It’s something I’ve complained about very often: I don’t think superhero comics give enough focus to the normal human supporting casts of their heroes and villains. Therefore, it should be no surprise that, even though the Rocket Racer has a large family, there has been little to no focus on the supporting case of this, if we’re being very generous, Z-list Marvel character.
While Bob’s family are one of his primary motivations as a character (he is the oldest of seven children and feels like he needs to help his ill single mother support the family), they have hardly been seen. Only one of them has a name (his mother, Emma), and only half of his siblings have even been depicted (most likely the three youngest). We know that Bob’s father left the family when Bob was a teenager and that Bob thinks he is a loser. Every other detail about Bob’s family is an unknown that can offer potential stories.
But if anyone cared about tapping that potential, I worry they’d ruin it. I dislike so many of the things that are usually done with superhero supporting casts that I fear those would be the first stories told using the Farrells. Naturally I have plenty of story ideas I don’t want to give away, so what I’ll do now is list some things I absolutely don’t want to happen to them:
- First of all, don’t kill them all. One of the first instincts superhero writers have is to take things away from the heroes to create a momentary burst of drama. It’s usually done in a damned lazy way, and if someone were to kill off Bob’s whole family, it’d be such. I may not like it, but I admit you could kill one or two. If Emma dies, it would be sad, but I feel like it’d be a bit of a relief to Bob and he’d hate himself for it, so there’s story potential there. If someone HAD to kill off one of his siblings, at least there would still be more to work with. If Bob’s father died, it could prompt a story about Bob’s relationship with his father, and that is something we need, though this way would cut off potential for ongoing stories on the topic.
- On the topic of Bob’s father, they should absolutely not reveal him to be “important” in some way. Obviously he is important in that he is Bob’s father, but I don’t want a reveal about how he is a super-secret government agent or a secret supervillain or an alien prince or something. The fact that Bob is from inauspicious roots is a core facet of the character and we need more “unimportant” people in our fiction.
- Similarly, I wouldn’t want to reveal that any of his siblings are mutants. Mutants are randomly-powered people who can manifest in the Marvel world, so there is no in-universe reason that one of his siblings couldn’t suddenly gain powers, but I just find it would be too much of a coincidence. If one of them became a hero or a villain as a result of what Bob has been through, that would be a believable consequence of what has come before, but one of them who just happens to have powers strains credibility.
- But of course, I wouldn’t want all of his siblings to become superheroes or villains. Much like the killing, if it happened to one I could accept that because there would be more. But what I want from this family is a look at a normal family with few means trying to get by in the world of superheroes.
I know I’ll never be happy unless I’m the one who gets to reveal the details of this family, but if someone else bothered to do it, I could accept that if they avoid these potential pitfalls.