After flipping through my DC Comics Encyclopedia, I decided I wanted to add Phantom Lady to the Justice League International team in my re-imagined DC Universe. She's traditionally a character associated with the Freedom Fighters but I found the notion of her being part of the United Nations-sanctioned JLI as being very intriguing. The JLI team I came up with is also based on a series of doubling so I have Captain Atom x Black Lightning (cosmic power vs. terrestrial power), Blue Beetle x Booster Gold (brains vs. brawn) and Fire x Ice (hot vs. cold) but Doctor Light didn't have someone so Phantom Lady really fulfils that so that particular doubling becomes light vs. shadow.
By and large, I've based this Phantom Lady off of the Stormy Knight version (Phantom Lady III) but incorporates elements of the original (Sandra Knight, Phantom Lady I). As the daughter of the US Senator Henry Knight, Sandra became a fixture in the tabloids from the time she was a teenager due to her rebellious ways. She was a party girl who made headlines every time she went out. By the time she reached adulthood, Sandra had alcohol and drug problems. After attempting suicide to escape the hell she'd inflicted upon herself, she was saved and realized it was time to make a change in her life. She went to college and applied herself to become a physicist. It was then that Amanda Waller came calling. She offered Sandra a government job as a scientist and Sandra began working immediately with the cabal Waller had put together -- alongside Ted Kord and Kimiyo Hoshi. Sandra's gifted mind and knowledge of physics was key in granting Nathaniel Adam his cosmic abilities. When the time came for Amanda Waller to create her own Justice League, she asked Sandra to be one of the members. Sandra accepted and invented her signature Black Light Bracelets to grant her metahuman abilities in battle. Paired with her martial arts training, Sandra has become a valuable member of the JLI. However, her past continues to haunt her and many on the team resent the fact that she's lived such a privileged life. Though she finds herself bonding with Fire (leading to some jealousies with Ice), Sandra is constantly vilified by Doctor Light who questions Sandra's gifts due to the way she dresses and acts.
Phantom Lady here is what I like to call a "hard re-imagining" and what I mean with that is that I've taken the character and really made a lot of changes. To address the elephant in the room, it's obvious that I've changed the race of the character. The women who have taken on the mantle of Phantom Lady have always been Caucasian but I felt it would be interesting to alter her race so that she's now African-American. It's a means of referencing how far North America has come politically as well as a means of further diversifying the JLI. Plus, her mocha-coloured skin looks gorgeous against the lemon yellow of her costume. Another big change is the costume. While I've referenced the third Phantom Lady's costume here, I ended up making it probably the most demure of all incarnations. She's largely been considered a sex object so I wanted to make her seem more like a serious hero by giving her a full-on catsuit. She's only human so the suit is a means of protecting her in hand-to-hand situations and was actually partially inspired by the film costume of Silk Spectre (who... ironically enough, is inspired by the original Phantom Lady and Black Canary... but the comic Silk Spectre costume is super fugly but I digress). There's A LOT of structure in the costume to make sure everything is protected and strapped in. Yes, she's got the costume zipped down (cleavage is the Phantom Lady trademark... Power Girl is just the one who ended up t'iefing it) but it can be zipped up in battle. Of the JLI designs, this is my absolute favourite and I love what I've been able to do with her.
Remember, the other DC Comics redesigns can be found in my gallery. Also, the information here is a speculative and creative re-imagining so this is in no way canon.
Character-wise, I imagine Sandra developing a bit of a crush on Ted Kord, despite the gay rumors that surround him due to his friendship with Booster Gold.
Rumors? When it comes to those kinds of rumors, they tend to be true. Case and point -- Ricky Martin and Lance Bass. Jokes aside, Sandra isn't terribly close with Ted or Michael. Of the men, the person she is most involved with is Nathaniel due to the time they spent together while Sandra worked on turning him into Captain Atom.
Too bad. On the other hand, you can get a great story out of this. Russia demands a representative on the JLI, but Amanda Waller refuses, due to her old-school mistrust of the Russians. As a result, the JLI is banned from operating in Russia. Guess where the next crisis the JLI has to handle is?