Forgotten Characters: Element Woman
Whatever happened to Element Woman?
Back when the New 52 continuity actually mattered and tried to hold itself together, Element Woman was one of the first, permanent new members of the Justice League! She was created and written by Geoff Johns himself!
But her introduction was part of a larger storyline leading into the Forever Evil crossover. And then she immediately disappeared and got shuffled off to the nonexistent Doom Patrol. She hasn’t been seen since, and definitely hasn’t had a part to play in Rebirth.
What happened? Why would this awesome new character get such a short shrift? Join me after the jump to help commiserate!
Who is she?
Element Woman debuted in the Flashpoint event ahead of the New 52 reboot. She is Emily Sung, a chipper and friendly superhero who is super excited about being a superhero. She’s got the same powers as classic Justice Leaguer Metamorpho, but for some reason doesn’t really have any direct connection to him. Or, at least, he hasn’t shown up. Honestly, we haven’t seen Metamorpho since before the New 52 for some strange reason.
Emily’s got the power to transform her weird body into any element.
In the New 52 era of DC Comics, Element Woman was notable because she was one of the first real recruits onto the Justice League. In New 52 continuity, the Justice League consisted of the original seven characters for the first five years of their existence. That’s five years of the same roster for the Justice League.
Then during a battle with Ocean Master and the forces of Atlantis, Cyborg put out the call to get other heroes to help out, and Element Woman suddenly appeared to answer the call.
After that fight, the members of the Justice League sat down and decided to finally, after five years, add new members to the team. This was kind of a big deal. They chose the Atom, Firestorm and Element Woman.
Emily was cool enough and important enough that she was one of the first ever new members of the Justice League! (At least in the New 52 continuity).
Emily was great! She was funny and friendly and a really great foil for the far more serious members of the League.
Sadly, it turns out that Element Woman was just meant to be a throwaway character. Not soon after she was inducted onto the team, the Atom betrayed the Justice League and kicked off the Trinity War and Forever Evil crossovers. Element Woman was with the rest of the League when they were tortured by the bad guys.
But when the heroes escaped and the day was saved…nobody bothered to find Element Woman. I guess they went looking for her, but it was never shown, and clearly they didn’t do a very good job.
Instead, Element Woman as found and brainwashed by the wheelchair guy from the Doom Patrol, who insisted she join his team because nobody else would want her.
Poor Emily was dragged along with that dude’s lunacy, and eventually the Doom Patrol came up against the Justice League in a fight. She had to fight her former friends because of the Doom Patrol brainwashing, and when the fight was over, the Justice League just let her stay with the Doom Patrol, where she was clearly being messed with. Some heroes.
Nobody bothered to say, “Hey, Emily, now that we’ve found you again, come back to the Justice League where you’ll be safe and actually do some good.” Nope, it’s apparently better that you say essentially kidnapped by some maniacs.
Why should you care?
Because Element Woman is fun! How many fun superheroes are there at DC Comics? Especially back during the New 52 era. She’s a nifty update to the Metamorpho character who actually enjoys being a superhero.
Plus, she’s another positive female character for the Justice League! We should all want more of those, right? Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl need some new friends.
Look, I read the New 52 Justice League and enjoyed it for the most part. But all these years later, the only thing I really remember is Element Woman. She was fun, she was super, she as cheerful, and in a world where Squirrel Girl is one of the most exciting, popular characters at Marvel Comics, DC could use their own cheerful and colorful lady awesome.
Bring back Element Woman!