He’s goofy, he’s stretchy, and he’s immortal…? That’s right friends. One of the coolest things to ever learn about this seemingly merely comic relief character is that he survived as nothing but bits and pieces floating around in the ocean after the events of The Obsidian Age in JLA several years ago. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
As I said with Mr. Fantastic, stretchy powers don’t get a lot of love amongst comic fans, but truth be told, they’re pretty cool. Plastic Man is the exact opposite of Mr. Fantastic in terms of his personality and the ways he uses his abilities. Being a quick-witted, streetwise funny guy, Plastic Man has put himself in just about any shape you can imagine.
While his humor appeals to me, it’s the heart of this character that makes him a hero. Again, if you’re only familiar with Plastic Man from his early years or the short-lived cartoon (which I watched on USA’s Cartoon Express)(I feel a Geek Out Loud discussion coming on) then you don’t know the character as the hero he is.
Grant Morrison really accentuated Plastic Man’s heroism when he wrote him into the JLA. It was Plastic Man who convinced the alter egos of the heroes of the JLA to fight the alien presence that split them from their superhero counterparts. Later, it was Plastic Man who stood against a crazed Martian Manhunter to basically save the entire planet.
I feel he’s underrated and he definitely merits a mention in my book. While we’re on the subject of the underrated:
Arthur, King of Atlantis and protector of the seven seas. Aquaman has been the butt of many geeky jokes over the years. However, he is as iconic as many of his peers. This is due in part to his cartoon series in the fifties and his role on The Superfriends cartoons.
Growing up, my family spent a lot of time on the coast of Georgia. In fact, I would say that by the time I was 11 I had spent rougly a fifth of my life at the beach. I have always loved the ocean. What lies beneath the surface of the seas has always intrigued me. My favorite shows on the Discovery Channel have always been ones that explore life beneath the waves. It makes sense then, that I would be intrigued with a character that not only protects, but communicates with the life of the ocean.
Super strength, swimming at high speeds, and in some incarnations being able to actually manipulate the water around him to be propelled weaponlike at his foes, Aquaman is not a hero to be sneezed at. In his more recent incarnations, Arthur has taken on the feel of Namor from over in the pages of Marvel in that he’s kind of rude and abrasive to the surface dwellers. Of course, with the advent of Infinite Crisis, and more specifically the events of 52, the whole Aquaman thing is a bit messed up. (For the purposes of this list though, Aquaman is Orin or Arthur Curry…the one we all know and love.)
In my book, Aquaman is cool. The coolest of Aquaman moments came in early in Morrison’s run on JLA when he was fighting a white Martian. The Martian spoke for geeks everywhere when he said, “So you talk to fish? What can you do against me, we’re nowhere near an ocean,” Aquaman explained to the Martian that he could use he telepathy to find the part of his brain closely related to his aquious ancestors and give him a seizure….threat neutralized. Pretty cool.
Speaking of telepathy:
J’onn J’onzz, The Martian Manhunter:
I didn’t know much about The Martian Manhunter til I got into DC comics. I was a Marvel kid. The truth is, I had no idea who The Martian Manhunter was until the mid/late nineties when I first started reading DC comics. As I began to find out about the character, I really got into him.
J’onn is that character that’s not human but longs to be. In his quest for humanity, he finds in himself more compassion, more understanding, and more humanity than many native Earthlings. He carries himself with a wisdom, and he posesses a sadness for the loss of his home without becoming a brooding angst filled hero.
J’onn is crazy powerful. As if telepathy and flight weren’t enough, there’s his ability to shapeshift, invisivility, strength, Martian vision, in the earlier incarnations he even had some kind of super breath. So, he’s kind of a suped up Superman…without the iconic status.
In fact, it’s his relationship with Big Blue that really attracted me to the character. Being the last survivors of doomed races,the two have a common bond and their interactions are always interesting to me.
He never had to step in and help humanity. He never had to put his life on the line for a world that wasn’t his, but he does it time and time again. That coupled with cool powers and some great stories, gives him a well deserved honorable mention.
Coolest…television theme song…ever. (Next to the Greatest American Hero)
Wonder Woman is another one of those iconic characters out of DC’s vast array of heroes. I prefer the Linda Carter version of Wonder Woman. She was tough as nails, but compassionate. And that smile…could light a pitch black room. What else is there to say?
Wait…this isn’t just Linda Carter’s Wonder Woman….this is the character in general.
Wonder Woman is THE staple female superhero. No other lady in comics even comes close. While I still don’t know if she can fly or not, she is definitely strong, has the amazing magic lasso that we all wish we had at some point or another, and even though the invisible jet is a flawed idea in some ways, it’s still cool.
Oh, and Wonder Woman was created by the man responsible for the lie detector. That’s a cool point of interest to me. Here’s a guy who invented something pretty cool and could have forged his reputation and legacy on that alone, but nope…he decided to take a dive into the world of superheroes. What a splash he made!
This is one of those characters that people may be surprised not to find in my actual top ten. I like Wolverine. I appreciate what he brings to the table. However, I can’t really say that he’s one of my top ten favorites. I’ve never been a fan of the anti-hero. I like my heroes to have scruples. Wolverine is cool. I give you that, but he’s also a loose cannon. Just as prone to rip into a teammate as he is a bad guy.
However, the cool factor of Wolverine can NOT be denied. He carries himself with a confindence and an attitude like no one else. He’s not as hell bent on vengeance as the Punisher. He’s not as calculating as Batman. He’s not as bouncy as Spider-Man. He’s as tough as the Punisher, as resourceful as Batman, and as witty as Spider-Man. I understand why so many people like him, but through the nineties I got a little too much of him, and that relegated him from a place in my top ten to an honorable mention.
However, I have two favorite Wolverine moments. The first is from X-Men 3 (I stand by the fact that I actually liked it.). The moment the last battle begins and the X-Men show up, Wolvie takes his game to a level he never thought he would. He’s no longer just a substitute teacher. He steps into the role of leader with one line, “….and HOLD THIS LINE.” I just really liked it.
The second is my most favorite Wolverine moment. Truth be told he kind of rips off Dirty Harry, but it works. He’s making his way underneath the Hellfire Club to get to Jean Grey. It’s all during the Dark Phoenix saga. Anywho, after fighting a bunch of guards he stares down a couple with weapons trained on him and he goes into the “You have to ask yourself a question, do you feel lucky?” Dirty Harry speech. The guards…don’t feel lucky at all.
So that wraps up the honorable mentions. Tomorrow we’ll begin the actual countdown with my number 10 favorite super hero. Don’t forget to chime in with your list and some of your favorites.
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