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CSBG Archive

2011 Top DC Characters #9-8

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…

9. Flash (Barry Allen) – 1604 points (27 first place votes)

Barry Allen was a police scientist when a bolt of lightning hit a bunch of chemicals which splashed upon Barry, making him gain the power of super-speed!

Inspired by his boyhood hero, the Flash (Jay Garrick, who was actually living on a separate Earth!), who Barry read about in comics, Barry became the NEW Flash, with a snazzier outfit than Jay’s. Barry was created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kanigher and Carmine Infantino.

For years, the Flash was a steady force for good, as a solo hero and as a founding member of the Justice League of America.

Sadly, tragedy struck the Flash after he married his longtime love, Iris West, when his rival, Professor Zoom, murdered Iris. Some time later, when Barry was prepared to move on an re-marry, Zoom showed up again to kill Barry’s NEW wife! Barry stopped him, but in the process, killed Zoom.

This haunted Barry for quite awhile.

Good news came to him, though, when he discovered that his wife, Iris, was not actually dead, but living in the future! Barry joined her there, and the two WOULD have lived happily ever after, if not for the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry had to come out of retirement to stop the evil Anti-Monitor.

Barry was successful in his attempt to stop the Anti-Monitor from destroying Earth, but in the process, Barry died. His legacy lived on, though, with his nephew and former sidekick, Wally West, who went from being Kid Flash to becoming the new Flash.

Recently, though, Barry returned to life and once again began his career as the Flash. The villainous Professor Zoom returned, too, though and he tortured Barry by killing Barry’s mother in the past and framing Barry’s father for the crime. When Barry attempted to stop Zoom, Barry messed with time TOO much, resulting in an altered DC Universe. Barry fixed his mistake, but the end result was a new DC Universe, one where Barry is still the Flash, but he is no longer married to Iris.

8. Tim Drake (Robin/Red Robin) – 1708 points (30 first place votes)

Created by Marv Wolfman, with a costume designed by the great Neal Adams, Tim Drake burst on to the DC Universe scene with a storm in the early 90s as the third Robin! After the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin, Batman was getting a bit too serious, and young Tim Drake realized this. Drake had also used detective skills to figure out that Batman was Bruce Wayne, so Drake approached Dick Grayson to go back to Batman to be Robin again. Grayson turned it down, but recommended instead that DRAKE become the next Robin.

And after a long time training, finally Batman agreed to let Drake be the new Robin.

Since then, Tim has served with distinction, while also leading the superhero groups Young Justice and Teen Titans.

After Tim’s father was murdered (his mother was murdered early in his Robin training), Bruce adopted Tim. After Bruce was seemingly killed, Tim tried to take over as Batman for a time, before giving way to Nightwing. When Nightwing decided to take on Bruce’s son Damian as his new Robin, Tim took on the new identity of Red Robin.

As Red Robin he continued to serve the legacy of Batman extremely well – he is one of the most thoughtful, heartfelt superheroes there is, a young man who would prefer to think a problem out than to punch his way to a solution.

After the DC Universe reboot, Tim is still Red Robin and still a member of the Teen Titans, but his personality has undergone some changes.


I really, really hope John Stewart makes the list.

wow. Barry Allen leapt up 20 spots to take a spot in the top 10! Hadn’t expected that.

Still, the biggest leaps have all been newer characters. Batgirl (S. Brown), Batwoman, X-23 all moved up over 100 spots. I’m not certain how much Robin (Damian Wayne) moved up. I don’t know if he was even on the list last time.

Odd that even with the far greater number of votes, over half of the characters moved 10 or fewer spots on the listing. I think this shows the list is pretty accurate of this fan’s sites.

One nice thing with the newer list is that with so many more votes, there haven’t been any ties.

Yeah Tim!


And this all but confirms it. Wally West STILL more popular than Block O’ Wood.

Yeah, Tim is great. His introduction was so nicely done. They focused on his character instead of just straight into his costume and into the action.

And then there was his first 3 minis and the first couple of years of his ongoing. All amazing!

And like Kyle (Green Lantern) it was great seeing his story start and evolve as I began reading comics! ;)

Regarding Barry? I’m just not feeling it. I grew up with Wally being Flash – and amazing writers, like Waid, made me love the character. I know that Barry is the original – but to me, hes a substitute. And so far, the last few years of stories thats hes starred in, have just been good at best, not great… and definately not amazing.

The only stories of Barry’s that I have enjoyed were told when he was dead – like JLA: Year One and Flash & GL: Brave and the Bold …. and surprising both were written by Waid as well! haha…

figured if not wally Barry would as the flash be close to the top . and red robin been waiting to see how he ranked and figured he come close but not crack the top five.

glad Tim made it, sad Barry made it.

Before I checked, I said to myself:

9. Tim Drake
8. Barry Allen

So close!

Just want to say that I’ve been loving this so far and really hope that you’ll be revealing at least 51-100 after this is all done. I find that the characters who just barely don’t make the list can be just as if not more interesting then those who do.

The Crazed Spruce

September 22, 2011 at 7:51 am

I was a big fan of Barry Allen growing up (not as big a fan as Geoff Johns, apparently, but still, a fan), but I made a point of only including one Flash on this list, and I prefer Wally West. (Besides, the way he was brought back and Wally was shoved aside kinda rubbed me raw.)

Tim Drake is my all-time favourite Robin (and I’ve been reading Batman since before Jason Todd was introduced). Frankly, I’m not sure if it’s because he doesn’t have a tragic origin, or despite it. He still didn’t crack my Top 10, but I did have him at #19 on my list.

The Crazed Spruce

September 22, 2011 at 7:54 am

I second Herpman’s proposal. (I’d love to know how close Ambush Bug and Damage Control came to making the lists.)

I think only three of my choices are going to end up on the list, which… actually is more than I expected. I would also be curious to see if any of the other seven managed to crack the top 100 as well. Actually, I would be really interested in seeing which characters from each company only got one point (or one vote).

[…] Should Be Good continues counting down the results of their Top 50 DC Characters survey, and Barry Allen comes in at #9. The reborn Flash received 1604 total points, and 27 voters named him their favorite DC […]

If Brian wanted to just make posting the info he got from this poll into his full time job, I’d be fine with that. I’d love to see what the next 50 slots were. As previously mentioned, that’s often more interesting that the top 20 or so, which are usually pretty predictible. I also second the motion of seeing what characters only got one vote. Maybe we need to start a fund so Brian can devote the time to do it?

Great to see a Flash in the top 10 – and I’m hoping we’ll see two by the time the countdown’s finished!

I’ve been meaning to ask: How do you handle votes for a character with mutliple incarnations that don’t specify which one?

For example, if someone voted for “Flash” and didn’t specify Barry Allen, Wally West, etc., did you count it separately (ie. “Flash, unspecified”), contact the voter for clarification, assign it to the current headliner (in this case Barry), set it aside until the rest of the votes were counted and assign it to the version of the character who was already in the lead, or something else?

I’d be curious about the also-rans too, mainly because almost everyone I voted for is an also-ran. (I’m not surprised by that, because I do love offbeat and neglected characters.)

Always preferred Barry to Wally by a long shot. I was surprised how many people stood up for Wally when they made the switch back. 90’s kid nostalgia I guess? I don’t really buy the “Barry is boring” angle at all.

I dunno, I was a faithful Flash reader in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and Wally was easily my least favorite New Teen Titan. But unlike Hal, I found that I never really missed Barry. Wally, on the other hand, really grew as a character and had some tremendously strong stories in his year as the Flash, which really made me buy the idea that he’d somehow surpassed his mentor. I wouldn’t classify myself as either a Wally or Barry fan per se, but I’ve found the way Barry was brought back as the Ultimate One True Flash and Wally abruptly sidelined really pointless from the start and badly executed. I find I have the same problem with Barry now as I do with Hal, and a lot of it just comes down to not thinking much of Johns’s writing: I loved them the first time around, but now that they’re back they kinda bug me. But I’ll see if the new versions are somehow any better despite Johns being the one doing the worldbuilding. I’m not optimistic, but I’m certainly open to the possibility that they’ll maybe work better without all the baggage he piled on them the last tme around.

I’m beginning to think no one else voted for Timber Wolf…

I’m getting really worried about J’onn. Most of mine I knew wouldn’t show up _ Phantom Stranger, Golden Age Dr Mid-nite and the like. I held out some hope for Jack Knight. But, surely, J’onn’s GOT to be there. Right? Please….???

OK, ignore most of my previous post. Apparently sleeping between reading the entries affects my ability to remember them…..

I can’t imagine that Wally didn’t make the top 50 so this can only mean that Wally beat Barry!


Yes! So pleasantly surprised. As I said when Damien was listed and we all assumed that the Robins were merged together, Tim was my #5. To me he will always be the best Robin because he’s Batman’s successor. He was the only one who figured out Batman’s identity and sought training. He’s the only one that R’as has ever addressed as Detective.

Even if Wally beat Barry, the fact that Barry still came so close even after 25 years of not being a regular character and only being back a little over 2 years still strikes me as more of a victory for Barry than for Wally.

Red Robin represent! :P

Can anyone name any substatial storyline/event that Barry had done, aside from destroying the Anti-monitor machine that killed him (he shoulda stayed dead). Perhaps Wally benifits from becoming The Flash in an age where the writing was more sophisticated, and the art (for DC) ‘flashier’, but for myself… Barry = Congorilla. Wally = Vandal Savage (from the first story arc), JLA (where after 10 years he finally stood shoulder to shoulder with the legends, fulfilling his desire to keep Barry’s Legacy alive), and more… It just sucks! F. Barry and bless the comics that make me feel this way over a pair of corporate owned non-moving cartoons. F. Hal too.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

September 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

It seems like writers can change the origin, character, and history of a character as long as he keeps the names (both superhero and secret) and costume.

Oh, Wally West Fans. Continuing to be so bitter.

Who is “boring” and who is not is a matter of opinion.

I hate Wally. I think he is boring. I greatly prefer Barry. My brother enjoys both and doesn’t really care which Flash is in the main title.

and you can’t cry about nostaliga when you keep harping on message boards about how your favorite Flash is the BEST one.

After the DC Universe reboot, Tim is still Red Robin and still a member of the Teen Titans, but his personality has undergone some changes.

Just curious, how do you know this? Did you get a sneak peek at the new Teen Titans book?


September 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

WackyWally – Barry did lots of stuff that was deemed heroic and fantastic. From becoming an inspirational hero, founding the JLA, defeating Zoom in some pretty epic battles through time back in the 80s, etc.

In fact, pretty much everything DC ever did with Wally came FROM Barry. The powers, the costume, the cast, the rogues gallery, joining the JLA, marrying a reporter, fighting a Zoom, racing Superman, teaming up with Green Lantern, etc.

Wally is 95% the same character model as Barry. Just from a different era, with different writing.

So try to keep in mind…they’re fictional characters. Ideas. And good ones too. But railing against one fictional character because you can’t stand the other character “losing”?

At that point the imaginary voices are winning.

Well I have no really affinity for Flash, but I see it as a shame and a defeat of character development (which in long-form narratives such as comics should be paramount) to undue Barry’s greatest act of heroism and shuffle a living character off to the sidelines.

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