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My Top Ten Marvels 2013
This is my list for my top ten Marvels for 2013. Yes, it's not that far into 2013 at this point, but I'm basing these on how I felt about the character last year and into this one. My views are mostly based on the comic book versions of each character, but can also be deeply affected by the movie, TV, or video game versions. Sometimes it's the sum of the character's history or stories, and sometimes just my own personal feelings with/towards them. I invite any feedback on the list, and your own favorites. Also, anyone who's into Marvel, or comics, or just awesome stuff should look into these characters more.
Deadpool is my favorite Marvel because he's the one I like reading the most. He's always funny, and entertaining, and never dull. There's not always deep character moments with him, but that's because he's an irreverent person. He's used mostly to poke fun at the absurdity of the real world and of the Marvel Universe. He has personal growth and development, but it often hidden in the comedy, and then undone with the next writer who takes over. This is true with all comic characters in a sense, but even more with Deadpool, because he's meant to never be all there in the head, which means each new writer can take him in a completely new direction and it not be out of character; much like the Joker, or Moon Knight. And that's both a good and a bad thing as it means constant new ideas, but also a lack of continuity and growth. Deadpool has recently become one of Marvel's most popular and successful characters,and there's a reason for it: he's everything you could want with a great superhero person, without ever taking himself seriously. Deadpool is morally grey, but is surprisingly loyal. He has literally traveled to other dimensions and dies thousands of times to save friends who don't even like him most of the time. He then may shoot his friend in the leg for eating that last cheese doodle, but that's a hazard his friends usually deal with. DP had appeared in most of the recent Marvel video games, and a version of him is in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; a very loose interpretation but still Wade.
Ah, Cyclops. This guy is perhaps the most underrated well-known Marvel character. He led the X-Men for decades, and is now basically the new Magneto..and yet he is killed off in the movies, and didn't even make it into Marvel vs Capcom 3. He does make a thrilling and compelling appearance in X-Men Destiny though. I didn't like AvX in general, as the story wasn't that interesting and the X-Men were made to be the big, nonsensical bad guys. But I did like that Cyclops became bad, the biggest bad guy actually. And I like that now that he's no longer under the sway of the Phoenix entity, he is still darker and grimmer, using some of Magneto's tactics as well as his own to do what he sees as best for his people. No one saw that coming, even with his harder stance with Utopia and Messiah Complex/Hope Returns. Though I have always wanted to see a story where he really did go evil. I don't think he's really evil now, just being the hard lined mutant militant he thinks he needs to be, without actually killing people. But it is close enough, and more in character than true bad guy. For those of you who don't know, during Avengers vs X-Me, Cyclops and 4 other mutants had the Phoenix force split between them, and were godlike. They took over the world and solved all it's problems. But they also grew dark and twisted. And all the other heroes began to take them down. Each time one was taken down, the rest would grow stronger when they lost the Phoenix power. In the end, Cyclops stole Emma Frost's power to add it to his own and make himself strong enough to stand up to the combined might of every hero on Earth. They managed to beat him, but it was close. And he killed Professor X in the process. After losing the Phoenix force, he was put in jail, where he remained until a young mutant who was there with him was murdered in front of him. Then he had his remaining loyalists break him out, and began using his new team of himself, Emma Frost, Magneto, and Magik; to run missions around the world to stop mutant abuse and to help newly awakened mutants to survive and cope. And also recruiting them. I like this turn on his character, and am glad that Marvel chose him as the hero to do it with, and not one of the more usual or popular suspects.
Darkhawk makes the list this year mostly for nostalgia and how awesome the character himself is, and not anything he's done this year. Because all he has done this year, or had done to him I should say, is die in Avengers Arena. And as far as I know he's now been replaced as Darkhawk by a character I don't really care about. Arena is still interesting and entertaining, but I'm not happy Chris Powell died, at all. In fact, power level wise, DH could have killed everyone there on Day One, but seemed to be nerfed as a plot device. But I was still happy that Darkhawk was used at all this year, which is a sad statement really, that this amazing character is so under-used I'm happy to see him do anything at all, even dying under silly circumstances. Darkhawk was originally basically a darker 90's Spiderman, with Ironman's power-set. That is a simplified version of things, but that boils it down pretty good. He's changed a lot since then, mostly for the better but some not. He's not a teen hero anymore (another reason it made no sense for him to be in Arena), and has been through a lot, and grown in power to nearly cosmic character level. And despite his lack of use and severe mistreatment by Marvel, he continues to have many die-hard fans such as myself. There is a good reason for that, and I hope that one day Marvel, and the fans at large realize it, and utilize DH to his full potential. Or at least let him join one of the thousands of Avengers teams or something.
Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch)
I had to qualify which Rider made my list, because there have been several in the last few years. The main two, of course are Danny Ketch and Johny Blaze. The rest were temporary or past Riders. Now, I really like JB, and I'm in no way knocking him or his bad-assness. Buy in my eyes Ketch is by far the better Rider and character. Blaze has a better origin story, selling his soul and all, to save someone. But most of the things people associate with the Rider actually originated with Ketch: the Penance Stare, the living chains, the black leather, the Caretaker. His original origin with just finding a random motorcycle in a cemetery and it giving him power was lacking, but it has since been expanded and ret-conned into something very confusing but much more meaningful than that. So Blaze's origin is better..but that's really the only thing that is. His rogue gallery mostly sucked, except for a few interesting demons. Danny's rogues were mostly brutal undead and demons. Scary mofo's you mostly took seriously. Dannny was part of some of the best crossovers and team-ups in the 90s in Marvel. Midnight Sons, Inferno, etc. He was teamed up with pretty much everyone because he's awesome. Recently he has been replaced by Blaze, by the conformist traditionalist writers and fans. Again, I love the new material with JB, and I love his character, but he is not the best Ghostrider, and only made a come back because of the shift in going back to original characters and classic portrayals, because the people writing them now grew up with those versions in the olden days. And one of the main target audiences is people in that same age bracket who also grew up with them. And now new readers, of course, are growing up with those classic versions as their own. Often never even getting to really see or know the newer, often better version. It's not that I think anything newer is automatically better, or feel like whatever version I grew up with is always best. If i thought that I would think Ben Reilly is the best Spiderman, and the AoA X-Men the best version of the them, which I don't. Well...the AoA Nightcrawler and Iceman are better.
With the return of Blaze, Danny has been regulated to supporting character and occasional bad guy. He's gotten whiny and mopy, which never used to be an issue with him, but always was with Blaze. I'm OK that he was misguidedly bad for a while. I actually really enjoy seeing my favorite heroes spend time on the dark side, and my favorite villains spending time as a hero. Lets us explore those characters when all the rules have changed. And I have enjoyed all the recent Rider stories, with or without Ketch, or even with Alijandra, who I never really cared for or about but was still happy to see a new Rider, especially one of a different race and gender than the norm. If her character had been handled a little differently, and better fleshed out before stripping her of the Rider powers, she might have joined the same lofty ranks as DK and JB in my heart. So, to reiterate, I love the Ghost Rider, whoever is currently the main one, but for me, Ketch will always be the best of an amazing group.
Marc Spector has had a pretty big year. He had his own series written by Bendis. Didn't last that long, but that seemed a match made in....whatever dimension Khonshu resides in. He has also temporarily been part of several hero teams recently. Including some that only happened in his head. I didn't really like the delusion Avengers in MK's head, but it was still interesting. In all reality, the Avengers haven't had all that much to do with MK's life, until recently; and I don't think have been a big enough part of it to warrant space in his delusions...at least compared to Khonshu and his own alternate personalities and love interests and family members. But it was written by the Avengers guy..so yeah. I like that MK is an on-again off-again Avenger. But I think it's a bit soon to for them to be a major part of his life and psyche. My own opinion though, and psychopaths are nothing if not pleasantly unpredictable.
I haven't actually read Age of Ultron yet, but I am excited that MK plays a big part of it. Always like seeing my favorites play a part of the big crossovers. Moon Knight is in a couple games: Spider-man: Web of Shadows, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and Marvel Super-hero Squad Online. Took a few years to get there, but it's cool he did. He's supposed to be getting into Avenger's Alliance, just a few years after it started. I suppose I sound bitter about the wait. I am. But really is better late than never. Moon Knight would have been awesome in Marvel vs Capcom, but we can't have everything I guess. Moon Knight should have his own movie, maybe even a Cinemax show. Guess we'll see. Doubt it will happen anytime soon..but never saw Guardians of the Galaxy coming either. Moon Knight is one of Marvel's best characters, and they occasionally realize it. He's had a good decade lately, and I'm looking forward to see what's next.
I've long been vaguely fond of Magik, just never saw her as a big deal or anything. When I first began my Marvel life, in the '90s, the only thing major to happen to her was her dying from the Legacy Virus, something that seemed a device to turn her brother Colossus against the X-Men more than an actual big Magik character moment. I had missed the awesome stories involving her in the '80s. So to me she was an interesting but ultimately non-important person in Marvel. This all changed in the last few years. She came back with a demonic vengeance, becoming a major player in the X-Men camp. She caused them grief when she was in her Darkchylde persona, trying to get her soul back, and doing nearly anything to make that happen. After escaping Limbo again, she re-joined the re-formed New Mutants, working with them to carry out Cyclops' orders. She did some nasty stuff to spare the world from the return of the Old Ones. And was put in Utopian prison for it. But the X-Men still kept needing her help dealing with major threats. She manged to have Juggernaut lose his demonic powers in Fear Itself, and at the same time tricked Colossus into gaining them, just to teach him a lesson (something I don't really buy myself). During AvX she was a staunch Cyclops supporter, and ended up being one of the 5 mutants imbued with the Phoenix Force. She helped to reshape and rebuild the world, before all the 5 were twisted by the power, and ultimately lost it. After Cyclops' fall from grace, and arrest, she stuck by him, carrying out his orders while he was in prison, Eventually she helped break him out and joined his X-Men team. I've always liked her power set and history, and now her character and story are as interesting. Looking forward to seeing what they do with her next.
Doom is still the best villain in Marvel. There are many other good ones out there, but they still come second and third to the Great One. He is everything one needs in a villain: The truly despicable true evil, the reluctant sympathetic villain, occasionally the surprise anti-hero. He has been all these things and more. He is the supreme evil mastermind and uber evil sorcerer villain, all in one. It would take two or three other villains put together to accomplish that, and they still wouldn't be able to with as much style and panache. I like every version of Doom, except maybe Ultimate. Even the movie Doom was charming and evil, if not fully living up to who he is. I like the latest stuff with Doom and the multiverse Reed Richards and his relationship with Valeria Richards. Makes him no less villainy, but lets us see his pragmatic and logical side override his ego for once, and maybe a hint of human caring. Doom is the villain every other villain fears and respects. I like that him and Namor have a working understanding, same for T'Chala. It shows that even though he feels he's better than everyone, he still knows the value of alliances, even with people he generally doesn't like. Dr.Doom is the primary antagonist in several Marvel video games, and even when he is just one of many, he steals the show. He has led more villain teams than perhaps any other person in Marvel. And they still keep going back to him when they need a Mastermind, because he is the best. at it. Can't wait to see what they do with him next, and in the new FF movie, and new games. He's always one of the most fun and compelling parts.
To be perfectly candid, Emma may have only made the list this year because Jean Grey is dead. The real Jean Grey I mean, not the blast from the past one. That is not to say that she would automatically make the list, but that I would be so torn about picking one or the other that I very might have picked neither. They're both two sides of the same coin: strong psychic women who are into Cyclops. One is supportive, sweet, loyal, and a little bit demure; when she's not wiping out [planets anyway. The other is supportive, and loyal, but anything but sweet and demure. They both have their ups and downs, and I really like them both, with and without Cyclops. But Emma gets the nod for two reasons: she hasn't been dead for the last decade, and because Jean is really best known for her being the puppet of Mastermind and the Phoenix. that and being Scott's girl, as he became mostly known for being her guy. Emma was her own person doing a lot of different things, before ever even becoming interested in Scott. Think about it: name 3 epic story lines featuring Jean that don't involve either Scott or the Phoenix. Don't worry, I'll wait. So, despite her being a great character in and of herself, it can be argued that there is nothing there without them. The same isn't true of Emma. She was doing big evil things before ever joining the X-Men. And was doing a bunch there before hooking up with Scott. Jean has been dead for a decade. Yet she's still appeared in every X-Men show, and in a lot of the games since then. As a matter of fact Cyclops didn't make into into Marvel vs Capcom 3 or Ultimate Alliance 2, simply because Jean was there, and the creators felt that there was no reason to have them both. So their relationship is a good story but it also came to define them, and people often couldn't think of them as individuals. Now, Emma and Scott have been together for years, and yet no one has this problem with the two of them. They are seen as separate linked entities. She and Scott have both reached pinnacles of their careers and lives. Emma was one of the Phoenix 5. And now she is on Scott's X-Men team. Their relationship is on the rocks after the Phoenix incident, but she still fights at his side, partly because she has nowhere else to go, and partly because she still believes in the call. It might seem at this point in the list, that there is a theme with Cyclops' team. And you'd be right. It's a combination of my love for those particular characters; my belief that while the other X-Men's stance is also right and needed, that Scott's is more so; and my generally being tired of the Avengers. The A team is now the favored child of Marvel, and it's made them watered down and way too over shoved down our throats. This is not to say that there are no good new Avenger people and stories, but it's getting hard to take them seriously after the 19th new Avengers monthly comic, and the 8th Avengers big event of a single year. So my already fairly large X-Men preference has become more pronounced. I've also gotten more into the supernatural element of Marvel, as I have in everything in general the last few years. So now I am much more interested in Cyclops's X-Men team and the supernaturals than I am the Avengers, much more so than when I made the last list of this.To be honest, if Magik's powers weren't magical in nature she might have come after Emma in this list. Or it would have been a tougher decision. They have a lot in common, but are also very different. But Magik's demon lore gets her extra points in my book. I am debating as I write this whether or not Magneto will also make the list. I support team Cyclops that much. Might even get the shirt. The rogue X-Men team story has made all these already interesting characters even more interesting and dynamic, and willing to make their own choices, and not follow their peer crowd.
I have to say I'm somewhat surprised Blade made my list this year. That's not to say that he's not always been a great character, he has. I like vampires, swords, bad-asses, and vengeance motivated people. He is all those things, or has come to be in recent times. Yet this is the first year he has made my top ten. The main reason for that has been that Marvel has not really known what to do with him for the most part, in the comics that is. They did wonderfully with him in the movies, and most of the games he has been in. But in the comics he has come and gone, usually popping up when vampires and/or hardcore black anti-heroes are in vogue. This was true in the 70's and the 90's, and occasionally now. He had a resurgence and re-build in the 90s when all hardcore and supernatural characters were popular, partly due to the success of Ghost Rider and Spawn. The original Blade was awesome, but he had an air of blaxpoitation about him, the same as Luke Cage and other black comic characters of the 70's. They were nothing like the black people I knew, and just kind of felt like a gimmick. But it was also a different age; I wasn't alive in the 70s, maybe if I had been i would have known some people who looked and dressed like that. My first version of Blade was the 90s one. He was awesome, but I didn't really know enough about him for him to be one of my favorite Marvels. I also wasn't as into vampires, demons and dark fantasy stuff then as now. I've since read some of Blade's original 70s appearances, and he's awesome there too, just doesn't ring that true with me because of the generation gap. But he was much less of a stereotype than many other characters of the time. I'm not really sure what happened to him in the 80s, he seems to have not be on the radar that I can find. But he came back in the 90s with a new look and more amped up vengeance drive. He was in most of the supernatural crossovers of the decade.Then the movies came out. Wow. I honestly liked the movie version better, as did most people. Marvel realized this, and gradually made the comic version more and more like the movie one.Which made the character actually more awesome and believable. But Marvel still doesn't really know what to do with him. Vampires are only something Marvel does in spurts. And Blade is intrinsically tied in to vampires. I'm not sure why Marvel can't seem to keep any supernatural titles to last all that long lately. They have so many good mystical characters, but none of them can survive in their own title for long,and only are in mini-series or aborted attempts at regular series. They hang in there guest starring in other people's comics, and as part of teams, but that's it most of the time. Is this because fans' interest in supernatural characters waxes and wanes? Or because Marvel and a lot of Marvel fans tend to forget about characters who didn't come from the Stan Lee Marvel era..with the exception of a few (Wolverine, Deadpool)? Maybe a combination of both. I've read some recent Blade comics and they were good...but people still just seemed to lose interest. Because it didn't have a big name creator or a lot of marketing. I think if Marvel had an actual horror writer write them, especially a big name one, it might be a bigger hit than it the last few attempts. Time will tell I suppose. I recently watched the anime Blade series, and it was great. A really different take on him. Sort of a Blade meets Blood+. Looking forward to the Marvel Studios reboot of the movies. I hope it is amazing,and makes people care about him again. He deserves it.
Again, a big surprise he made my list. He's always been an interesting character, but lately things have been clicking and he's become my second favorite villain. He's got an interesting back story, and is the poster child for becoming a supervillain by your boot straps. He was just a two-bit punk with two guns. Then he finds a cloak and some boots on a demon he killed. They gave him the ability to airwalk and become invisible. But that was pretty much it. But with just that, his guns, and some gumption, he eventually builds a criminal empire. He's intelligent, and a tactical and charismatic leader, but no more so than many villains in Marvel. What sets him apart is that he is willing to do anything to himself and often others to get the job done, and to have power.He's addicted to the power, but who can really blame him? He started with absolutely nothing, and then gained a lot of power and money and influence. Anyone would be loathe to give that up. Parker is the really one of the dark parts inside of us, that we usually keep a leash on. But he had something happen in his life that pushed him past that control, into real power and a totally different way of life.I'm not saying it's cool to go around robbing and killing people..but the fantasy is cathartic, and I like that this guy isn't majorly different than us. Just a different path taken. He's not the type to go around randomly killing people, and even has a loose moral code of keeping his deals and not abandoning people he actually cares for. But he doesn't get weepy when he has to do some damage, or let anything stop him form getting things done.He is not as grand and epic as Doom...but then Doom has been around longer, and started with slightly more to work with: his genius IQ and and magical and scientific training almost since birth. They both started dirt poor with zero real hope of a future. Maybe some day The Hood will get up to Doom's level. Who knows?
Which of these characters do you like best?
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