Saturday, May 7, 2011

IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time: 100-81

In 2009 or so, the comics department of the popular video game website put together a list of their Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time, and have finally followed up with the vastly less well considered Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. There is much here to mock and debate (in that order,) so I'll have to do it on an installment plan. Watch the video if you like, but expect a poverty of speech content...

100) Groo

I've never been that big on Groo, having read him in short burst here and there, but he's long-lived and somewhat iconic.

99) Wasp

I've always found Janet Van Dyne to be one of the least impressive or progressive super-heroines around. She shops, she sidekicks, she gets slapped, and she virtually never works solo.

98) Nova

This puts the "no" in "Nova." A Bronze Age Green Lantern knock-off who has not been redeemed to the point of inclusion.

97) Adam Strange

This also puts the "no" in "Nova," as the model for '50s sci-fi heroes should never be close enough to Richard Rider to smell his stink.

96) The Falcon

Despite my love for Cap, I have never been a fan of Sam Wilson. The guy is the official "safe, clean, well-spoken" token black sidekick of your Uncle Tom. Weak powers, skeevy backstory, bland animal-themed name, and utterly dependent on the contributions of other heroes. With heroes like the Falcon, African-American youths aspire to be Spider-Man.

95) The Savage Dragon
Surely a controversial choice, but he's an entirely solo-creator-generated hero with nearly twenty years of continuous publication and a universe of characters built around him. Also, stuff happens in his book, and his son may well become one of the great black heroes the Falcon will never be.

94) Supergirl

This strikes me as a major snub. Supergirl is a world recognized brand with strong multimedia penetration. Her identity may be vague within comics, due to massively contradictory interpretations, but this low ranking is horsepucky.

93) Donna Troy

Placing Donna Troy ahead of Supergirl is such a colossal blunder that it derails any credibility the list could have ever had. Every flaw Supergirl has is compounded by a factor of ten by Donna Troy, with infinitesimal relative recognition. She's such a dire Jean Grey clone, she even wants for a proper codename. Try asking for a Donna Troy Halloween costume. Name five Donna Troy villains. She literally has the single most convoluted origin in the history of comics, and one of her greatest claims to fame was marrying among the sleaziest supporting characters in the medium and battling their infant offspring. I personally kind of like Troy, but she could be nominated as one of our worst heroes ever... and yet, still better than Nova.

92) Usagi Yojimbo

I'm not into anthropomorphics, but I respect the longevity and regard afforded to Stan Sakai's creation.

91) Cerebus

Usagi Yojimbo is to Cerebus as Captain Marvel is to Superman. Afford respect to both, but Cerebus is one of the titans of independent comics.

90) Ghost Rider

The cool biker icon, and central figure of one of Marvel's best-selling '90s franchises. Still, his best comics are kind of embarrassing to actually read, and he's no Supergirl.

89) Moon Knight

Screw to the U. I have an inexplicable fondness for Marc Specter for the exact same reason everyone else does: he has a cool costume. Ghost Rider looks cooler, and has a far more substantial mythology (re: any.) Moon Knight is a couple or three tiers below being the poor man's Batman. He never rocked a mullet like Nova to the best of my recollection, but he's no Wasp, either.

88) She-Hulk

Shulkie is actually pretty great-- one of the most successful and distinctive "girl versions" of a name brand super-hero. I don't complain about her rank in general, but the order of super-heroines on this thing is wack.

87) Renee Montoya

She's a lesbian and a Latina, both rarities in mainstream comics, and about the only example to appear in cartoons. Still, I resent the hell out of her for taking over the role of the Question, and she's never carried more than a mini-series.

86) Michonne

At this point, Michonne is probably my favorite The Walking Dead character, and the closest thing to a hero (or rather, anti-hero) the book has. Still, it's an ensemble cast, and in any other context, Michonne would reek of cliche.

85) Black Lightning

What is it with bunching up like characters? Space dudes, kewl doods, heroines, unfunny animals, and now the negro couple. While he will never live down the Afro-mask or being replaced by Black Vulcan, Jefferson Pierce will always be DC's first (and still the go-to) lackluster bid at multicultural sensitivity. Watch the video commentary on IGN, and the two white guys acknowledge by omission that even they only threw him in out of guilt.

84) Ka-Zar

This one is Carrot Top plastic surgery level cringe-inducing. A sorry Tarzan rip-off from the the Golden Age (swing a dead cat...) who has had several cult favorite welcomed series that died early deaths, and a lot of unwanted guest appearances. A good guy to help cheer the Falcon up.

83) Superboy

This would be okay if they were acknowledging the whole Superboy legacy, but applied specifically to "Connor Kent," it stings. Thanks undeservedly good creative teams and close ties to the Superman family of comics when they mattered, the Vanilla Ice of comics managed a 100 issue run before Geoff Johns finally managed to do something with the character that didn't elicit a response of "ew."

82) Eric O'Grady (Ant-Man)

The Irredeemable Ant-Man was awesome, but also short-lived with negligible impact.

81) Black Canary

Respect. One of DC's earliest and undeniably their best Golden Age heroine, Dinah Lance managed to kick the star of the strip she debuted in out and take over from Johnny "Footnote" Thunder. The Silver and Bronze Ages were far less kind, turning her into a victim and accessory for Green Arrow. However, she now stars in the longest lasting super-heroine franchise comic of all time not called Wonder Woman.

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