believe that Moon Knight was the publisher’s answer to the Dark Knight, but that’s not really the case. If you want the actual Batman copy, look no further than Black Fox II.
Dr. Robert William Paine was investigating Nazi Germany for a while but eventually took to the life of being a vigilante. On one of his adventures, his wife is killed by a villain. Because of this, he dons a black cape and cowl to become the second iteration of the Black Fox, complete with a base named the “Foxhole” and even a ship called the Flying Fox. Sound familiar yet?
You’ve heard of the X-Men. You’ve heard of the X-Force. You’ve heard of X-Factor. Now get ready for the team known as X-Statix. Some writers at Marvel were believing that the audience was all too familiar with the comics and team-ups that feature dark stories and powerful conflicts. Because of this, they wanted to try their hands at something new and fresh. It only went downhill from there.
The result was the mutant team known as X-Statix. In a desperate attempt to create a comic series that would bring in the big numbers, the writers turned it into a satire based on the X-Men. Main characters were constantly getting killed off, and crude jokes were thrown all around including some characters with some seriously disgusting powers. It wasn’t long before people wanted the X-Force back in action.
Batman wasn’t the only hero to protect Gotham City. Gavin King was the son of two very successful parents and wanted to form his own legacy by being a professional dancer. He traveled the world to perform but saw an earth littered with injustice, poverty, and crime. Because of this, he was trained in how to fight and became the vigilante known as Orpheus.
Where this starts to go off the rails is the fact that Orpheus returns to defend Gotham City. When it’s asked why he protected a city already being guarded by the Batman, he believed that it was because Gotham needed a black superhero. This is one of the worst reasons to make a person of color a hero, and considering how well DC has handled diversity in the past, it’s agonizing in this case.
11. SUPER BUDDIES
Many publishers tried to have different takes on their long-standing franchises in the 2000s. Unfortunately, DC set their sights on revamping the Justice League to try and bring in a wide audience. They sought inspiration from the old Super Friends Hanna-Barbera cartoon and created the team known as the Super Buddies, first appearing in Formerly Known as the Justice League #1.
The Super Buddies (already off to a great start) weren’t the heroes that we once knew. They were laughable, incompetent versions of the legendary gods that we read about. It involved a running joke about Sue Dibny being pregnant, and one of the members accidentally getting them all sent to the depths of Hell. Remind us, who edited this story again? Oh yeah, this comic is canon.
10. DOC FRANKENSTEIN
Frankenstein’s monster is one of the most classic horror stories ever told. However, imagine a world where he didn’t die and instead made his way through history. It sounds a little interesting, right? Imagine no more, as we were given the Doc Frankenstein comic series.
The comic stars Frankenstein who survived the events of the novel he first appeared in. This resulted in him going through various time periods, having a hand in both the Wild West and World War II. Where this becomes unacceptable is that they take the time to involve him in politics. He is seen supporting the idea of evolution and taking a political stance during the Roe v. Wade case. It gets even worse. He is targeted by fundamentalists due to his fairly liberal ideas. In-your-face politics and comic never go well together.
Mutants have always been a catalyst for Marvel to stretch their creative chops and create some unique sets of superpowers. As many of us know, it can also result in some mutants that have a little less going on for them in their lives and careers. Case in point: Freakshow. One of the handfuls of mutants who survived the Sentinel attack, Freakshow has some interesting abilities.
He can turn into all kinds of horrifying monsters, including dragons and voracious worms. The problem with Freakshow is clear: his name. Mutants are always depicted as a separate class of people who have every bit of autonomy as the human race. By giving the code name Freakshow to a mutant, you’re only enforcing this idea that he’s an outcast.
8. ULTIMATE SCARLET WITCH AND QUICKSILVER
Why this was ever included in an official comic, we’ll never know. All we know is that it happened and we’ve since we’ve seen everything that’s happened between these two, we’ve been trying to move on. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are the twin children of Magneto. They share a psychic bond as a result, but when the Ultimates 3 comic came out, that bond got a little more physical.
Quicksilver nearly killed Captain America over something small, and it was revealed that the two siblings were in a romantic relationship. Why Marvel thought it would be permissible to include incest is beyond us. It wasn’t long before that storyline was completely done away with, though, so at least we won’t have to deal with it anytime soon.
7. ANYA CORAZON
Before you start raging in the comments, understand that we’re not knocking the fact that Anya Corazon exists. As a matter of fact, having a more ethnic member of the Spider-Verse is always a plus (just look at Miles Morales). She has a cool costume, an interesting origin story, and a nice set of powers to boot.
Where we start to get a little concerned with Anya is how Marvel was marketing her toward the public. They were touting her as the first Hispanic superhero in Marvel Comics. Clearly, this was a stunt just to get attention, as there were several heroes introduced before her that could more accurately hold the title, such as Spider-Man 2099 and White Tiger. It’s a move that wouldn’t fly in today’s culture.
6. NIGHT EAGLE
When watching any kind of movie with Native Americans, it’s not hard to imagine how they’ll act. They usually have some sort of interesting name that coincides with their insightful wisdom about how differently they see the world. As you’ve probably guessed, this has bled into comic books as well. We present you our example: DC’s Night Eagle.
Introduced in The Adventures of Superman #586, Night Eagle is a woman who dresses up in an owl costume and uses native owls to help her fight crime and save the day. When she first encountered the Man of Steel, she ended up giving him a lot of advice on how to see the world differently in order to defeat a foe. It’s like DC fed into all of the stereotypes surrounding the Native American culture.
Agamemno is a villain who hasn’t received a lot of attention but tried to make a huge impact in the DC Universe. He was introduced as a cosmic being who was seeking tools of power so that he could rule the universe. As you can imagine, it took the combined efforts of the Justice League and the Green Lanterns just to hold him off.
What might not be accepted today with Agamemno is his origin story. It’s said he was the son of the first entity to be created after the Big Bang. Right off the bat, the same people who burned Starbucks over its red Christmas cup would instantly hop on the train of taking down Agamemno for being some sort of anti-Conservative propaganda being spread.
Being given the honor of holding a Power Ring is something that defines who you are. Hal Jordan didn’t take his induction into the Green Lanterns lightly. However, there are other forces at work than just honor and goodwill. The Yellow Power Rings feed off of the fear that others can cause, and they choose their own wearers. One of them was a mentally obstructed individual known as Nero.
The reason Nero was given a Yellow Ring was not because of his abilities, but rather his mental disabilities. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and a few more on top of that. Many people might look at this portrayal of psychological illnesses as detrimental to the public’s portrayal of these people. Many individuals cope well, and they want pop culture to reflect that.
The Green Goblin will always be Spider-Man’s biggest foe, but Norman Osborn wasn’t the only one to go up against the wall-crawler. Another person by the name of Lily Hollister became a similar villain. She was the daughter of an African American that was running for the mayor of New York. She accidentally comes in contact with Goblin Formula, which turns her into a super crazy villain that Spidey has to stop.
From there, things only get more questionable. She immediately attacks her father while he is out campaigning just so the public will feel bad for him. Menace seems like one of those attempts from a comic publisher to appeal to a political trend. Yet, in actuality, the whole thing feels a little racist.
Doomsday wasn’t the only altered monster to fight Superman. In Superman #206, we were introduced to a hulking beast of a monstrosity known as Equus. After some discovery, it was revealed that he was able to pierce the Man of Steel due to severe genetic alterations. He was always going to be a machine of destruction and no one would ever be able to change that.
Comparisons to Doomsday aside, Equus was once a human being. However, he had gone through so many experiments that he was disfigured, gross, and without proper autonomy. Seeing a man be so screwed up with all kinds of alterations just for an interesting fight feels a little questionable at best, and we’re not fully on board with the persona of Equus.
The Flash has been known to hold some of the most bizarre villains in DC Comics history. One of the newer ones is a villain known as Peek-A-Boo (already off to a great start). Lashawn Baez had a dormant metagene which was triggered when she tried to donate her kidney to her horribly ill father. Since then, she turned to a life of crime and became confused about who she was.
The aspects of Peek-A-Boo that send the wrong signals are both of her names. Lashawn Baez and Peek-A-Boo both have some racist implications in how they’re constructed. You may not see it that way, but when you bring in the fact that she’s also a villain of Central City, it gets a little harder to defend.
Which of these characters is the worst to you? Let us know in the comments!
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