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CSBG Archive

2011 Top 50 Marvel Characters #50-46

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…

50. Vision – 373 points (5 first place votes)

People always talk about Captain America like he was the heart of the Avengers, but for roughly a decade, they featured one character on the covers and it wasn’t Cap…

Yes, for years, the android (or whatever he is) Vision was pretty much the most consistent thing about the Avengers, and since he was one of the characters who did not have a solo book, the Avengers was the place where you would see character development with the Vision, including his famed relationship with the Scarlet Witch that would eventually result in a marriage and twin boys (through literally magic sperm).

For years, the Vision was one of the powerhouses of the Avengers. He had this one trick where he would fly into the sky, turn his body’s density to that of diamond and then fall down on a bad guy. Totally awesome.

After being around for a couple of decades, John Byrne decided that the Vision worked better back in the early days when he was still learning to be human (rather than totally accepted by everyone and just a dude who happens to have red synthetic skin). So Byrne sent him back to square one (and had his magic kids with the Scarlet Witch go bye-bye).

Eventually he got back to a state close to what he was pre-Byrne, just in time to be destroyed in Avengers Disassembled.

A newer form of the Vision is currently a member of the Young Avengers, but you have to figure that the original Vision will come back at some point.

49. Cable – 377 points (12 first place votes)

Speaking of coming back, Cable is soon to make his return in an upcoming series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Cable burst on to the scene towards the tail end of the New Mutants ongoing series and gave the directionless young mutants, well, a direction. He turned them into a mutant strike force (hence them changing their name to X-Force).

Cable was the son of Cyclops and the clone of Jean Grey. He was infected with this futuristic virus so Cyclops sent him into the future to save his life. Eventually, the boy grew up into the powerful freedom fighter named Cable, leader of a rebellion against the evil Apocalypse. Cable went back in time to stop Apocalypse in his past (or present – well, our past, but at the time our present).

After Apoclaypse was seemingly defeated, Cable sort of wandered around, purpose-wise. For a time, he worked alongside Deadpool.

Most recently, he served as protector and father figure to the young mutant known as Hope. He protected her from those trying to hurt her, as she was destined to restart the mutant race (after it had been halted by the magic of the Scarlet Witch). Once she reached young adulthood, Cable was able to leave her in the care of the X-Men and he sacrificed himself one last time to protect her.

But, of course, he’ll be back soon!

48. Psylocke – 384 points (2 first place votes)

Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock was the purple-haired, telepathic sister of Brian Braddock, the superhero known as Captain Britain. She debuted in the Marvel UK Captain Britain series. Eventually, she made her way to the United States where she joined the X-Men. She had a fairly undistinguished tenure on the team (one of those “oh, were you here the whole time? Seriously? I did not notice you standing there” things) until she underwent a change and showed up in an attractive asian ninja’s body (still with purple hair, though – did they ever explain that part? How the asian body also had purple hair?). She became a popular member of the X-Men (especially as drawn by Jim Lee) and stayed with the team for some time. While she has stayed mostly to the background the past 20 years or so, she recently took on a more prominent role in the new Uncanny X-Force, where writer Rick Remender is doing some great work with her.

Story continues below

47. Invisible Woman – 393 points (6 first place votes)

You might not think much of Sue Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman, but let me tell you something, buddy. if Lincoln’s mother was not around to inspire Honest Abe, we would not have had one of the best U.S. Presidents of all-time! Likewise, Sue is there to inspire Reed, Ben and Johnny. Yes, she doesn’t do things, but she inspires THEM to do things! And this one time, she distracted Doctor Doom and that was quite useful.

Seriously, though, the Invisible Woman has long since moved past the days of anyone having to defend her or her place on the Fantastic Four. Over the last decade or so, she has become the MOST powerful member of the team, all the while keeping together a family with a superhero husband who is prone to, well, not exactly keeping his eye on the prize. Heck, just putting up with Reed sometimes seems to be a superpower.

46. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) – 420 points (4 first place votes)

Spider-Woman reminds me a lot of Kiefer Sutherland. Both burst on to the scene not just seemingly destined for stardom, but practically THRUST on the public as stars, complete with names that showed a connection between them and an established star (SPIDER-Woman and Kiefer SUTHERLAND). While each showed some success, their star more or less faded (Sutherland stopped getting starring roles in major motion pictures and Spider-Woman’s comic was canceled after 50 issues). Then they both entered periods of small, but respected work (Jessica Drew became a cool supporting character in titles like Wolverine and Sutherland did some good supporting actor work – he was really good in Dark City, for instance). Then, much later in their careers, they each enjoyed a renaissance on a smaller scale (Sutherland as a TV star and Spider-Woman as a member of the New Avengers). Plus, both of them have been involved in series where characters want to know “Who are you working for?!?!?”

As an aside, where the heck is Lindsay McCabe? She was such a major supporting character for Jessica Drew, even well after she was Spider-Woman, but she’s nowhere to be found. Weird. You’d figure someone would at least bring her back to kill her off, right?

Check back tomorrow for DC’s #45-41!


Am I the only one hoping you’ll do writeups more like those XMen ones you did?

Ah, maybe not.

I don’t think any of these characters would have made my top 50, but hey, different strokes…

Sue Storm really gets little respect as compared to the other 3 of the FF.I just hope H.E.R.B.I.E. does not get more points then her. ;)

Cable?! Seriously? I had no idea he still got so much love, as his introduction heralded the worst era in the history of X-Men comics.

And Betsy Braddock/Psylocke used to be one of my favourite Marvel characters before Jim Lee did that ridiculous “sexy bondage ninja” transformation to her. I can’t believe that’s never been undone!

The Crazed Spruce

September 3, 2011 at 6:06 am

Haven’t touched my top 25 yet.

Vision, Psylocke, and Invisible Woman all had high and low points in their careers, but none of them were consistently entertaining enough for me to consider them. I like Spider-Woman and all, but she finished just outside of my top 25.

Cable, on the other hand, is a prime example of the absolute worst of comic books in the 90’s. Sure, eventually he had a few good moments, but he finished much too high on the list, you ask me.

Cable gets a lot of hate, but I think he definitely has substance to his character, even if it doesn’t always show through. I think he has been a lot better recently.

Yeah, Vision, one of mine!

Interesting batch. I voted for Sue but didn’t expect her to place. I have a feeling Marvel’s may be a more eclectic crew than the DC 50…

In response to the people who don’t like Cable – I voted him in my ten. The problem with him is he’s a character who it’s easy to use in a rather dull way – as a generic tough guy character. His best story lines happened at the end of the original Cable series, through Soldier X and Cable and Deadpool, and then the more recent Cable stories largely reset all that development back to generic tough-guy. But when he is played as being a radical utopian political aim, rather than just shooting at people with oversized guns, he can be a fascinating character.

I’d also say, Deadpool and Cable really benefit from each others presence in a series, just on the basis that they level out each others extremely daft/extremely serious points, so function as great foils for each other where on their own they can be a bit too much.

I don’t want to sound mean or sarcastic, but I would like a REAL Cable fan to please explain to me the appeal of the character. I won’t make jokes or be hateful, but I just have never found the character interesting and I want someone to explain to me what I’m missing.


I am happy to defend Vision to anyone who’ll listen. I have always been a fan and I wish he was higher up on the list!

Alex H,: That was solid! Thanks!

To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of Cable myself, but once I read his series with Deadpool, I started to change my mind. Fabian Nicieza did a fantastic job developing both characters.

No one on my list here, but as I recall my Marvel list was pretty dominated by lower-tier characters–which is not to say that none of them will show up, but they’d be pleasant surprises.

I have zero interest in Psylocke and sub-zero interest in Cable, but that’s only natural because I stopped reading X-Men before they were invented and whenever anyone tries to explain the character concepts to me it makes my head spin. (And then I understand what my wife must feel whenever I talk to her about comics and her eyes glaze over.)

I’ve always liked these others, though. Vision was always a good addition to the Avengers mix, and often used more interestingly than his DC counterpart, Red Tornado. I haven’t really followed the events around his death or who this new Vision is, though. The Vision I knew goes up to (but does not include) the Byrne WCA run.

Similarly, I always really liked Spider-Woman, but I only really know her from her (entire) first series. I don’t really have a sense of who she is after she came back from the dead. I read some of the Secret Invasion stuff and her Agent of SWORD series and a few of the Bendis Avengers trades, but with the way comics are written nowadays they didn’t really help me get a sense of who she is now or how she reappeared.

Sue, though–I really like Sue. She was given short shrift for a long time, but I do really feel like she’s come into her own in recent decades. And when she’s referred to as the most powerful member of the FF nowadays, I really do believe it. I feel like a lot of the time she’s handled better in the Marvel Adventures universe, but that’s true of most Marvel characters really.

Right on Alex H.!
A list of all first place votes would be cool, after the countdown!

How Spiderwoman placed ahead of Invisible Woman is beyond em.

Vision just missed making my list. No one from either of my lists have appeared so far.

I’m not a Cable fan, but I’m fine with his inclusion in the top fifty. Psylocke, though?

Sue and Jessica Drew are both characters I really like, so I’m happy to see them, if not higher.

How did Invisible Woman place in the 40s? She should be much higher! She’s like the badass matron of the Marvel Universe. I’m intrigued to see who’s ahead of her, Psylocke, and Spider-Woman. Must be some crazy choices.

Five characters whose moment is probably in the past.
50. The Vision: I happen to like him, but the concept is so Sixties. There are more than a few variations on the “Tin Man” concept (i.e. – a robot with human emotions) in superhero comics. However, The Vision is easily the best. The spookiness of his powers makes him just unnerving enough to sell the concept. For whatever reason, the Tin Man has fallen out of favor in pop culture and taken the ninth coolest Avenger with it.

49. Cable: This is Mr. 90s. It is so strange that at the moment when the Western World was enjoying more peace & prosperity that pop culture was so focused on dystopias. I never personally felt much of a need to dream of a more dangerous world, but Cable seems like a decent vehicle for doing that.

48. Psylocke: This is the poster character for “bad girl” trend. The X-office took a perfectly adequate supporting player and turned her into a ninja sex worker. Her buttocks seemingly are allergic to man-made fabrics, but she has cool stabbing weapons. Like Cable, Psylocke has had an enduring influence primarily by changing the manner in which older characters have been depicted.

47. Sue Storm-Richards: Unlike the others, Sue seems like she still has great stories left in her. She has all the attributes of the “perfect woman” circa 1960. That is, of course, the moment immediately prior to Second Wave feminism. It is not as though that type of person stopped existing just because pop culture stopped glorifying them. It would be interesting to see that character re-thought with the 21st Century in mind. I mean, can we conceive of Meghan McCain as heroic?

46. Spider-Woman: She just might be the best character ever created for copyright purposes. It is her, or Kathy Kane.

Ugh. I didn’t think anyone actually liked Spider-Woman. Excepting her brief detecting career as Jessica Drew, she’s been stuck with a bad costume, lame powers, and lamer writers (I’M LOOKING AT YOU BENDIS!!!!!!exclamationpoint)

I am surprised with the bit of a renaissance that Hickman is giving her at time that Susan Storm Richards didn’t get more votes. What effect, if any does Spider-Woman’s presence have on Bendis’s Avengers? Yet contrast to that to Sue trying to deal with Nathaniel, Reed and Victor in under the same roof, And she clocked Namor. Go Sue!

I was probably too flippant about Jessica Drew.

Like Sue Storm, Spider-Woman is the platonic ideal of what pop culture was exalting in women around the time of her creation. Her long dark hair recall Crystal Gayle. Her vaguely European background and origins on the wrong side of the tracks recalls dozens of movies, including THE SPY WHO LOVED ME.

Jessica Drew was femminine ideal of the Carter Administration, which is an era that has suffered a withering and sustained backlash. I am sure someone could give her a compelling inner life. I have just never seen it.

I can’t remember if I voted for Vision or if he got pushed to #11… either way, I’m glad to see him on here!!! I think he’s got plenty of great stories left in him.

Five characters whose moment is probably in the past.

I don’t see that at all in the case of Psylocke and Spider-Woman. They are definitely here because of their prominent roles in popular current series. Psylocke in Uncanny X-Force and Spider-Woman in the Avengers.

I’m glad to see Vision still makes the top 50, even if just barely. I also think it’s a sign of Marvel’s gross mismanagement of the character since the early 80’s that he ended up this low. I bet if this poll had been taken in 1975 (when, granted, there were many fewer characters to pick from), Vision would have been a top 20 or even top 10 pick. Unfortunately he stopped being badass around 1979 and had one horrible twist after another dumped on him (see: Englehart’s 12 issue V+SW mini series and John Byrne the Antichrist’s complete and vicious destruction of the character in WCA as a response, from which Vision has never recovered).

I am kind of surprised Cable and Invisible women are so low down the list. Then again there are a metro asston of Marvel characters.

Oh, one question, Is the new Vision from the Young Avengers and the Old Vision counted as one person in this?

I agree with Brian, in that the current Uncanny X-Force series is the first time I really gave a damn about Psylocke, showed her as a multi-facted person, and pretty badass to boot.

Oh, one question, Is the new Vision from the Young Avengers and the Old Vision counted as one person in this?


oh, excellent, Thank you for the reply.

It seems even Marvel confuses the two or thinks they are the same person at times. I wonder if Vision II (Thats what I shall call him) will end up on the list.

@ Brian Cronin:

I don’t see that at all in the case of Psylocke and Spider-Woman. They are definitely here because of their prominent roles in popular current series. Psylocke in Uncanny X-Force and Spider-Woman in the Avengers.

That first sentence probably should have been clearer. What I meant to say was that their cultural moment is in the past. That is not necessarily a bad thing. For example, Quentin Tarantino has made a career out of the clever use of actors that are past their cultural moment in new stories.

Honestly, the slow vanishing of mass media has made figures that can evoke the collective moods of prior eras pretty valuable. Unlike the music business that will never get another album from Nirvana, Cable and Psylocke can chug along forever.

can not believe. both Vision and sue wound up ranking that low for thought they would not show up till way in the top five or ten. spider woman kind of figured she would rank low. cable surprise to see he still can rank given he is one character that was part of the gimmick and dark and gritty of the 90’s of the comic industry.

Chad, I am surprised by Sue, but the Vision I is understandable considering he has been dead for years and the Avengers was not exactly Marvel’s primiere book before disassembled like it is today.

The reason Cable and Psylocke made it so high on this list is because us Silver Agers are too tired to vote.

Chad, I think just old timers like me voted for the Vision. When I was a kid, he was a great character, but Byrne destoyed him.

Brian will you please please please post write-ups soon thank you

The Vision Love him but wasn’t on my list
Cable I must say I did not know this list was voted on in the 90s [I kid Cable is OK in my Book]
Psylocke So two people think she is the best marvel character EVER WOW
Invisble Woman Why is she not higher really
Spider-Woman Who voted on this one hundred Bendis clones[I kid again please do not come and kill me Bendis]

Spider-Woman’s costume looks weird on that cover. It looks like it’s painted on her body, I guess all costumes kind of look like that but the “realistic” style that she’s drawn in makes the costume look really strange to me. I guess the thing that breaks the illusion for me is that we can see her belly button through the skin tight fabric of her costume.

Psylocke got TWO first place votes? But how did Chris Claremont get to vote twice?!

I too was stunned to see Cable rank so highly. I can’t say that there have never been any good Cable stories, because I’ve read so few, but what I’ve read haven’t been very good.

The Vision used to be really great. But I guess it’s been a very long time since anyone’s taken much notice of him.

I also thought Sue should’ve ranked much higher.

I never got around to submitting a list. It was too hard for me to narrow them down, so I gave up.

I’m 26 (older than some, but not an “old-timer”, I think) and I voted for The Vision. Spider-Man is Spider-Man, but I don’t think I can pick which is my next-favorite character between The Vision, Ben Grimm, and Dr.Doom. I’m not saying ’70s and early ’80s Avengers are the greatest comic books of all time, but their very nearly my favorite. I’d be happy reading stories featuring the Vision startling Jarvis in the mansion and Wonder Man and the Beast going to the movies for the rest of my life.

Ha. Nice job on the write-ups, Brian.

Four characters I actively loathe and the character I voted as my #1. I’m not a huge fan of her direction over the last couple years, but I have enough fondness for her original series and the first couple years of New Avengers that Spider-Woman remains my favourite.

“Interesting batch. I voted for Sue but didn’t expect her to place. I have a feeling Marvel’s may be a more eclectic crew than the DC 50…”

I think the inclusion of Vertigo characters pretty much guarantees the DC will be more eclectic. We’ve already seen Death, Spider Jerusalem and a supporting character in DC’s first five, so that’s pretty diverse already.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 4, 2011 at 5:43 am

DEFEND CABLE? I accept your challenge;
He’s a cool cyborg.
He WAS a man of mysterious motives and origins.
He was born in the present, but raised in the future, but came back from the future to save… I quit.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 4, 2011 at 6:07 am

As for the Vision, I can only think of two memorable moments before Wonder Man returned: Even an Android Can Cry, and when he finally admitted he loved Wanda. I always thought he was supposed to be like Spock, emotional but repressed, but the writers/artists never seemed to run with that. And I realize that Vision was in the corner logo, but I always loved the promo pic Marvel used with Vision, Scarlet Witch, and HAWKEYE! (Guess my favorite Avenger.)

In response to Brian’s question about Psylocke’s hair, I always presumed that she just kept dyeing it. Her appearances in Captain Britain made clear that it’s not naturally that colour.

“46. Spider-Woman: She just might be the best character ever created for copyright purposes. It is her, or Kathy Kane.”

She-Hulk has to be a strong contender for that title. I really, really like the Dan Slott run.

Psylocke’s hair represents the focused totality of the purple prose she’s written in.

I didn’t know Spider-Woman was ever a Wolverine supporting character, but I never really read Wolverine between the first miniseries and the occasional Jason Aaron trade. Would that have been Skrull Jessica? I wasn’t really around for her coming back for the dead, so I have no idea how that happened.

Urgh, Cable. Nothing more than a degraded copy of the characters Arnold Schwarzenegger became famous for playing. And then things became even worse when he became another part of the insanely complicated Summers Family Tree. I am guilty of nothing given the character too many chances after that. I hear some of his later stories are good.

buttler’s comment made me choke on my twizzler, almost. (not a euphemism)

And then I had to look at this post again, and see that Brian IS doing writeups with a bit of bite to them. YES!

I didn’t know Spider-Woman was ever a Wolverine supporting character, but I never really read Wolverine between the first miniseries and the occasional Jason Aaron trade. Would that have been Skrull Jessica? I wasn’t really around for her coming back for the dead, so I have no idea how that happened.

No, it was pre-Skrull Jessica. After she came back from the dead in Roger Stern’s Avengers, Jessica lost her powers and became a private investigator. She ended up getting involved in Wolverine’s life as “Patch” in Madripoor.

Ew – poor turnout here.

Though I do have a small amount of affection for Cable. The stories are crap, but somehow the worst artist in comics throwing all his lack of talent into one over the top mess turned out a character who looks great

Cable deserves to be higher on the list

Just saying

Vision and Susan Storm should be higher.

Random Cable question: has his first 2 issue miniseries ‘Blood and Metal’ with John Romita Jr ever been collected?
Just wondering.

Also: Skrull Queen Veranke > Jessica Drew. Is this considered trolling? haha

Cable deserves to be higher on the list

Just saying

Yep, he’s at 49, I was thinking that is too low of a number, he definitely should be higher, closer to 180 or so.

Vision has faltered ever since his marriage with Wanda was nullified/annulled/whatever. They were such an awesome couple. I miss the Avengers.

Oh, and Vision is a syntheziod I believe.

Vision behind Cable and Psylocke (one of the most ridiculously stupid characters in comics) makes me sad.

Cable has been one of the best written characters of the last 15 years.

He also was Marvel’s character of the year in 2004.

Read The Burnt Offering and tell me he’s not a great character. Most people who knock the character haven’t read the comics, or have only read the Liefeld stuff.

On paper, he’s pretty bad but in the comics themselves he’s been written very well.

Well, at least X-Man did not show up. (I hope)

@ Jon:

While i am no longer a fan of Cable, i really love Cyclops & Jean Grey and the fact that he is their time lost son really is a cool idea to me. Also, when Cable came on the scene, he was a mutant ‘drill sergeant’ who had a really well built up connection to the X-men, but his backstory was revealed bit by bit. He had a computer guide named Professor, and there were lots of little tips to tease out who he was. He had some great interactions with Cyclops especially in X-men [i forget the number].

Another thing that i loved about his story is that he was supposed to be the messiah of the future mutants, but they LOST, and he was sent back to try to prevent that from ever happening. Sort of like Terminator, but in reverse. With all he lived through in his screwed up future world, plus all the pressure of having lost & now having to win in his past/ the X-men’s present, along with the fact that there had been an X-traitor, you could see why he was so tense & pissed all the time.

The best writters made use of this backstory, the worst writters made him a big tough guy with GUNS! So, that’s why i really liked Cable when i was reading X-men. i don’t know what has happeded in the last ~10 years with him.

i hope that helps!

Glad to see the Vision making the list. He’s # 5 on my Marvel list.

The whole idea of artificial human-like person, along with his cool powers, makes him pretty unique.

I’ve found the majority of your complaints against Cable quite… silly. I mean, there is a lot of nonsense and ignorance behind these kind of comments.

First of all, a lot of the complainers says that they don’t like Cable, but also said that they don’t have read any of the comics about the character (when he was written by Louise Simonson, Fabian Nicieza and Jeph Loeb, or recently by Duane Swierczynski, or when Cable was the leader of X-Force in the 90’s and in the beggining of the new millennia), and also have admited that they don’t even know him at all…

So… If you haven’t read about a character or you don’t know him, how can you say that he doesn’t belong to this list?

I really like Cable. In the first place, he is not a cyborg, he’s not a freaking robot or something by that. Cable is infected by a techno-organic virus that have transformed his limbs, organs and other parts of his body in living metal.

Second, his used as a “gun toting cyborg” just by a few bad writters. If you read any of the the work made by Loeb and Nicieza, you will find a great character.

Why is Cable a cool mutant? He has a convulsed origin, I know, but he has algo great back up stories that explains this past and when you read it all, suddenly all has sense.

Cable is a master strategist, and an excellent martial artist. He is been capable of kicking Deadpool’s ass, and also has managed to combat and handled very well both Wolverine and Bishop at the same time.

In terms of philosophy, he is something in between Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr. In fact, Cyclops conduct is very similar to the philosphy Cable holds about the mutant race. If you don’t believe this, I recomend you to read X-Force 25 (Fatal Attractions crossover of X-titles) and you will see this.

Finally, Cable has an enormous amount of power. His battle agains The Hulk during The Onslaught event, was incredible.

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