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 buddy Chris tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout the next few weeks. The countdown continues…
20. Jean Grey – 871 points (20 first place votes)
Jean Grey (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) was one of the founding members of th X-Men.
She stayed with the team for many years, using her telepathy and telekinesis as a hero. When the team was revamped a few years later, Jean took some time off, but continued seeing her teammate, Cyclops.
However, soon after the new team formed, Jean (and the rest of the X-Men) were kidnapped. After a battle, the group found themselves in a damaged spacecraft headed for Earth. Someone had to pilot the ship – but whoever did would certainly perish. Jean insisted that she be the one (much to Cyclops’ dismay). As she sat there, slowly dying – a cosmic force called the Phoenix came to Jean, and offered to save her life (and the lives of the X-Men) if Jean allowed her to be Jean, and experience life as a human.
Jean agreed, and when the ship landed, the Phoenix took over Jean’s life, albeit at a much more higher power level. Eventually, though, the Phoenix could not handle life as a human, and went nuts – killing a whole PLANET. However, even though it only COPIED Jean’s thoughts – Jean was such a great hero that even a copy of her was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and the Phoenix killed itself.
Awhile later, the Avengers found Jean in a cocoon near where the ship had crashed, years earlier. She was alive, and the other members of the original X-Men came to her, and the five of them formed a new team, X-Factor.
When that team broke up, she joined the rest in becoming X-Men again. Along the way, she married her long-time love, Cyclops.
Also, we learned that while the Phoenix WAS a separate force, Jean was actually born able to CHANNEL the Phoenix force, which is why the force approached her to begin with, rather than some other random human.
So Jean began to exhibit her Phoenix powers again.
Soon after, Jean was killed by Magneto in battle.
Now absorbed into the White Hot Room (which is where Phoenix-bearers go), Jean’s last wish was to convince her husband to pursue a relationship with Emma now that Jean was dead (he was having an affair with Emma). He did so.
More recently, the original X-Men traveled from the past into the present and have remained here. So Jean Grey from the past is now the only Jean Grey in the Marvel Universe. Her powers were jumpstarted by the trip, so she is a lot more powerful than Jean was originally at the same age.
19. Dr. Strange – 882 points (17 first place votes)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Stephen Strange was a gifted surgeon whose partying lifestyle came to a crashing halt when he was in an accident, leaving his hands too nerve-shattered to perform surgery anymore.
Searching for a cure, Strange event traveled to a mystic, the Ancient One, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. This is one of the all-time great comic book origins, as we see a man climb up from the gutter to become a great hero…
And then you have Mordo use magic to keep Strange from warning the Ancient One, forcing Strange to make a heroic choice…
So Doctor Strange became a master of the mystic arts and eventually even took over for the Ancient One as the Sorcerer Supreme! He has more or less held that mantle continuously for the past forty years, protecting Earth from all manner of mystical attacks. He has also managed to find the time to join a few superhero teams, most notably the Defenders and a fairly long run as a New Avenger (he allowed them to use his home when they were on the run from the government).
He just recently got his first ongoing series in roughly twenty years.
18. She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) – 917 points (13 first place votes)
Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema (probably Lee’s last notable comic creation), Jennifer Walters was dying, and needed a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, to live.
As a result of the transfusion, Jennifer, like her cousin Bruce, became a Hulk-like being.
Jennifer eventually controlled herself, and after laying low for awhile, made a major comeback as a member of the Avengers, for which she was a member for a number of years.
Around the same time, she was made a member of the Fantastic Four to replace the Thing, who had decided to part ways with the Fantastic Four for a time during Secret Wars. Along with Wolverine and the Flash, she’s the only hero I can think of who was a member of two notable superhero teams at once!!
John Byrne, who used She-Hulk in the FF, came up with Jennifer’s SECOND series, where Byrne took a humor approach, having Jen break the fourth wall frequently.
It was a success, and the book lasted for a number of years.
More recently, Dan Slott gained critical success with his own She-Hulk series, where he, too, employed a humorous approach, only Slott has stressed Jennifer’s career as a lawyer a great deal, as well, like the time she went on trial for messing with time too much…
When it comes to the jury…
Charles Soule also had a good run where he placed an even greater stress on Jennifer’s legal acumen.
17. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) – 1055 points (13 first place votes)
Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan. She was a supporting character in the original Kree Captain Marvel’s comic for quite awhile, until Carol was exposed to a Kree device that basically made her like the Kree, so she was, essentially, a female version of Captain Marvel. She took the name Ms. Marvel.
Carol soon got her own series (soon, as in, right away), which lasted for a couple of years. Towards the end of her series, she joined the Avengers. However, in a controversial story, Carol was brainwashed by some time-traveling guy to fall in love with him so that she could give birth to him (as he did not have a body on our Earth). The two then left together all happy.
Chris Claremont, the writer of the Ms. Marvel series, took issue with this, and in an Avengers Annual, brought Carol back and pointed out how angry she was at the Avengers for taking her situation as genuine. In the same story, Carol was stripped of her powers and her personality, really, by the mutant Rogue.
Eventually, in the pages of X-Men (who Carol had been recuperating with), she gained NEW cosmic powers and a new name, Binary.
She stayed in outer space for some time, but returned to Earth, mostly stripped of her Binary powers, but re-joined the Avengers as Warbird.
She later joined the New Avengers as Ms. Marvel. She got another ongoing series (this one lasted a lot longer than her first one in the 1970s) and then eventually got another ongoing, this time she finally took over the Captain Marvel mantle…
16. Nightcrawler – 1061 points (18 first place votes)
Kurt Wagner, created by Dave Cockrum and Len Wein (mostly Cockrum), was a member of the All-New, All-Different X-Men.
Kurt was interesting because while he LOOKED like a demon( his teleporting powers even SMELLD like brimstone when he teleported), he was really a jocular guy who was quite religious.
He was basically Errol Flynn, if Flynn looked like a monster. He even gets the ladies like Flynn, but he left the other Flynn predilection for younger women to his teammate, Colossus.
After serving with the X-Men for many years, Kurt was injured in battle, along with Kitty Pryde. While the two recuperated, the X-Men were feared dead.
The two helped form a new team in England to carry on, calling themselves Excalibur. Here, Kurt came into his own, becoming the leader of the team. When the group disbanded, he went back to the X-Men, eventually even leading his own squad of the team. Here, writer Joe Casey has Kurt give a compelling argument to Chamber to join the team…
Kurt eventually sacrificed his life to protect the first new mutant born since Scarlet Witch said “No More Mutants.” Hope turned out to be the reason mutants began to exist on Earth again, so it was probably a good bet by him.
Eventually, the X-Men rescued him from death itself and he rejoined the team, where he has been ever since. He even got another ongoing series after his death, as he became a teacher at the school…
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