Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Tuesdays - 10 Guilty Pleasure Marvel Comic Characters

There are certain characters getting around the Marvel Universe that I have a strange interest in. If I see them involved in a storyline or one-shot, maybe even an anthology, it’ll go a long way to getting me to invest my time and money. I understand these aren’t the greatest characters in the world but they are ones that resonate with me for whatever reason, so here I present to you, my ten choices of characters that I know will never hold down their own ongoing so I get them when and where I can.

10. Dakota North

In the 1980’s, Dakota North premiered as a model detective and having read that mini series, it really isn’t all that good. The supporting cast is made up of a bunch of goofy losers and the fashion, my lord, the fashion. But then along came Ed Brubaker and he made me an unashamed fan. Dakota North seemed like more of a washed up model who was purely in the game now to just bust the heads of those who might think she wasn’t up to the job. There was a nasty and raw attraction about Dakota North but it was when Clay Mann drew her falling for the wily charms of her good friend Matt Murdock that I really found the character fascinating. Another unassuming lady caught in the web.

Dakota seems to still be pretty well entrenched in the Daredevil title as a stalwart in his ensemble cast and though I doubt an ongoing for her would work I really wish they’d given her a mini at some stage, post-Shadowland perhaps, though she looks to be getting a fair share of the spotlight within the main DD title so that will do for now.

9. Crossbones

As a kid I read the Captain America storyline ‘Streets of Poison’ and Crossbones was a major player in that tale. I thought he was pretty cool, though probably in a very 90’s way. Crossbones is that sort of villain I’d love to write, physically powerful, nasty, and always willing to get the job done for all the right reasons. He’s maybe not always the brightest but as far as right hand men go he’s absolutely dominant. And the man just looks perfect with the skull mask and gloved and gunned hands. I think, when drawn well, he looks better than a lot of villains in their prime costumes.

Brubaker used him a fair degree in Captain America where he was once again right at home but now he’s become a member of the Thunderbolts under the leadership of Luke Cage and think that will make for some very cool stories.

8. Man-Bull

Though people might not realize it, Man-Bull is actually an awesome character. He started as a Daredevil villain; he’s a man with a bull’s head, very much like a minotaur, and even then he only got a handful of issues. It’s a shame because it’s a character I think could be reimagined so damn well. This guy is obviously damaged, deranged, a major problem. So what would happen if you cured him of his physical ailments, made him look normal once more? I don’t think it would work out well and that sort of psycho-drama would win me over instantly, not to mention it would be a great Daredevil storyline. If a title were to put Man-Bull back into some serious play there’d be a very good chance that I’d be on board to see what would happen. He’s just too interesting to commit to the nothing of time forgotten.

7. Agent Brand

Created within Joss Whedon and John Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men, Agent Brand is a green haired half-alien who runs the space spy organization S.W.O.R.D. who protect Earth from intergalactic threats. She was paired up with Beast and this relationship was more fully explored in the fantastic S.W.O.R.D. title by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders. Brand is a cold and calculating woman, a true spy, but there’s heart in there somewhere. I think. Not only is she an interesting aesthetic in that she’s kind of like a less ‘open’, green Emma Frost but that her tongue is silver sharp. Any time Brand has wandered onto a page I have tended to like what is done with her.

S.W.O.R.D. was canceled in its first 5 issues so that might not be resurrected anytime soon but I think Brand, and her intergalactic spy connections, would be a great addition to the ensemble of the Secret Avengers, not to mention that her boyfriend is on that squad. I just hope Brand isn’t forgotten too soon.

6. Mystique

The big draw for me with Mystique, aside from the fact that she’s a naked blue chick who clearly does her Pilates, is that she’s actually just so damn deadly. There’s something to be said for a femme fatale and Mystique fills this role so well and so often that she’s an interesting character to throw into the mix. She can seduce nearly anyone, and if they don’t dig on the blue vibe then she can change her appearance to suit, but she can also handle herself quite well in most fight situations. She can be an undercover operative, an assassin, a gun toting door kicker, or anything else she desires.

She’s been showcased in a wide variety of titles, even sharing one with Sabretooth for a time, but lately I don’t feel I’ve been seeing enough of her. Why can’t Marvel launch a villain book where we see them not out to destroy the world but assemble something or achieve some kind of goal? Oh, it probably wouldn’t sell that well, that’s why, damn.

5. Black Tarantula

I know, another Daredevil related character, I’m sorry, but Carlos LaMuerto is a guy that has had some serious work put into him lately (and yeah, it’s by Brubaker again, sorry, again) and I cannot get enough of him. He was given the focus of two one-shots a while back but nothing much more has come of it, he’s just a DD supporting player still. I think I like Black Tarantula in the same way I like Steel Serpent, they’re big bruisers who are doing their best to do good but you know they’ll get it in bad ways if they need to.

I am absolutely shocked that Carlos didn’t get himself some sort of Shadowland tie in but considering he’s been off panel for these first two issues and only mentioned, even though Murdock gave him the important role of South American Daimyo (Hand leader), I have a sneaky feeling he’s going to be a big player in the finale of this storyline and maybe get some more play after that. I hope.

4. Beta Ray Bill

He’s basically just some alien Thor but it’s his much less pleasant appearance that sets him apart from the Norse god of thunder and dashing looks. Beta Ray Bill was openly modeled on a horse skull and he doesn’t exactly look pretty, I’ll say that much. He’s got the Asgardian physique down but his face leaves much to be desired and this obviously makes him more of an outsider and a very different sort of personality. Though he’s fair enough to hold Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, which is a very small crowd, he would still scare small children if he bumped into them on the street. He was made into this beast by his own people as the needed a powerful warrior to stand up for them when their home world was destroyed. It’s a terrible tale for a still pure and gracious hero.

Bill has been the subject of different titles and mini series (including a great one called Godhunter where he sets out to hunt and kill Galactus) and wherever he goes I keep an eye because he is a really cool and interesting character. He is currently serving in the Thanos Imperative event and people seem to think that a Cosmic Avengers title with him, Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Quasar, the Guardian, and Ronan the Accuser, could be on the way. Fred Van Lente, the rumoured scribe of such an event, has washed this idea away but it could be interesting and shows that Bill within a team would make for a great idea.

3. Irredeemable Ant-Man

Easily Robert Kirkman’s best piece of work at Marvel, Eric O’Grady is a scum bag, to put it bluntly. He’s a chauvinist, a bit of a douche, and completely loveable, so long as you don’t sleep with him. Hi title was cut short at 12 issues but since then big name writers have been clawing over each other to use him in their ensemble line ups. Dan Slott picked him straight up and included him in Avengers The Initiative and then  Andy Diggle placed him into the slightly scummier Thunderbolts team where the more ‘negative’ elements of his personality would actually fit in, but this only seemed to scare him straight and now he’s a Secret Avenger under the masterful eye of Brubaker. That’s a pretty good journey for a new player in the Marvel U and it’s all because love him or hate him he makes for good comics.

I’m assuming O’Grady will stick with the Secret Avengers for a while and it's fantastic news that a mini has been announced starring him and Hank Pym. Ant-Man and the Wasp written and drawn by Tim Seeley is a three issue tale that certainly intrigues me. And from here, who knows, maybe he’ll figure highly in a future event, you never can tell with a character like this who just keeps getting page time.

2. Carnage

Alright, I’m a 90’s fanlad, and the cover of the collection you see picture here is the first ever collection I bought. And boy did I read the hell out of that thing. There was something about Cletus Kasady that fascinated me. He was a sociopath, he was sick, that much was clear, but he was also kind of fun and definitely interesting to watch. He was just a red Venom with more tendrils and a better use of the symbiote to create weapons that could be used for all manner of sick killings and fun.

Carnage was even the center of a massive Spider-Man event that I loved, at the time. It’s not lived up greatly to the scrutiny of time, but I never did get all of the issues and I know if I had them then I’d gladly sit down to read them all. Sadly, Carnage has been no more because Bendis wanted to write a neat gag of the Sentry flying into space and tearing Carnage in half. However, apparent death is never the end as we have just had announced a Carnage mini series by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain. It should be very interesting indeed and well worth checking out.

1. Steel Serpent

Davos, the opposite Iron Fist. He was introduced way back in the early days of Iron Fist’s career as the jealous enemy, the man who felt he should have been the immortal weapon for K’un L’un and so was out to do anything to steal the power back from Danny Rand. He may have started off as a relatively one-dimensional foe but when Brubaker, Fraction, and Aja used him again in their relaunch I really fell in love. I always felt he would be the best nemesis to use for a relaunch and so when that’s exactly what happened I was pretty damn happy. They then paired him with HYDRA (which would have totally made the list if an organization could have doubled as a single person) and I was in love.

The Steel Serpent, as I guess we still call him even though he was briefly the Steel Phoenix and he does have a name, Davos, is one of those guys where if he turned up in an arc of Avengers I’d be all over it. He just interests me as because he’s got the potential to be one wicked antihero. He’s tough and mean and you know he can get the job done. He’s maybe not exactly a clean good guy now but I think he’d make for a great espionage-fu-type character.


These are just my choices, feel free to list your own unsung character who often drags you into new titles in the comments, and I put out the call for someone to do a list like this for DC and send it to us for porting. I would have done one but my knowledge is limited and Dr Phosphorous was the only major character I could think of.

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Sean Mills said...

My #1 guilty pleasure character is The Mimic. I know he basically started as the Super Skrull or whatever for the X-Men, but his were among the old original X-Men issues that my dad let me read from his collection. I loved that he became a temporary member of the team and have been glued to the Mimic ever since.

The very fact that a version of the Mimic was in Exiles got me to buy that book, and I stuck with it through nearly its entire run. And the reintroduction of Mimic in the Dark X-Men last summer was simply beautiful.

I even got to talk to Matt Fraction at a comic-con last October and I asked him why he picked for the Mimic to return. Truly a great comic book geek moment.

Deicide The Everliving said...

Mac Gargan as Venom is my #1 guilty pleasure character, and I don't know why.

Maybe it's because I loved the idea behind Venom and that the Scorpion debut was one of the first Spidey stories I ever read, but to me Mac as Venom is an awesome idea that was never really explored by any writer.

I loved the direction Ellis and Bendis went with him in Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers. All other writers that used him would just write him as a dumbass bruiser or a psycho cannibal, and that was the image that stuck. The fact that both Ellis' and Bendis' storylines went nowhere with him also hurted the character...

Oh well, such wasted potentital.

Dennis N said...

I know people hated him, but I really was a fan of the Sentry. Definitely guilty.

Ivan said...

This blog made me feel that liking Kingdom Come is a guilty pleasure.

Gotta love what comic book writers think passes for latin-american surnames. LaMuerto?

Dracula Jones said...

Agreed with #2, Mac Gargan's Venom was so much fun to read in Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers. I'll add Taskmaster during Dark Reign and Siege as especially fun to read, as well. I'll actually miss the villains playing hero now that The Heroic Age is in full effect.

Matt Duarte said...

@Sean: Oh man, Mimic! Exiles was awesome up until he died, then it went off the rails real fast.

twobitspecialist said...

That Anti-Venom mini was pretty good. I wish Eddie Brock would get an ongoing again.

Jessica Jones should also get her own ongoing again, but I don't see that happening.

Anonymous said...

Carnage and beta Ray Bill. I loved with all of my soul MAXIMUM CARNAGE I even have the SuperNes videogame and spent hours and hours of amusement playing it and beating with venom the f**k out of carnage.

Crossbones reminds me a lot of Bane from Batman. But I guess the creation of Crossbones predates Bane by 2 or 3 years.


Anonymous said...

I really like the direction O'Grady is headed and I'd love to see Scott Lang make a reappearance in the future.

One character that has potential is Devil Slayer. Now if only he'll join the New "Defen.." "Avengers".

Retcon Joe.

Aaron K said...

Look at all the votes for Venom and Carnage! Coincidentally, last week comicsbulletin.com named the "Maximum Carnage" storyline the 8th WORST crossover of all time. Our childhood nostalgia may not be serving us well.

I would definitely add Aaron Stack aka Machine Man! I pick up anything he's in (since Nextwave). A vote goes to the Warriors Three and another to Black Bolt.

Nathan Aaron said...

I love me some Dakota North! I am so happy she has a nice role in Daredevil (at least at the moment.) She was supposed to have her own mini a few years ago, but it got scrapped for some reason.

She also did some guest-starring in Power Pack, and the Cage series.

I find her original SERIES (as it actually wasn't a mini series, but rather a Doctor Voodoo/S.W.O.R.D./Druid type "killed too quickly" series) a complete guilty pleasure! I know it's bad, but that sorta makes it great! I loved when they brought back her father from her original series, in Daredevil a few storylines ago.

Matt Duarte said...

@Nathan: I actually have that issue of Power Pack with Dakota North.

twobitspecialist said...

@Aaron K - Maximum Carnage is almost always in every Worst Storyline or Worst Spidey Story list, but as long as YOU get a kick out of it, it's okay.

I know I do.

Dennis N said...

Ditto on Black Bolt.

Ares. Sad he's dead for now, I loved his mini a few years ago where he settles down.

Zemo. He's a dirty Nazi, but he's interesting.

Quicksilver. Marvel has done everything they can to drag him through the dirt in recent years, but he's one of my favorite Marvels.

Molecule Man.

Bobby Weenus said...

Ant-Man is such an outstanding character. He's like It's Always Sunny in Marvel U. I think the old initiative panel with him and Taskmaster watching House on his ipod instead of battling MIA is the ultimate Ant-Man/Tasky moment, haha.

I do agree with your list for the most part. Not crazy about Carnage and I grew up in the 90's too. I was always an X-kid though. My guilty pleasure are X-Force characters. I kinda grew up with them, reading New Mutants and than X-Force. Somewhere in storage (probably in total ruins by now) I have at least the first couple of years of X-Force bagged and tagged. I hate seeing X-Force kids get tooled now though, like Sunspot being in the group of trouble-maker Mutants who got wrecked by the Dark Avengers during the cross-over event.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I am lovinhg the guilty pleasures being put forth, this is excellent.

Say what you will about Carnage, but I didn't mind Maximum Carnage, and yeah, I had the SNES game too and i rocked it hard. Sure, the Xover probably doesn't read so great now but it was still pretty cool then. And those first few Carnage issues, the ones before the hyped Xover, they stand up and are still damn awesome.

I also like that when Brubaker brought Dakota's dad back he took him out of the wheelchair, but at least gave him a cane. That was fine with me. But i don't know when I'll reread those original issues, the supporting cast was just so lame, ha. Kept waiting for Brubaker to introduce more of them but, not, surprisingly he left them all where they belonged.

al said...

She Hulk, Slapstick, Venom (Eddie Brock), Carnage (pre maximum carnage), Thanos, Squirrel Girl, Deadpool (Kelly era), Multiple Man, Spider-man 2099, and the Maestro

Space Jawa said...

I think most of my favorite characters count as "Guilty Pleasure" characters based on the qualifications here.

First you got Rocket Raccoon (and his sidekick Groot), who's currently my favorite Marvel character overall.

I'm with you on Beta Ray Bill.

Also: Patsy Walker - She kind of comes off as Batgirl with a touch of Deadpool. Loved what I saw of her in her Marvel: Presents bit and her Miniseries from a few years back.

Taskmaster - I have Initiative to thank for this. He's like, one of the smartest supervillains out there in his own jerkish way. I'd love to see more of him teaming up with Ant-Man and/or Deadpool.

Komodo - Likewise on having Initiative to thank. Though I fear she may be forgotten and never used again now that Initiative is all over.

Clayton Magnet said...

YES! I can't get enough Beta Ray Bill! I was so stoked that they had him in the "Planet Hulk" movie.

Have dropped almost all other Marvel, but a cosmic Avengers? Suck me right back in.

Fenris said...

Moonstone – for the time she fought the Hulk and gave Banner a heart attack. She's never been used properly since then, but I always liked her anyway.

Will O' The Wisp - cool powers combined with all that angst and zest for vengeance yet nothing was ever made with him, seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

Black Bolt - never uttered a Marvel word=automatic cool.

Jim Jaspers - the coolest villain ever.

Kraven - Fearful Symmetry retconned me into digging every comic where he was ridiculed by Spiderman, because it was all leading to Last Hunt...

Beyonder - I admit it, I dug him until the Jheri curl. And the whining. And the binge eating. And the awful writing.

The Book Bug said...

Hmmm. Does Loa count? 'Cause she's awesome. As with Serafina, of the Children of the Vault.

Hellion is also cool, despite his tendency to get maimed at almost every X-event.

Henry said...

Batroc and Pyro are the two that stand out the most for me.

Daryll B. said...

Can I throw the Mini-Marvels, Power Pack, and Pet Avengers in as Team guilty pleasures?

Also I agree with Rocket Raccoon.... let me add Howard The Duck... He helped to breathe some new life in the latest Marvel Zombies book and is always a bit of sarcastic fun in any book he shows up in...

Finally, although other people hate on him let me throw in Triathlon (3-D Man). Because of a dearth of black characters and unlike a lot of black characters he had an origin that seems realistic in terms of the path he was on when he became a hero. He was good with The Initiative and Parker is writing him well with Atlas now.

Daryll B. said...

Also I agree with Dennis N... I shouldn't like Zemo, with him being a Nazi and all but between Busiek, Nicienza and Brubaker and how they used him in Thunderbolts, his Born Better mini and in Capt. America... Zemo is definitely not a stereotypical nazi anymore. Dude has lots of depth along with intelligence and *gasp* honor...

Brandon Whaley said...

Beta Ray Bill is one of my favorite characters. In fact, he is surpassed only by the Silver Surfer in my book. Fun fact: Beta Ray Bill was introduced the month I was born. I have that issue, and its kinda cool to know that one of my favorite characters is the same age (meta-speaking at least) as me. As far as this list goes, I'm also a huge fan of Brand and Carnage.

My ultimate guilty pleasure character though? Ben Reilly by far.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if he counts as a guilty pleasure, but I love Mar-Vell. And Forbush Man also rocks.

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