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 411mania » Movies » Columns

Alternate Takes 5.10.14: Top 50 DC Comics Superheroes (20-11)
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 05.10.2014

Welcome to Week 300 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

Wow. 300 columns…

Top 50 DC Comics Superheroes, 30-21

The list so far…

21. Supergirl
22. Guy Gardner
23. Catwoman
24. Superboy
25. Hawkman/Hawkgirl
26. Flash (Wally West)
27. Green Lantern (John Stewart)
28. The Suicide Squad
29. The Question
30. Swamp Thing
31. Starman
32. Etrigan
33. Lobo
34. Elongated Man
35. Firestorm
36. Cyborg
37. Deadman
38. Zatanna
39. Huntress
40. Raven
41. Black Canary
42. The Phantom Stranger
43. Steel
44. Power Girl
45. Starfire
46. Atom
47. Beast Boy
48. Red Tornado
49. Adam Strange
50. Plastic Man

20. Captain Marvel/SHAZAM

Interestingly, Captain Marvel/SHAZAM originally started as a rip-off of Superman, except using magic and Gods instead of a powerful alien. However, it is the magic and the fact that SHAZAM is a kid transformed into a God that makes the character so interesting. Actually, the entire family aspect of the SHAZAM heroes plus one of the greatest villains ever created in Black Adam, makes SHAZAM a lot more interesting when a writer gets it right than Superman. However, when DC Comics acquired the character, they had two people in their comics with almost the same strength and powers (except for the lightning of SHAZAM and the "deus ex machine" powers that Superman gets when convenient). However, that also brought about some fantastic stories when SHAZAM and Superman battled.

19. Animal Man

A lot of people consider Animal Man to be a joke, similar to Aquaman. However, when the right author gets his hands on the character, he is awesome. There are two cases where Animal Man was one of the best characters in all of comics – the Grant Morrison era from 1988-1990 and the DC New 52 run of Jeff Lemire. Morrison's work is still one of the best in comic's history. The story where he returned home to find his family murdered was especially inspired and when Morrison started having things take place outside the comic panels (and comic world), it was just one of the greatest things I had read at the time. Then Grant Morrison made himself a character in the book, as the man who created Animal Man. The New 52 stuff was just as groundbreaking and was the best of the New 52 books, which is probably why it was cancelled after 29 issues.

18. Booster Gold

Bootser Gold is probably one of the most unique heroes in comic books, regardless of the company. Basically, he comes from the future, a former football star who lost his career thanks to gambling. He steals some major tech to become a superhero and goes back in time with knowledge of tragic events that happened in order to save the day and become a rich and famous superhero. After screwing things up and becoming kind of a joke to other superheroes, he took it upon himself to become a true hero and started protecting the timeline with his knowledge. Add in his character development from asshole to hero was great as well, and who doesn't love Skeets? Plus, he is hilarious.

17. Batwoman

Kathy Kane was always a great character, but when she re-appeared in the series 52, the character became awesome. Yes, DC Comics used her as a statement character when they made her the first lesbian member of the Bat Family, but what was important was that she held her own in the Renee Montoya-Question storyline. Her origin was changed to a soldier discharged because she was gay, and her life spiraled out of control until she met Batman. With that said, things didn't change much in the New DC 52 except for the fact that Batwoman was better than ever.

16. Jason Todd

Jason Todd was, at one time, the most despised character in DC Comics. He was so hated that DC Comics held a poll to see if they should kill him off as Robin or not. The vote returned to kill him, so in Death in the Family, The Joker killed the second Robin. Of course, alter it was discovered that one voter found a way to hack the system and cheated to get Jason killed, but the death of Jason Todd was the best thing that could have happened. Jason Todd was brought back from the dead thanks to Superboy-Prime and became an antagonistic, antihero – someone who felt betrayed that Batman couldn't save him, while also not upholding the Caped Crusader's No Kill policy any longer. He was the perfect antithesis to guys like Dick and Tim and was a fantastic addition to the Bat Family.

15. Red Robin

Didn't really plan on three Bat members to be back-to-back-to-back on this list, but it is how it happened. No offense to Dick, but Tim Drake is the best Robin of all time – it's just a fact. While Dick was a bit of an emotional mess, Jason was a hot head and Damien was a little shit, Tim was the closest to Batman in intelligence and detective skills of anyone to wear the mask. Seriously, the kid is scary smart and might even be a little smarter than Batman in some areas as well. That is why Red Robin is such a great character on his own, both as a solo character, a "partner" character and the leader of the Titans. He just took the best parts of Batman and Dick and melded them into the perfect Robin.

14. Blue Beetle

The original Blue Beetle was Dan Garrett, and then Ted Kord replaced him. I really liked Ted Kord, and loved his relationship with Booster Gold. However, I really like Jaime Reyes, the new Blue Beetle. Luckily for people who liked that relationship, Booster Gold had a lot to do with Jaime becoming Blue Beetle as well when the Scarab attached itself to Reyes back. In his first ever mission, Reyes was able to help Batman and his group beat Brother Eye. He became more of a street level superhero. In the New 52, Jaime is even better, a more individualistic character and one of the best new reinventions of the New 52.

13. Martian Manhunter

Not a lot of people like Martian Manhunter. Not a lot of people understand Martian Manhunter. The big problem is that, when superheroes hit their boom period many years ago, J'onn J'onzz was barely seen anywhere, so he was never someone that a major generation of comic book fans even drifted to. This meant that the times that they tried to push J'onn, the books never sold very well (plus the fact that I dare you to name one awesome villain that is attached to J'onn). Much like Superman, he lost his entire family and species and ended up an alien on earth, where not everyone will accept him. Also, like Superman, J'onn is pretty damn near indestructible with a strong moral code. J'onn is also a shape shifter and mind reader with an insane fear of fire. While he isn't a great solo character, he might be one of the best Justice League members because his losses make him someone they can trust to protect them at all costs. Plus, he is a great detective – up there with Batman – and I love good detective superheroes.

12. Deathstroke

Marvel ripped off DC Comics big time when they created Deadpool. Not only was he a complete rip-off of Deathstroke, but they used a similar name, the same uniform colors and they made his secret identity rhyme (Wade Wilson, Slade Wilson). Luckily, Marvel made Deadpool almost a comic character, who talked to the readers and became one of the funniest characters in comics. However, Deathstroke never changed from the bad ass that he is, an assassin who is an antihero and villain, often at the same time. As a villain, he has battled the Teen Titans, Justice League and Arrow. As an antihero, he has helped the Titans and has a strong code of honor.

11. Aquaman

Yes, most people look at Aquaman as a joke. I do not. Everyone claims his only power is talking to fish. Screw that. He can command underwater aquatic life to do his bidding, yes, but that isn't the extent of the King of Atlantis's powers. He is pretty much invulnerable, and bullets can just bounce off him. He has superhuman strength and matches up well in fights with just about anyone. He can see in the dark and has advanced sonar hearing. Honestly, his best stories either take place when he is in his underworld kingdom or when he is facing battles on land where people look down on him. However, at the end of the day, Aquaman is a complete bad ass who no one seems to want to take seriously.


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