How many superheroes should the DCU have?

Planet-man

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Now, for this, forget about all the stuff that's going on now with the various crises and 52 and all that. I want you to think of your ideal version of the DCU.

I myself really dislike the idea that there are about a million superpowered beings running around on Earth in the DCU. It cheapens the entire idea of superheroes. Frankly, if it were up to me the world's complete list would be this:

- Superman
- Batman(and the world would consider him an urban legend of a big monster, not a superhero at all)
- Wonder Woman
- One Flash(either Barry or Wally, but no switching and no sidekicks)
- Hal Jordan
- Martian Manhunter
- Aquaman
- Plastic Man
- Green Arrow(known as a high-tech vigilante without powers)
- The Question
- The Atom

That's it.

But even then I started thinking about the individual characters and I began to wonder....does Superman, as a character, work better in a world with no other superheroes? I kind of think he does. First of all, his powers should be absolutely out-of-this-world to anyone watching, ESPECIALLY flight. In the current DCU a lot of people have similar powers of strength and flight, and I think that would cheapen his image. You'll notice even on my above list I included only two characters who can fly(without wings), and one of them(J'onn) tends to keep a low profile, heck, he's invisible half the time. But Superman being the world's only exposure to the idea of superpowers at all just feels so much better to me.

Batman, too, I think begins to lose his purpose in a world amok with metahumans(although JLU handled this brilliantly, despite the fact that I hate how he's a well-known public figure in it). Does Gotham really need him if the Flash can pop by every night to clean it up over the course of 30 seconds?

Anyway, what are your opinions here? Do the DCU superheroes make more sense in their own little worlds or as a large team, public or otherwise?
 
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Joe Kalicki

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I'd like a million super-heroes. I want as many super-characters as possible. I see non-superpowered people everytime I walk out my front door. I want to read about people with superpowers punching other people with superpowers. I want them to be friends with people with superpowers and meet in superhero clubhouses. I want them to have crazy adventures with time travel and space travel and I want them to be able to come back from the dead.
 

Jaggyd

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Oh yeah, like nine heroes can deal with helping 300,000,000 people. I like the depth of the DCU. I mean, your list doesn't even have anyone that could remotely deal with characters like Felix Faust, Neron, and other magical heavy hitters.
 

ProjectX2

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I like the number Paul Dini/Alex Ross use in their Silver Age-esque stories. It's a good, small number, but has all the superheroes people want.
 

Planet-man

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Oh yeah, like nine heroes can deal with helping 300,000,000 people.

Well we seem to have survived long enough with zero of them.;)

I like the depth of the DCU. I mean, your list doesn't even have anyone that could remotely deal with characters like Felix Faust, Neron, and other magical heavy hitters.

I'm not really big on them either. In fact, I generally dislike the idea that magic is such a blatant form of power in the DCU. Real magic is all about subtlety, and characters with powers like Zatanna's cheapen that, IMHO.

I like the number Paul Dini/Alex Ross use in their Silver Age-esque stories. It's a good, small number, but has all the superheroes people want.

In terms of story telling possibilities, I agree.
 

Dr.Strangefate

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I have no hard-hitting thesis sitting ready to shut you down, but I have to say I completely one-hundred percent disagree with that idea... It would cheapen the DCU to try to put it all in a simplistic context... And it makes sense that Superheroes inspire other superheroes into existence... If you hear about a man who dresses like a bat to fight crime and comes off of it not only without any legal ramifications, but praise, and you have the urge to serve the greater good... It makes sense that people make these connections... And the existence of Superhumans would propell the government into creating more superhumans. You think geneticists would sit idly by as a superhuman branch of humanity with the Amazons emerged? You think physicists would twiddle their thumbs while men in capes flew overhead? And if there are Kryptonians and Martians, not to mention the Guardians of the Universe, why the hell wouldn't there be more extraterrestrial activity around earth, clearly the center of our Sector, due to the extra attention we get from GL?

This is all ignoring the fact that the DCU is filled with Legacy Heroes, and I think that's part of what makes it unique from Marvel and every other company, and in many ways much better. You couldn't have a team like Justice Society over at Marvel... The dynamics just wouldn't work, and I think it would be stupid to get rid of that. Its what makes DC Unique.

If you go back to the beginning, stories during WWII, you have a simpler array of heroes... But humanity does not stagnate, we move forward and change ourselves and our world to fit fantastic new ideas.

In some Ultimate DC Universe, sure it would work to have the limited number of characters, but honestly (aside from batman), I wouldn't give a damn.

And some of it comes down to the 32 flavors idea... Most people have Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry, so why not eliminate the other flavors to simplify it? Because every now and then someone orders pistachio. In this simplified world there wouldnt be a Guy Gardner Green Lantern, there wouldn't be a Booster Gold, there wouldnt be a Question. There sure as hell wouldnt be an Animal Man.

I see no benefit in putting these sorts of limits on the DCU.
 

Zombipanda

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I have no hard-hitting thesis sitting ready to shut you down, but I have to say I completely one-hundred percent disagree with that idea... It would cheapen the DCU to try to put it all in a simplistic context... And it makes sense that Superheroes inspire other superheroes into existence... If you hear about a man who dresses like a bat to fight crime and comes off of it not only without any legal ramifications, but praise, and you have the urge to serve the greater good... It makes sense that people make these connections... And the existence of Superhumans would propell the government into creating more superhumans. You think geneticists would sit idly by as a superhuman branch of humanity with the Amazons emerged? You think physicists would twiddle their thumbs while men in capes flew overhead? And if there are Kryptonians and Martians, not to mention the Guardians of the Universe, why the hell wouldn't there be more extraterrestrial activity around earth, clearly the center of our Sector, due to the extra attention we get from GL?

This is all ignoring the fact that the DCU is filled with Legacy Heroes, and I think that's part of what makes it unique from Marvel and every other company, and in many ways much better. You couldn't have a team like Justice Society over at Marvel... The dynamics just wouldn't work, and I think it would be stupid to get rid of that. Its what makes DC Unique.

If you go back to the beginning, stories during WWII, you have a simpler array of heroes... But humanity does not stagnate, we move forward and change ourselves and our world to fit fantastic new ideas.

In some Ultimate DC Universe, sure it would work to have the limited number of characters, but honestly (aside from batman), I wouldn't give a damn.

And some of it comes down to the 32 flavors idea... Most people have Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry, so why not eliminate the other flavors to simplify it? Because every now and then someone orders pistachio. In this simplified world there wouldnt be a Guy Gardner Green Lantern, there wouldn't be a Booster Gold, there wouldnt be a Question. There sure as hell wouldnt be an Animal Man.

I see no benefit in putting these sorts of limits on the DCU.

Exactly.

I like the fact that I can get any variation on any genre within the DCU. I like how the directions for explanation in the world are so versatile. You can cover everything from mythology to historical fiction to detective stories to space odysseys.
 

Joe Kalicki

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But even then I started thinking about the individual characters and I began to wonder....does Superman, as a character, work better in a world with no other superheroes? I kind of think he does. First of all, his powers should be absolutely out-of-this-world to anyone watching, ESPECIALLY flight. In the current DCU a lot of people have similar powers of strength and flight, and I think that would cheapen his image. You'll notice even on my above list I included only two characters who can fly(without wings), and one of them(J'onn) tends to keep a low profile, heck, he's invisible half the time. But Superman being the world's only exposure to the idea of superpowers at all just feels so much better to me.

Wonder Woman can fly.
 

Planet-man

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it makes sense that Superheroes inspire other superheroes into existence...

Well there's a difference between other superheroes and other vigilantes. I don't mind them so much(in fact I fully intended to include the Question on my list because he's one of my favourite characters, I just forgot to type it).
I agree that superheroism would inspire both general good samaritainism along with a surge of vigilantes in general, but I think it starts to get ridiculous when like 5% of humanity gets superpowers.

If you hear about a man who dresses like a bat to fight crime and comes off of it not only without any legal ramifications, but praise, and you have the urge to serve the greater good... It makes sense that people make these connections...

Well Batman is a bad example for me, because I completely disagree with how he's currently handled in the first place. If everyone already knows he's just an ordinary man with a utility belt, what's the point of dressing like a Bat in the first place(especially a light-blue-and-gray one:sick: ) in the first place? I like Batman to be nothing more than a rumour about some sort of Bat-monster who comes out at night in Gotham, which is one of the reasons I love Batman Begins and Batman '89 so much.

But this is an topic for another thread, and do I agree with you on this point.

And the existence of Superhumans would propell the government into creating more superhumans. You think geneticists would sit idly by as a superhuman branch of humanity with the Amazons emerged?

The main thing here is that I don't think it should BE a "superhuman branch of humanity". Look at the heroes I listed. Only two are humans who became superhumans because of a genetic change, and the Flash was because of a one-in-a-million accident involving a lot of unknown catalysts.

It's not like they're not trying to create superhumans as it is(in our world) anyway. That doesn't mean they'll succeed.

You think physicists would twiddle their thumbs while men in capes flew overhead?

Of course not, but that doesn't mean they'd be able to duplicate an alien physiology(which both of those men have, and WW is magic).

And if there are Kryptonians and Martians, not to mention the Guardians of the Universe, why the hell wouldn't there be more extraterrestrial activity around earth, clearly the center of our Sector, due to the extra attention we get from GL?

Because I think aliens would probably be very widespread and have no real reason to come here. Krypton is long dead in another galaxy, and we only know about it because they were forced to send someone here rather than have him die. Mars never contacted us before it was wiped out. What makes you think other ultra-advanced planets would?

Heck, it's not like us here in the most advanced part of Earth are desperately seeking out every remaining tribe of secluded bushmen left in Africa, are we?

This is all ignoring the fact that the DCU is filled with Legacy Heroes, and I think that's part of what makes it unique from Marvel and every other company, and in many ways much better.

I've always been conflicted about the Legacy heroes in general. Alan Scott and Jay Garrick are great in some ways, but in others get in the way of things. Why would Superman be such a huge deal if other people with very similar powers had been around for decades?

You couldn't have a team like Justice Society over at Marvel... The dynamics just wouldn't work, and I think it would be stupid to get rid of that. Its what makes DC Unique.

Well, no, it's not what makes DC unique. The fact that the DC characters are all different are what do that. This is proven by the fact that there are an endless supply of DC stories with no JSA and no pre-cursor heroes, and they work just fine.

And to clarify, I'm not saying there should be any sort of "cleansing" or anything to wipe out all those characters from the main continuity. I'm just considering the nature of a lot of the main characters, and whether or not they work better in which stories that take what things into account.

If you go back to the beginning, stories during WWII, you have a simpler array of heroes... But humanity does not stagnate, we move forward and change ourselves and our world to fit fantastic new ideas.

Well, the idea is that the original heroes are just pulled forward in time. I prefer that to pulling some forward and leaving some behind, because that turns everything into a mess.

In some Ultimate DC Universe, sure it would work to have the limited number of characters, but honestly (aside from batman), I wouldn't give a damn.

You mean you don't care about Superman, Batman, GL, the Flash, MM, etc.?

And some of it comes down to the 32 flavors idea... Most people have Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry, so why not eliminate the other flavors to simplify it? Because every now and then someone orders pistachio. In this simplified world there wouldnt be a Guy Gardner Green Lantern, there wouldn't be a Booster Gold, there wouldnt be a Question. There sure as hell wouldnt be an Animal Man. I see no benefit in putting these sorts of limits on the DCU.

I'm not talking about putting limits on it and getting rid of those characters in general, because of course those characters have a wide fanbase that would miss them. I'm asking whether or not you prefer stories where those other characters exist or not.

Obviously, you yourself do. I do not. That's all.
 

Dr.Strangefate

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To answer the Ultimate DC claim (since most of the other stuff is opinion based and I still disagree with you)... I don't give a damn about Superman on his own... He can be done brilliantly, but I think it is what he means and his legacy that makes him a better hero. The more heroes there are the more important Superman becomes because he is essentially the height of Superhuman righteousness. Making Superman stand alone only leaves him conquered by businessmen holding alien rocks... Give him others like him to inspire and he can do great things.

Simplifying the universe would do nothing to make it more interesting, I feel. It would be a gimmick, because the DCU has ALWAYS been highly fictionalized, and resetting the clock so that these characters are in our time, with our world problems just wouldn't work. We need the grandiose set up so that by handling their superhuman problems they can address our human problems.

I love the history and the continuity of the DC Universe, from Jonah Hex, to the Red Rockets, to Justice League International. It is distinct and special, and unique to DC. The Marvel Universe which only occasionally attempts to tie everything together... most of the time characters don't notice eachothers interactions (like when spidey, daredevil, the avengers, and the F4 didn't notice magneto decimating Manhattan).

As always, if it was done well, I'd read it, but only if the regular good old fashioned DCU was still Flourishing alongside its "Ultimate" compatriots.
 

Zombipanda

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In regards to Superman, I agree that he doesn't work best alone. He's best as a symbol of virtue that the other heroes look up to for leadership. He should be an icon.

And just because Batman works with the Justice League doesn't mean anyone out there knows anything about him. It means people know he's a good guy, for sure, but I think the fact that he manages to hold his own with the rest of the heroes means they've got to consider him as an incredibly dangerous threat. There's only a certain level of stories you can tell with Batman as a complete enigma, and I think the compromise they've made to his character is a decent one.

Legacy heroes has an always will be important to the DCU. Space aliens have and always will run rampant in the DCU. Magic has and always will be a presence in the DCU. You can have your opinions on how you'd like to see the DC universe changed, but the changes you're suggesting affect issues that have always been a central part of the universe. You could institute your changes, but what you'd end up with wouldn't be the DCU anymore. The density and richness of the world's history is part of what makes it so great.

And Superman's not important because of his powers. He's important because of his virtues and because of what he symbolizes. Him and Batman being the first real superheroes on the scene sets a nice precedent, but I like my universe chock full of super-powered characters.
 

Gideon Stargrave

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I agree with Planet-man 100% with one exception; I believe that all of the other Batman-related heroes should still exist (Robin, Nightwing, etc.)...and the Question. Because he's awesome.

But otherwise, I don't like there being any Kryptonians besides Supes and I don't like all of these other nameless heroes that I've never heard of flying around.
 

Jaggyd

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Well we seem to have survived long enough with zero of them.;)



I'm not really big on them either. In fact, I generally dislike the idea that magic is such a blatant form of power in the DCU. Real magic is all about subtlety, and characters with powers like Zatanna's cheapen that, IMHO.

Well, let's see, it could be bacause we don't have supervillains and giant monsters from other worlds to deal with...

Soooo...just because YOU don't like certain characters and depictions, then they should be slashed?

Aye aye cap'n, remind me I'm just a girl and not allowed to like things without your permission.
 

jtg3885

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Well we seem to have survived long enough with zero of them. ;)
Uh... huh. Well then by that logic, we don't need comic books AT ALL. After all, the world has "survived long enough" with zero of them... so then why do we need any superheroes in our media?
I'm not really big on them either. In fact, I generally dislike the idea that magic is such a blatant form of power in the DCU. Real magic is all about subtlety, and characters with powers like Zatanna's cheapen that, IMHO.
Just out of curiosity, have you ever seen "real magic" when not on drugs and/or psychotrophic medications?
 

Venom Melendez

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I agree with Planet-man 100% with one exception; I believe that all of the other Batman-related heroes should still exist (Robin, Nightwing, etc.)...and the Question. Because he's awesome.

But otherwise, I don't like there being any Kryptonians besides Supes and I don't like all of these other nameless heroes that I've never heard of flying around.




So we should only have the one's you know? i mean some of the so call nameless dudes have a fan base...some people dont know The Question so i guess by your logic he should be erased.


And really i like my DCU filled with heroes...talking to other heroes yada yada

I mean the Super-villians keep growing too so we need the same amount of Hero's to defend us
 

moonmaster

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I like having a million. But in an Ultimate-style, realistic version of the DCU, I'd think it would be less.

Like in the Justice League revamp that I came up with (And abandoned). The line-up was:

Superman
Batman
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Green Lantern

SUPPORT TEAM:
Green Arrow
Black Canary
Zatanna
The Question
The Atom

The funder of the team would've turned out to be Martian Manhunter and I would have had lots of random cameos by radically revised heroes and villains.
 

Gideon Stargrave

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So we should only have the one's you know? i mean some of the so call nameless dudes have a fan base...some people dont know The Question so i guess by your logic he should be erased.


And really i like my DCU filled with heroes...talking to other heroes yada yada

I mean the Super-villians keep growing too so we need the same amount of Hero's to defend us

What I meant by "nameless heroes" are the hundreds...if not thousands...of heroes/villains that apparantly exist in DC but never appear in stories.
 

Random

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I like having a million. But in an Ultimate-style, realistic version of the DCU, I'd think it would be less.

Like in the Justice League revamp that I came up with (And abandoned). The line-up was:

Superman
Batman
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Green Lantern

SUPPORT TEAM:
Green Arrow
Black Canary
Zatanna
The Question
The Atom

The funder of the team would've turned out to be Martian Manhunter and I would have had lots of random cameos by radically revised heroes and villains.

I agree, though I wouldnt mind more heroes spread out across the globe, like this list is just the American Heroes. Having millions of heroes (though its probably only a thousand at best) kinda makes DCU what it is.
 

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