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Obscure DC Heroes From the Modern Age

 

Although DC Comics has actually decreased the number of characters they publish exponentially, they actually introduced a significant amount of characters, but a lot of them were introduced at the wrong time, which is a time in which DC is focusing more on their established, well-loved characters instead of taking risks. 

Phantom Girl

 

Phantom Girl in The Terrifics #1. Credit: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado

 

The first character on this list is one that comes from an initiative by DC that went against their publishing norm, in which they introduced a multitude of characters at the same time that they were decreasing the amount of B-list heroes they were publishing. Phantom Girl was one of the characters from the New Age of Heroes, which includes Damage, Silencer, Sideways, The Terrifics, The Immortal Men, The Curse of Brimstone, New Challengers, and The Unexpected. Phantom Girl is one of The Terrifics. The Terrifics consist of Phantom Girl, Mister Terrific (Curtis Holt), Metamorpho, and Plastic Man, with Element Dog, Ms. Terrific, and Offspring as reserve members. 

Phantom Girl, aka Linnya Wazzo, is from the planet Bgztl, whose inhabitants have the power to turn intangible. Phantom Girl is the ancestor of the Legion of Superheroes member Phantom Girl, who hails from the 30th century. As a child, Linnya and her parents went on a vacation, but they encountered a space storm on their way home. Linnya’s parents sent her in an escape pod out into space in order to save her life, and she crashed down on a different planet. That storm was actually the Dark Multiverse, meaning Linnya was trapped in the Dark Multiverse, and that made her unable to stop being intangible. 

The Terrifics #1. Credit: Ivan Reis

Linnya was saved though by a few heroes who accidentally entered the Dark Multiverse. Those heroes were Plastic Man, Metamorpho, and Mister Terrific. They found Linnya, and they returned to the main earth. When they did that, they became The Terrifics. The Terrifics had a book that lasted for 30 issues and one annual. 

Damage

Damage #7. Credit: Tony S. Daniel, Danny Miki

 

Another character from the New Age of Heroes initiative, Damage shares a name with Grant Emerson, the son of Al Pratt and a member of the Justice Society. Other than that, they are completely different. This Damage, who was created by Robert Venditti and Tony S. Daniel, was a US Army recruit by the name of Ethan Avery Jr. Avery joined the Damage Project, which was a US government project that gave him powers that, once per day for an hour, he would turn into a hulking monster.  After a mission, Damage broke free of his captivity and went on a rampage. A variation of the Suicide Squad (consisting of Akando, Deadshot, Giganta, Harley Quinn, Parasite, and Solomon Grundy) were tasked to track him down, and they attempted to attack him,  but he transformed into Damage and easily dispatched them. After that, Wonder Woman came and confronted Damage in order to try and stop him from causing more damage. Damage easily dispatched Wonder Woman and fled. The damage had a 16 issue run that ended in 2019. 

Sideways

Sideways #1. Credit: Kenneth Rocafort

 

Sideways was created by Kenneth Rocafort and former co-publisher of DC Dan Didio. Sideways was a Gotham City-based teenager who gained powers after falling into the Dark Multiverse through a portal in Challengers Mountain. When Sideways, aka Derek James, got out of the Dark Multiverse, he found out that he had superpowers when he accidentally teleported back to Gotham City. After about a month, Derek’s friend created a costume for him in which he fought crime. However, when Derek first attempted to fight, he was confronted by an extraterrestrial being, Tempus Fuginaut, who attempted to kill him because he was disrupting the space-time continuum. 

Gotham

 

Gotham and Gotham Girl in Batman Vol 3 #1. Credit: David Finch and Matt Banning

 

The next hero on our list is the hero known as Gotham, with his real name benign Henry Clover, Jr. (Due to the fact that Tom King decided to name Gotham after the city he was operating in, it would be confusing to refer to him as Gotham, so I will instead be referring to him as “Clover.”) Clover and his sister, Gotham Girl, became superheroes after gaining powers similar to Superman’s, and they made their public debut when they helped save Batman when he was unable to keep a jet plane from crashing into Gotham City. Batman decided to take both Clover and his sister under his wing in order to make sure they did not destroy the city due to their inexperience. Problem is, he did not take into account the fact that he has a rogues gallery with villains that have mind control powers. 

Hugo Strange teamed up with Psycho-Pirate in order to manipulate Clover. Psycho-Pirate used his powers in order to force Clover to murder a multitude of Amanda Waller’s men. Clover accidentally took off his mask, so the only survivor of the massacre then went on to murder Clover’s parents and orphaned him. Psycho-Pirate used his powers, amplified by the rage Clover was feeling, and sent Clover on a rampage. It turns out that Clover’s powers came from feeding on his lifeforce, so the rampage drained Clover of his life force and killed him.

 

Bluebird

Harper Row as Bluebird in Batman Vol. 2 #28. Credit: Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs

Our final hero is one that is the least obscure out of any of these heroes. Her name is Harper Row, and she created the mantle of Bluebird. Harper Row was created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo in Batman vol. 2 #1, which was the Batman comic series made after the New 52 happened. Harper Row is extremely talented with machinery, and that is how she met Batman. Harper and her brother, Cullen, were in an abusive household, so Harper was granted emancipation and moved out with her brother. Harper got a job as an electrical engineer for the Gotham City electrical grid. 

Harper Row was given a ticket to the Wayne Gala by her landlord who gave her a ticket in exchange for a Harper working on wiring. The gala was where Bruce Wayne was to announce his revitalization project would involve Harper’s home being torn down. Harper did not want to go, but Cullen convinced her to go because of his crush on Tim Drake, who was Bruce Wayne’s ward. While at the gala, Alfred Pennyworth asked Harper what she thought of the revitalization project, to which she responded by saying “can’t get [her] hopes up whenever some rich guy who probably never set foot in the Narrows says he’s going to fix it up”. 

A few days after the gala, a gang of bullies attempted to attack Harper and her brother, but they were stopped by Batman. Harper attempted to locate videos of Batman, but could not, so she used her job as an engineer to track him using the electrical grid. She used this to find him and save his life, even though Batman did not approve of her working with him. 

Harper first appeared as Bluebird when she helped Red Robin (who was secretly Tim Drake) with dealing with a plague of nanobots. Harper stayed as Bluebird for a while, but she retired the mantle when she needed to go off to college. She still stays in regular contact with the Bat-Family through Lee Thompkins’ clinic though. 

Written by Donovan Reed