THE TOP 100 COMIC BOOK HEROES OF ALL TIME

64. ROGUE

Many non-nerds don’t realize that Rogue—one of the most famous X-Men, and one who had a major role in the films—actually premiered in an issue of The Avengers.  And, she was the reason Carol Danvers wasn’t Ms. Marvel for a long time.

Rogue first appeared in one of my favorite comic books of all time—The Avengers Annual #10.  It was the 6th best comic of the 1980s, and one of the few books I’ve bothered to get autographed.

Since her first appearance as an evil mutant, Rogue has gathered a more complicated history than just about any other X-Man–and that’s saying something, given how the Marvel mutants are the biggest bunch of incestuous sluts and soap opera stars in comics.  She: Is the adopted daughter of Mystique and brother of Nightcrawler; permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers; saved the life of Wolverine’s fiance, Mariko; banged Gambit; and has had about a dozen “permanent” changes to her power set over the years.

All of this is a testament to how much creators and fans love Rogue stories.

Recommended reading:

  • Avengers Annual #10 (not reprinted!)
  • Essential X-Men Vol. 4-5 (some of the best Claremont Rogue work)
  • The Sentry: Fallen Sun (in which she recalls sleeping with Sentry)

63. ‘MAZING MAN

Number sixty three is roughly the last of the bottom third.  All the big names (except Aquaman) will follow, and as you approach the top 20 you’ll pretty much be able to predict who will appear.  The only question will be the order.  But in the bottom third, I can pretty much do what I want.  And what I want is to homage to an unappreciated, un-reprinted or collected hero from the 1980s: ‘Mazing Man.

Sigfried Horatio Hunch III, the harmless mental patient who wore a yellow helmet and polka-dotted boxer shots while keeping the trees of Queens free from cats the old ladies safe while they crossed the street, starred in just 12 issues.  But the book was so different, so charming, so touching that even hardcore creator Frank Miller did a cover, gratis, to show his support.  The title was a tremendous breath of fresh of air in a comic book climate that, in the years that it ran (1987-89), was becoming increasingly bleak and kid-unfriendly.

I loved this book, and all the hope it represents.  DC should provide us an omnibus.  Now.

Recommended reading: Back issues, if you can find them.

62. FANTOMEX (Weapon XIII)

Right now, many of you are scratching your heads and saying “Who’s Fantomex?”  That’s okay.

Fantomex was created by Grant Morrison and Igor Kordey in the pages of New X-Men as a thief and a scoundrel, much like Captain Sparrow.  The reason he matters so much is that he’s key to the Weapon X program.  Through Fantomex, Grant Morrison created a vast, heavily science-fiction influenced world from which Wolverine was in actuality one of the least powerful, least interesting products.  Fantomex also had a terrific look: White trenchcoat, a mask like Storm Shadow’s, and two guns.  He was immediately captivating.  We had to know more.

Morrison only gave us bits and pieces, and after he left New X-Men the Fantomex character drifted for a long time.  Thankfully, Rick Remender picked him up for X-Force (one of the best books currenly on the market), where his brutal, no-holds-barred sense of right and wrong has put him at odds with a team that also includes Psylocke and Archangel.  In fact, Fantomex makes Wolverine look conservative…

Recommended reading:

  • New X-Men Vol. 1-5
  • X-Force (currently on the market)

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