Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tate's Top 50 DC Characters of All Time: Bottom 25

Bottom 25 might be a bit misleading since my list of the Best 50 DC characters is really in no particular order. I put them down as they occured to me so there are clumps of characters that make some sense together (at least to me) since one thought led to another. At any rate. Here are 25 of my top 50.

Oh, and because we realize that we're wordy, we limited ourselves to two sentences per. I don't know about the Cap'n, but I stretched those sentences to the breaking point. And I broke the rule on one guy. Other than that, there were no rules!

Captain Marvel – A child’s pure and innocent heart gifted with powers of the gods and ordered to do right. That’s a fairy tale concept I can get behind, especially when you wrap it in super-hero trappings

Phantom Stranger – A much more impressive Deus Exposition Machina and harbinger of doom than some big, dome-headed dude in a toga (I’m looking at you, Marvel!). When this gentleman calls, it is both dreadfully dire and dreadfully ridiculous.

Gentleman Ghost – I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what this guy’s deal is. But the concept is too delightfully silly and his design is so weirdly creepy that this is a guy without whom the DCU isn’t complete.

The Joker – Everyone was afraid of clowns long before we read about the Joker. He just took an irrational fear and made it a rational one.

King Faraday – James Bond is played out and who cares what Jack Ryan is up to. King Faraday is the true gentleman spy of the golden age of espionage and he brings the exact same personality to the Game in the modern age.

Sinestro – Sinestro has taken more of a turn towards mustache twirling evil lately, but in the beginning he was just a fascist who thought he was doing right by his people; that’s depth. I have faith that that the Sinestro Corps is going to take his fingers off his mustache and place his foot back in somebody’s ass.

Crazy Quilt – Artistic talent + using said talent for nefarious purposes + weird vision problems + getting your ass handed to you by the Boy Commandos + getting your ass handed to you by Robin = Someone who could only be called a villain in the DCU. He and Angle Man should get a weird buddy-movie style miniseries.

Catman – He wouldn’t have made the cut before Villains United, but Catman just goes to show that the DCU is a rich and wonderful playground with tons of background characters just waiting for the chance to become stars. The right writer, the right story and nearly anybody can become A-List.

Deadshot – Wrist Magnums? Hell YES Clint makes the cut.

Mister Miracle (Scott Free) – Its no secret that I love the Fourth World but in addition to that Scott has wacky adventures while teaching us things about marriage and the inherent desire for freedom in the human spirit. He loves his traps, he loves his midget sidekick and he LOVES his woman.

Big Barda – A woman with a heart as big as her bicep but with eyes only for Scott. She fell in love with a man who was able to show her things she didn’t even know existed…and then they escaped Apokolips.

Darkseid – Wrapping up my trifecta of Fourth Worlders is Darkseid. When Darkseid shows up the stakes are instantly higher and it’s always an “oh sh!t” moment. Who is the greatest threat to the DCU? Darkseid Is.

Jim Gordon – Jim is Batman for Gotham City when Batman can’t be (that is, from sunup to sundown). He works within the law more or less, but he holds the line in a town beset with weirdness and does a remarkable job for it for a guy without a cape.

Sgt. Rock – My dad loved this guy and I love this guy. That’s legacy and that’s a huge part of what DC is all about.

The Haunted Tank – A horror war story (as if war wasn’t horrible enough) is another one of those amazingly weird concept that could only survive in the DCU. Another amazing part of the DCU is that we accept that the Haunted Tank exists in the same world as Superman and Ambush Bug.

Danny the Street – I loved Morrison’s run on X-Men, but even turned loose in the Marvel Universe, Grant couldn’t come up with something as delightfully weird as a transvestite street. Lesser writers would have made Danny a one-shot centerpiece for a story; in the DCU, Danny joins a super team.

Mr. Nobody – The Brotherhood of Dada almost made the list as a whole, but instead I decided to go with the glue that holds them together. Bring back Mr. Nobody!

The Sandman (Wesley Dodds) – While he toyed with super-hero trappings for a while, Wesley wisely returned to his fedora and trench coat roots in order to show the DCU their pulp beginnings. Also, Wes shows that not everybody has to be in peak physical condition to fight crime or solve mysteries.

Starro the Conqueror – Lesser universes would be unable to abide a gargantuan starfish bent on universal conquest. In the DCU, Starro means its Monday.

Lois Lane – At times we’ve wondered how a reporter could be so damn stupid that she can’t recognize the face of the man she loves because of glasses. Thankfully, Lois is currently treated with the respect she deserves and is one half of the World’s Finest Married Couple.

Power Girl – Frankly, I love the fact that despite all the skin tight outfits and outlandish body types, the DCU has only one sex kitten. What’s more, I love that everyone, even Superman, seems to realize it.

Mister Terrific (Michael Holt) – I like that the DCU is diverse enough that nobody ever refers to Mike as the “Black Mister Terrific.” He’s qualified and cool and has an amazing costume and readers, writers and characters alike recognize that he’s a hero.

Mogo – A planet-sized being with the most powerful weapon in the universe and writers still find ways to use him. Only in the DCU.

Jimmy Olsen – In a lot of ways, Jimmy was the real wish fulfillment in the Superman books. Sure we all toyed with being Superman for a while but it all seemed like too much work. Superman’s pal, however…now THAT was a job!

Ultra Boy – Every teen group has to have a bad boy and every bad boy in a teen group seems to have to have a heart of gold. Ultra Boy takes that trite, hackneyed characterization and makes it sing.

Gotham City – This is a total rip off from Devon over at Seven Hells, but he’s absolutely right. Gotham City is a character unto itself and you can tell by how much work goes into the scenery anytime Batman is translated to another medium.

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