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Alternate Takes 7.12.14: Top 10 Comic Book Animals
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 07.12.2014

Welcome to Week 308 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

Top 10 Animal Based Comic Book Characters

Honorable Mention: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew / Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham

I was a kid when these came out and I still have great memories of them.

10. Krypto

For most of the existence of Krypto, he was kind of lame. In the original comics, Jor-El was testing the prototype of the rocket that would send Kal to Earth and tested one with Krypto in it. It lost course and drifted around for years until finally crashing on Earth and reuniting him with Superboy. His more popular appearance eliminated the Jor-El test storyline and made Krypto a regular alien dog with Superman's powers and eventually paired him up with Conner Kent.

9. Detective Chimp

Detective Chimp appeared in the Golden Age of comics along with other animal heroes, such as Rex the Wonder Dog. Out of the animals of that era, Detective Chimp stands out as the highlight. He disappeared, as did many characters from the era, until he was reintroduced in the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. He then popped up here and there in Green lantern and Flash. While he has no actual superhuman powers, he has incredible intellect, is a world class detective and has actually worked with Batman through chat rooms on the Internet to work on solving crimes.

8. Howard the Duck

Forget that stupid movie. Seriously, forget about it. Howard the Duck is an alien who is kidnapped from his home world and dumped onto Earth. His first battles are with villains such as Garko the Man-Frog and Bessie the vampire Cow. What happens after that is one of the strangest and bizarre comic book storylines in Marvel Comics history, with existentialist tales whose entire joke is that life in general is a joke. That is what made the movie so bad because they just made it about a duck from outer space when that was not the point of the comics at all.

7. Killer Croc

You can't have a list without mentioning something from the world of Batman. Killer Croc is another Batman villain, this was born as Waylan Jones, a man with a skin condition that gave him a scaly hide and razor sharp claws like a crocodile. He was sent to a reform school after beating up schoolyard bullies in regular school, and grew into an adult with an intense hatred for humanity. After his first murder, he spent 20 years in prison and then got out and became a circus sideshow attraction, an alligator wrestler. When the circus went under, he moved to Gotham City and became a powerful mobster.

6. The Lizard

Curt Connors was one of Peter Parker's favorite teachers. Curt lost an arm in an explosion and tried to work on a formula to help re-grow it. Unfortunately, the serum he made turned him into the Lizard. The Lizard's goals were to turn every human into a lizard type creature to join him. Every time Spider-Man faced the Lizard, his goal was to help cure Connors and revert him back into a human. After the Secret Wars, Connors developed mental control over the Lizard but that didn't last long and he reverted into an animal once again. When Connors wife died of cancer and his son blamed him, Curt tried to rob a bank to get sent to prison to pay for his crimes. Recently, The Lizard returned in Spider-Man as a deadly, vicious villain and, apparently, Curt Connors personality has been completely destroyed. Honestly, the way he was portrayed in the first Amazing Spider-Man movie betrayed the real tragedy of The Lizard.

5. Lockjaw

Lockjaw is a member of The Inhumans. His appearance is that of a giant bulldog and his job within the ranks of the Inhumans is to be the teleporter and escort for the Royal Family (Blackbolt being the King). In some interesting trivia, the first humans that the Inhuamans encountered were the Fantastic Four and Lockjaw was responsible for that because he was trying to lead his people to save Medusa. Because The Inhumans government and society is one where a person is born into their role and can never move up, that is Lockjaw's simple and only role. That doesn't make him any less great.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

We are going with the team here all four of the TMNT. I prefer the original origin story to any other, as they were four turtles who were mutated by ooze and were raised and trained by Splinter, a human who was mutated into a giant rat by the same ooze. Splinter kept the mutated turtles safe and hidden in the sewers of NYC until they grew into teenagers and wanted to get out into the world. It was at this time that they became awesome and ended up fighting for good against a world of bad brought on by Shredder.

3. We3

Te greatest animals that no one has ever heard of. Grant Morrison created We3, the story of three animals (a dog, cat and rabbit) who were kidnapped and encased in armor and given weapons. They were also given limited speech through skull implants and then were used in wars. See, if an animal dies in action, it isn't as important as a human soldier dying. However, when the government decides to kill the program and orders the death of the animals, they are set free and go on the run, with the government after them. The cat is an ultimate bad ass with a short temper.

2. Gorilla Grodd

Probably the greatest gorilla in comics is Gorilla Grodd. He is an extremely intelligence gorilla who also happens to be a telepath. While people last week talked about how great Batman's villains were, honestly I think Flash has the best villain's gallery in all of comics because they all work together and are even individually great. Here is one of Flash's villains. Grodd was part of a gorilla tribe who received super intelligence and telepathy thanks to a meteor that crashed near their home. While most of the gorillas were peaceful, Grodd was an arrogant and power hungry creature who wanted to control people's minds and take over the world.

1. Rocket Raccoon

In three weeks, Rocket Raccoon will likely be number one on many people's lists. I saw the 17-minute preview of Guardians of the Galaxy in an IMAX theater last week and Rocket was AWESOME and should steal the entire movie. Rocket is NOT a raccoon, but he is instead a one-of-a-kind (allegedly) genetically engineered creature that just happens to look like a raccoon. He also is sarcastic, has anger management problems and loves to shoot things with big guns. He is also damn smart. Seriously, Rocket Raccoon is a brilliant creation.


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