The age old questions of comic fans: Batman or Superman? Spider-Man or Wolverine? The debates about the best heroes are endless. We tried to make a top 10 list, but that was just too hard. So we tried a top 25, but that quickly became a top 50… you get the idea. So we were able to ‘narrow’ it down to an even 100. Odds are you will vehemently disagree with who did or did not make the list, or just the order that we placed them. But, hey, it’s our list.
(Honorable mentions to Beta Ray Bill, USAgent, Martian Manhunter, Kid Flash, Hercules, The Frenchman and the Female (the Boys), Abe Sapien, Spider-Man 2099, Static Shock, Nite Owl, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Spawn, Atom Eve, Mary Marvel, and a hell of a lot more. So many more we could- and may- do another whole 100 list!)
We will release these in installments of 10 so that you don’t have the longest list ever to read through. Agree with the placement or who made the list? Disagree with the burning power of a thousand suns? Let us know! Enjoy!
Real Name: Victor Stone
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)
Enemies: Brother Blood, Deathstroke, Trigon, Grid, Damien Darhk
“I’m plugged into every computer on earth. Even yours.” ~Cyborg
Cyborg is enjoying the most popularity the character has ever had, in all likelihood. He has been a popular member of the Teen Titans since his introduction in the Wolfman/Perez days, but it was with the launch of the new 52 and his inclusion as a founder of the Justice League that his place in the DCU was really cemented. Hell, he was even in the movie nobody likes to remember!
Victor Stone was a high school football all-star with a bright future ahead of him. But a terrible accident left him bonded to technology he couldn’t understand, and a new body that was just barely human. Rather than go insane and either be a villain or just die (like I would have), Victor focused on controlling his new body and figuring out how he could best help others. For a while that was as the leader and teacher of the Teen Titans, but now it is as a cornerstone member of the Justice League, and as one of DC’s biggest characters.
Real Name: Arthur Curry
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (1941)
Enemies: Black Manta, Ocean Master, the Dead King, Fisherman, King Shark
“If I don’t fight for one life, how can I fight for all? What you call sentiment may make me a bad king… but it also makes me human.” ~Aquaman
Name me a superhero that has had more jokes made about them than Aquaman. Go on, I’ll wait.
You can’t. It’s crazy, but it seems like he’s always being judged by his appearances on the old Super Friends cartoons, which a) were made decades ago, and b) were made for children. So instead of the awesome, powerful, take-no-shit Aquaman comic book fans have known for years and years, the public perception has always been that he’s the guy on the Justice League that talks to fish.
While he can communicate with sea life telepathically, he is also immensely powerful, and is able to withstand pressures that would crush the strongest machines made by man (without any kind of protection).
Also, newsflash, but the guy’s the king of maybe the strongest nation on the planet and has access to weapons most have never even dreamed of. Talks to fish, indeed.
Real Name: Bobby Drake
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #1 (1963)
Enemies: Magneto, Sentinels, Juggernaut, Apocalypse
“Unless you people think I need to embarrass myself some more… I’ve got someone’s ass to kick.” ~Iceman
Bobby Drake is one of the original, and most powerful, X-Men. Over the years his inability to come to terms with himself, whether his sexuality or the fact that he is a mutant and on some level is ashamed of it due to his upbringing, has somewhat hampered his ability to truly use his powers to the fullest, but there have been periods when he has come close (Mike Carey’s “X-Men” and Sina Grace’s “Iceman” solo title, or the Simonsons on X-Factor, for instance).
Often thought of as the resident class clown due to his immaturity (at least on the surface), Bobby is actually one of the smartest and most resourceful members of the X-Men. He has led his own squads on numerous occasions and always come out on top, despite usually being against really shitty odds. Despite being a man of ice, he’s a very warm, caring guy that will do anything for his friends.
Real Name: Jennifer Walters
First Appearance: Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980)
Enemies: The Leader, Ultima, Titania, Behemoth
“That’s when it changed. That’s when I knew for sure. That it was more than being gray. Oh I’m sorry, were you expecting something more profound? Look at me. Kind of hard to be profound when your brain is exploding.” ~She-Hulk
A character that on the surface appears to be a cheap ripoff of the Hulk, She-Hulk is actually one of Marvel’s most original, well-rounded characters. Unlike Bruce Banner, her transformations typically don’t come with a loss of control. Instead, She-Hulk is more the personification of everything Jennifer Walters WANTS to be: beautiful, strong, smart, funny, quick-witted, and equally capable in a high-profile case as an attorney or in a bare-knuckle brawl with a cosmic entity trying to destroy the planet.
Like many of the characters on this list she has been through quite the ringer lately, but is now a member of the Avengers and seemingly enjoying another peak run in her popularity. She has had a number of great runs on her solo title, and some great work was done with her by John Byrne in the pages of Fantastic Four, when she replaced the Thing as the fourth member for a few years.
66. Andrea Grimes
Real Name: Andrea Grimes
First Appearance: The Walking Dead #2 (2003)
Enemies: The Governor, Negan, the Saviors
“You’re going to miss our little pep talks.” ~Andrea Grimes
Man, I miss Andrea. Like all of the original cast of the Walking Dead that made it past the first few years, Andrea was 100% badass. Hard as nails, smart, calm under pressure, a voice of reason when one was needed and a kick in the ass when it wasn’t, Andrea didn’t just survive in the zombie apocalypse; she thrived.
After losing her sister Amy in an early attack, she shacked up with Dale and took in the orphaned twins, Ben and Billy. Suddenly Ben and Billy were dead, and sadly Dale followed not long after. But it was really when she and Rick Grimes became an item and she found herself in a position of leadership that she started to really shine.
The resident sharpshooter of the group in the early days on the road, Andrea was a key component to keeping the group alive. She always put others first, and ended up dying for it when she was bit while saving Eugene’s life. RIP, Andrea.
Real Name: Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock
First Appearance: Captain Britain #8 (1976)- Marvel UK
New Mutants Annual #2 (1986)- U.S.
Enemies: Shadow King, the Hand, Mojo, Spyral, Sabretooth
“It isn’t the morality of the mission that frightens me… it is my elation at the opportunity to repay these devils.” ~Pyslocke
Like most X-Men, Psylocke has a… complicated past. Born to wealthy parents in the United Kingdom, Betsy Braddock is the sister to Lord Brian Braddock, aka Captain Britain. She discovered her psychic powers and after a while ended up befriending, and joining the ranks of, the X-Men. Like pretty much all of her teammates, this is when her life got really crazy.
When the X-Men were forced to journey through the Siege Perilous she ended up in the hands of the Mandarin and the Hand, who used Spiral’s Body Shoppe to switch her mind with the mind of a dying ninja, Kwannon. So Betsy’s super white, British mind was then in the body of an Asian ninja woman. And, we eventually discovered, Kwannon’s mind was walking around in Betsy’s pasty white British body.
She developed a relationship with Warren Worthington III, which is pretty much asking for trouble, spent some time a prisoner of the Shadow King, spent some time dead after being killed by a douche called Vargas, was made a Horseman of Death when Warren’s Archangel personality took complete control and he attempted to cause worldwide genocide, and after fighting free was forced to kill the man she loved.
She has since found a way back to her original body, and seems to have put at least SOME of the total insanity that has been her life since the 80’s behind her.
64. The Atom
Real Name: Dr. Ray Palmer
First Appearance: Showcase #34 (1961)
Enemies: Chronos, Dwarfstar, Plant Master, Thinker
“Size isn’t matter.” ~Dr. Ray Palmer, The Atom
Despite having maybe the least impressive powers of most anyone in the Justice League, the Atom is nevertheless a crucial member, who has saved the world (and more) on a number of occasions.
I think Ray Palmer is the closes thing DC has to a Reed Richards. He’s extremely intelligent, a scientist through and through, and is always venturing further into the unknown frontiers; an explorer as much as a super hero.
He hasn’t always had the best of luck, but he always seems to have a smile on his face, in direct contrast to his best buddy, Hawkman. He may be the smallest man in the DCU, but when the chips are down he always comes up big.
63. Scarlet Witch
Real Name: Wanda Maximoff
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #4 (1964)
Enemies: Chthon, Dr. Doom, Master Pandemonium, Morgan Le Fay
“Don’t look back- the past is exactly where it belongs.” ~Scarlet Witch
Like many Avengers, the Scarlet Witch has not exactly had an easy life. Orphaned at a young age, she and her twin brother, Pietro (aka Quicksilver) were raised in seclusion at Mount Wundagore. When they joined the world at large they were manipulated by Magneto into joining his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They quickly learned the error of their ways and joined the Avengers alongside Captain America and Hawkeye. But the Scarlet Witch’s problems were just beginning.
She married the android Vision and had twin boys, but they were apparently created by her reality warping powers and were soon returned to non-existence. More than once she has lost her grip on her powers, resulting in reality being warped and the complete devastation of the mutant race.
Trying to maintain a grip on her insane, god-like power levels and to atone for the things she has done, she continues to work alongside the Avengers and pretty much anyone that needs her help. No matter what life throws her way, she eventually comes out on top, stronger than ever.
62. Moon Knight
Real Name: Marc Spector AKA Jake Lockley AKA Steven Grant
First Appearance: Werewolf by Night #32 (1975)
Enemies: Bushman, Midnight Man, Midnight, Randall Spector, The Profile
“Told him I don’t wear white to hide myself. I wear it so they’ll see me coming. So they’ll know who it is. ‘Cause when they see the white, it doesn’t matter how good a target I am. Their hands shake so bad, they couldn’t hit the moon.” ~Moon Knight
Moon Knight is an awesome character. On the surface he seems like a Batman ripoff: a super rich loner spends a ton of money to dress up like a caped vigilante and beat the shit out of bad guys with themed weapons. But if you dig just a tiny bit deeper you’ll see that Moon Knight is about as different as they come.
A mercenary with dissociative identity disorder is killed in Egypt and resurrected by the moon God, Khonshu. He isn’t ever 100% sure if the visits from his new God are real, or if he is imagining everything. He returns from Egypt to New York and creates the identity of Steven Grant, a millionaire entrepreneur, and uses the identity to purchase real estate and to get a foot into the elite of the city and to distance himself from his mercenary days. He also creates the identity of Jake Lockley, a New York cab driver, to keep his ear to the streets.
Moon Knight’s bizarre origin, hyper-violent approach, strange villains and totally sweet costume all add up to make one of Marvel’s most original, and most underutilized, characters.
61. The Question
Real Name: Charles Victor Szasz aka Vic Sage
First Appearance: Blue Beetle #1 (1967)
Enemies: Criminals of all shapes and sizes
“Ah-HA! Forty TWO flavors! I knew it.” ~The Question
The Question’s ranking this high is based on the excellent Dennis O’Neil series, his fantastic appearances on the Justice League Unlimited animated series, and his swansong in ’52’. For a character that has been around as long as he has he hasn’t had all that many noteworthy runs or appearances, but when he does they’re freaking great.
Not necessarily one for violence, the Question is still capable of holding his own in a fist fight (thanks to his time in Nanda Parbat and training from Richard Dragon), but his real strength comes from his investigative skills and his ability to think outside the box and the ability to ask the questions nobody else is asking (no pun intended).
That’s a wrap on part 4! You can read parts 1, 2, and 3 by clicking on the links. Join us for Part 5 when we look at numbers 60-51, including X-23, Shazam, and Ghost Rider!
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