A few weeks back, Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good published his list of The Top Five Bloodlines Characters. As usual, I disagreed, and especially in light of running a blog named from the silly DC Annuals event from the '90s, I drafted my own selection of the Top 10 Bloodlines Characters. I also promised to cover the flip side, so here's what I feel are the Top 11 Worst Bloodlines Characters
11 & 10 (tie) Krag & Slingshot (Not Pictured)
As if there weren’t enough characters to juggle already between the established DCU heroes and the individual New Bloods from each book, the Justice League America annual went and added four more to the mix. Shadowstryke had a ‘90s kewl name and costume (complete with purple skull bandanna mask,) and he did stuff in the story, which puts him ahead of a number of New Bloods with annuals devoted entirely to them. On the other hand, there was Krag (a generic rocky monster guy) and Slingshot (a black chick in purple armor with kinetic propulsion abilities) who appeared just long enough to get their names and powers checked off. They were so lame, I forgot they had previously appeared before their panel or so walk-on in the issue of Bloodbath I used to refresh my memory of the rolls. Hell, you'll have to follow the links to see them, because they were beneath Comicvine's notice, and I'm sure not going to bother hosting the pictures myself.
9 & 8 (tie) Cardinal Sin & Samaritan
I've said many times that Denny O'Neil was terribly overrated in the '60s & '70s, to the post where I have trouble reading a lot of his much ballyhooed output from that period. The '80s was the decade where O'Neil finally earned the accolades, and he remained solid through the '90s. However, all I remember about this annual was that it sucked, and the characters were so forgettable they didn't even make it to Bloodbath. None of the Batman related Bloodlines were allowed to be in the Bloodlines card set, but there was no sin in omitting these two. They make Rodney James, the completely forgotten second New Blood from the Detective Comics Annual that debuted Geist, look like the best new character find of 1993.
Art Adams went to the trouble of designing seven deadly sin monsters for this event, and Slodd really lived up to his name as the alien parasite representative for sloth. Slodd turned up in the very first Bloodlines annual, and was killed in a matter of panels by a grenade. Knowing full well that there were several dozen annuals to fill with spine-sucking villainy... that these creeps needed to be impressive... and the obvious intention to have a themed alien team: Slodd lays down and dies the first time out. His human form never even made an appearance.
I appreciate that the world needs original super-heroines, but giving terrible ideas like this their own mini-series and additional appearances is sung to the tune of “Springtime for Hitler.” A computer hacker who literally hacks with arms that turn into T-2000 metal scythes? Plus, her I.T. support team were known as the Psyba-Rats, and got titular second billing? Does she battle a megalomaniacal Fisher Stevens as well?
I’ll be picking on the Bloodlines women a lot, not out of misogyny, but simple revulsion. Myriad is like trying to underline feminists themes in I Spit On Your Grave. She was Lex Luthor’s karate instructor, whom he choked to death with his bare hands after she proved his better at sparring. He didn’t shoot her or send goons, so how did that even work? She beat him in unarmed combat, but she couldn’t break a forward two-handed choke? Next, the murder happened in a standard Superman comic, which makes it both a) inappropriate for the context & b) a betrayal of the premise that all the New Bloods would be introduced in their annuals. Finally, Myriad had memory loss, and her power was to possess people until they died, or something. So Lex Luthor kills her, strips her very identity, is immune from prosecution, and Myriad herself is empowered by not only her own victimization, but a cycle of violence she perpetrates against others. Let’s not even get into the part where her nude corpse was partially drained by a parasite.
Mongrel was always pissed off about the racism he faced over his mixed heritage, so when he gained some boring ass energy manipulation super-power, he took out his aggression on society. That wouldn’t be so bad if he were an outright villain, but he was your typical ‘90s anti-hero with a trench coat, ripped jeans and fingerless gloves. That meant he was constantly getting into fights with actual super-heroes, and generally being a total jerk, then playing the race card to get out of jail free. I’m not sure which is more galling: that Mongrel was able to make several races look bad at once (prominent stereotype: angry injun, although he was actually African-Vietnamese-American,) or that I think the little bastard is still kicking around.
It isn’t so much that there’s anything inherent wrong with Chimera as a character (an East Indian who can manifest mythological beasts,) but that every story she has ever appeared in for more than a few panels has been mind-numbingly dull and ugly to look at. The thought of reading a Chimera story gives me physical pain. I expect this is due to co-creator Phil Jimenez's writing’s being such a slog, that he was the creator who finally got me to stop reading Wonder Woman after having already endured the runs of John Byrne, Eric Luke, and so very many terrible scribes behind related side projects. I somehow made it to the bitter end of Team Titans, along with Chimera, and the colossal cosmic ennui they instilled haunts me to this day. Plus, c'mon, she's a little too Indian, y'know? Like, Global Guardians/Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon Indian.
2) Joe Public
I think perhaps Joe Public was some sort of metacommentary on the lameness of the Bloodlines project. He was a gym teacher whose brother O.D.’d or something, so he figured he could parlay his expansive knowledge of dodgeball and flag football into urban vigilantism. Armed only with a dangerously impractical jacket, his rat-tailed mullet, and reflective sunglasses so outsized they looked like they were eating his face, Joe Public was promptly killed by an alien parasite while battling his archnemesis, an elderly dope-peddling midget. Upon resurrection, he could draw power from whoever surrounded him to embody the collective suck of entire neighborhoods. Not even the Blood Pack would take him, and they took Mongrel, so J.P. only wrangled a handful of guest appearances before getting his hands chopped off in a Prometheus special. By the way, nothing shows how un-formidable a super-villain is like having him kill characters best known for having been killed (sometimes repeatedly, because DC really needs a Handbook of the Dead these days to keep up with the body count.)
Jamm isn’t just the worst New Blood, but one of the worst characters, period. Bitter Andrew can explain. Go With It. Jamm ain’t too a-much to me.