Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man… All of these incredible characters have been in the superhero game for quite a while, making their debuts in the late 30s or the early 60s. During the decades, they’ve proven countless times how awesome they truly are, leaving their mark on the world and influencing our global pop culture!
Although those old school heroes are undoubtedly some of the greatest comic book characters ever created, we shouldn’t forget that there have been quite a few greenhorns, characters who made their first appearance in the recent years, who are also very glamorous and impressive, as impressive as some of the older ones, I might add. And today, I’m going to present to YOU my ten personal favorites, the ten greatest characters of the new generation!
Before we start with the list, here are some rules!
1. I’ve only included characters who made their first appearance during the 90s or later! Also, I excluded characters like Agent Venom, whose alter ego--Flash Thompson—was created in the early 60s.
2. DC and Marvel Comics only
3. The characters are ranked based on how popular they are among fans and on their role in the comic book history.
10. Atrocitus (First Appearance: Green Lantern vol. 4 #25, December 2007)
Atrocitus is the founder and leader of the Red Lantern Corps, an enemy to both the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps. Originally known as Atros, he was one of the five survivors of the destruction of Sector 666 (apparently he was destined to become evil) by the evil Manhunters, the first interstellar police force created by the Guardians of the Galaxy (not the ones from Marvel, don’t get so hyped). Along with the remaining inhabitants of Sector 666, he forged the Five Inversions and tried to murder the Guardians, but he was stopped and imprisoned on a rogue planet. After escaping from his prison, he killed the legendary Green Lantern Abin Sur (Hal Jordan’s predecessor) and tried to abduct William Hand, the man prophesized to become the most important player in the Blackest Night event. After suffering yet another defeat, at the hands of Hal Jordan, he swore a vow to destroy the Lanterns with the power of the red power rings, the signature weapon of the Red Lantern Corps!
9. Menace (First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #545, 2008)
Lily Hollister, Harry Osborn’s fiancé, was just an ordinary girl who happened to find one of the Green Goblin’s old hideouts. After absorbing a unique variation of the Goblin Serum that allows her to shape-shift into a demonic goblin entity, Lilly went paranoid and decided to steal the Goblin’s weapons and become the terrorist known as Menace! She originally tried to help her father become the mayor of New York, but her plans failed, and she was arrested by Spider-Man. Despite the feelings she once had for Harry, Lily was later involved with a plan forged by Harry’s own father Norman to sacrifice Harry in order to once again gain the trust of the people of NY City. She recently gave birth to Harry’s son, a little boy named Stanley, but once again abandoned her responsibilities as mother and wife and returned to villainy as the right hand of the Goblin King!
8. Steel (First Appearance: The Adventures of Superman #500, June 1993)
John Henry Irons is a brilliant scientist and one of the most valuable allies of Superman. Despite the fact that he only started out as a sidekick, he quickly earned a lot of prestige as one of Metropolis’s greatest protectors. Being DC’s answer to Iron Man, Steel became known for being extremely strong and creative, and he was even able to survive a battle with Doomsday, the notorious monster who managed to murder Superman!
7. The Court of Owls (First Appearance: Batman Vol. 1 #1, December 2011)
I'm not cheating now! Although the Court of Owls is an organization, not a single character, they act as one well-oiled machine! The Court of Owls was created as part of an ancient conspiracy, controlling Gotham City from the shadows for centuries. They are a violent cabal of some of Gotham City's oldest and wealthiest families who use murder and money to wield political influence! Their secret weapons are the Talons, a group of highly experienced assassins who have the reputation for carrying out every mission they’re assigned to. Originally appearing in the New 52, the Court of Owls are considered by many to be the greatest new adversaries of the Caped Crusader and many fans want to see them in the upcoming Batman films of the DC cinematic universe.
6. Damian Wayne (First Appearance: Batman #655, September 2006)
Damian Wayne is the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul and the grandson of the infamous terrorist Ra’s al Ghul. He was raised by the League of Assassins to be a skilled fighter, and despite the fact that he’s only just a child, Damian proved to be capable of besting even the most capable warriors of the DC Universe. Although he started out as a member of Talia’s pack, he later went on to become one of the most important members of the Bat Family by assuming the role of Robin. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree…
5. Doomsday (First Appearance: Superman: The Man of Steel #17, November 1992)
Doomsday is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction; an unstoppable killing machine created by Kryptonian scientists and programmed to eliminate all existing life. After being imprisoned for many years, Doomsday arrived on Earth and started destroying everyone he found in his path. When he finally happened upon Superman, the two of them fought in a titanic battle which resulted in the death of both the Man of Steel and Doomsday. However, even death couldn’t hold him down for long, and Doomsday quickly returned thanks to his accelerated healing factor, ready to crack some more heroic skulls! During the years, this monstrous baddie has become one of the threatening villains in the DC Universe, even managing to defeat in battle the greatest evil of them all, Darkseid!
4. Harley Quinn (First Comic Book Appearance: The Batman Adventures #12, September 1993)
This crazy female villain originally debuted in the episode Joker’s Favor of the Batman: The Animated Series. However, due to the popularity of the character, Harley Quinn started making appearances in the comic book universe, too and became a very important character in Batman's mythos! Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel was a psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum, where she met Joker and fell in love with him. Despite the fact that she initially served only as a Robin to Joker’s Batman, Harley won the hearts of the audience and managed to gain a cult following of her own. After many years of abuse, Harley finally chose to abandon the Joker and managed to survive on her own, renouncing her role as Joker’s bimbo and becoming a strong and independent harlequin!
3. Bane (First Appearance: Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, January 1993)
Bane is one of Batman's more physically and intellectually powerful foes. He is known to be the only man to have ‘’Broken the Bat’’, managing to defeat and cripple Gotham’s greatest hero, Batman himself! Despite what Batman & Robin might have led you to believe, Bane is extremely clever and calculative, being able to deduce Batman’s true identity! He always acts carefully, without any recklessness, and he’s always prepared for his foe’s next move. During Batman’s absence, he decided to dress up as the Caped Crusader in order to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. His efforts paid off, and he managed to destroy Scarecrow’s empire and take over Gotham for himself!
2. Carnage (First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #344, March 1991)
The Carnage symbiote is the offspring of the Venom symbiote. It bonded with the crazed serial killer, Cletus Kasady, thus creating one of Spider-Man's most murderous, brutal, and lethal adversaries: Carnage! Unlike his father, Carnage doesn’t respect human life at all, and is guided by an unmatched lust for blood. Through the years, Carnage was hosted by both Ben Reily, the clone of Spider-Man, and Silver Surfer, creating Cosmic Carnage! However, it seems that the symbiote will always return to Kasady, forging an enemy so powerful that it required both Spider-Man and Venom to take him down!
1. Deadpool (First Appearance: New Mutants #98, February 1991)
Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth, is a former test subject of the Weapon X program, possessing a regenerative healing factor derived from the mutant Wolverine! A wildcard and a loudmouth, Deadpool is undoubtedly one of the most interesting comic book characters, becoming famous for his lust for blood and chimichangas. Despite the fact that he’s an antihero, he has served as a member of the X-Force and the X-Men and has recently joined the Thunderbolts. His deadliest weapon isn’t his sword but his mouth! I’m not kidding; you wouldn’t like him when he’s in the mood for chatting!
Deadpool was ranked 182nd on Wizard magazine's list of the Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time, ranked 45th on Empire magazine's list of The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters and placed 31st on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.