After over 1,200 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then my friend Chris tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout the next few weeks. The countdown continues…
6. Flash (Wally West) – 2019 points (32 first place votes)
John Broome and Carmine Infantino created young Wally West soon into their run on Flash. Wally was the nephew of Barry (the Flash) Allen’s girlfriend, Iris, and when Barry was giving him a tour of the police station Barry worked at, the same freak accident that gave Barry his powers happened to Wally!!!
Now with the same speed powers as Barry, Barry quickly added Wally as his partner. First in a kid-sized version of Barry’s suit, but then later, in his own colored suit. Wally served as Barry’s sidekick for many years, and also helped co-found the Teen Titans, where Wally continued to do his superhero deeds.
Eventually, though, Wally grew tired of the hero game, and gave it all up. Tragically, though, soon after Wally made this decision, his mentor (and, after Barry married Iris, his uncle), Barry gave his life to save the Earth. Wally was then forced to become the Flash.
While at the beginning of his tenure, Wally was a bit immature, he soon grew into one of the most notable heroes of the current generation. A big point in his maturation was his relationship with reporter Linda Park. The two had been friends for awhile, and their flirtatious banter during writer Bill Loebs’ run was excellent, but during Mark Waid’s tenure on the title, he had the two begin a relationship, and soon, Linda’s love for Wally was all Wally needed to really grow as both a person AND a hero. Like when Wally was seemingly killed in Flash #98 in a battle with Kobra. Linda carries on, doing her best to defend her city even though, as she notes, she is now “dead inside” due to Wally’s death, but then…
Has Wally returned only to die once again?!!?
Wally and Linda eventually married, but after giving birth to twins, Wally was forced to take his family with him, as he basically went into the Speed Force in an attempt to stop an evil villain. The group eventually returned, with the children now grown a bit, and with superpowers. Think the Incredibles.
Then the New 52 happened and Wally was basically erased from continuity. A new version of Wally West eventually showed up, but for better or for worse, this Wally is essentially a brand-new character.
5. Joker – 2675 points (36 first place votes)
Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the Joker was Batman’s greatest villain even as soon as he debuted, even as he has evolved over the years.
In his earliest appearances, he was a sadistic, ruthless and clever murderer…
This version of Joker was extremely popular. In the first dozen issues of Batman, the Joker appeared in three quarters of them!
However, as time went by, the Joker’s murdering ways were deemed a bit excessive, so although he continued to be Batman’s most popular foes, he became more goofy than anything. In 1973, after the biggest gap yet between appearances (a couple of years – like I said, the guy was always REALLY popular), Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams brought back a new version of the Joker – crazy AND murderous…
Steve Englehart, Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin followed up on this…
In the late 1980s, led by Alan Moore’s use of the Joker, he was now more a chaotic murderer (that is not a knock on Moore himself, as in his story the Joker DID have a motive – to drive Commissioner Gordon insane – it’s a matter where later writers have picked up on just the surface aspect of Moore’s story – the seeming chaos of it all). Scott Snyder has brought a little more order to the Joker’s seeming chaos recently, though, in A Death in the Family and Endgame.
4. Wonder Woman – 2922 points (53 first place votes)
Created by William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman is Diana, of the Amazons, who won a contest to win the right to represent the Amazons in the world of Man.
That is just what Diana did for many years, serving as an Ambassador of Peace, while at the same time, also fighting crime, including being a prominent member of the Justice League of America.
She never stopped being an Amazonian warrior, though, which led to a classic confrontation when she came into conflict with Batman when he pursued a killer who invoked an Amazonian pledge of protection (she killed the men who raped and killer her sister, which she posits is the Amazonian thing to do in this situation). What happens when the dogged pursuit of Batman comes into conflict with the strong convictions of Wonder Woman?
Pretty freakin’ cool comics is what happens.
In the new 52, Wonder Woman is now Zeus’ daughter and the Amazons are a lot different than they’ve ever been before. Wonder Woman is now in a relationship with Superman and she recently got a brand-new armored costume.
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