Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Ballistic design by Joe Prado

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Artist Joe Prado is selling his zombified redesign of Ballistic from Blackest Night, which begs the question of why one would bother with a such a thing if the character was so irrelevant that he's misidentified in the listing as "Commando?" Do you remember seeing Ballistic in that event, and if so, did you get much of a kick out of it? I obviously have a soft spot for the New Bloods in general, especially guys like Ballistic whose debut annuals weren't terrible and who had a presence in the DC Universe beyond Bloodbath. Part of me wants to get up on my high horse over DC killing another of its very few Asian characters, especially one that wasn't a gross stereotype. On the other hand, the more critically I examine the character, the less potential I see. Hell, Ballistic wasn't even the best Asian New Blood (Nightblade, in case you were wondering.)

Ballistic on the surface looks pretty cool. There aren't any good super-heroes who come to mind who rock the full-on insectoid exoskeleton look (Blue Beetle looks like he's in robo-armor.) You could easily imagine Ballistic as some Guyver-type badass who jumps and maybe bites people with his mandibles and crap. Unfortunately, the exoskeleton is simply a full-body bulletproof vest for a guy who runs around shooting guns with a Rambo headband, basically coming off as a Teriyaki-flavored Cable. This should be obvious from his being named Ballistic, which not only is full of trademark/Google search fail, but was also previously taken by a more famous character who was a member of CyberForce. That's a little like being outshone by the drummer in Quiet Riot. Ballistic was also clearly in the Hong Kong action hero mode, still novel before John Woo overkill set in. Yet, he was bitten by an alien parasite instead of chewing on a matchstick while bullets and doves flew through the air. Bacon-flavored ice cream, anyone?

Could Ballistic have been salvaged? Sure, but so could a '93 Nissan Maxima with an expired engine life. When your origin is common, your generic name taken, and your powers mismatched with your m.o., it's probably best to cut losses and try to see what you can do with the similar Gunfire instead*.

*Vaporize his own ass with his powers, as I recall.

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