Friday, January 13, 2012

Wouldn't It Be Cool If Terry McGinnis and Red X Were Part of the Current DC Universe?

DC's new 52, spawned by the Flashpoint story arc, has gotten the gizmos in my head grinding in ways I'd almost forgotten they could. It had been years (read: days) since I dared to imagine a plausible reason for why certain characters could appear in the DC Universe as it existed then, and even longer since I imagined my favorite character from that great Teen Titans animated series showing up to cross staves with Robin. What with Jason Todd turning out to be the new Red Hood and all, that seemed less likely than Mother Mae-Eye making a comic debut.

Which isn't too unlikely considering Bat-Mite, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Ambush Bug exist. Although Larry seems more likely, but I earnestly hope neither of these villains make it into the canon. They have a way of sidetracking things.

It also seemed that any return of the ill-fated Terry McGinnis, star of the hit animated series Batman Beyond, as far as the main continuity was concerned were entirely out of the question. Despite DC yanking Harley Quinn out of the DCAU and into their main universe, a number of better, more sophisticated characters were left to perish in the realm of forgotten 90's and early 00's cartoon series.

Although there have been some seriously sweet cameos.
Of course, this is where the thought-machine between my ears comes in. You see, this terrible little device churns out far more material than it knows what to do with, both original, and fan. And naturally, it's come up with a way to incorporate Terry McGinnis and Red X into the main DC continuity in a way that would satisfy fans and accountants alike. It satisfies fans by kicking ass, and it satisfies accountants by having the potential to release two titles that are connected well enough to market together. Actually, they're connected pretty damn well.

Let's start by introducing just who these characters are. I'll begin with Terry McGinnis, the Batman of the future. He's just as grim as his mentor, and just as stubborn as well. Terry prefers to do things his own way, which tends to put him at odds with any more traditional heroes he teams up with (like Static, who I might add, is currently part of the main DCU). Also like the more well-known Batman, Terry has a whole list of unique gadgets to help him out of just about any situation. And his suit looks badass.

I'm the Batman.
Red X was originally an alias used by Robin (Dick Grayson) in the Teen Titans animated series to trick Deathstroke and become his apprentice (in an attempt to defeat him.) After this plan's inevitable backfire, the Red X costume was stolen by someone who then decided it was his life's mission to best the original Robin. It was often speculated that this second Red X, who quickly learned how to handle the suit which basically used modified versions of Robin's own arsenal, was actually Jason Todd based exclusively on the fact that he at one time mentions that he and Robin had the same master (Batman). His identity, however, is never revealed. Also, he has a badass costume.

And you get a big, red X. On your crotch.
Now how do both of these characters, who are largely unrelated, manage to fit in the main DCU continuity, without messing up either of their own continuities, the main continuity, and being so closely connected that I had to put them into the same post and not give them each the individual unique article they deserve?

Terry McGinnis, being in only one of infinity potential futures for the DCU, could easily have his own title set in his time period. They could even tie this in with other future-set titles like The Legion of Superheroes if they wanted to, but that's not really something I'm going to talk about. The Batman Beyond title that my brain matter is proposing here, however, would, because of certain circumstances, be set "before" events in the main DCU, despite actually happening decades later. Are you with me? You will be.

Time travel is a common comic book trope. So much so that DC superheroes are constantly buzzing around from one century into another, indiscriminately punching holes through reality and totally warping actual historic events for the soul shattering reason of: "Because I felt like it."

And also "Because crossovers are cool."
As we can see above, Terry isn't exactly a stranger to this whole time-hopping phenomenon. It really isn't too far fetched to say that maybe Terry gets sucked out of his own era and blasted right into that of the main DC Universe. Which goes a long way to explaining my contrived and terribly confusing description of the order of events a paragraph or two above. You see, the Batman Beyond series would have to take place before Terry gets sucked into the modern era, so any adventures Terry has in the modern era happen after the events  in the future even though they're happening in the past. Got it?

McGinnis's face the entire future is doomed.

Enter Red X.

Terry can't jump around the world wearing his Batman uniform. That would attract far too much attention from the exact person he can't afford to attract any attention from. He needs to hide himself from everybody. Citizens, villains, heroes, and Batman. His face is one that can be seen by nearly nobody, and his super identity has to be one that currently isn't in use. At all.

We all know where this is going. Get on with it.
Having lived in the future and read up on the history of the superhero community, Terry McGinnis knows about Dick Grayson's brief and failed stint as Red X. Knowing exactly where the costume is stashed away, and exactly how to break in to get it because he probably walked by it a half-dozen times in his own reality, he steals the alias and becomes the current Red X.

Which works right in with absolutely everything Red X ever said in his own appearances that would even remotely hint at his identity. Having once stated that he and Robin had the same tutor heavily implied that Red X was actually one of the two (now three) future male Robins, however it also leaves open the possibility that Red X is actually Terry McGinnis because he was trained by Bruce Wayne too.

Robin: "I thought you didn't like playing the hero."
Red X: "Doesn't mean I don't know how to."
Terry would totally say that.
As Red X, Terry sets off on his quest to return to the future which could easily put him at odds with Red Robin (Tim Drake), Nightwing (Dick Grayson), or literally any other member of the Batfamily that he could go on to antagonize and become a sort of rival with. The main reason for this would be the very direct way that Terry goes about doing things. If he needs a component for a time machine, and the easiest way to get that component is to steal it from a high-level-security facility, he's going to go right ahead and blast his way into that high-level-security facility.

And that's only the tip of the iceberg of what the hell my brain has done to this poor universe.