In honor of Comic Week I'm going to share with you my Top 5 Comic Book Characters, and of course why they are clearly the best. The Top 5 Comic Book Characters of all time are: The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), The Joker, Lex Luthor, and Grifter.
The first four characters are one's that any self-respecting comic or even superhero fan knows, the fifth one is much less known, but here is why they are the best:
Cole Cash, also known as Grifter, made my Top 5 because of the uniqueness of his character. Cash was a U.S. Army Special Ops soldier who turned into a conman and on one of his cons was abducted by aliens. Cole wakes up for some unknown reason while the aliens are trying to take over his body, and escapes, but he is able to see and hear the aliens, that are invisible to the rest of the world.
Because of some shenanigans after the abduction, the US government has deemed him a terrorist, and the aliens (Daemonites) are after him to keep their secret from getting out. In previous publications, Grifter had telepathic abilities, but I prefer the timeline in the New 52, where he is not showing any powers other than seeing and hearing the aliens.
So, we have a marine who is running around shooting at aliens that only he can see? Yes. Yes we do, and that's fantastic! I enjoy things that are odd and a little unusual, which is why Grifter is in my Top 5.
4. The Joker
For me, no comic-based list would be complete without the Joker in the top. No Other Villain is as twisted and maniacal as this crazed clown! No matter, which DC Universe you are reading (other than possibly Earth 3 stuff) the Joker is always evil and twisted. He likes to toy with Batman and seemingly never dies!
His origins are entirely unknown, every time that you see him in pop-culture he will have a different origin story. Even in Batman: The Dark Knight, The Joker gives three origin stories of himself. His past is a mystery. But how much of the past is the joker found in?
He first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940, but we find in the New 52's "Batman: Endgame" that Joker possibly has been around for centuries! For a character that has been around for so long, to know so little about his past is unsettling, but at the same time intrigues me. All this mystery surrounding him, and all the ruthless pain that he can cause without a second thought.
Perhaps this madman in the reason I was afraid of clowns growing up.
3. Lex Luthor
Good Ol' Lex. One of my favorite villains and was introduced the same year as the Joker, in 1940 in Action Comics #23. Lex Luthor is a genius and is always plotting against Superman in some way. However, unlike the Joker he s not inherently evil, just exceedingly selfish. Luther wants to see Superman die, but if that is not possible, he would do whatever would benefit him the most.
He put his differences aside in the Injustice continuity in order to save his own life, and to supposedly bring order to the world. His greed is manifested when he is chosen to wear an Orange Lantern ring in the Blackest Night series. Plus his need for power is seen when he becomes the President of the U.S.
Even though the lack of backstory is what put the Joker on this list. I believe that the humanism and some of Luthor's backstory is what puts him on the list for me. He isn't evil, and in the Smallville series you can see that he wants to be good, but is more morally ambiguous and lead to hating things he can't control (i.e. Superman). I think that Lex Luthor is a prominent villain in comic books and it is important that some of the greatest villains are the humans no different than us.
2. Green Lantern - Hal Jordan
The number 2 spot in my Top 5 goes to The Green Lantern: Hal Jordan. I appreciate the originals in most saga's (Bruce Wayne's Batman, Barry Allen's Flash, etc.) and most would argue that Alan Scott was the first, but they are entirely different heroes. Hal Jordan was the first Earthman to become a member of the Green Lantern Corps (an intergalactic police force). While Alan Scott got his powers from a magical green flame. But, I digress.
Hal Jordan has fought countless terrors throughout the universe and was a large factor in beginning and ending the Corps Wars and the Blackest Night. In his first years as a Green Lantern, Jordan made a friend, who soon became a nemesis; Sinestro. For a variety of reasons, most having to do with his fear of failure and hatred of Jordan, Sinestro founded the Yellow Lanterns, or Sinestro Corps. This was the first ring corp in the comics other than the Green Lanterns. Throughout time other ring corps were formed, partly because of the way Jordan has paved. His legacy goes through all the future Green Lanterns and the various other Lantern Corps as well.
The power of a green lantern is to create anything that he can think of by willing it into being. That is a pretty wondrous power if you ask me, and can be virtually unlimited as long as the wearer had a strong enough resolve. The only downside is the ring needs recharged.
For his legacy and virtually unlimited power, Hal Jordan is my number 2 comic book hero.
1. The Flash - Barry Allen
The Flash is my personal favorite, for numerous reasons. To start with, he is the fastest man alive, and is constantly discovering new powers that are related to his speed. Other than the obvious "running really fast" he can essentially shoot tornadoes, think through every possible scenario within a second, Vibrate his molecules to walk through solid objects, and run through time. On top of this he can heal REALLY fast, (maybe not Wolverine fast, but still worth mentioning.) These are only a few of the powers that have developed over the years of his superhero-ing.
So, to recap. He can decide which action to take in order to get the best outcome, be in fights with people and never be touched, shoot tornadoes and if that doesn't work he has the ability to run through time and try again. That is just the beginning of his awesomeness.
Barry Allen is also a forensic scientist, so he is pretty smart, and an accident in his lab made him a hero. That accident also made much more! The singular thing that makes him stand out above the rest of the speedsters, is that in the DC universe, Barry Allen created the Speed Force. Barry Allen, through the chemical spill and lightning strike incident in his lab created the thing that allows any speedster to have their powers. And because his power goes through time, it affects past, present, and future speedsters. (Yes, Jay Garrick, Max Mercury and even Eobard Thawne all have power because of Barry Allen). Not to mention the other heroes with different powers connected to the Speed Force. The Legacy that he created lasts forever and would be impossible for any other character to replicate.
Because we are now talking about a hero who can transcend time, it would go amiss to not mention the REAL origins of his powers. Barry Allen died and was seen a few times coming through the speed force while he was considered to be dead, until he was revived later on. During one such encounter, shortly after his death in Crisis on Infinite Earths, he turned into a lightning bolt, and struck a forensic lab scientist, splashing him with chemicals as well. The scientist, was a young Barry Allen.
By some twist of fate, Barry gave himself the powers and invented the Speed Force, creating an endless legacy that transcends time. That is why Barry Allen as the Flash is the #1 comic book character of all time.