Thursday, February 10, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Geist design by Joe Prado

Click To Enlarge

I find it odd that Moon Knight co-creator Doug Moench came up with the gun-toting Ballistic, and longtime Punisher writer Chuck Dixon created the nighttime avenger Geist. Then again, Dixon also wrote most of the '90s Moon Knight series, and Geist was more of a poor man's Spider-Man anyway. Actually, I think that undersells the character's liability. Geist was the destitute, unwashed, toothless man's Friendly Neighborhood WTF? The thing about Geist is that most of his adventures weren't half-bad, and his personality (however derivative) was likable enough. He had a nice costume, designed by the artist of his very attractive looking debut story, Jim "Your Vagina is Haunted" Balent. No, what killed Geist was his powers, or rather lack thereof.

Geist could turn sort of invisible under very specific circumstances. You couldn't see him in direct light. He therefore became a nighttime avenger. Why would he do that, you ask? You see, Geist couldn't see himself in direct light, because he went blind when the power was in use. In low light, he had enhanced vision, but he didn't turn invisible in low light. That wouldn't be a major problem if he was a ninja or a grizzled ex-cop, but Geist was just a random unexceptional douche-bag who made quips and pranced around in a jazzercise outfit.

This colossal disability did not stop Geist from being one of the most (pun intended) visible New Bloods to come out of Bloodlines. He was part of a group that teamed-up with the Martian Manhunter, was drawn by Phil Jimenez a few times, and was in the "super-group" the Blood Pack from 1995 until his death alongside them a decade later in Infinite Crisis.

It takes an exceptional combination of elements to create a super-hero that can become world renowned and stand the test of time. It only takes the ridiculous handicapping of an already lame power to insure that you will someday be killed with little fanfare in an event book. Such is the song of Geist.

No comments: