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CSBG Archive

2011 Top Marvel Characters #35-31

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…

Write-ups later, results now!

35. Nova (Richard Rider) – 486 points (6 first place votes)

34. Gambit – 505 points (17 first place votes)

33. Sub-Mariner (Namor) – 539 points (7 first place votes)

32. The Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox) – 554 points (11 first place votes)

31. Scarlet Witch – 556 points (9 first place votes)

Check back tomorrow for DC’s #30-26!


I voted for Gambit. What can I say, I’m a kid of the 90s.

Well, clearly you weren’t the only one. ;)

Huh. Well, I do like Namor and Wanda.

Madrox always seemed kind of cool, but I’ve read hardly any X-Factor, so when last I knew him he was just a Muir Island lab assistant. I understand he’s come a long way since then.

Similarly, I mostly remember Nova from the 1970s as basically Peter Parker in space, but I enjoyed him back then. It seems like there’s been some cool stuff with him in the Marvel “cosmic” titles lately, but I never read a page of New Warriors so I can’t vouch for that era at all.

Gambit, well, it takes all kinds.

hotdamn, 17 first place votes for Gambit. Kids of the 90s unite!

I’m very impressed that the Scarlet Witch made it so high! Now they just need to fix her. Go, Wanda!

The Crazed Spruce

September 9, 2011 at 7:49 am

Nothing from my list this time, either. Not from lack of trying, though.

Nova and Namor have always been two of my favourite characters. Two more examples of characters that would’ve found a spot on my list if I’d thought about them when putting my list together. (To be fair, it’s probably because Namor hasn’t been much more than a cypher since his series (the last truly great comic that John Byrne put out, in my opinion) was cancelled, and Nova’s current series (which I hear is pretty awesome) isn’t available around here.)

I loved Gambit back in the day, but the character kinda wore on me after a while. That whole cocky attitude of his only goes so far, you ask me.

I like Madox and all, but he finised just outside my Top 25. Maybe if I’d seen more than a couple of issues of the current X-Factor series, I might’ve voted him higher.

I’ve always liked Scarlet Witch, but with the way they basically destroyed he character a few years ago, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for her.

Okay, from my so-far-untouched Top 10, I’ve got three that are solid locks for the Top 10, three more likely Top 25 contenders, three supporting characters that might find a slot, and one that I’d be surprised if it cracked the Top 100. (In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone else voted for Damage Control.) How’s everyone else’s Top 10 shaping up?

How many ballots were cast the last time this list was done?

I actually don’t know, offhand, Nick. It was the first poll we did on the site, though, so it was surely the fewest of all the polls we’ve done so far. My guess is 700 ballots as opposed to roughly 1,400 this time around.

I can actually hear Greg Burgas’ howl of indignation that Gambit was ahead of Moon Knight on the poll.

Wow, none of my Marvel picks have shown up yet. 6 or 7 of them are shoe-ins to still show up, but I’m guessing the other 3, maybe 4, don’t have a chance anymore. Kind of surprising.

Yea! gambit!!!! good stuff.

I find myself with very little say about Nova.

I’m a child of the 90s (and the X-Men of the 90s, especially) but the rabid popularity of Gambit has kinda turned me off the character, even though once upon a time there were elements of the character I enjoyed.

I can’t remember where Namor placed in the last poll (if at all), but this seems like a step up for him. Maybe it’s just my recollection. But good for him if it is.

Madrox is consistently the best thing in a very good X-Factor book.

Surprised Scarlet Witch made it this high despite her relatively low profile the last few years.

Namor looks like he’s in serious pain from the aerial muscle flexing he’s doing. He’s the only one here I even considered for my Marvel 10 but didn’t make the cut.

I’m very impressed that the Scarlet Witch made it so high! Now they just need to fix her. Go, Wanda!

Agreed. Maybe they can restart all their books at #1 or something.

The Crazed Spruce

September 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

You ask me, it’s a sign that they should cure her mental instability somehow and bring her back to The Avengers. But that’s just my opinion…..

Those saying they haven’t read the current X-Factor, I can virtually guarantee that you would love Madrox if you did. He’s great.

I think I ended up voting for Layla over Jaime, but I do love Jaime. Glad to see him beat out Gambit, at least.

My problem with reading X-Factor is that I have no idea where to start. I read one of the trades (the Secret Invasion tie-in), and it was hard to make any sense of because I had no idea who anyone was, other than Madrox and Siryn (and they’re so different than I remember that it hardly counts). I feel like I have to go back to the beginning, because the last time I read X-Factor was when it starred the original X-Men, and that would be quite a commitment of time & money at this point.

@buttler: I’d suggest starting with the Madrox limited series. It’s self-contained, and tells you everything you need to know. If you like that, then you can dive into X-Factor proper. Anything you need to know about the characters/tone of X-Factor you can get from that mini.

The Scarlet Witch seems to have ridiculously long thighs on that cover.

buttler: Fair point. They just put out a .1 issue, so I suppose start with that. Maybe just read online the events of the past few years, even though the events of the past few years have been utterly insane and involved time travel, a senile Dr. Doom, dupe babies, resurrections, and god babies.

It’s, uh . . . kind of a complicated series, when I think about it. Plus side? Pip the Troll is now a member.

X-Factor (and Thunderbolts), in the last few years, had some amazing artwork. Peter Davis gave us the enigmatic Layla. He loves magical children. Remember the male child in Supergirl in the late 90’s?
Thunderbolts had Warren Ellis and Mike Deodado Jr. on #’s 110 to 121. And Norman Osbourne.

Yay! Madrox was my #2. I’ve been a huge fan of his since my first issue of X-Factor, #7.
And to address Buttler, if you want to start at the “beginning” then I recommend getting the Madrox mini, then starting with the first volume of the current series. The PAD ’90s stuff is good but very different in tone, content, and cast from the new stuff.

Wow awesome that Gambit ranked so high, considering that he’s only been around for half the amount of time as everyone else.

Wow. It is going to be interesting to see where the point totals start jumping. Every voter had 55 points to award and there were 1,400 voters. That is 77,000 available points. It should be interesting to see who is the first to break the 1,000 point barrier and how quickly we jump from 1,000 to 2,000.

Anyway …

35. Nova: The first instance of the popular “What if Spidey was Green Lantern?” premise. Despite having a great character design by John Romita, I think that he is also the worst. His powers are pretty generic and his personality has never made a strong impression.

34. Gambit: This is another character who never quite worked for me. His powers are interesting and unique. Sadly, the whole scruffy guy in a trench coat thing seemed less “cool” than “guy headed into an adult theater”. Coupled with the faux Cajun accent and he seemed like the kind of guy that you would cross the street to avoid.

33. Namor: On the other hand, this guy is awesome. Marvel has such a rich group of characters that are right on the border between good and bad. Namor is the original in that department. Also, you have to respect a man with the self-confidence to sport a Speedo in his daily life. My big question is whether hairlessness is part his mutation, or if Namor has a vigorous man-scaping routine. My money is on the later.

32. Madrox: I always liked The Multiple Man, but I have missed his break-out in X-FACTOR. He used to be one of the rare mutants that had a sense of humor about himself. I certainly hope that hasn’t changed.

31. Scarlet Witch: Wanda Maximoff is an awesome character in a lot of different ways. She has totally distinctive visual with her sheer body-stocking under the one-piece swimsuit. Add to that a cape and her Kirbyesque head-piece, it is certainly not generic. Plus, she has bunch of really weird, soap operatic relationships. She is Magneto’s daughter, but worked with in the terrorism business without knowing it. Her brother is crazy possessive. Her husband is a robot (or “synthezoid”). Sadly, her powers are nuts. Her hexes have no consistent rules, so she is a wild card in every deck. Superhero fights with too many wild cards tend to stop being fun. It is a shame that Marvel threw the baby out with the bath water here.

nova is the worst but scarlet witch is awesome? yeah, thats not even close to right

My big question is whether hairlessness is part his mutation, or if Namor has a vigorous man-scaping routine.

Obviously the hairlessness gene comes from his mother. Atlanteans live underwater, what would they need hair for?

I haven’t much to say about these characters except Namor. He’s always been a favorite. I guess it goes to show that I haven’t been keeping up…

Namor is the first from my list to show up. Imperious Rex!

My first exposure to Gambit was the first X-Men cartoon. I read the comics too, but at the time the comics arrived a few years late here in Brazil. So the cartoon had Gambit and Jubilee and the new costumes for Cyclops, Jean, etc. before I met them in the comics.

I sort of liked Gambit at the time. He was unique in the MU, more of a trickster figure and a casanova than a straightforward hero and unlike Cable, Bishop, etc. who were just copies of movie action heroes of the time.

But when the comics caught up to the cartoon, I’m not sure I liked Gambit all that much. The X-Traitor storyline was resolved in the first season of the cartoon, I think. In the comics, it lasted years and years of Gambit acting all ambiguous and mysterious. And every new X-Men writer that came after either ignored Gambit or used him in the exact, same way: make him betray the X-Men again, but in a nice, semi-understandable way. They could title his comic Gambit: The Sympathetic Backstabber.

I am glad to see two of my picks, Namor and Scarlet Witch, show up with a respectable ranking. Wanda has been benched too long due to Bendis’s awful characterization in Disassembled. I think it was in Alex Alonzo’s or perhaps Tom Brevoort’s last weekly feature where they promised she would be a break out character in 2012. Now if only “Children’s Crusade” would wind up by the end of the year :-) But I’m still loving her treatment in that mini and it’s a long overdue return to the MU.

As for Dean Hacker’s manscaping comment on Namor….why would he need it? If Atlanteans were real, I would imagine their bodies outer skin would be almost smooth like a dolphin’s. On another note, I enjoyed his lasted solo series and wish it had more fan support but it had frequent switching of artists, some of which were not so great, and that can’t help.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

NOVA I liked his original series.
GAMBIT works best as a counterpoint to Wolverine.
NAMOR original anti-hero?
MADROX really like him when Peter David is writing him.
SCARLET WITCH the token girl to go against Jean Grey, they both ended up powerful enough to destroy the universe.

@ Iron Maiden:

As for Dean Hacker’s manscaping comment on Namor….why would he need it? If Atlanteans were real, I would imagine their bodies outer skin would be almost smooth like a dolphin’s.

Unfortunately, Namor is only half Atlantean. His human father (http://marvel.wikia.com/Leonard_McKenzie_(Earth-616)) looks pretty hairy …

Madrox under the pen of David is awesome! Although I do have to say he got more of the spot light in the first couple of years. I really love how the dupes have different personalities to them.

Like Teebore said – read the Madrox mini. Its a great standalone story and it has the amazing art of Pablo Raimondi (where the hell has he been the last year?????).

After you read that mini – you will be hooked! And then the first 2 years of X-Factor is one of the best runs in comics! Plus Sook and Raimondi back on art!

Unfortunately, Namor is only half Atlantean. His human father (http://marvel.wikia.com/Leonard_McKenzie_(Earth-616)) looks pretty hairy …

And we already know from his Silver Age reintroduction that when Namor lets himself go, he gets mighty shaggy.

Unfortunately, Namor is only half Atlantean. His human father (http://marvel.wikia.com/Leonard_McKenzie_(Earth-616)) looks pretty hairy …

I know but how much time did Leonard McKenzie spend underwater? ;-)

Gambit’s problem is that he was designed to be “super cool” by assembling a list of “super-cool” traits like a trenchcoat, an accent, a bad boy demeanor, a mysterious past, etc. Unfortunately, someone assembling a cliched caricature of a what’s cool would end up with a remarkably similar list of traits.

So if you think the creators took it just up to that line but didn’t cross it, Gambit is the best thing since sliced bread. If instead you think that line was crossed, Gambit’s just a sad, hackneyed shell of a character.

It’s a real love-it or hate-it thing. I totally hate Gambit, but at least I’m self-aware enough to realize it’s more of a matter of opinion and differing perspective than anything else.

Say what you will, Gambit is still the best X-Man der is


Gambit’s problem is that he was designed to be “super cool” by assembling a list of “super-cool” traits


My understanding is that Claremont’s original intent for Gambit was for him to be the heroic yang to Mr. Sinister’s yin; that is, both would be revealed as manifestations of a supremely powerful mutant child, with Mr. Sinister as the personification of the child’s dark side and Gambit the personification of his heroic side.

Which is why Gambit possess that litany of “cool” traits: he’s “cool” as it would be interpreted by a ten year old boy who views good and evil in very simple, straightforward terms.

Of course, Claremont never got the chance to fully reveal all that, and as a result later X-Men writers had to take seriously a character who was, by design, the personification of what a kid thinks of as a “cool hero”.


Thanks, that’s good information and makes a lot of sense!

Ugh. It makes the Rogue/Gambit romance even more unpalatable to me, though. The idea that she fell romantically in love with a child’s conception of a person, I mean. Creepy!

Ha! Indeed.

Though in Rogue’s defense, their flirtations didn’t really start in earnest until after Claremont left, and it’s not like any of the post-Claremont writers had any idea of his original plans for Gambit (heck, by the time he’d left the book and Gambit had been around for awhile, Claremont himself might have abandoned the idea).

So it’s only creepy in a behind-the-scenes kind of way. ;)

Yeah, for anyone who wonders why Madrox is awesome should start with the Madrox mini that Peter David penned before getting to do a full-fledged reboot of the X-Factor series (based on the popularity of said mini, I believe). It’s such a unique power when it comes to Jamie’s mindset: Madrox can (and does) go out to learn anything on his mind, but suffers from indecision because he literally can stay home *and* go drinking at the same time. Though a lot of the stuff in the mini’s faded out as time has gone on and X-Factor has been drawn into the bigger X-Men universe.

Yay Wanda! Yay Jamie!!

Hopefully at the end of Children’s Crusade Wanda will be front and centre!
Gambit is making a return to cool too!

Hey, maybe Namor was teased so relentlessly by the (pure Atlantean) kids he grew up with about his “surface dweller” hairiness that the manscaping became an obsessive practice.

Dean Hacker you obviously haven’t been keeping up with Nova. He’s nothing like Green Lantern now and never was before. The Spiderman personality pretty much died with the 70’s series. You obviously haven’t read Annihilation. His powers are far from generic since Annihilation. Read Annihilation before commenting about his personality being uninteresting.

Wow, Gambit, Nova and Jamie, 3 of my favorites.

I’ve never really understood the ALL the Gambit hate, People either love him or hate him, I was born in 84 and my first encounter with the X-Men was the cartoon. I grew up with him as my all time fav, still pretty much is, I enjoy his personality, he’s like a troubled James Bond, I would have liked to see what Claremont would have done with him had he not left the title in the 90’s.

But it just sucks having to read people rag on him 24/7, and writers pretty much ignore him for the better part of the 00’s. Oh, well I probability hate the stuff they like as well, I just don’t need to rant about it every time it’s brought up:P

interesting figured gambit would make the list sooner or later. but namor and scarlet witch thought would also be higher .like in the top ten or so.if not wanda at least namor

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