Stuart's Top 5 List for DC Comics...
Top 5 DC Heroes:
Batman: Batman is my favorite hero period. Batman dominates everything. His movies are some of the best, most influential movies. The videogames he stars in have been the best superhero games and arguably some of the best games period. He is iconic in Batman: The Animated Series and the ’66 show. If Batman is attached, it is ALMOST a guarantee it will be a success. Some of the greatest comics ever written are Batman stories or involve Batman in a team setting. He attracts some of the best creators out there. He has somehow survived and thrive in the new 52. I love that he is complicated, the idea that he is always seeking justice, I love his drive and that he never wants others to experience what he did as a child.
Superman: In my opinion, the original superhero. Whether it be in Smallville, or the movies, or the comics, Superman is great in every medium. I love his values and what he stands for. I love that he is always trying to do the right thing. I think Batman (Jeff Loeb form Superman/Batman) sums it up best (as he always does): “It is a remarkable dichotomy. In many ways, Clark is the most human of us all. Then…he shoots fire from the skies, and it is difficult not to think of him as a god. And how fortunate we all are that it does not occur to him.” Loeb also has one other quote that I really like from Batman: Hush: If Clark wanted to, he could use superspeed and squish me into the cement. But I know how he thinks. Even more than the Kryptonite, he’s got one big weakness. Deep down, Clark’s essentially a good person…and deep down, I’m not.” Also, his suit: one of the best costumes out there.
Wonder Woman: This pick completes the Trinity. I think she works really well in the Justice League. She is not afraid to speak her mind or do the dirty work in a superhero world seemingly dominated by women. She can hold her own against anyone on that team. I love her Amazonian roots and the mythology tied to it. I like strong willed women in general. I’m a history major so as I look back in history, many of my heroes are women who, despite living in a word dominated by men: Boudicca, Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc. The characteristics these real life people had are seen in Wonder Woman, and that is why I like her.
Martian Manhunter: An underrated and underused character if there was ever one. He comes from a tough background yet doesn’t harbor some need for vengeance. He has all the powers of Superman in addition to phasing thru walls, telepathy and changing form. He is extremely humble especially given what he can do. He is dependable and always helping others. I was sad how he turned out in Kingdom Come, a shell of himself. I loved what Batman did for him. Even though Manhunter was basically retired and withdrawn, he went to him anyway. Batman was hard on everyone in that comic, but when it came to Jonn, he handled him with the utmost respect and gentility. He told him “Jonn, you fought the good fight longer than any of us. You’ve done all that’s ever been asked of you and today was no exception. You’ve paid your dues, old friend. Go home and rest. Dream of red sands and silent stars.” Much respect.
Red Robin: This stems from when I started getting into comics a few years ago. It was a great time, and my buddy Tim recommended his series to me and I loved it. He is the third of the Robins. His Red Robin series was short but great. Moments that stuck out were his search for Batman, his quick wit, extreme athleticism and his “assassination.” I also thought his story arc in Identity Crisis was amazing and very sad. The death of his father by Captain Boomerang was a big blow. In his Red Robin series, he faces Captain Boomerang in the end and I won’t spoil it for you, but it certainly was a surprise how it ends.
Top 5 Villains:
Joker: The king of all villains, or prince I suppose. Whenever I’m reading Batman, I’m hoping (as most do) that he makes an appearance. He started off as a goofy clown but in the late 60’s things changed with Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams. He was done perfectly by Snyder in Death of the Family, although that was pretty dark too. The way he was drawn was very striking. I love the way he is a mirror of Batman in many respects. He is potentially what Batman could be, if Batman just lost it. The idea that the Joker “loves” Batman is something I really enjoy. I love when he “woke up” in Dark Knight Returns when Batman was finally mentioned. He says “Batman, Darling). He was portrayed so well in the big and small screen, form Mark Hamill and Caesar Romero, to Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. A great character to write for, a villain almost as iconic as his foil.
Lex Luthor: Really one of the original villains for me. I first found out who he was from the Superman movies. Then Smallville came along and he stole every scene he was in. I loved his give and take with his father. I love his super intellect, his drive to help humanity in his own sick way. He tries to spread the word that people should not look to the skies for help, they should fix their own problems (and look to HIM for the answers).
Ra’s Al Ghul: How gutsy was it for Nolan to have this guy as the main villain in Batman Begins? Nobody really know this guy outside of comics. I certainly didn’t, but after seeing that movie, it made me want to learn more. I like that he knows who Bruce Wayne is. I like that his daughter has a son with Bruce. I like the respect that they have for one another. I do hate the Lazarus pit though.
Zod: Kneel! This pick stems from the movies really. Terrance Stamp simply is my second favorite movie villain behind Joker. Everything he says is quotable. I love his arrogance. The fact that he has all of Superman’s powers and, given the chance to acclimate to earth, could easily take him out. He was great in Smallville, and passable in Man of Steel. I just like the idea that there is someone out there that can give a firsthand account of who Jor-El was, even if it is thru evil eyes.
Darkseid: This guy is the one that DC seems to bring out when they really want to put our heroes in some pain. He has the omega beams that come from his eyes that really put him in a class of his own. He takes on the biggest and best heroes and often comes out on top. He also killed Batman. That is something that cannot be overstated because he did what nobody else could.
Least Favorite Heroes:
Hal Jordan: The Green Lantern movie was my first real introduction to this character and that is really all I need to say. I am not a Ryan Reynolds fan at all, so that didn’t help. I do not care for the Green Lantern universe at all and could take him or leave him in the Justice League. The suit is even dumb.
Cyborg: A useless character in the Justice League. He seems like he could be a cool character if he was perhaps drawn with a cooler suit. He was ok in the Judas Contract. He has been terrible in the new 52. I simply could care less about this character.
Shazam: I keep harping on suits, but this suit is one of the worst. It looks like he has a napkin for a cape, and the gold edges do not help. He looks like a hero from the 70’s. When the new 52 came out, I was hoping this would be one character that they could update and make look cooler, but nay. And the stories that have been written about him in the new 52 have been really weak. I did like him in Alex Ross’ Kingdome Come and Justice.
Bat-mite: This is just a dumb character. Why? Why does he exist? This character just wreaks of camp to me. It is a case of something being in the Batman universe and they just call things bat something to tie him into the universe. Dumb.
Batwoman: I love the Batman universe. This is part of the universe that I do not like. Why do we need a Batwoman when we already have a Batgirl? Again, it seems like she was created to cash in on the Bat family and the Bat name, and that is lame to me.