October 10, 2013

Best superhero origin stories

Newsarama, not exactly known for making popular choices when it comes to their countdowns, has up a Top Ten Origin Stories for the superhero set. Their list follows. If there's a strikethrough, it means I'd replace it with what's written.

10. GREEN ARROW THE VISION. In 1968 Marvel made numerous connections to its past, recent and distant, with the addition to the Avengers with the "synthozoid" Vision. Created by the evil robot Ultron-5 from the inert android body of the Original Human Torch and imbued with the brain patterns of the deceased Wonder Man, Vizh went on to become one of the most popular Avengers of all-time. Some of his best stories take place during Steve Englehart's Earth's Mightiest run in the mid-late 1970s.


8. IRON MAN DAREDEVIL. Should be on the list for its ingenuity. A canister full of radioactive materials (OK, using radiation to explain superpowers ain't that original) falls from a truck and smacks Matt Murdock -- who was busy saving an old man from being hit by the truck -- right in the kisser. What's original is what comes next: Matt is struck blind, but his other senses become heightened to such a magnified degree that, acting in unison, they more than make up for the loss of vision.

7. FANTASTIC FOUR. Their origin is yet another testament to the "miraculous" nature of radioactivity; however, one has to take into account the utter dopiness factor in Reed Richards' taking Sue and Johnny Storm along for the trip. Like, what purpose did they serve? At least Ben Grimm was a pilot. And, how was it so damn easy to sneak aboard a rocket??

6. CAPTAIN AMERICA THE HULK. How can the updated version of Jekyll and Hyde not be on this list? If you're not old enough to remember, the Hulk was originally gray, and Bruce Banner only turned into the monster when the sun set. These both didn't last long, just as Jade Jaws' original run didn't. It only made it to six issues. However, he got new life in Tales to Astonish, and eventually his own book again. All that said, anyone but Bruce Banner dies instantly when getting caught in the explosion of a gamma bomb.

5. CAPTAIN MARVEL/SHAZAM SUPERMAN. Newsarama has Supes at #3; we knock him down a peg for the bit of unoriginality in his origin. I mean, c'mahn -- how easy is it to make a super strong guy just by claiming he's from another planet?

4. X-MEN CAPTAIN AMERICA. The mutants shouldn't be on the list because let's face it -- their "origin," such that it is, is lame. They're born with their powers. That's doesn't require a lot of thought. On the other hand, Cap's classic origin still resonates today: A wholesome, just plain good guy (Steve Rogers) is the epitome of a 98 lb. weakling, but is selected to test a new "super soldier" serum. It works. And the rest, as they say ...

3. SUPERMAN IRON MAN. What does it take to change the essence of a man? In Tony Stark's case, being taken hostage and being on the brink of death. The updated origin is as good as the original, maybe even better. Robert Downey Jr. in the 2008 film turned Shelhead into a Marvel marquee character, after perpetually being noted as a B-lister.

2. BATMAN. Much of what I said above can be applied here.

1. SPIDER-MAN. Easily #1 in my view, Peter Parker embodied "real life" for generations of teens (mostly boys) ... with the "slight" addition of having been bit by a -- what else? -- radioactive spider. But he let his new powers go to his head, and it came back to haunt him. His life was forever changed, ultimately for the gain of the greater good.

UPDATE: By the way, after I uploaded the image of Spidey's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, I noticed I had forgotten how silly the word balloons are on the cover. Like, why would Webhead state out loud what his secret ID is while carrying somebody within easy earshot??

Posted by Hube at October 10, 2013 05:47 PM | TrackBack

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Interesting list. I never viewed Iron Man as a B-lister myself.

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