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.
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?