Wednesday, June 20, 2018 • Evening Edition • "The Outhousers of Earth Ugh"

Your Top Modern Characters part 42

Written by Chris Mitchell on Monday, March 23 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
Three ladies and a Super Team.



227. Two characters (15 points)

Next Men

Year first appeared: 1992

John Byrne’s Next Men is a comic book series written and drawn by John Byrne. It ran 31 issues plus a standalone prequel 2112. The series was published between 1991 and 1995 by Dark Horse Comics.

In 1955, an explosion in Antarctica draws the attention of a group of scientists. There they discover dozens of charred bodies—and one live one in a mechanical exoskeleton. The survivor, Sathanas, kills all but one scientist, whom he uses to meet Senator Aldus Hilltop. Together, with Sathanas’ existence kept secret, the three construct Project Next Men, which creates batches of super humans who are raised in a virtual reality.

The Next Men are eventually rescued by a man called Control and his secret government organization, even as Hilltop rises to the Vice Presidency and then the Presidency. The Next Men explore the ramifications of their existence even as they turn out to be cogs in Sathanas’ decades-long master plan involving time travel, eugenics, and doppelgangers.

The Next Men made a prototypical appearance as “Freaks” in a lithography plate that was published within The Portfolio of the DC Universe in the 1980s. Byrne had originally pitched the series to DC, but the series for some reason never surfaced. With some changes, Byrne changed the concept to fit in with his 2112 work to become the John Byrne’s Next Men series. Two characters from the “Freaks” artwork somewhat retained their physical looks and became the lead characters of the Next Men series: heroine Jasmine and villain Aldus Hilltop.

The series ended with a cliffhanger in #30. Byrne had intended to conclude the story in a second series, but the collapse of the American comic book industry in the mid-1990s made it financially unfeasible for him to do so, and he returned to working for hire at DC Comics and Marvel Comics.

On October 12 2007, Byrne announced on his website that comic publisher IDW will release black & white “phonebook”-sized reprints of the Next Men series sometime in 2008, with the first collection released in May 2008. John Byrne stated on his message board: “All the Next Men stuff will be coming from IDW in big, honkin’ black and white ‘phonebooks’ in the New Year. Don’t have a more precise schedule than that, but when I know, you’ll know.”

In an interview with IDW appearing in the publisher's April 2008 books, when asked about the possibility of a new Next Men series, Byrne answered, “If it looks like Next Men can be done as something other than a vanity project, I will certainly do it. The series has a definite ending--I even know the last line! --and I would very much like to shake those 20 or so issues out of my head someday.

Interesting fact, a fully color Hellboy made his first appearance in a Next Men comic, issue #21 to be exact.


Phantom Lady

phantomlady2.jpgYear first appeared: 1989

Yep. We have two of them. I almost counted them all as one, but glad I double-checked or I would have an angry Herald on my hands. And I have seen his rants towards Didio, I want to part of THAT!

The second Phantom Lady, Delilah "Dee" Tyler, was introduced in Action Comics Weekly #636 and was given a back-up feature in that title through #641 with art by Chuck Austen. Tyler was trained by the original, the now-elderly Sandra Knight, and given Knight's costume and equipment.

Dee also learned many of her skills at the exclusive Université Notre Dame des Ombres (Our Lady of the Shadows). Her primary abilities were an extensive knowledge of the martial art called Savate, also known as French kickboxing, a wrist-mounted blaster, and a holographic projector that could be used to cast powerful illusions.

This successor Phantom Lady never received a series of her own, but was a periodic guest star in other titles, including Starman, Flash, and most frequently in the 1994 Starman title. She joined a new version of the Freedom Fighters in the 1999 JSA series.

The character was graphically killed (along with at least two other Freedom Fighters) in Infinite Crisis #1, in a battle against the Society. The group was ambushed while investigating the meeting place of other super villains. Tyler was wounded by the Cheetah and then fatally impaled by Deathstroke. Her body was hung on the Washington Monument along with the Human Bomb and Black Condor.


226. Two characters (15 points each)


Year first appeared: 1998

"RIP Michael Turner."

Aspen was born a Blue, a race of aquatic beings that could mentally control water (and sometimes ice). Being a Blue, Aspen lived underwater with the rest of her people. Her parents were leaders of a group that believed that their people should stay underwater and away from humans. There were others that disagreed, but they couldn't do anything about it since Aspen's parents had the love of the people. When Aspen was eleven years old, she and her older brother, Finn, came home from a late night swim to discover their parents being murdered by a group of dissidents led by Killian. They fled, stealing a ship and heading away as fast as possible. Killian's people followed them but their ship exploded and they were presumed dead.

Aspen's latent powers activated and that was how she survived, her brother on the other hand, was hit by a beam and disappeared (it was later revealed that the beam caused his body to be permanently water based). Aspen somehow wound up on a ship called Paradise. She was found by the crew of the ship and alerted Captain Matthews, who was a passenger on the ship, because their Captain was busy with the other passengers. Aspen had no memory of her previous life, so she was adopted and raised by Captain Matthews. Though she didn't remember what she was, she never forgot her love for the water. Aspen never called Captain Matthews "dad" or "father", she always referred to him as "Captain Matthews," even though it was too formal, she just became used to it. Captain Matthews was mostly away due to his service to the U.S. Navy. She was an excellent swimmer and even made it to the 1988 Olympics in Korea at the age of fifteen. After winning a gold medal and breaking the world record by thirty seconds, the committee forced her to take a drug test. She tested negative for performance enhancing drugs, but an analysis of her blood showed that she induced Erythrocythemia (also known as blood doping), an illegal form of performance enhancing in which a person injects themselves with their own blood, increasing their red blood cells, endurance, and oxygen capacity (it is most likely due to her being a Blue). This ended her career as a professional swimmer. Aspen was disqualified from the 1988 competition, banned from the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games, and "disgraced her country." After this tragedy, she became a Marine Biologist in order to have a job that kept her in the water most of the time.



Year first appeared: 1992

A superhero stripper. Nice.

Voodoo is part human, Kherubim and Daemonite which results in her having unique abilities not seen in either two. She has the power of the “Sight” which allows her to see any being or object as it truly is meaning she is not affected by shape shifters or any type of illusion. She is a telepath meaning she has the power to read or take over a persons mind. She can focus her mental powers into a mental attack. She is also an empath allowing her to feel the emotions of those she chooses. Another powerful gift is that she can separate any being that is possessing a body and she often uses this gift against Daemonites. It does usually result in pain and at times it may also hurt Voodoo herself. This power can be used from a distance, but she usually gets close to the person she is using it on. Due to training from a Daemonite Voodoo can use more of the traditional powers attributed to a Daemonite. She can transform revealing Daemonite parts resulting in her having claws, super strength, and speed. She has the power to re-grow lost limbs and heal from wounds faster than a normal human, she also has the power to control time itself and has recently used magnetic powers that were strong enough to control Captain Atom’s suit and even the tiny iron particles in his blood. She has been trained in traditional Voodoo magic and has even used the power of a Voodoo deity.



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