Every decade, countless comic book characters are created. But not all characters are created equal. Some experience brief existences purely in service of the plot. Others are created with the express intent of making waves in their universe, hoping to establish themselves as long-term forces and recognizable names. That’s easier said than done. The fact of the matter is that most characters never fulfill their potential and are quickly forgotten by fans and creators alike.
The ’00s offered plenty of characters that succeeded in establishing themselves as major names within years of their debut. We’re thinking of characters like Sentry — who was created at the beginning of the ’00s and who went on to figure into several of the biggest Marvel events of the decade — and X-23, a Wolverine clone that’s already been featured in a hugely popular movie. However, most of the characters introduced last decade flopped for one reason or another. Whether it’s because the creators opted to kill the character off before they ever had a chance or because they never got the one big story that would elevate them to A-status, most characters don’t make it to the big leagues. Here are 25 characters from the ’00s that should’ve been the next big thing, but failed.
Gravity was one of the young and ambitious new heroes who leaped into the Marvel Universe during the last decade. Created by writer Sean McKeever and artist Mike Norton, Gravity made his debut in 2005’s Gravity #1. As his name indicates, Gravity’s primary power is to manipulate gravity — an ability that Gravity acquired after being sucked through a small black hole. Gravity’s early adventures were reminiscent of those of a young Peter Parker. He juggled the difficulties of being an inexperienced superhero with his duties as a college student. During the events of the Beyond miniseries, Gravity was whisked away to Battleworld along with other heroes. The group came into conflict with a cosmic entity known as the Stranger, and in the climax, Gravity sacrificed himself in order to save the others. The young hero was resurrected shortly after though and joined the new team of heroes called the Young Allies.
Like many new and young Marvel characters, Gravity was introduced with the hopes of establishing himself as a serious presence in the Marvel universe. But, like so many others, he’s only become decreasingly popular since his debut mini-series. The fact that Marvel decided to kill him off so early on hints that the company had given up on him ever becoming a fan-favorite.
Morlun helped to usher in a dark and strange new era in the Spider-Man mythos. The villain first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #30, created by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist John Romita Jr. Morlun and the changes he brought to the Spider-Man mythos are complicated, to say the least. To put it simply, he’s a vampiric type of creature that feeds off Spider-Totems, which Peter Parker is one of. He exhibits incredible strength and speed and appears to be immortal. Any time he shows up, you can bet that Spider-Man will be in for a beating. In fact, during “The Other” crossover, Morlun literally beats Spider-Man to death. Thankfully, after death, Parker entered into a cocoon state and metamorphosed into a refreshed body with new powers. But that’s a story for another time.
Whenever Morlun showed up, it was a big deal. He seemed to be on par with top Spidey villains before him like Green Goblin and Carnage. The problem was that he just brought way too much baggage with him. His backstory and the way that he related to and changed the Spider-Man mythos alienated many fans. While Dan Slott did give him his due during “Spider-Verse”, we can’t see him figuring into too many Spider-Man stories in years to come.
23. GREAT WHITE SHARK
Batman has one of the most fascinating rogues’ galleries in all of comics. Naturally, when a creator gets a chance to create a new Batman baddie, they’re looking to hit it out of the park. But Great White Shark was no home run. Warren White, aka Great White Shark, made his debut in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #1, written by Dan Slott and drawn by Ryan Sook. White was originally a loan shark that got out of a prison sentence by pleading insanity. Big mistake. He landed in Arkham Asylum where he was brutalized by Jane Doe. White was left deformed, and, after being imprisoned in a refrigeration unit, was left without a nose or lips. Thus, he became Great White Shark.
Since his introduction, Great White hasn’t done all that much. When shown, he’s usually in Arkham Asylum, using his business connections to make himself as comfortable as he can be in a living hell. Great White did the most he’s done during the “Face the Face” story arc, where he tries to frame Harvey Dent for the deaths of Penguin’s criminal partners. All in all, he hasn’t done nearly enough to establish himself as a memorable Batman villain. We wonder if he’ll ever make it to the A-list.
During the ’00s, the X-Men’s long-time training room known as the Danger Room became conscious and gave birth to the character named Danger. Danger, who had taken a female form, first appeared in Astonishing X-Men (Vol.3) #9, created by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday. It turned out that Professor X had long known about the consciousness of the Danger Room, but had chosen to ignore it and hide his discovery from the X-Men. Eventually, the Danger Room was able to overcome its programming and seek vengeance upon Xavier and the X-Men. It took the form of Danger and attempted to destroy the X-Men on several occasions, although she was primarily concerned with Xavier. Later, Xavier would make amends with Danger by helping to provide her with more control over her nascent consciousness. Since then she’s often fought alongside the X-Men and has recently joined the new X-Factor.
When Danger first broke onto the scene, it looked as if she could become a major X-Men villain. But it didn’t turn out anything like that. Danger was quickly dealt with in her first conflict with the X-Men, and her later attacks on the mutants weren’t much more successful. As a hero, she hasn’t been too big either.
At the dawn of the 21st century, Imperiex-Prime was the major villain in Superman comics. Created by Jeph Loeb and Ian Churchill, Imperiex made his debut in Superman (Vol. 2) #153, as an insanely powerful cosmic entity that was hellbent on recreating the universe. In order to do so, Imperiex had to destroy the current one and initiate a new Big Bang. Earth was the planet that held the entire universe together (go figure), which brought Imperiex into conflict with Superman and crew. Among Imperiex’s feats of power during the story was him destroying Topeka, Kansas, vaporizing Doomsday, and killed off Guy Gardner, Steel, and Aquaman. The Justice League had to pull out all of the stops to defeat Imperiex. Finally, Superman was able to do so by using a Boom Tube to transport Imperiex’s consciousness back to the Big Bang.
Imperiex was a huge deal while he lasted. But he only lasted for about a year and a half, hence his placement on this list. Despite how crazy powerful Imperiex was, he hasn’t shown up since, suggesting that he may just be a one-and-done villain. Had he come back from his initial defeat, there’d be a high probability that he’d be a villain up with the likes of Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor.
20. STACY X
Stacy X was one of the edgy new mutants to join the X-Men at the start of the century. And like so many other mutants before her, she just wouldn’t stick. Stacy X was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #399, created by writer Joe Casey and artist Tom Raney. Stacy X was living bad before becoming an X-Men. Her mutant power is pheromone control, which allows her to stimulate certain bodily reactions with others, such as vomiting, whenever skin contact is made. Her stint with the X-Men was brief — which may or may not have to do with her incessantly trying to seduce her teammates. After losing her powers on M-day, she joined the New Warriors, fighting in a suit armed with steel tentacles.
In retrospect, it’s no wonder Stacy X never caught on. Although she was clearly intended to be an edgy new addition to the X-Men, she came off as more of a cartoonishly over-exploited character. Stacy X is one reason that M-Day — the event that took the powers of most of the mutant population — was a blessing. Not only did it simplify the X-Men universe, which was growing in an out of control manner, but it was a great plot device to get rid of the more ridiculous characters like Stacy X.
19. TALLY MAN (II)
After the first Tally Man disappeared without a trace, a new villain going by the name popped up during Batman’s “Face the Face” story arc. The second Tally Man made his debut in Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #818, written by James Robinson and drawn by Leonard Kirk. During the story, which takes place after the One Year Later time jump, Tally Man is hired by Great White Shark to take out allies of Penguin and frame Harvey Dent for the murders. Tally Man disposes of some big name villains, such as the Ventriloquist, Magpie, and KGBeast. Tally Man was eventually subdued by the private detective Jason Bard, who intercepted the hitman when he went after Orca’s husband. Like his predecessor, Tally Man II has disappeared and hasn’t shown up once since his introductory arc.
Why DC hasn’t utilized this hitman again is beyond us. He was intriguing enough in the role he played during “Face the Face”, and we’d loved to see more of him. In that respect, it’s hardly the character’s fault that he never made it big since fans were never shown much of him in the first place. Had he been given more of a shot, we think he could’ve established himself as a unique addition to Batman’s gallery of A-list villains.
Like Danger, Ord is another X-Men villain springing from the pages of Astonishing X-Men who showed promise early on. The horrendous looking villain first appeared in 2004’s Astonishing X-Men #1, written by Joss Whedon and drawn by John Cassaday. Ord comes from the planet Breakworld, which he learned was destined to be destroyed by one of Earth’s mutants. Assuming this mysterious mutant to be among the X-Men’s ranks, Ord comes to Earth and wages war on the heroes. The worst of Ord’s crimes was capturing Colossus and experimenting on him for years, trying to discover a “cure” for the mutant condition. However, Ord ultimately redeems himself. He sacrifices himself to save Colossus from his fellow Breakworldian, Aghanne.
There’s no denying that Ord was a complex and intriguing character while he was alive. His ultimate redemption cemented him as good, albeit, short-term Marvel character. But longevity pays in the world of comics — had Ord survived longer, his popularity could’ve continued to grow. However, writer Joss Whedon had a beginning, middle, and end for the character and stuck with it. That’s fine by us, it just means that Ord will likely be forgotten very soon by most fans if that hasn’t happened already.
17. DOC FRANKENSTEIN
Doc Frankenstein was one of rare non-Marvel or DC properties that showed tremendous promise during the early ’00s. Initially thought up by artists Steve Skroce and Geof Darrow, the pair were able to grab the Wachowskis — who were just coming off of directing The Matrix trilogy — to write the comic. Drawn by Steve Skroce, the first issue of Doc Frankenstein was published by Burlyman Entertainment in 2004. The comic follows the adventures of Frankenstein after Mary Shelley’s novel. Frankenstein earns several doctoral degrees, participates in major historical events, and becomes targeted by fundamentalist groups due to his very liberal perspective. The series was nominated in 2005 for the “Best New Series” Eisner Award. However, in the 14 years since its first issue came out, there’ve been only five other instalments in the Doc Frankenstein series.
The lack of regularity for the series is no doubt to blame for it never living up to potential. With the Wachowskis writing, Skroce drawing, and Frankenstein starring, this series had all the potential to stand out as a memorable independent series. But six issues in the span of 14 years just isn’t going to cut it. At this point, we think it’s safe to assume that the series is as good as dead.
16. SHE-HULK (LYRA)
The Hulk family exploded during the ’00s. In the wake of the “Planet Hulk” story, numerous hulking characters started to pop up, like Red Hulk, Skaar, and Red She-Hulk. This list includes Lyra — the second She-Hulk which is not to be confused with the more popular She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters. Lyra first appeared in Hulk: Raging Thunder #1, written by Jeff Parker and drawn by Mitch Breitweiser. Lyra is the daughter of the Hulk and Thundra from a future alternate version of Earth. She arrives on the main Marvel Universe’s Earth, seeking out the planet’s greatest warrior to father her child. After that fell through, she opted to stay on the planet as its protector. She fought as an agent of A.R.M.O.R. for awhile and then joined the Gamma Corps. She was last seen taking off to Weirdworld with her mother to reconnect.
Going by the name of She-Hulk, big expectations followed Lyra as she explored the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, she fell short of these expectations and was never able to live up to the standards set by the Jennifer Walters She-Hulk. Rather, she seemed like a routine addition to the Hulk family. And like many other Hulk and She-Hulk knockoffs, we doubt she’ll last the test of time.
15. KYLE ABBOT
Kyle Abbot represented another early ’00s attempt at establishing a new major Batman villain that ultimately just didn’t work out. Abbot was introduced in Detective Comics (Vol. 1) #743, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Shawn Martinbrough. Abbot started out as a member of Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Assassins and then moved on to become a bodyguard for Whisper A’Daire. To help him in his job, Abbot injected himself with a serum that transformed him into a werewolf. Later, during the 52 series, Abbot popped up in a new role. Abbot joined the Intergang and began working closely with Bruno Manheim. However, upon learning that Manheim and his crew were planning to destroy Gotham, Abbot helped Nightwing and Rene Montoya to foil Manheim’s plans.
Not every Batman villain can be a winner. Such was the case with Kyle Abbot who most fans have by now forgotten — which is funny because you’d think a guy who could turn into a magical werewolf would have to be memorable. Instead, Abbot hasn’t even earned a proper comic book death and has simply vanished from the DC Universe altogether. And we think the chances of him making a come back are slim to none.
Spider-Man dealt with several new goblins during the ’00s. The biggest — and oddly enough, most forgettable — was Menace, a villain that writers pushed hard during Spidey’s “Brand New Day” era. The goblin was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #549, written by Marc Guggenheim and drawn by Salvador Larroca. Menace stole some of Norman Osborn’s gear and focused on disrupting a campaign for Mayor. Eventually, the identity of Menace was revealed to be Lily Hollister — a new friend of Peter Parker’s and Harry Osborn’s girlfriend. Hollister moved on from Harry and aligned herself with his father, Norman. Her last outing as Menace was when she fought for Green Goblin’s Goblin Nation. Hollister has since taken on a new alias, Queen Cat.
Coming out of the “One More Day” event, Spidey was faced with new friends and new foes. At this time, Menace was built up to be the big bad — but no matter how hard the writers pushed the new goblin, Menace just seemed like little more than a female iteration in the Green Goblin knockoff trend. To be fair, the character did have her moments. At one point she flew a glider into Norman Osborn, reminiscent of how he once died. But as with most other goblins, she was outshined immediately upon the original Green Goblin returning to the fold.
Named after one of the most infamous rulers from history, Nero seemed poised to become the next big DC villain. The supervillain made his debut in Green Lantern (Vol. 3) #132, written by Judd Winick and drawn by Darryl Banks. Nero spent most of his life in a mental asylum before being empowered by the Qwardians to eliminate the Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. With his boundless imagination and Yellow Power Ring, Nero established himself as the archenemy of the youngest Green Lantern. On the few occasions that Nero clashed with Rayner, the bouts were tight, Rayner just nearly overcoming his enemy each time. Nero, however, didn’t make it out of the ’00s alive. In Green Lantern Corps (Vol. 2) #38, he was taken out by the Alpha Lantern Corps in accordance with orders from the Guardians of the Universe.
For a while, Nero was to Kyle Rayner what Sinestro was to Hal Jordan. Of all the characters on this list, Nero probably failed the least. He did become the archnemesis of Kyle Rayner. In a way, it’s not even his fault that he never made it big. Rather, the hero that he opposed was never much liked — and many would argue that Rayner is the least popular of the main Green Lanterns. With that said, we’re still surprised that he was killed off so early. But this is comics, and we have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of him.
12. RED KING
The Red King was the main villain during the “Planet Hulk” story arc. He made his first appearance in Incredible Hulk (Vol. 2) #92, created by writer Greg Pak and artist Carlo Pagulayan. Red King was the son of the Father Emperor of Sakaar — the planet that Hulk was exiled to. Unlike his father, Red King had no morals and cared only about power. As a gladiator on Sakaar, Hulk challenged the Red King, and though he was defeated, he managed to scar the Red King, a feat that won the favor of the public. Hulk continued to prove himself in the gladiatorial games, and eventually led an uprising against the Red King and his government. Hulk and Red King had a rematch, and Red King was quickly overwhelmed. Although Red King survived his conflict with Hulk, he was thought to have perished later when Galactus had come to devour Sakaar.
Red King was a good villain while he lasted, but he never became bigger than the “Planet Hulk” storyline. That is to say, he didn’t follow Hulk back to Earth when Hulk finally left, thus making him more of a one and done threat to the Green Goliath. Had he went after Hulk, he may not have made this list.
11. MISS MARTIAN
The Teen Titans experienced several waves of new team members during the ’00s. Miss Martian was among the new recruits to join the team after the One Year Later time jump. Miss Martian was introduced in Teen Titans (Vol. 3) #37, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Tony S. Daniel. Although the form she usually takes is that of the peaceful Green Martian, like Martian Manhunter, her true form is as a White Martian — the more violent of the two types. However, unlike most members of her species, she’s kind-hearted and peaceful. Miss Martian spent a long time with the team, and helped them out with key missions, including defeating the young villain known as Bombshell, fighting the Titans East, and battling her evil counterpart when the Titans clashed with the Titans of Tomorrow. In a later mission, she took the form of Star-Spangled Kid and infiltrated the Dark Side Club.
Since the New 52 reboot, Miss Martian has hardly been in the DC Universe at all. There have already been several new iterations of the Teen Titans since the reboot and Miss Martian hasn’t figured into any of them. It looks like Miss Martian will join the long list of forgettable Titans, unable to join the ranks of Starfire, Beast Boy, and company.
10. CAPTAIN BOOMERANG (II)
After his father, the original Captain Boomerang, died at the hands of Jack Drake (Tim Drake’s dad), Owen Mercer took up his father’s mantle. Mercer made his debut in Identity Crisis #3, written by Brad Meltzer and drawn by Rags Morales. As Captain Boomerang, Mercer bounced around a bit. He started out with a stint with the Rogues Gallery before choosing the path of the hero and joining the Suicide Squad, and then Nightwing’s crew of Outsiders. As a member of the Outsiders, when he wasn’t helping the team against Cassandra Cain or Checkmate, Captain Boomerang was pursuing a relationship with Supergirl — to no avail.
During the events of “Blackest Night”, Mercer’s father made his return as a zombie. Mercer went to extreme lengths to try to bring his father back to life. His desperation caused him to break the Rogues’ code of honor. Captain Cold shoved Mercer into a pit with his zombified father, and the second Captain Boomerang met his end. Mercer would stay dead, but his father would return to life during the “Brightest Day” era. Mercer could never live up to the legacy of Captain Boomerang. His father was a legendary Flash villain, but Mercer ended up being little more than a placeholder until the original Captain Boomerang made his inevitable return.
X-Statix was a new team of mutants to burst onto the scene at the start of the century. Created by writer Peter Milligan and artist Mike Allred, the new team made their first appearance in X-Force (Vol. 1) #116 before getting their own title. In the wake of the apparent demise of the X-Force, X-Statix arose as a government-backed team, managed by a devious mutant known as Coach. X-Statix was a disaster from the start. Most of their first members died on early missions, which turned out to have been organized by Coach in a ploy to get the team more publicity. They also fought over the name ‘X-Force’ with the original X-Force once they’d resurfaced and battled a terrorist group called the Brotherhood. Tragically, after calling it quits, the team was ambushed by mysterious gunmen who appeared to take out the entire group of mutants.
X-Statix represented a departure from the usual group of mutants. They were absurd, often terrible at their job, and surrounded by extremely immoral leaders. They were an interesting experiment while they lasted, but, beyond a small cult following, they were never able to make it big in the Marvel Universe. And that’s probably for the best.
8. VULTURE (II)
One of the new Spider-Man villains to come out of “Brand New Day” was a new Vulture. James Natale, a fixer for the mob, made his debut as the red Vulture in Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #592, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Mike McKone. After being forced into transforming into a vulture-human hybrid, Natale turned on his employers. As the Vulture, he was cannibalistic and had the ability to spit acid. After hunting down his former crime bosses, Vulture was hired by the Exchange to take down the Punisher. Punisher gained the upper hand, and the Vulture abruptly met his end in Punisher (Vol. 9) #3.
You’d think the new Vulture would’ve replaced the old one. His predecessor is, after all, a senior citizen in bright green feathers — and it’s hard to ever take him too seriously. The new Vulture seemed to have every advantage. He was younger, could spit acid, and had interesting dietary habits. And he was certainly scarier. Unfortunately, he had no real personality. His role as a flat monster of the week character prevented him from ever intriguing readers, despite appearing to have all the potential in the world. Instead, he lasted a little over two years and Spider-Man is still duking it out with the elderly Vulture.
Just by the looks of him, you can tell that DC meant business when they created Equus. His debut story was told in Superman (Vol. 2) #206, created by the superstar team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Jim Lee. Equus clashes with Superman during the year-long “For Tomorrow” storyline, which follows Superman as he tries to discover where — and how — millions of people have vanished. Equus is introduced as cybernetically enhanced monster and a prototype for the OMAC project. In the event’s conclusion, Equus joins General Zod, who is revealed to be behind the vanishing of the population. Equus appears again during the Countdown series, where he battles the heroes Karate Kid and Una. He was last seen during a Cyborg miniseries, fighting the Titans.
Equus certainly had the look — the creative team behind him — to become a major force to be reckoned with in the Superman mythos. But after the “For Tomorrow” storyline, Equus never evolved into anything more than a personality-less monster. And Superman already has plenty of those in his rogues’ gallery. Without any serious character potential for him, it’s no wonder DC never uses him — he looks extremely time-consuming to draw. This is one villain we doubt we’ll ever see again.
Just to let fans know that the X-Men were still young and hip, Marvel released an ongoing series entitled X-Treme X-Men in the early ’00s. One such X-treme mutant was Davis Cameron, aka Slipstream, who debuted in X-Treme X-Men #6, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Salvador Larroca. Slipstream traveled on a hoverboard and had the power to create portals called Warp Waves that allowed him to transport to anywhere on the planet. He and his sister Heather were recruited by the X-Men to help them against an alien invader named Shaitan. Unfortunately, Slipstream turned out to be kind of a jerk. Heather went through a transformation that altered her appearance and indicated alien heritage. Unable to bear his sister’s new appearance, Slipstream fled the team. Slipstream was one of the mutants to lose his powers on M-Day.
We can’t say we’re too surprised that Slipstream didn’t work out. His powers were derivative – -there are already plenty of teleporting characters in the X-Men mythos, namely Nightcrawler — and his backstory wasn’t very intriguing. Still, it looked like Marvel wanted to make the X-Treme X-Men and their members stick. But it just wasn’t to be. Ultimately, Slipstream turned out to be one of the mutants we were glad was depowered.
Livewire started out as an original character for Superman: The Animated Series. Seeing her success in the show, writer Gail Simone and artist John Byrne introduced her to the comics in Action Comics (Vol. 1) #835. After being struck by a huge bolt of lightning, former shock jock Leslie Willis took to a life of crime as the criminal Livewire. In one of her first major attacks on Metropolis, she was thwarted by the combined might of Superman, Flash, and Flash’s twin children. Eventually, Livewire’s power grew out of control. She needed a way to control the huge amounts of electricity she was absorbing. Superman gave her a containment suit that he’d used before, cooling off Livewire’s resentment for the man of steel. She reformed, but the New 52 reboot returned her to her own ways. Now she primarily squares off against Batgirl.
While Livewire did succeed in cutting out a long-term place in Superman’s rogues’ gallery, she never made it big. Compared to Harley Quinn, another villain to first appear in a cartoon before making the jump to comics, she isn’t nearly as big. However, we have our fingers crossed that she’ll work her way into being a more formidable foe for Superman and crew in the future.
Darwin was yet another new X-Men to be introduced last decade who showed potential early on but ultimately fell flat. Armando Munoz made his debut in the second issue of the X-Men: Deadly Genesis miniseries, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Trevor Hairsine. Munoz goes by the codename Darwin because of his mutant power to adapt to any conditions he’s placed in. In the miniseries of his debut, it’s revealed that Darwin was on a squad of mutants, along with Vulcan, that was sent to retrieve the X-Men from Krakoa back in the ’70s. Their rescue mission went horribly wrong and only Vulcan and Darwin survived. During the events of X-Men: Deadly Genesis, Darwin is recruited by Xavier to help the team against Darwin’s old friend, Vulcan. Since then, Darwin has helped out the X-Men on a number of occasions and even joined X-Factor for a period.
Despite being featured in X-Men: First Class, Darwin never took off in the comics. We aren’t sure why. In a world with a ton of ridiculous and impractical mutant powers, Darwin’s superpower is intriguing and about as practical as it gets. Hopefully, he gets another shot on the main roster soon because we think he’s got a lot of untapped potential.
3. THE YOUNG AVENGERS
Fans can’t help but have high expectations for a team called the ‘Young Avengers’. At the very least, it implies that this group of young characters will grow into Avengers-tier heroes. The team made their debut in 2005’s Young Avengers #1, written by Allan Heinberg and drawn by Jim Cheung. By now the team has gone through quite a lot of members, but for many years their core group consisted of Patriot, Hulkling, Iron Lad, Wiccan, Speed, Stature, and Hawkeye (Katherine Bishop). The team was originally brought together by Iron Lad to defeat Kang the Conqueror since the Avengers had recently disbanded. They stuck around after that and were involved in various events, including “Civil War”, “Secret Invasion”, and “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”.
While the Young Avengers have managed to cut out their own place in the Marvel Universe, they haven’t exploded. Furthermore, most of the members of the Young Avengers have failed to graduate to the big leagues — and instead are outshined by other young heroes like Nova, Miles Morales’ Spider-Man, and Squirrel Girl. Plus, compared to their DC analog, the Teen Titans — which, let’s be fair, is what Marvel was going for with this team — they aren’t much. But we haven’t given up on them yet.
2. MANCHESTER BLACK
Originally an ultra-violent anti-hero, Manchester Black evolved into a full-on supervillain as the early 2000s went on. Black and the team that he led, the Elites, were introduced in Action Comics (Vol. 1) #775, written by Joe Kelly and drawn by Doug Mahnke. The Elites had gathered a huge following due to their exploits being captured by the media. Superman sought to teach the group of brutal anti-heroes a lesson. He tricked Black into thinking that he’d killed the other members of The Elite, at which point Black begged for his life — asking for mercy that he’d never shown the criminals that he’d disposed of. Black later sought revenge on the Man of Steel by mind-controlling an army of supervillains and sending them after Superman. Black then created an illusion that he’d taken Lois Lane’s life. But, rather than Superman becoming enraged enough to finally kill a man, he shows Black mercy. Shocked by Superman’s inner strength, Black gives up and orders the supervillains to take his own life. About a decade later, Black was resurrected after the New 52 reboot.
At the end of the ’00s, two superstar creators came together to make a brand new independent property. Published by Image, Haunt #1 came out in 2009, created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist/writer Todd McFarlane. Covers were done by McFarlane while the artwork for most of the series was done by Ryan Ottley. The protagonist had similar visuals to other characters that McFarlane had designed, such as Venom and Spawn. Haunt starred a priest named Daniel Kilgore who merged with his deceased special agent brother in order to become the entity known as Haunt — a ghostlike superhero with the ability to project ectoplasm.
The project was announced two years before the first issue came out, allowing plenty of time for hype to build. However, when it finally did hit shelves, critics panned the series. The characters lacked depth, took themselves too seriously, and the book seemed to indulge in excessive displays of violence. The series concluded a couple of years after it first came out, tallying only 26 issues in total. The comic was definitely a disappointment; fans expected more from the writer of Invincible and The Walking Dead, and with top artists like Greg Capullo and Ryan Ottley on board, the series should’ve been a hit.
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