It’s almost impossible to avoid Taylor Swift’s latest single, “Shake It Off.” The artist’s hit song from her new album, 1989, has rocked the radio waves and iTunes charts with the message to not let anyone or anything get under your skin. Basically, it’s an anthem for ignoring the haters. While Swift’s song might be more in reference to friends and lovers, her lesson is more than applicable to comic book superheroes. Fandom loves to scrutinize the smallest of changes, detesting any unfavorable news with questionable amounts of passion. The characters and their creators do their best to keep everyone happy in the ever-developing nature of comic book storytelling, but sometimes they have to drown out the noise. With Taylor as our guide, we present the superheroes and supervillains in the hot seat who just need to “shake it off.”
1) Superman from Man of Steel
Look, Superman knows that killing is wrong. Snapping General Zod’s neck, while clearly not the most inspired choice, was a move that Kal-El felt that he needed to make. Much of fandom still can’t see the decision as anything less than a mortal sin to Superman’s character, but Clark can’t let that bother him any longer. What’s important heading into Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and eventually Justice League, is how he grows from this moment. His stance on life and death must grow organically from how Zod’s death makes him feel, and not Superman purists who only see him as a big boy scout.
2) Guy Gardner
The former Green Lantern has gone through a lot in the past few years. Not only is he the leader of the Red Lanterns and an antagonist jerk his former friends, but his new hairstyle is a red-head’s attempt at the Hulk Hogan look. But you know what? Guy’s got to own it. There are no soft spots in the Red Lantern Corp., as evidenced by the all that blood puking and disregard for human life. If Guy is truly going to lead the Corps and transition it to a more productive organization in the universe, he has to play by their rules, too. Plus, he’s a much safer alternative to Atrocitus. The only thing that guy needs to shake off is a red ring.
This guy didn’t ask to be created. Kaine has often carried the same status as a piece of gum stuck to one’s shoe, but he can’t let that stop them from being the hero he was engineered to be. Just look at what he’s done in the past few years. Once a villain, then a shaggy bum, Kaine turned his life around and became The Scarlet Spider. With the tights and clean-shaven face to prove it, Kaine is a star student of Ms. Swift’s teachings. Now, it’s more important than ever for his to deflect the hater’s remarks and keep rocking it as a Peter Parker’s #1 number-two.
While on the subject of Nineties concepts, Carnage needs to just keep doing what he does best; butchering people like hunks of deli meat. If killing is all that he’s good for, then he needs to simply embrace that. Enough pandering to the masses by complicating his story with different hosts, or newfound sense of heroism like we’re seeing in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS. Killing is what makes the red symbiote happy, and she shouldn’t have to change for anyone.
5) Jason Todd0comments
The Batman family’s black sheep has always had a tough time fitting in with other superheroes, what with his unrelenting bloodlust and all. But Jason shouldn’t have to conform to Batman’s, or fandom’s, code of ethics to earn a proper hero’s label. As Jason has transitioned from adversary to ally, he’s lost his identity in the ever growing stable of former Robins. Without Frank Castle-style justice to differentiate him, The Red Hood hardly is just like Dick Grayson or Tim Drake, but with a ‘tude. And even Damian Wayne has that department covered. Jason needs to ignore what others think is best for him, get back to his roots—like, the "stuffing mobster's heads in a duffle bag" type of roots.
*Special thanks to Arune Singh