Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old Character, New Premise? Proposal #13

If you thought that you knew how skeptical Terrence Thirteen was, well, you really don't. Check this out:

Dr. 13 is, of course, busting a "ghost"...

Well, he fails to save the guy, but it still counts as a ghost busted:

And our explanation?

You mean you don't believe in The Flash?!? That's hard-core skepticism, brother, since you live in the DC Universe.

Now, I know it wasn't Thirteen who actually uttered that line; and I know you could easily interpret "that character in the comic books" as an odd turn of phrase, and it doesn't necessarily mean you don't believe in a founding member of the JLA. (For the record, this story was meant to appear in 1973, but got bumped to Phantom Stranger #34 (1975), so it's not like the world wasn't very familiar the Flash)

But you know what? That strikes me as a viable course for the new nu52 Dr 13.

In the old universe, he was the "I don't believe in no ghosts no matter what evidence you show me" skeptic.

Now? He's a hard-core believer. He has the Phantom Stranger on speed dial--literally! He's "spent a lifetime tracking and cataloging every supernatural and mystic incident across the globe. I know the actions and locations of every known and unknown entity." (Quote from Phantom Stranger # 2 (2012)).

So he's gone from being Scully to being Mulder. Now he's the Oracle of the mystic world.


So here's my proposal--13's most memorable character trait was skepticism. So don't throw that out--keep it! Just reshape it a bit!!

Now, instead of doubting the supernatural, he doubts super-heroes!! 

He doesn't believe a man could come to Earth from Krypton--he must be a demon. He refuses to believe a man could run at the speed of light--it must be magical trickery. A nuclear man? Pshaw--only fools would believe than humbuggery--Firestorm is clearly a minion from Trigon! Green Lantern and will power? Phooey, spell-power!!

Not only would this be a great set-up for the character (and justify a new back-up series in Phantom Stranger?); not only would that be a great way to tour some of the yet-unexplored corners of the nu52; but it would also be the set-up for the greatest twist of all time:

Because despite the evidence, Thirteen will never believe that the DC heroes aren't magical in nature, hiding behind fake science explanations. But in one case, he'll turn out to be correct, and we'll reveal that...

Well, that's why I'm not allowed to write comic books...


Kent G. Hare said...

I think a friend of mine met the Old Lady Version of your proposal for Doctor Thirteen in Walmart not too long ago. He was wearing a Superman tee-shirt and got accosted by her denouncing "super heroes" as being demonic. She wouldn't stop; he finally had to threaten to call store security and then shout "SHUT UP!" to get her to leave him alone.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Thirteen's skepticism could persist even after meeting the Spectre and Deadman, but it could not survive the nu52.