Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Makeover: Kite Man

Charles "Chuck" Brown (his name is the first clue that he's going to be pathetic) was fascinated with kites as a small child, and that was all the motivation he needed to begin his super villain career as Kite Man in 1960's Batman #133. Most notable for his rocket propelled hang-glider, he used a variety of gimmicky kite weapons to rob penthouses and break criminals out of jail. He was regularly stopped by Batman (naturally using a bat-shaped hang-glider) and accidentally crashing into trees. And that was pretty much it for Kite Man, after a couple of appearances in the 60s and 70s, he could pretty much only be found somewhere in the background of crowd shots of super villains. Eventually Deathstroke killed him by throwing him off a building without his kites for refusing to join the Secret Society of Super Villains. He was then killed again a few years later for refusing to join Intergang. Yes, two different writers both went looking for a disposable super villain to kill and thought of Kite Man, and the second one didn't bother to check that he was already dead.

Kite Man's flaws as a character are numerous. We can start with him choosing a life of crime because of a fascination with kites. While a love of kites is a bit odd in a grown man, nothing about it actually suggests a need to commit crimes. And if you're going to be a super villain, a pink and yellow costume isn't exactly awe inspiring and the green version isn't a huge improvement. And like a lot of the weaker villain concepts, he also has no clear reason to be Batman's villain as opposed to any other superhero's, and obviously any character killed off twice to prove a point is in desperate need of a makeover. So what can be done to help Kite Man out?

Charles Brown was born rich. His parents largely ignored him, bouncing him from boarding school to boarding school and between tutors and nannies. He started shoplifting as a cry for attention but quickly grew addicted to the thrill it gave him. When he was eventually caught, his parents' money kept the store owner from pressing charges, and his father's beating dissuaded him from trying it again. The hunger for adrenaline was still there though. He found substitutes of course--mountain climbing, the x-games, MMA fighting--though he quickly grew bored with each. After his parents died and he inherited a fortune, Charles upped the ante. He raced fast cars, picked fights in bars, and set the record for the longest freefall in skydiving history. But eventually even that stopped giving him the rush he needed. All hope seemed lost until one day he turned on the tv and saw a man in a mask jumping off rooftops, and he knew what he needed to do. His family's resources bought him all the high tech equipment he could dream of, a lifetime of thrill seeking had given him the training, and Batman would provide all the adrenaline he could ever want. Kite Man was born.

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