I’ve seen a bunch of other blogs do some lists. Top tens, top fives, top fifties, I’ve even read this blog that highlights the top 100 Marvel What If…? stories of all time. So, I decided to my own list. In fact, if all goes as planned, this will be the first list of several to come down the road.
I thought the best place to start would be my top ten favorite superheroes. This was actually a more difficult undertaking than I thought it would be. There are a lot of superheroes that I really enjoy and have a really special place in my heart. Narrowing them down to ten, and in order from 10th favorite to most favorite is a hard thing. I know who my top two are, after that, it’s really just a list.
One thing you’ll notice once we get into the top ten, is there are a few quite popular heroes that are left out of the list. Why? Because I tend to not like certain “anti-heroes” as much as the general populace. However, because there are some that I kind of like and feel like merit a mention, here is the prequel to my top ten favorite superheroes. What follows are the honorable metions.
We start with Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic. Reed Richards is one of those superheroes that end up a bit underrated because of the team with which he is surrounded. Honestly, when you’ve got a super strong Rock monster, a hottie that can turn invisible and make impenatrable force fields just by thinking about it, and a dude that can ignite his body, throw fire, and fly it’s pretty hard to get notice because you can stretch. However, here’s a guy that is the patriarch of just that team. His intellect is unparalleled. His leadership skills have saved the Fantastic Four time and time again, and he passionately loves his wife and child.
For all of his intellect and the tendancy to be a bit distant from those around him when he’s working on a project or a new invention, the one staple of Reed Richard’s character is that he loves Sue, he loves Franklin, he does his best to be a good brother-in-law, and he continues to try to live up to the friendship that he and Ben Grimm have enjoyed over the years. In fact, one of my favorite Reed Richard’s moments is in a retelling of the Fantastic Four origin with Reed acting as narrator while talking to his daughter. He ends the whole thing by confessing that he set up Fantastic Four Inc. and does all of the heroics out of guilt for his family ending up the way they did. He knows he’s ultimately responsible, and has constantly tried to make his family’s life better since.
As far as powers go, it may seem that he drew the short straw, but truth be told, his stretching ability makes him nearly indestructible and useful in a lot of situations. (And not just reaching items on the top shelf situations.) Reed Richards has been a parachute, a soft landing cushion, a life raft, and has even been the one reason the Fantastic Four have been able to escape countless traps.
Favorite Reed Richards moment: Reed was struggling with the answer to a problem, so he made a conference call to the only people that could help him figure it out, other Reed Richards from different dimensions. Mindbending and cool at the same time.
Next in the honorable mentions list is Robin.
There have been three Robins in DC comics, Dick Grayson was the original, Jason Todd was the one who died, and Tim Drake is the current Robin. Quite frankly, he’s as good as Dick Grayson in my opinion.
Robin is THE original sidekick. While he was relegated to his “Holy whatever” lines in the sixties television show and later incarnations of the Superfriends, Robin plays a vital role in the legend of Batman. How? It is the presence of Robin that keeps Batman grounded. He’s Batman’s connection to humanity. Darwyn Cooke showed this in Justice League: New Frontier when we get a glimpse into why Batman decided to have a Robin. Robin makes Batman seem less scary to the people that he doesn’t want to scare.
The thing about Robin, in nearly all three carnations, is that he’s a sidekick that can hold his own most of the time. The threats he faces when he’s with Batman are not little bitty threats. They are as real as the threats that Batman faces, and Robin holds his own.
On top of that, Robin leads the Teen Titans. Unlike his television counterpart from the sixties, Robin is taken very seriously in the pages of DC comics and well he should be. Dick Grayson is now Nightwing, and could reasonably step into the shoes of Batman, if he would. Jason Todd returned from the dead. Tim Drake, in an effort to become the World’s greatest detective deduced the true identity of Batman. Yes, probably the greatest sidekick of all time, Robin is a great superhero in his own right.
Next in the honorable mentions section is The Sensational She Hulk.
When Jennifer Walters needed a life saving blood transfusion, it was her cousin Robert Bruce Banner that was able to step up and save her life, but at what cost? Well, today, Jennifer would tell you a very small cost. Early on, even though Jennifer called was the Savage She Hulk she never had the problem with rage that her cousin had. The reason she was called “savage” was because, like her cousin, anger triggered her transformation into her green skinned alter ego. Unlike her cousin, though, she retained her intelligence and found that there was a confidence that she enjoyed that was normally lacking in her life. Thus, she opted to remain in She Hulk form.
She Hulk has been a member of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. She’s one of the few people in the Marvel Universe that can give The Thing a run for his money. Not because she’s super strong, but because she turns the flirt on high power whenever she’s around him making him incredibly nervous and draining him of his usual gusto.
She Hulk merits an honorable mention in my book for several reasons. The first is her relationship to the Hulk. Of all the heroes in the Marvel Universe, Jen Walters is the one person who “gets” the Hulk. That makes me appreciate her. Then there’s the fun factor. She Hulk is funny, and since here graphic novel in the mid-eighties, her book has never been afraid to have fun. In recent months (read during the Planet Hulk Saga and after Civil War) She Hulk started taking down the Hulk’s enemies in his absence, only to be shot up with nanobots that reversed her transformation and kept her as a human by Iron Man. She’s back with a vengeance now though.
The Silver Surfer:
Norrin Radd gave up his freedom and his “humanity” (for lack of a better word) to serve as the herald of Galactus when the world devourer came to consume his planet. By doing so, Norrin Radd saved his home planet of Zenn-La and his one true love. However, his fate was to wander the stars alone, weilder of the power cosmic, finding planets for his master to consume and satiate his unending hunger.
His searches led him to Earth where he encountered the Fantastic Four. Their heroism and the beauty of the planet awakened the conscience that The Silver Surfer had long allowed to lay dormant. As Galactus approached, The Surfer stood with his newfound friends and allies against him. The World Eater sentenced his herald to be bound to Earth for the rest of his days.
In later years, the Silver Surfer would break his Earthly bonds and soar the stars once more.
See how my whole tone changes when writing about the Silver Surfer? He does that to you. He makes you feel more important, more intelligent, more in touch with the world around you.
Stan Lee admits openly that The Silver Surfer was Jack Kirby’s creation. In an interview, Stan mentioned that he got Kirby’s drawings back and there was the Surfer. Stan was hooked and Norrin Radd became Stan Lee’s voice to his readers. Lee admits that he allowed his thougts and ideas about the world to be spoken through the words of the Silver Surfer.
I like the Silver Surfer a lot. His powers are cool. His stories are enormous in scope, yet they are deeply personal to him as well. He carries himself with a dignity that belies his guilt over so many worlds being destroyed because of him. His interactions with the heroes of Earth are always fun to watch, and it’s interesting that readers still go back to him again and again, never complaining that he’s “too powerful.” His heart, his respect for life, and his heroism make him a compelling character to follow.
Sue Richard (The Invisible Woman):
She may be the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. Her passion balances out the concrete and sometimes distracted personality of her husband. She’s a mother, a sister, a devoted wife and friend, and a fighter. Seriously, don’t make Sue angry…you wouldn’t like here when she’s angry.
Sue Storm possesses one of the big two when it comes to super powers: invisibility. (The other of the big two being flight. Seriously, the question always asked is would you rather be able to be invisible or fly?) On top of that, she can create invisible, practically impenatrable force fields.
As I stated before, even her husband has hypothesized that she may be the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. Her invisibility allows her to move undetected to the naked eye, her force fields can be as powerful as her own will in a situation.
The interesting thing about Sue, though, is she never is the power player. More often than not, her powers are used defensively as opposed to an offensive measure. This is a reflection of her motherly protectiveness. However, when she cuts loose, she cuts loose. I’ve seen her cut off Dr. Dooms air supply, pelt an opponent with a barrage of littly force field balls, and in one of her tougher moments threaten the Wizard with heart failure by creating microscopic force fields in his blood stream to act as blod clots. Very cool…and scary. Hell hath no fury friends….Hell hath no fury.
That’s it for part one of the honorable mentions. The top ten will start with my Number 10 favorite Super Hero after part two is posted. What do you think? Let’s go ahead and hear your top ten list. (Remember, this is a safe place to geek out.)