Revamp a character to make him or her more interesting

Any character from any medium: literature, drama, film, television, comics. No rules. Just tell who, why they come to mind, and what you’d change.

Wow. That was so brief I can’t believe I’m the one who wrote it.

I’ll start things off with Lex Luthor.

Why: Because my coworker one cube over, for reasons opaque to me, is watching endless Smallvilleclips on YouTube right now. Well, actually the same clip, over and over again, loud enough so that I can hear the clip even though he has the headphones plugged in. Obviously I’m going to have to drop him in the mutant caterpillar pit later, but in the meantime he’s got me thinking about ole Baldie.

What I’d change about Lex:

I don’t like Lex being pure evil, or, in fact, even thinking of himself as evil. He shouldn’t be any sort of ordinary super-criminal; he’s no more ally himself with the Joker or Dr. Light than that guy from Krypton would. So I’d take him back to his Byrne-era corporate bigwig days, but with a few changes.

First, I like Luthor being from Smallville and having been friends with Clark. Said friendship should have been as sincere on Lex’s side as it was on Clark’s; as teenagers, each considered the other his brother by another mother. Moreover, he should NOT have been dark and villainous as a teenager and not have been distrusted by the Kents and Lana Lang; even as an adult, he still has a soft spot in his left ventricle for them. He’s the world’s richest man, and entirely self-made.

Lex’s motivations for villainy should be akin to Arion’s in the Busiek run. He thinks metahumans and super-powered aliens, whether “heroes” or “villains,” are bad for mankind’s development; by allowing itself to become dependent on the Justice League and its ilk, society harms itself in subtle but inevitably devastating ways. He sees super-heroes as well-meaning but misguided; he thinks the JLA is someday going to get Earth into an interstellar war that they won’t be ready for, or, even worse, that people will become complacent and unambitious because of being constantly outshined by demigods in tights. So his problem is with the superhuman community in general, of which his boyhood friend is the greatest symbol. In this framework, he’s by far the most competent villain around; he prefers to work in subtle ways, to discredit Supes & the rest, rather than anything overt. He’d rather not kill any hero he doesn’t have to, but if he has to he’s not going to cry about it. Even so, if the Joker came in his office looking for an alliance, Lex would shoot him until he looked like a piece of Swiss cheese.

Oh, and Lex is perfectly aware of Superman’s secret identity, and Supes knows he knows. But he can’t bring himself to capitalize on it, any more than he can bring himself to outright kill Supes, because he still loves the Kents, and Lana, and, in a small way, Clark himself; and in turn, Clark still loves him a little and feels the pain of their estrangement very strongly. The only time Lex would ever don a battle-suit would be if some villain were attacking Smallville, and if he and Clark ran into each thereabouts, neither of them would do a thing to the other, because they’re not enemies in that little speck of Kansas.

Anybody else?

Skald the Rhymer,

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

I would re-write most every character in David Edding’s series to their character traits in the first two books of the Belgariad. As he went along, his characters degenerated into thinly disguised versions of Silk, all witty banter and sardonic ripostes. I LIKED Barak as a hulking, brooding, self-loathing giant, Polgara as the waspish caregiver, and Mandorallen as a toweringly noble, self-possessed, combat idiot savant. All the others would regain their original identities as well.

Skald, I don’t know how into comics you are, but you could do worse than to check out the mini-series Lex Luthor: Man of Steel. In it, Lex is much as you describe him, and I agree that it’s a good way for Lex to be. What assurance do we have that Superman is a good guy? Only his word!

If we’re thinking about the same miniseries, I agree. The difference is that I want Luthor to be more sincere, and I wouldn’t at all mind intimations that there is some merit to his POV.

I would take lame-o camp mascot Bucky Barnes and turn him into an ubercompetent killing machine.

Which I’m sure you know has already been done.

I was going to make a cruel joke about catamites, but I decided it was beneath even me. Had we been talking about Batman & Robin I would have, but I have just put Steve Rogers on my Do Not Mock list.

I would like to see Batman unprepared.

Okay, so I’ll take Dick Grayson and make him wear long pants for a change.

Also been done. Grayson has been wearing long pants as Nightwing for a very long time. The Robins who have followed on his heels and the Robin in the Teen Titans series (we don’t know him other than as Robin) wear an updated costume that covers the legs.

Fine, fine. So I’ll turn Oliver Queen from a wealthy Batman clone to temperamental leftist with a thing for blonde chicks.
Scumpup, you’ve been whooshed.

To post a serious reply…

Pumyra She was always the blandest of the Thundercats, by far. Even the other two ‘new’ Thundercats got more personality than her. We know she’s cute, she wears very little clothing, and she carries a sling. I believe she was also a doctor, but that might be fanon.


Considering her clothes, she’s got to be some sort of flirt/slut. Since she’s wears a collar and a rope (okay, it’s her sling, who knows how that works) I’d make her into a closeted bondage babe. Yeah. Nothing real overt in public, but in private her and Ben Gali are taking turns tying each other up.

Otherwise, make her more essential by playing up her healing skills. Everybody else has special skills (Cheetara has her 6th sense, Lynx-o is… blind [somehow that became a skill, honest], Ben Gali is a blacksmith and fixes the Sword, etc), so when people get hurt, she patches them up and berates them for being too stupid to move when something is flying at them.

Play up Sherlock Holmes’ cocaine addiction and it’s effect on his mental powers. When he doesn’t get his fix, he becomes very depressed and fixated on getting some more. He overlooks details or skips over investigative steps to get to where he can take some more coke. Sometimes, he doesn’t have access to his 7% solution so he ingests it in other ways, and gets an inconsistent dose. He becomes manic and paranoid, makes associations that are not there. He can only perform at his peak efficiency when he has recently injected his cocaine in the proper proportions - too much or too little causes him real problems.


There’s a TV show on Fox called House that you might want to look into…

I’ve watched it a couple of times, but the plots are too outlandish, and it seems every episode I’ve watched they end up breaking into someone’s house for medical clues - is that an every-episode kind of thing? Also, I can’t stand Hugh Laurie’s American accent.

Batman - Either tone him down so he’s on par with other DCU badass normals - Green Arrow, the original Wildcat, the original Black Canary, Mr Terrific, etc - or stop the pretence of him being a badass normal - make him a metahuman with enhanced intellectual and physical abilities, so that it actually makes sense that he’s a better fighter than all but a handful of men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to hand-to-hand combat, knows more about history than any historian, is a better tactician than the princess of a warrior nation, is a better escape artist than anyone short of Mister Miracle, etc, etc, etc, et-fucking-cetera.

Also, either have him treat his friends like friends, or have them abandon him…the way he’s been characterized for more than a decade is positively toxic.

Mainly a joke because the title character exhibits some of the drug-related characteristics you mentioned in relation to Holmes.

To answer your question, it’s fairly common, yes.