A key part of being a comic book superhero is having a kick-ass superhero name. In addition to capes and costumes, names are a mainstay of the genre. In many ways a name makes a hero. Characters like Black Widow, Batman, Daredevil, Professor X and Superman all have instantly memorable names that are as iconic as they are intimidating and awe-inspiring.
Unfortunately, not all superhero names are as deserving of our adoration. Indeed, the freedom and wackiness of superhero universes have also given us some truly terrible heroes with even worse names! Join us as CBR brings you the A-List of the Z-list when it comes to truly terrible superhero names.
Unlike the character, who retains her youthful appearance due to being a vampire, the name Looker has not aged well. This DC Comics character first appeared in issue 25 of “Batman and the Outsiders” as a mild mannered bank employee, Emily Briggs. In what can only be described as a poorly thought out take on the “Ugly Duckling” story, Emily was an average looking desk jockey who longed to be beautiful. Her dreams became a reality when she was exposed to a fragment of Halley’s comet that gifted her with an array of superpowers as well as superhuman beauty — hence the oh-so subtle name.
Not only is Looker’s name shallow, it also tells us little about her many powers and is not at all intimidating. Instead of hinting at her array of psychic powers — not to mention the various powers she would later get from being turned into a vampire — all Looker’s name tells us about the character is that she is attractive. Surely this gifted superhero deserves better!
14. GOOD BOY
Who’s a Good Boy? Well, not this hero. In actuality Good Boy — aka, Goodness “Good” Silva — is a young girl who can transform into a werewolf-like being. Her superhero name — well if, you can call it that — is of course, the phrase you utter to a well-behaved pooch. One of the more recent characters to make the list, Good Boy first appeared in the 2016 “Great Lakes Avengers” and was created by writer Zac Goreman and artist Will Robson. Unlike a lot of the other superheroes with unfortunate names, Good Boy’s name is deliberately played for laughs.
A reluctant hero, Good Boy is roped into the “Great Lakes Avengers” to avoid ending up in jail. Although she might look harmless enough in her human form, Goodness is capable of great violence in her wolf form and is not to be trifled with. Who would have thought that a character with a name like Good Boy would turn out to have such a bad streak?
13. BIG BERTHA
When it comes to sub-par superheroes with even worse names, the Great Lakes Avenger’s really is a one stop shop. There is a reason why they are the butt of many jokes among comic fans! Making number 13 is the off-brand team’s largest member — and least flatteringly named — member, Big Bertha. Although she is most often depicted in her larger than life form, Big Bertha is actually a famous model. This is due to her superhuman ability to control the fat in her body — allowing her to bulk up or slim down with ease.
This ability allows her to be a successful model as well as a powerful fighter and hero. When she takes on extra body fat, Big Bertha is capable of great feats of strength, can jump great distances and is also impervious to projectiles like bullets. Although the character is very much a known entity in the Marvel Universe, little is known about Big Bertha before she joined the Great Lakes Avengers.
The name of this next superhero leaves little to the imagination. Yep, you guessed it: his arms fall off. What the name doesn’t giveaway is that Arm-Fall-Off-Boy can also detach his legs from his body. How’s that for a twist! If you think this all sounds awfully lame and not at all useful, then you are not alone; so did the “Legion of Superheroes.”
When we first meet Arm-Fall-Off-Boy in “Secret Origins” back in 1989, he is trying out to become a member of the Legion but is promptly rejected. The DC Universe followed suit and also rejected Arm-Fall-Off-Boy — well, kind of. The original version of Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was erased from DC Continuity by the “Zero Hour” cross-over event and is no longer considered cannon. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy briefly returned in “Legionnaires” #43 a few years later, under the much cooler name “Splitter” — but the flashy new name wasn’t enough and he was rejected from the Legion of Superheroes yet again!
11. THOR GIRL
Sure, her name may be as awkward as it is lame, but there is more to Thor Girl than the name suggests. Tarene — who would later become Thor Girl — adopted her name after the God of Thunder help her save her home world from the mad titan himself, Thanos. In awe of Thor’s heroic deeds, Tarene not only took on Thor’s name, she took on his Nordic aesthetic and came to fight by his side.
A self-styled Norse goddess, Thor girl is the cosmic being known as “The Designate,” a powerful being tasked with ushering sentient life into the next phase of evolution. With this in mind, Tarene’s adopted moniker of Thor Girl is not only lame, it doesn’t do her task or powers justice. Surely the Designate is a far more fearsome name then Thor Girl, though admittedly, perhaps less clearly defined? If nothing else, we can at least be thankful that the name Thor Girl is better than Thoretta!
10. SQUIRREL GIRL
Before Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s run on “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” catapulted her into stardom, Doreen Green — the civilian alter-ego of Squirrel Girl — was a mainstay of Marvel’s Z-list. And yes, before you ask, she was a member of the Great Lakes Avengers! Although she is currently enjoying a golden age thanks to North and Henderson’s valiant efforts, things haven’t always been so good for this bushy tailed crime-fighter.
We are, after all, talking about a character who boasts powers based on nature’s most humble creature — the squirrel. Seriously, how can a name like Squrriel Girl (rhyme notwithstanding) stand toe-to-toe with undeniably cool names like Captain Marvel, War Machine or the Incredible Hulk? As well as the proportional speed and strength of a squirrel, Doreen boasts a large tale and is able to command tiny tree dwellers to do her bidding. She’s like Aquaman, except on land… and exclusively for squirrels.
Like the Great Lakes Avengers, the Marvel Universes’ premier Canadian superhero team — “Alpha Flight” — have their fair share of lacklustre superhero names. Right near the top of that list is the terribly named “Puck.” No need to think too hard, Puck is (according to John Byrne) named after exactly what you think: the humble ice-hockey puck! Like his namesake, Puck is small and tough. Although the character initially possessed no superhuman powers, he later gained increased density thanks to his fellow Alpha flight teammate Sasquatch.
Sasquatch bestowed the rubber-like abilities onto Puck with some weird science equipment after the Master meddled with Puck’s DNA, turning him into a formless mass of flesh. Before he turned his attention to the world of super heroics, Puck was a soldier of fortune and a swashbuckling adventure known as Eugene Milton Judd. Sure, his new name may not be fear-inducing but at least it pays homage to Canada’s favorite sport!
8. MONKEY JOE
Don’t let the name fool you, Monkey Joe is not a monkey; he is a squirrel. Just a normal, regular old squirrel with no special powers whatsoever. However, ol’ Monkey Joe didn’t let that stop him from being part of the lacklustre superhero team — you guessed it — the Great Lakes Avengers. Although he is most closely associated with his pal Squirrel Girl — who was also a member of the GLA — Monkey Joe is an important character in his own right.
Not only did Monkey Joe form a part of the fateful squirrel horde Squirrel Girl unleashed on Dr Doom, he also helped the aforementioned hero embrace her powers and become a Superhero. Unfortunately, Monkey Joe met his untimely demise at the hands of Leather Boy — a powerless Great Lakes Avenger reject — disguised as Dr. Doom. Although he may be gone, Monkey Joe is certainly not forgotten and lives on in Squirrel Girl’s heroism.
No tricks here, Manbot is exactly what you expected; he is a human robot hybrid. What the name Manbot lacks in creativity it makes up for in straightforwardness. Before he became a member of Alpha Flight, the bright red cyborg was the man known as Bernie Lachenay. That all changed the day Bernie was fused with a large two-legged robot. In his current robotic form not much of Bernie remains. That is to say, he is more of a “Botman” than a Manbot!
Unfortunately for Bernie — who no longer possess a sense of humor — Manbot’s oddly designed robot body is hilarious to look at. Even the most avid Alpha Flight fan has to concede that Manbot’s design is at best awkward and at worst absolutely ridiculous. His two huge, clunky legs and circular body mean the cyborg more closely resembles a giant crimson chicken than a fearsome killer robot. More like “Manbok,” right? Anyone?
6. 3D MAN
As well as being woefully underwhelming, the name 3D Man is also somewhat inaccurate. 3D Man is actually two people: brothers Charles and Hal Chandler. Before becoming 3D Man, Chuck was a test pilot for NASA who was abducted by the alien race known as the Skrulls. Keen to learn strategic information about earth to gain an upper-hand against the Kree, the Skrulls interrogated Chuck. Although Chuck managed to escape, he became vaporized in the process, and two images of him were burned onto his brother’s glasses.
By concentrating hard, Hal is able to fuse these two images together to summon his brother as the mighty 3D Man! While 3D Man is around, Hal remains in a coma but is able to be aware of what his brother is doing through a physic link. As 3D Man, Chuck has the strength, speed and reflexes equal to that of three people in peak physical condition.
5. MAJOR MAPLE LEAF
Major Maple Leaf is the name of not one, but two superheroes that inhabit the Marvel Universe. Louis Sadler and his oldest son, Louis “Lou” Sadler Jr., both bore this ridiculous superhero title. In case the oh-so-subtle name didn’t give it away, both versions of Major Maple Leaf are proud Canadians. Clearly the house of ideas was out of ideas when they came up with this terrible, terrible superhero name!
Louis Sadler, the original Major Maple Leaf, was a Canadian war hero who fought for his country in World War II, as well as occasionally fighting alongside the Invaders. Like Captain America, Louis was given superhuman powers — although exactly how he got them is never truly revealed — and does not age normally. His son Lou took on the mantle out of respect for his father, although unlike his father he has no superpowers. Instead, he rides Thunder — a super-powered horse gifted with flight, super strength and invulnerability.
4. MATTER-EATER LAD
What name do you give a superhero with the ability to consume just about anything? Well, if you’re DC Comics that answer is, unfortunately, Matter-Eater Lad. That’s right, instead of being named something cool like “Iron Gut,” “Digesto” or “Power-Jaw, ” Tenzil Kem got stuck with the name Matter-Eater Lad. No pun intended, but even for a hero capable of eating anything, that name must be… hard to swallow.
Tenzil comes from the appropriately-named planet Bismoll (get it? Pepto?) and like the other beings from his planet, he can eat just about anything. As well as super-human feats of digestion, Matter-Eater Lad also has superhuman taste buds capable of analyzing the compositions of various foods. Sure, Matter-Eater Lad’s name may be functional, but would it be too much to ask to drop the “Lad?” It may not be perfect but at least “Matter-Eater Man” would be more respectable. Seriously, how much matter must a lad eat before you can call him a man?
3. NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
Negasonic Teenage Warhead doesn’t slide off the tongue, but it certainly makes for a memorable name. Originally created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely during their time on “New X-Men,” Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a mutant with a wide range of physic and telepathic abilities. Although a relatively obscure comic book character, Negasonic Teenage Warhead has risen to fame through her inclusion in 2016’s “Deadpool.”
In the film, Negasonic Teenage Warhead is portrayed as a new recruit to the X-Men and is under the care of veteran X-man Colossus. Unlike the comic book version of the character, Negasonic’s big screen version’s powers revolve around blowing stuff up and strongly resemble the powers of fellow X-man Cannonball. However, one thing they didn’t change was the character’s name, which remains as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Whether Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s name is a terrible, wordy mess or a victory of comic book wackiness depends on who you you ask. Regardless, the character is all set to appear in “Deadpool 2!”
2. FRUIT BOY
What is there to say about Fruit Boy that the name doesn’t already give away? He is a boy and he has fruit-based powers. Got it? It is as simple as that. So, what are these fruit powers exactly? Well he can ripen fruit fast. Yep, that’s right; Fruit Boy’s only power is making fruit ready to eat!
This insanely lame hero made his brief debut in DC Comics “Legion of Superheroes” back in 2005. When we first meet Fruit Boy, he is a new recruit to the Legion, hoping to become a fully fledged member of the team. Not surprisingly, the team rejects Fruit Boy based on the fact, that apart from a fruit salad based emergency, his powers are essentially useless! Not one to give up, Fruit Boy managed to find himself a place on a superhero team as a member of the United Planet’s Young Heroes. This team eventually met a catastrophic end — a fairly predictable turn of events given the team’s low standard of recruits!
1. THE WHIZZER
Coming in at the top spot, it is the speedster whose name you can’t say with a straight face! We are of course talking about The Whizzer. Seriously, you would be hard-pressed to find a superhero with a more unfortunate name. The Whizzer made his first appearance in 1941 in the first issue of “USA Comics.”
Before he became a superhero, The Whizzer went by the name of Robert Frank. While on a trip to Africa, Robert was bitten by a cobra but was saved by a blood transfusion with a mongoose. That’s right, mongoose blood. As well as saving Frank’s life, the blood from the small mammal gave him speed of superhuman proportions. With his newly acquired super speed, Frank became a crime fighter and for some reason decided to call himself Whizzer. We can only assume every other superhero name was taken.
Which unfortunately-named superhero is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!