Top 20 Walking Dead Characters

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The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. The AMC television show is a juggernaut, and seemingly gets better and better as it goes on. The comic book has been around for more than ten years (!!) and shows no signs of slowing down. There are video games, mobile apps, and merchandise, merchandise, merchandise as far as the eye can see.

Why is it so universally beloved? It’s not the zombies, although they are always awesome. It’s the characters. Whether the originals from the comic, or their counterparts on the tv show, or the new characters created for said tv show or any of the video games, the Walking Dead delivers interesting, relatable characters you love to love and hate.

Spoilers ahead!

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Top 15 Alternate/Possible Marvel/DC Realities

 

One thing super hero comics seem to do very well is to depict alternate realities and alternate versions of their characters. Wonder what would happen if the X-Men failed to stop the advancement of Sentinel technology, or if Apocalypse succeeded in taking over the world? There are stories you can read for that. Want to know one of the possible futures for the Hulk, or Superman? There’s stories for that, too. Dating back to X-Men: Days of Future Past (which even predates the Terminator films!), comics have continuously used the possible future outcomes as a way of depicting the stakes for our heroes if they lose, and as a way to show how one change in the timeline, no matter how seemingly small, can cause massive ripples in what we think of as reality.

They are also used as a way to show your favorite characters in new situations and surroundings without messing with the core character and material, a la the Age of Apocalypse.

Here are my picks for the 15 best alternate realities/timelines from Marvel and DC comics:

 

15. Teen Titans: The Future Is Now

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Geoff Johns is the most accomplished, and probably most popular, writer for DC Comics. He is well known for titles like Action Comics, the Flash, Green Lantern, JLA, JSA, 52, Infinite Crisis, Forever Evil, and Flashpoint. But the title that typically slips between the cracks is his awesome run on Teen Titans, and the best arc was “The Future is Now”.

After teaming up with the Legion of Super Heroes, the Titans are trying to get back to their own time, but arrive a few years later than they would have liked. They try to go back to their HQ, but are surprised to find that it is occupied by the Justice League, which is made up of adult versions of themselves!

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Top 10 Marvel Events

Over the last few years in particular but really going back all the way to Secret Wars, Marvel has made a habit of telling huge, earth-shattering crossovers. Some are great, and some are… not so great (looking at you Secret Wars II!). However, when they’re good, they’re GOOD. Here is a list of my 10 favorite Marvel events.

 

10. Fear Itself

fear itselfProbably one of the less popular on the list, but you have to admit that Fear Itself really swings for the fences.

The story centers on the return of The Serpent, the Asgardian God of Fear and Odin’s older brother (and by Asgardian law the true All-Father). This dude feeds off of fear, so the more afraid people are in general the stronger he gets. Not such a great combination when you see how he goes about spreading fear.

He is resurrected by the Red Skull (not Schmidt, but his daughter, Sin, the ‘new’ Red Skull), who finds an ancient Asgardian hammer that was created by the Serpent ages ago. When she grabs the hammer she is transformed into an avatar of the Serprent, and gets crazy, Thor level strong. Her awakening frees the Serpent, and a bunch more hammers drop to Earth, and are eventually grabbed by Atuma, the Absorbing Man, Titania, the Grey Gargoyle, the Thing, the Juggernaut, and the fucking Hulk! Each one of them loses their personalities in the hammers and basically do whatever they can to spread fear around the world, mostly by destroying every damn thing in sight.

The Avengers respond, and spread themselves perilously thin to combat the menaces. The Red Hulk is trounced by the Thing; Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, the Protector, and Ms. Marvel BARELY survive the Hulk, and just manage to save some people from him before he jumps away; the Grey Gargoyle turns every person in Paris into a statue and beats the holy living shit out of Iron Man; Titania and the Absorbing Man throw down with War Machine, Iron First, and the Immortal Weapons; Dr. Strange and Namor confront Atuma; and the X-Men are only able to ‘defeat’ the Juggernaut when Colossus agrees to become the new Juggernaut when he meets the demon Cytorrak (who grants the Juggernaut his powers pre-hammer)! Finally the Red Skull leads and army of her Hydra bastards to Washington, DC where they lay siege to the city, and she claims her greatest victory when she stabs Captain America (at the time Bucky Barnes) through the chest!

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Poor Bucky just can’t stop ‘dying’.

The destruction they cause spreads panic and fear everywhere, especially when Avengers Tower falls. This makes the Serpent strong and young again, and he basically takes over the Earth.

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Top 10 Spider-Man Villains

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As I argued in the first Not-So-Great Debate, Spider-Man has the greatest rogue’s gallery in all of comics. This menagerie of maniacs, aliens, and general all-around freaks is top-to-bottom awesome. That said, there is definitely a cream of the freakshow crop when it comes to the ol’ webhead’s villains, and with that in mind, here are my top ten:

 

1. Dr. Octopus

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Old bowl cut is one seriously nasty bastard. One of Spidey’s first villains, Doc Ock has been a staple of the rogue’s gallery for over 50 years now. But what puts him at the top of the list? Well, for one, he was responsible for the death of Captain George Stacy, so there’s that. He’s also extremely dangerous, and crazy smart. He formed the Sinister Six, and has led many of their incarnations against Spider-Man. He once held NY hostage with the threat of nuclear annihilation, and didn’t even bother asking for a ransom until AFTER he had armed the bomb and set the timer. He even tried to marry Aunt May (ew) in order to obtain access to an island she had inherited that had a nuclear reactor on it.

More recently, and perhaps most famously, he discovered the beatings he’s taken over the years were killing him, and used his last few months to try to imprint his consciousness into every machine in New York, and used his Sinister Six to essentially hold the whole world hostage before, in his last few days, transferring his consciousness into Spider-Man’s body, leaving Peter Parker to actually die in his nasty old body while he took over the body of Spider-Man!

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After upgrading some tech, and hiring a bunch of henchmen to do his bidding, Ock spent a good bit running around as the “Superior Spider-Man”, wrecking the crap out of Peter’s personal life before eventually giving Peter his body back to do what he couldn’t, which is deal with the next goon on the list. It is his time in Peter’s body, combined with the fact that he actually pulled the switch off and the total bastard way he did it that earns Ock the top spot on the list.

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Top 10 Comic Book Movie Villains

Part of making a good comic book movie is getting the hero correct. You have to make sure they look close enough to the source material, and you really have to make sure the character feels right. You can’t have Daredevil fighting on a seesaw, or Batman and Robin going to a social event with the media present and talking to reporters (I hate you, Schumacher).

But, just as importantly as all of that is getting the villain right. How many lame ass versions of cool characters have ruined (or at least contributing to the ruining of) movies? I’m looking at you, Jim Carrey’s Riddler, Danny Devito’s Penguin, Tommy Lee Jones’ Two-Face, Arnold’s Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy, Collin Farrell’s Bullseye, Jigsaw in Punisher War Zone, and every villain in every Superman movie (yes, even Terrance Stamp’s Zod).

Here are my top 10 examples of villains they got right.

10. The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk)

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This really shouldn’t have worked. They completely changed everything about the character except for his name, Emil Blonsky. He looks different, acts different, has a completely different origin, and somewhat different motivations. The only real similarities besides his name are the fact that he’s as strong as, or stronger than, the Hulk, he’s huge, and he’s a maniac who has no qualms whatsoever about massacring anyone and everyone that gets anywhere near him.

I like the fact that we saw Blonsky evolve from a regular man to a psuedo super soldier to a gamma monster. I like the design, despite the fact that he’s completely different from the version that’s been around for nearly 50 years. I like that he’s made with a combination of super soldier serum and Hulk blood, which is the worst nightmare of the Hulk, and something that would/will piss off Captain America to no end.

I think the fight(s) between Blonsky/Abomination and the Hulk are the highlights of this movie, and probably keep it from being a really average movie.

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Comiczombie’s Top 5 (Bottom?) Worst Comic Book Movies

There’s no getting around it: there have been a ton of truly awful superhero/comic book adaptations. I’m looking at you, Punisher. There are a lot that were made for next to no money, and were made only so that a company could hold onto film rights, like the 1994 version of Fantastic Four, or the Captain America movies that starred J.D. Salinger’s son as Cap, had an Italian Red Skull, and Cap’s ears on the side of his mask were rubber. Rubber! There are also some that are really bad adaptations, but not terrible movies, like Constantine. But for the purposes of this list I am looking at the comic book movies that were made by big studios for at least reasonably large budgets. So you won’t see Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four on my list. Also, I haven’t seen the Halle Berry Catwoman, so that won’t be making the list. However, you will see….

5. Superman Returns

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What We Wanted to See: A movie that reinvigorated the franchise and moved Superman into the 21st century

What We Got: A sequel/prequel that satisfied nobody

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Comiczombie’s Top 15 Comic Book Movies

15.  Watchmen

“Just a matter of time, I suppose.” – The Comedian

As faithful an adaptation as we were ever going to get, despite the fact that this movie probably never should have been made. The whole purpose of the story was to use comics to deconstruct comic book archetypes. It was never intended to be a movie. For years Terry Gilliam was attached to a possible adaptation, but eventually quit the project, supposedly saying it was an ‘unfilmable movie’. Surprisingly, Zack Snyder did a great job while remaining faithful to the source material (possibly even too faithful at times).

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