Friday, May 26, 2006

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

Once again in no particular order here is the other half of my top 50. And look! I only broke the two sentence rule once here too!

Superman – What can be said? The first and best example of the super-hero and the moral compass of the DCU.

Batman – The true heir to the pulp heroes that preceded him. Master martial artist, brilliant scientist, adventurer, vigilante and weird creature of the night all wrapped up into the perfect synthesis of pulp hero and super-hero.

Kyle Rayner – Kyle is a perfect coming of age story and walked many of us through our awkward 20s as we tried to figure out just what we were supposed to do with ourselves now that we were saddled with all the responsibility. Reading about Kyle is like hanging out with that friend all of us has; you know, the one we wonder how they’re going to make it in the world one moment and the next moment we’re impressed how together they seem to be.

Hal Jordan – While Hal isn’t quite the ideal hero he used to be (test pilot isn’t nearly as cool a job now as it was in the 60s), he’s still the only super-hero I can think of that flies into the teeth of danger humming a jaunty little ditty and thinking about which hot chick he saw in the crowd would like to get with Green Lantern after she’s saved from the menace. Hal Jordan is what Plato would call the Form of Cool.

Guy Gardner – Kyle is the guy you call when you’ve been out drinking and find yourself arrested. You can’t call Guy because he’s next to you in the cell and likely suggested whatever it was that got you arrested.

Matter Eater Lad – When a kid manages to get into the premier super team of the 30th century based on his ability to consume and digest any matter, you know he’s a cat that has to have a sense of humor. It’s icing on the cake when he’s able to save the day too.

Brainiac 5 – He’s smarter than you; he knows it, you know it and, just because he’s a nice guy, he’s trying his best not to treat you like the drooling ape you are in comparison. He does not, however, always succeed. He’s a good guy anyway.

Lex Luthor – Mad scientist, leader of super-villains, captain of industry and one-time president of the USA. Oh, and he’s the only bad guy who attacks Superman because he’s smart (as opposed to those thatattack Superman because they’re really stupid).

Ra’s al Ghul – I once heard someone say that Ra’s is the kind of guy you’d meet in a really upscale bar and start talking to only to realize that he had some pretty darn good ideas about the way the world should be run…right up until he mentioned the killing of 85% of the Earth’s population and ruling over the remaining 15%.

Two Face – A man with a brilliant career in front of him and a pack of demons behind him slips through not fault of his own and the demons catch up to him. His keen mind, knowing both sides of legality, is overshadowed only by the fact that it’s there’s no telling what he’s going to do from one second to the next.

Booster Gold – The fact is, Booster is how most of us would be if we had super-powers as we used them to shamelessly plug ourselves every chance we got and try and turn our celebrity into money. We pretend we like him because he’s a lovable rogue, but really it’s because he’s the real Everyman of the super-hero set.

Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) – Beetle is how most of us would LIKE to be if we had super-powers (or gadgets or whatever). The fact that Booster convinces him to give in on wild schemes is like a look into most of our heads as our self-serving side cajoles our responsible side into ridiculous antics.

The Viking Commando – He’s a Viking warrior that wears fatigues and combat boots and carries a machine gun along with his axe and was resurrected to kick Nazi ass. How the hell can you not love him?

Zatanna – Zatanna is the hot female best friend with whom you always have an amazing time with but have no chance of ever getting out of the “friend zone.”

Frankenstein – Although this poor bastard has seen some rough treatment from popular culture over the years, Grant Morrison gave us a pulp-flavored version that instantly made it into my top fifty.

The Question – Whether he’s a fighting corruption as an Objectivist under Ditko, learning the secrets of the universe as a Zen master under O’Neil or being a conspiracy nutjob on JLU, the Question is always an entertaining character. Totally unpredictable, he’s the spanner in the DCU’s works.

Supergirl – This is the pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El I’m talking about here. She was a heroine who started out hidden by her cousin and then grew into a superlative hero in her own right and she managed to do it all without acquiring a Tramp Stamp (tm).

Black Canary – Dinah is working her way up the list of top martial artists in the DCU, is a formidable detective and has probably done more good with the Birds of Prey than she did all those years as a Leaguer put together. She’s also part of a DCU dynasty, and those are my favorite part of DC.

Starman – Speaking of dynasties, Jack Knight didn’t want anything to do with it. But the bone of contention between himself and his father became the thing that finally let them connect.

Wildcat – Ted Grant is a man’s man and a ladies’ man who will kick your ass for being belligerent and then buy you a beer to say he’s sorry. Mentor and Sex God, thy name is Wildcat.

Black Adam – While the original idea of a previous champion of Shazam going bad isn’t exactly inspired, the idea that Black Adam could and would return to the ideals that caused Shazam to choose him in the first place is. The fact that he did it his way (and that this involves vibrating the Psycho Pirate’s face off) is just gravy.

Robin (Tim Drake) – For the first time, we have a Robin that we can actually believe would take over for Batman AS BATMAN if Bruce should ever be unable to perform his duties (why does that sound like Miss America?). Tim is the World’s Greatest Teen Detective and that’s always been my favorite aspect of Batman; it really is just natural that it be my favorite part of Robin as well.

Robin (Dick Grayson) – You’ll note that I’m avoiding all the nastiness that has been Nightwing since Dick left the Titans. Dick was yin to Bruce’s yang and brought a much needed smile and joke to the gloomy cave Batman called home; he is missed.

Hawkman – His background may be complicated, but there is nothing simpler than a man with a massive wingspan and a scary hawk mask swooping out of the sky to club you with a mace. The coolness of that image is certainly a lot simpler than trying to explain WHY that’s so darn cool.


Ragnell said...

Tramp stamp?

Bubblegum Tate said...

Dear, sweet Ragnell...I'll try and put this delicately.

A Tramp Stamp (tm) is the tattoo typically requested by young ladies (many, but not all, of whom often have questionable sexual ethics) that is inked on the lower back directly above the posterior.

The unfortunate creation I insist on calling Britney Zor-El (I didn't make it up and I don't remember where I got it, but is is dead on) while on Spring Break in Kandor with Power Girl decided to get a Tramp Stamp (tm) of the Kryptonian symbol (religious in overtone) that was adapted into the S Shield of Superman (I'm pretty sure about this, but I'll be honest, I was skimming the book; I refuse to buy it).

To me, its the equivelant of a mall chick with the Japanese kanji for peace on her lower back. For Britney Zor-El, however, this borders on actual character development.