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Top Five Bloodlines Characters

Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with the contemporaries of the 1993 Marvel Annuals, the 1993 DC Annuals, which created new characters for their Bloodlines crossover (aliens were attacking humans, and every once in awhile would awaken powers in the human rather than kill him/her).

For whatever reason, the Bloodlines characters ended up being a lot better than the characters created for Marvel’s Annuals, so the top five will be a lot tougher to determine…

Here are the top five…

Enjoy!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Gunfiire and Anima

Anima and Gunfire actually each both had their own series, but while I actually enjoyed Gunfire’s series, I did not really like Gunfire (I just liked Len Wein’s stories a lot, but they were just plain ol’ good action stories, they could have EASILY just starred any mercenary and be just as good, like if Deathstroke the Terminator was the star the series would not have skipped a beat) and while Anima was interesting, I think the top five are MORE interesting.

Gerry Jones had a pretty good turn at the Bloodlines annuals, turning out two better than average characters in Lionheart…

and Nightblade (who should not be dead, right? Isn’t his power that he can regenerate? So how was he killed by Superboy Prime?!?!?)

Jeph Loeb’s Hulk riff, Loose Cannon, was clever (and his later mini-series had great art from a young Adam Pollina)

Chuck Dixon had a very good Bloodlines, and his Geist creation was a fun action hero (one of Jim Balent’s best issues, art-wise, from this era of his career).

5. Ballistic

Created by Doug Moench and Mike Manley, Ballistic was an interesting fellow – a cop on Gotham’s SWAT team who becomes basically a super-mercenary after having his body mutated to giant-sized with a crazy armored shell (and super-strength and super-hearing and vision). The design of the character wasn’t the greatest, but Moench’s characterization of the guy was fun (especially the way he adapted to his new life so easily). And hey, a Korean-American character who doesn’t do martial arts!!!

4. Razorsharp

Created by Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer, Razorsharp was a member of a group of teen hackers and like a few of the characters in the Annuals, her design could have been better (and her power was kinda silly – the ability to turn her arms into big blades), but like all of the other teen characters in the pages of Robin at the time, Dixon did a deft job making them unique and likable.

And yes, her real name was, indeed, Rae Sharpe.

3. Argus

Argus tied directly in with Mark Waid’s classic run on Flash, and like everything else on his run, Argus was well-thought out and well-executed. Phil Hester co-created him and later did the Argus mini-series. Like most of the best Bloodlines characters, the whole “alien powers” angle was not stressed very much at all. Argus had shadow powers, but he was basically just like a Batman-esque fighter.

2. Sparx

Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Ed Hannigan came up with D.C. Force, a member of a whole family of metahumans. She always wanted to be one, too, and took the opportunity to gain powers from the Bloodlines aliens. Once she got them, Sparx became one of the real highlights of the crossover, as Kesel used her quite well in his Superboy and the Ravers series. Her wide-eyed innocence was a nice chance of pace in the often-dreary 1990s. In a lot of ways, she was a precursor to Star-Girl.

1. Hitman

Created by Garth Ennis and John McCrea, Hitman was the best character to come out of ALL of the 1993 Annuals and was one of DC’s best new characters of the 1990s PERIOD.

Well, that’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

42 Comments

Okay, it was kind of obvious who’d take the top spot, but how did number two not go to Jamm, the Prodigious Surfer Dude?

Hehe, Jamm was actually not as bad as he sounds!

I quite like the love here for the Bloodlines characters. A shame so many have been done away with…

And I have a renewed (or rather, a NEW) desire to read GUNFIRE (loving Len Wein stuff at the moment)

I kinda wanna delude myself into thinking you did this list solely based on my reply on your Facebook Marvel Annuals post. But I won’t because clearly you planned this………*sighs*…… :p

I had no idea Hitman debuted in these Annuals. Well, I’ve learnt something today. I do recall Argus’ series being quite good, and yes, DC got a lot more mileage out of these characters than Marvel did with theirs.

And now most of them are dead.

It’s the fact that a lot of them died in Infinite Crisis that kind of gives me the idea that big event books serve mainly for them to wipe away characters to make room for new, less interesting characters.

I had no idea Hitman came out of Bloodlines.

Most of these characters continues to exist in the DC uiverse, they all were created with more intents behind them than the ones from Marvel

– Anima was a great concept but the treatment didnt get to taht concept

Argus was center stage in a JSA Confi some years ago . (Contrary to Bats he has night / infra red vison and cant turn invisible / intangible ?? )

Yeah, I think that’s a good description of Anima, ollieno. Better concept than execution. While Gunfire was better execution than concept.

Hitman was a no-brainer at #1, but for my money Anima was a solid second. I’m really surprised no one tried to do that character right. Easier to kill her off, I guess. Of the others, I’d put Argus at #3.

And perhaps because I have a soft spot for that run, I kinda liked the Prism character that was introduced in Eclipso…

I liked the issue introducing Prism, but I didn’t find Prism to have been given much of a personality. Prism seemed to be more of a plot device for that particular issue. If I were ranking these things based on how good the Annual itself was, the rankings would be a lot different (Hitman would still be #1, though).

Len Wein seemed to be phoning it in a bit on Gunfire, which probably speaks to his talent in that the book was still a solid if unspectacular read. But I distinctly recall Wein reusing, almost beat-for-beat, the ending of an old Spider-Man story from ASM #156 in the issue where Gunfire battles the Mirror Master.

Jeremy A. Patterson

September 7, 2010 at 6:17 am

Nightblade DID survive the massacre!

What about the Top Five WORST Archie Characters Introduced in 1992-1994?

J.A.P.

Hitman was the best work of Ennis’ career until he finished Punisher MAX.

Superboy and the Ravers was a great, great comic. I think past the zombie penguins storyline and the Superman issue, I’d rather read Superboy and the Ravers than Hitman, but that’s more of a taste thing.

Wow.
I was buying and reading comics in the 90’s and I’ve NEVER heard of these Bloodlines Annuals or ANY of the characters listed (except for Hitman, and I never knew that character started there).

But looking through much of the hideous artwork on the covers and lousy character names and designs, I don’t think I missed much.

When I first saw the title of the post, I knew that Hitman would be # 1 before I clicked on the link.

Of all the Bloodlines annuals, Hitman was the only one that lasted 5 years in his own title.

Is there going to be a top 5 Zero Hour? bet that Starman would be # 1 on that posting. ;-)

Bloodlines was such a transparent crossover- DC just wanted to a) rip off ALIENS and b) introduce a bunch of new characters in one shot. I didn’t care for ANY of them, not even Hitman. (Well, Sparx was somewhat fun in Ravers but that was a team book, and didn’t last long.) But the crossover itself was very uninspired (and the whole spine-fluid-drinking thing was disgusting.)

Have you noticed that DC tends to be rather petty to its characters, acting as if somehow it’s their fault if they don’t sell well? Hawkman was actually declared off-limit for years when it was the writers who messed his continuity. The Bloodlines heroes are mostly dead today. As are several minor characters from the 80’s who were killed off to show off how badass villains like Eclipso or The Mist were. And let’s not even mention Infinite Crisis and subsequent series. DC seems to have forgotten that there are no bad characters, only bad writing (though it is true that some characters have more story potential than others.) Heck, if they could they would probably drop Wonder Woman too (her current storyline reeks SO much of desperate sales gimmick. I guess beheading people didn’t do the trick.)

It’s a shame Myriad didn’t make the list. A neat twist on a sort of “mind-swap” concept, I think she could have been interesting if anyone had really followed up on her.

I remember at a con once, Mark Waid was on a panel and fielded a question about a Flash character (I think it was the female Kid Flash from Kingdom Come.) At the end of his answer, Waid sputtered in disbelief, “You [the readers] weren’t supposed to like her! You were supposed to like ARGUS!”

You think the artist on Loose Cannon was playing a lot of Street Fighter 2 when he “came up with the design”?

One of the of (four!) Superman crossovers was for the Cyborg, who of course we know is evil, but back then we didn’t know. Dan Jurgens did a hell of a job telling a story from HIS POINT OF VIEW that kept the fact that he was mu-hu-ha-ha-ha evil off-screen, but not if you reread it. Completely fooled me. I remember nothing about who else was in it.

Bloodlines was one of the worst themes ever. Kinda liked Loose Cannon. Hitman was only so so for me. The rest were really horrible.

Yes, the previous Marvel characters were even worse.

Aw, I’m kind of bummed that Anima only got an honorable mention since I absolutely adored her series. Ah well.

Didn’t Razorsharp turn up in some mini-series afterwards? Something like Cyber-Rats I think..?

I was really fading on comics by this time, but I do have some of these issues. Was Bloodlines the last of the DC Annuals for awhile, or was that the Elseworlds annuals?

Did not know Hitman originated with this crossover.
I enjoyed Sparx’s origin appearance, as i enjoyed the Kessel Superboy stuff that i’ve read.
I didn’t even know that the meta human insurgence in this crossover was a once-in-a-while thing. I thought the aliens were just maliciously trying to create more meta humans with their toungue-spine eating juicing.

Brian, thanks for mentioning Geist aka The Twilight Man. He somehow managed to save that pre-armor Az-Bats Annual.

Like I said over on the Marvel Annuals one, that Anima 0 was one of the worst comics I had read to that point. And I wasn’t even a very discerning reader yet.

The Cyborg Superman issue is the one that I believe has David Lapham art. Maybe one of the first non-Valiant or Defiant things of his.

I have a surprising amount of these annuals.

I’m surprised T hasn’t been here yet. You said something nice about a Jeph Loeb comic, Brian. T MUST respond to that! (I love ya, T)

This was in the midst of my early 20’s sabbatical from comics … looks like I didn’t miss a thing

Hehe, Jamm was actually not as bad as he sounds!

What the hell are you talking about? Of course he was. He was worse. Everything bad about comics is partially his fault, including the stuff that happened before he was created.

Wow, I don’t remember Sparx but she looks just like the Superman animated villain Livewire.

Which one is Anima? The one that looks like Boom Boom, the one that looks like Tigra, or the one that looks like 90s Hawkeye?

Ok, I gotta come out and say this:

I Fucking loved Bloodlines.

I loved all of the dozen or so annuals I could get my hands on, I loved the concept, the characters, and I even dug Bloodbath as a huge stupid battle royale with the newbies saving the day.

I loved Myriad, I loved the weird murdered and his preacher brother from Shadow of the Bat, I loved all of it.

I want it in trade, because I missed out on some of those annuals, and I ended up foolishly getting rid of the ones I did have a few years back.

Everytime I go to a Con I look through the old Annuals and try to complete my Bloodlines collection. I even have the full set of Bloodlines cards, which formed a giant image of the Taker on the backs!

And the 2 issue Bloodbath mini that ended the thing was good! The first issue anyway, before every hero died and Jamm “wished” them back to life or whatever it was that happened there.

‘Bloodlines was such a transparent crossover- DC just wanted to a) rip off ALIENS and b) introduce a bunch of new characters in one shot. I didn’t care for ANY of them, not even Hitman.’
A) I didn’t see the connection between Aliens & Bloodlines in any of the annuals.
B) Booo for not liking Hitman.

I’m surprised T hasn’t been here yet. You said something nice about a Jeph Loeb comic, Brian. T MUST respond to that! (I love ya, T)

It seemed he was transparently baiting me with that one, so I abstained from commenting on it. :)

(You were joking, right Brian?)

Well, you already had that Titans post to comment on…

Jeph Loeb can’t be all bad, can he? There was… um,

dammit, T’s right.

Jamm…. God, how I want a re-introduction by Garth Ennis…

The DC Bloodlines characters, called New Bloods, were (in order of appearance):

Lobo Annual 1: Layla
Superman: Man of Steel 2: Edge
Batman: Shadow of the Bat 1: Joe Public
Flash 6: Argus
New Titans 9: Anima
Superman 5: Myriad
Green Lantern 17: Nightblade
Batman 17: Ballistic
JL International 4: Lionheart (I do not think he was a true New Blood, though, just a guy in armor)
Deathstroke 2: Gunfire; His father Ragnarok may also be a New Blood
Eclipso 1: Prism
Demon 2: Hitman
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight 3: Cardinal Sin & Samaritan
Team Titans 1: Chimera
LEGION 4: Pax
Robin 2: Razorsharp; Her two allies, Channelman & Hackrat, may have been New Bloods too.
Action Comics 5: Loose Cannon
Legion of Super Heroes 4: Jamm
Green Arrow 6: The Hook
Detective Comics 6: Geist the Twilight Man (Kinda liked him for some reason) & Rodney James
Justice League of America 7: Terrorsmith; Also Krag, Shadowstryke, & Slingshot
Adventures of Superman 5: Sparx
Hawkman 1: Mongrel
Loria showed up later in Blood Pack.

Gunfire had his hands cut off by Prometheus, so he may be retired.
Loose Cannon had his heart cut out and was last seen on life support, but that should not stop the Mood-Ring Hulk.

The following I believe are Dead:
Anima – Killed by Prometheus
Mongrel – Killed by Superboy-Prime
Geist – Killed by Superboy-Prime
Ballistic – Killed by Superboy-Prime
Loria – Murdered by ?
Nightblade – Apparently Killed by Superboy-Prime (but had healing powers, so who knows)
Razorsharp – Killed by Superboy-Prime
Hook – Killed by phony Prometheus
Hitman – Killed in gun battle
Ragnarok – Killed by ?
Prism – Possibly killed by Eclipso
Terrorsmith – Killed by ?

I also liked Prism, since I was following the ongoing Eclipso book anyway, and I thought it was a good annual, from what I can remember. It’s been a while! Is the character still around, or was he also killed off to show how bad@$$ such-and-such was during a crossover within the last ten years?

Oh, yeah, almost totally off-topic, but I loved seeing those Mike Zeck covers on several of these annuals. Definitely one of my all time favorite artists.

It’s the fact that a lot of them died in Infinite Crisis that kind of gives me the idea that big event books serve mainly for them to wipe away characters to make room for new, less interesting characters.

I think we should have a Top Five list of the most pointless gratuitous deaths to take place during a major company-wide crossover.

Aw, Loose Cannon had his heart ripped out? He’s just one more DC character you could have tied into the emotional spectrum.

I loved that Argus Annual and his mini-series. I would put him up there at #2.

RazorSharp was on a team called Pysba-Rats

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