2019 Top Marvel Characters 45-41

After nearly 1,100 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 revealing that list throughout the rest of the month. The countdown continues now...

In the past, I've typically done sort of "biographies" for each of the characters on the list, but you know what, they're on the Top 100 DC and Marvel characters list, I think we should be working under the assumption that you all pretty much know the basic information about these characters. Instead, I'll just write about whatever interests me about the character in question, including some comic book pages featuring the character.

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44 (tie). Psylocke/Captain Britain (Betsy Braddock) - 319 points (4 first place votes)

Created by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe, Claremont seemed to have a bit of a hard time figuring out the direction he wanted to take Psylocke She was a charter pilot/spy/supermodel. After taking over for her brother as Captain Britain temporarily, she promptly was blinded by Slaymaster. She was then brought over to the American Marvel Universe, where she got robot eyes from Mojo. During this time, she was rescued by the New Mutants. Soon Psylocke was a full-fledged member of the X-Men, who were so desperate for a telepath that they almost let Falcon's bird, Redwing, join. Psylocke was with the X-Men when they faked their deaths and headed to Australia.

Here, the X-Men lost members to various maladies until the team consisted of just Psylocke, Havok, Dazzler and Colossus. So when Psylocke got a vision that they would all die if they returned home, she had no doubt that it was true, so she used her powers to trick the other three to go through the Siege Perilous with her. This ultimately resulted in Psylocke getting her mind placed into a new Asian ninja's body. Originally forced to serve the Mandarin, Wolverine helped break her free of the Mandarin's control.

So anyways, she rejoined the X-Men in her new form and eventually began a relationship with Archangel. Their joy was short-lived, as the mutant known as Sabretooth (who the X-Men were holding prisoner) broke free and proceeded to tear Betsy apart. She was saved through some mystical mumbo jumbo called the Crimson Dawn. She gained new powers and a nifty tattoo. Luckily, this was all dropped at some point over the years.

Psylocke eventually grew tired of Angel, so she switched to the sensational character find of 2000, Thunderbird II. She was then killed at the beginning of X-Treme X-Men. Luckily, Psylocke was returned to life through some plot involving her crazy brother Jamie. She re-joined the X-Men before then becoming a member of the New Exiles, a group of reality-jumping mutants. She returned to the X-Men and then served as a member of two different iterations of X-Force. During a quest to find Wolverine after he came back to life himself, Psylocke found herself back in her original body again. Most recently (so recent that it technically hasn't happened yet), Betsy is ceding the name "Psylocke" to Kwannon, the woman who's body Psylocke had for so many years. Betsy is then becoming Captain Britain again for the second time in her life (her first time as the good Captain ended with her blinded and almost killed, so hopefully this time works out better).

44 (tie). Namor - 319 points (5 first place votes)

Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was created by Bill Everett, and sold to Marvel (nee Timely) Comics, soon becoming one of their "Big Three," along with Captain America and the Human Torch.

Namor was from the lost city of Atlantis, son of a human and an Atlantean, and was one of the comic world's first anti-hero, as he was not exactly definitely on "our" side (his first stories involved him flat out just MURDERING any human that he came across), although that changed with World War II, where Namor supported the Allies against the Axis.

After the war, Namor eventually pretty much vanished, only to return in the pages of the Fantastic Four, where he decided to declare war on humans (although, at the same time, he did like one human a whole lot - Sue Storm, the Invisible Girl).

Over the years, Namor has swung from noble villain (like this famous Daredevil moment)

to hero to villain to hero to villain to hero (even joining the Avengers!) that you really have to keep a scorecard.

Namor joined the X-Men after the events of Civil War, and he was one of the members of the team who ended up being possessed by the Phoenix Force during Avengers vs. X-Men. While possessed by Phoenix, Namor hit Wakanda with a tidal wave. As a result, he began to escalate conflict between Atlantis and the African country of Wakanda, and Namor and Black Panther became sworn rivals. That drove a good deal of Namor's stories for a few years. This was a key aspect of Jonathan Hickman's "Time Runs Out" storyline in the Avengers titles, as Namor joined forces with Thanos and some other villains to destroy alternate worlds to save our Earth, as bleeds in the Multiverse were leading other worlds to the same space as our Earth and only one Earth could remain, so they decided to destroy the other Earths (Black Panther and the Illuminati were trying to come up with other solutions to the dilemma). Black Panther got his revenge on Namor during all of this mess.

After Secret Wars restored the Multiverse, a number of realities still had to deal with their Earths being destroyed (as the return of the Multiverse saved those worlds that were not already part of the Incursions, but not those that had already been destroyed previously). A group of heroes who were the lone survivors of their respective worlds formed a new Squadron Supreme and killed Namor to avenge their worlds. Later, they had to bring him back to life.

Recently, after a brief return to the X-Men, Namor has formed his own group called the Defenders of the Deep, who will protect the oceans by any means necessary, returning Namor to that weird sort of villain/anti-hero role he has rocked for so many decades.

43. Ghost-Spider/Spider-Gwen/Spider-Woman - 334 points (1 first place vote)

We rightfully give Steve Ditko and Stan Lee a ton of credit for their brilliant origin story for Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15, where they were able to introduce a character, give him a major tragedy and have him decide to become a superhero all in less than a dozen pages!

While it's not quite to that same level, it is still impressive how good of a job that Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez did when they introduced an alternate reality Spider-Woman in the miniseries, Edge of Spider-Verse (where each issue was meant to introduce a different alternate universe version of Spider-Man).

Through the clever use of a "flashback" (to stories that never existed) at the start of the issue, they catch us up quickly on this reality's Gwen Stacy and how she became Spider-Woman...

The issue then ends with Gwen getting her "Uncle Ben" moment, only it's a clever twist on the theme, as it is not a case of Gwen choosing responsibility because of the death of her father, but rather her choosing responsibility over the respect of her father, as she is operating outside the law while he is, you know, a cop....

It was SUCH an outstanding set-up for a series that it seemed like a no-brainer to then give her her own series. What's funny is that while she was just called Spider-Woman in the story, everyone called her Spider-Gwen, to the point where her ongoing series that launched out of the one-shot was called Spider-Gwen.

Eventually, her identity became public knowledge in her universe, so she has to come to the main Marvel Universe to attend college. Since she can't call herself Spider-Woman here (well, she could, but she doesn't want to) and she can't call herself Spider-Gwen, of course, she has now adopted the new superhero name of Ghost-Spider...

It's...a name!

42. Loki - 345 points (8 first place votes)

Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby (well, the comic book version of Loki, at least. I think you get the picture), Loki has been involved in Thor comics since practically the first appearance of Thor! It is a great twist on the standard idea of brains versus brawn (similar to Superman and Lex Luthor), where the muscle bound Thor has to always find a way to stop the various schemes of his trickster half-brother.

Loki’s schemes often go awry, including when he got a bunch of heroes to fight the Hulk, only to see them join together as a group of heroes known as the Avengers.

During the "Dark Reign" storyline, Loki joined forces with Norman Osborn, Doctor Doom and the Hood as part of an evil cabal designed to rule the world. As part of Loki’s plans, he helped convince Norman Osborn to invade Asgard. Asgard was destroyed in the battle and Loki sacrificed himself to help his fellow Asgardians (which, in and of itself, was a plot, as he knew he would be reborn).

He then returned in the form a young boy. Written by Kieron Gillen, this Loki was an awesome character. There is this great Christmas issue where there was a litter of Helhounds that he had to find homes or else he will be forced to kill them (as you can't have Helhounds running around)....

So sweet. Sadly, that era did not end well for Loki, but then he became an older version again and still had some great adventures under the pen of Al Ewing and others before dying once again during the War of Realms. He came back to life, though, just in time to help save the day. He was rewarded by becoming the king of the Frost Giants, a role he currently has (and is not exactly thrilled with, so he left someone else in charge while he has headed to Earth for some adventures).

41. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) - 348 points (6 first place votes)

As we all know, the best characters in comics are often those that you have to create to keep a rival from trademarking a name and that's precisely what happened with Spider-Woman, who Marvel rushed into print when they heard that Filmation planned on launching a cartoon called Spider-Woman (Filmation ended up calling their character Web-Woman instead).

Spider-Woman was so rushed into print that Archie Goodwin used a rejected idea for Wolverine's origin, which was that Wolverine was a genetically mutated wolverine (created by the High Evolutionary) and in Marvel Spotlight #32, we learned that Spider-Woman was, herself, a genetically mutated spider turned accidental agent of Hydra...

In pretty much her very next appearance, Marv Wolfman dropped the "mutated spider" angle and went with a new origin where she was a human given spider powers. She then launched into her own ongoing series. Here's the thing, though, when you're starring in a comic book pretty much solely so that the company can have your name trademarked, it does not lend itself to a cohesive direction, and the Spider-Woman comic was ALL over the place during its run. When Chris Claremont took over the book, he had Jessica Drew become a private investigator. Her original series ended with her seemingly killed, but that was reversed quickly and instead she was just left without most of her powers. So she retired as Spider-Woman (a new Spider-Woman debuted as, well, you can't leave a good name like that just laying around!).

With the character now free, Claremont brought her to Madripoor for her to continue her work as a private investigator in Wolverine's series...

After a long hiatus as a superhero, Brian Michael Bendis brought her back to superheroing in New Avengers in 2005...

However, we later learned that that was a Skrull who was impersonating Spider-Woman! The real Jessica Drew was eventually rescued and she has remained a superhero. Recently, she joined up with a special team of sort of black ops superheroes called Strikeforce.

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