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CSBG Archive

2011 Top Marvel Characters #17-15

After nearly 1,400 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters of all-time 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…

17. The White Queen (Emma Frost) – 1004 points (16 first place votes)

Created by John Byrne and Chris Claremont, Emma Frost was a member of the Hellfire Club, an ancient organization who had nefarious plans for the X-Men.

Frost was a telepath, and clashed with the X-Men a number of times. Frost had started up her OWN school for mutants, and she sought to bring Kitty Pryde to her school. She failed.

Later on, when Xavier added a new group of young mutants to his school, the group clashed often with Frost’s group of young mutants, known as the Hellions.

Sadly, in a vicious attack, most of Frost’s Hellions were murdered by a sneak attack by the evil Trevor Fitzroy. Frost was put into a coma in the same attack.

When she recovered, she was naturally distraught over the deaths of her charges, and basically turned over a new lead, agreeing to be the co-head of a new Xavier school, which would be based at the site of her old school.

This group of students (known affectionately as Generation X) were taught by Emma and Sean Cassidy (Banshee). Eventually, though, the students tired of Emma and Cassidy (who were both going through significant trauma in their lives), and all left the school.

Emma ended up traveling to the mutant nation of Genosha, which was at one time greatly suffering from the Legacy virus, but once it was cured, became a thriving mutant community. Frost began teaching there, until the evil Cassandra Nova led a Sentinel attack upon the nation of 16 million, killing almost every single mutant on the island.

It was at this time that Frost developed a secondary mutation – the ability to form her body into a sort of diamond form.

With her second group of students murdered, Frost decided to join the X-Men to help her revenge herself upon Nova. She grew comfortable there, as finally she was somewhere where all the students didn’t die on her.

After carrying out an affair with the X-Man, Cyclops, Emma was shocked to find she was actually in LOVE with Cyclops, and after the death of Cyclops’ wife, Jean Grey, the two began a relationship, and also took over as co-heads of Xavier’s school, which was now much smaller due to the events of Decimation, where Scarlet Witch wiped out almost all mutants on Earth.

Emma and Scott brought the X-Men first to San Francisco and later to their own island “nation” called Utopia. Emma and Scott continue to lead the X-Men together, but a schism is forming and we will soon see who will stay loyal to Scott and Emma!

16. Iron Fist – 1123 points (17 first place votes)

Created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Danny Rand was on a trip to the mystical city of K’un L’un as a boy when his parents were murdered. The orphan was taken in by Yu-Ti, the ruler of K’un L’un, who trained Danny in the martial artists.

Eventually, Danny became the best of the best, and attempted to become the holder of “the Iron Fist.” He succeeded, and now possesses the fist, which allows him to focus his chi and enhance his natural abilities to far greater than a normal human, and since Danny is one of the world’s greatest martial artists withOUT said advantage, you can only imagine how helpful that is.

Danny eventually paired up with the hero Power Man, Luke Cage, as the two formed a hero partnership and a great friendship that lasts to this day, even though Danny was missing for a time, and Luke accused of murdering him!

During an acclaimed ongoing series called the Immortal Iron Fist, Danny learns that K’un L’un is just one of Seven Cities of Heaven, each of which has their own version of Iron Fist. Danny has since brought these warriors to Earth with him.

Story continues below

Currently, Danny is a member of the New Avengers alongside his best friend, Luke. He also appears to be getting ready for a significant new role after Fear Itself.

15. Deadpool – 1207 points (28 first place votes)

Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza in one of the last issues of New Mutants before the book became X-Force, Wade Wilson, Deadpool, is known as “the merc with a mouth,” as he is a highly sought-after mercenary who, well, talks a lot.

Deadpool is a funny guy, and thanks to Joe Kelly, he had one of the funniest comics of the late 90s, especially the issue where Kelly had Deadpool go back in time to an early issue of Amazing Spider-Man, leaving Deadpool to mock the characters, MST3K-style. Classic stuff.

After his initial series ended, Deadpool began a forced partnership with Cable and shared an ongoing series with Cable until the latter character seemingly died, leaving Deadpool at a bit of a crossroads.

In stepped Daniel Way, who developed a new take on Deadpool in the pages of Wolverine: Origins, including the use of multiple voices in Deadpool’s head. This new take on the character led to a new ongoing series (written by Way) which began a bonanza of Deadpool titles, including the brilliant Deadpool MAX series by David Lapham and Kyle Baker.


Huh. It’s surprising that Iron Fist is significantly more popular than Luke Cage. Or at least it is to me.

Really surprising! I didn’t read Brubaker’s run, perhaps that’s why I find him much less interesting than Cage.

Ha, Emma Frost outplaces Jean this time around, with not nearly as many first place votes. It shows me Jean has more hardcore fans, but Emma has more fans, period. I think Emma has lost quite a bit of her charm and edge ever since Morrison/Whedon/Ellis left, but I do still like her, in concept!

Iron Fist has seen a bit of a revival, thanks to his recent awesome “Immortal Iron Fist” run, introducing him to a whole new generation of readers in a whole new way, creating an entire mythology around him, revitalizing his supporting cast, and updating his outfit from the butt of Deadpool jokes to one of the coolest looks in the Marvel Universe. Now he’s on New Avengers and he’s soon gonna be on the New Defenders, written by Fraction again, AND he’s also one of the new additions to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3! Things have really been looking up for Danny Rand these past five years, and he’s acquired quite a dedicated fanbase.

Deadpool is actually HIGHER then he was back in 2007, even in post-Deadpoolmania where overexposure backlash usually takes its toll. Nonetheless, he’s become one of the more universally recognized Marvel characters over the past few years, not just with half a dozen comic appearences a month, but he’s been in movies, cartoons, plenty of video games, I think he’s still getting his own film one of these days. I do like Deadpool quite a bit, although I’m kinda over the “he’s so craaaaaaazy” empty stupid humor thing that Daniel Way’s been doing, and even Deadpool MAX is starting to lose its charm. Uncanny X-Force is where my favorite Deadpool is at, not only for that wonderful black-and-white variant of the costume, but Wade Wilson finally feels like a real character again who isn’t just the court jester. He’s an interesting, flawed guy, someone who wants to do the right thing, but because of who he is, he never really knows what that is from one day to the next. He so desperately wants to be a hero and be liked, and despite his mercenary ways, will back up the people he cares for. Joe Kelly got that, Gail Simone, sometimes Fabien Nicenza showed that, and now Rick Rememnder is displaying it in maybe the best Marvel ongoing right now. Here’s to more good Deadpool writing!

Wow!!! Emma Frost? Take that, Jean Grey. Deadpool? Take that, EVERYONE who allegedly hates Deadpool. A heap of you voted for him!

Looking forward to a big finish for Dr. Strange

Funny thing is I had Iron Fist on my list and not Luke Cage, big reason was because of the Immortal Iron Fist series. It added a new level to the character for me.

Emma higher than Storm?! Malarky! I refuse to accept this list.

Emma was my #9 and Deadpool my #6.

Iron friggin’ Fist. At #16. The last ten years have been weird…

It shows me Jean has more hardcore fans, but Emma has more fans, period.

A living Jean Grey would likely be in the top 10. Being dead is not good for your popularity.

The Crazed Spruce

September 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

And not a one from my list….

I’ll be honest, I liked Emma Frost a lot better as a villain. Sure, she was great in Generation X, but the way she’s written nowadays, she comes across (at least to me) as an “edgier” Jean Grey wannabe. (Again, that’s just my opinion. YMMV.) I never really cottoned to her as an X-Man, so I had to leave her off my list.

Like so many characters these days, I haven’t read any recent Iron Fist stories. I loved him in Power Man and Iron Fist back in the day, but frankly, I prefered Luke Cage over him. So basically, he finished just outside of my list.

I gotta tell you, I’ve become one of those Deadpool haters you keep hearing about. I loved the Joe Casey series, but man, he’s seriously overexposed these days. I don’t even get his comics here, and I’m sick of him.

Well, out of the nine (!) characters left in my Top 10, four are solid locks for the Top 10, one is pretty much guaranteed for the Top 15, two more have an outside chance, and two others have almost definitely dropped out of the Top 50. Not as much of a divide as there is on my DC list, anyway.

Deadpool MAX, brilliant?

Can’t say I’d agree with that. I do love the ‘Pool, though.

@Jeremy: Emma was also in the most recent X-Men movie with Jean nowhere to be found, so that could explain why Emma Frost scored higher in this survey.

i blame daniel way for deadpool being knocked down to 15

Looks like an all or nothing kind of thing with Deadpool. That’s quite a lot of first place votes (28) but it’s likely that he doesn’t appear at all on a lot of lists.

been waiting for emma to pop up on the list. though thought she and dead pool would crack the top ten. plus iron fist would at least have a little higher like maybe twelve.

Man, when you look at Emma’s history, she’s had a lot of bad luck. She lost her Hellions, she lost her kids on Genosha, a bunch of her students were killed after Decimation – she just keeps having kids die on her. I do like her, though. She can be pretty funny, a lot of the time. And her Mama Bear tendencies are always awesome to see. You do not mess with Emma Frost’s students.

I like Deadpool. I loved Joe Kelly’s run. It was hilarious and deep, often at the same time. He’s never quite been as good as he was under Kelly, but some other writers have done good things with him. And then Way took him over. And has been abusing the character ever since. Why Marvel doesn’t take Way off the character is beyond me. It’s awful. Lame humour and superficial characterization. Sucks. Let Remender take over Deadpool’s solo series. He’s shown in Uncanny X-Force that he gets the character better than anyone since Kelly. Almost everything Deadpool says in X-Force is hilarious, yet it also gives insight into the character.

i blame daniel way for deadpool being knocked down to 15

Wouldn’t you have to credit him for Deadpool going from #17 four years ago to #15 this year?

“Wouldn’t you have to credit him for Deadpool going from #17 four years ago to #15 this year?”
No. Because if Way is responsible for Deadpool becoming more popular, then I’m forced to lose all faith in the comic-reading public.

Way might be indirectly responsible, actually. People read him, and then remember how awesome Deadpool used to be. So they’re voting for classic Deadpool instead of Way’s Deadpool.

I’d say Emma should be higher than both Iron Fist and Deadpool. As of recent, the only person to do anything worthwhile with Deadpool is Rick Remender.

emma frost <3 <3<3

I don’t understand the whole “overexposed” argument against Deadpool – or Wolverine. It sounds suspiciously like “he’s popular, now he sucks.” Things are often popular for a reason – they’re good. While that doesn’t go for that singing kid with the shaggy hair or those sappy teenage vampire movies, it certainly does for Deadpool and Wolverine.

@Rosselli” Things are often popular for a reason – they’re good.”

Well…. I wouldn’t say that.
Using your theory I guess that TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “Jersey Shore” are good because they’re popular.
Really? Are we at the point of entertainment that we’re qualifying what is good and what is bad by it’s popluarity among the masses not by the quality of it’s work.

The mainstream comics industry has shown that it will overexpose ANY character/title that may sell a couple extra copies. When this happens, many writers are forced to shoehorn characters into stories or books simply because they’re popular.

My list was dominated by folks like Batroc and MODOK, Groot and American Eagle, that I didn’t really expect to make the cut, but I did strongly consider Iron Fist. The original Power Man & Iron Fist was one of my favorite series, and Immortal Iron Fist was a knockout, at least the Brubaker/Fraction run. Emma and Deadpool I could take or leave–I’ve quite enjoyed them under some writers and found them incredibly irritating with others.

I’m not a big fan of Deadpool’s, but I never really hated him, and certainly can’t understand the “he’s too popular so he sucks” argument. If you don’t like him, don’t buy his books. Evidently, he is geniunely beloved by a fair amount of people, what with him being 15 on the list and all

Yeah, Rosselli, you cannot say that popular things are good, and therefore they stay around. Things are popular and stay around because people enjoy them. That’s safer to say. Popularity is not a guarantee of quality.

Also, with Deadpool, you argue about Daniel Way making/not making Deadpool popular, but what about him popping up in movies, cartoons ad video games? Might have something with Marvel giving him these many books and appearances in the first place, right?

Yeah Those saying Cage over Iron Fist. I would have agreed if not for Brubaker’s Immortal Iron Fist run which edged out Bendis’ great Luke Cage revival.

I’ve never really gotten into Deadpool. I’ve only read his most recent comics, but I can’t shake the feeling that they’re trying too hard to be funny and not really pulling it off. I tried the Fear Itself: Deadpool. Even though it was written by my favorite web comic author, Chris Hastings (of Dr. McNinja), I didn’t really like it all that much. Perhaps I’d like Deadpool’s earlier comics better.

@Jeremy – Glad to see someone feels the same way about Deadpool as me, Actually surprised to see there are so many that feel the same way as me about Way’s run. Daniel Way’s Deadpool has left me cold since day one, I wish we could get Fabian or Gail back on ‘Pool. He made my list but only because of the Gail Simone, Fabian Nicieza, Joe Kelly and current X-Force character, I haven’t read any of Daniel Ways Deadpool since Dark Reign because it just bothered me so much watching a character I love take a step back into being a caricature instead of the three dimension character he should be IMO.

On the plus side both Wade T. Wilson and Iron Fist were on my top ten and here they are, I doubt any other of my top Marvel characters made the list

Emma’s over exposed and no fun anymore. But she wanted to be Cyclop’s arm candy.

I thought Wade would be #1

Iron Fist actually had an awesome series recently. Luke Cage is just Bendis’ every-man. He’s a two-dimensional character that we all project ourselves onto.
To anyone who thinks the Iron Fist of New Avengers is the real Iron Fist, you neeeeed to read Immortal Iron Fist Bendis just uses him as wallpaper.

Man, I love all the love for Iron Fist these days. He’s always been a favorite of mine. But for a solid 15 years before Immortal Iron Fist, he was considered almost quintessentially a C-list Marvel character, everybody made fun of his costume, etc… And as they’ve said, all Brubaker, Fraction and Aja did was show everybody why he’s always been such a great character. (I still like the old green-and-gold togs, though I’m warming to the white too).

Really, really looking forward to his run in Fraction’s Defenders.

Incidentally – yes, Rick Remender is awesome with Deadpool. But Joe Kelly still wrote the essential Deadpool.

Daniel Way has done nothing to make him popular. Whatever series Deadpool was gonna be in next was going to be popular. Way just has the amazing luck of getting to work with some incredibly talented artists who make his mediocre writing palatable. I find most of his writing to be just pure blood-and-guts grim-and-gritty for the sake of it; all style, no substance. It’s dark and disturbed enough to pass for “psychological,” but there’s no center to it, no heart, and (infuriatingly, when we’re talking about a Deadpool book) not much humor either. Yecch.

Am I the only one who loves Deadpool and doesn’t hate Way’s run?

Yeah, he isn’t as good as Nicieza, Simmon or Kelly, but he isn’t terrible. He’s more of a hit or miss, really- the Deadpool/Bullseye thing, for example, was brilliant IMO. I think his main problem is just that he can’t find a proper direction for the character, and the issues read like some nonsensical stream of events that have nothing to do with each other. There isn’t any semblance of a plot, like there was in the best runs, which I think is why he seems to miss with so many people.

Okay, so I worded my statement very badly.

I’m not actually saying that something being popular means it’s automatically good. What I mean is, often a good character like Wolverine will appeal to a wide range of readers and therefore become very popular. Since Marvel and the like are corporations, of course they start publishing more titles with the popular character. Some of these titles might not be that great, and the character may become diluted. BUT that doesn’t mean that Wolverine now sucks. That’s what I’m trying to say. I just hate the whole “Oh my god, now he’s so popular and mainstream fanboys like him, so I hate him now!” attitude I see about Wolverine and to a greater extent – at least recently – Deadpool. I’ve always liked both characters, but I feel no need to say “before they were cool.”

I actually hate a lot of things that are popular. I don’t listen to Top 40 music and I don’t really watch TV at all.

I’m remidned of Whedon’s X-men run.

Congratulations Emma, you’re no longer outranked by a corpse.

The only character I like here is Emma Frost – and that’s only when written by Morrison.

Damn I should have voted…didn’t know this was going on. Would have voted for Emma.

I know I’m late for the party, but damn this list was great!

I find it interesting that these three characters in particular ended up so close to each other and on the same post. They’re all characters that have been around for quite some time (Deadpool is a bit “younger” though) but only became popular during the 2000’s. It’s good that some writers are interested in pushing more obscure characters instead of the usual ones, and that readers are receiving that well.

Emma is probably more of an example for “looks are deceiving” than characters like Beast could ever be. Despite the sometimes ridiculous outfits she’s actually a very interesting and complex character, and has been more relevant to the X-Men in just 10 years than the majority of them have been their whole existence.

I used to dislike Iron Fist. I saw nothing interesting in his character, and the first stories I read weren’t that good either. But later stories made him one of my favorites. I like seeing him in more prominent roles nowadays despite still being an “street level” character.

As for Deadpool… I’ll be honest, I don’t like him very much, but that’s because I dislike comedic characters in general…

@Thok – “A living Jean Grey would likely be in the top 10. Being dead is not good for your popularity.”
Michael Jackson and others disagree : )
Seriously though, it depends on what Marvel decides to do with her once they bring her back. When Jean was alive , in the 90’s, Storm, Psylocke and Rogue were all “more popular” (or at least more discussed) than her. Being dead actually boosted her popularity, since Marvel keeps teasing her comeback over and over and still uses her in other media.

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