We all love our favourite heroes for what they do for us but we don’t turn the pages for their heroic exploits but for the human drama going on beneath the cowls and capes. We come for the icon, the symbol and the legend. We stay for the person behind the suit.
Sometimes a superhero mantle is passed from mother to daughter like Watchmen’s Silk Spectre. Sometimes another hero takes the mantle after the end or disappearance of a hero. Like Logan’s replacement was X-23 or Iron Fist’s time as Daredevil. That been said, today we bring to you five replacement superheroes better than the originals and four who tarnished the legacy.
Better: Jane Foster as Thor
For a time, Thor was not worthy to wield the mighty Mjolner. However, his long-term love interest, Jane Foster was. Jane Foster’s Thor was really inspiring, battling cancer before she wore the prestigious Asgardian armour.
Jane Foster’s Thor was also a superior Thor in many ways. She was less prone to Loki’s manipulation and she understood Earth in a far better way than Thor. She even shared a really close connection with the Mjolner.
Tarnished: The Eradicator As Superman
This happened during the “Death of Superman” saga in the 90’s. After Superman’s death, many imposters emerged to protect Metropolis. Among them was The Eradicator. While looking like the OG, he was unworthy to even bear the title “Last Son of Krypton.”
He had no regard for human life although he believed himself to be Kal-El.
Better: Scott Lang as Ant-Man
The readers were shocked to find out that even Hank Pym’s Ant-Man has an unexpectedly dark side in Avengers #213. This issue saw Pym committing an unspeakable act upon his wife Janet Van Dyne simply for reasoning with him. While it was later explained by the creators as a reaction to a chemical spill, this act tainted the readers’ trust in the character forever.
Tarnished: Jean-Paul Valley as Batman
After Superman, DC wasted no time in making a Batman story that takes Bruce Wayne out of the cowl, bequeathing it to a young warrior Jean-Paul Valley, also known as Azrael.
While Bruce felt that passing the Batman mantle onto Valley will help him in exorcising his personal demons, Valley transformed the Batman persona into a ruthless travesty known as “Azbats.”
Better: Flash Thompson As Venom
The venom symbiote parted its ways with Eddie Brock for a while. It then moved on to bond with Mac Gargan aka The Scorpion, Anne Wayling (Brock’s ex-wife) and even Captain Marvel before finding its way into Peter’s former school bully, Flash Thompson.
He came to be known as Agent Venom and though he couldn’t be as good with the symbiote as Eddie, he did exert better control over the symbiote.
Tarnished: Victor Von Doom as Iron Man
Doctor Doom became The Infamous Iron Man after the events of the Civil War II storyline. Victor wore the suit hoping for redemption but was never able to shake his old ways, hardly thinking twice before murdering someone.
Better: Dan Drieberg as Nite Owl
Dan Drieberg wasn’t just the second Nite Owl, he was the one to actually sought it out. With his inventive mind, martial arts and sense of justice, he managed to win the pride of his predecessor, Hollis Mason.
We even see Mason admitting this in an issue, saying that “Dan is a better Nite Owl than he ever was.”
Tarnished: Artemis as Wonder Woman
Artemis might be beautiful, intelligent and skilled in combat but she lacks the right patience, compassion and temperance present in Diana. Despite this, she was asked to replace Diana in Wonder Woman #94 after her mother deemed Diana unworthy of her lasso, tiara and bracelets.
Artemis turned out to be a far more merciless Wonder Woman than her predecessor but her intentions were sometimes quite noble. However, her time as Wonder Woman somewhat seemed like a loose cannon among her Amazon mates.
Better: Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel
Many readers prefer Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel as her adventures beautifully capture the essence of being a teen hero in New York.
Her witty and optimistic nature and street-level heroism make her one of the most delightful heroines by Marvel to date. The character was even praised by Barack Obama for the upliftment of a woman in the comic book, who also happens to be a great role model for youngsters and Muslims all around the globe.