During Quarantine I discovered a love of comics I never had before. I’ve always been a gaming nerd; someone who loves super hero movies and scifi tv. I felt like there were parts of nerd culture I was missing out on. Last year I got into Anime and discovered characters and stories I absolutely loved like some of my favorites One Punch Man and My Hero Academia. Enjoying the anime made me want to read some of the manga, and I really enjoyed it. Quarantine gave me extra free time I never had before and sometimes I needed a break from tv and games and actually got to do some reading. I’ve been enjoying delving deeper into Star Wars lore and books, and recently I’ve been on a big super hero kick. I subscribed to DC Universe and Marvel Unlimited and have been really enjoying the all the comics they have to offer. I’ve loved super heroes since I was a child. One of the earliest Super hero movies I remember seeing was the Sam Rami trilogy. I loved the Justice League and Teen Titan cartoons when I was a kid. When I was a teenager the MCU took super heroes to a new level of mainstream I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.
During my comic book loving super hero kick during Quarantine, I thought now would be a fun time to do a list of my favorite super heros and my favorite depiction of that hero. I’ve put a lot of thought into the order of this, but I don’t consider it a definitive list, as my feelings may change. Fact is all these super hero characters are ones I just love and want more content with them in it! Here are some rules, they have to be actual super heroes. They can’t be villians or action heroes. I considered characters like Harley Quinn or Venom which are depicted mostly as villians with some appareances as morally grey anti-heros. Either in-universe or in real life they need to be considered “super heroes”. The term super hero has a certain meaning beyond just maybe having abilities or capes so that also means there are no Jedi or Harry Potter characters. Some characters could be on this list but they better fit other genres more like Godzilla or John Wick.
There are some superheroes on this list that I understand some might feel are missing such as Wolverine, Deadpool, Robin, etc... but these are heroes who I just never personally cared enough for and didn't make the list. If your favorite hero didn't make my list, make sure to comment why they are your favorite on the corresponding post on social media for this article!
30. Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter is a character I am most aware of thanks to my childhood love of the Justice League cartoon series. His ever-calm demeanor during combat always seemed so cool and collected. He also has a bad-ass list of super powers including shapeshifting and non corporeal phasing. He is easily one of the most powerful characters on this list yet is so often forgotten.
29. scarlet witch
Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff is one of the few female heroes we have seen in the MCU and I have always enjoyed her character. She has a weird and intriguing set of reality warping powers. In the comics, she is so powerful she pretty much deletes a universe. While the MCU version is way more scaled back, it was awesome to see her go head to head with Thanos directly and actually give him trouble. Elizabeth Olsen does a awesome job as the character in the MCU, and hopefully we will see her get the spotlight she deserves in the upcoming Dr Strange multi-verse movie. Seeing those two traverse the multi-verse would be incredible.
28. captain Marvel
Ok I so liked Captain Marvel ok, don't hate me. What is regarded by some as one of the least favorite MCU films, (I don't really see why, Don't you all remember Iron Man 2 or Thor Dark World?) Captain Marvel to me was funny and had an otherworldly, out of place, stranger to earth, kind of vibe. I think it was about high time the Avengers gained an ultra powerful female character also. The MCU will need some more powerful characters to fill the power vacuum left by Iron Man and Captain America also. I also thought Brie Larson did a great job and very much enjoyed the twist on the story arc of the Skulls. When Captain Marvel shows up in Endgame's final battle I cheered at the bad ass way they did it. Plus, can we all agree Goose stole the show in her film? I loved the subversion of the backstory of Nick Fury's eye patch so much too. Overall, Captain Marvel makes for a fun and entertaining hero.
27. Dr. Fate
A hero I wish got more spotlight is the mysterious and enigmatic Dr. Fate. He is unique in that Dr Fate isn't really a specific person, but a helmet that controls or overtakes a human host to become Dr Fate. Dr Fate could be anyone inside who is unlucky enough to put on the helmet. He is a super powerful being in the DC universe being bound to Fate itself. His loyalties are little more "lawful neutral" as Fate is more important than right and wrong. I would absolutely love to see him in the DCEU someday.
Say what you will about the DCEU, it did manage to revitalize some heroes I didn't care too much for before. Aquaman has had a notorious history as being a unliked joke of a character. However, Jason Mamoa singlehandedly saved this super hero by giving us one of the most surprising successful reboots of a hero into a hero that is not only respected but well liked by fans. The film also was a surprising success being one of the better films of the DCEU. It is one of the examples of a time when a lesser known, even unliked, hero can become mainstream. He would be higher if it weren't for the fact that only the one example is likable and memorable. Jason Mamoa single handedly gets Aquaman on this list; without him he would be no where near it.
Alright, Jason Mamoa was fantastic, and singlehandedly turned an otherwise universally panned hero into a mega hit film and a fan favorite hero. He gets his due. I am glad his character exists. But I have to say they did such a good job at Mera that I left thinking, why wasn't she just "Aquawoman?" The Justice League only has one female member in the DCEU and in many iterations of the of Justice League and substituting Mera would not only add some diversity to the Justice League, but I would argue that the DCEU version is more powerful than Aquaman. It never is really explained other than "being royalty" or the "rightful heir" what makes Aquaman so special. Biologically speaking she would be more powerful, stronger, and tougher, being that she is 100% Atlantian. She also has a super useful hydro-telekinesis, meaning she can control water. Her hydro-telekinesis in the film is superpowerful. She is able to turn water into hardened projectiles and create massive swarms of water. I think she has a huge advantage. Plus, Amber Heard gives an incredible performance, and watching her discover the surface world really gave her a similar "stranger in a strange land" charm similar to that we see in DCEU Wonder Woman or MCU Thor. I think in an alternate universe a Justice League with Mera as Aquawoman would have been even more interesting than what we got. We already have enough brutes with the likes of Superman and Batman on the DCEU JL, Mera would have helped balance the team.
24. Rocket racoon
The Guardians of the Galaxy proved that Marvel could make successes out of ridiculous sets of largely unknown characters. They must have felt like they could do no wrong when they green-lit a talking tree and raccoon in space for the MCU, but it isn't hubris if you pull it off. The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was awesome, and introduced many of us, including myself, to the characters. My favorite is by far Rocket. He is hilarious, and just somehow perfectly at home in the MCU despite his ridiculous premise. Also, I just love his interactions with Thor, whoever thought to team those two up are absolute geniuses. Thor calling him Rabbit the whole time is just great.
23. Black Widow
Admittedly, Black Widow is a character much like Aquaman that makes it onto this list based on Actress performance alone. Scarlett Johansen makes a character that could be boring or forgettable (Hawkeye anyone?), one of the most liked characters in the MCU. Black Widow would be higher on this list if it wasn't for the fact that we like Johansen's performance more than the character itself. Despite having very little backstory and abilities far overshadowed by her MCU peers, she manages to make the character likable and invaluable to the MCU. However, Black Widow in other media is not as good in my opinion, relying so heavily on the MCU version, but her performance alone makes her ripe for this list. Black Widow is set to finally get her own film, which was delayed in 2020 due to COVID-19, and its looks to be another amazing film in the MCU. Perhaps the film will give us more insight and backstory to the character beyond just Johansen's performance.
22. INVISIBLE WOMAN
Next up is Susan Storm aka “The Invisible Woman”, as depicted in the 2005 film. Now, despite the fact that the movie hasn’t aged well, and doesnt stand up to the post-MCU era of super hero films, back at that time it was a super fun super hero movie. I enjoyed it very much, and I enjoyed the Invisible Woman character. She was different than other heroes of the day and had a cool power. Back then I was a Jessica Alba fan and thought she did a great job as the first female super heroe I ever saw brought to life. Invisible Woman is another character that would be higher if she wasn't so reliant on Jessica Alba's performance. In other media, and subsequent attempts at the character have been less so. If the MCU ever does introduce the Fantastic Four, it is a pipe dream that they recast Jessica Alba for the role.
21. The Flash
Another hero I didn't care too much for that had my attitude changed by the DCEU is the Flash. I always thought his character in the comics or the Justice League animations to be somewhat annoying. Don't even get me started on the CW arroverse. However, Ezra Miller gives a hilarious and new take on the character. He almost seems at times like what the audiences reaction would be to being in the situation. I love his reasonable fear in the Justice League movie where goes from being a normal kid to battling giant monsters that makes him likable. I also love his first interaction when meeting Batman in the Justice League film. "I need friends..."
20. Dr. Strange
Next up is Dr Strange, as depicted by Benedict Cumberbatch in the MCU. Long before it was announced that Cumberbatch was going to take on the Cloak of Levitation, I and many super hero fans knew there was only one actor who fit the bill. It was a roll seamingly built for him. His roll as Sherlock Holmes and just his over all manner seamed perfect for introducing another smart eccentric character to go alongside Tony Stark. Cumberbatch nailed an incredible performance in a relatively unnknown roll and became an instant favorite of the MCU. What brings him to the list are his incredible powers and over all amazing character design. I also think that the 2016 film has some of the most unique and impressive visuals, and its take on the final “boss battle”. If this were a power ranking, Dr Strange could also go toe to toe with just about anyone on this list.
19. The Hulk
“You wont like me when I’m angry” Ah do you remember the pre-MCU era of super hero movies when our standars were much lower? I still remember the pre-mcu 2003 film and how much my younger self loved it. Sure by today’s standards the film isn’t great but it introduced many of us to an amazing character. One of the things that makes the Hulk great is how everything about the character makes him perfect to be a villian. He’s nigh invincible, only powers up more when he’s angry, and under little control from his human self. He’s a character just asking to be a villain and yet he is (almost) always portrayed as a hero. People love the hulk because sometimes a dumb brute makes for a likeable character against all the genius billionaires in the super hero world. Plus he’s huge and green and smashes thinga like a toddler. I will have to say I think the best depiction of the Hulk is in the MCU by far, my actual favorite is 2003 movie licensed video game. I loved playing it as a kid as it was one of the first and few times I got to play as the monster. Running around smashing things and picking up tanks as weapons brings many fond memories.
18. All Might
Like I said before, last year I got into Anime, and multiple friends recommended to me My Hero Academia. I considered several characters from there that are super fun, like Mt Lady, Deku, and my favorite, Bakugo, but most of those characters aren’t yet in-universe super heroes yet, just students. This spot HAD to go to the Symbol of Peace himself. It would have been easy to just make All Might a generic Superman clone, but they managed to make him unique and special. He inspires like Captain America and has the Strength of Superman, but still manages to be a unique character. My favorite moment is his battle with All for One where gives his all to save everyone. There is just something reassuring and comforting about All Might in the Anime.
I couldnt write this list without including at least one character from the 2006 tv show, “Heroes”. Man did I love that show. It was one of the first shows to succeed on the “ensemble of super powered heroes” tv genre that blew up. I considered several characters such as Claire Bennet and Peter Petrelli, but I had to go with Hiro. He’s the most “super hero” out of all of them. While the others blur the line between “super hero” and “person with powers” he is the only one who we ever see in a legit costume and is literally is named “Hiro”. But most importantly, he has some really cool powers. His ability to stop, travel through and control time along with teleportation makes him one of the most powerful characters on this list.
Last year I really got into enjoying anime and my absolute favorite so far is One Punch Man. I considered other side characters for this list such as Terrible Tornado (awesome character design and fun powers), or Mumen Rider (because he has no powers but never gives up and tries his best to help people) but I had to go with my man Genos. He is a cyborg and one of the most powerful characters in the OPM universe. I love how much of a contradiction he is too. He looks like he should be the main protagonist and the most powerful, yet he his apprenticed to Saitama. I love most his balance between ambition and humility. He wants to be the best yet he has no jealousy or misgivings about being second to his master. Plus he can blast his way through a mountain which is just incredible to watch.
I legit first heard of and saw Constantine, the 2005 Film, in a Writing class I had to take in college. I had to write about the film, and I thoroughly enjoyed the character. Not too mention Keanue Reeves is an incredible actor, the movie was super unique. It was one of the first times I saw a hero set in a Christendom universe, and had a unique supernatural spin to the world. Everything about the demon slaying, holy fire shot gun wielding exorcist made for an incredible story.
14 and 13. - Teen Titans, Raven & Starfire
Besides the Justice League animation, the Teen Titans were another super hero team up I loved when I was younger. Two of my favorites are Raven and Starfire. They has always had a cool name, a cool outfit, character design, and cool abilities. I enjoyed Ravens darker contrast to all the many brightly colored heroes, and enjoyed her most in the Teen Titans animation. Starfire I’ve enjoyed more in the comics as well as the series, along with Injustice 2. I like most absolutely hate her depiction in the new DC Universe series, as some weird hooker with Las Vegas attire. The comics and the show depoct her as this graceful alien, where that show does not. Starfire in the comics and cartoon is a goofy alien who doesn’t understand human figures of speech, and is always misunderstanding people. Raven is a more darker, mysterious sullen character with incredible supernatural abilities. Alone they each make incredible heroes but together their contrast really shines.
Thor is just an over all likeable and fun character. Chris Hemsworth just really delivers a believable performance as Thor, an advanced Alien that is both unrelatable and relatable at the same time. In the first film he is goofy and a fish out of water, but by the time Ragnarok comes he finds the balance. Thor also has a tragic arc that I really enjoyed in Endgame. Out of all the MCU heroes, we only ever see three struggle with the guilt of failure and the difficulties of what they do, and mostly Thor falls hardest. He feels personally responsible for failing to stop Thanos. One of my favorite moments is the emotional moment when Thor finds he is still worthy of his hammer.
11. Green lantern
The Green Lantern just can’t catch a break. I really didn’t hate the 2011 film as much as everyone else did, including Ryan Reynolds, but my favorite depiction is actually of John Stewert from the Justice League animations. I really hope we get to see a GL film more like that. I much prefer his more stoic and reserved character over the loud and cocky Hal Jordan.
Out of all the Super Heroes on this list, most of which have at least one Live Action depiction, I’ve only ever actually been able to meet two of the actors in person, with Erin Moriarty being the first and only live action actor, which really put Starlight in a special spot. I absolutely love The Boys from Amazon, in fact it was one of the reasons I wanted to try Amazon Prime Video in the first place. The Boys mangaes to be such a cynical take on the super hero genre without insulting the fans of the genre in any way. I have often referred to it as House of Cards with Superheroes. It takes a cynical view of a world with heroes, saying that if they existed in reality, most would be corrupt, power hungry, corporate sellouts. More like politicians or bad celebrities, the heroes in this show are all villians hiding in plain sight behind media and corporations. It is so unique and blurs the lines between “good and evil” in a way just not done before. It basically asks the question, what if Superman was a power and fame hungry asshole in private, but All American Hero to the public? While almost all the “heroes” in The Boys are evil, There is one that is good, Starlight. She is naive and just wants to help people. She has a pure, white and yellow suit that reflects the morality she seems to uniquely have. I got the chance to meet Erin Moriarty in real life at C2E2 2019 in Chicago, and it was awesome. She really does the character justice. She was super nice and so much shorter than I expected. He small stature just juxtaposes against her as an bad ass hero in a great way. In our heads super heroes are always tall. I love the show and Starlight is the best character in it by far.
9. Captain America
Chris Evans is Captain America. I don’t think anyone can really do the character justice. He just screams patriotism and ‘merica when you rout for him. I liked him in the begining of the MCU with First Avenger and Avengers...but it wasn’t until The Winter Solider that he landed on this list. Capt goes from somewhat cheesy comic relief to an amazing character. His battle with Hydra, defending America from a modern threat, it is all amazing. Civil War became one of the best films in the franchise, giving us a unique villian. Then when it came time for Endgame, Capt was one of my favs. He gets my two favorite stand up and clap in the therater moments in the entire film. You know what they were...
Spider-man was the first hero I saw on the big screen with the 2002 Sam Rami film. I got in trouble with my super conservative Baptist school for going to an evil movie theater, but it was totally worth it. I considered the MCU, Into the Spiderverse Miles Morales, or the PS4 game spider-man's for my favorite depiction, and Tom Holland was almost my pick, but the original movie Spidey has a special place in my heart.
7. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is a fun character that I always enjoyed. She was great in the Justice League animation but it wasn’t until the DCEU film that she was really done justice. Gal Gadot gave an amazing, believable performance as Wonder Woman. She proved the character could hold her own with any male hero, both in-universe and in real life with the first modern super hero film to feature a female lead. Wonder Woman also single handedly saved the DCEU from failure as it served as a turning point for critical praise that lead to Aquaman and Shazam. Gal Gadot manages to pull off a contradictory balance between innocence or grace with strength and “badassery”. One minute she is a lost girl in a big city curious with everything, the next she is facing a machine gun down in slow motion.
Picking my favorite depiction for this slot was really hard because more actors have portrayed The Dark Knight, Batman himself than I think any hero on this list. The Justice League animation Batman is really great and one of my favorites. The Arkham games has a really great batman. I loved Ben Affleck as DCEU Batman, more than I ever thought I would. Batman Ninja, Gotham by Gaslight, Batman Forever, Injustice Batman, New 52 Batman, the list goes on of great choices. But it has to go to Christian Bale’s Nolan-verse Batman. That is the depiction I first think of when I see Batman. Seeing his rise and beginning as Batman, facing the Joker, and the over all entire Dark Knight trilogy. I love Batman mostly because of his “loveable paranoia”, he’s like a eccentric doomsday prepper. One of my favorite Batman moments is the Justice League animation’s Batman telling the Justice League he has a “contingency” for each of them, and Superman asks him why he made a contingency for everyone but him, and Batman smugly says he does have one, the Justice League.
One of my favorite characters is Spawn. There is just something about cosmic angelic/demonic level characters. He reminds me of one of my favorite gaming characters, War from Darksiders. I would love to do a fanfic of those two in battle sometime. My favorite depiction of Soawn has to come from comics/animation, but I also really enjoyed the 2003 game. I think Spawn has one of coolest looking costumes designs and back stories. The whole backstory of Soawn dealing his way out hell only to defeat hell and command its armies that sounds so badass. I hope that the Jamie Foxx starring long in limbo modern Spawn film will eventually come.
4. Power Girl
My favorite female super hero is a bit more obscure, Powergirl has always been my favorite female hero. I just enjoy her character and story. She also bucks the trend of “female version of male hero” archetypes in games. Unlike Supergirl and all the other heroes who are just female versions of their male counterparts, often with identical backstories and even outfits, the creators of Power Girl gave her a unique alternate universe traversing backstory, and an outfit different for Superman/Super Girl. I just enjoy having a female hero on the power levels of Superman but unique and able to stand alone. It sucks she doesnt get the same spotlight as some other heroes, rarely getting time in animation or games. My favorite depiction is her comic version, but it was fun to see her brought to life in the Injustice 2 video game.
3. Saitama, One Punch Man
My favorite anime, and my favorite anime character so far goes to Saitama, aka One Punch Man. I love super hero anime the best, and Saitama is just a hilarious concept. At first I thought, I’ll admit I thought it’d be dumb or wouldn’t work; however it is so well done. They proved a ultra powerful character like Saitama can work and be entertaining. They cleverly utilize satire and other characters to tell an emotional and interesting story when one character is invincible. Even if you aren’t into anime (yet) I encourage you to start where I did and watch One Punch Man or read the manga. I did get to meet the english voice actor for Saitama, Max Mittleman at C2E2 2019 also. He was a really cool dude and very friendly. We chatted about how OPM was my first anime, and the new OPM game that had just released the days before.
2. Iron Man
Coming in at the number 2 spot is a super hero that has a very special spot. His mainstream debut sits at the foundation of the modern super hero renaissance, IRON MAN. I can’t say my favorite depiction because Robert Downery Jr is the ONLY depiction that matters, he IS Ironman. I have so many found memories of going to see Ironman lead films in theaters, all the way back to the original Iron Man film, the First Avengers, and his final act in End Game. He is the Skywalker of the MCU, and one of the most important characters in modern super hero film.
My Number 1 spot has not changed since I was a child and while ither favorites have risen over the years, none will ever surpass who I believe to be the best super hero ever created. Superman is in my mind the greatest hero not because of his powers or abilities but because of what he stands for. Superman stands for peace, hope, and justice. He is a concept of how power does not have to corrupt, it can be used for the good of mankind. He stands for the good in humanity. As I write this article during difficult times, a reminder of the good in people, is something we definitely need now.
The fact that Superman always sees the potential good in people, no matter what, his refusal to kill or resort to brutality when he has no accountability to do otherwise, all show us an example of what it means to choose peace when violence seems easier.
It’s hard to pick a favorite depiction of Superman, because I always enjoy them. The classic Christopher Reeves, the younger Clark Tom Welling from Smallville, the DCEU Henry Cavil, the Justice League animation and comic representations, even lesser praised Brandon Routh.
Some say that they don’t like Superman because they don’t think there is ever a good enough threat, and I always refute that because Superman faces plenty of cosmic level enemies that give him a challenge such as Darkseid, Brainiac, and others. Others don’t like him because they say he is not relatable, when in comparison to other heroes such as Batman; after all he is an immortal nigh invincible hero who is also an Alien. However, I argue he is actually very relatable. He grew up relatively poor with humble beginnings. He struggles with feelings of being alone. He struggles with the feeling of not fitting in with others. His greatest fear is failure to protect those he loves and cares for. These are all very human and real emotions, that make him more down to earth than any billionaire with endless resources.
I hope you enjoyed this fun super hero discussion. For more nerdy news and entertainment, stay tuned here on gameinfinite.net or follow us on your favorite social media.