The 50 Greatest DC Comics Characters

The blog known as The Great Curve has asked what are the best 50 characters in the DCU. Here’s my list, in order, with comments.

  • 1. Superman (He’s the first! He’s the most important!)
  • 2. Batman (Another key archetype of superheroes.)
  • 3. Wonder Woman (She’s probably the third most well-known DC character)
  • 4. Flash (Wally West) (While I could have put Barry Allen here, the Flash as a hero only shined under Wally West)
  • 5. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) (This character ushered in a sci-fi age of comics once dominated by magic powers.)
  • 6. Captain Marvel (The Big Red Cheese is an important icon, even if he’s never been well defined.)
  • 7. Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) (With his ties to the radical 60s, Green Arrow is the best DCU example of the new direction Marvel Comics ushered into the comic-book industry.)
  • 8. Plastic Man (Eel O’Brien is one of the most original “original characters” ever created.)
  • 9. Darkseid (As an evil overlord, Darkseid is the character all others hope to be, even Dr. Doom!)
  • 10. The Joker (As an evil madman, The Joker is the character all people —  good and bad — fear.)
  • 11. Robin (Tim Drake) (While Dick Grayson was the original Robin, Tim Drake was the one to be heroic and not innane.)
  • 12. Black Canary (From her long-term relationship with Green Arrow to her role as Bird of Prey, Black Canary has always shined bright in the DCU.)
  • 13. Mr. Miracle (Jack Kirby created a unique character with a wild look in the escape-artist named Scott Free! His origin alone is interesting.)
  • 14. Catwoman (With sex appeal to spare, how can any man — or fan– resist the Catwoman?)
  • 15. Lex Luthor (It’s a shame the smartest man in the world is a villain, but he makes a darn good one in all his various roles)
  • 16. Sandman (Morpheus) (Neil Gaiman’s surreal character deserves a spot for his amazing and thought-provoking stories)
  • 17. Deadman (Here’s a character that has never held his own series, but yet, his origin, powers and costume make him an enthralling read)
  • 18. Hawk (Hank Hall) (The original Hawk wielded his politically incorrect attitude that kept me fascinated.)
  • 19. Dove (Dawn Granger) (Hawk’s second partner ranks high on my list because he’s his perfect foil.)
  • 20. Flash (Jay Garrick) (Over the years, Jay Garrick has become the best “oldster” hero. He’s just got a great attitude — and let’s face it, a great costume!)
  • 21. Harley Quinn (First developed for “Batman: The Animated Series,” Harley is a true character. She’s funny, sexy and exciting.)
  • 22. Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt) (Though he’s a relatively new character, this Mr. Terrific is fascinating because of his intellect and cool, thanks to a kick-butt uniform.)
  • 23. The Question (Though he was already a neat character, The Question was finally properly defined in the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon. It didn’t take DC long to adopt that attitude for the mainstream universe.)
  • 24. Aquaman (Aquaman is an icon in the DCU, but he hasn’t been well-handled in over the years.)
  • 25. Booster Gold (Probably this ranking will get a few “What the–!?!”, but Booster Gold is a really great character. He has so much potential that has yet to be explored.)
  • 26. Mr. Freeze (One of DC’s best tragic villains)
  • 27. Black Adam (One of DC’s best benevolent villains, especially thanks to his use in “JSA.”)
  • 28. Speedy/Arsenal (Here’s a character who has went through hell, many times over. The sheer humanity of him puts him high on my list)
  • 29. Oracle (Just like Speedy, Oracle has went through a lot. But more importantly, she’s become a lynch-pin for a cohesive heroic front int he DCU.)
  • 30. Metamorpho (I have a fondness for the “Showcase” heroes.  Metamorpho has neat powers, and he’s someone I’d love to have a beer with.)
  • 31. The Creeper (Jack Ryder) (Though he’s a bit kooky, Creeper is a neat character with a unique look. His M.O. — scaring the be-jeezus out of his foes — has lots of potential, even moreso than the similar tactic used by Batman.)
  • 32. Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) (Sure, he’s a poor-man’s Batman, but if you go by “best costume” Blue Beetle would be in the top 10! His character was fleshed out in the “JLI” books, and even moreso in “Countdown to Infinite Crisis.”)
  • 33. Green Lantern (Guy Gardner) (Like Beetle, Guy is a poor-man’s Hal Jordan, and his character was fleshed out in “JLI.” Beyond that, he’s came into his own, first in “Warrior” and then as a returning member of the Green Lantern Corps.)
  • 34. The Riddler (The fun part about Riddler stories is that he even challenges the readers to solve his riddles! After Joker, he’s probably the most iconic Bat-villain.)
  • 35. Martian Manhunter (J’onn scores fairly low on my list because he’s not too interesting of a character. Still, his use on the “Justice League” cartoons have helped establish him as more-or-less mainstream character.)
  • 36. Nightwing (The original Robin was more of a joke than anything. It wasn’t until he went solo as Nightwing that he was respected by fandom at large.)
  • 37. Zatanna (Though she’s relatively unknown, her schtick — talking backwards to cast a spell — is a lot of fun.)
  • 38. Stargirl (Sure, her place among the Top 50 is kind of out of left field, but Stargirl is a compelling addition to the ranks of the “Justice Society.” She’s also an ideal character from a marketing standpoint.)
  • 39. Swamp Thing (The depth of Alan Moore’s work — and those who followed him — give the muck monster a solid spot on the list. You also can’t discount his films and TV series!)
  • 40. Green Lantern (Kilowog) (Sure, he’s just another Green Lantern, but Kilowog is the coolest!)
  • 41. The Ray (Ray Terrill) (Talk about finally making a concept work. “The Ray” mini-series from the 1990s shot this new character to heights never dreamed of by the original.)
  • 42. Captain Boomerang (The good Captain is incredibly goofy looking. But somehow, he’s a great example of the tone DC’s Silver and Bronze Ages)
  • 43. Big Barda (Mr. Miracle’s wife is cool. Like Miracle, she has a neat origin and a fascinating uniform. I’d love to marry her if wasn’t for my own Big Barda-styled wife! Geez, I hope she doesn’t read this!)
  • 44. Black Lightning (After Superman and Wonder Woman, I can’t think of another character that I would put my trust and faith in than Black Lightning. He’s a stalwart fellow with the morals of a saint. And, as usual, his costume, both his black-xploitation duds from the 1970s to his modern duds absolutely rock!)
  • 45. Beast Boy/Changeling (Though only a slightly interesting in the early pages of the “Teen Titans,” I loved his portrayal in the cartoon of the same name.) 
  • 46. Superboy (Conner Kent) (Though a product of the 1990s, this Superboy really impressed me with his brash attitude that was tempered with a real willingness to learn about being a hero. And I’ve gotta say, I loved every one of his uniforms!)
  • 47. Klarion the Witch Boy (I have very few magic-based characters on this list. Klarion makes it because he is, quite frankly a spooky concept. He’s an immortal kid with a vicious cat and spell-casting abilities. The idea just creeps me out. Then along came his his recent Seven Soldiers mini, I was really creeped out by him.)
  • 48. Deathstroke (From his days as a Teen Titans foe to his own solo series to his final graduation to prime-time villian, Deathstroke has made his mark on the DCU. Incidentally, I just booted Eclipso off the list to include Deathstroke)
  • 49. The Demon (From his rhyming to his unique look, The Demon is someone who has found his nook.   — a prime example of why I don’t write poetry!)
  • 50. Hawkman (The only reason Hawkman made it this high is because he was on the “Challenge of the Superfriends” cartoon. Sorry, Carter-fans.)


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