Matter Eater Lad: To Reboot Or Not To Reboot?
Hello out there in Geekdom! It’s important for our jaded staff of writers to occasionally get some fresh perspectives and see what other people have to say about the subject matter we love so dearly. Today we have an excellent example written by a guest blogger.
I recently read an article by my good friend Biff Tannen, on a relatively obscure Marvel character named Moon Knight. Those who know me know that I love me some Moon Knight. He is essentially the crazy version of Batman….if that makes any sense. i thoroughly enjoyed the read, however was saddened at the end result. It made me realize how many people do not know of Marc Spector, who is Moon Knight. It got me thinking about other relatively obscure characters in the comics universe. I thought about Psimon, The Hood, Onomatopoeia, Maxie Zeus…all of them great characters, but just did not get the same exposure as most others….maybe Maxie did. Out of all the characters I could think of, the one that stands out the most ….is Matter Eater Lad.
Hands up who has heard of him? I’ll wait…..and not a single hand in the air. How many people know of the Legion of Superheroes? Future protectors of the universe with a revolving door of characters that would make anyone’s head spin. A list of heroes ripe for the obscure. With members such as Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Chlorophyll Girl, Mon-El, and a host of others, how could you just pick one? Easy. His name is Matter Eater Lad, and he eats….matter…all of it….all the time. A relatively small player in the grand scheme of things, but could he be more?
In the process of looking up some old issues and scouring the internet for more information on MEL, I learned that at one point, they made him a political figure on his home planet, a step in the right direction of sorts. It added more depth to the character, but at the same time, was somewhat of a cop-out. How many people have gone political just to make it seem as if they are more important than they really are? Lex Luthor even became President at one point, but that didn’t seem to add much to his already extensive list of achievements. He was nowhere nearer to killing Supes, as much as I would have liked him to (no offense to anyone, but I really want him dead and gone). Becoming political can definitely add to the overall personality of the character, but feel something different should be done with Matter Eater. A suggestion of a fall from grace.
Make him a villain, and have him kill a high-profile hero immediately. I wouldn’t necessarily say Superman or Batman, someone a bit more expendable….say Red Tornado? Or even Plastic Man? Plastic man is almost invulnerable, so having him eaten would be quite a shock. Imagine a scenario where the League responds to a distress call, and they find Matter Eater lad out of his own time, insane through time-madness (you know what I mean) munching down on some delicious plastic? I would buy two copies of that book. One to read, and the other one to throw as a distraction if I ever encounter MEL. I would love to read this book, and see the downfall of a future hero.
DC is known to do relatively frequent retcons of their titles, but most of the time it doesn’t change the characters alignment in such a drastic way. We may see villains become anti-heroes, heroes become anti heroes, villains become slightly more evil, heroes become more righteous, but never such a drastic change in personality. An it wont come off as a huge deal to most, but for fans of the Legion and MEL in general, it would be a big event.
In reality, we will most likely never see this happen. Which is a shame because it could be very good if handled properly. We all know how big of a deal it would be if the Joker suddenly decided to become a hero rather than the Clown Prince of Crime. Why can’t we afford the same treatment to the lesser known characters?
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