Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Countdown:  Top 10 African/African American Comic Book Characters 

According to Darryll “YTC” Carter

No. 10: Storm

Name: Ororo (Munroe) Iqadi T’Challa
First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1
Storm is the one character that is on everyone’s top Black/African/African American list. If she isn’t something is wrong. She’s a mainstay X-man for so many of us who grew up in the 90’s watching the cartoon, most of us thought she was an original member until we educated ourselves or got educated. She can’t be dismissed and with a power like hers it’s no way she was missing my list. But because Storm is so rudimentary and expected that is why her place is number ten on the countdown.

No. 9: Vixen

Name: Mari Jiwe McCabe
First Appearance: Action Comics #521
Vixen’s origin is a tale wrapped in family betrayal, lineage and the real world horrors that occur in Africa every day. Short version, Mari takes a mystical relic, the Tantu Totem, from her malicious uncle, General Maksai and becomes Vixen. Vixen’s powers allow her to endow herself with the powers/abilities of any animal of the animal kingdom. If she evokes the spirit of the eagle, she can fly and has excellent vision. If she calls upon the form of the rhinoceros she can charge at a tremendous speed and rampage through her foes.
My first encounter with Vixen was on Justice League Unlimited where she played the love interest of Green Lantern John Stewart. She earned her keep with me by trying to manage a rag tag edition of the Justice League as its leader in the pages of JLA.

No. 8: Lucius Fox

Name: Lucius Fox
First Appearance: Batman #307
Lucius Fox is the right hand man of Bruce Wayne and depending on how you look at the picture, Batman as well. Depending on continuity he acts as the CEO or head of the Board for Wayne Enterprises supporting Bruce Wayne’s and Batman’s agendas on a need to know basis. He’s loyal, depending and brilliant as all hell, able to match Bruce in intellect and possibly exceeding it when it comes to engineering.
With Batman being my favorite hero, period, I have an insatiable respect for Lucius Fox. For without him there would arguably be no Batman, at least not a very good one.

No. 7: Fatality

Name: Yrra Cynril
First Appearance: Green Lantern #83
Fatality is on this list due to three things; she’s smoking hot, she’s basically a pink Green lantern and she has an unquenchable first for vengeance. I like women that don’t back down.
More officially, Fatality is a Star Sapphire that was more or less rocketed to her power by the destruction of her world at the hands of a novice John Stewart, inadvertently. Fatality went through a long journey, losing two arms along the way. But once becoming a Star Sapphire she was set on forgiving the so called destroyer of her world and told John Stewart to forgive himself. It takes a lot of strength to forgive someone who you feel has wronged you. That’s where Fatality earned my respect.

No. 6: Black Manta

First Appearance: Aquaman #35
While I’m not so sure how I feel about a Black guy being the arch nemesis of a superhero who conveniently falls into the prerequisites of the Aryan race, I am sure about one thing; Black Manta is one bada** dude. Call me whatever you want, but I didn’t even know Black Manta was Black until the DC Comics’ event, Brightest Day came out. Then I immediately felt silly for not really acknowledging the ‘Black’ in his name. Forgive me for thinking that maybe other characters created before 1970 with ‘black’ in their names didn’t have to be African American.
All that aside, Black Manta has taken Aquaman’s hand… twice and felt the need to remind him about it. Let’s not even mention his pure unadulterated hatred for the guy. I’ve never read hate so pure. He just tickles my fancy.

No. 5: War Machine

Name: James Rhodes
First Appearance: Iron Man #118
Do I really need to explain why War Machine is on this list? He’s like John Stewart with Stark Tech. After the performance Don Cheadle gave in Iron Man II, my already high respect for Rhodes went through the roof. Who doesn’t want to go into battle, with a bunch of guns, enough ammo to quell a small zombie apocalypse and an attitude that would make Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket sit down and shut the hell up? Yeah, oh hell yeah I’m rolling with War Machine.

No. 4: Nick Fury (Ultimate Universe)

Name: General Nicholas Fury
First Appearance: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5
Ultimate Nick Fury is different from regular Col. Nick Fury. In fact, his race is only half of the difference. I mean, he is based off of Samuel L. Jackson. Who doesn’t like Samuel L. Jackson? If you don’t, well you should probably go die, but that’s beside the point.
The point is that Ultimate Nick is nearly a separate character, his closest connection to Col. Fury being a name and position. Bendis did a great job recreating the personality of a prominent Marvel Character and for whatever reason he felt the need to make him Black. If he did it because he thought Samuel L. Jackson was badass… well that’s fine by me. Cause he is.

No. 3: Firestorm (Jason Rusch)

Name: Jason Rusch
First appearance: Firestorm #1 (July ’04)
Firestorm can rearrange the atomic structure of matter to create ‘things’. He’s Dr. Faustus wet dream, essentially an alchemist, Firestorm can turn wood into gold. He’s fairly powerful.
I was ecstatic when I heard DC was bringing Firestorm back. I was even more ecstatic when I found out it wasn’t Ronnie Raymond, who I find to be somewhat of a tool. In the end I was disappointed because he and Ronnie were one for a spell and then eventually back together again after Blackest Night. Jason’s origin is colored in shades of single parenting, abuse and independence. Jason struggles to become his own man while wrestling with the depression his rage of his father and the adversity of his urban environment. He’s a relatable character, who through adversity becomes a mature person before he even starts college and in my opinion a better Firestorm than his predecessors because of it.

No. 2: Max

Name: Maxine Gibson
First Appearance: Batman Beyond TAS (“Unmasked” don’t quote me on that)
Max is probably the most unexpected character on this list. But she is definitely my number two. Possibly my favorite non combatant comic book character next to Alicia Masters, Max brings a lot to the table. She’s smart, hot and did I forget to mention smart? This girl may not have powers, but she’s got spunk and serious skill.
Max is a techno wizard. She makes her waves backing up, Terry McGinis, Gotham’s Dark Knight of the Future (presumably after Damien…?) with Intel, and tech support. Terry makes a joke calling Max his “Alfred” during the animated series. She’s Terry’s best friend and one of her duties as such is covering for him with the misses, Terry’s girlfriend Dana. Max comes off as a sort of Oracle like figure of the future and I had really high hopes for her character development in the pre ‘New 52’ Batman Beyond ongoing series. I hope they pick it up. I can’t wait to see her again.

No. 1: Green Lantern John Stewart

Name: John Stewart
First Appearance: Green Lantern vol. 2, #87
I’m going to start off by saying I love Green Lanterns. A super power that relies on will power and imagination is a writer’s dream. Having said that, I can’t stand Hal Jordan and John Stewart is anything, but Hal Jordan. Stalwart, disciplined, and stern, John Stewart is a model solider who uses his training as a marine and a gifted architect to create his ring’s light constructs. You never see John make anything trivial such as a pair of scissors or a fist to dispatch his foes. It’s always something fairly precise and tangible; usually a sniper rifle or some form of military tech. John Stewart’s willpower is astonishing. He nearly recreated an entire planet from scratch and reconstructed his entire Desert Storm battalion from his ring. John is everything a Lantern should be. That’s why he’s my number one.

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