Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with the contemporaries of the 1993 Marvel Annuals, the 1993 DC Annuals, which created new characters for their Bloodlines crossover (aliens were attacking humans, and every once in awhile would awaken powers in the human rather than kill him/her).
For whatever reason, the Bloodlines characters ended up being a lot better than the characters created for Marvel’s Annuals, so the top five will be a lot tougher to determine…
Here are the top five…
Gunfiire and Anima
Anima and Gunfire actually each both had their own series, but while I actually enjoyed Gunfire’s series, I did not really like Gunfire (I just liked Len Wein’s stories a lot, but they were just plain ol’ good action stories, they could have EASILY just starred any mercenary and be just as good, like if Deathstroke the Terminator was the star the series would not have skipped a beat) and while Anima was interesting, I think the top five are MORE interesting.
Gerry Jones had a pretty good turn at the Bloodlines annuals, turning out two better than average characters in Lionheart…
and Nightblade (who should not be dead, right? Isn’t his power that he can regenerate? So how was he killed by Superboy Prime?!?!?)
Jeph Loeb’s Hulk riff, Loose Cannon, was clever (and his later mini-series had great art from a young Adam Pollina)
Chuck Dixon had a very good Bloodlines, and his Geist creation was a fun action hero (one of Jim Balent’s best issues, art-wise, from this era of his career).
Created by Doug Moench and Mike Manley, Ballistic was an interesting fellow – a cop on Gotham’s SWAT team who becomes basically a super-mercenary after having his body mutated to giant-sized with a crazy armored shell (and super-strength and super-hearing and vision). The design of the character wasn’t the greatest, but Moench’s characterization of the guy was fun (especially the way he adapted to his new life so easily). And hey, a Korean-American character who doesn’t do martial arts!!!
Created by Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer, Razorsharp was a member of a group of teen hackers and like a few of the characters in the Annuals, her design could have been better (and her power was kinda silly – the ability to turn her arms into big blades), but like all of the other teen characters in the pages of Robin at the time, Dixon did a deft job making them unique and likable.
And yes, her real name was, indeed, Rae Sharpe.
Argus tied directly in with Mark Waid’s classic run on Flash, and like everything else on his run, Argus was well-thought out and well-executed. Phil Hester co-created him and later did the Argus mini-series. Like most of the best Bloodlines characters, the whole “alien powers” angle was not stressed very much at all. Argus had shadow powers, but he was basically just like a Batman-esque fighter.
Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Ed Hannigan came up with D.C. Force, a member of a whole family of metahumans. She always wanted to be one, too, and took the opportunity to gain powers from the Bloodlines aliens. Once she got them, Sparx became one of the real highlights of the crossover, as Kesel used her quite well in his Superboy and the Ravers series. Her wide-eyed innocence was a nice chance of pace in the often-dreary 1990s. In a lot of ways, she was a precursor to Star-Girl.
Created by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, Hitman was the best character to come out of ALL of the 1993 Annuals and was one of DC’s best new characters of the 1990s PERIOD.
Well, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!