Top 20 Comic Book Heroes

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With so many movies, TV shows, animated TV and movies being made, it’s hard to remember the true origins of comic book heroes and which ones that really are the best. As an avid comic book fan reading both Marvel, DC, and independent comics for over 20 years (I’m 27), I thought it was best to remind everyone who the best characters were and not who had the best movie. If you don’t agree with my Top 20 Comic Book Heroes, feel free to comment and let me know who you think deserves or doesn’t deserve to be on the list!

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The Honorable Mention: Bigby Wolf AKA the Big Bad Wolf from Fables.

I had to at least put him as an honorable mention because he is a pretty bad-ass character and is the Wolverine of the Fables realm. The character once portrayed as big and bad has calmed down to become a sheriff protecting his fellow Fable characters. He has badass super powers and even helped fight against the Nazis in World War II. If you haven’t read or checked out Fables, I would recommend doing so just because of him.

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20. Aquaman

Arthur Curry has long been the butt of many jokes in the comic book world, but he really is a solid character. DC completely revamped his image making him a badass, which really has worked for them. He isn’t afraid to kill, he stands up to Superman as often as he can, and he dropped Free Willy on Namor, the king of the seas in DC vs. Marvel. And no, he isn’t useless on land, he’s just more powerful in the water.

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19. Black Panther

T’Challa is the king of Wakanda, gaining power from his gods and lineage and has a suit and weapons made out of vibranium. He’s also considered to be one of the 8 smartest people in the Marvel universe. He is a member of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Secret Avengers, and escaped Marvel zombies after being heavily sedated and having two limbs amputated.

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18. Ice Man

Bobby Drake is considered to be an Omega Level threat mutant with ice-based (or water vapor) powers who has the potential power to completely change the ecosystem of his world. He is brutally honest, witty, and has best friends such as Spider-Man, the Human Torch, the X-Men, and the Avengers.

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17. Nightwing

After being dismissed from his role as Batman, Dick Grayson took it upon himself to develop his persona, Nightwing, which acts separately from Batman. What’s great about Nightwing is that he did something Batman never could, which was get over his parent’s death. He also took over Batman’s mantle when Batman was lost in time, as well as trained the other Robins; acting as more of a mother figure that they could rely on and talk to, unlike their stern father figure Batman.

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16. Jean Grey

Known mostly by her name or by her other dark persona, the Phoenix. She has the abilities of an Omega Level mutant even without the Phoenix. She was Scott Summers’s first wife and was long sought after by a few of her teammates including Wolverine and Professor X. I consider her to be one the most iconic and best Marvel characters, not just because of her power, but because of how many people her death affected.

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15. Winter soldier

Oh Bucky, where do I begin? He is definitely one of my favorite characters, being that he has the honor and patriotism of Captain America (having been an amazing Captain America for a short time), but follows his own style of fighting and boundaries. He took up the mantle and honored his longtime friend (which both have very few of) and has one of the most interesting and complex stories in the Marvel Universe.

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14. Rick Grimes

The Walking Dead has become one of the biggest hits out of comics, being the first really successful TV show based on comics. Rick Grimes is the main character and hero who faces so many hard decisions. It’s hard to believe he just hasn’t given up and said [frak] it all, but Rick has to fight, and go on to take care of his son. In the comics, it’s perfectly clear that he will do anything to keep his son safe.

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13. Thor

Thor Odinson is a mythological Norse god who swept the Marvel Comics universe, becoming one of the strongest in the universe. His power has been tested as often as his allegiance. He is a god who faces problems as if he were a human because of his connection with humanity, and is also one of the Avengers. To even question his place in the list is sacrilegious.

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12. Luke Cage

The original superhero for hire (Power Man, AKA Carl Lucas) and once a prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, Luke Cage is a powerful and bold hero. He’s one of the first superheroes to step up against the Superhero Registration Act. He is also one of the founding members of the New Avengers and has ties to every major group in the Marvel Universe. He is now a father and husband, having knocked up Jessica Jones and has proven over and over that he is a deserving member of the Avengers.

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11. Invisible Woman

Susan Storm is one of the most famous women in the comic book universe, since she is a part of the Fantastic Four. Some would even argue that she is the most powerful member of the team and in the Marvel universe itself. Not only is she insanely powerful, but she is very outspoken and will tell Reed every time if she doesn’t agree with him. She even left him during the Civil War and fought him a couple of times to show she does have a mind of her own.

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10. Green Lantern

This was a tough one because I really enjoy the stories of both Hal Jordan and John Stewart, but for this one let’s focuses on Hal Jordan. Hal Jordan is one of the founding members of the Justice League and has both tried to destroy the universe and saved it. His power ring makes him one of the most powerful members in the DC world, and even without it has been found to be a resourceful hero.

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9. The Flash

Wally West Flash and Barry Allen were the only ones fast enough to even outrun death. Both are considered to be some of the fastest people in their universe, since they are able to draw upon the Speed force. Both have also done great things in the DC universe, so I am putting them both up for number 9, being that they are some of the wildcards who could probably kick Superman’s ass.

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8. Deadpool

Everyone’s favorite merc with a mouth! And not that kind of mouth if you know what I’m saying. Deadpool has taken it upon himself, using his witty banter and humor, to become one of Marvel universe’s most beloved and mentally unstable characters. Surprisingly, few knows that he is a comic book character. Who’s excited for his video game? Meeee!

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7. Yorick Brown

Y: The Last Man is the story of Yorick Brown being the last man on Earth. He has a sidekick Capuchian monkey named Ampersand who also appears to be the only other male on the planet. In the 60-issue story arc, you follow his journey as he fights amazon women, tries to commit to abstinence (sometimes failing), and losing the love of his life all while being chased by different governments of the world as he travels across it. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

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6. Iron Man

You almost made top 5 Tony Stark, but after being manipulated by the Skrulls and being the indirect cause of death for Captain America, I still love you. If you don’t know his back story, then you really must live under a piece of ice in Antarctica, since that’s the only place that people probably haven’t heard of Iron Man.

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5. Superman

The Kryptonian man with powers beyond belief stands for justice and formed the Justice League. Hands down the strongest member of the Justice League and in the DC universe, he uses both his experience and strong mind to resolve any issues he has. Although he has done some pretty-not-so-agreeable things and is a tyrant in a few universes, Superman Earth One really turned me back on to the character, as well as the New 52.

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4. Batman

Bruce Wayne will always make the top 5 list, whether it’s for his comics or movies. Hell even his animated TV Show won a few Emmy awards (it definitely deserved it). He is the man without super powers or a super suit, but he has a lot of money, a sense of revenge and justice, and gadgets. He spent his adult life learning how to be the world’s greatest detective, a strong and versatile fighter, and a ninja! He has also fought many people and outsmarted even his toughest enemies and allies.

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3. Captain America

Steve Rogers has a tough relationship with comic book fans; they either hate him or love him. I love him, obviously since he is number 3, and enjoy the man out of time story of a weak and puny human (Hulk) who volunteers to have an experimental procedure done to him which makes him Captain America. He uses his trademark shield as both an offensive and defensive weapon, but relies primarily on his tactical mind and leadership abilities to guide the Avengers and the United States Security.

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2. Wolverine

James Howlett, aka Logan, was one of the first anti-heroes to gain popularity in the comic book world. He is a mutant who possesses a healing factor that basically won’t let him die, has an adamantium-lined skeleton which includes 3 indestructible retractable claws on each forearm, enhanced physical capabilities, and an animal-like keen sensory system. He is one of those heroes that speaks their mind, sleeps with women even if they are in a relationship, is short and hairy, and is willing to kill and do the things other people won’t. If you haven’t read Old Man Logan, you really should.

And my number one pick for the Top 20 Comic Book Heroes is:

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1. Spider-Man

The story of Peter Parker is the most tragic story ever told, and I have a deep love and connection to him. Having lost one of the 2 people who raised him, his first love, his best friend, and more recently his wife, Peter Parker really can’t catch a break without the help of a universe changing entity. He has had to choose between staying married with his wife or saving Aunt May, who raised him. He was easily the most tragic story in the House of M, learning that he would have been married to Gwen Stacy if she had never died. He also died himself, and was reborn during The Other (Great story arc), refusing to cross the line of killing (except in Superior Spider-Man).

For this, he is my number one hero in the Marvel universe, because as pointed out many times by the greatest heroes of all time, he should have crossed over to the dark side a long time before, but his sheer will power keeps him fighting for good and justice. He uses his witty banter as a deflector of nervousness and fear, and keeps other heroes laughing or annoyed. To me, he keeps me smiling. Bravo Spider-Man, bravo.

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Robert Galvan
Robert Galvan 392 posts

For as long as he can remember, Robert asked the questions that others wouldn't about love, life, and death which brought about his interest in the human psyche and moral compass, resulting in an infatuation with comics, zombies, and movies leading to a long standing relationship with his imagination.