Article by Blake Anderson Aka Actionlad
In the wake of DC Comics’ big revamp with “the new 52” I thought that I should make a list of my all-time favorite comic book superheroes.
100. Duplicate Boy: He is the answer to the question, “If you could have the powers of any superhero who would it be?” He is one of the Heroes of Lallor from the 31st century in the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Duplicate Boy has the ability to duplicate any superpower. He can even duplicate more than one power at a time. “Want to be a superball?” (Superman + Bouncing Boy + the Atom) no problem, Duplicate Boy can do that. He is likely the most powerful comic book hero of all but the one major drawback to Duplicate Boy is that he’s not very smart. I guess everyone needs an Achilles heel.
99. Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze is the first of a few heroes that makes this list just because of the way they look.A motorcycle stuntman whose body is bonded with a demon named Zarathos. The Ghost Rider had a flaming skull for a head and was able to manipulate Hellfire in many forms, including transforming his motorcycle, creating chains or hurling balls of the stuff directly from his hands. Any way…he looks cool.
98. Zatanna: As long as this backwards talking sorceress is wearing her magician costume with the fishnet stockings she will make the list of top 100 heroes. She’s also very powerful.
97. Starfire: Once upon a time Princess Koriand’r was a noble warrior who was trained by the Warlords of Okarra,; endured brutal scientific experiments at the hands of the Psions and had fought her way off of a Gordanian slave ship eventually finding her way to Earth and membership in the New Teen Titans. Sure she was hot but she was a respected warrior and hero. Now with the new DC 52 continuity much of what made Kory more than just a pin-up seems to have been eliminated. That’s too bad. So this ranking is based upon the pre-DC 52 Starfire.
96. Invisible Woman: For too long Susan Richards was relegated to saying, “oh Reed” and being rescued by the other male members of the Fantastic Four. Beginning in the ’80s with the work of writer/artist John Byrne on the Fantastic Four Susan Richards became stronger both physically and mentally. No longer would she wait for the other FF members to save her. As she has refined her ability to form invisible force fields she has arguably become the most powerful member of the group.
95. Ultra Boy: He’s cocky and brash. Ultra Boy is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes and has most of the powers of Superboy/Superman and one additional power. His “penetra-vision” allows him to see through lead. The one drawback to his abilities is that he can only use them one at a time.
94. Moon Knight: What if Batman was not just driven but a paranoid schizophrenic with a multiple personality disorder? The answer is that you get Moon Knight.
93. Valkyrie: A female Thor before there was a Thor-Girl. As an Asgardian (like Thor) Brunhilde was the leader of the Valkyrie, a group of warrior woman tasked with taking worthy slain Vikings to Valhalla. Brunhilde’s spirit was bonded to the body of Earth-woman Barbara Norris and the Valkyrie thought evil as a member of the “non-team” team, the Defenders for years.
92: Jade: Jennifer-Lynn Hayden is the daughter of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Due to her father’s exposure to the magical energies of his own ring Jade was born a mutant. She is able to manifest green energy and shape constructs according to her will like her father and other Green Lanterns. Unlike Green Lanterns however Jade does not need a ring to manipulate the green energy her power is completely generated biologically. Potentially one of the more powerful heroes in the DC universe her only weakness is an inability to affect wood with her green energy (a weakness that she inherited from her father’s ring). This weakness seems artificial, however, since Jade’s mother was the Thorn a villain who had the ability to manipulate plant life. Maybe if Jade returns to DC universe continuity her weakness to wood will be eliminated.
91. Booster Gold: Michael Carter wasn’t always the goofball that he was portrayed as in the “bwah ha ha” years of the Justice League…he was always a jerk just not a doofus. Booster’s first series was truly underrated. Who was this guy? Where did he come from? How did he get a Legion flight ring? The reveal of Booster’s background evolved over time and was intriguing. It’s good to see Booster back in a heroic role as DC’s time cop even if the rest of the hero community is unaware of the work that he is doing.
90. Kitty Pryde: Initially she served as a foil for the older and more established characters in the X-men. Kitty’s role was important. Wolverine’s berserker rages seemed more vicious through her eyes and yet she was able to bring out a nurturing nature in him that added depth to his character. We were able to watch as she overcame her initial fear of Nightcrawler’s appearance to appreciate the person behind the scary looks. She provided similar roles for other X-men too. Over the years she has aged (her role being filled by characters such as Jubilee) and become a hero in her own right.
89. Captain Canuck: Canada’s second most important superhero (after Marvel Comics’ Wolverine). Captain Canuck, however, is completely Canadian grown. Superman meets Captain America with Canadian sensibilities.
88. Timber Wolf: Before there was Wolverine there was Brin Londo. He’s super-strong, super-fast, super-agility and a feral personality. Like Ultra Boy (and Duplicate Boy) he is not considered the brightest hero in Legion continuity but he’s got a good heart and super cool powers. Timber Wolf received his powers from his father who conducted a series of experiments on Brin. An android assistant of Brin’s father caused Timber Wolf (called Lone Wolf at that time) to lose his memory and even believe that he was an android. Stop me if any of this sounds similar to a certain Marvel mutant named Logan. When Dave Cockrum redesigned Timber Wolf prior to co-creating the New X-Men he drew Brin with distinctive pointy hairstyle that became more famous on the aforementioned mutant. With his claws and enhanced senses if you are unfamiliar with Timber Wolf you still may feel like you are reading the 31st century adventures of an old friend.
87. The Falcon: The Black Panther came first but the Falcon was a more high profile African-American superhero as he shared billing with Captain America in his series for most of the 1970’s. Although the retcon of Sam Wilson (social worker) to Sam “Snap” Wilson (former pimp) is suspect, the Falcon deserves to be on this list for not having the word “Black” in his superhero name.
86. Robin (Damian Wayne): At the end of 1987’s graphic novel “Batman: Son of the Demon” it was strongly implied that Bruce Wayne had a child with Talia, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, of which he was unaware. This baby was never seen again until Batman #655 in 2006 when Damian Wayne is introduced as a ten year old (comic book time does not flow at the same rate as actual time) to his father. Bruce takes over as the custodial parent of young Damian (who previously had been training to become a member of his grandfather’s League of Assassins) and eventually Damian assumes the role as the fourth “Robin” (after Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake).Damian, like Kitty Pryde above and the previous Robins, serves the purpose as literary foil for Bruce Wayne’s Batman. What differs is that after decades of post-Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” where Batman continually got grimmer and more and more anti-social Damian serves the role of, if not making Bruce seem normal in comparison to his homicidal son, forcing Bruce to act more normal and less obsessed with his war on crime in an effort to make Damian less of a potential psychotic killer.
85. The Demon: Etrigan, a Demon, was bound to the body and soul of Jason Blood by Morgan Le Fay in the time of King Arthur and Merlin. Since that time Jason Blood has been fighting a battle with Etrigan for control over the demon’s body. Is he hero or villain? It depends upon which day you come across him.
84. Cyborg: Like Starfire we first saw Victor Stone in the first appearance of the New Teen Titans. Victor’s father opened a dimensional portal and half of Victor’s body was consumed by an inter-dimensional blob. Luckily his father had immediate access to a bunch of robotic parts to attach to the rest of his body and Cyborg was born. Kidding aside Cyborg was a strong African-American who was devoid of all of the classic stereotypes. He didn’t have “black” in his hero name, he didn’t speak jive, and he wasn’t a criminal in his past life. Cyborg was a revelation. DC is now retconning Cyborg as a founding member of the Justice League. So who knows maybe in a few years Cyborg will move up this list.
83. Captain Comet: Not well known and somewhat underpowered in today’s day and age but Captain Comet (like Namor, the Sub-Mariner) was one of comics first mutants as he pre-dated the X-men by approximately 12 years. Captain Comet was described as being born 1,000 years too soon and represented the height of human evolution. He possessed a genius level I.Q., telepathy, telekinesis and was super-strong and nearly invulnerable. He is an interesting concept that has never been adequately developed.
82. Hercules: After the success Marvel had with Thor it was an obvious choice to bring Hercules from Greek myths into the Marvel Universe to give Thor someone on his own level to interact with. Where Hercules could have simply stopped at being a second-class version of Thor he didn’t. What’s cool about Hercules is that even though you get the sense that he knows in his heart that he’s not the hero that Thor is, he makes up for it in fun. Thor (and most other heroes) could never get away with being the braggart that Hercules is. As far as a hero that I would just want to hang out with on the weekend Hercules would top that list.
81. Black Canary: One of the world’s greatest martial artists with a penchant for fish-net stockings…how do you not like that?
80. Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellow-Jacket/Hank Pym/Wasp (Hank Pym): A superhero with an insecurity complex? At some point you have to feel sorry for Hank Pym. He invented Pym particles which enable him to shrink and a helmet that allows him to command ants. That would be an impressive day for anyone else but on the first day that Hank Pym encounters other superheroes he finds himself in the presence of Thor, the Hulk and Iron Man. It didn’t take him long after that to develop the identity of Giant-Man in order to give himself a little more punch. As a result of a botched experiment and the resulting schizophrenia he adopted his most successful superhero identity, Yellow-Jacket…which ultimately led to the indignity of being court-martialed from the Avengers.
Also around the same time due to an artist’s dramatic license Hank Pym has been labeled as a wife beater for thirty years. He’s a guy who prides himself on his mind and yet he’s never the smartest guy in the room (this happens when you are friends with Reed Richards and Tony Stark). His most successful “accomplishment” too date has been the creation of the Avengers’ greatest enemy Ultron. It sucks to be Hank Pym.
79. Dragon: Erik Larsen first began publishing the Savage Dragon in 1992 and it is still going strong with Larsen remaining as the series’ sole writer/artist. In an art-form that is primarily collaborative with characters that are merely stewarded from one creative team to the next the Savage Dragon is unique in that it continues to showcase the vision of one man.
78. Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell): If no one was using the name at the time and your company was called Marvel Comics you would create a character named Captain Marvel too and even if the character wasn’t selling you would publish characters named “Captain Marvel” every couple of years just so that your rival, DC Comics, can’t use the title for their own Captain Marvel (Billy Batson). That being said it may not be surprising that Mar-Vell’s most significant contribution to comic book lore (like Kara Zor-El, Barry Allen and Jean Grey) was dying of cancer. Here’s hoping that Mar-Vell stays dead.
77. Gladiator: What would happen if Superman was the pawn of the government? Answer you get the Gladiator. As the leader of the Shi’ar Empire’s Imperial, Guard Gladiator has often found himself in conflict between doing his duty and doing the right thing. Even though published by the opposition, Gladiator is an example of what could happen if DC’s Superman abdicated his concept of the “American Way” to whoever happened to be in political power at any particular time.
76. Supergirl (Kara Zor-El): Like Mar-Vell(above at #78) the original Supergirl’s most significant moment was her death in Crisis on Infinite Earths when she was killed by the anti-monitor. In the pages that led up to her death Supergirl had never seemed more powerful or interesting and her sacrifice for the sake of her cousin Kal-El pointed out how much she believed that Superman was important to the never ending battle against evil. She sacrificed her life because she believed that the “idea” of Superman was more important than just the powers that they shared. Also, just like Captain Marvel (you can’t keep a good trademark down) and there have been several different versions of Supergirl since but the most important was the first.
About the Author
My name is Actionlad. Well actually my name is Blake Anderson but when I’m out fighting crime with my Mom and Dad I go by the pseudonym or if you like nom de plume of Actionlad. Check out my adventures at http://www.actionladsjournal.com/