Who doesn’t love a superhero? They’re awesome; everything we wish we could be, a superhero is. Superman, Batman, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man… these are just a few of the A-list heroes out there. However, with a thousand-and-one comic book heroes out there, it’s unavoidable that a couple of them just won’t get the credit they deserve. Here’s a list of my personal favorite heroes I just think need some more love.
5. Sue Storm/Susan Richards
Also known as “The Invisible Girl Woman”, Sue Storm (later Susan Richards on account of marrying the rubbery Reed Richards) have the unfortunate distinction of having the lamest name and power on the Fantastic Four. While Ben “The Thing” Grimm is a giant rock-man and Johnny “The Human Torch” Storm shoots fire, Sue can turn invisible. Not exactly impressive – except it totally is.
Admittedly, Sue Storm’s original functions included getting kidnapped, flirting with shirtless Atlantean princes, hiding, and very rarely using her secondary powers of forcefield generation to save Reed’s rubbery butt. One feminist movement later, however, and some clever comic writers realized just how powerful Sue’s ‘secondary’ forcefield powers were. These days, she goes around tearing robots apart with forcefield claws, chocking them with forcefields in the throat, smashing them with forcefield battering rams… occasionally she even uses them as shields. More then this, though, her personality has evolved – she’s now the FF’s den mother, keeping the more rambunctious members (Ben and Johnny) in check. And God help you if you mess with her family. Unfortunately, too many people seem to think Sue is still in her helpless incarnation, even people who have no experience with it. I blame this largely on her awful, awful name and the fact that invisibility is still described as her primary power.
4. Sam “Falcon” Wilson
Unless you’re a hardcore comic book nerd (like me!) chances are your first response to this entry is “who?” Sam here was the first-ever black hero in Marvel comics (not that punk Luke Cage!), and was written surprisingly well in an era where black heroes’ defining personality trait was… being black. Falcon broke this trend by leaving behind his stereotypical angry black man behavior when he became a hero, opting instead to become a pillar of the community (okay, Red Skull brainwashed him into it as part of a convoluted scheme, but it still counts because he kept doing it after he discovered this), and frequently used stereotypical behavior to piss off the affirmative action people who got him into the Avengers simply due to his skin color. That was just funny.
An unfortunately underused hero, the Falcon has never to my knowledge had his own series, probably because his powers are admittedly underwhelming: he can talk to birds. Specifically, he has a telepathic and empathic link to Redwing, his pet Falcon. He later expands this to telepathic control over all avians, but birds just aren’t that great. You know, until you realize that birds see everything, giving Falcon the best spy network around. He also has a pretty cool flight harness for getting around, and enough badassery to beat Onslaught more or less alone, dying in the process Don’t worry, he comes back; it’s a comic book.
3. Zatanna Zatara
Again, most of you are probably giving your screen a quizzical look now, though Zatanna is less obscure then the Falcon. A member of DC’s Justice League and winner of the all-time coolest name award (yes, that is her real name), Zatanna being underused is actually kind of understandable. She’s so powerful, if they used her too often they’d have to explain why she’s such a small-time player despite being about as powerful as Superman, if not more so, and comic book writers are too lazy for that.
Aside from her most superpower – the ability to stand despite her wildly improbably figure – Zatanna is an astonishingly powerful sorcerous. How powerful? Her spells consist of saying anything she wants to happen backwards, and then it happens. Just like that. Obviously she has some limits as to how much power she can put out, but Batman describes her as being powerful enough to take out an army, and who are we to argue with Batman? It’s mentioned that she can “turn your blood to fire”, and her only weakness is that she needs to speak to do it. Oh, except she can write backwards with blood for the same effect. Oh, and she can cast some spells without even speaking. Seriously, this girl is so ludicrously powerful that her lack of screen-time is a serious head-scratcher. Doomsday could have been dealt with in five minutes: Zatanna shows up, says “Og Yawa” and boom, problem solved.
2. Ghost Rider
Ah, now here’s someone everybody knows. And I know you’re all gonna say “but he’s not underrated! I love Ghost Rider!” Really? Okay. What’s his real name? If you said Johnny Blaze, well, I am impressed, but that’s not correct (and if you said Danny Ketch, give yourself a Comic Nerd Award). Johnny’s just the host, though he gains more control over his Ghost Rider form as time goes on; GR is actually the vengeance spirit Zarathos. Now, I can already hear you cry “trick question!” Fair enough. Here’s a better question: have you ever – ever actually read a Ghost Rider comic? Can you remember any of his major story lines? Supporting characters? No. No you can’t (if you can, give yourself a Super Comic Nerd Award). That’s because he got so few truly memorable ones, it’s easy to forget everything you might’ve read from his comics except how awesome the hero is. Seriously, how awesome do you have to be to get some decent stories? The guy shoots hellfire! He burns the soul of the guilty with his Penance Stare! Hell, he has a flaming skull and rides an enchanted motorbike; what more could a comic writer want?
Ah, Aquaman. Also known as “That Fish Guy”, “The Worst JL Member”, and “The Guy Who Talks To Fish”. Not exactly the best nicknames in the world, are they? And who can blame us for such unflattering monikers? He can breathe underwater and talk to fish. That’s about it. He was goofy, his powers were lame and only useful in situations specifically designed for him, and he was Atlantean which means fish people who cares. Clearly, a sub-par hero whose existence is due solely to Silver Age stupidity, right?
After being taken in a new direction in the modern age of comics, Aquaman changed from that dorky guy in the fish outfit to Underwater Thor. Seriously. He’s King of Atlantis, for one thing. He can fly and is outrageously strong – it’s stated that while underwater, he could outmuscle Superman himself, and even on land or in the air he could tussle with the Big Blue Boyscout on fairly even terms. Also, that ‘lame’ power of talking to sea creatures? Do you have ANY IDEA how much life there is underwater, and how deadly it is? Underwater creatures are like horror movie monsters, and there’s so many of them that Aquaman’s personal army actually outnumbers the global human population. Still not convinced? Okay. AQUAMAN BEATS UP CTHULU. ANNUALLY. Awesome enough for you? I could go on for hours about the awesome things Aquaman has done (punching out Superman for not showing respect, beating Namor by dropping a whale on his head, letting an enemy kill him so he could conquer Hell and come back with an army), but I just don’t have the space. Suffice it to say, don’t screw with Aquaman. And DO. NOT. MENTION. SUPER FRIENDS.
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