Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Most Annoyingly Overrated Super Heroes

For every quality underrated character, there's always a crapload of guys (and girls) who are way more popular than they deserve. Just as there's lots of actors, artists and, um, politicians who enjoy massive popularity while so obviously being lame, there's plenty of comic book heroes who have remained beloved by the masses even though smart people like me see them for what they really are - ranging from just not that great to totally weak. Feast on the top five, mortals.

5. Rogue
OK, I get it. She's hot. And with that southern accent, mildly exotic. She also works the whole strong female/ tough girl thing quite literally as she can juggle battle tanks. And then the coup de gras - you can't freaking touch her! Everyone's attracted to what they can't have (nevermind the fact she's not in fact, real) and if you lay an unprotected hand on Rogue's silky smooth skin, the least that can happen to you is you'll faint. It can also fuck up your mind, drain your life force and land you in a coma.

And I know Rogue has other things going for her besides the sex appeal but I'll never believe those other reasons account for her popularity. And when you come down to it, what is she? She's a haughty, southern hick with a stolen set of powers. I mean would we even be talking about her if she hadn't hijacked Ms. Marvel's powers while working for foster mommy, Mystique? Now Ms. Marvel's an actually cool character and in my opinion (which rules with an iron fist here, as you'll recall) waaaay hotter too.

I'm not saying Rogue isn't heroic. I'm not saying she hasn't done cool things or been a team player with the X-Men. I'm just saying she's really overrated - and here she is.

4. The Avengers ("classic" lineup)
I'm a New Avengers fan and laughed my ass off when all the fans of the old team bitched and cried about the whole Dissasembled storyline and then I laughed some more when they threw tantrums over the team's new lineup and direction. Here's one last parting shot for all you oldschool fans who can't embrace change: YOU HAD FIVE HUNDRED FUCKING ISSUES! So lock yourself in a closet and read those and shut the hell up.
And for those of you who are still here to read my list, the team was totally overrated anyway. Yeah, yeah, they had a lot of the big names like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. And sure, some decently cool members like Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Black Knight. But was the Scarlett Witch really that cool? (just how many times can she lose her mind?) Or the Vision? Is Hank Pym (Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Ant, the tooth fairy, Reynaldo and the artist formerly known as Prince) not incredibly annoying with all his name changes and on again/off again relationships?

And here are some other members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Marvel's A team who always got top billing over the various X teams and everyone else: Swordsman, Hellcat, Moondragon, Living Lightning, Mantis. Wow. Those are some great heroes, huh?

And, really, I was never all that crazy about the big three of Cap, Iron Man and Thor anyway. They're kind of boring. And what the hell was Black Widow doing there? She's supposed to be a Russian secret agent and yet she practically ran the team at certain points. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the Avengers were always around and I do like a lot of them. But no way were they Marvel's premiere team.

3. Wonder Woman
I don't like picking on Diana, I really don't. Really, she's overcome a lot to attain such popularity. But I just can't let go of the facts that make her lame. I have to believe she rose to the top as a sex symbol and I get why it's not fair to pick on her for that as the vast majority of comic writers are men and the vast majority of female characters they created are sexy. But she looks like a dominatrix or something. Her origin is that she's an Amazon (from Greek Mythology). An Amazon Princess, actually. And here she is sitting at the big boys' table of the DC Universe. Good for her.

So what does she bring to the table, exactly? Well, she has power not far below that of Superman in terms of strength and invulnerability. Ok. Then she has these bands that she wears that can deflect bullets and lasers and....waitaminute, what the hell does she need that for if she's practically invulnerable? Aw, nevermind. Then there's her....Lasso of Truth. A magical lasso that forces those bound by it to tell the truth. Are you kidding? Wow, that's stupid. At least in the eighties and nineties she could actually fly rather than use her (takes a deep breath)...invisible jet. Yeah. And when she flies in it, she stays visible. So you just see her sitting there in an invisible cockpit as she soars through the sky. I'm sorry but that's just not cool.

Like most major DC characters, her origin story has been messed with and revamped numerous times but no version is very good. Basically it all comes down to various Roman gods giving her her powers. I'll admit I haven't read much with her and I'm unfamiliar with stuff like her personality but I still can't see her as being worthy enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Batman and Superman. It's not a sexist thing - it's a whenitcomesdowntoitshesreallyprettylame thing.

2. Spawn
Now we come to Mr. Style Over Substance, Todd McFarlane's super hero from hell. His origin is cool. His powers are cool. His look is really cool. And yet...
I respect what McFarlane and Jim Lee and those other guys did when they broke off from Marvel and formed Image. I think something like that was long overdue. Writers and artists should be allowed to retain creative control over the characters they create and they shouldn't be cut out on any of the profits said characters generate either. The Image guys were pioneers and their contribution to the comics industry will always be remembered and appreciated. Not to mention Image produced some pretty cool titles.

But Spawn was really the flagship and if you looked past all the hype and anticipation that had built up when Image started, you saw that there really wasn't much beneath all the flashiness. While McFarlane was part of a wave of artists and writers that ushered in a new era of creative control he was also a frontrunner in the wave of artists and writers who figured the comic buying public would buy anything if you made it look pretty enough, even if the characters and stories weren't so good. And Spawn looked great. But it really didn't read that well. It was awkward and contrived. The storylines were nothing new and the characters, while looking cool, didn't actually have much depth. Least of all our hero (or antihero - another unfortunate thing, really, as the early nineties saw WAY too many characters that tried to fit this mold - if EVERYONE'S a badass antihero then it's not really that cool. If every character plays by his own rules then there are no rules period and everything just runs together).

Yeah, he died. And he made a deal with the devil to come back. But he could never really be alive again and all he got to do was run around and see the woman he loved move on without him while he messed around with society's most dangerous and disturbing members and from time to time, some other agents of heaven or hell. Spawn had vast potential as a character and sold about a zillion comics but he just never read as good as he looked and what comics are truly about is telling a good story. And when it came to that, Spawn just didn't deliver.

1. Green Lantern (all incarnations)
This guy just baffles me. He's painfully stupid. Seeing him on the page with Batman and Superman and Green Arrow actually hurts me. Probably the best thing he ever did was when he teamed with Green Arrow for a book in the seventies but I still can't picture it being very good, critical acclaim notwithstanding. Although he did go on that crazy killing spree once...

Where do I start? He got his powers from a magic lantern an alien gave him from which he carved out a ring. What? He carved the ring out of the lantern? Why didn't the alien just give him a ring? Considering how loopy so many origins and powers are in the world of comics that probably shouldn't stand out as especially dumb. But it does. So he's got this ring that can do almost anything and it's often referred to as "the most powerful weapon in the universe" within the DC Universe. And what does he do with it? Not much, really. If you check it out you'll see him performing what looks to be clumsy feats of telekinisis only you can see it in the form of some green stuff. He makes retarded stuff like giant magnifying glasses and rubber bands. I'm serious. He can use it to fly, turn invisible, generate force fields and even warp through time but mostly he's about as effective as the Wonder Twins.

Here's some other fun facts: he's part of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic team of these bozos with rings. His main villains are called Sinestro and Parallax (I'll leave that one to you). And here's the best thing: he is the world record holder for the MOST IDIOTIC AND LAME SUPER HERO WEAKNESS EVER. Don't know it? It's yellow. The colour, yellow. It doesn't hurt him like krytonite hurts Superman, it's just that the ring, this object of untold power, cannot affect stuff if it is yellow. Yup. I'm not making that up. If you paint yourself from head to toe in yellow, the mighty Green Lantern can't do shit to you without manipulating some other non-yellow object. Not to mention the obvious point that if you can somehow take away his ring he's got nothing.

And yet here's this guy at the forefront of the DC Universe. Founding member of the Justice League. Always included in the biggest storylines. There was a Golden Age version of Green Lantern as far back as 1940 and there's been like four more since. Hal Jordan has basically been the main one and it's mostly him I'm picking on but every incarnation was lame.

Here's another fun tidbit: he has a freaking OATH that he recites. I can understand maybe way back in the Golden Age days but decades later, he still says the goddamn oath. And most variations rhyme. I'm not kidding. Here's what he spouts when he charges up (whatever the hell that means) his ring: "In brightest day, in blackest night, / No evil shall escape my sight/ Let those who worship evil's might/ Beware my power...Green Lantern's light!" Do I really have to say anything else at this point? To say Green Lantern is overrated as a superhero is the fucking understatement of the century. But he's here to stay. God help us all.


Shane said...

Great list man, that stuff about wonder woman had me cracked up, but it's so true. Before even looking at the list I knew Rogue was going to be there.

Also, I had no idea about Green Lantern's weakness. That's retarded. I can totally see your points about him. It's like some character who is uberpowerful, but turns into a regular schmuck if you knock off his hat.

Cole D'Arc said...

You were expecting Rogue? you must have heard one of my rants about her at some point, i guess. i don't remember. She pisses me off. Even moreso when she had that whole thing with Magneto (Joseph) or when she's married to him in the AoA timeline.

RyHo said...

You missed one... Wolverine. Haha, I know, it's extreme. He's not technically overrated in that he's cool, has interesting powers, storyline, all that, but he's used WAY TOO MUCH.

I'm as excited as the next guy for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but we had three Wolverine movies before. They were X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X3: The Last Stand.

And that's not where it ends, that's just cinema. Have you seen the new cartoon, Wolverine and the X-Men... does that title even make sense?

Also, what teams hasn't he landed on? He's been an X-Man (various units), Avenger, Fantastic Four member.

I guess the same could be said about Spider-man, though. And you know I'm a big Wolverine fan, just pointing out that he's a bit over-used... which you already knew.

There could be a list. Top 5 Most Over-used Comic Characters.

RyHo said...

Just noticed you qualified the list with "annoyingly". My bad.

Cole D'Arc said...

no doubt about it - Wolverine is the most overused character in all of comicdom. and he probably is overrated. but i like him. ive seen the cartoon. the plot is that he's the one that reunites them - Scott barely talks and Jean is missing and the Professor's in a coma.

Anonymous said...

Overrated = Superman, he's so dumb and dull and his past has been revamped so many times it just makes you puke. If Kryptonians can fly and breathe in outerspace why didn't his parents just fly to earth or to another planet when Krypton exploded ?

Slightly Overrated = the lanterns

Just right = Rogue, Wonderwoman, Batman.

Underrated = Flash.

My top 5 most overrated superheroes:

1) Superman
2) Supergirl
3) Spiderman
4) Green Arrow
5) The Lanterns

cole d'arc said...

Anon: i mostly agree with your list. I never thought of Supergirl as overrated since she's never seemed that popular to me.
You're totally right about Superman. even when they try to scale back his powers they always eventually wind up messing it up.
Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Uh, batman is easily the most overrated....he regularly takes down superior powered beings with no powers at all. Him and wolverine are also the most overexposed in their respective universes.