DCEU Can Set A New Milestone For Black Superhero Films With ICON
Becoming An Icon
Icon is an original character from Milestone Comics, created by Dwayne McDuffie and M. D. Bright. He first appeared in Icon #1 (May 1993). His origin story begins in 1839 when an alien starliner malfunctioned and exploded, jettisoning a life-pod in the middle of a cotton field in the American South. The pod automatically altered the appearance of its passenger, named Arnus, to mimic the first sentient life-form who discovered him. That life-form was an enslaved black woman named Miriam, who saw the pod crash land and adopted Arnus as her son.
In the present, Arnus is still alive. He did not age visibly beyond adulthood; to disguise this fact, he periodically assumes the identity of his own son. By the late 20th century, he is posing as Augustus Freeman IV, the great-grandson of his original human identity. Still marooned, Arnus/Freeman waits for Earth's technology to catch up to his lifepod's. Secretly possessing superpowers that belie his human appearance, he has always performed quiet acts of charity.
However, when Freeman's house is broken into, he uses his powers for the first time in decades, an action witnessed by one of the intruders, Raquel Ervin, an idealistic teenage girl who was born in Paris Island, the poorest, most gang-ridden neighborhood in Dakota City. Her prospects seemed fairly bleak until this encounter with Freeman. After seeing Freeman use his powers, Raquel persuades him to become a superhero named Icon, with herself as his sidekick, Rocket.
After Black Panther
Warner Brothers could shock the world by creating an Icon film. I feel it can rival the embrace that Black Panther received from the MCU. The rich history of the character is appealing to the black community. It will also intrigue the movie-going audience as a whole more so because of his views and ideology. Icon is portrayed as a very intelligent, somewhat stiff kind of person. Due to his upper-class job as a corporate lawyer and "proper" way of speaking, he is often criticized as being a "sell-out" or "whitewashed". Taking the form of a black man during the times of American slavery and gaining freedom, it would make a lot of sense that his upbringing in the south would make him a more conservative viewed person. Icon is a conservative Republican who holds conservative views on economic and social issues, which often put him in conflict with more liberal Milestone Comics superheroes, including his sidekick. Even though Hollywood is considered a more liberal thinking entity having a superhero that is conservative with a sidekick who is very liberal to me screams dialog gold. It would be an opportunity for people with both views of the political spectrum to have a film of common ground if the film equally and fairly respected the views of both. The safest way to execute this is by not acknowledging their views a negative or a positive and just have Icon and Rocket making the world a better place to spite their differences or because of their differences.
Because of the huge risk of political backlash I feel that a movie or even a streaming tv show would be a long time coming. Clarence Thomas was an avowed fan of Icon, to the extent that he quoted the character on multiple occasions; upon learning of this, author Dwayne McDuffie, who in the blog post he wrote on the matter describes himself as very liberal, suffered writer's block out of fears that dialogue he wrote would be used in the service of conservatism.