The List To Avenge

So I’ve taken on a job as an early morning cleaner, the pay is good and I get the day  to myself so it’s all working out. Today I’ll be writing a list of my favourite Avengers stories. The Avengers are a key part of Marvel Comics and one of the most famous elements of pop-culture due to the massive success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers roster boasts an enormous number of members and has dealt with threats all across the world, even handling galaxy-threatening beings such as Korvac, Thanos, and the Skrull invasion. As usual the rankings are just my opinion (and there will be some spoilers to events in stories mentioned) and before we start I’ll just say that Avengers vs X-Men is not on the list – I view that more as a story about the X-Men than Avengers for it focuses on Hope and the Phoenix Force. So let us begin the countdown!

Number 5.

5th on the list is Uncanny Avengers: Red Shadow. Red Shadow is written by Rick Remender and illustrated by John Cassaday.

Uncanny Avengers: Red Shadow was a brand-new concept of X-Men and Avengers teaming up. Captain America creates a team of  line-up of both classic Avengers and X-Red ShadowMen including Captain America, Havok, Rogue, the Scarlet Witch, Thor and Wolverine, three X-Men and three Avengers; with Scarlet Witch sticking to her role as an Avenger. The team was created in response to the events of Avengers vs. X-Men; – Cyclops says to Captain America during the events of AvX that he didn’t do enough to help and it’s haunting him so with the landscape and feelings of the world changed as much as they did, Captain America recognises that he needs to do more afterwards. Red Shadow features the funeral of Charles Xavier who was killed by Cyclops, under the influence of the Phoenix, in the war of AvX. Combining ex- Brotherhood of Evil Mutant characters was a nice touch, and Red Skull was an excellent choice for the villain of the story, it restores the feeling of him as a threat to both the Avengers and X-Men, and the team is nicely woven together with plenty of twists and turns, friendships and fist fights.

Rick Remender did a brilliant job of the script. The story was both heart wrenching and action-packed with suspense, and gripping atmospherics. The art work was also very nice and accompanied the story brilliantly, John Cassaday explores the depths of the new team line up with vibrant and bold colours to capture the conflict with in.

Number 4.

4th on the list is Civil War. Civil War is written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven.

After almost a year of growing conflict in the Marvel Universe the time to choose a side came about. After an incident involving the New Warriors and a group of super-villains Civil Warthat caused the deaths of hundreds of people, most of which were children at a school, superheroes across the US were to be registered and monitored, and the government would decide what they could and could-not act on. Tony Stark aka Iron Man who was responsible for the actions of the New Warriors took up the stance of Pro-Registration and Captain America took up the stance of Anti-Registration. One thing led to another and soon enough it was a full out war. This concept is one of the most interesting in the superhero genre in my opinion; a story where villains are not the enemy but pitting superheroes in the public eye and exploring the American ideology of freedom and truth. Captain America and his Secret Avengers believed that to register would be to give up their freedom which was their right, and that being controlled or restrained by the government would make them unable to act when they needed to on some occasions while Iron Man and his Avengers believed that it was in everyone’s best interest to register; that it would restore public trust in the superhero community. Naturally you find yourself taking a side as you read and I won’t lie, I leaning much more towards the side of Captain America. This is the comic that the Marvel Cinematic film of Civil War was directly influenced by, although the story of the film was changed to line up with the bigger MCU plans.

Mark Millar created an extremely atmospheric script. The story is full of twists; delightful and sincere a like, the concept was fleshed out in such a way that it makes the story one of the all time greats, not just in Avengers stories, but across the entire Marvel comics. Steve McNiven’s bold use of colour and smooth textures are a treat for the eyes, capturing the emotion flowing through the pages. He really paints a picture. 

Number 3.

3rd on the list is Avengers: Disassembled. Disassembled is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated David Finch.

Avengers: Disassembled is one of the most definitive Avenger arcs, it’s many of my friends’ favourite Avenger story. Brian Michael Bendis’ writing saw the destruction of the Avengers Disassembledtraditional Avengers roster as well as exiling several key members of the team. The story is attracted a heavy amount of controversy over the plot’s continuity and the deaths and vilification of classic Avengers members. A few key aspects of the story are retconned later on in the events of ‘Children’s Crusade’ as well as ‘AXIS’. Scarlet Witch is a huge player in Disassembled. After learning from Wasp that she had actually had children but they had been hidden from her, and her memories erased of them, Wanda went to Doctor Doom to see if he can restore her children to life. To do so, they summon a mysterious cosmic entity which merges with her and puts her under the control of Doom. Wanda then launched a reign of terror onto the Avengers in a plan of revenge. She blows up the Avenger Mansion, she deconstructs Vision, kills Hawkeye and many other team mates. The story features the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man,  Ultron Robots, the Kree,and Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange declares Wanda to be insane due to her possession of reality-altering abilities that were beyond her comprehension or control. He was aghast that she had been allowed to live her life without checks and balances, saying anyone who had such a powerful control over probability would have lost their grasp on reality and after a confrontation, Magneto leaves with Scarlet Witch for Genosha.

Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch were a power team on this story. Bendis’ script was heart-breaking, and full of emotional twists and surprises, one of the most gripping page-turners I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. David Finch’s art staggering here too, capturing the heart-wrenching story of betrayal with brilliant contrasting colours and bold, gorgeous shades and textures.

Number 2.

2nd place is Siege. Seige is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel.

While Siege is probably not one of the most famous Marvel stories, it certainly should be in my books. Imagine a story wherein Asgard –  the home of Norse Gods – is destroyed by Siegea singular being. I present: Seige. The for the story arc it’s a part of, started in Disassembled, so it’s kind of fitting to have it just after Disassembled in my ranking, and is followed through various other titles. In Siege, Robert Reynolds aka the Sentry’s other personality; Void, destroys Asgard which causes it to plummet towards Earth and crash and then Loki manipulates Norman Osborn to go, with his Dark Avengers, and try to claim the throne for Loki meanwhile Captain America leads his own Avengers to rebel against Norman Osborn and battle the Dark Avengers which leads to an all-out assault between the two forces and the Asgardian gods and warriors also join the fight; eager to defend their home. When Osborn is finally taken down by Captain America and the Avengers, he reveals that he was the only person keeping Sentry in check. The Avengers mount an offensive against Sentry/Void but are overwhelmed by his superior power. Loki, trying to redeem himself for the carnage he has caused, re-energises the Avengers using the Norn Stones and then Sentry rips Loki in half. They finally manage to bring Sentry down after a tremendous battle. Siege explores the raw power that Sentry has as well as his other personality of the Void, and in the process gives us a chance to observe that idea of what would happen when the home of the gods lands among the mortals of earth.

Seige was also written by Brian Michael Bendis and during his prime of Marvel writing. Much like Avengers: Disassembled, the story is full of emotional twists, surprising turns, and is a rather sincerely themed event. Olivier Copiel does a brilliant job of fleshing out the battle between gods and mortals, really vibrant colours with a dystopian-feeling group of textures. I’ve read Siege many, many times and I would gladly pick it up again.

Number 1.

The big 1. 1st place is Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. The Children’s Crusade is written by Allan Heiberg and illustrated by Jim Cheung.

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is a miniseries, which starts with Magneto learning that the Young Avengers were going to search for the still missing Scarlet Witch after the ChildrensCrusadeevents of ‘Disassembled’ and ‘House of M’ and two members of the Young Avengers; – Speed, and Wiccan, may be reincarnations of Wanda’s children. Magneto arranges to meet them, saying that he wants them to finally know their grandfather. The Avengers learn of this and try to stop him but are unsuccessful, and Wiccan takes Magneto and the Young Avengers away, the Avengers, Quicksilver and Wonder Man following behind them. Wiccan eventually finds Wanda but Wolverine tries to kill her but fails as she is saved. The story goes on to explore various timelines during and before the events of Avengers: Disassembled and restoring Wanda’s powers. Beast asks Wanda if she can reverse the “No more mutants” spell. She is unsure a reverse spell would work. They meet up with X-Factor Investigations, which has many clients who are de-powered mutants. Rictor volunteers and has his powers restored, However, a battle ensues between the X-Men and the Avengers over what to do with Wanda, forcing her and the Young Avengers to flee back to Doctor Doom. It is revealed that Wanda’s enhanced powers were a result of her and Doom’s combined attempt to channel the Life Force in order to resurrect her children, but it proved to be too much for Wanda to contain and overtook her. Doom reveals that the entity of the Life Force had passed onto him, giving him supreme god-like powers, even surpassing those of Beyonder, and reveals that he was also responsible for Wanda’s actions in Disassembled and House of M. Wanda and Wiccan successfully remove the entity from Doom during a battle between himself, the Avengers, Young Avengers, X-Factor, and X-Men. The story goes on a little longer but there’s some really excellent things I’ve not mentioned and you’d much rather read them there than here for the first time, I assure you.

The story was an emotional ride from start to finish. I remember picking it up and being completely blown away by the final result. Allan Heinberg, who is very familiar with the Young Avengers, bringing huge success to Marvel Comics with their series was the obvious choice for this story. He perfectly blended the different teams and characters, and gave Wiccan a brilliant spot-light. Jim Cheun is no stranger to Marvel and I think the perfect choice for the art of this story. The story in a comic is nothing to the wrong artist and Cheun nailed the incredibly complex theatrics.

 

There we have it. I hope you enjoyed the read! Honestly, it was extremely close between first and second place. I rate Siege at 4.3/5 and The Children’s Crusade at 4.5/5, both are absolute must-reads for Marvel fans. Next week I’ll be sharing a respect thread of Martian Manhunter!

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Respect Thread – John Constantine

Guess who’s back… It’s not Eminem. It’s me! Today I’ll be doing a respect thread of John Constantine aka the Hellblazer. Constantine is quite underrated on many levels, he’s a brilliant strategist; always with a trick up his sleeve (ahh puns), and a confident leader. Constantine made his main debut with DC/Vertigo’s series Hellblazer, where he earned the name but he’s also appeared in various DC teams such as Justice League Dark, and Batman’s resistance in Injustice. Today I’ll be delving into the layers of John Constantine. As usual, this respect thread will contain spoilers from various moments in the character’s history.

Let us begin!

First off, a little about Constantine. John Constantine had an awful childhood. He had a twin which he strangled in the womb and then his mother died in childbirth which his father blamed him for, and this lay the foundation for friction between the two of them. When he wasn’t running away from home Constantine was looked after and raised by his older sister Cheryl Masters. Known as “The Constant One,” John is a descendant from a long line of magic users. Fascinated by the occult from a young age, John threw himself into learning magic to escape his unhappy family life. He eventually moved in with roommate Chas Chandler, the two became best friends. From the start of his introduction, Constantine has been a chain smoker but does not take any other drugs, and he once called his friend a “dirty lowlife bastard” when he found a needle with a nondescript drug in it. He has a harsh view on the world, himself, and only really cares for a few individuals. One of the reasons he isolates himself though is so he can always be a step ahead, by not being close to people he feels he can maintain a steady plan of action for those around him.

John Constantine is very much of the attitude of ‘Brains Over Brawn’ while he has been known to engage in combat with someone he would much rather outsmart his opponents than engage on a physical level, if he does end up in a physical fight then he’ll often fight dirty or utilise magic to gain the upper-hand. Constantine is actually a master strategist, he is extremely manipulative without needing magic and is a master con-artist. Constantine has actually escaped Hell itself, outsmarted Merlin and the angel Gabriel too.

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During the third year of the DC alternative universe event Injustice Constantine orchestrated a plan that even outsmarted quick thinkers like Batman and Wonder Woman. Constantine Though his manipulation is not drawn out over long periods; he prefers to make instant decisions, relying on his miraculous brain to get himself out of tight situations rather than preparing for things long in advance. Constantine also has supernaturally good luck; referred to sometimes as “synchronicity wave travelling”, it resembles a form of localised, low-level reality warping, granting him enormous luck and explaining how he has survived all that he has survived. Constantine can also sense evil and other magic nearby, similar to that of Spider-Man’s danger senses, and see ghosts and sense auras too.

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What Constantine is most famous for is his use of magic. While he’s not one of the most powerful sorcerers in the universe, he’s certainly one of the most gifted; the First of the DevilRespectFallen (the Devil) notes that Constantine is the most formidable adversary he has faced. having mastered many forms including Divination, Demon Summoning, Cursing, Golemancy, Occlumency, Necromancy, DraculaRespectVivimancy, Illusion, and various stage magic tricks like hypnosis, sleight of hand, and escapology. Dracula himself stated that John is the most intelligent, devious and best master of the occult he has ever met. Constantine as Hellblazer also has the ability to resurrect himself in Hellblazer: Pandemonium where he was killed and later came back by leaving the afterlife, as one does. He also showed the ability to resurrect himself in the Hellblazer Rebirth.

In the New 52, John Constantine managed to take away Billy ‘Shazam’ Batson’s powers to use for himself, can summon the Phantom Stranger against his will and banish him again just as easily.

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He has out-matched the Spectre (who uses the power of god) by dodging his attacks and being unable to be possessed by Deadman, he’s had his soul ripped from his body and carried on battling regardless and has demonstrated matter manipulation by separating Swamp Thing from the Green. His blood is also tainted with demon-blood which as well as being a handy defence against Vampires, also gives him increased longevity – slowing his ageing and also a slight healing factor. While not enjoying the use of firearms, he is a talented marksman, and owns a .357 Magnum, which he has used on occasion. Though he relies on his supernatural powers and holy magic, wands, and even magical chainsaws. Yes, magical chainsaws.

So that’s all we have for today! I hope you enjoyed the read. Next week I’ll be doing another respect thread – Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, and also a list of my favourite five Avengers stories. Peace.

Atlan-lists

Yo! I thoroughly enjoyed my last post of favourite fifteen characters from across Marvel and DC comics. Today I’ll be following that up with my favourite Aquaman stories. One of the reasons he’s an underrated character is that his stories don’t get much traction, or they didn’t used to. The New 52 Aquaman series really stepped up the game with Geoff Johns carrying a significant fan crowd with his name but there have been a few gems before Geoff took over, and so, without further ado let us begin.

5. Brightest Day.

Brightest Day. Brightest Day was written by Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi, and primarily illustrated by Patrick Gleason and Ivan Reis.

BrightestDay CoverOkay, so, this isn’t technically speaking an Aquaman arc, more-so a cross over event. But Aquaman’s story within the Brightest Day arc is so damn good. Brightest Day served as a second-chance for characters both in the context of the story after Blackest Night and with in the DC comic-verse, Aquaman was one of several characters that took centre stage in the universe for the story and then remained in good standing for their own series’. Brightest Day begins with Aquaman and Mera reconnecting after his resurrection but Arthur has yet to enter the water, cautious and fearful of his Black Lantern past. When Aquaman and Mera go to save a group of people from pirates, Aquaman uses his powers to summon dead creatures of the deep, who kill the pirates against his command. Also in the story we learn that Mera originally was sent to Atlantis to assassinate Arthur but but ended up falling in love with him after spending time with him to gain his trust.

Brightest Day is one of the single best stories in comics, Geoff Johns worked wonders with it and the prequel event, Blackest Night, it was both heart wrenching and powerful, and joyful. The art-work mirrors the beautiful story-telling, it’s both haunting and beautiful.

4. Death of a King.

New 52 Aquaman Vol 4: Death of a King. Death of a King is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

Death of a KingDeath of a King is set in the aftermath of Volume 3’s Throne of Atlantis. Aquaman is juggling repairing reputation with the surface while continuing his fight for the throne below. The majority of people from Atlantis follow him but not all respect him, he has to prove himself. As you delve into the story of this volume you discover the roles of other major characters in Atlantis and how their views of Aquaman and Mera, and if they were to rule together, are deeply entwined into Atlantian culture. Then, by the end you a greeted by a reveal that was both sad and horrifying. Especially for Arthur.

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis ended their run of Aquaman here and it was a fantastic run together. The artwork for Aquaman since volume 1 of the New 52 was a brilliant and well needed change, and Geoff Johns set the tone and theme of writing in stone that would solidify Aquaman’s resolve for the future.

3. American Tidal.

Aquaman: American Tidal. American Tidal is written by Wil Pfeifer and illustrated by Patrick Gleason.

American TidalAmerican Tidal also goes by the name of Sub Diego, which is a major feature of the story when San Diego falls victim to horrendous earthquake and tens of thousands die as huge parts of the city crumble into the sea. . Aquaman must investigate why while helping the survivors adjust to life underwater. The story does an excellent job of showing Aquaman’s amazing powers in a way relevant to the story as he uses his strength and speed to help rebuild San ‘Sub’ Diego. It was quite a dark toned story which was a large surprise, there were event a few scenes of quite graphic gore which I wasn’t expecting but I think it was actually refreshing to see the horrors of an event such as this. It raises some moral questions for the main characters about what they would be willing to do, in order to save those they could.

Wil Pfeifer has a very definite style of writing and when it was announced I was very unsure if it would fit Aquaman’s role but I was blown away by it. It was deep and meaningful, a real page turner. Patrick Gleason’s art was also a surprising turn for me but the destruction and horrors that unfold after the earthquake were a fitting story for Gleason to illustrate.

2.  Black Manta Rising.

Rebirth Aquaman Vol 2: Black Manta Rising. Black Manta Rising is written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Philippe Briones and Brad Walker.

Aquaman aka Arthur Black Manta RisingCurry is a man of two worlds; – half human and half Atlantian. He constantly is torn between the duty as king and the Atlantian people, and his role on the surface and as a member of the Justice League. The story of Aquaman over volumes 1 & 2 addresses Aquaman’s conflict within himself through the idea of, certainly in my mind, one of the coolest concepts for an Aquaman story: war. I’ve always wondered about how a full scale war would play out between Atlantis and the surface under Arthur’s rule and command and we finally got to see it. Black Manta ignites a war between Atlantis and the surface by aligning himself with a secret, terrorist organisation and attacking human kind in the name of Atlantis.

Dan Abnett really outdid himself in the story, I was constantly torn between Aquaman’s own conflicts as he went to deal with them, the techniques for installing tension and twists in the story were so impressive, I couldn’t stop turning the pages but I was also nervous to for I wasn’t sure I would like the outcome. It was gripping. The artwork, particularly the use of colour grades and design of Atlantis’ society fused to make a truly memorably story.

1. Throne of Atlantis.

New 52 Aquaman Vol 3: Throne of Atlantis. Throne of Atlantis is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

Throne of AtlantisThrone of Atlantis is one of defining Aquaman arcs. The story centres around the rivalry of Ocean Master and Aquaman as to who should rule and lead Atlantis. During the conflict of brothers, Ocean Master attacks the surface and the Justice League is called to aid the humans on the surface. Aquaman has to decide whether he will stand with the Justice League or his brother. There are similarities to Black Manta Rising above in the concepts of the story; conflict between the surface and Atlantis, Arthur’s two worlds but this one focuses more upon the throne itself and cementing Aquaman’s rule into the history books. The story is a show case of Aquaman’s complex characteristics as both a leader and a warrior. The story serves as a cross over with the New 52 Justice League too.

Geoff Johns has worked miracles with this character, he shaped this character from the joked-about, throw-away Justice League member to a truly incredibly character with an intense backstory and fully fleshed out powers that rank him high on the list of super powered beings. The story here was gripping. It was both action packed, and emotional with suspense and passion. The art, meanwhile, was truly breathtaking. Ivan Reis and Geoff Johns are an incredible team for the New 52 Aquaman run. They did justice to every one of the great DC characters as well as the undersea world itself.

So there we have it. My top five Aquaman stories, and I highly recommend them to anyone; hard-core Aquaman fans or not. Hope you enjoyed the read, my next post will be a respect thread to John Constantine aka the Hellblazer. Peace.

Welcome Back

So I’ve been away from my blog, here, for a while. I took a little bit of a dive with self confidence and I was unemployed which didn’t help but I’m back now and shall try to continue with weekly posts. Today, to kick things back off again I will be sharing with you favourite fifteen characters from across DC and Marvel; top ten is so mainstream. Most of them will be of no surprise to my friends but I’m sure a few will. I’ll also include a little about the characters and why they’re my favourites.

We’ll be starting at 15th place.

15th. Green Arrow.

Playboy. Survivalist. Archer.

Oliver Queen was a spoiled, thrill-seeking playboy, until he was left stranded on a deserted island for several years. There, he trained to become a master archer in order to survive. After his return home, he used his new-found skills and his wealth to became the costumed vigilante known as Green Arrow.

The skills he’d learned on his adventures, and ironically his time in the Boy Scouts as a Green Arrowchild, enabled him to survive. After months alone, he realized he was happier alone on the island than he had ever been in his life. Hunting to survive and living on his own filled the void that he’d been trying to fill with thrill seeking, partying, and going from one woman to the next.When a plane came towards the island Ollie signaled it, only to have them opened fire. Using his bow Ollie managed to gain the upper hand and downed the plane. He was able to get off the island when some drug smugglers mutinied and took over a cargo ship. Using the vast wealth of his company he created gadgets, and various weapons including special arrows, and vehicles similar to that of Batman’s tech, gadgets and vehicles. Ollie also gave himself a suit upgrade which is bullet and knife proof.

Green Arrow is a master archer, considered by even the superhuman members of the Justice League to be the “greatest archer in the world.” Green Arrow himself states he never misses , and has shot at targets without directly looking at them. Black Canary once said she saw Oliver shoot 39 arrows in one minute. Oliver’s aim to so good that he has shown to be able to hit a drop of water coming out of a faucet. While he’s not such a great hand to hand fighter compared to the likes of Batman, Deathstroke, Wonder Woman etc he was trained by one of Deathstroke’s trainers and became a master of several martial arts, although he prefers to keep his distance. He’s got a natural talent for strategy, as well as being at peak human conditioning, a skilled acrobat, free runner, and pilot.

14th. Lex Luthor.

Arguably DC’s most iconic villain. Lex Luthor. Superman’s arch-nemesis.

Lex Luthor is the son of Lionel and Letitia Luthor, they have a thing for ‘L’ in the family. They were wealthy residents of Metropolis. As a teenager, he spent years in Smallville, Lex Luthorwith his Aunt Lena. There he encountered Clark Kent and first became jealous of Superman.

Lex Luthor is not a metahuman, but is an intellectual genius, one of the smartest people on the planet, often (usually by himself) said to be able to turn the world into a Utopia free of crime a sickness if not for his obsession with beating Superman. Lex however suffers from a self-obsessed and narcissistic personality that causes him to lack empathy with the rest of humanity. Lex blames Superman for the world not recognizing his status as the greatest person alive. He is however the smartest man on DC’s Earth. He has mastered seemingly every known form of science,  including space travel, biochemistry, dimensional travel, biochemistry, cybernetics, synthetic polymers, communications, mutations, transportation, holography, energy generation, quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, nano chemistry and more. He’s a brilliant strategist and manipulator, as well as an unrivalled inventor; his creations revolutionise the world. He’s a villain but on several occasions has worked with the Man of Steel, Justice League, and recently has taken up the role of Superman due to augmented armour. He’s a brilliant enemy for Superman, and a key ingredient for DC comics’ success.

13th. Black Panther.

T’Challa. King of Wakanda. The Black Panther.

T’Challa aka Black Panther is one of the most intelligent and best martial artists in the world. He’s a distinguished Avenger, and a member of the Illuminati. He’s King of Wakanda, which is the most technologically advanced nation on the planet, thousands of BlackPantheryears ago a huge meteorite crash landed in Wakanda, the first king of Wakanda, Black Panther Bashenga, harnessed the mineral and used it to nurture his nation. Thousands of years later, under the ruling of Black Panther T‘Chaka, Wakanda’s level of technological and economic achievements continued to excel far beyond those of the modern world. T’Challa’s father hid Wakanda from the outside world as so it would not be manipulated by outsiders, and his father was later assassinated by a scientist called Ulysses Klaw. T’Challa then defeated his uncle, King S’yan, in a once-a-year ritual that allowed anyone of Wakandan royalty to become king/queen by defeating the current ruler in hand-to-hand combat and became king. He later on became an Avenger after introducing himself to the world outside of Wakanda and then a member of the Illuminati along with Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X and Namor who formed a secret government team to make sure a world-wide invasion would never happen.

T’Challa is one of the five most intelligent people on Marvel’s Earth, he’s also one of the top five best martial artists. When he became king he also ate a Wakandian herb which significantly enhanced his strength, speed, stamina, senses, agility, reflexes, and healing factor. He’s also a master tactician, acrobat, marksman, hunter and tracker, inventor, and a natural leader.

12th. Swamp Thing.

Alec Holland. The Avatar of the Green. Protector of the Green.

Swamp Thing is somewhat of a hidden gem in DC comics. Alec Holland was a botanist working on secretive formula to convert deserts into forests, or at least make vegetation grow from desolate areas. He was almost murdered when a bomb planted by agents working for a competitor exploded his lab. He was splashed with burning chemicals in SwampThingthe fire and so, he sought to put it out into the swamp where his lab was, that he was studying and using for the formula and is found by a giant humanoid plant-creature who saves him by making him the Avatar of the Green and transforming him into The Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing is the protector of the Green, and the world’s plant life. As well as having his own series he is also a recurring character of the Justice League Dark; a Justice League that fight against supernatural foes that the normal JL struggle against.

Swamp Thing has complete mastery over all forms of plant life and can command vegetative matter to do his bidding. Through this power, he is in constant communication with the very essence of the Earth, and serves as the Plant Elemental for the entire planet. He also has superhuman strength that is tied to his connection to Earth, his strength is nearly incalculable, he has the ability to resurrect those when connected to the Green, flight, powerful chlorokinetic abilities and theoretically so long as there is some vestige of plant life on the planet Earth, Alec Holland will always have a vehicle through which to house his consciousness, thus rendering him effectively immortal. I’m a huge fan of the complex magic structure of the DC universe, I think it creates some of the most interesting characters.

11th. Wonder Woman.

Due to the film’s massive success and even before that, it’s hard to not know who Wonder Woman is. She’s an Amazon Princess with powers of a god, probably because she’s the daughter of Zeus. As one of the longest continually published comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s history has undergone some changes over the years, WonderWomanthough a few elements remain consistent in all of her depictions. She is the princess of the Amazons, a race of women who live free of men on Paradise Island (later dubbed Themyscira). After growing up on this island, Wonder Woman (whom the Amazons named Diana) journeys to man’s world on a mission of diplomacy and peace.

Wonder Woman is a monument to passion, bravery, peace and an icon for women all over the world. She’s one of the fiercest warriors in DC and arguably the best hand to hand fighter – having been trained by some of the most brilliant warriors in all history. She’s also blessed with divine powers that grant her superhuman strength, speed, durability, stamina, and reflexes. She’s on par with Superman and one of the strongest heroes in DC. Wonder Woman has a healing factor, can fly, and has the Lasso of Truth which forces people in contact with it to tell the truth, Bracelets of Victory which are indestructible, and a royal tiara which when worn allows her to damage enemies with magic too. When faced with a larger threat, Diana will wear her Amazon battle armour for added protection as well as use martial weapons such as swords. Technically speaking as well, as re-imagined under the George Perez 1980s reboot, the iconic costume is in fact simply the breastplate of this armour. She will also additionally use a shield for added defence when she deems it necessary. Bad. Ass.

10th. Rogue.

Anna-Marie. Mutant. Rogue.

Anna-Marie was born to an incredibly beautiful mother and her lover. They got married extremely quickly which damaged the relationship and tried to repair their relationship by Priscilla getting pregnant. Unfortunately the young couple was whisked into a nature-loving commune where they joined in an insane plan to reach “the Far Banks,” a Roguedreamland from Native American mythology, where the rules of the physical world no longer applied. Owen had planned to sacrifice Priscilla to the spirits of the Far Banks, but she took control of them and closed the mystical place behind her as she vanished. Grief stricken, Owen pleaded with Priscilla’s sister Carrie to aid him in raising his daughter. Anna-Marie, who had been nicknamed Rogue, didn’t have a pleasant childhood with her aunt as Carrie used a rough education on her in an attempt to prevent her from making the same mistakes her mother made. Then on top of all of this, her powers manifested one night when she was with a love interest called Cody. If you don’t know what Rogue’s powers are then let me explain – she has the power to drain a living being’s essence upon physical contact. She absorbs their memories, personality traits, and if they have powers themselves; those too. Her powers manifested while she was kissing Cody who was left in a deep coma and she was chased by mutant haters into a swamp where she found Mystique. Rogue actually initially started off her time as a super-powered mutant as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, not the X-Men, which she joined afterwards and has since become a veteran of the X-Men, and has been a member of the Avengers too, with time and much training she now has vast control over her powers. Since gaining control of her powers she is able to touch people without hurting them or absorbing their powers.

9th. Thor.

Thor shouldn’t really need much explanation. God of Thunder, son of Odin and Gaea, he loves his hammer. You know the guy. He’s so interesting though and the writing behind his development has been so varied. Many know him from the Marvel Cinematic Universe but he’s so much more than that in the comics. After centuries of defending ThorAsgard from its enemies, Thor became too proud and grew headstrong. It was because of this that he was banished to Midgard (Earth) by his father to teach him some needed humility. Made mortal and given the form of the handicapped human doctor Donald Blake, Thor learned what it was like to be small and frail and how to be humble and truly noble despite being mortal. After this he was deemed worthy again and became the God of Thunder once more.

Thor is one of the strongest physical powerhouses of Marvel but also a significant asset with magic. He is blessed with divine powers from his bloodline, so as well as his vast superhuman strength he also can manipulate and control the weather, fly, resurrect beings, create force-fields, manipulate matter, and absorb and project energy. Possibly his greatest asset though is Mjolnir which is one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. It is made from Uru metal which is said to be as strong and durable as adamantium, it has been shown to withstand temperatures as hot as the centre of the sun and withstand energy blasts that could have destroyed an entire galaxy. When in Thor’s hands, to say it would be capable of destroying mountains is an understatement. Thor has clashed with other immensely powerful beings such as Bor (Odin’s father), Hulk, the Midgard Serpent, and even Galactus (we’ll be getting to him later). Thor is also one of the original founding members of the Avengers. He is truly a fascinating character.

8th. Constantine.

The Hellblazer. John Constantine is a con-man and sorcerer born in Liverpool, U.K. He is well-known for his scathing wit, endless cynicism, ruthless cunning and constant chain smoking. A roguish counterculture anti-hero, Constantine is also a strident humanist driven by a heartfelt desire to defend mankind from the forces of evil. John Constantine Constantinehas not had what one would call a pleasant upbringing; he had a twin which he strangled in the womb, then his mother died in childbirth and his father blamed John for her death which caused great friction between the two of them for most of his early life. Constantine is a descendant from a long line of magic users. He was fascinated by the occult from a young age, and threw himself into learning magic to escape his unhappy family life. As well as just saying how it is, Constantine has the skills to match his claims. He is very much brains over brawn in style and while he does possess considerable skills as a sorcerer and vast magical knowledge, he would much rather outsmart an enemy; he even conning the devil himself.  Some examples of the magic John has used are Divination, Demon Summoning, Cursing, Golemancy, Occlumency, Necromancy, Vivimancy, Illusion, and various stage magic tricks like hypnosis, sleight of hand, and escapology. John has also shown the ability to resurrect himself in Hellblazer: Pandemonium where he was killed and later came back by leaving the afterlife. He’s battled opponents as powerful as Trigon and Lucifer, ventured into the afterlife and hell, and then back again too. Constantine is a cunning strategist too, he’s led the Justice League Dark on several occasions. He’s witty, sarcastic, brutally honest and always has tricks up his sleeve. What’s not to love?

7th. Galactus.

The dude literally eats planets, I mean, c’mon! Galactus is such an insane, interesting concept. He’s famed “Devourer of Worlds” – tell me you wouldn’t love to have a title like that. You’re lying if you said you wouldn’t. Also, get this, Galactus (who’s real name is Galan) is the sole survivor of the universe that existed before ours; before the big bang.

He was actually born billions of years ago on the planet Taa and was one of the planet’s chief scientists. Taa was a paradise world, the most technologically advanced in all the Galactusuniverse.

Galactus was born during the last years of his universe just as the Big Bang was approaching. Galan flew into the terminal point of the universe as a sort of last act of Heroism to his people and a vastly powerful cosmic being combined with him to create Galactus, Galactus learned to control his power and created a unique body suit to help regulate his immense energy levels. During a space war his ship was fired upon and he awoke after laying dormant for hundreds of years and with this incubation complete, he fed off the energy of the world below him but he also has the power to create so he reconstructed the world. When completed, it was enormous, planets orbited it as though it were a sun. The world-ship became Galactus’ home and he named it Taa II. It is believed that Galactus is the balance between Death and Eternity.

Galactus is empowered by the virtually limitless power of the Power Cosmic. This means that Galactus manifests a range of powers and abilities depending on his need and desire. The true form of Galactus is not known. He is perceived as the species of whoever is looking at him. To a human, he appears human. To an alien, he would appear the same as them. Galactus’s true form is a golden glowing humanoid body of energy; he is immensely powerful, one of the most powerful in the Marvel multiverse. He can manipulate matter, energy, creation and all universal sources and when he eats planets his power levels spike. I love him for the supremely awesome concept that is him, and that power.

6th. Black Adam.

Black Adam is without a doubt one of the coolest comic-book characters. He was once, thousands of years ago, enslaved as a gladiator for a Pharaoh known as ‘Mighty Adam’. Now a complex anti-villain with extremist Newdesigns to free the world of oppression known as ‘Black Adam’

While serving as high priest to Ramses II, the wizard Shazam sought a successor to his godly powers. Impressed with his virtue and martial heroism, he chose Adam. Having Black Adamdetermined to make Adam his successor, Shazam’s intentions were altered by the intervention of his half-demonic daughter Blaze. Blaze struck a bargain with the god Set so that when Adam speaks the word “Shazam,” instead of becoming the avatar of the wizard’s deific patrons, he becomes the avatar of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen, while his counterpart and nemesis – Shazam aka Billy Batson, the other of two champions of The Wizard (who took the wizard’s chosen name) gains the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. The chief distinction between the power of Billy and that of Adam is that Adam’s powers are provided by the Egyptian, rather than the Greek, pantheon. Black Adam is one of the most powerful characters in DC and a fearsome enemy for anyone, even supervillains such as Darkseid and Sinestro give him a wide birth for his ferocity. He has the full power of all those gods he becomes the avatar of. He has taken on the Justice League alone before as well as multiple Green Lanterns, Firestorm, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, the Marvel family, the remaining Teen Titans, the JSA, and many others at the same time. Black Adam’s brutality and magical prowess makes him truly something to behold.

5th. Winter Soldier.

“Who the hell is Bucky?” Well I’ll tell you. James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was Captain America’s partner, they served together in World War II and were part of the Invaders along with Namor and Jim Jammon; the original Human Torch. In the last days of WWII, Bucky hopped on a plane carrying a bomb and hoping to disarm it, Captain America’s Winter Soldierbody was frozen in a state of suspended animation for years but Bucky’s body was never found. This is because he had been found by the Soviets, experimented on, and brainwashed to return 50 years later as The Winter Soldier; a deadly assassin. Through conflict with none other than Captain America, Bucky’s brainwashing broke down and he turned to the side of good. He’s taken the mantle of Captain America, has been an Avenger and led them, and he’s made for an effective weapon and spy of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bucky didn’t take the serum like Captain America but he was enhanced by the Soviets as well as given a cybernetic left arm which could produce EMP’s and electric bolts. Due to his training with the S.A.S, United States Army, Captain America, and the Soviet Special Forces, Bucky is an experienced and deadly fighter, proficient in several types of armed and unarmed combat and very capable of mixing them to create a unique style. He’s also a master marksman, and has knowledge of almost every firearm known to man.

Bucky is shown to deal with mental health issues over the course of his career – PTSD and Depression especially. He has breakdowns and flashbacks of his time being ‘enhanced’ by the Soviets and he has struggled to deal with what he did while in their brainwashed state. I’ve always admired his character, his transition from evil to good and how he’s always very aware of what he was, but tries to be the best he can be to make up for it; he’s kind and caring, and protective. He battles inner demons and I too had PTSD after my dad died, Winter Soldier was one of the characters that, while I already loved, I grew to love even more.

4th. Deathstroke.

Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke the Terminator is one of the most badass characters ever. One of the most feared assassins in the DC universe, a master tactician, and superb fighter. Deathstroke is a genetically engineered super-soldier with enhanced strength, Deathstrokespeed, stamina, dexterity, durability, reflexes, senses and an accelerated healing factor. When you couple this with his combat efficiency and intellect, what you get is an insanely skilled soldier. Slade’s brain power is a factor of 9 times more powerful than a peak human which makes him a strategical genius, he has some incredible feats like injuring the Flash when he was running at near light-speed speeds, taking on the Teen Titans alone, battling gods such as Ares, and god-like beings such as Superman and Wonder Woman (without Kryptonite). Even before the super-soldier serum Slade was considered one of the best hand to hand fighters and since the serum and more training, he’s held his own against the likes of the League of Shadows, Wonder Woman, and Richard Dragon. Deathstroke has a healing factor but it isn’t anywhere near as strong as Wolverine’s or Deadpool’s which means he has to rely on his skill and efficiency in battle which he definitely does.

You can’t not love the guy. Fun-fact, you may have recognised the surname. Slade Wilson and Wade Wilson are not related, but Wade Wilson (Deadpool) was originally created as a parody of Deathstroke. I prefer Slade.

3rd. Batwoman.

Into the top 3 now, so be prepared for incoming fanboying.

Batwoman aka Kathy Rebecca Kane. The very definition of badass. A gay icon in comics and a warrior by any standard. Batwoman doesn’t get enough credit or recognition in my books, her father was in the military and all her life she wished to join too. When her Batwomanfather was supposed to be deployed overseas, Kathy was abducted but her father came to rescue her which he succeeded in doing however Kathy’s sister and mother were killed during the rescue. She later joins the military herself, but is forced to release after it is discovered that she is in a relationship with another woman. Kate encounters Batman when he comes to her rescue and he inspires her to take up a vigilante role for herself. Her father helped her train in martial arts, unarmed and armed combat meaning she is quite the combatant and easily capable of holding herself against attackers. She developed her own weapons to fit her unique style of military-esque combat.

Batwoman is a testament to bravery, hard work, and capability, she’s my favourite member of the Bat-family and I love the times she teams up with Batman, he has said that he holds her as an equal which he doesn’t do that often.

2nd. Magneto.

Magneto is an alpha level mutant with the ability to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum, he can perceive the magnetic forces of the Earth as well as the bio-electrical Magnetopatterns of all living beings. He also has one of the, if not the most tragic back story. He is a survivor of the Holocaust where he also lost his parents and sister before his eyes, and was set in to clear the chambers after executions, and was ‘examined’ to explore the depths of his powers. The Holocaust is a parallel concept to how mutants are treated by homosapiens out of fear. Magneto fights to make mutant kind the dominant species for he fears that the humans will try to destroy them if not. He and Professor X are in-fact based on Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr who were two prominent leaders of the Civil Rights movement in America. I still believe to this day that Magneto is the best character in the X-Men mythos. When he first joined up with the X-Men it was with sincere motive to atone for his terrorist past. He also mentored the New Mutants for a while. Magneto is fiercely loyal and protective of his own kind, a fearsome leader, brilliant strategist and has been as much an enemy of the X-Men as a part of them. Magneto’s loyalty and protectiveness of his own is very similar to myself and he’s just such a superbly written character.

1st. Aquaman.

The main man. Arthur Curry, King of Atlantis. A key member of the Justice League and hugely underrated.

Aquaman is the son of two worlds, his mother was the Atlantian queen and his father was a lighthouse keeper. Aquaman is often written off as a character who can just ‘talk to fish’ or joked about being useless which is grossly inaccurate. Aquaman aka Arthur Curry is loosely based upon King Arthur – think Aquamanabout it for a little bit and I’m sure it’ll come to you. Both are King Arthur by name, both have indestructible weapons and are shrouded in magic, and mysterious pasts. As with most comic characters, he is based upon other things/people too but King Arthur of Camelot is to me the biggest inspiration. Aquaman has vast superhuman strength – he once lifted a 300,000 tonne cruise liner, and superhuman agility, dexterity, durability, senses, reflexes, stamina, and healing. He has marine telepathy (which is often the cause for jokes around him) but he is such an achieved telepath that he’s even used it to communicate with beings such as Steel, and Martian Manhunter. He’s a master combatant; having trained with Atlantian special forces and characters such as Wonder Woman and Batman. Plus he has an indestructible trident which he can use to summon lightning or ice storms, he’s a natural born leader and strategist and has often proven his bravery, loyalty, and proficiency in battle. He’s one of the most underrated and interesting characters in Marvel/DC for sure.

Not many of you know this I’m sure but I was born with a genetic predisposition called Klinefelter syndrome (feel free to look that up, it’s rare), otherwise known as ’47’, where males are born with one or more extra chromosome. Now I know I’m not half Atlantian or heir to some kick-ass magical throne but I’ve always related to that concept of being from two worlds – K.S/47 is so rare that I’ve never met anyone else who has it, and I’ve never not had it so there’s things to do with it that I really struggled to deal with while I grew up. Aquaman has always been the comic and character I’ve gone to when down in a tough spot. ON-TOP of that, when my dad died a few years back, Aquaman’s stories was one of the main elements that kept me going. It might sound silly to some but it’s crazy how far a work of fiction can go into keeping someone going. Aquaman’s father helped train him mentally and physically to prepare for the worst, and my dad heavily helped me with my K.S.

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So there we have it, friends and strangers. Family too. My favourite fifteen Marvel/DC characters. I’ll try to be more regular again with my posts again; respect threads and favourite character arcs. I hope you enjoyed the read!