Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) kicks off with a look at the best of the mediocre-to-awful characters that were introduced in the 1993 Marvel Annuals. Having each of 28 Marvel Annuals in 1993 introduce a brand-new character was not a particularly great idea, as 1993 was soon after the beginning of Image Comics, so it was not exactly a great time to tell your creators, “Hey, come up with a cool new character for us to exploit!” And as a result, certainly no one was giving Marvel exactly their “A” ideas. So instead we got lots and lots of Ds with a few Cs here and there (maybe even some Bs) and one A (and even then, it was spinning off of an established character).
So here are the top five of these characters!
Created by Jack Harris and Tom Lyle, Annex was Alexander Ellis, a former military man who had lost a leg in combat. Determined to gain a new leg, he ended up experimenting for a special suit that allowed its wearer to “download” material such as a leg, or a gun, etc. from a special “annex” (hence the name). At first, Ellis was controlled by the armor but he ultimately wrested control away and began to use the armor for good. He ended up becoming a member of Avengers Initiative. Annex is one of only two characters from the 1993 Annuals to get his own comic.
4. Adam-X, the X-Treme
Created by Fabian Nicieza and Tony Daniel, Adam-X the X-Treme was originally going to be the long-lost third Summers Brother! Instead, he mostly fell into obscurity, but he recently popped up in the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover last year, so he is remembered by people! His power was the ability to “flash fry” exposed blood, like if he cut you, he could then zap you via your blood. This is why he carried a lot of knives, so he could cut people and then zap them.
Glenn Herdling and Mike Gustovich created the idea of Bloodwraith, using an established character, Sean Dolan (a friend and ally of the Black Knight), as their “guinea pig.” The concept is one so basic and simple that it really works well. The Black Knight gave up his ebony sword because it was cursed. That’s why he used electronic swords while in the Avengers during the early 1990s. Well, if the ebony sword is OUT there, then what if someone ELSE bonded with the sword and became a villain?
It’s a strong concept and it makes for the Black Knight actually having a real nemesis, which was good.
2. The X-Cutioner
Created by Scott Lobdell, the X-Cutioner was a clever idea. Carl Denti was an FBI Agent partnered with Fred Duncan, the FBI contact and friend of Professor Xavier that the X-Men used a lot in the pre-All-New, All-Different X-Men days. After Duncan passed away, Denti discovered that Duncan had been compiling an extensive collection of information about mutants as well as a number of weapons from X-Men villains. Denti was shocked to learn of all the crimes mutants committed that they never were brought to justice for, so he took the weapons and cobbled together an outfit and began calling himself the X-Cutioner. He dedicated himself to bringing his own brand of vigilante justice to any mutant who has failed to be properly punished by the law.
It’s an interesting set-up, and Denti has been used by a number of different writers over the years, both as a villain and as an anti-hero. It’d be interesting to see him pop up again.
This is the big one – the Ron Marz and Ron Lim-created son of Captain Marvel (the Kree one). Kurt Busiek, Peter David and Fabian Nicieza later did a lot with him as he went on to have his own critically acclaimed title by Peter David for a few years.
He’s definitely the cream of the crop for the characters from the 1993 Marvel Annuals.
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!