Forgotten Characters: Vibe
Whatever happened to Vibe?
The dance-loving former Justice League Detroiter has never been more high profile than right now, with Cisco Ramon a popular, ongoing character in The Flash TV show. And before that, there was a big Vibe push in the New 52 from no less than Geoff Johns himself, putting the character front and center in the new Justice League of America.
But that fizzled out pretty fast.
Vibe was never a popular character. But with the New 52 relaunch at DC Comics, everything was new again, and Vibe was allowed to party like never before. He was part of a big promotional push in the lead up to Trinity War and Forever Evil, then starred in not only the relaunched Justice League of America comic, but also his own spin-off solo series by writers Andrew Kreisberg and Sterling Gates. And like I said, Vibe was chosen, out of all possibilities, to be one of the main characters in the supremely popular Flash TV show. His origin story has been an ongoing plot since the start of the show.
So why has Vibe been missing in comic book action for years now?
Who is he?
Vibe was originally created in the mid-80s to join Justice League Detroit, which is probably the most embarrassing time period in Justice League history. That was when guys like Aquaman and Martian Manhunter were slumming in Detroit, of all places, and gathered up a bunch of losers to be superheroes. Vibe was this weird-looking, break dancing nobody who’s legacy was as an endless joke.
Vibe has the super-power to create vibrations and shockwaves, which is a pretty cool power. But like I said, the guy just didn’t catch on, and was more of an also-ran than the Wonder Twins. He was eventually killed unceremoniously, and nobody really cared.
Except, I guess, for Geoff Johns, a writer who became so popular that DC hired him as their executive creative director. Johns currently runs all of DC’s creative endeavors, across comics, TV, movies and more. And with Johns at the head of the New 52 relaunch in 2011, he apparently had big plans for reviving Vibe.
It started with Trinity War, the first big crossover between all the major factions in the New 52. When DC revealed some of their first promotional materials, there was the new Vibe.
From there, Johns and DC went to a lot of trouble to really push Vibe. He got his own cartoon short on Cartoon Network, and he was made a part of the new Justice League of America comic. Johns even rewrote Cisco’s origin story, making his vibrational powers part of an inter-dimensional frequency to better tie into Trinity War. And again, they even gave Vibe his first ever solo series to coincide with all this new attention.
But it didn’t last. None of it did.
The Justice League of America comic was really just a prologue for Trinity War and Forever Evil, and once those events were over, so was the comic and the team.
Vibe’s solo series didn’t last very long either, reaching only 10 issues. As the story went along, he eventually became embroiled with the superhero Gypsy, another hold over from the Justice League Detroit days. This new version of Gypsy was a visitor from another dimension, and Vibe’s series had the two of them traveling to that dimension as part of some multidimensional war. It was pretty insane. The series ends with Vibe joining Amanda Waller and A.R.G.U.S. to fight bad guys.
So technically, Vibe is around and doing the normal superhero thing. But he hasn’t been seen since. He’s just gone.
Why should you care?
Because Cisco Ramon is currently one of the best parts of The Flash TV show on The CW. Even two seasons in, Cisco is still funny and entertaining, and holds a pretty important place in the world of superheroes. He’s the gadget and costumes guy for both Team Flash and Team Arrow.
The creators clearly picked him for a reason to star in this role. They could have just created a brand new scientist character, like all the new supporting characters on Arrow. Instead, they specifically wanted Vibe in this supporting role, and they’re taking full advantage of that. Cisco’s transformation into a superhero has been an ongoing subplot since nearly the start of the show.
Vibe is a key part of what is arguably the most popular and well-liked product that DC is putting out right now.
So why isn’t he a bigger deal in the comics? Why isn’t he in the comics at all? He’s not a guest star in the Flash comics and he’s no longer the star of his own series, but it’s not like he’s unavailable. He didn’t stay in the alternate dimension. Cisco is a young, up-and-coming superhero with a cool power and a lot of popularity right now, not to mention he adds some much-needed diversity to DC’s comic book lineup.
Yet despite giving him a huge push only a few years ago, the character has been forgotten.