December 11, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #269: Jesse Quick

The daughter of a pair of two Golden Age heroes hasn't been seen in a while.

When DC Comics instituted the New 52, a number of recognizable heroes more or less disappeared if they didn’t outright cease to exist.  I’m talking about characters like Obsidian or Jade, the brother-sister heroes who were Green Lantern Alan Scott’s kids.  When the older Scott no longer existed, then he couldn’t have kids old enough to be heroes.

That’s more or less what happened to Jesse Chambers, known by the superhero names Jesse Quick and Liberty Belle.

Now, unlike Obsidian and Jade, Jesse didn’t appear in a pre-Crisis comic set on Earth-2.  No, her first appearance was in what may be the most famous canceled series DC put out in the 90s.  That was the Justice Society of America title written by Len Strazewski with art by the late Mike Parobeck.  What made this title so infamous was, for some reason, DC canceled it before the first issue hit stands.  Apparently, some of the higher ups didn’t like the story style, the artwork, or that a bunch of senior citizen superheroes were running around.  And this was the grand return of the team after it had, in-continuity, been literally lost in limbo for years.

Oddly enough, all the things above were why so many DC fans actually really dug that series.  The team disbanded in the first issue after Superman had to bail them out when a bad guy attacked at their return celebration, but before the first issue was out, Jay Garrick and Alan Scott had gotten together again, and as each issue in the 10 issue run came out, another older superhero returned to the team.  And then, off to the side, was a character that didn’t go into limbo, another Golden Age DC hero, the speedster Johnny Quick.  Johnny’s thing was he gained superspeed by focusing on a mathematical mantra.

And then, along for the ride, was his college-aged daughter doing a report on the old heroes.  Her name was Jesse Chambers, and she could use the same speed formula to make herself fast.  She eventually joined the team as its new, younger member Jesse Quick.

From there, Jesse joined a lot of teams.  She was a Titan and part of the Conglomerate, a supporting member of the “Flash family” of speedsters that worked with Wally West’s Flash, and eventually back to a new JSA.  And heck, it turned out her mom had superpowers too as the Golden Age hero Liberty Belle, meaning Jesse also had superstrength, resistance to injury, and flight.

Look, Jimmy: jodhpurs.

Heck, when she lost her speed powers, she just changed her superhero name to Liberty Belle and used her other powers to continue to fight the forces to evil.  From there, she developed a romantic relationship with teammate Hourman, son of the original, and then the New 52 happened.

It’s kinda weird how characters like this, that make a good splash with readers early on, just up and vanish for no clear reason.  Maybe no one thought of a way to bring Jesse back if her parents didn’t exist anymore.  Heck, the character was recognizable enough to appear in a number of episodes of the CW’s The Flash.

But, for now, she hasn’t been in any DC book that I know of.  I’m sure that’ll change.  But for now, well, she ran off somewhere.