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Alternate Takes 5.17.14: Top 10 DC Comics Superheroes
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 05.17.2014

Welcome to Week 301 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

Top 50 DC Comics Superheroes, 10-1

The list so far…

11. Aquaman
12. Deathstroke
13. Martian Manhunter
14. Blue Beetle
15. Red Robin
16. Jason Todd
17. Batwoman
18. Booster Gold
19. Animal Man
20. Shazam
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

10. Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner)

Many people younger than me love Kyle Rayner as their favorite version of The Green Lantern. I can see the reason as well. While Hal Jordan was kind of stiff and a little too morally superior in the way he acted, Rayner was more of a Marvel-styled character – human, with vulnerabilities and doubts, which made him a very interesting character. I think what I liked best about Kyle Rayner was the fact that he is an artist and that made what he created with his power ring so fun and creative. Anyway, most people know who he is – Kyle was given the power ring after Hal Jordan went nuts and killed all the Guardians except one as Parallax. He was the main Green Lantern on earth until Hal returned from the dead.

9. Barbara Gordon

Forget Batgirl. The dumbest move that DC made with the New 52 was turning Barbara into Batgirl again because that eliminated one of the most interesting characters in the entire DC Comics world – Oracle. I am listing Barbara here –this high – because of her work as Oracle and I think a movie or TV show featuring Oracle could be awesome (and, yes, I know about old Birds of Prey TV show). Basically, Joker shot Barbara (and possibly brutally raped her) to drive Commissioner Gordon over the edge. After that, instead of giving up when she ended up paralyzed in a wheel chair, she used her mind and became Oracle, a faceless hero behind a computer who helped the heroes of Gotham City fight crime.

8. John Constantine

In the first week, someone commented that Constantine shouldn't be counted as a DC Comics hero. Thanks to a couple of things, he is very much a DC Comics superhero. He showed up in the Brightest Day storyline to help Superman and Batman when Constantine's former "friend" Swamp Thing went nuts on the world. Then, in the New 52, he became a part of Justice League: Dark, a team consisting of DC's magical heroes. Of course, it wasn't the New 52 that brought John into the DC Comics world, but it happened long before that. He started out in the pages of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing series before getting his own series with Hellblazer. Much of Constantine's early stuff was very reminiscent of what Neil Gaiman did with Sandman, but when Garth Ennis took over the title, Hellblazer became amazing. Constantine is getting his own TV show starting this fall, and from the early trailer, it looks like they might finally be getting him right.

7. Wonder Woman

There have been a lot of complaints about the lack of female leads in comic book movies. Honestly, looking through comics, there are some good female heroes, but how many of them could carry their own movie? Wonder Woman could, I am sure of that. When I was a kid, I loved Lynda Carter thanks to her portrayal of Wonder Woman on TV and I can't figure out why they can't seem to get it right enough to push this project forward. Wonder Woman is a princess from the mythological Amazon tribe, from an island filled only with women. When she meets a military man who crash lands on the island, it piques her interest and she heads to America where she becomes the greatest and most powerful female superhero in the world.

6. Green Arrow

This is purely a personal pick, ranking Green Arrow this high. When I was a kid, reading comics, I never liked DC Comics as much as Marvel because the heroes were all too God-like and none of them were really relatable. Even Batman, the most human of the meta-heroes, was un-relatable because of his arrogance and unreal moral codes. However, Green Arrow was completely different, and my favorite comics at one time was his teaming with Green Lantern, because you got the moral super cop and the loose cannon Arrow really playing well in a buddy cop system. It is no surprise to me that the Arrow TV series has done so well, because Green Arrow is a character that was always fighting on the street level with more real world problems than most other DC Comics heroes.

5. Nightwing

It is really interesting to me that the most interesting Batman was in the Pre-New 52 days was when Bruce Wayne was thought dead. Now, I like Bruce Wayne as Batman just fine and Scott Snyder has really brought him to life in fantastic ways that I have not seen in a long time. However, when Dick Grayson took over the role of Batman with Damien Wayne as his sidekick, it was the best Batman comics I had read in a long time. I have always believed, and I still do, that Dick is the heir apparent to Batman and no one else should ever try. I also think that Nightwing is the most interesting Gotham City hero next to Batman. I just love the story of him openly working with the police, his secret identity connection with the carnival and he just seems to be (just like Rayner and Arrow) a more realistic character, making him a better hero in the end.

4. Flash (Barry Allen)

I have talked throughout this entire countdown about people of certain generations. I have been reading comics for almost 40 years now, so my generation was one of the earliest generations. That means that my Flash is Barry Allen. I always liked the character, a police officer in the CSI division (and the same division before anyone really knew what CSI meant). It seemed like he was solving mysteries as a cop while also serving as one of the most powerful superheroes of all time. I liked the mystery surrounding the death of his mother, the relationship with Iris, and I felt that Barry had one of the most impressive rogue galleries of all the superheroes in the DC Comics universe.

3. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

Just like Barry, my Green Lantern will always be Hal Jordan. Yeah, he was kind of a prick but that helped him fit the role of Super Cop so perfectly. As I said earlier in this column, I loved the Green Arrow/Green Lantern comics when I was a kid and they were just so fun. I also like the World's Finest comics with Lantern and Flash, because those two characters just matched up so well. When Hal Jordan flipped out and started murdering multiple people, I lost one of my favorite heroes as a kid. When they revealed he was possessed, it made it better and I grew to like Kyle Rayner as well (he is in my Top 10 as well). However, when Geoff Johns brought back Hal from the dead, I was very happy and I hope that most people can live with the fact that Jordan is back since Rayner still exists as well.

2. Batman

As everyone said, there were only two options for the top two spots and the question was which order they were in. When I was thinking about which hero to place in which position, it was almost a coin toss. Then I thought about it and decided to put the Best Hero in the top spot. While Batman is amazing, I think Superman is the best hero in the DC Comics universe, while Batman is the best character. Batman is just an interesting character, someone whose entire career as a superhero is influenced by tragedy and fear of loss. That is why he locks so many people out of his life. When someone loses a loved one, they can go one of two ways – they can be Spider-Man and remain upbeat and work hard to save people – or they can be Batman, go underground, remain morose and set out to strike fear into everyone. Part of Batman's choice comes from Gotham City and how dark it is there. It makes him a perfectly unique character and one that is a perfect antithesis to my number one DC Comics superhero.

1. Superman

A lot of people say they hate Superman because he is boring. I often heard the term "Big Blue Boy Scout" as an insult for Superman. However, when Man of Steel worked to shake that image, people hated it too. I have come to believe that the people who hate Superman will hate him no matter what. With that said, the world needs Superman. He is the ultimate power of good and purity, the person that all other heroes strive to be like. I feel that Man of Steel worked towards that goal, having Superman do something that he regrets and seeing the destruction that followed him. Hopefully they follow up on that in Batman vs. Superman as he strives to become the perfect hero the world knows. That is how character development works. In the comics, Superman is the character that everyone trusts (except Lex Luthor and Batman) and the hero that represents all that is good in the world. He is not only the best DC Comics superhero, but might be the best superhero of all time.


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