Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Cap'n's 50 Best DC Character Countdown - #1-25

Okay, I know I said I'd wait till Friday to put up the rest of my list, but I can't help myself; the compulsion is strong in this one.* After having read through the lists of quite a few of the other participants in The Great Curve's poll, the only real regret I feel is that I neglected Shayera Thal, who was the heart and soul of Ostrander's Hawk-titles. Oh, well; maybe next time

25. Two-Face (Harvey Dent)
Maybe it’s because one of the first Batman stories I ever read was a reprint of his first two appearances, but Two-Face has always been one of my favorite Bat-foes. His reliance on the flip of a coin is just a great hook, and the evolution of his psychosis over the years has added some interesting layers.

24. Animal Man (Buddy Baker) The everyman hero who inherited the mantle of weirdness magnet, Buddy is defined almost as much by his family as by his powers.

23. Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark) Watching the evolution of Cassie was one of the joys of Young Justice and Teen Titans, although I do admit that I sometimes miss her old makeshift costume.

22. Superboy (Kon-el) I found the adventures of the youth constantly struggling to live up to the burden of the "S" more compelling than the adventures of the originator of the "S" himself.

21. Crazy Jane (Kay Challis) Sure, she may be Deus Ex Machina Lass, but Crazy Jane afforded a world of storytelling possibilities, not to mention what was probably the most accurate depiction of DID (then MPD) this side of Madison Clell's Cuckoo.

20. Raven While not necessarily my favorite Titan, I have always found her to be one of the more interesting members, due to her constant war with the demons inside her.

19. Matter Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem) To this day I'm still not sure how Tenzil made it through the Legion's try-out process; as ludicrous characters go, he's pretty high on the scale. But it was during Giffen's run that he became into the Tenzil I know and love: a ludicrous character who grew to embrace his own ludicrous nature.

18. Robin (Tim Drake) Dick may have been first, Jason may have been the most controversial, Steph may have been the most abused for stupid plot devices, but Tim is the only one who’s actually made me care about the mantle.

17. Captain Boomerang (Digger Harkness) Although a bit goofy in concept and design, his time in the Suicide Squad did wonders for ol’ Boomerbutt’s characterization. Self-absorbed, mercenary, spiteful, and vindictive, Digger also proved to be a highly capable agent when the mood struck.

16. Hawkman (Carter Hall) Despite having a continuity that could make your head spin, Carter makes the list because of his role as a bridge between the heroic ages; the addition of his role as an eternal reincarnate has opened up some interesting storylines as well. Plus, as stated before, he just looks cool.

15. Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson) The premiere mystic in the DCU, I always enjoyed Fate's hodgepodge of Egyptian trappings mingled with the Lords of Order mythology; Kent's struggles to avoid being subsumed by Nabu were just icing on the cake that was Fate.

14. The Spectre (Jim Corrigan) The struggle between justice and vengeance given form, The Spectre's penchant for over-the-top retribution appeals to the horror fan in me; during Ostrander's run, the spiritual battle between Corrigan and the Wrath of God cranked the drama up a notch.

13. The Demon (Etrigan/Jason Blood) A total wildcard, just as liable to help as to hinder, making any story featuring Etrigan a constant guessing game of which way he's going to jump. Plus, rhyming!

12. John Constantine Manipulative, conniving, and a right bleedin’ bastard to boot; that’s our John, and we love him for it.

11. Cameron Chase Yes, she may be a jinx on any book she stars in (farewell, Manhunter, we hardly knew ye), but dang it, Chase is cool!

10. Ambush Bug (Irwin Schwabb) This should make Ragnell happy. He was “Bwah-ha-ha” before “Bwah-ha-ha” was cool. Wait . . . was "Bwah-ha-ha" ever cool? Anyway, I had to include this pinnacle of absurdity in my list, lest I face the wrath of Crazed Mutant Letterhacks

9. Terra (Tara Markov) Traitorous witch, but a compelling one; the rise and fall of Terra remains the high point of the Wolfman/Perez Titans for me.

8. Starman (Jack Knight) He started out as the ultimate reluctant hero, and eventually grew to be the perfect inheritor of the family name.

7. Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Martin Stein) Cool design, cool powers, and an interesting take on the youth vs. experience dynamic; Firestorm has been through many incarnations over the years, but while I've enjoyed aspects of all of them (the "RonRay" debacle in Extreme Justice being the exception that proves the rule), it's the original composition that will always hold a special place in my heart.

6. Phase (L.E.G.I.O.N.) A strong, capable leader who was one of the only people able to handle Dox, Phase was the rock which kept L.E.G.I.O.N. functioning. I keep hoping that IC will have undone that horrible “She’s part Cargggite” retcon from the Peyer years, but that's a rant for another time.

5. Oracle (Barbara Gordon) Do I even need to elaborate on this one? Babs is da bomb, yo.

4. Dove (Dawn Granger) I'm an unabashed fan of the Kessels' Hawk and Dove series, which was filled to the brim with engaging characters, of which Dawn was the height; she was a welcome reinvention of the Dove concept, not bogged down with the ongoing "but I'm a pacifist!" angst, but instead empowered by an analytical mind which kept her several steps ahead of her foes. I will be forever grateful to Geoff Johns for bringing Dawn back; now if only someone would utilize her. I'd especially like to see her run into Captain Arsala again

3. Deadshot (Floyd Lawton) My favorite anti-hero; plays by his own set of warped morals, but doesn’t hide behind any sort of “just trying to reform” shtick. Floyd makes no bones about who he is, which is refreshing.

2. Amanda Waller Tough, no-nonsense, doesn’t take crap from anyone, whether hefty or svelte The Wall endures through sheer attitude alone.

1. Vril Dox The ultimate manipulative bastard (with apologies to Constantine), watching Dox work his Machiavellian schemes was always a thing of beauty. I'm sure that mine will be practically the only vote that Vril gets, with most attention being paid to Querl instead, but the emotionally detached bastard interpretation of Brainy owes much to his "heroic" ancestor.

And there you have it: my own strange take on DC's best characters. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go draw up my list of "Characters That I Think Are Really Cool, But Couldn't In Good Conscience Call 'The Best'" Let's see: Phobia, Red Tornado, Tyranosaurs Reich . . .

*Is it sad that using that phrase actually conjures up memories of Atari Force more strongly than it does Star Wars? I thought so.

1 comment:

Ragnell said...

Yes, it made me happy!