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Old June 9th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #1
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Default Marvel: The 50 Best Characters

Not sure who exactly came up with this as a friend showed me the list but thought it was good enough to post here so take a look at it.

In an epic series of polls at a forum for pseudo-intellecual nerds, I recently asked a group of over 200 comics geeks to help me compile a list of the very best Marvel characters - from heroes to villains, from gods to monsters, from Uatu the Watcher to Foggy the lawyer (neither of whom made the cut).

This democratically determined list of the fifty finest fictional figures ever to walk Earth 616 contains 11 Europeans, 28 Americans and eight non-terrestrials. There are five women, two blacks and seven redheads. Two are blue, four are green, and only one is on fire. Two are lawyers, six claim to be doctors, and six are monarchs. Thirty-four have been heroes, 24 have been villains, eleven have been Avengers and 15 have been X-Men. At least two are currently dead, and most of the others used to be. Three each were created by John Byrne and John Buscema, four each by Chris Claremont, John Romita Sr and Len Wein, and six by Steve Ditko. An extraordinary 24 characters were created by Jack Kirby, and 30 were created by the man himself, Marvel architect-in-chief Stan Lee.

Here they are, true believers; the fifty best Marvel characters.

50. Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
A big game hunter in leopard skin pants, with a propensity for wrestling animals with his bare hands. The defining moment of Kraven's comic existence came when he succeeded in his life's mission of capturing Spider-Man, and proceeded to shoot his brains out. Unusually for comics, he has since remained dead.

49. Juggernaut, Cain Marko
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Some supervillains are known for their cunning, their flair or their relentless ambition. Juggernaut offers none of these things. The magically enhanced red-headed step-brother of Professor Charles Xavier is a blunt object, remarkable for one simple, elegant truth; nothing can stop him.

48. The Sub-Mariner, Prince Namor McKenzie
Created by Bill Everett.
The half-human, half-Atlantean, snotty tempered, occasionally villainous monarch of a belligerent underwater kingdom is one of the first superheroes, debuting only a year after Superman. He's best known for punching Nazis, teaming up with Doctor Doom, being a bit of a bitch, and being a better shag than a man named Mr Fantastic.

47. Marvel Girl, Jean Grey
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
A psychic redhead with the potential to wipe out planets. Feared and beloved in equal measure by men who can't quite get over their ex-girlfriends.

46. Swarm, Fritz von Meyer
Created by Bill Mantlo and John Byrne.
Swarm has appeared in comics only a scant handful of times, yet he has massive cult appeal. To understand why, there's just one thing you need to know about Swarm: He's a Nazi made of radioactive bees. Shakespeare only wishes he'd come up with stuff this good.

45. Black Bolt, Blackagar Boltagon
Created by Jack Kirby.
Blackagar Boltagon (crazy name, crazy king) rules the Inhumans, an ancient race of wacky genetic experiments living on the dark side of the moon. Black Bolt maintains a certain air of aloof coolness because he almost never speaks. Because when he does speak, he unleashes a concussive shockwave with the power of an atomic blast. It is assumed he is a good listener.

44. Loki Lauyefson
Adapted from myth by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby.
In Norse mythology he's a maverick trickster God. In Marvel comics, he's a classic supervillain and 'God of Evil', with a lust for power and an abiding hatred for his arch-nemesis Thor. He's Marvel's sorcerous Machiavelli, but with the added bonus of a pair of really unwieldy yellow horns on his hat.

43. Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze
Created by Roy Thomas, Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog.
Johnny Blaze was a stunt biker in a travelling circus who sold his soul to the devil to save the life of his mentor, Crash Simpson, and got bound to a vengeance demon for his troubles. So far, so groovy. But the best part is that he could then transform into a burning skeleton in biker leathers. There haven't been a whole lot of good Ghost Rider stories, but the design is one of the all-time classics.

42. Professor X, Charles Xavier
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The X-Men's tweed-wearing, wheelchair-bound telepath egghead founder. In theory, he's the principled activist hero of an oppressed minority. In practice, he's a devious, manipulative, self-aggrandising wannabe martyr with a fondness for very young girls and a bizarre habit of unleashing evil monster versions of his own twisted psyche on the world.

41. Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Super-speedster Pietro is the patron hero (and sometime patron terrorist supervillain) of pissy, irritable people everywhere. Trapped in a world that moves too slowly for him, he probably keeps a particularly acid and frothy blog. He's also the son of Magneto, so he has a lot to live up to, and he's frequently afflicted with madness or depression. It pretty much sucks to be Quicksilver. But he has great hair.


40. Kingpin, Wilson Fisk
Created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.
He's not fat, he's muscular, like a sumo wrestler! And he's not a gangster, he's a spice merchant! Yes, it's fat gangster Wilson Fisk, who crushes men's heads with his fat hammy hands. Fatty Fisk started life as a poor, miserable fat kid, but murdered and bribed his way into becoming one of the most powerful fat men in America, proving that anyone in the US can rise to the position of being able to buy the president. Even fat people.

39. Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
The nerd supervillain. Pale, chubby, short-sighted, but academically gifted, Otto Octavius bumbled his way into super-powers when a nuclear accident fused him to the metal tentacles he used in his research. But having a really cool body piercing didn't make him any less of a nerd, so naturally he went crazy and lashed out at a world that had never told him he was pretty.

38. Green Goblin, Norman Osborn
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Green Goblin is best known for killing Peter Parker's girlfriend Gwen Stacy - a watershed moment in superhero comics. But I like him because he wears a garish purple and green elf costume, rides around on a metal bat, and has bombs in the shape of pumpkins. In an eloquent demonstration of how poorly today's creators' imaginations fare against those of the 70s greats, the Ultimate cover version of Green Goblin turned him into The Abomination without the Russian accent.

37. Red Skull, Johann Schmidt
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Johann Schmidt was a mere hotel bellhop when he pinged Adolf Hitler's evildar and was adopted as the Fuhrer's new pet project (secondary to world conquest). Johann swapped his dainty porter's cap for a red skull mask and was transformed into a terrifying bogeyman for the Nazi propoganda machine. He survived the fall of the Third Reich thanks to suspended animation, and now spends his days plotting for a Fourth Reich and wearing smoking jackets and snazzy boots. He remains the supervillain that all the other supervillains won't talk to, because there's 'world conquering, life shattering evil', and then there's 'Nazi evil', and that's just unpalatable.

36. She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema.
The jade giantess gained her super strength thanks to a spectacularly ill-advised blood transfusion from cousin Bruce 'Hulk' Banner. She then went from savage to sassy, establishing herself as a screwball comedy heroine with Carole Lombard's wit, Rosalind Russell's bite, and Cyd Charisse's legs. But none of those gals could juggle cars.

35. Colossus, Piotr Nikolevitch Rasputin
Created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum.
My own favourite Marvel character. He's a gentle, romantic artist with a sweet soul. He's also a big, burly, handsome Russian peasant. And he can turn his body into steel and tear through walls like paper. Not only is he protective, devoted and sensitive, but he can win most fights just by being in the room, and he looks great in a t-shirt. If it weren't for his weirdly unhinged siblings and the fact that everyone he loves tends to die horribly, he'd be the perfect boyfriend. Speaking of which...

34. Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde
Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
The nerd girlfriend. For over a quarter of a century, young nerds have been falling for the eternally teenaged, spirited, big-brained action gal with the power to walk through walls. She's also a big favourite of Jewish comic readers, as she's one of the first major superheroes to wear her faith on her big puffy sleeve. Kitty is perhaps the archetypal modern teen heroine. Without her, there would be no Buffy.
 
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Old June 9th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #2
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33. Cyclops, Scott Summers
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The irritatingly dependable solid core of the X-Men, Scott Summers is basically Dr Jack from Lost - serious, manly, handsome and authoritative, but with all the personality of a Microsoft paperclip. "I see that you're fighting a Sentinel. Would you like to hurl Wolverine at its head while Iceman impedes its progress?" I can only assume the mutant boy scout placed at number 33 in this list by sheer force of nostalgic inertia.

32. Havok, Alex Summers
Created by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams.
Cyclops' younger brother is a great deal more interesting. While Cyclops is a contained, disciplined, natural leader who keeps his powder dry at all times, Havok is all bubbling turmoil and anguish. Cyclops is competent and efficient. Havok is flawed and passionate. Cyclops worries about whether he remembered to make the bed this morning. Havok worries about having to contain the massed power of an exploding star within his all-too-human flesh. Havok also has the concentric circles power signature, one of the snazziest pop art visuals in comics.

31. Luke Cage
Created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr.
Marvel's great blaxploitation superhero, known for his trademark exclamation of 'Sweet Christmas', and for being the crazy black man who rode a stolen rocket into Doctor Doom's castle to get the two hundred dollars Doom owes him. He was a ghetto street tough who got his super strength in prison and performed heroic acts for money, which doesn't sound very empowering, but still, he was the first black superhero to get his own comic. He's since traded in his flash yellow disco shirt, chain belt and tiara for an uninspiring Chrisopher Ecclestone jeans-and-leather-jacket ensemble, and like most black characters in the hands of white writers, he's now presented as a nicely-nicely-big-brotherly-role-model cipher.

30. Black Widow, Natasha Romanova
Created by Stan Lee, Don Rico and Don Heck.
Foxy leather-clad Communist superspy. Part Bond girl, part Bond.

29. Beast, Henry McCoy
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Here's the subtle genius of Beast. He looks like a giant, fanged, blue-furred ape creature. But he's actually a brilliant scientist, a great wit and an intellectual. It's awfully clever. He's a reupholstered Teddy Ruxpin that's been loaded with Encarta. On the one hand, he'd make an eloquent dining companion. On the other, he'd make a terrific rug.

28. The Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox
Created by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Chic Stone and John Buscema.
Madrox has the power to create duplicates of himself, send them out into the world to fight or learn or just reach the key over there and get him out of the locked room, and then reabsorb them along with their memories and skills. He represents everyone's desire to have just a little more free time - to learn to ballroom dance, to scuba the Great Barrier Reef, to get horribly drunk on a school night. He's both rounded and grounded, remaining refreshingly down-to-earth and even a little cynical in the face of all the gods and mutants he's encountered. He's every man.

27. Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The sentinel of the spaceways and former herald of Galactus makes for a wonderfully weird cosmic hero. It's a testament to the wonder of comics that readers will happily relish the absurdity of a chrome-plated space messiah on a surfboard. But, see, it's really, really cool. Like, woah. Look at my fingers.

26. Ultron
Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.
There's always the danger, when you're a brilliant scientist, that you'll create an artificial intelligence that will decide to take over the world and destroy all organic lifeforms. That's the Ultron story, except in this case the brilliant scientist (and supehero and spousal abuser, Henry Pym) decided to put his artificial intelligence in an indestructible adamantium robot body. Hijinx ensued. You can sense Ultron's malice and hatred in your computer every time it crashes, and in your toaster every time it burns your breakfast.

25. Captain Britain, Brian Braddock
Created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.
A superhero who grew up eating fish and chips out of The Sun, drinking PG Tips and watching Blankety Blank. A hero who used to push his mates around Sainsbury's car park in a trolley, and who'd drink White Lightening on the swings. A hero who remembers where he was when Zammo died. That's a hero you can respect. All right, he's a posh aristo who got his powers from Merlin, but he's spent a wet Bank Holiday in either Bournemouth, Blackpool or Brighton, just like the rest of us. When he gets trapped in a giant pinball machine or has to smash his way past a gang of Alice in Wonderland themed villains, he's not fighting on behalf of vague wishy-washy principles like 'liberty'. He fights for warm bitter, the first Stone Roses album, and old men riding down a hill in a bathtub. And possibly a chance to shag a busty changeling or an icy Nazi vixen. And that's just the sort of hero I want to see wrapped in the Union Jack!

24. Iron Man, Tony Stark
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby.
Tom Selleck in a can! With Bluetooth compatibility!

23. The Punisher, Frank Castle
Created by Gerry Conway, Ross Andru and John Romita Sr
The Punisher represents that cold nameless fear we all share on bright, beautiful sunny days while picnicking in the park - the fear that shifty Italian mobsters might randomly gun down our beautiful subservient housewife and apple-cheeked Disney children, robbing us of the peace we pretended we were fighting for back in Vietnam. Yes, we've all been there. Frank Castle's solution to this fracas al fresco was to strike back. Not necessarily at the mobsters that killed his family, but at any mobsters he could find, and probably a few cheery pizzeria chefs, respected character actors and monkey-taunting plumbers along the way. For about thirty years now, Frank has remained very, very committed to his one-man war against crime. It ought to wear thin, but in the right hands it seems that watching a man shoot gangsters can be endlessly entertaining.

22. Ego the Living Planet
Created by Jack Kirby.
Ego formed like any other planet, out of the gas, dust and detritus of space. But unlike other planets, Ego evolved a consciousness, and developed the ability to propel himself through space. Being a planet, Ego had something of an... ego. So he travels around invading other planets with his home-grown space soldiers, and sometimes he eats them. This is, I think you will agree, very awesome. Mind you, Ego has gone a little crazy and developed an obsession with trying to 'wake up' other planets. Presumably he finds it very hard to get a date, which must be a blow to his... ego.

21. Nightcrawler, Kurt Wagner
Created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum.
In the old Marvel handbook, some of the good guys had their profession listed as 'superhero', while others were labelled 'adventurer'. I don't recall which category Nightcrawler belonged to, but he fits the latter description better than anyone. He's one part circus acrobat and two parts swashbuckling Errol Flynn movie, dashed with Medieval Christian devil iconography for flavour and flocked with indigo felt. He perfectly represents comics' joyous escapist potential. And he has a tail.

20. Annihilus, the Living Death that Walks
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The diabolical king of an insectoid race from the extra-dimensional Negative Zone, Annihilus really likes annihilating things. It's very much his thing. The ultimate self-preservationist, Annihilus views all other life as a threat to his existence, and thus reasons that all other life must be eradicated. Really good villains have a justification for their actions that we can all appreciate. Anyone who has ever commuted in rush hour can appreciate Annihilus' justifications.
 
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Old June 9th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #3
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19. Deadpool, Wade Wilson
Created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld.
It doesn't seem right to me that a Rob Liefeld-created character should be in this list - especially one whose 'creation' involved taking DC's speed-healing mercenary character Deathstroke (aka Slade Wilson) and filing off the serial numbers. But Deadpool is a clear example of how a third-string character can be redeemed by the right writer. Joe Kelly deserves full credit for recreating 'the merc with the mouth' and making him into a much more engaging character. The deranged, amoral, fast-talking maniac is now one of Marvel's best antiheroes, and he's the most recently created character on this list.

18. Captain America, Steve Rogers
Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
Captain America is a symbol for those uniquely American values of truth, justice and liberty - values that you just can't get in other countries. They had some truth once in Malta, but it had been smuggled out by an Arab, and it withered and died without proper care. There were rumours of some justice in the Orkneys, but the UN sent a team to inspect it and it turned out to be a hedgehog. Unfortunately, the rest of the world is a cesspit of malice, deceit and exploitation, its citizens peering out from their tarry mires and turning muck-encrusted eyes towards that unique beacon of light that is America the Exemplar, with a churning maelstrom of resentment and jealousy brimming in their weak, shrivelled hearts. So thank God for Captain America, by jingo. Where would we be without him, fighting for your rights, in his satin tights, in the old red, white and blue?

17. Fin Fang Foom
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The ultimate Marvel monster. Here's what you don't need to know about Fin Fang Foom: He was the navigator on an alien spacecraft who landed in China and spent thousands of years sleeping, fought the Communists, got abducted by another alien, got shipped off to Mole Man's Monster Island, got possessed by a madman, then by a demon, used kung fu to fend off an alien invasion, got blown up, rebuilt himself out of sewer lizards, and converted to Buddhism. Here's what you do need to know about Fin Fang Foom; he's a giant lizard in purple pants. If you don't understand what makes this great, you probably shouldn't have any contact with superhero comics.

16. Daredevil, Matt Murdock
Created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett.
By day he fights for justice as a blind lawyer. By night he fights against injustice as a vigilante hero in a big red devil costume. And he tends to get beaten up a lot, and his girlfriends tend to be either crazy or dead or both. Marvel excels at the angsty hero. Daredevil is one of the best.

15. J Jonah Jameson
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Spider-Man's ultimate nemesis, beating Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin and all the other rogues. The Hitler-moustached Daily Bugle editor is the bane of Peter Parker's existence, not only hounding him through the press, but also creating super-villains and commissioning a series of killer robots to destroy him. Rupert Murdoch has never shown this sort of dedication to any of the dreadful fearmongering campaigns he's concocted. (Actually, more plausibly, Rupert Murdoch just hasn't built a killer robot that he's really satisfied with yet. I expect all the unusued prototypes are sitting in a warehouse somewhere in East Cheam.)

14. Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel Richards
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The future. Earth has become a paradise, and young Nathaniel doesn't like it, so he travels back in time to become the ruler of Ancient Egypt, gets chased away by the Fantastic Four, travels to the future to rule... er... the future, then sets about conquering every place and every time he can get to. Hence 'the Conqueror'. I'm not sure where the 'Kang' bit comes from, though. Possibly he just liked the sound. In fact, just liking the sound of his name seems to be the main thing that propelled Kang to success in this poll. Kang. Kang! He's also been known as Rama Tut, Scarlet Centurion, Immortus and Iron Lad. But mostly Kang. Kang!

13. Beta Ray Bill
Created by Walt Simonson.
Only the worthy can lift Thor's hammer. As it turns out, that's quite a short list of people - but also a rather eclectic list, not confined to Earth or Asgard. When Thor found himself battling a genetically engineered horse-faced golden space monster, he was separated from his hammer - only for the monster, the champion of his oppressed race, to pick it up. That monster was Beta Ray Bill, the greatest of Marvel's cosmic heroes. Thor is not in this list of fifty great Marvel characters. Thor isn't a horse-faced golden space monster with a funky 70s name. Thor is not worthy.

12. Doctor Stephen Strange
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
The trippy hippy Sorceror Supreme, he of the long fingers and the convoluted phrase book, is, like Silver Surfer, a 70s headshop favourite. Fredric Wertham once wrote that Batman and Robin fulfil a 'wish dream' lifestyle for young homosexuals. For homosexuals of a certain age, the lifestyle of Doctor Strange - a wealthy bachelor who dresses like the lead in Turandot and lives in a gorgeous Greenwich Village townhouse full of antique artefacts with his manservant Wong - would seem closer to the mark. He does occasionally suffer a nasty case of the dread Dormammus, but then, don't we all?

11. Wolverine, Logan
Created by Len Wein, John Romita Sr and Herb Trimpe.
In theory, he's Marvel's most popular and saleable character. In reality, he's been sold so hard and spread so thin that people aren't quite as keen as they used to be, which might be why he fails to crack the top ten in this list. However, a lot of this list demonstrates the affection fans hold for certain characters even in spite of modern Marvel's failure to use them effectively - or to appreciate what makes them great. Wolverine is the perfect example of this. Once enigmatic and exciting, he's now over-familiar and ubiquitous. But there's still some residual love out there for the short, scrappy Canadian psychopath - especially when he's played by a tall, handsome Australian actor.

10. MODOK, George Tarleton
Created by Jack Kirby.
Those kooky guys at the evil megalomaniacal organisation AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) turned George Tarleton into a giant-brained loon so he could become their one-man think tank. But MODOC, a mental organism designed only for computing, decided he had a greater purpose in mind. He would Only be for Killing. So MODOK-with-a-K-not-MODOC-with-a-C took control of AIM, but it turns out he wasn't very good at leading, because... well, he was Only for Killing. And he wasn't always that good at killing, come to think of it. But he was indeed mental. If our world were Marvel's world, Stephen Hawking would probably be MODOK.

09. Nick Fury
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Superspy. Eyepatch. Cigar. Gun. Giant citadel held aloft by helicopter rotors. Flying cars. Robot clones. Holograms. Hot Italian contessa girlfriend. The definition of cool. These days, Nick Fury doesn't smoke cigars, because Marvel editor Joe Quesada lost family to lung cancer. I lost family when Godzilla took down a SHIELD Helicarrier over San Diego, but that doesn't seem to bother those insensitive shits at Marvel.

08. Emma Frost
Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.
Our highest ranking character not created by Stan and Jack, our highest ranking woman, and our highest ranking serving X-Man. The former villainess has become one of Marvel's most interesting heroes since she traded membership of a megalomaniacal secret society for a faculty post at a private school, because she doesn't fit any of the usual superhero moulds, and her rehabilitation didn't entirely erode her survivalist streak, giving her a little dose of rare complexity. In a world of choirboys and macho men, she offers up ambiguity, cunning and even common sense - she's a tawdry pragmatist in the face of the usual Comics Code brand of clean, 1950s ethics. She's also a subversively and unapologetically sexual presence in amongst all those smooth-crotched muscle Marys.

07. Black Panther, T'Challa
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
On first sight, Black Panther looks like a slightly worrying prospect. He's the peculiarly apostrophied tribal ruler of a fantasy African kingdom straight out of an H Rider Haggard story, an unashamedly clichéd totem of the white man's vision of Darkest Africa. Except Wakanda isn't all beads and temples; it's home to some of the most sophisticated technology in the world (disguised as beads and temples). And T'Challa isn't some tribal country cousin; he's become one of the major movers and shakers in the Marvel universe. He's a Renaissance man, a moralist, and a brilliant strategist in both battle and business, with a contingency plan for every occason.

06. The Hulk, Bruce Banner
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Where comics' short age of monsters meets its enduring age of heroes, there is the Hulk. An atomic age Jekyll and Hyde, he's not a champion or a role model, but a marauding natural disaster, an American Godzilla, resonating with the menace of nuclear catastrophe and the Freudian fear of the self. He is our internal and external neuroses combined into one rampaging package, painted green and wrapped in purple pants. In two words: Hulk smashing.
 
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Old June 9th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #4
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05. Thing, Ben Grimm
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Marvel's own Caliban-Hamlet, Brooklyn's Ben Grimm is the anguished prince of Yancy Street. As blue collar as heroes come, his cosmic irradiation led to the sort of tragic disfigurement that usually creates villains - but in the Marvel U, burdens are what make heroes great. As pissed off as Ben was to be cursed with a body of broken rock, the dynamo of his anguish turns pain into action. With all the spirit of a Depression-era boxer, Grimm knows that being down doesn't put you out, and when villains come calling, it's clobberin' time.

04. Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Somewhere out in the vastness of the cosmos, a space god roams. Last survivor of a dead universe, he has been infused with unfathomable power, which he feeds by destroying and devouring planets. He is a force of nature, a living star, an agent of life and death whose acts of mass genocide are essential to maintaining the equilibrium of creation. And one day, his great towering shadow fell over our world, and the sky was filled with Kirby dots. And a giant purple helmet. All right, so there's a certain undeniable absurdity to Galactus. But it's a glorious absurdity. Like all the great giants of myth, he represents primeval forces and the chaos of nature - but writ cosmic, in the grandly operatic Kirby style. Delicious.

03. Magneto, Magnus
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The terrorist it's still OK to love. For all that comics are regarded as a byword for simplicity and silliness - and often deservedly so, as this list has indulgently demonstrated - there are often complex themes rumbling along just below the surface (where they don't have to get in the way of a good punch up). Magneto, as leader and figurehead of the mutant militants, represents the empowerment fantasy of the oppressed minority. He has been both a monster and a mentor in his time, but while his methods vary, his vision and purpose have always remained appealingly clear-cut. He may be a villain, but we can understand his will to free his people from fear. Sometimes, it seems he may even be in the right. We can also appreciate the grandeur of his villainy. This is a man who besieges cities, raises volcanoes, kidnaps warheads and plunges the entire planet into darkness. We probably wouldn't be very fond of him in the real world, but in the world of comics it's easy to appreciate that flair.

02. Spider-Man, Peter Parker
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
The definitive Marvel hero. Not a god, nor a mutant, nor born to privilege, nor blessed with athleticism or one of the world's greatest minds, Peter Parker is very much an ordinary man who by happenstance was given great power, and burdened with great responsibility. There are two sides to Spider-Man's character that make him great. On the one hand, he's the noble hero, because he struggles with the belief that whatever he does, whoever he saves, he can never do enough, even though he does more than anyone would ever ask of any man - and more than any other man might try to do. On the other hand, he acts out the adolescent power fantasies that the medium specialises in, gleefully relishing the obvious joys of being able to swing through the canyons of a great city, bouncing off walls and hurling one-liners at the latest bank-robbing representative from his extravagent rogue's gallery. He is super. And he is a hero. Kids will always want to be Spider-Man. And so will most grown adults.

01. Doctor Victor Von Doom
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
This, then, is Marvel's finest character, and Stan and Jack's greatest single creation. He is the archetypal bad guy, all villains to all people - a megalomaniac, a dark sorceror, a mastermind, a man of ambition and pride, but also a man of honour. He's the upstart king of a small European nation with ambitions to bring his rule to the world. He's a self-made man, a bona fide genius with the will to take on Gods, conquer worlds, and even venture into Hell to redeem his lost mother's soul. He'd transform the world for the better if it weren't for that one small thorn in his side, that one pea in his mattress, the thing that turns his greatness into hubris: Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic. Richards has his own flaws and failings, but when you get right down to it, Doom's rival has him beaten where it counts. Richards is the smartest man in the world. That leaves Doom in second place, and that's a place he cannot stand to be. With a little modesty, Victor Von Doom might not be such a bad person. But he wouldn't be such a great character, either. As far as the fans of the Marvel Universe are concerned, Doom rules.

That list again:

50. Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff
49. Juggernaut, Cain Marko
48. The Sub-Mariner, Prince Namor McKenzie
47. Marvel Girl, Jean Grey
46. Swarm, Fritz von Meyer
45. Black Bolt, Blackagar Boltagon
44. Loki Lauyefson
43. Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze
42. Professor X, Charles Xavier
41. Quicksilver, Pietro Maximoff
40. Kingpin, Wilson Fisk
39. Doctor Octopus, Otto Octavius
38. Green Goblin, Norman Osborn
37. Red Skull, Johann Schmidt
36. She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters
35. Colossus, Piotr Nikolevitch Rasputin
34. Shadowcat, Kitty Pryde
33. Cyclops, Scott Summers
32. Havok, Alex Summers
31. Luke Cage
30. Black Widow, Natasha Romanova
29. Beast, Henry McCoy
28. The Multiple Man, Jamie Madrox
27. Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd
26. Ultron
25. Captain Britain, Brian Braddock
24. Iron Man, Tony Stark
23. The Punisher, Frank Castle
22. Ego the Living Planet
21. Nightcrawler, Kurt Wagner
20. Annihilus, the Living Death that Walks
19. Deadpool, Wade Wilson
18. Captain America, Steve Rogers
17. Fin Fang Foom
16. Daredevil, Matt Murdock
15. J Jonah Jameson
14. Kang the Conqueror, Nathaniel Richards
13. Beta Ray Bill
12. Doctor Stephen Strange
11. Wolverine, Logan
10. MODOK, George Tarleton
09. Nick Fury
08. Emma Frost
07. Black Panther, T'Challa
06. The Hulk, Bruce Banner
05. Thing, Ben Grimm
04. Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
03. Magneto, Magnus
02. Spider-Man, Peter Parker
01. Doctor Victor Von Doom
 
Fortune favors the foolish.
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Old June 9th, 2006   Old Chum is offline   #5
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Not bad.....just a few outlandish ones i.e.

FIN Fang Foom @ 17?
Blackbolt @ 45?
Namor @ 47

Those are the only ones I have a little problem with.

Top 5 is pretty spot on though
 
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Old June 9th, 2006   allstar_jarrod is offline   #6
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doctor doom at .1 no way!
 
superman returns is the best freakn movie ever made!!
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Old June 10th, 2006   Infernorhythm is offline   #7
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Dude. The thing about Nick Fury was hilarious. I say Magneto should be number one, but Doom is alright.
 
Superman Returns was a great film. DO NOT REBOOT!
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Old June 10th, 2006   jafabian is offline   #8
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Nice list, my first thought though is "where is Nova?" He's had his own book a few times now. He obviously has a following.
 
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Old June 10th, 2006   agentofdarkness is offline   #9
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how is The Multiple Man(28) ahead of Jean Grey(47),Professor X (42), Cyclops (33), Kitty Pryde(34) and Beast(29)!?

The people you got to help you obviously forgot the mutant hiearchy.
 
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Old June 10th, 2006   Augustine is offline   #10
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Hey it's not mine, a friend gave me it after he found it elsewhere.

Besides this was ranked as choosen by a group of people as stated in the first post.
 
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Old June 11th, 2006   Capt America1941 is offline   #11
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Ant-Man doesn't place???? dude, that is soooo wrong !!!!!!!!!!!
 
fight the power !!!!! don't register!!!
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Old June 11th, 2006   Peter Bardyn is offline   #12
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I'm disappointed at the lack of Taskmaster, a character I think is one of the coolest and most realistic around--if you had super powers, would you run out and fight Captain America or would you keep back and get rich training others to fight him?
 
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Old June 11th, 2006   JIrish780 is offline   #13
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So, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Kitty, Cyclops, Havok, Beast, Jean Grey and even Madrox (a character I absolutely adore) make this group's list... but Storm didn't? Weird.
 
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Old June 11th, 2006   Thunderflash11 is offline   #14
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doom is number 1? wtf? Yeah he rocks the house, but Id've placed Spider-man, Cap, Wolverine and Hulk above him.
But the VERY good news is Juggernaut made the list....and the bad news is norman got relegated to 38, whilst MODOK made 10th place.
 
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Old June 11th, 2006   MacDog2k4 is offline   #15
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I think that Cyclops should definitely be above Havok, and they both should move up in the rankings. Plus, not to be rude, but where the hell is storm?
 
Wolverine might be the most popular, Iceman may look the coolest, but Cyclops is no doubt the FIRST and BEST X-Man.
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Old June 11th, 2006   Brian Miller is offline   #16
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Swarm made the list but Ben's the only FF member to rank at all? Something's rotten in the state of Denmark.
 
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