The problems superheroes find themselves up against are unimaginable. Be it on a galactic or small-town scale, when things get tough, heroes look to their leaders. Leadership in comics comes in many forms. From the official head of a team to an individual trying to be a light in the chaos, the fate of worlds has rested on the shoulders of the comic book characters in power. Even if they have not officially lead a team, their personal traits make them optimal candidates for future missions. Of course, not every character in comics has what it takes to be in charge. This list covers 6 characters with admirable leadership skills and 5 whose methods could use some work.
10 Best: Dick Grayson
Dick Grayson is a true vigilante success story. His passion made him an exemplary Robin, but his ambition and dedication are what makes him a perfect to lead the Teen Titans. Dick Grayson values hard work and backs his teammates in battle with calculated, decisive calls. Thinking a situation through makes a world of difference for heroes, making Grayson is a hero that can be counted on.
9 Best: Professor X
As the founder of a school for mutant youths, Charles Xavier is a rare breed of compassionate and inspirational. He is the heart and soul of his institution. Xavier has a talent for identifying others’ strengths and encouraging the best in them. His fight for equality is tempered by fair judgment. Dozens of teenage mutants have found hope through Professor X, making him a leading force of good in the Marvel universe.
8 Best: Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is not often the head of an established team, but her leadership skills are legendary among the members of the Justice League. Intelligent, honest, and just, Diana fights for the good of the team. She optimizes the outcome of her missions by keeping a clear head, and staying mindful of the well-being of everyone around her. Wonder Woman is willing to put her life on the line for the sake of the group, making her an excellent leader in battle.
7 Best: Storm
Storm became the leader of the X-Men during Cyclops’ leave of absence in the 1980s Clairmont run. She takes her role in stride, rising to the occasion as a powerful role model and ally. Her tumultuous childhood gives her commonality to connect with young mutants. They can trust her leadership because she comes from a place of struggle and adversity, just as many of the X-Men have. When their backs are against a wall, Storm uses her self confidence and hard-earned wisdom to pull her team through.
6 Best: Black Panther
T’Challa is the king of Wakanda, a technologically affluent African nation. This detail alone imposes just how vital his leadership skills are. As a king and vigilante, Black Panther protects his people with a true understanding of the burden of power. He is willing to make the tough calls, runs headlong into battle, and doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice his own safety for the good of Wakanda. T’Challa takes care not to become jaded by power. When his people are threatened, Black Panther is ready and willing to lead the charge.
5 Best: Jim Gordon
The police commissioner of the Gotham PD has a lot on his plate. Psychotic villains, organized crime, and unruly vigilantes are all in a day’s work for Jim Gordon. What makes him a stand out leader is his ability to weather the insanity of Gotham with an unshakable moral code. He has an incorruptible concern for the safety of Gotham. His concern even pushes him to bend the rules through his partnership with Batman. Jim Gordon is able to see the big picture, a trait that is sadly rare in the city he protects.
4 Worst: Ozymandias
Adrian Veidt never really got a chance to lead a team of superheroes, which is extremely lucky for everyone else in the world of Watchmen. The “smartest man on the planet” is a calculated but an ultimately selfish former vigilante. Veidt’s decisions have a devastating impact in Watchmen, triggering the death of thousands of innocent people. Veidt lacks the ability to be wrong. If he offers others the chance to give input, his “teamwork” is all for show. He is so self-assured that the lives of others mean next to nothing, so long as he can prove to himself that he is right. Those who disagree do not live long enough to make a case. Ozymandias’ leadership skills are non-existent, an unfortunate reality for those whom which he does not see eye to eye.
3 Worst: Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic)
Mister Fantastic tries to be a good leader, but sadly falls short. Reed Richards is an intelligent scientist with a history of astonishing work. He also has a history of disastrous experiments, including the one that gave the Fantastic Four their abnormal abilities. Reed makes some good calls, but his work is typically the priority—even more so than his family and friends. He understands making sacrifices in the name of science but has no problem with pushing those sacrifices onto his teammates without taking their feelings into consideration. Even his wife is alienated by Reed’s iron-clad choices, which has driven more than one wedge between the couple.
2 Worst: Amanda Waller
Amanda Waller gets stuff done at any cost. Her determination is at time admirable, but Waller’s ruthlessness makes her a danger to even her own. Anyone who needs explosive implants to win compliance is a character on the extreme end of justice. She has dedicated her life to preparing for the possibility of a super-human revolt, but does so with a regime of cruelty, intimidation, and blood. It takes a special kind of crazy—or stupid—to want to work under Waller, even his her intentions are somewhat noble.
1 Worst: Deadpool
Deadpool is a bad leader, point blank. Violent, careless, and laughably irresponsible, anyone following Deadpool into battle better have more than luck on their side. His recklessness makes him a hazard to any side of a fight. Though his disregard for pretty much everything is hysterical, putting your faith in Deadpool is not a wise choice.