A Homage to Heroes
"But even bound by the Paradox Protocol, powerless to end the war raging on in Europe, Overman does not lose spirit. For he knows that even the smallest battles may win the greatest victories!" (Adventure Comics #23)
It's also little annoying that it can't do the right style of mask for the Hookman. (No, not "Hookman". "The Hookman.") Or the hook that should sit atop his cowl, like a metal mohawk or a centurion's crest in cold pointy steel. Or the spring-loaded longshoreman's hooks built into his gauntlets... yanno, for combat or climbing. What do you mean, "a bit Batman"? But he's a child of the streets! Mother dead in childbirth, see, orphaned when his old man was killed for his gambling debts, hung by handcuffs on an abbatoir meathook and shot dead as the boy watched from his hiding-place. Lucky he was sent to juvie where a boxing coach set him on the right path, got him a job as a stevedore and his first pro bout... only for Coach to be murdered when our man refused to throw a match for a crime boss! Little did he know when he donned his costume to bring a reckoning on the racketeer...
"That voice, those eyes... could it be? The Shark is... the man who killed my father!" (Defender Comics #27)
And then there's Monkeyboy. No, not "Fearless Wizard". What kind of name is "Fearless Wizard"? That's just rubbish. OK, so he's missing his tail, and his sideburns, and it should be a straight staff rather than that lumpy thing. It all began on a field trip to a museum, you see, an innocent excursion interrupted by a criminal heist. Sent crashing through a display case in the panic, young Harry Houlihan throws a cut hand out to steady himself, but when his blood hits the staff of the ancient Chinese Monkey God, its power courses into him and he transforms into... Monkeyboy! Leaping from lamp-post to flagpole, firing himself through the air with a staff that can spring from six feet to sixty in an instant, fighting those Sixties super-villains... but he still has the problems of a typical teen.
"Why do I have hair there?! Oh my gosh, I have a tail?!" (The Marvelous Monkeyboy #1)
And, of course, you're limited to the one body type, whereas Monkeyboy should be less of a jock and more of a gymnast. As should Kid Swift, teen sidekick to the Hookman, shown here in what is clearly one of his more modern, less... um... flouncy interpretations. There have, of course, been a number of Kid Swifts over the years, with various origins. My favourite is the second, Todd Jonas, an orphaned street kid like Hookman himself (by then, the "the" in the character's name had largely been dropped,) he survived by his wits, "hustling and grifting" until the Hookman took him in. Yes, the fan-voted outcome of the controversial late-80s "The Costume in the Closet" storyline was disappointing, but with his resurrection in the wake of AC Comics' Ultimate Catastrophe cross-over, one can only hope the world's first sodomite superhero will actually get to do something other than suffer and die.
"Golly gosh gumdrops, Hookman! I don't think it's just the Jester's laughing gas, that's making me feel so gay!" (Hookman, Season 2, Episode 5)
Next... Support the war effort! Buy war bonds! And be as ever-vigilant as... the Legion of American Watchers!