We all get a little bored sometimes. When normal people want to experience something new, they'll buy some of those toe socks or finally start reading that book on French New Wave cinema... before defaulting back to their regular routine of watching VH1 reality shows while going foot-commando. Superheroes, by their very nature, mix it up on a larger scale. Sometimes their self-reinvention works out pretty well (The Flash is a classic example), but usually these "New Cokes" only serve to remind everyone how much they liked the Classic. Even when everything reverts to the status quo, these embarrassing hiccups are still immortalized on comics pages everywhere. In the interest of historical preservation -- but mostly just to be dicks -- we've compiled a list of the most ridiculous superhero reinventions below.
We should probably get this one out of the way first. For a brief period back in the 90s, Superman was dead. Well, as dead as any comic book hero can be. Instead of waiting the standard two years before making their move, DC immediately resurrected Superman in the form of four cheap wannabes. One was a young punk who named himself The Metropolis Kid, even though everyone just called him Superboy (including the people in the comic). This dip traded out the red cape for a leather jacket and John Lennon sunglasses, eschewing functionality and tradition for looking like a tool to everyone, forever. Continuing the trend of wordy-ass names is The Last Son of Krypton, a lethal version of Superman who evidently robbed Jek Porkins' corpse of his X-Wing visor. He turns out to be the Eradicator, an alien that biologically morphed himself into Supes and sort of forgot he used to be a weird supervillain. Readers have since returned the favor by forgetting that he ever existed.
Next up is The Man of Steel, who you might remember from that movie where Shaquille O'Neal played a genie that granted the wish of a famous basketball player to be in a godawful superhero movie. Like Superboy, Steel is unambiguously a good guy mostly because he shortened his name to something reasonable. Last is the villainous Man of Tomorrow, who later goes by Cyborg Superman because everyone stopped pretending DC wasn't trying to capitalize on the popularity of Terminator 2.
These chuckleheads spent a couple months vying for the title of Superman's true successor before the real deal finally came back with a mullet and a jet black dance leotard. Besides Superboy, the rest were sentenced to an eternity of toiling in obscurity, waiting around for bit parts. There was no weight, no real consequence to their arrival or speedy dismissal; they were four marketing ploys hammered out into characters, and that's how they read on the page. The death of the world's first superhero proved to be more awkward and off-putting than those black and white Nicolas Cage Superman photos.
Lobo was never an A-lister at DC Comics, but at least he always had his own thing going. Sure, he was a gross space biker with more forced 'tude than Bubsy and Shadow the Hedgehog combined, but at least there was no one else like The Main Man. He even survived the purge of DC's New 52 reboot, but eventually it was revealed that Lobo had stolen his name and identity from someone else; this "real" Lobo is sleeker, sexier and has no hair on his body that isn't a part of his stylized coif. In other words: he's just like everyone else in superhero comics.
It's not that it's a bad idea for a storyline -- stealing someone's identity and using their reputation to his own end kinda sounds like something Old Lobo would do -- but the Old Lobo had his own unique brand of groadiness, whereas this new one seems like a kind of vanilla prettyboy they grow on organic casting couches in Space Los Angeles. What's worse is that DC is focusing squarely on New Lobo now, as evidenced by the first scene of the first issue of the new Lobo series:
So old Lobo is now dead (again, as dead as any comic book hero can be), and his long-lost Brobo is taking back his title and going on all-new interplanetary bounty hunter adventures. It's not even a bad comic, but it's just baffling that DC felt the need to wipe the slate clean by slashing and burning everything that came before -- this New Lobo is not much like his predecessor, so why destroy a long-standing fan favorite instead of creating a new character to fight alongside (or against) the existing one? The name doesn't even carry that much weight, so the only people who you'll reach with that low-key name recognition are the same folks that you pissed off by obliterating Old Lobo and replacing him with a character that has no teeth.
And you know, I wasn't gonna mention it, but tell me you can look at New Lobo's space motorcycle and not immediately think of that South Park episode where Mr. Garrison invents a new vehicle:
I guess it beats going to the airport.