Q&A #58 Who is your favorite legacy character?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Who is your favorite legacy character?



Anika

Um. I don’t really like legacies. Generally. Tim Drake is one of my favorite characters, but not as Robin so much as a member of Young Justice/Teen Titans or on his own. Which are legacies, but not. Carol Danvers is my most favorite character but the idea that she’s Mar-Vell’s legacy is probably last on my list of why. But I do have one favorite whose legacy status is a significant part of what I love. Cassie Sandsmark, the second Wonder Girl.

Cassie was introduced as the girl who wanted to be Wonder Woman. Meeting that goal, taking on that legacy, is the platform for her character. And she holds herself to it, often at a detriment. Cassie can be unforgiving, especially of herself. But she also lives as if becoming Wonder Girl and then Wonder Woman is her right, her duty and her purpose. To Cassie, it is who she is already. She just has to prove it.



Caroline

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, and won’t be the last, but I love Renee Montoya as The Question, in DC comics. The storyline in 52, in which the original Question, Vic Sage, passed his identity on to Renee, is the best exploration of legacy I’ve ever read: respectful to the history and spirit of the original character, while allowing the new one to grow and change.

There haven’t been nearly as many stories with Renee as I’d like — the post-52 and Final Crisis tie-ins were scattered, and the current backup series in Detective Comics is a bit too short to allow much depth. But I’ll take whatever Question stories I can get, and the recent Blackest Night tie-in — featuring Renee and Lady Shiva, Tot Rodor and the ghost of Vic — brought the classic creative team of Denny O’Neil, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz back to the book with great effect. Special hats-off to Greg Rucka (who writes Detective and co-wrote the Blackest Night issue) for his devotion to the character making this all happen.



Jennifer

Everyone seems to be campaigning for Clint Barton to return to the role of Hawkeye. I’ll admit that I, too, would love to see Clint wield a bow and show his full face on the battlefield once again (the better for quipping!). But I am not at all eager to see Kate Bishop, my favorite legacy character, lose the mantle.

Kate is a special legacy case for Marvel, even among the Young Avengers of which she’s a part. Other than the Vision, all the other characters have invented new names for themselves, and many — like Hulkling and “Asgardian,” now Wiccan — are not actually legacies of the characters they first appeared to be.

But Kate is Hawkeye. The purple costume, the sassy attitude, the tendency to jump into a fight without thinking — these are all part of the Hawkeye legacy. So, perhaps even more importantly, is the determination to be a hero with no superpowers at all. And when Captain America gave her the name, and Clint’s bow, it wasn’t a patronizing action — it was a sign of respect for a teenage girl who was just as willing as Clint was to challenge heroic icons like Cap.

Kate didn’t know Clint. She only met him when he returned from the dead, after she’d already held his name for quite awhile. But even Clint himself was unwilling to take back the name, once he learned how much she’d earned and deserved it. I have no interest in seeing that taken away from her.

Besides, can’t they both be Hawkeye? My name is Jennifer Smith; I promise, you can still make an impact in the world without a unique name!



Sigrid

Batgirl. I not only like all four women who’ve worn the name of Batgirl, I like how DC and the writers of the comics have handled the transitions over time.

During the “No Man’s Land” story we see two of the Batgirls rise up, attempting to fill the void left by Bruce Wayne’s cowardly and ill-considered flight from Gotham. (Yes, I have issues with Batman in this story.) It’s Batman and Oracle’s rejection of Helena in the role of Batgirl that drives her to stand alone against the Joker — nearly recreating the fate of the first Batgirl. The legacy in this instance wasn’t handed down, wasn’t passed along. Barbara Gordon still clung to the name even though she knew she couldn’t be Batgirl any more. And she resented the hell out of this cocky young woman who tried to fill her shoes.

This wasn’t the case with Cassandra Cain, though. Cassandra’s competence in the face of some obvious handicaps won Barbara over. Babs let the name of Batgirl go with some reluctance, but ultimately with grace. Yet I think that in some way she could only bear to do it because Cassandra was dependent. Even as Barbara taught Cass and tried to encourage her to be a whole person, I think that Cass’s damage made her somehow less threatening to the first Batgirl. Barbara never seemed to stop thinking of Cassandra as a child, however brave and capable.

At the moment, though, we have the current Batgirl. Stephanie Brown has tried to be Robin, she’s been Spoiler, she’s paid her dues, lost everything, and come back to try again. If ever there was a woman ready to be Batgirl, it’s Steph. And Barbara has changed, too. She’s successfully run a superhero team, she’s lost her base of operations, she’s traveled the world — Babs has grown since her early Oracle days in the Clocktower. She’s grown since No Man’s Land. Barbara Gordon no longer has to defensively guard against accusations that she might not be pulling her weight, that she might not be good enough for the job. She’s ready to take on a mentoree as a partner. Working from a position of strength and confidence gained during her Birds of Prey years.

I’m enjoying the heck out of Batgirl. I like watching this legacy continue to change as the women who bear its name grow and change themselves.


Who is your favorite legacy character?

  • CoreytheDevil

    All good selections (despite Caroline and I having different opinions of Vic coming back lol), but I think my favorite legacy moniker has to be the Blue Beetle. Not only did Dan, Ted, and now Jaime carry the name with an equal amount of heart and idealism, but they time they spent with the name was radically different and almost independent of each other. Dan’s abilities seemed like magic, Ted relied on gadgets, and Jaime has the alien tech suit.

    I also like the direction of the new Nomad over on the Marvel side of the equation.

  • Does Bucky Cap count? I know Steve’s back, but I absolutely LOVED what Brubaker did with Bucky, particularly as he became Captain America himself.

    As for the selections, I could never bring myself to care much about either Wonder Girl or Hawkeye (though I agree that if Clint passed on the mantle to her, it should stay with her). But I do disagree on Batgirl, though. Not disagree per se, because it’s a matter of taste, really, but Cassandra Cain will always be Batgirl to me,not Stephanie, so she’s also one of my favorite legacy characters.

  • Anika

    @The Uranian Bucky Cap counts! I almost went with Connor Hawke and he’s not the current Green Arrow. (Which is probably WHY I almost went with him, really.)

  • JesTr

    Without a doubt Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. I grew up reading more Kyle GL comics then Hal. I won’t stir up the old argument because I like them both. They each bring something different to the table. I always liked the new creative constructs that Kyle comes up with.

  • @Corey I LOVE the new Nomad; I would have chosen her if I hadn’t talked about her so recently!

    The Blue Beetles, Bucky, and Kyle are all great answers, too. :)

  • I love all legacy characters, does that count? I mean, I should probably say Robin, since Dick Grayson is my favorite ever, and I love that he’s created his own legacy with the Robins. I might have to say Batgirl, since Babs is also one of my favorites, and seeing Steph in that role fills me with joy (and I love Helena and Cass and Bette) but um…

    I really don’t know! I love them all! I love that there are 87 different people running around calling themselves the Flash. I love that Irey West is Impulse. I love that there are thousands of Green Lanterns. I love the Superkids. I love everyone in the Green Arrow family. I love Jaime Reyes. And Nomad!

    I am clearly incapable of making a choice, so I will just say that reading about legacy characters and superhero families is what keeps me interested in comics.

    (The Batfamily. Totally my answer. With all of the legacies therein.)

  • Anika

    @Margot Your enthusiasm fills me with glee! But I think you might be my opposite.

  • Dan

    I don’t know if I can pick just one. Just to get Marvel out of the way, I’ve gone on record as loving all of the Young Avengers, especially Cassie. I’m also a fan of both the new Nomad and Rachel Grey (Summers…whatever).

    But, one of the things I love most about DC is that they’ve really embraced the concept of legacy heroes. That’s what was great about JSA, before they seemingly went against the entire concept of the book by breaking it up into two.

    Tim? Love him. Wally, Bart, Iris? Love ’em. Steph, Cassie, Dick, Courtney? Love them all.

    I just realized this doesn’t really answer your question, does it?

  • Wally East

    Wally West. He struggled with living up to Barry’s example for a long time. It gave him something to measure himself against as he tried to do the right thing. I loved when he felt that he finally measured up and became his own hero.

    I’m sort of interested to see how Barry’s return will affect Wally but I kind of wish Barry hadn’t come back at all. I was okay with moving on to Bart.

  • xenokattz

    Going to agree with Corey. I find newest Blue Beetle is everything that’s wonderful because I find his private life situation so very relateable. Not with the best friend’s aunt being a drug lord but the way his family know about his heroing and have very real reactions from Bianca & Alberto worrying about school to Milargo’s teasing.

  • This is an oddly difficult question for me, considering that Kara Zor-El is my very favorite character, and Ted Kord and Bart Allen are very close on her heels, and most of the rest of my favorites are legacies (as Dan mentioned, DC is lousy with legacies, and so I feel like I must tip my hat to Stephanie Brown, Guy Gardner, Conner Kent, and about a dozen others).

    But none of those characters interest me primarily because they’re legacies. I like that about them, sure (especially Steph, who seems to be going for some sort of Batfamily hat trick; I assume in a few years she will be the new Alfred, or perhaps the new giant penny), but it’s not what gets my motor running.

    But the Arrowfamily – that’s where the legacy is what matters to me. I love that Connor took up the mantle because even though Oliver Queen had disappointed him, Green Arrow hadn’t. I love that Roy has managed to inherit all of Ollie’s best and worst traits, and has mostly made peace with it despite all their bad history. I love that Mia has carved out this place for herself in the legacy, and that Cissie is out there, potentially part of it as well. I love that it’s pretty much assumed that someday Lian will step into her father’s shoes, and her grandfather’s, and I love that Ollie regularly seems baffled by this preponderance of kids who simultaneously adore him and want to push him out a window. I like all the Arrows well enough, but it’s their relationships with each other and especially with Ollie, the way they deal with basing their lives on, basically, the cheerfully deranged vision of a very flawed but essentially well-meaning Robin Hood obsessive, that makes them the legacy of my heart.

    …Wow, that was long.

  • @Jess I almost answered “The Arrow Family! All of them!” but my love for the Bats won out just a little bit.

    (Man, why aren’t Steph and Mia BFF? I am just saying, they should be.)

  • @Margot: Because they’re almost the exact same character? They’re probably all freaked out by the existential questions being friends would raise.

  • Menshevik

    It is hard to choose.
    For DC the first to come to my mind was one of my all-time favourites, the second Dove (Dawn Granger). But I also like some of those mentioned here, in particular Wally West as the Flash, Impulse, Kon-El, and Cassie Sandsmark as Wonder Girl. And most definitely Cassie’s good friend Cissie King-Jones aka Arrowette!
    (I might have also named Guy Gardner, but then I don’t see Green Lanterns as legacy characters but as members of a (big) group/team).

    For Marvel the top choice would probably be May Parker aka Spider-Girl. Runners-up in alphabetical order: Nomad II aka Bucky of the 1950s (Jack Monroes), Phoenix II (Rachel Summers), Phyla-Vell aka Captain Marvel IV aka Quasar (a double legacy!), and She-Hulk.

  • I am big on Blue Beetle, and am still agog at how DC screwed the pooch on him – really, you don’t reach out to Latino media *and* cancel the book just as he’s debuting in a show for kids?