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CSBG Archive

2011 Top Marvel Characters #40-36

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. The countdown continues…

Results now, write-ups later!

40. Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket/Dr. Pym/Wasp (Hank Pym) – 437 points (6 first place votes)

39. Black Widow (Natasha Romanova)– 452 points (3 first place votes)

38. Black Panther (T’Challa) – 457 points (9 first place votes)

37. Moon Knight – 461 points (8 first place votes)

36. X-23 –470 points (12 first place votes)


I was suprised by Moon Knights placement, pretty high for basically a Batman knock off, but then I saw no. 36….wow, thats lame.

Kyle & Yost have done some decent stuff with X-23. But it’s still a little high….

@Philip Ayres

X-23 ranks high for a few reasons.

1) It’s Wolverine
2) It’s Wolverine that fanboys feel good fantasizing about
3) She’s always drawn to be hot
4) She has gotten good characterization under K&Y
5) It’s Wolverine
6) Liu’s run has been amazing so far
7) Female Wolverine

Seems like having a solo series makes it easier to gather votes.

The Crazed Spruce

September 7, 2011 at 5:53 am

My Marvel Top 10 remains untouched.

Hank Pym finished just outside my Top 25. I like him well enough, but it seems like half the time, writers can’t decide if he’s supposed to be boring, depressed, or bats**t crazy. A bit more character consistency might’ve pushed him onto my list.

Black Widow was #20 on my list. She’s basically the female Jason Bourne to Nick Fury’s James Bond. That, and she looks darn good in tight leather catsuits.

If I’d put together a Top 50, Black Panther might’ve made the cut, probably somewhere in the 30’s, but as it is, he didn’t place. He’s an interesting character, for the most part, and he has a unique backstory, especially for the era in which he was created. And I love him in the new Avengers cartoon. He just flew a bit below my radar, is all.

And speaking of flying under the radar, I didnt even think about Moon Knight. That probably tells you how much of a fan of the character I am. But I only know him from West Coast Avengers, so maybe if I’d read his regular series, I’d have slipped him onto my list. You never know.

X-23? As The Miz would say, really? Really? REALLY??!? She’s literally a sexed-up, teenaged Wolverine clone, and no matter how much fake characterization writers try to slather onto her, that’s pretty much all she’ll ever be. Geez, and I thought Cable placed too high on this list. (And don’t even get me started on the 14 people (!) who had her in first place….)

The Crazed Spruce

September 7, 2011 at 5:55 am

Whoops. That should read “12 people who had her in first place”. My point still stands.

Hank Pym – Meh
Black Widow – Quite good
Black Panther – Don’t like at all
Moon Knight – Never read him.

X-23 – Admittedly I’ve only read her stuff from the X-23/Nyx harrdcover, but I found her an interesting and engaging character. There was nothing sexed up about her in those stories.

Seeing Ant-Man on this list is probably the biggest shocker for me. Always thought he was too much of a sad sack.

black pather is another one i am surprise is not ranked in the very top. x-23 surprise her being wolverines clone did not score her more points like maybe taking off this set and to the next one.

I actually had to check Wikipedia to see who X-23 is.. I guess I’m completely out of the X-Men loop these days.

But I guess it’s nice to see a new character to place so high in this poll, considering that almost everyone else in it was created 25-70 years ago.

BLACK PANTHER!!! Phew. I was starting to get worried none of my picks would make the list.

(I still don’t see Power Pack or Longshot making it, but fingers are crossed)

Yeah, Longshot seems like a…bet with a remote possibility of success. If only there were a word for that.

I really hope someone who voted X-23 as their favorite comes on to explain it. Not being sarcastic here, I really would like to know the reasons for this. Can anyone explain?

So far out of my list Black Panther and Vision have appeared.

“She’s literally a sexed-up, teenaged Wolverine clone, and no matter how much fake characterization writers try to slather onto her, that’s pretty much all she’ll ever be”

What is “fake characterization”? Isn’t all fictional charazterization fake?

I have no interest in the Wolverteens, but a solid list otherwise. I’m a little surprised Panther and Widow aren’t higher, but Pym and Moon Knight seem placed about right.

I’m catching up on my X-Men comics and I actually like X-23, but it boggles my mind that 12 people would consider their all-time favorite.

I will say that after reading a ton of X-Men over the past 50 days or so, Cable and Caliban would’ve made my list if I could do it over.

Hm, in my personal list, X-23 is around #5. Spider-Man being #1. :D

Solid list so far, though. X-23 is a pretty cool character.

Wow, Ninjazilla. I haven’t heard the ol’ “Moon Knight is just a Batman knock-off” in years. Seriously dude, stop taking your opinions from internet threads that are several years old. If you want to tell me you have read the essential Moon Knight stuff and you still think he’s a Batman knock-off, I’d say you should probably stay away from comics until you build up a basic understanding of character.

On another note: I’m surprised to see black widow and X-23 so high up! Maybe I should check out some newer black Panther stuff too…

@ butler…nice.

A picture of Giant-Man probably would’ve been better. That’s who Pym is now.

i love Hank Pym!

Just wanted to get that out. i don’t really care if he isn’t written well these days, as i can’t bring myself to buy Marvel anymore. My 1st arc in comics was in Avengers 215-235 where lots is done with Hank, all his mistakes, and brings him to a very heroic place. Anyone who looks down on him should read it.

YAY T’CHALLA!!! I think he was my #3 or 4 choice. I’m starting to worry that my #1 won’t show up…

Wow, Black Panther down at #36 is a bit of a shock, he hasn’t been in the spotlight too much lately, but I’d definitely consider him more iconic than Moon Knight (x-23 doesn’t bother me as much, she’s a flavour of the week who won’t have a lasting presence, she’s super-popular now but will be a footnote in 5-10 years).

Seeing that cover of Marvel Knights Black Panther #1 makes me want to re-read the series, Priest absolutely killed it on that book and MD Bright even penciled a few issues which always makes me nostalgic for Quantum and Woody….whatever happened to those two? Priest in particular is sorely missed….

The Crazed Spruce

September 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

@entzauberung: “Fake characterization” is a writer’s attempt to tack a personality trait onto a character, or give them a source of drama, that doesn’t mesh with the way the character has usually been presented, and is typically ignored by the next writer to work on the character, especially if they fade from public view for a while in between. (A good example would be the time Juggernaut bonded with that fish boy, hooked up with She-Hulk, and joined the X-Men for a few issues.)

Moon Knight, BP, and Pym all barely failed to make my list.

I’m pretty sure Black Panther was on my list. Even if the Hudlin series was pretty rough, the Priest & Texiera/ Velluto & Almond/ etc. comics were outstanding. T’Challa came off as a badass, but highly fallible. He became an interesting character for the first time in years. Kirby’s simple costume and Texiera’s tweaks made for a strong visual.

If you have ever wondered why Marvel beat DC every month of the direct market era, then I would suggest comparing this list to the comparable DC list. While the vast majority of the DC characters were derivative to one degree or another, these characters are nearly all original. That gives later creators a lot more flexibility.

40. Hank Pym: The former Ant-Man really is the king of the Marvel B-listers. He held down the co-lead in the least beloved Lee-Kirby strip of the Silver Age. He is the founding Avenger that gets the most overlooked. Yet, Hank Pym has been featured in a ton of classic stories. He was darker and more protean than any characters that had come before.

39 Black Widow: Natasha Romanoff is an interesting character. Like Donna Troy, Black Widow was one type of character that became another rather abruptly. The dark-haired femme fatale transformed into the red-haired Emma Peel type in The Amazing Spider-Man #86 and has never looked back. She has a sixties sexuality that is a key part of her appeal. Also like Donna Troy, she has been romantically connected with a wide range of her fellows.

Unlike Donna Troy, Black Widow is not tethered to another character. Her history can be tweaked in ways that make sense for her.

38. Black Panther: T’Challa always seems like he should be a bigger character than he is. He is one of the few superheroes that has it all: a unique base of operations, a distinct mission and his own modus operandi. He is just an odd fit with the very New York focused Marvel line. It seems as though they are constantly having to chose between leaving him where he is unique and putting him in a place where he can interact with the rest of their characters.

37. Moon Knight: He has never done anything for me personally, but he has fronted a couple moderately successful series.

36. X-23: It sometimes seems like comics only have, like, five ideas on how to move a franchise along. Ten years ago, the idea of Wolverine having his own little Marvel Family was beyond satire, yet here is Mary Wolverine to go with Wolverine, Jr.


Well said, sir!

I’m pretty sure I had X-23 on my list – though definitely not in the top spot – and I have to say that part of the reason I like her so much is that she’s one of the LEAST “sexed up” female characters I’m familiar with (disclaimer: I never read NYX, and I am aware that she was a prostitute in it, but I think that’s been mentioned once in all the comics I have read, and it was presented as about as sexy as Batman watching his parents get shot).

Most writers (of books I’ve seen her in) seem to acknowledge that she’s too young to sexualize without it being a little creepy and the only artists (of books I’ve seen her in) who draw her as buxom are the ones who seem incapable of drawing women who aren’t buxom (which does happen – being an artist doesn’t automatically make you an expert on human anatomy).

Not that I have a problem with “sexed up” female characters (or male ones, for that matter) but I just like that X-23 gets to be all about business most of the time. She gets beaten up and mangled as much as any male character does (it sounds wrong that I’m presenting that as a plus, but it does make her seem like she’s on equal footing with male characters).

As for the common jibe that her fans only like her because “she’s a Wolverine they can have sex with” (1) her connection to Wolverine has nothing to do with why I like her personally (except for the fact that if she weren’t connected to the X-Men in general I’d probably never have read a book with her in it); Wolverine didn’t even make my list (2) if Wolverine were one of my favorite characters, why would I want to have sex with him? Unless I were gay (or a heterosexual woman) in which case why would I want to have sex with a girl version of him? Heck, Nightcrawler was my top character, and Nocturne didn’t make my list. Of course (3) the obvious implication there is “ha ha, X-23 fans are all Wolverine fans that are gay but can’t admit it to themselves! ha ha!” which … aren’t we above that level of homophobia here? Really?

Well, good to see that seven other people shared my #1. Having a solo title obviously helps (even if *is* being written by Bendis) along with the bit-part in an Avengers B-team.

For all that I’ve complained to myself and others about certain character directions at Marvel over the last few years, the one I 100% commend them for is the rehabilitation of Hank Pym post-Secret Invasion. The combination of genuinely interesting and respectful characterisation with the fact that he’s mainly appeared in honest-to-goodness good comics has done wonders for him. Heck, even the Avengers cartoon version is interesting and different.

Honestly I’d argue that if X-23 wasn’t a Wolverine Clone she’d rank far higher. There’s very little beyond her powerset that copies Wolverine. She’s been in great writing hands and what’s been developing is a very nuanced teen character who has been through hell. She’s been emotionally scarred by her life this far and her stories, particularly in Liu’s hands, have been exploring how truly dysfunctional she is and her efforts to move beyond that. Her initial mini referred to Pinnochio and it’s an apt description of her character arc. She’s been on a quest to find herself and become something more than just a wooden puppet.

If you haven’t read her solo series, give it a try. So far its been amazing and is at the top of my read pile each week it comes out.

The Crazed Spruce
But if the “new” charracterization sticks, then it ceases to be fake?

I can’t really speak for how X-23 is currently written, but in her early appearances she was way more different from her “parent character” than, say, She-Hulk originally was (a character that was saved by “fake characterization” that stuck).

I’m not the best judge of X-23 because I don’t have a lot of interest in the X-books in general, but the problem is that the comics I’ve read her in didn’t make me want to read more about the character. Very much the opposite. I think all I read of her was NYX, which was dreadful, and the X-Force “Angels and Demons” trade, which I thought was pretty ridiculous as well. I will say that while I haven’t found X-23 at all interesting in those comics, at least they didn’t make me loathe the very sight of her like everything I’ve seen of Daken.

as baffled as I am by X-23 placing this high, she seems a TINY bit better than Dock Ken.

X-23’s placement is just BAFFLING. I guess I should be reading Uncanny X-Force.

All of these other characters I adore, and Hank made my list.

I didn’t put X-23 on my list, but I’m not surprised to see her show up. It’s unfortunate that thematic connections with an established character are almost necessary to launch a new character these days— especially a woman. It just gives fans an extra means by which to dismiss them, regardless of the quality of their stories. A lose-lose scenario.

Natasha was my #1. I’m glad she’s much much higher than last time, but I think she’s still criminally underrated, especially by a list that will no doubt put Hawkeye several places up. (Disclaimer: Hawkeye was on my list, too.) I don’t think Marvel has a female character who has been so (relatively) good for so long.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Hank Pym and Black widow are the first from my Marvel list to make it. I’m wondering how many Avengers vs. X-Men (mutants) will make the list. I’m expecting 100% from the Fantastic Four and we’re already half way there.

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