I have a legitimate question. Why does everyone scream “racist/sexist/insertfearmongeringslander” when a fan isn’t happy about a company changing a character? Are we so caught up in PC bullshit that we don’t see that we’re now changing characters just because? And they’re not even doing it in a way that stays true to the characters. Let me explain.
Let’s start with the most obvious one: Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic 4 movie. There a lot of people upset about Michael B Jordan’s casting in the role, and every time someone is, they’re called a racist. And some of them may be, I’m sure there are people that fall into that category out there. But here’s the main issue that the defenders are missing: Johnny has a sister on the team. Not an adopted sister, not a half-sister. Sue was and always has been Johnny’s full blood sister, and the rock that anchors his fiery temper and personality. I actually find the casting a bit racist because they separated the characters so that they only had to add one black “token” hero to the team. Why not do something crazy and cast a black Sue to keep the story as close to history as possible? Seems like the wrong people are getting called out to me.
And one that I took to heart very strongly was the change that DC made to Wally West in his short appearance so far in the New 52. Wally has been known for decades by his bright red hair. It’s a stand out physical feature on a character that’s part of a lineage of heroes that otherwise DONT have standout physical features. And they made him half black. But that’s not even the problem. They also made him a troubled street youth with an absent father. Really? You take the most light-hearted character in the whole DC universe, and you make him an extra from Boyz N Da Hood? I really felt like the writers did more harm than good on that one...
And this brings me to my final point. Writers have no shortage of ability to create new minority heroes. In fact, some of the most famous ones already around are now taking the mantles of their former cohorts. Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, is the new Captain America. Rhodie has been Iron Man more than a few times, and I’m sure no one would hesitate to enjoy him as the man in the iron mask once again. Jane is now Thor for crying out loud! And you know what? That kind of intelligent character planning is awesome! Because to be honest with you, taking well-loved and established character, using a darker shading pallet, and making them speak Ebonics is more insulting than anything I could say about the subject.