Retcon This! The Deaths of Ralph & Sue Dibny

In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.

It was entertaining for a little while, DC. It's over now, so bring 'em back to their roots.

DC’s “New 52” has infinite possibilities. Wonder Woman has a new daddy. Superman is kind of a dick. And G’Nort apparently never existed. So while making changes that have fans divided, why not make one that would be met with nearly unanimous acclaim? I’m talking of course, about the fates of Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, and his wife Sue. The past few years have not been kind to them, and bringing them back with their old personalities intact would brighten up the DCU immensely.

Their troubles all started in Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis miniseries. I’m not here today to debate it’s merits, but there’s no denying the Dibnys had it rough. Not only was Sue, one of the most positive and internally loved characters in the DCU, murdered, but she was retroactively raped as well. I’ll admit, though to me it seemed unnecessarily dark, it did lead to Ralph’s epic journey in the 52 maxiseries, which was a fantastic story. (Hell, nearly all of 52 was fantastic.) It also left them in cool, interesting position for future stories: ghost detectives! But aside from a few appearances in Batman and the Outsiders, nothing was done with them.

Then came Blackest Night, and the Dibnys were brought back as some of the first Black Lanterns, killing Hawkman & Hawkgirl at the end of the first issue. When the mini was over, the Hawks and several other dead characters were resurrected, but the Dibnys weren’t among them. Outside of flashbacks or stories set in the past they haven’t appeared since.

The New 52 is a perfect opportunity to bring them back. With no need to explain exactly how they returned due to the reboot (especially with the exact canonicity of events like Blackest Night and it’s ilk in question), they’re free to just show up like none of the preceding events have ever happened. They could return as the fun-loving, mystery solving couple we all know and love. There’s even lots of options as to where they could make their reappearance. Ralph originally debuted in the pages of The Flash, so that would work, especially with their old friend Barry Allen once more the Scarlet Speedster. Ralph was a longtime member of several versions of the Justice League, and Sue was as close to being a full-timer as an honorary member could get, so having them in Justice League International makes sense. Or you could give them some nice solo adventures in the pages of the DC Universe Presents anthology series. C’mon DC. You want the relaunch to appeal to as wide a demographic as possible. So why not bring back two great characters that fans have been clamoring for?


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Who ARE these people!?

As one of the co-founders of Panels on Pages, Robert Eddleman will happily read any comic that catches his interest, regardless of publisher. Aside from comics and PoP!, his other passions include worshipping Joss Whedon, getting lost in TV Tropes, and watching muscled men hit each other with folding chairs.

Comments (2)

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  1. D-Rock says:

    Have fans really been clamoring for them? 😆

    I can’t say I have any great love for these characters, and Identity Crisis & 52 probably made them more relevant than they’ve been in 40 years. Having them find love & happiness in death would be a fitting end for them, IMO.

    IF they did reappear in the new 52, I honestly hope it’s a complete overhaul power-wise, probably to the chagrin of these supposed clamoring fans. Another sleuth character could be fun, but the comic world doesn’t need another stretchy hero. His power doesn’t even define his character, it’s unnecessary. If it were just a straight up detective book with Ralph as a normal guy, that I’d give a chance.

  2. David page says:

    One supposedly clamouring fan here…

    I want Identity crisis gone…I hate that story….saying that 52 is still fantastic and Ralphs story was one of the highlights…


    This is hard without identity crisis ralphs story can’t happen…

    But if that didn’t happen they could still be consulting detectives in opal city…

    Ooh maybe they’ll appear in the shade…

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