Unlike Bubblegum Tate, I did do my best to rank the characters as suggested by The Great Curve; it was difficult, and a few of these were practically a flip of the coin, but I think it's pretty representative of my take on things. As for how I chose the list, it was mainly a gut instinct sort of thing, driven by the thoughts "would I buy a book just because this character was in it?" and "is this character an exemplar of a certain trait I find appealing?" and the like. I tried not to include anyone merely for a the "ooo, cool costume/powers/etc." factor; if I couldn't come up with a rationalization for their inclusion outside of that, then they got bumped from the list.
I now prepare myself for the myriad "what were you thinking" comments which would surely appear if anyone besides Tate and myself actually read this.
50. Psycho Pirate (Roger Hayden) I always liked his powers and costume design from the first time I saw him in All-Star Squadron, but it was his role in the original Crisis and its after-effects on him which actually gave him enough weight as a character to include here.
49. Question (Victor Sage) Having never had the pleasure of reading his old series, The Question is here solely on the strength of his design, his appearances on JLU, and his intriguing nature so far in 52. I look forward to learning more about him.
48. Lady Shiva Prior to OYL, Shiva wouldn’t have made my list, as I don't follow most of the series in which she's been a regular fixture; her recent activities in Birds of Prey, however, bumped her up a few pegs in my book.
47. The Creeper (Jack Ryder) The wild and crazy guy who added a dollop of chaos to Justice League and Hawk and Dove was a high point of the 90s for me; I enjoyed the Uptight Jekyll & Madcap Hyde interpretation of the character.
46. Glorith One of my favorite reinventions of Giffen’s “Gap” Legion was the transformation of minor villainess Glorith into the new Time Trapper. Whereas the old Time Trapper was a mass of contradictory interpretations, Glorith was straightforward: the embodiment of ego and vanity and a hunger for power.
45. The Calculator (Noah Kuttler) As a regular super-villain, he was just another goofball with a gimmick. As the anti-Oracle (and a mentally unstable one at that), he's got potential out the whazoo.
44. Power Girl (Karen Starr) Headstrong, opinionated, unafraid to speak her mind, PG's ping-pong origin story could have been a horrible detriment to the character *coughHawkmancough*, but instead it only added to her poignancy.
43. Kobra Not generally a fan of the terrorist characters, but there's just something about the self-proclaimed bringer of the Kali Yuga that rises above the typical comic book madman for me.
42. The Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) Poor Steph never got any respect, being told time and time again to give up the cape & cowl, but she kept on plugging away, until she finally earned her shot at the big leagues. Sadly, TPTB decided to use her as an object lesson, wasting a perfectly good character for shock value.
41. Killer Frost This heat-sucking femme fatale is decidedly disturbed and definitely deadly; she's been a favorite ever since her turn as the villain in the first issue of Firestorm I ever bought.
40. Sandman (Wesley Dodd) A man driven by his dreams to seek justice, armed with little more than a gas mask and sleeping gas, the old school Sandman cut an impressive figure; although I first was exposed to him in his purple-and-gold-tights phase, it's the pulp-inspired fedora incarnation that earns him a place on the list.
39. Killowog C'mon, how can you not love the big poozer? While there are things I like about Alan, Kyle, and Guy, it's steady, inventive, Communist-leaning Killowog who stands out in my mind as a great character.
38. Blue Devil (Dan Cassidy) I miss the good ol’ days, pre-Neron, when BD was just a stuntman turned reluctant hero and bonafide weirdness magnet; whoever was behind turning him into a demonic sob story better keep their hands off of Ambush Bug
37. Sensor Girl (Projectra) The moment Jeckie took her revenge on Nemesis Kid for Val's death relying on nothing but her own strength, I gained a whole new respect for her; her turn as the enigmatic Sensor Girl just cemented that respect.
36. Hourman (Rex Tyler) Rex Tyler, Super-Junkie. 'Nuff said.
35. Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers) This veteran of the All-Star Squadron is my favorite speedster, thanks to his quick temper and even faster mouth; the various Flash's might be paragons of integrity, virtue, and the like, but Johnny's flaws made him much more relatable.
34. The Riddler (Edward Nigma) There’s just something about a villain obsessively compelled to give himself away that’s inherently entertaining to me.
33. Plastic Man (Eel O’Brien) I'll admit that I’ve got a soft spot for the comedic characters; the non-stop chicanery of the Morrison-era Plastic Man was one of my favorite aspects of his run on JLA
32. Black Adam The current interpretation of Adam as a man who does what he feels he must in order to protect his people has made what was a fairly generic foil for the Big Red Cheese into a fascinatingly mercurial character who begs the question of whether the ends justify the means.
31. Black Orchid The eternal mystery surrounding her made her both compelling and frustrating to me, as I yearned to know her history, but knew deep down that no origin could ever be as interesting as the lack of one; having read Gaiman's Black Orchid series, I still stand by that statement.
30. Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore) Her evolution from rebellious brat to full-blown hero has been one of the real joys of Johns' JSA; there's just something about watching the growth of the next generation of heroes that appeals to me, and Courtney is a prime example of that.
29. Sue Dibny Have loved the ultimate super-hero's wife ever since she and Ralph decided to pain the Justice League Detroit's base chartreuse. Yes, she still would have made the list even without being bumped off in Identity Crisis. Cynics.
28. Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny) The nose twitch; it’s all about the nose twitch.
27. Wildcat (Ted Grant) A never-say-die scrapper with a bit of a stubborn streak, Ted Grant is not someone you want to mess with.
26. Bizarro Me am hating Bizarro. Him am worst villain ever. Me no want him on list.