2011 Top Marvel Characters #20-18

After nearly 1,400 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We're now revealing that list throughout September. Here is the master list of all the characters revealed so far. The countdown continues...

20. Jean Grey – 968 (38 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.

Eventually, Cyclops began to have an affair with Emma Frost. 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 did so.

So Jean is currently dead, but come on, her NAME is the PHOENIX, so you know she'll eventually be back!

19. Kitty Pryde – 970 (18 first place votes)

Kitty Pryde was created by John Byrne and Chris Claremont, and she first appeared right at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga. She was a new student at the X-Men, and since she was much younger than the rest, she worked as a POV character for the readers.

Kitty was a nice, bright Jewish girl from Chicago who had the ability to phase through objects. She was quite down-to-Earth, and soon became a fan favorite.

Kitty began a relationship with her teammate, Colossus, which ended it heartbreak for Kitty. After serving with the X-Men for a number of years (and bonding with almost all her teammates, most notably with basically her surrogate mother, Storm, and her surrogate father, Wolverine – who trained her in the ways of the samurai), even finally getting a cool name – Shadowcat – Kitty was injured during a battle, and was separated from the rest of the X-Men.

During this time, the X-Men were believed dead – leaving Kitty to start a new group in England, along with her fellow wounded X-Man, Nightcrawler. The two helped found Excalibur, where Kitty stayed as a member for the next number of years (in fact, correct me if I’m off here, but I believe Kitty actually was a member of Excalibur longer than she was originally with the X-Men. Is that right? It’s like, 1980-88 for X-Men, and 88-98 for Excalibur, right?), even forming her next major romantic relationship with Peter Wisdom, a gritty English operative.

The two split, and so did Excalibur, leading Kitty back to the X-Men. After the apparent death of Colossus, Kitty took some time off, but was brought back to the X-men by Cyclops, and she was reunited with the not-so-dead-after-all Colossus. However, their reunion was brief before Kitty sacrificed herself to stop a magic bullet from destroying the Earth. Kitty phased with the bullet to make it pass through the Earth. The problem was that Kitty was pretty much stuck on said bullet. Eventually, Magneto brought her back to Earth, but she had remained phased for so long that she could not return to her flesh form!!! Through a rather bloody encounter with the same aliens who got her stuck in the bullet in the first place, Kitty returned to normal! She apparently will be one of the X-Men who will go with Wolverine when the X-teams split next month.

18. The Punisher (Frank Castle) – 995 (17 first place votes)

Created by Gerry Conway and artists John Romita and Ross Andru, Frank Castle was a police officer with a lovely wife and great kids who saw his life torn about one sunny day, when, at the park, his family was caught in a mob gun battle, leaving Castle a widower with no children.

He basically snapped, and thereby began a one-man war on crime as the Punisher.

Unlike other heroes, Castle killed – and he killed a LOT.

And that’s basically what he’s been doing ever since, and yet we have had a number of remarkable comic book series based on such a seemingly straightforward characters. Garth Ennis wrote years worth of brilliant Punisher comic books, a tradition that Jason Aaron has picked up full force with Punisher MAX. Similarly, Greg Rucka is in the midst of a compelling Punisher series that frames the Punisher as a sort of almost force of nature (with the police characters in the book being forced to react to the results of the Punisher's war on crime).

Check back tomorrow for DC's #17-15!!

DCeased Writer Teases Horror-Fueled DC Sequel #Unkillables

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