Refrigerator Busting – You Know What the Speed Force Needs More Of?
Posted November 18, 2009on:
In San Diego, Geoff Johns mentioned we’d be seeing a new speedster. For two months I went on and on to anyone who’d listen about how the new speedster had better be a girl, and how come we don’t really have a girl speedster?, and HEY! SHOULDN’T THE NEW SPEEDSTER BE A GIRL?!
Two months later, at Long Beach Comic Con, I poked my hand in the air and asked:
“So, the new speedster you mentioned in San Diego, any chance it will be, you know, NOT a boy?”
Johns leaned into his mike.
“Definitely a girl.”
Or something like that, I was too busy spazzing out. But here we are. Flash: Rebirth #5 has finally made it’s way to the shelves.
Wally got a new costume. Whatever. Little Irey’s the new Impulse! Liberty Belle seems to be embracing her speedster roots!
Rob and I have been discussing the various DC “families” quite a bit lately. The Batman family is the most diverse, gender-wise (Barbara, Kate, Stephanie, Selena, Renee, Helena, and I’m sure Cass will show up again one of these days.) Superman’s got, um, Kara. The Green Lantern Corps has thousands of female members, but as far as the 2814 family goes it’s pretty much just Carol. Wonder Woman doesn’t really have a “family” in the sense that the other four do, and until recently the Flash Family women were just the wifeys. Joan, Iris, and Linda are some of the best written wives in comics, but speedsters they are not.
Still, you can’t just go creating female characters for the sake of having female characters. Part of the fun of Marvel and DC Universes is the rich history, the Big Picture that all these little stories are told against. Any new hero, male or female, needs to feel organic – there’s got to be a reason for them to exist. Thanks to Tim Burton, Batman: The Animated Series, and now Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, the Dark Knight has been the most popular DC character of the past few decades by a big long shot. Subsequently, the Bat family universe has grown by leaps and bound since the eighties.
Superman and Wonder Woman? Not so much. Yes there’s Connor and Krypto and Kara (and Karen? sort of.), and Cassie and Donna, but when you compare these relatively small posses to the massive Bat-family, the Green Lantern Corps, or the ever expanding Flash Family, Kal-El and Diana don’t have too many mini-mes. Those two are the platonic Zeus and Hera of the DCU, to replicate them too many times would negate their entire mythologies.
I’d certainly like to see fewer derivative female heroes in comics, but we need more women saving the world, period. They’re more likely to stick around if they’ve got a real place in the Universe, which is why the Bat-family women have managed to not only remain integral to Gotham, but to the DCU as a whole, even carrying their own titles. Bringing in more female heroes by using the existing hero families as a jumping off point is the easiest way to get more women into comics and keep them there, on the page and in real life.
But here’s why Irey’s a big deal. Jay was your grandad’s Flash. Barry was dad’s. Wally was ours. If the tradition continues, Iris West just might be The Flash to my kids. Now that’d be something.