Fans of the television show Heroes can rejoice, as their one time favorite is making its way back to television with a new series Heroes Reborn. When it was first launched, the television show was a huge success, but its second season foundered in the midst of the writer’s strikes of 2007-2008. The show was forced to wrap up loose ends in a haphazard manner; and though it managed to hang on for two more seasons, it never regained its stride. Now, after a few years cooling its heels, the show has been reworked. This isn’t the first time that a bunch of heroes have gone back to the drawing board. Many comic book characters have needed to be broken down and built back up again due to a variety of reasons. So in honor of the new season of Heroes, here is a look at some of the characters who have been changed for the better.
One of the X-Men’s oldest villains who made his first appearance in issue #4 of the series, Toad slowly became a bit of a punchline. The original iteration of Toad had him looking like a cross between a court jester and Quasimodo. He functioned more as a gopher for Magneto than a true threat to the X-Men. That is why it was so shocking when Bryan Singer announced him as one of the villains in his 2000 movie. Played by the amazing Ray Park, Toad became one of the coolest characters in the film. With that in mind, Marvel comics reworked the character to bring some of that cool back to the comics.
Comic fans know that the DC universe contains two characters with the name The Sandman. The first appeared in 1939, Wesley Dodds was a detective who used a sleeping gas to sedate criminals. Over time, Dodds fell off of the map becoming almost non-existent in the world of comics. Then in January 1989, Neil Gaiman used Dodds as the inspiration for his character Morpheus in the comic The Sandman. A god of sorts, Morpheus is the living incarnation of dream. Gaiman’s story is a seminal work, which won almost every award in the industry and is the only comic to win a World Fantasy Award.
What was DC to do when they acquired Charlton Comics and their entire catalog of characters? Give them to Alan Moore and see what he would come up with. Fortunately for DC, Moore came up with what is arguably the most influential superhero story of all time, Watchmen. Though most of the Charlton characters are no longer used in comics, the heavy comics reader will eventually stumble across The Question, who was the inspiration for fan favorite Rorschach.
Bucky Barnes a.k.a The Winter Soldier
One of the tried and true rules of comics was that Captain America’s teenage sidekick from WWII was to always stay dead. Well, like all rules in comics, it was made to be broken. In 2005 Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting brought Bucky back as the Winter Soldier. Decked out with a new robotic arm and amnesia, Bucky was briefly an antagonist for Cap. Now back on track mentally, The Winter Soldier has become an Avenger and fan favorite.
Created in 1976 by Steve Englehart, Star-Lord was designed to be a planet hopping swashbuckler introvert. Unfortunately for Englehart, he was never able to see his character to maturation. Shortly after Star-Lord’s creation, Englehart left Marvel, leaving the character behind. Looking for new sci-fi tales, Marvel gave Star-Lord to writer Chris Claremont to revamp. A character who has been changing for years, Star-Lord’s newest incarnation seems to be tied heavily to Chris Pratt’s film portrayal in last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Talk about your shocking revamp, but even Batman wasn’t in his final famous form fresh out of the box. One major character trait of Batman is that he doesn’t kill and in line with that, he doesn’t carry a gun. Well, this may shock some of you but in the first few Batman tales, he carried a gun and shot people with it. Then in Detective Comics #33, fans were shown the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents which introduced the idea that Batman abhorred guns.