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CSBG Archive

Top 50 Marvel Characters #40-36

Here’s Marvel’s next group….

40. Ultimate Captain America – 161 points (1 first place vote)


Steve Rogers was an American super-soldier during World War II, but was frozen after an explosion until he was thawed out in the 21st Century.

He became the leader of the superhero group, the Ultimates.

He is a lot like the regular Captain America, only he is much more of a soldier-type, and as such he can be a little more gruff than the regular Captain America.

In addition, he is very much a child of the 1930s, as he has fairly antiquated ideas about a lot of things, particularly things like chivalry.

He was created by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch.

Scott Stafford had Ultimate Cap high on his list, and here are his reasons why:

There are a lot of key elements of Captain America’s character that have been lost in the shuffle of decades of 616 continuity. Enter Ultimate Cap. The Ultimate Universe provided the opportunity to reboot Steve Rogers. Suddenly, he is once again a man lost in time. This element defines Rogers more than any other. Ultimate Cap has regained that conflict as he deals with a world that moved on without him.

NOW you can ask, “Who is this man?” Steve Rogers is a man with 1940’s values and ideals. He is a veteran of the hardest war in the history of mankind. He has seen, suffered, and dished out major bloodshed because it was necessary. And he is a very, very dangerous SOB. Pluck that man out of the height of the war one day and wake him up sixty years later. This is the man you would be dealing with. Nearly everything he knows is gone. He has nothing left…except his country…and his ability to serve.

Over the years we’ve seen 616 Cap when he may as well be crying and wearing panties. There is little danger of a similar softening with the Ultimate version. If you need a butt-kicking, you’re going to get it. If you stand in his way, he’s going to move you. And if you hit your woman, you are most certainly going to regret it. His America is black and white, not a hundred shades of gray. THIS is Steve Rogers.

Thanks, Scott!

39. Human Torch (Johnny Storm) – 163 points


Johnny Storm, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, liked to hang around his big sister. He was even willing to follow her on an unauthorized space mission with her boyfriend.

The end result was that Johnny gained the power to turn his body into flames. He used said power to make himself fly, as well as shoot flames.

Calling himself the Human Torch, Johnny joined the newly formed Fantastic Four, where he has served with ever since, and where he is now today.

38. Princess Powerful/Bruiser (Molly Hayes) – 167 points (1 first place vote)


Molly Hayes is a member of the group, The Runaways (created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona). The group is made up of children of the superpowered crime syndicate, The Pride. When the children discover that their parents are villains, they, well, run away. Molly, at 11 years old, is the youngest member of the group, and is often very amusing, in her sheer exuberance at being a real-life superhero.

Molly is a mutant and has super strength, although too much exertion causes her to fall asleep.

Joe Rice had her #1. Why, Joe?

Out of all the legions of characters in the Marvel universe, why the hell would I choose a little girl created in the past decade? I mean, I loves me some Ben Grimm, some Reed Richards, some Nick Fury, and even some Longshot (Shut up, I was a kid!), so how does Molly Hayes top all of them? Honestly, I’m not sure if I could even tell you. I don’t even follow Runaways anymore. There’s just something about her.

I suppose she reminds me of some of my favorite people. She’s the sort of adorable spitfire I’ve always been drawn to, either as a friend, as a favored student, or as a character. She’s cute, but she’s real. Vaughan’s characterization of her felt honest even when she was at her most obvious “here’s the cute bit from Molly!” None of these, really, are probably enough to put her over some of the other great characters Marvel has. But that gentle honesty, that freedom to be cute while not being cutesy . . .it struck a chord with me. It’s the fun missing in so many superheroes after lesser writers misunderstood why people liked DKR or Watchment. Innocent but aware . . .she’s seen awful things but hasn’t let them turn her awful.

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We could all use a bit more of that. Princess Powerful 4-eva!

37. Invisible Woman (Sue Storm/Richards) – 170 points (1 first place vote)


Sue Storm, created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, was a great girlfriend to Reed Richards. She even agreed to go on an unauthorized space mission with him! And as a result, she and her brother were hit by cosmic rays and gained powers.

She joined the newly formed Fantastic Four along with her brother, Reed and Reed’s friend, Ben Grimm.

She now had the power to turn invisible, and over time, she developed the ability to make invisible force fields.

She married Reed, and the two now have two children.

After the events of Civil War, where she and Reed were on opposing sides, the two have taken a break from the Fantastic Four to work on their marriage.

36. Rogue – 183 points (2 first place votes)


Rogue’s powers developed when she was a young teen and she kissed a boy and her power to absorb people’s powers and memories manifested horribly. Scarred by this, Rogue was taken in by her foster mother, the mutant terrorist, Mystique.

She ultimately made Rogue a member of her group, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and set Rogue after Ms. Marvel, where Rogue absorbed Ms. Marvel’s memories AND powers, making Rogue very powerful, but now fighting for control of her own mind.

She was forced to turn to the X-Men for help, and Professor X agreed to help her.

She joined the X-Men, and eventually became a valuable member of the team, even currently LEADING a squad of the team.

Luis Hernandez had her #1 on his list. Here is why:

She’s my # 1 pick because she’s a conflicted character. Not being able to touch someone without killing him/her must be tough to deal with. I think a lot of people feel like that sometimes: “Maybe i’m too fat, too ugly, too tall, skinny, etc… to ever find someone to have contact with”

I think a lot of people can identify with her. She has been portrayed as insecure, but then again she has shown she’s a great leader that takes risks. She’s humble and always someone you can rely on. Beautiful, smart and does have a lot of layers to her than a lot of other characters. A reformed villain who has always had a tumultous life since she was a child. I just think she’s great and has a lot of potential to become more than what she is now. Mike Carey has done a tremendous job with her.

Thanks, Luis! That’s it for today!

More on Monday!


I didn’t know we could give you reasons why we voted for who we did!

Anyway, great to see two of my choices finally pop up in the form of badass Molly Hayes and lil’ miss sunshine Rogue.

At last, 3 of my choices: Sue, Johnny, and Rogue.

Batman #1, Superman #2 for DC

Spidey #1, Wolverine (Logan) #2 for Marvel

T – I hate spoilers!

Jeez, T. You wanna give us a spoiler warning or something before you post those sorts of revelations? Next you’ll be trying to tell us what happens at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.

Damn you and your speedy typing skills, Tomer.

Awesome, I had Molly high on my list so I’m glad she made the Top 50. I love the Runaways and she is easily the best part about it. So many of the series’ classic scenes involve her, such as her punching Wolvine clear across the street or her punching the Punisher in the guts, leading to the all time best Punisher War Journal entry: “Uhhhhhhh…” Basically, anytime she punches something, hilarity ensues.

I think Molly summed it up herself with the line from Runaways vol. 2 #26:

“Why aren’t you awesomed by me?!”

Molly punching stuff is indeed pretty good. I vote that if reality ever needs to be punched again, in whatever universe, Molly does it. The resulting continuity would have free Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs for everyone and no death ever.

Sue Storm higher than Johnny (not to mention her husband)? That’s interesting. Overall this has been a lot more fun and less predictable of a grouping than I was imagining…

So far, none of my picks from either list. There are a few I am pretty sure won’t make it (how many people out there voted for The Looter?) but there are some I am on the fence about the chances of.

Interesting that 3 of the Fantastic Four are grouped pretty close together.

I would bet that the Thing is at least another 10 places ahead of Sue.

Interesting too that only Sue got a #1 vote. I would have never in a million years thought that Reed would poll lower than Sue and Johnny. Damn you, Millar!

I figure Ben for the top ten for sure.

I was kinda shocked when the whole first issue of Ultimates took place during the war, but seeeing what they’ve done with Steve, it makes sense now. It’s been nice to see that explored in a way that Stan didn’t have time for in Avengers, and that few writers have done much with in Cap’s own title.

Rogue? meh

I’m going to have to get that Runaways TPB.

Sue’s the first Marvel character from my ten to make the list. I’ve always found her to be the strongest and most engaging member of the FF (well, at least once the writing got less sexist and she no longer spent her free time trying on wigs). If Reed’s the brains of the Fantastic Four, then Sue is its heart.

None of these particularly resonate with me as favorites, but Ultimate Cap would come close. I’ve never thought Johnny or Sue had that much personality. Don’t know Bruiser and Rogue is ok but not a fav.

If Ben Grimm doesn’t make the top ten, something’s seriously wrong….

Go Molly! I really wanted to put a Runaway on my list, but couldn’t bring myself to single one out; if I had, it would have been her (or Gert).

I have to say, one of the best things about reading these list is bits from people explaining why they picked the character they did. In many instances, it makes me rethink my choices-“ah, they’re right, I should have put so and so on my list.” If nothing else, it reminds me of what I love about so many characters.

Ultimate Cap was on my shortlist, but in the end his place went to another Ultimates character.

So far only The Spectre and Howard the Duck have made it from my lists, but it’s good to see them both up there. Even if The Spectre’s waaaaay too low.


I like Vaughn’s Runaways, but wasn’t Molly in Power Pack when I was a kid? Isn’t she basically the exact same character?

No, that’s Katie Power.

They’re different.

Also: Johnny higher up than Reed!?!

Somebody is going to die.
Shoulda voted. $%^$^ Millar.

Did Johnny ever outwit the dreaming celestial?
Did Johnny defeat Robo-Stalin?
Does Johnny EVER outwit Doom when it’s all on the line?

No. Johnny’s a moron.

I can totally understand liking Ben better. Everyone loves Ben. I can sorta understand liking Sue better. But Johnny?!?!?!?

Molly for the win! She’s not my favourite Runaway, but it’s good to see one on the chart (maybe we’ll see Nico and Gert or somebody higher up…?). It is simply priceless entertainment to see her totally own Wolverine…and the Punisher.

I’m pretty amazed to see Rogue that far down. I always thought she was a more popular character than that.

*glowers at Ultimate Cap*

I figured if anyone from Runaways got a nod, it would be Molly. She’s just utterly quotable and fun. Interesting that Brian K. Vaughn got a creation onto the Marvel and DC lists at the same time.

Wow, THREE of my top ten in this list alone:

Rogue (my #1)
Ultimate Cap (my #4)
and Human Torch (my #8)

Too bad Rogue didn’t get higher. I like those tragic heroes like her, Robotman, Martian Manhunter, Crazy Jane, Scarlet Witch, and Thing.

And you know, I totally didn’t think about Runaways when I made my list, but ALEX would have been a good addition to my top 20.


I like the Fantastic Four. As a team they’re a top ten pick. That’s their strength– a team, a superhero family. Singularly they only seem parts of a whole. As individual favorites I understand their lower rankings. Like most people, the Thing’s my favorite (in the books, anyway). Followed, and this is where most of us jockey around, by Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch.

I don’t know how I feel about Ultimate Cap. Not sure that version is all that well-established.

But I am glad to see Molly. She and Jessica are two new characters worthy of noting.

And I’ve always loved Rogue. The inability to touch anybody always struck me as a powerful character gimmick. She’d have made my top 25.

Halfway through the voting, neither Sue NOR Johnny were in the Top 50!

Freaky, huh?

Reed was much higher. The last couple hundred votes were hard on Reed and good to Sue and Johnny.

No one from my list made it this round, but I did vote for Gert and Chase from Runaways, so I’m happy that Molly made it! I am also happy to see Johnny Storm place as well as he did. In this age of pet characters and X-domination, it is good that classic characters I have loved since my youth are not forgotten, either. Spider-Man is the everyman; the Human Torch is who you want to be.

Thought: Did the FF movies raise Johnny’s stock? Because the actor who plays Johnny in the films really does a good job with the character, and seems to get all the good one-liners.

That virgin-whore complex is very strong, apparently.

Ultimate Captain America? Man, if I’d known slight variants like that rated their own entries, Marvel Adventures Hulk and Mini-Marvels Hulk would have taken up two slots right off the bat.

And I’ve always loved Rogue. The inability to touch anybody always struck me as a powerful character gimmick. She’d have made my top 25.

Mm-hm, me too. Hate her accent (just generally hate the Marvel habit of carefully s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g-o-u-t each character’s ethnicity) but she’s an amazing concept as a tragic heroine.

Ultimate Cap? Johnny Storm? Molly Hayes? Rogue?

If those are among the top 50 Marvel characters, no wonder had so much trouble hitting ten characters.

Can’t say the FF surprises me. Really, when was the last time someone thought “wow, these guys are the awesomest!” about the FF? Back in the ’60s? Maybe for once, could Marvel have a mega-crossover where the FF (and Spidey, for that matter) get center stage and save the universe, rather than being the punked-for-the-sake-of-hyping-a-threat cannon fodder for the Avengers or X-Men?

But Rogue surprises me. Isn’t she STILL voted Favorite Female Hero by the WIZARD readers every year? Even adjusting for voter fraud, mutant bigotry, Yankees, Ms. Marvel fans, and people who like to be touched, it’s shocking to see her so low. Unless the remaining 35 characters are all men…

Well, the thing with the FF is that they’re created to be team characters, and people think of the FF *as* a team. So it’s not too surprising that, rated as individuals, they’d be clustered near each other, and not nearly as highly-ranked as they would be for something like “favorite teams.”

Ben Grimm was the “breakout character” exception to that rule

Sue Richards has been my favorite member of the FF for a long time. I agree with M Bloom that she’s the heart of the team. She’s also the glue that holds the other three together, the big sister/mother-figure who has kept each one of them in line at one time or another, made them say sorry and take a little time out when necessary.
I cringed at Alba being put in the movie role, as I do at the current way Sue is portrayed in the book (typified by the illustration you chose for this post- she looks sixteen, and what’s with those giant feet?)

As for Johnny, there was no super-hero I more wanted to be when I was twelve. My school books used to be covered with little red-ink human torches. And he was the only character that I thought really worked in the movie.

He’s also a moron who couldn’t defeat alternate universe disney built robo stalin, or the Black Celestial.

Also, no offense to Sue or anything, but Ben’s the heart.

Ultimate Cap was my #5. He’s a fantastic character – and so much better than the standard version, though Ed Brubaker has done a lot to bring the standard one up.

Halfway through the voting, neither Sue NOR Johnny were in the Top 50!

Freaky, huh?

Reed was much higher. The last couple hundred votes were hard on Reed and good to Sue and Johnny.

You could probably do some profiling about what type of people vote for what kind of character. Personally I like to mull over a list like that for a couple of days so I guess I’d be a late voter.

I was one of those people who didn’t put any of the FF on my list, whereas I would have put the Fantastic Four in my top 10 if teams counted. My apologies to all four of them.

My list is similarly lacking in X-Men, despite my love of the X-Men. My apologies to all 873 of them.

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