FLASH Facts: Gypsy

The girl with the possibly offensive superhero name.

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The Justice League was having a hard go at it in the mid-'80s. Flash (Barry) quit when he was put on trial for manslaughter. Black Canary left the team to move to Seattle after the death of her mother. Green Lantern was fired from the Green Lantern Corps, giving him no choice but to leave the League. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, feeling like the League wasn’t living up to the standards they held it to, called it quits leaving only Aquaman, Zatanna, Elongated Man, and the Martian Manhunter aka the lamest superhero team of all time.

Adding to all the problems, the Justice League satellite had been badly damaged during a battle with an invading Martian force (where were you on that one Martian Manhunter!?). The damage was so extensive that repairing the satellite was deemed to be impossible, which really irked Aquaman. Apparently, in a bit of a tantrum, Aquaman proclaimed that the Justice League of America was disbanded. Reminding him that he was Aquaman and no one cared what he said, Martian Manhunter and the others ignored the disbanding order. Fin between his legs, Aquaman came back to the League.

Still, the team needed a new base of operations, and through a series of amazingly weird decisions that don’t really connect to the story of Gypsy, the League ended up in Detroit.

While all that League business was going down, Cindy Reynolds was living her teenaged life somewhere in the suburbs of… somewhere. The state, as far as I know, was never revealed. I’m guessing Michigan? Whatever, not super important.

Cindy’s life, like that of the Justice League, was really sucking it up big time. Her parents used to be pretty cool, but once her little brother came into the picture, things changed. Mom and Pops Reynolds became physically and emotionally abusive towards Cindy. It seemed to her that any time they saw her, they felt the need to harm her, so Cindy did her best to keep out of their line of vision. It was her deep desire to be ignored by her asshole parents that lead Cindy to realize that she had the power to turn invisible*.

Finally tired of her parent’s bullshit, Cindy bought herself a one-way bus ticket to Detroit. Once in Detroit, Cindy remembered that she had no money and didn’t know anyone in the city. She had become a homeless teen. Still, being cool as hell, Cindy decided that she wasn’t about to give in; instead, she chose to use her powers to help others. Cindy chose to become the guardian of Cameron Street, protecting the residents from criminals. She did steal food for herself, though, which creates a bit of an ethical quandary.

Stories about an invisible force beating up muggers spread and the newly located in Detroit Justice League decided to check it out. While they never saw Cindy, she sure saw them. She also followed them back to their base and quietly moved in without them noticing. When they finally did catch her, Cindy refused to tell the JLA anything. Asked what her name was, she told them it was Gypsy.

This, by the way, is why the Justice League needs a Batman or someone like that. Aquaman couldn’t get a homeless teenaged girl to tell him her name. They didn’t even check her fingerprints or anything. How embarrassing.

Now, some of you smarties may be thinking “Why didn’t Martian Manhunter just read her mind? I’ve seen him do it on Supergirl and/or in the comics!” I’ll tell you why! He tried but he couldn’t. Turns out that invisibility wasn’t Cindy’s only power. Either way, living in a world of shapeshifters and supervillains who would love nothing more than adding “Killed the JLA” to their resumes, Aquaman decided to make Gypsy, a teenaged girl who had broken into their base and refused to reveal her true identity to them, a member of the team. She joined the all new Justice League, sporting such heavy hitters as Vibe, Vixen, and Steel.

Working with the League, Gypsy learned a whole slew of new abilities including astral projection, energy absorption, telepathy, and phasing. Oh, and she was psychic too. Pretty much anything the League needed, she could do.

In the final Justice League Detroit story, Gypsy had a vision of two of her teammates’ deaths at the hands of an android built by Professor Ivo. She rushed to warn Vibe and Steel of what she saw but was unable to save them. The android was supposed to kill Gypsy too, but she convinced the man-machine to let her live. More to it, she talked the android into giving her a lift to her parents home. She arrived to find that they were dead, killed by the alien Despero.

Despero was all ready to kill Gypsy, but Martian Manhunter showed up and put a stop to all that nonsense. With the death of a bunch of members, the Justice League Detroit disbanded

Gypsy bounced around to different teams for a while after that. She joined Booster Gold’s group, the Conglomerate but quickly left when she felt that she still needed time to deal with her personal life. She next popped up as a member of Martian Manhunter’s Justice League Task Force. While on that team, Gypsy was killed in battle but Hronmeer, the god of Mars, brought her back to life. After that, she helped out the Birds of Prey a few times.

After Flashpoint and New 52, aka the complete restart of the DC Comics universe, Gypsy showed up in Vibe’s short-lived series. The new version of Gypsy is a member of a nomadic interdimensional tribe who got separated from her family and found herself stuck on Earth. The last time we saw Gypsy, she was being held captive by the US government who, with no real reason to think this way, believed that she was planning to attack the planet. Since Rebirth she has not shown up.

Created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton, Gypsy was a part of a plan to get the Justice League more in line with DC’s biggest selling book in the mid-'80s, Teen Titans. The goal was to replace the old characters with new, young characters, but it didn’t work out very well. Part of the problem may have been that DC was in the process of reinventing itself; six months after the Detroit League made their first appearance, Crisis on Infinite Earths began. The team acted as little more than a stopgap for a little over two years before Justice League of America was canceled and brought back as Justice League with a new team creating the stories as well as a new team appearing in them.

Is Gypsy a good character? She has her fans, but I’m not one of them. She suffers from a common problem with characters made in order to try and take advantage of something popular; she doesn’t really have a personality that separates her from the c-list heroes. When she first joined the League, Gypsy acted more like a cheerleader for the team - the idea was that she could hang out at the base but wasn’t allowed on missions, though she always snuck into the missions somehow - not unlike the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde. You may remember that whole thing with her parents seeming to turn evil after her brother was born and may have thought that little detail was headed somewhere. It wasn’t. Maybe it ended up being a dropped story arc; I can’t say. It seems like at some point between panels, Gypsy reconnected with her abusive parents and forgave them, but more than likely, the writer forgot that she had been abused as a kid and probably wouldn’t be looking to see her family.

Maybe with her showing up on The Flash, she’ll gain some new fans and DC will play around with bringing Gypsy back to the comics, but if they do, I hope they figure out a way to make her interesting.