Chemo, a walking chemical holocaust in a clear plastic shell, should be one of DC’s more terrifying villains, but that bad-boy image is seriously indercut by a doughboy figure. As an opponent of the Metal men, its goofy appearance fit in just fine. But, now that Dc is handling it as a serious threat, or at least as a four-color Hurricane Katrina metaphor, Chemo desperately needs a new, more menacing look.
And, let me ask you, would you want this Chemo walking towards your hometown? It looks toxic, volatile, and deeply malicious.
Tom Kelly has submitted a number of designs, all of which worked as neat-o illustrations, but I had to wonder how many of them would translate out of Kelly’s particular style. This one, especially, works as a character design as well as an illustration. Kelly’s Chemo would be more difficult to draw than the present incarnation, but that’s why cartoonists make the big bank, right?
On a character level, an explanation would be needed for the sudden appearance of a skeleton amid Chemo’s swirling sludge. Chemo is nothing but a bunch of failed chemical experiments a whimsical and at least slightly moronic scientist poured into a giant humanoid-shaped plastic receptacle. The chemicals reacted to each other (something no scientist could have ever predicted happening), and the result was an unpleasant new form of life, capable of animating its shell and prone to rampages. So where does the skeleton come in? Did Chemo accrete it out of, uhm, say evil radioactive minerals? If so, why? Or did whoever patched it up after the Society splattered it all over Bludhaven provide in with it as part of an upgraded plastic suit?
In any case, congratulations to Tom Kelly for making Chemo’s appearnce match his character.