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Comic Theme Time Month – Which Major Superhero Has the Worst Supporting Cast?

All December long, I will be doing daily installments of Comic Theme Time. Comic Theme Time is a twist on the idea of a “Top Five” list. Instead of me stating a topic and then listing my top five choices in that topic, I’m giving you the topic and letting you go wild with examples that you think fit the theme.

Today’s topic is “which major superhero has the worst supporting cast?” “Major” in this case is defined as “at least 100 issues of his or her own comic book series, counting all volumes of his/her series (so, say, Aquaman would count, since while no one series ever hit 100, combined they all lasted well over 100 issues, but Quasar would not)

Is it Aquaman? Barry Allen? Hal Jordan (would you count the Corps as supporting cast members?)? Green Arrow? She-Hulk?

What’s your pick?

52 Comments

Green Arrow, I’d go with. I’ve never cared about ANY of his support characters. I was curious to see where the Brightest Day additions were going to go after “Galahad”, with some “Sheriff” type character and a gang of “Modern Merry Men” but then New 52 wiped that thought out (at least, for now).

Iron Man, I’m sad to say. It’s rather troubling that his supporting cast is (or was) composed almost entirely of people on his payroll. It didn’t matter that Tony Stark was a good employer, because when all his friends can be fired without a moment’s notice, the interactions become a lot less genuine.

Thankfully, Tony’s gradually moved away from that in recent years, ditching the corporate life and focusing more on projects where his partners are on more equal footing in terms of status. And characters like Pepper and Rhodey at least have known him so long that they can immediately call him on his bullshit without threatening the relationship (and thus, their job security).

Let the rocks fly: The pre-Crisis Superman.

Things improved a bit after Clark switched to WGBS in the 70′s but nothing much was done with his supporting cast until Byrne and Wolfman rebooted everything.

My not caring for Lois, Jimmy, and Perry over the years hasn’t helped either.

I’ll start by making a broad assumption that supporting characters do not necessarily include other super-hero characters, because the Garricks and the Quicks were technically supporting for a while here. Maybe that’s an interpretation, but I think this works best for me if I just assume the non-hero portion of the supporting cast.

In any case, if we’re talking least compelling as a whole despite a strong individual member, then as much as I hate saying it, I never found any of Wally West’s supporting members overly compelling over any era (Linda being the one exception). I think the proof of this is that it constantly changed from being a group with his mom and dad, Chunk, Lady Flash and Connie and Tina to morphing to the Chyre/Morillo/Zoloman dynamic, none of it really worked.

Individually, I liked Chunk as a concept/counterpoint (same with Piper as a counterpoint), but a lot of the storylines created around these characters felt forced to me or attempting to do something other than focus on Wally.

That’s not to dog the book as a whole. I personally love the entire run as a whole, but a lot of time the supporting cast would come on and I’d just go “whatever”.

Captain America. I don’t think that there has ever been a successful attempt to give Steve Rogers a lasting set of companions. Most of his supporting cast are superheroes, and even some of those are borrowed from other books.

I’d probably agree with RDM and say Captain America or perhaps I’d choose Dr.Strange he’s never really had a cast I’ve enjoyed.

Wonder Woman. The other Amazons are boring. I never liked most of the Perez era cast or the Sandsmarks or Donna Troy.

Unless you count Galactus, Silver Surfer’s is pretty bad too.

Wonder Woman in the animated movie.

I suspect Supergirl could be on this list.

She Hulk has AWESOME Supporting casts. Both in Byrne and Slott runs.

And Supergirl does too if you just count the PAD book.

I LOVED WW’s supporting cast during the Rucka run.

And I don’t get how someone wouldn’t like Eddie Fryers?

I think Cap has it tough past Sharon, though. I liked John Jameson as his pilot but yeah. I like Free Spirit and Jack Flagg twice as much as the next guy, but still.

Who are we counting as “major”? People like Atom, Hawkman, Zatanna, and Martian Manhunter? Several of these characters have one or two supporting characters and that’s it.

And do rogues’ galleries count as supporting characters? That could make a difference in the case of someone like Barry Allen.

Green Arrow had Eddy Fyres, Shado, and a likable police chief during the Grell years, not to mention Dinah. I liked his (admittedly not large) supporting characters at the time.

My pick.for worst supporting cast for a major super-hero: green Lantern if you don’t count the Corps. Carol Ferris & Tom aren’t the most compelling characters, and Hal’s family seemed to be a non-starter. Kyle had the coffee shop guy, Jade (who I liked well enough, but wasn’t enough) and… the artist assistant from Winnick’s run? Am I missing anyone who didn’t end up stuffed in a refrigerator?

My elements of a bad supporting cast are:
1. Lack of Depth: Most of the Julie Schwartz charatacters would fall into this category, excluding Hawkman. Only having one, or two, supporting cast members really limits things. Even terrific characters, like Jean Loring, are too limiting when they are alone.
2. Lack of Versatility: This is where the Silver Age vintage female Marvels are challenged. It is pretty hard for a secretary (e.g. Betty Brant, Pepper Potts), a debutante (e.g. Janet Van Dyne, Betty Ross) or even a nurse (e.g. Jane Foster) to sustain their own plots in an action strip.
3. Lack of Connectedness: A good supporting cast really needs to have relationships with each other independent of the protagonist. That is a problem for series that operate on two worlds (e.g. Green Lantern, Thor). When every scene requires your protagonist, it is pretty hard to get quality subplots moving.
4. Lack of Intergration: Any time the writer is dragging a characters from another series into a supporting cast, it runs the risk of feeling inorganic. That goes double for other superheroes, who are all apparently members of the same big club. Even a great collection of characters can feel pasted together and not very interesting.
5. Lack of Originality: Is anything consistently lamer than a character created expressly to take up a legacy role in the supporting cast of another character? Sure, you occasionally get a Damian Wayne, but most of the time you get stuck with a Jason Todd.

Looking at these five criteria, the loser is pretty clearly Captain America. Bucky had to come back from the dead to give him a second major supporting cast member behind Sharon Carter. They are both pretty limited beyond the Spy-Fi setting. Cap needs to lean pretty hard on S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is its own thing), or the Avengers (ditto) for subplots. You can read a lot of Captain America comics without seeing him talk to anyone that didn’t originate in anger title. Prior to the return of James Barnes, there we roughly 50 attempts to replace Bucky.

So, Captain America has the worst supporting cast of all major superheroes.

I’d have to concur with Iron Man having the worst supporting cast. Boring and unispired lot.

She-Hulk has a great one, and I really liked Wallys during the Waid run and Captain Americas during the Grun run. Supes improved after the reboot post-Crisis, and I liked Ollie’s during Grell.

Iron Man though…zzzzzzzz…

Wonder Woman’s cast is dull enough that I never care, but that is probably because her book is so frequently badly handled. I actually sort of give a damn right now, so I don’t think she wins.

If I’m voting once, I think I’ll give it to Captain America, too. Things are pretty bad if you basically get an entirely new crew of people every writer or two because nobody’s really interesting enough to stick around. Loaner heroes who are between books, as others have said, don’t really count.

On that note, the Silver Surfer and the Punisher have to get honorable mentions as well. Have either of them ever gone more than a dozen issues with the same background players? The Punisher had Micro, and I seem to remember the Surfer hanging around with Nova for quite a while in the 90s, but those both ended badly without any strong push to bring them back.

For a few issues Surfer had Genis-Vell as a space-born Charlie Sheen (15 years early) as a supporting cast member. That was fun.

Cap was a viable choice pre-Brubaker. But the title thrived for, what, 3+ years without the title character. Thrived! With just the supporting cast! Falcon, Bucky, Sharon, and Fury are great together, and in their interaction with Steve. That next ring out, mostly Avengers, tend to just show up to help stories along, but the core group is great.

The Punisher was at his very best with virtually no supporting cast, save Yorkie and O’Brien.

But I’ll totally agree about Wonder Woman.

Aquaman as a suggestion? He has, (well, had at least!) a great supporting cast!

Garth, Dolphin, Koryak, Vulko and Mera!!

Really hoping that Johns uses more than just Mera.

Hard to think off the top of my head. How about a BEST supporting cast instead? That would be easier! haha… :)

I’m going to say that this one goes to good ol’ Captain Marvel, whose only supporting cast are a bunch of other annoyingly innocent kids and a creepy old pervert who dressup in copycat costumes and fight an Egyptian Spock and a sadly antiquated cast member of Inglourious Basterds.

“The Punisher was at his very best with virtually no supporting cast”

Yeah, that’s kinda my point. :)

Your point about the Brubaker run is well-taken, though. I’d say we still have to see if any of that lasts going forward, and including Fury is a bit of a cheat, but Bucky, Flacon, Sharon…all viable Cap players if they can stick around and stay meaningful..

Honestly I’m going to go ahead and say Wonder Woman outside of Steve Trevor and her mom I cant even name a character at all. Ok sure there’s the Wondergirls but can you really even count them considering all most anytime anything is remotely done with them its in a Teen Titans book. Lets face face shes supposed to be part of this trinity with Batman and Superman and when you look at her solo history its beyond lacking compared to them.

@ Widdle_Wade:

I disagree on Wonder Woman.

You have Steve Trevor and Etta Candy in the military. You have Hippolyta, Artemis, Donna Troy and the rest of the Amazons on Themyscira. The Perez and Byrne runs had female professors with teen daughters that were interesting. They also had male detectives that were fine. then, there are all the Greek Gods.

Honestly, her cast is almost too deep. There are too many different characters that play too many similar roles.

Historically, as pointed by Dean, Captain America has been a complete disaster far as supporting cast goes. Even Mark Gruenwald eventually forgot that Bernie was supposed to be his girlfriend as opposed to his employee. Not even Steve Englehart could do much to fix that inherent weakness of the character as a concept.

IMO that is the main merit of Brubaker’s run – making Captain America, perhaps for the first time ever, a true character with a true supporting cast instead of an empty concept. Englehart almost pulled it off, but not quite.

Behind Cap, the competition is quite fierce. Silver Surfer and Wonder Woman come to mind. Spider-Woman would qualify, but I believe she doesn’t make the 100 issue mark. Her solo title in the 1970s and 1980s was impressively schizophrenic, hardly ever remembering that happened just ten issues or so ago. She had a reasonable number of supporting characters at most times, but they were flat, underdeveloped, and just plain boring.

But then again, so was she.

Honorable mention goes to Green Lantern. While his supporting cast was fairly large, had a solid core of sorts and still went through some renewal now and then, it was always awfully underdeveloped and bland as well. And that despite regularly interacting with 3600 aliens of the wildest variety imaginable and having connections with the JLA and the Golden Age Air Wave as well. Hal as a character is far better than Kyle Rayner ever dreams to be, but his plots were rarely any good.

Silver Surfer has no real supporting cast, which I guess is sort of the point. He is exiled from his home planet by Galactus’ edict or writer’s mcguffin, and he has no real equals to hang with. And when he finally gets tired of moping and tries to hook up with somebody, he ends up with women on the rebound from relationships with other heroes, like Frankie Raye, who ditched the Human Torch and was ditched by Galactus, Alicia Masters, who was on a break from the Thing, and Mantis, who um…well, I’m not clear on that but I think the Swordsman was involved, heck, their romance was the B-side for the Scarlett Witch and the Vision.

I think he was supposed to end up with Shalla Bal, but also I think that DeMatteis decided that Shalla Bal had actually been dead for decades (nobody told Mephisto) and he was pining for an artificial construct. Although I’m sure the same can be said for many of us.

I’m not sure where I am going with this, except that now I am really feeling bad for Norrin. He is intelligent, sensitive and is seriously cut, and yet he ends up with the Marvel Universe’s version of the audio visual club while pseudo deep guys with great hair like Adam Warlock, dark and moody guys like Thanos and rich successful guys like Tony Stark run off with all the babes.

What? Why is everybody looking at me like that?

I definitely get the Captain America thing. Writers tried for years to give him a civilian life (artist, cop, renegade biker) and occasional love interests (I would read a Bernie Rosenthal limited series though), but whoever it was that had him say ‘I can either be a lousy Steve Rogers or a good Captain America’ pretty much had it right. His supporting cast has gotten a lot more interesting once they stopped trying to shoehorn in characters who had no connection to the story except that they lived next door.

Most of the iconic superheroes have great supporting casts. I think that’s one of the reasons they’re iconic. There are a few exceptions though. I think Wonder Woman and Aquaman have dull supporting casts. On the Marvel side Thor is probably the most high profile character with a mediocre supporting cast.

I disagree with Captain America though. He had a great supporting cast even though it consisted of non-civilians. Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Sharon Carter, and the Falcon were great characters. I loved the relationship between Nick Fury and Cap. Nick Fury had just the right amount of sarcasm to balance Cap’s sometimes annoying idealism.

Things may have gotten better over the years, but I always hated the original supporting cast for Moon Knight.

His bitchy wife was sometimes interesting, then there’s the hardworking café owner whose kids he tries to endanger several times, some creepy smelly old bum (named Crawley? Really?) who somehow just happens to overhear everything about crime in the city that’s relevant to this month’s adventure, and his own other personalities.

Daredevil has a good buddy in Foggy Nelson, but he really doesn’t have a very deep bench. Most of the rest are love interests who are often dead, otherwise in and out as the plot demands, and not really locked in to any particular personality.

I can see the arguments for Cap and Iron Man, but neither are nearly as bad as Wonder Woman. Her cast suffers so much from virtually never having a love interest.

I think a fair test for worst supporting cast would be whether comic fans who don’t read the book could name anyone in the supporting cast. I think non-Cap readers can generally rattle off Falcon and Sharon Carter, and non-Iron Man fans likely know Rhodes and Pepper Potts. Wonder Woman? I’m not sure that people who don’t read that book could name a single person.

I have to disagree with the negative characterizations of Captain America’s supporting cast as well; personally, I really liked the group of friends he had when he moved into that boarding house, a little while before the Stern/Byrne/Rubenstein run, which the latter team developed pretty well and later writers, especially DeMatteis, handled pretty well as long as I followed the series sometime into the mid-80s.
My vote for worst would be Iron Man’s Silver Age supporting cast, i.e., Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan.

I’ve just been reading Gruenwald’s run of Cap from the 80s/90s, and it’s telling that for much of it the book runs a rotating back-up feature to detail the adventures of his supporting cast. I’ve enjoyed the run much more than I thought I would, I think especially because fo these back-ups. Without them the support acts, and the book itself, would be kinda bland. Gotta love Gruenwald’s obsession with explaining exactly how powers work, who would beat who in a fight, and so on.

As it goes, the best support acts are the villains – the Serpent Society, Red Skull and Crossbones, and of course the US Agent, who’s sort of an anti-hero / anti-villain they way Gruenwald handles him.

Do recurring villains count as supporting cast?

Ronald Jay Kearschner

December 20, 2011 at 2:40 am

I argue that Spiderman is the best hero BECAUSE he has the best supporting cast. The worst supporting cast in my opinion is every team book. All heroes just interacting with each other, with a Jarvis or Willie Lumpkin for comic relief.

My first thought was Wonder Woman, largely because of a lack of consistency. Who is her supporting cast this week?

A lot of supporting casts in recent years have been put aside in favour of more heroes, with maybe a love interest. That said, Cap is nothing without a group behind him, whether it’s the Avengers, or Falcon, Nomad & D-Man. Do supporting heroes without their own books count?

I’m going to second Killer_Moff’s comment about Wonder Woman. Ever since George Perez’s post-Crisis reboot of the character, the supporting cast has been terribly inconsistent from writer to writer. Any time a new writer came on board, it seemed he or she jettisoned the previous writer’s previous cast for their own, so it seems like none of Wonder Woman’s supporting characters have lasted more than 24 issues before getting shuffled off for a new direction.

Personally, I think most modern super-hero titles suffer from a lack of a strong supporting cast. For the majority of books I look at, it seems like the title character spends most of his or her time interacting with peers instead of us mere mortals.

This all comes down to how you define “worst.” Worst to me means the most annoying or unlikable.

Personally I would say Spider-Man’s supporting cast. I absolutely hate Aunt May and the over 40 yrs+ of her being the macguffin in Spidey’s world. Then, when you get down to personalities, if you re-read some of the older comics Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn, Liz Allen, Flash Thompson, and even Mary Jane were often a bunch of backstabbing bastards who would go out of their way to make Pete’s life a misery just because he may have accidentally snubbed them (the famous Lee/ Ditko issue where Aunt May’s on her deathbed comes to mind.) Instead of asking him if he’s allright instead they start planning revenge etc. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

As for a supporting cast that is inconsequential and not really going anywhere I’d have to say Green Lantern’s. Does he even have one? All the characters in the books seem to be fairly two-dimensional (and this is coming from a fan!) Green Lantern has been plowing along like a Matthew Reilly novel (all action, little characterisation) since Johns came along and when I really think about it there has been no substantial supporting cast that I can think of.

As for Cap – I really loved his supporting cast from the Brooklyn building period from # 250 – 300. I thought it was a great way to bring Cap down to the little people he was defending all the time. Plus it highlighted how much he could never be “normal.” He was always trying to live the American dream, but unable to do so as he was always defending it. The supporting cast really highlighted the juxtaposition IMO. I think they made ahuge mistake making him Cap 100% of the time as that forces him to only have other superheroes or SHIELD agents as a supporting cast – which restricts the possibility of character-building.

People bash Cap’s supporting cast, but I’ve always liked it. I liked the Falcon, I liked USAgent, I liked D-Man, I liked Diamondback, I liked Jack Monroe… but maybe I’m in the minority.

Smoo’s point about Daredevil seems more valid to me… besides Foggy, and a string of disasterous love affairs, he’s got no real supporting characters outside of villains. Turk, anyone?

“Have either of them ever gone more than a dozen issues with the same background players?”

Sure, Punisher had VIGIL and that lady cop who became a Punisher.

Hey, you didn’t say they had to be good.

The worst supporting cast in my opinion is every team book. All heroes just interacting with each other, with a Jarvis or Willie Lumpkin for comic relief.

The Lee/Kirby run had a great supporting cast. The beauty of it is that the villains are actually the supporting cast. You have the FF, who are the core nuclear family, then their friends and girlfriends like Wyatt Wingfoot, Crystal, Alicia, then the villains in the book work almost like extended dysfunctional family members who keep showing up uninvited and refuse to leave. For the first stretch of the book the annoying extended relatives who kept showing up were Namor and Dr Doom over and over. Then there was a stretch where the Frightful Four members kept popping up repeatedly, along with Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer and the Inhumans. They all appeared far too often to be simply considered a rogue’s gallery or occasional guest stars. I’d call them full-fledged supporting cast members.

Ronald Jay Kearschner

December 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I took “supporting cast” to mean non-powered civilian characters: family, friends, coworkers, etc. One of the reasons I love team books is that it’s fully developed characters interacting with each other as equals. A lot of characters have one dimensional stereotype supporting cast (angry boss, clueless girlfriend, teen sidekick) I voted for Jack Norris from THE DEFENDERS and Clive Reston from MASTER OF KUNG FU on my favorite characters of all time because they brought a human element to the stories they were featured in.

@Smoo: I think you nailed it. I don’t think anyone’s produced fewer supporting characters over a longer period than Daredevil. Foggy’s great, Karen was OK (but dead), Elektra and Black Widow have been away from DD’s book so long they shouldn’t count, Ben Urich is pretty good, and then there’s … uh .. Turk, I guess.

Does a group count?? If so, the Fantasic Four…get rid of the damned children!!

I have to wonder, does little to no supporting cast always automatically mean a bad thing? Because when a character is meant to be a loner, I think such characters work best with little to no supporting cast. In Captain America’s case, I view him as a man who is lonely because he is out of time, meaning almost everyone he knew and grew up with is dead and he has little in common with people today. So from the time of his revival in Avengers #4 he’s become a workaholic to compensate, and has made his coworkers into his family. So to me when you keep his supportinfg cast small and unstable, it works best. If he had a very large and consistent supporting cast, I think that would be worse not better.

i can’t believe that no one has mentioned Wolverine! If we take away all the X-men, who does Wolvie have as a recurring part of his cast? i haven’t read any Wolvie in the last decade, so i may have missed lots, but when i was reading Wolvie there was always lots of people showing up that he had ties to, but they weren’t a supporting cast in the same way that Spidey or Supes or Bats have.

Silver Surfer also has a week supporting cast, but he’s an alien from a whole other place. i would also argue that Cap Am has always had Nick Fury & the cast of SHIELD around him to make up a stable supporting cast for him.

Am i missing something with Wolvie?

@danjack

During the Hama/Silvestri era, Jubilee was basically Wolverine’s sidekick, which I always liked. And during the Claremont era of solo stories, you had his whole scene in Madripoor as Patch, with the Princess Bar and all that. I think Wolverine is at his best when he has a supporting cast, and he has had some that worked over the years. But i agree with you that those supporting casts typically don’t survive writer changes, which is unfortunate. And it seems most writers prefer to write Wolverine as a loner that refuses to maintain personal relationships on a regular basis.

Wait, Daredevil was offered as an example and people agree! Daredevil’s supporting cast is amazing. Foggy is great and Matt’s girlfriends are top notch. Karen, Elektra, Mira, Dakota etc. Luke Cage and Iron Fist have been serious cast members for years and are at their best in Daredevil. Tarantula has been cool recently, as well as Becky Blake. But the best of the bunch are Ben Urich and Vanessa Fisk. Sure Turk and Stick are a little silly but they’ve really expanded his supporting cast in the past decade to outstanding results.

My vote: Probably Captain America, but I’ll go out on a limb and say the Hulk, especially now that everyone important is a Hulk too. Blech.

Jamie- dang, you do like to invite controversy, don’t you? I can only say if Spider-man’s supporting cast is bad, I don’t want to read good comics.

Don’t really think Daredevil has a problem- plenty of characters have spurred their own storylines, and there are plenty more that could still be developed- Foggy and Karen, sure. Electra, sure. Zach has listed plenty. Urich, Stick, Vanessa. Bendis worked in Luke Cage and Dakota North. Also has complex bad guys like Kingpin and Typhoid Mary.

Daredevil has always had an interesting but understated interaction with the rest of the Marvel U. You could do 30 issues of him and Spidey doing just about anything and I think most people would read it. He has a history with the FF and Doctor Doom. And dude, you can’t forget Deuce the Devil Dog. There are reams of material just waiting to be explored there.

And heck, somewhere in there there has to be a story about Matt Murdock’s endless rotating cast of legal interns, secretaries and forgotten partners.

I have to wonder, does little to no supporting cast always automatically mean a bad thing? Because when a character is meant to be a loner, I think such characters work best with little to no supporting cast. In Captain America’s case, I view him as a man who is lonely because he is out of time, meaning almost everyone he knew and grew up with is dead and he has little in common with people today. So from the time of his revival in Avengers #4 he’s become a workaholic to compensate, and has made his coworkers into his family. So to me when you keep his supportinfg cast small and unstable, it works best. If he had a very large and consistent supporting cast, I think that would be worse not better.

I see your point.

A small supporting cast is not a bad thing in and of itself. As you mentioned, there are certainly characters who work better as loners. Having one great character in a supporting cast is certainly better than having ten bad ones. Also, a cast can grow so large over many changes in creative team that it becomes a different kind of problem.

With regard to Cap, I still think it is a problem. Steve Rogers is supposed to be uniquely charismatic. It is kind of his main deal as far as I am concerned. He has been unfrozen for a long, long time. You would think that he would accidentally acquire a few friends that aren’t Avengers. That is lost opportunity to me.

There is an old adage that your life consists of your family, your work and a hobby. Steve Rogers is a workaholic, professional superhero. We see the work side of Steve’s life a ton. His family is probably either long dead, or totally unaware of him. That leaves a lot of time. Even the most work obsessed people have other interests. What does a time lost guy from the forties do with his free time? Does he hang out a retro dinners, swing dance clubs and bowling alleys? If so, wouldn’t he know a couple guys with wallet chains, porkpie hats and tattoos? What about pin-up models? Wouldn’t Steve have run across a few of them and isn’t he into art?

It all underlines how under-cooked the Captain America cast is to me. I have no idea what Sharon Carter would be like around civilian friends, which suggests to me that she is barely there she is as a character. That is true of most of his cast. There is no hint of how they relate to the world outside superheroville.

T., Dean- Great points. Dang interesting.

That Steve Rogers is one dang interesting character, what with his lack of supporting cast and complete one dimensionalness in general.

How can somebody so charismatic as Cap still fail on some many levels in his personal life? It sounds like a problem. In fact, it sounds like the kind of realistic, based-on-organically-grown-character-based problem that could make a decent story. I mean, there are real people in real life who are extremely productive in their professional lives but hopeless in terms of creating a personal life for themselves. There is a great story there.

So let’s all be real quiet and hope nobody notices it until the current crop of Marvel writers has gone away, cause they tend to screw that sort of thing up.

“i can’t believe that no one has mentioned Wolverine! If we take away all the X-men, who does Wolvie have as a recurring part of his cast? i haven’t read any Wolvie in the last decade, so i may have missed lots, but when i was reading Wolvie there was always lots of people showing up that he had ties to, but they weren’t a supporting cast in the same way that Spidey or Supes or Bats have.”

It took a couple of days, but after thinking about it, I sort of understand your point/disagree. In the process of being every tough-as-nails adamantium-lined-berserker-mutant to all titles, Wolvie kind of has left his common roots behind. But in the Hama years, he pretty much took in everybody under his umbrella, lately that has been ignored in favor of larger plots.

I can find actual real and good comics that featured Wolverine interacting quite well with a long list of characters like Tyger Tyger, Inspector Chang, Bob whoever, Mariko, Yukio, Amiko, Albert, Elsie-Dee, Jubilee, Mystique, Spiral, Zoe Culloden, Sam Guthrie, Storm, Caliban, that random ex marine construction worker woman, Electra, Puck, Heather Hudson….

But yeah, oddly, none of that stuck.

Hal Jordan I think has the blandest, especially in comparison to the Rayner years of the GL title. Besides Tom and Carol, he had a bunch of ciphers in the Lantern Corp. Literally,m you coulkd exchange any of them for another and not know the difference besides having a different head design. That started to change in the 80s with the introduction of Guy Gardner and John Stewart, but they were even better support characters during the Rayner years, when they didn’t have powers and did nothing but act as support characters.

Then you throw in Jade (and the fact that she’s now off on Earth 2 is very dissappointing to me as afan of the Winnick run), Alan Scott (who did more interesting stuff as Kyle’s mentor than Hal’s buddy from an alternate Earth), his assistants, John’s wife/gf, and villains who were more than just Lanterns with a color other than green (which is what seems to be the only thing the GLs fight anymore these days, either that or in-fighting), and the Hals years prior to and after the Rayner years just seem bland in comparison. Maybe 90s DC was right, there isn’t that much you can do with the Corp. Not to say that it isnt good to have it around, just that maybe it’s not as important to the mythos as Johns seems to be pushing.

Jonathon Riddle

January 17, 2014 at 1:39 am

Hellblazer – The worst part of Jamie Delano’s run on Hellblazer was the supporting cast. Or lack thereof, since most of the people who knew John Constantine were dead. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised he had no lasting supporting cast at the beginning of Hellblazer since Constantine himself had just finished playing a supporting role in Swamp Thing.

Notice that one of the first things Garth Ennis did when he got the title was give John new supporting characters as well as beef up his relationships with previously introduced characters like Gemma and Chas.

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