Thursday, January 9, 2014

Off-Topic: My Favorite Superheroes (40-36)

#40- Blade- Blade is on this list as much for his time as a supervillain as for his time as an (anti-)hero. He once spent a brief time as a demonic, supernatural juggernaut who killed of many of earth's greatest mystical superheroes. That storyline was one of my favorites, and it added depth to an already interesting character. Blade's mother was bitten by a vampire while pregnant, and Blade was born with some ability to detect and counteract the undead. Over time, his interactions with vampiric agents (most notably Morbius the living vampire) lead to his developing powers similar to those seen in the BLADE film, which not incidentally also adds to the character for me. While I don't have a lot of BLADE comics, those I do have are among the most interesting in my collection, and that is why he is on this list.

#39- Sela Mathers- Sela is the central character of the ZENESCOPE universe. Sela is to that company what Superman is to DC or Spider-Man is to Marvel. In that world, she gathers up fairy tale characters to fight the forces of darkness across multiple planes of existence. But what really gets her a place on this list is her early years. Sela is possessed of incredible power and many mystical weapons, but in the beginning it was all about her and a book of twisted fairy tales, fairy tales that had the power to change people's lives if they would let them. She did battle with a darker version of herself who had a similar book used to tempt people to evil. The concept of using ideas as a superpower is intriguing, and while she still can be interesting now that she has taken on the role of a more classic action hero, the character as she exists now pales in comparison to those early years when she used her vast powers more like a surgeon's tool than a mallet.

#38- Nightcrawler- One of my favorite storylines with Nightcrawler is when he trained a group of inter-dimensional aliens and created his own "N-Men". That comic alone might have gotten him a place on this list. But Kurt Wagner is a complex being... thoughtful, a man of faith, marked as something of a monster (a consequence of his mutation), and that combined with a rather malleable power (short range teleportation), Nightcrawler has found an important niche role on multiple superhero teams. But Nightcrawler's experience, his years of perfecting his powers and his fighting skill, make him as good a leader as a follower. In the end, Nightcrawler is one of those characters whose real power is his vulnerable and loveable heart.

#37- Kyle Rayner (Green/White Lantern)- Kyle is mostly on this list and at this spot on this list for the first 12 issues of GREEN LANTERN: THE NEW GUARDIANS. His exploration of the emotional spectrum, and his discovery of his place as one of the only persons in the universe that can become a White  Lantern, was riveting for me. I loved his interaction with his NEW GUARDIAN team members early on, and later issues have failed to reach the height of that first year. But I had some interest in Kyle even before THE NEW 52. Kyle is an artist, and when you wield a weapon powered by will power and imagination, this kind of skill can come in very handy. Kyle's a creative soul, and in many ways is a projection of the very comic book artists who are creating his story, so he's a window into the souls of the writers and drawers in a way few other characters are. That can make for some interesting storytelling, and does, though not as often as it should.

#36- Martian Manhunter- It is interesting to think that this character began as something of a gimmick: he was obviously a reworking of the idea of Superman. Martian Manhunter's home, Mars, had its entire population destroyed by a terrible disaster centuries ago. That event left a psychic mark on the Manhunter so deep that it forms the basis of his only real weakness (his phobia of fire actually causes him physical damage). Manhunter has proven to be an amazing character, though. Unlike Superman, he remembers his world's destruction and he does not look human as the Man of Steel does, and this causes him to be more of a 'man apart' as he lives with and for humanity. His aloofness, combined with his gentleness and massive power, can make him rather enthralling.

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