Universe: Prime Earth Creators: Don Cameron · Bob Kane First App: Detective Comics Vol 2 #1 (Nov, 2011)
Alfred Pennyworth is the fiction butler of Bruce Wayne. In many ways he’s as iconic as Batman is. Alfred is more than just a butler. He’s his best friend, aid in battle, and he been a surrogate father for Bruce Wayne. Alfred has many abilities outside of house keeping. He’s a classically trainer actor and a former Special Operations Executive. He been called “Batman’s batman.” He runs Wayne Manor and maintains the Batcave as well. He has impersonated Bruce on the phone, can provide tactical support when needed, is able to perform advance medical procedures.
As a close member of a superhero, Alfred has been kidnapped often. If you count comics outside if DCU continuity, he’s been kidnapped 27 times. He’s always managed to use his skills to escape. Due to Alfred’s age, he’s more likely to use a firearm (unlike other members of the Batman family). In more recent comics, Alfred is suggested to have mastered, several fields like rose breeding, computer programming, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, nanotechnology and biotechnology. He credited with having built the Bat-computer. Overall, I think that Alfred Pennyworth is probably the most useful and important civilian in comics.
Universe: Prime Earth Creators: John Byrne First App: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20 (April, 2018)
To be honest the villains in DC comics can be underwhelming. Sure they great ones like, The Joker, Darkseid, Lex Luther or Doomsday. However, they are many ridiculous villains in the DC Universe, like, Double Down, a former gambler with playing cards sealed to his skin. There’s Orca, a villain that once Grace Balin, a marine biologists. She was paralyzed in a car accident, experimented with Orca tissue. She transformed into a whale like human (with human-whale breasts to boot). She wasn’t even a great villain, as her biggest crime was stealing a diamond to fund projects for the poor. She was killed by another part human, part animal villain, Killer Croc.
However, none of these villain can hold a candle to Sleez. Not a often utilize villain, he was first introduced in Action Comics Vol. 1 #592, A Walk on the Darkside!(1987). In the issue he encounters and kidnaps Big Barda. He forces her to dance for him while he films it. Created by John Byrne, Sleez is an alien from Apokolips. He’s an empath that feeds on the ” baser emotions of the average person and use that energy to bolster his own life force.” He also has the ability to inflame desires. He was so depraved that even Darkseid was disgusted by him and banished him to Earth.
After capturing Superman and Big Barda, he tries to force them into making a sex tape. The only thing that prevents it is Superman’s high morality and intervention from Barda’s husband, Mister Miracle. His hope is to generate enough money to build an army to defeat Darkseid. He makes a return in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China Vol 1 #20 (2018). He attacks Wonder Woman, asking “what’s your deepest darkest desire, baby.” He able to “taste” her sexual desire for Batman. He refers to himself as “uncle Sleez,” and his ability to manipulate results in Superman and the Flash (a female version) kissing. I know that sometimes you run out of ideas, but a perverted villain that forces people into sexual situations is not a good idea.
Universe: Prime Earth Creators: Jerry Siegel · Joe Shuster First App: Flashpoint Vol 2 #5 (October, 2011)
My least favorite hero is probably Superman. Sure there are most likely more terrible superheroes in DC, but he is by far my least favorite of the ones I know. He’s kinda like DC’s Cyclops to me (but more powerful and less terrible). This is not to suggest of course that he’s not one of, if not the most important superhero in comics. Regardless, If you know why I like Batman, then you can guess why I don’t like Superman.
Dumb Secret Identity
I know that in comic books you should suspend disbelief, but I always found his Clark Kent “secret identity” to be hard to tolerate even by comic standards. It’s not the nerdy clumsiness, but the glasses. Or the fact that those glasses ARE the disguise the makes his secret identity. Sure you would look different with or without glasses, but you wouldn’t look like a completely human being. It has spawned the term, Clark Kenting. It’s defined as “the process by which a Secret Identity and/or cover story is maintained over a long period of time by asking the audience to go along with a paper thin disguise.” Several heroes have commented on his weak disguise, Barry Allen states “I still don’t get why you don’t do more to protect your identity. This new Lantern? Kyle? His mask covers most of his face. Smart kid.”
I generally don’t mind powerful characters, but Superman has been portrayed as so uber powerful that he deliberately has to limit himself. This often suggests that he chooses not to end fights quickly. Sure, the story would suffer if he did. However, you could just limit his power or make the villains stronger, right? I’ll admit that on the few occasions that he let’s loose it has been epic, but I have seen situations get out of hand wondering when he was going to increase his power. This is a limitation that happens with a lot of comic book characters, but with Superman it’s his choice (in the comic universe) to hold back. In other comics it necessary to keep the story interesting. He also is considered to be highly intelligence, but because he’s too powerful he doesn’t use his intellect. Instead he has to focus on only using his fists to fight.
Is being too good really a bad thing? Yes. Or at least when you trying to make an interesting comic book hero. Superman is a goody good (except in alternate realities), and that makes him boring. He’s also profoundly judgmental of other heroes (although sometimes he’s right). Superman believes that there’s good in EVERYONE, which make him profoundly naive. He’s considered the moral center of the DC Universe. He is also considered by some to be THE nicest character in DC. This often results in the stories told about Superman being dull and uneventful. There never any question about his morals, which means there’s no complexity. Superman’s purity makes him simply uninteresting.
While its necessary for someone to be the “moral fiber” it can come at a cost. This makes him a dull character. Many writers have attempted to make him more intriguing, by making him into a secret authoritarian. Who secretly believes he better than humanity and that’s why they need him to save them. The truth is that Superman is suppose to represent an ideal that humanity will never reach. However, Superman seems to believe that this is a possibility. This isn’t to say that there has never been an interesting story about Superman. However, most of them require drastically changing his personality or motivations (when they don’t make him outright evil). When Superman has shown a darker side it hasn’t been pretty.
So what do you think. Too unfair? Got any Superman comics that prove me wrong? Who’s your least favorite comic book characters?
In my opinion most of the heroes in DC are probably underrated. Generally, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are largely relied upon for “saving the day.” That said, the MOST underrated superhero is the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onnz/John Jones). The last survivor of the martian race, John came to Earth. He would join the Justice League under the name of Martian Manhunter. I’m mostly familiar with John from the Justice League animated series where he largely remained in the Watchtower. This is where he’s the most underrated.
From the Watchtower, John is responsible for manning the Watchtower and serving as mission coordinator. He is able to determine which heroes go to which conflict, based on how effective their abilities are. This is a passive but very important job that he’s been given. Obviously, this isn’t the most gratifying and admittedly “heroic” thing for a hero to do or at least that’s how it will be received. John himself is quite powerful. He possess the standard group of powers. superhuman strength, durability, flight, regeneration, shape-shifting, invisibility, telepathy and telekinesis. The grouping of these powers are somewhat different, but they’re among the most common powers for superheroes.
He is the most powerful telepath on Earth, he can link minds of all superheroes at once from the “distance of the Moon to all corners of Earth.” He can even read all inhabitants of Earth simultaneously. His mind control abilities is so profound, he was apparently able to temporarily make the Joker sane. John can see across the electromagnetic spectrum, has X-ray vision, project energy beams and according to Batman he’s an “amalgam of Superman and Batman.” If this doesn’t convince you that he’s underrated I don’t know what will. While, he’s underrated he’s not ignored. He has had a number of series to his name. However, unlike, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, he’s mostly known by comic book fans.
I’ll admit that I haven’t always had the highest respect for the Green Lantern Corps. Particularly, their weakness to yellow. I spent a lot of my childhood superhero conversations, making jokes about Green Lanterns being defeated by yellow crayons or pee. Juvenile jokes aside, a weakness to the color yellow is ridiculous and deserves to be mocked. Regardless, this is about which Green Lantern is my favorite. They one thing that I like about the Green Lantern Corps is that they don’t discriminate. I mean they REALLY don’t discriminate.
They are willing to recruit just about anyone. Gender, race or species doesn’t matter. There’s, B’DG (pronounced Badge), a squirrel-like being and Mogo, the sentient planet. There are probably too many Green Lantern to really care too much about many of them. The Guardians were surprisingly terrible for “good guys.” Positioning themselves as Guardians of the Universe they have no one to answer to. They decided that they should destroy all magic and magical beings, left Darkseid alone because he’s too strong, and exiled Hal Jordan for protecting the Earth “too much.”
Anyway, there have been a few human Green Lanterns that I’ve liked. I’m torn between John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. I liked Rayner because he was funny and he was an artist that was more creative with the ring. John Stewart was one of the first black superheroes, that also didn’t have “black” in his name. The third human Lantern, he was introduced in 1971. Unlike Kyle, John was featured in the DC animated series. He was a bit uptight but had a since of humor. I liked his romantic relationships with Hawkgirl and later Vixen. He would become the first human Guardian of the Universe. When the Guardians were absent he became the leader of the Green Lantern Corps.
After choosing a newer DC character for my favorite female villain, I’m back to my clique path. The Justice League is hands down the best DC team. How could it not be. It features the most iconic and important superheroes in the DC Universe. It’s almost unfair. If Justice League Unlimited the animated series is to be believe eventually almost every hero joins the League. Regardless, I’m focusing on the founding members of the Justice League. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Green Lantern (the animated series added Martian Manhunter).
I’ll admit I’m neutral on Cyborg, and have made fun of Green Lantern for his weakness to yellow and Aquaman for his somewhat useless ability to talk to fish. However, watching the Justice League animated series and becoming more familiar with the Justice League changed that. Together the Justice League acts as the first line of defense against inter-dimensional and extra-terrestrial threats. The often came into conflict with Legion of Doom and the many forces of Darkseid.
I was going to choose Catwoman, but technically she’s not a villain. However, recently a new character has been introduced to the DC Universe. Bryce Wayne is the Batwoman of Earth-11, also known as The Drowned and she is one of Barbatos Dark Knights. She became a crime fighter after her boyfriend Sylvester Kyle is murdered by metahumans. She became a murderer as a result. After a year she had killed all the super-powered beings on land. Aquawoman arrives to offer a treaty, however, it’s a hoax and war breaks out. Bryce sides with the surface and defeats the Atlanteans, including killing Aquawoman with her own trident.
To get revenge, the Atlanteans “drown” Gotham City. Bryce performs several surgical and genetic procedures on herself. She was able to “imbuing her human form with vast biochemical augmentations, such as the ability to breathe underwater, heal faster, and bolster muscular, skeletal and bodily tissue density, along with the capability to perform a type of dark hydrokinesis which could corrupt and convert those fighting against her into ravenous sea beasts under her command.” With the trident, she was able to conquer Atlantis, then drowned the rest of the world.
The Drowned is a vengeful mass-murderer that has a tragic backstory. She also has cool abilities and her appearance is a combination of epic and hideous. I loved her “destroy them all mentality” and was strangely on her side throughout her war with the Atlanteans. She doesn’t really say a whole lot and it’s difficult to gauge her personality, but I was instantly hooked on her story, appearance and abilities.
“C’mon Bats, get crazy. It’s the only way to beat me!”
Batman: Arkham Asylum, 2009
I can’t tell you how much I love the Joker. He’s a terrible monster that is a criminal mastermind with a sadistic sense of humor. I love him. I can’t quite put my finger on why. There are probably worst villains in DC (in terms of murders) but the Joker stands out. He loves to create chaos. Unlike most villains, the Joker likes to kill in the “funny” ways. His pasts is as unclear as his mental state. Was he a failed comedian. A mob enforcer. How did he get his skin. The most common story suggests that he fell into a ” tank of chemical waste which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and lips bright red; the resulting disfigurement drives him insane.” Regardless, the Joker likes to strike at the mind of his victims, at least before he murders them.
The Joker is considered to be the antithesis of Batman. He believes that Batman hasn’t killed him because he “makes Batman better.” They’re polar opposites, the extroverted, loud, colorfully dressed and chaotic Joker, compared to the introverted, silent, and disciplined Batman. Both are highly intelligent and like Batman, the Joker doesn’t possess any superpowers. He defines himself through conflict between him and Batman. When he believed Batman died he tried to lead a normal like, but returned to his normal self when Batman reappeared. He has expertise in chemical engineering, that he uses to develop his many toxins. The most important characteristic of the Joker is his insanity. He lacks empathy and the ability to determine right from wrong.
In A Serious House on Serious Earth, he is described as “capable of processing outside sensory information only by adapting to it.” This allows him to create new personalities based on what which one would benefit him the most. This has been described as the Joker being “super-sane.” It has been on occasion been speculated that the Joker isn’t actually insane, but simply pretends to be. His alleged “insanity” has made him immune to the Spectre’s judgement. According to Batman it’s impossible for the Spectre to successfully judge him if the Joker doesn’t know right from wrong. Overall, I find the Joker to be hilarious. Maybe it’s how he’s characterized, the tone of his voice and his iconic laugh. He also has a knack for memorable quotes.
A lion doesn’t pass judgement on a gazelle. Cancer doesn’t pass judgement on a brain. I’ve been saying this all along. Evil doesn’t exist. There are only actions. We got to the same place–the top of the food chain–just on different paths. Mine was more fun.
Like Batman, Wonder Woman is a typical choice. However, I like who I like right. A founding member of the Justice League, she first appeared in All Star Comics #8. Since 1941, a Wonder Woman title has been published except for 1986. Diana is the Princess of Themyscira. She was father less, given life by Zeus. To blend into society she adapts the name Diana Prince. Like most comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s story has changed numerous times.
Powers and Abilities
Diana is a masterful athlete, acrobats, fighting and strategy. She has been trained in several ancient forms of armed and unarmed combat. Of course being blessed by the Gods means that Diana is incredibly powerful. She has superhuman strength, superhuman speed, invulnerability, immortality, flight, healing factor, divine wisdom (basically the ability to learn quickly), agility, and stamina. most of her powers are generic for the most powerful DC characters. I think almost ALL DC characters can fly somehow. However, it is rare for a female superhero to possess this much power, which makes Wonder Woman unique.
Weapons and Equipment
Like Batman, Wonder Woman has many iconic weapons and equipment. Her lasso of truth is the most famous. The lasso forces people to tell the truth, it can “restore people’s lost memories get rid of illusions or cause illusions to those it holds and heal the holder’s body cure insanity and protect people who are in close proximity to it from magical attacks.” Occasionally, the lasso’s powers don’t seem to be taken seriously or it’s not that effective. She also has her “bracelets of victory,” that like the lasso are indestructible and can be used to deflect, “projectiles, blades, punches, or even Darkseid’s Omega Beams).
In animated series, Diana is often presented as stern. However, she can have moments of humor and is always ready for a fight. Wonder Woman is probably more popular today than she was a few years ago, due to the movies. She is often ranked high among the greatest comic book superheroes of all time. Wonder Woman is by far my favorite female hero.
At the risk of being cliche my favorite male hero has to be Batman. He is one of the most storied comic book characters in his story. A billionaire industrialists that became the protector of the city of Gotham, Batman is one of the best superheroes in DC comics. Born to the wealthy doctor Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, both of whom were murdered by Joe Chill. This experience mark the turning point in his life, Bruce decided that he will spend his life fighting crime.
Bruce is one of the best fighters in DC. He trained with Chu Chin LU and Tsunetomo, two master martial artist from the Far East. In the Himalayas, he trained with Shihan Matsuda, where he learned to use a katana. Bruce also learned “the arts of stunt-driving, invention, and intimidation.” He also numerous abilities:
Genius Level Intellect
Batman also has a number of cool gadgets (he seems to have one for everything) and vehicles. His Batsuit is iconic, made out of Kevlar and minimum titanium. This makes his suit bullet proof and resistant to explosion, impacts, falls and fire. He has a Utility Belt that contains a numerous amount of useful items. From ” plastic explosives, nerve toxins, batarangs, smoke bombs, a fingerprint kit, a cutting tool, a grappling hook gun, torches, and a “re-breather” breathing device.” He also has a ring made out of kryptonite entrusted to him by Superman.
Batman in the hands of different writers can range in his moodiness, his willingness to engage in violence and torture. Some writers believed that he would never kill others like Frank Miller’s Batman did kill if necessary. Overall, the reason I love Batman is his personality. He simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks and does what ever he wants or needs to do. Furthermore, because he’s human his ability to fight against and along side super-powered beings is impressive. He also has to use a combination of his wealth, intellect and strategy.
Two weeks ago I finished the 30 Day Marvel Challenge, I had fun doing it and it was well received by you guys. Anyway, while I prefer Marvel to DC, I still love DC comics. I’ll start the challenge tomorrow. There are several different versions so I picked the questions I found the most interesting and combined them into a list of 30: