Titans turns Harley Quinn’s biggest joke into a dangerous threat
A classic Batman villain has returned to the DC Universe to continue his evolution from Gotham City’s biggest joke to a legitimate supervillain.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Titans United # 1 on sale now from DC Comics.
Over the past few years, Kite Man has grown from one of Batman’s weirdest dark villains to a fan-favorite character, with his own tagline, “Kite-Man, back, hell yeah!” However, the Titans aren’t too excited to see him just yet.
In Titans United # 1 by Cavan Scott, Jose Luis, Jonas Trindade, Rex Lokus and Carlos M. Mangual, a strange encounter with a man who mimicked the powers of the Titans led to tragedy when he was killed. But his demise was only the prelude to more danger when Kite Man reappeared after a long absence, now seemingly wielding Raven’s powers as he defeated Hawk and Dove to the hilt. But this new set of powers is just another step in Kite Man’s recent evolution from a joke character to a serious threat to the Infinite Frontier.
The Titans were still reeling from an encounter with Evan Morton, a petty con artist who was trying to change his life, but suddenly gained uncontrollable powers. The Titans failed to save him, but that wasn’t the end of the problem. Shortly thereafter, a call arrived from Hawk, who reluctantly admitted that he and Dove were being beaten by Kite Man. But both had a good excuse as to why: the normally helpless villain had somehow gained access to what appeared to be Raven’s magic, hinting that he might also be afflicted with the same condition as Evan.
But while that may make Kite Man a victim of the circumstances, at the moment he poses a credible threat to two very powerful individuals. This is the greatest distance Kite Man put between himself and the total loser that was presented to the DCU so long ago.
Kite Man was first introduced in the 1960s Batman # 133 by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. He was a villain who used kites for all of his crimes, usually performing burglaries to steal large sums of money. In his first appearance he almost killed Robin, but since then Kite Man has become something of a joke when compared to other DC villains, a combination of his choice of theme, his silly personality, and his lack of powers. .
This lasted most of his career until Tom King’s run on Batman. Before that, not much was known about Chuck Brown’s origins beyond a childhood fascination with kites. This isn’t the most intimidating backstory, nor a plausible reason why he would stick a giant kite on his back and commit crimes. This all changed during the history of “The War of Jokes and Puzzles”.
Detailing Batman’s early years, it also chronicles how Kite Man was born. He was originally a low level criminal operating during a war between the Joker and the Riddler. But he did it only to support his son, with whom he bonded by flying kites. Unfortunately, he gained attention from both sides of the war and as a result, the Riddler poisoned the string that Chuck’s son was using to hold the kite. The poor boy died soon after, leaving Chuck with a desire for revenge. He created the character of Kite Man and joined the Joker’s side during the war.
But that was just the start of Kite Man’s tragedy. He then helped Batman apprehend both the Joker and the Riddler, being a key factor in ending the war and saving countless lives. But at the end of it all, the Riddler revealed that everything – his son’s death, his transformation into the Kite Man, even their collective defeat to the joke villain – was designed by the Riddler to make the Joker laugh.
It turned Kite Man from the underworld joke to perhaps one of DCU’s most tragic villains, caught in the crossfire of more dangerous villains and completely powerless to stop it all.
But he is no longer helpless. Having access to the powers of the Titans turns Kite Man from a tragic character to a believable threat. He’s already defeated Hawk and Dove, and he’s already fought Batman. If this all translates into how he uses his newfound powers, then he’s become a major villain.
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