Just as Marvel’s superheroes all initially shared a common thread of scientific exploration (even if it was “scientific exploration gone wrong,” as in the Hulk and Spider-Man’s cases. And, yes, I know that Thor doesn’t count – Let’s call him the exception that proves the rule), one thing that Flashpoint #1 pushed home to me as I read it yesterday was the importance of the role – or, more appropriately, absence – of parents to the core DC superheroes.
Admittedly, the death of Barry Allen’s mother was a Geoff Johns-created retcon in The Flash: Rebirth (Isn’t she alive in “The Trial of The Flash” storyline that ended Barry’s original run, or am I entirely misremembering?), but it got me thinking: These days, we have seen that Hal Jordan is in large part motivated by seeing his father’s death at an early age (Is that another Johns retcon?). Both Batman and Superman are not only orphans, but have origins distinctly related to the events that killed their parents. Wonder Woman, famously, only has one parent unless you count the gods that brought the magic clay to life (Also, poor Diana has to continually suffer through “My Mother is dead!” stories whenever writers want cheap emotional impact, it seems), and Aquaman’s parentage informs the character’s status quo of belonging to both the ocean and the land at the same time.
Is it just strange coincidence that parents play such heavy roles in the origins and motivations of these characters, or is there something else going on here? All of them were created to be kids’ characters, after all, so that has to play into things; is Johns riffing off a parental focus that was always there?