It's been a while since I've written about Asian Superheroes (when DC, Marvel, Image, Wildstorm et al take an honest crack at writing Asian spandex heroes) as frankly, there's not a lot out there. But when you do come across em, you take notice, scratch your head, and in my case with the Great Ten, happen to stay abreast of whenever they make appearances (such as in Checkmate). This time around, the focus is on Super Young Team - another creation of Grant Morrison (who created China's Great Ten). SYT is from Japan, and as such can best be described as trendy, superfluous, J-pop/idol-based, idiosyncratic tomfoolery. Let me be blunt, I don't know if I hate them or respect the effort put into making them a statement of today's 5-second attention-span, twitter-saturated youth or a mockery of what heroism is supposed to mean. They are not heroes. No, SYT is a bunch of meta-powered teenage idols thrown together by a PR machine with no reason for being. Sadly, they know it themselves. Despite pinch hitting saving the universe in Final Crisis along with the Checkmate Organization, Renee Montoya, the Justice League and Captain Marvel - their true contribution to the side of good is looking glam, endorsing cocktail parties and merchandising.
They were introduced as the current incarnation of Jack Kirby's Forever People, for fuck sakes. I LOVE the Fourth World (Darkseid, Desaad, Kanto and the rest of them) and seeing Kirby's creations turned into things I HATE (having lived in Japan for seven years and working alongside the Tokyo talento industry gave me this perspective) made me shudder at the vapidity and hypocrisy of a bunch of superpowered amateurs with little understanding of morality and sacrifice. This would all be fine, I suppose, but because they resemble the idiocies of a supremely shallow and bereft-of-talent industry, I'm going to see how they develop. To be fair - the writer, Joe Casey, nailed down the Tokyo Pop environment pretty damn well. References to Kiddie Land, Akiba, Shibby-Shibs, etc etc are all in there. Anyhow, here is who they are:
- Most Excellent Superbat: costume based on an amalgamation of Batman and Superman. His talent? Being really fucking rich. Limited martial arts capabilities but when you save Japan by buying it outright, hell even I'm impressed.
- Big Atomic Lantern Boy: sexually-repressed virginal nerd who combines Firestorm and Green Lantern. Hint of being a pervert with some kinky fetishes regarding his team-mate called....
- Shiny Happy Aquazon: similar to Mera, Aquaman's wife, in being able to create hard-water constructs and can live underwater. Wearing S&M PVC gear, she is the team's bimbo, ready for her face to be plastered on ads and keitai's (mobile phones) all over the world. Well, Japan anyways.
- Shy Crazy Lolita Canary: a fist-sized winged schoolgirl alcoholic. Her primary superpower is a sonic scream - only screams "Sumimasen!!!" (excuse me) a la Black Canary. Her secondary superpower is being annoying. Actually, I liked her the most. The alcoholism rung a chord, I guess.
- Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash: you guess it - the team's speedster. He looks plain awful with an eggshell helmet, and can only go 500MPH. Considering that is Jay Garrick's (Silver Age Flash) cruising speed, and Wally West and Bart Allen have both gone Speed of Light, big freaking deal.