Sunday, April 22, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "Be glad we're not indoors."

Your Top Modern Characters part 86

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, April 10 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
For more characters for ya, one to really bitch at...





80. Promethea (41 points - one first place slot) promethea.jpg

Year first appeared: 1999

"Alan Moore's ideas about art and magic, combining elements of superhero action, metaphysical theorizing, and psychedelic hallucination, and everything else in-between."

Promethea is a comic book series created by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III with Mick Gray, published by America's Best Comics/Wildstorm. Serialized in 32 issues on an irregular schedule from 1999 to 2005, the series explores Moore's ideas about art and magic, combining elements of superhero action, metaphysical theorizing, and psychedelic revelation, all focused on the adventures of Promethea, a metafictional character that possesses magical power over the real world. Promethea is also notable for wide-ranging experimentation in visual style and storytelling technique on the part of Williams and Moore.

Promethea has been organized into five books. Books 1 and 2 mainly deal with Sophie Bangs becoming Promethea, while Books 3 and 4 show Promethea/Sophie working her way through all the Sephiroth of the Qabbalistic Tree of Life, passing beyond death and the Immateria before returning to Earth for a confrontation with Stacia. In Book 5, Promethea brought on the Apocalypse, the end of the world - or the entire ABC universe, to be precise - not by destroying it physically, but by tenderly introducing its inhabitants to a new world of imagination, wonder, beauty, belief, and acceptance. Here Promethea truly delves deep into metafiction - the title character addresses the reader directly in her explanation of the Apocalypse, and points out that she is fiction, and fiction can be magic and be believed.

Issues dealt with in this series include occult tarot and Hermetic Qabalah, and the comic is laden with and studies mythological and archetypal symbolism. Real people who appear in Promethea include Alister Crowley, John Dee, Austin Osman Spare, and John Kendrick Bangs (who in the comic is distantly related to Sophie Bangs). The semi-fictional character Jack Faust is also a character that helps teach Sophie how to use magic.

Promethea's End of the World sequence displays the influence on Moore of Shea and Wilson's ILLUMINATUS! Trilogy by repeating the She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain lyrics used in Vol. III of the Trilogy, when the Illuminati were bringing the world to an end and 'Eris' was becoming Transcendentally Illuminated.


79. Noh-Varr (41 points - 1 first place slot)

Year first appeared: 2000

"Because I dig the two-tone unitard and the platinum hair is pretty sweet, too. And he's the only person I can think of who talked smack to & about Namor (the Illuminati issue: "dude, put on some pants"/"is this the part where the pointy-eared naked man starts punching me again?")."

Noh-Varr serves as an ensign aboard the 18th Kree Diplomatic Gestalt interstellar schooner the Marvel, which transverses millions of alternate dimensions on its way home. The ship is drawn toward a universe similar to the Marvel Universe aka Earth-616, and shot down by the forces of Dr. Midas, a multi-trillionaire obsessed with gaining powers through the absorption of cosmic rays. Midas blasts the Marvel out of the sky in an attempt to acquire the ship's cosmic ray-powered engines. His friends and comrades killed, Noh-Varr emerges as the only survivor.

Noh-Varr then encounters the sentient corporation known as Hexus. Accidentally released from a containment cell when the Marvel crashed, Hexus begins to take over worldwide commerce in an attempt to subjugate the human population and ultimately control Earth. Noh-Varr invades the control center of Hexus and ultimately destroys the "social parasite" by releasing all of its trade secrets to its competitors.

Noh-Varr finds himself pursued by Dr. Midas and his minions, and upon striking an alliance with Midas' daughter Oubliette, Noh-Varr defeats the megalomaniac. After the battle, agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. capture Noh-Varr and incarcerate him in a seemingly inescapable prison known as the Cube. While in custody, Noh-Varr declares war on Earth and the human race.

In Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways, part of Marvel Comics' "Civil War" crossover event, a brainwashed Noh-Varr is ordered to capture the Runaways by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Maria Hill.

After being released for his mission by the cruel warden of the Cube, Noh-Varr brutally subdues the Runaways and the Young Avengers. When the warden feels the mission has finished successfully, he orders Noh-Varr's retrieval. As the Young Avengers and the Runaways assault The Cube, he engages them in battle. After a brief fight, Noh-Varr is defeated and the Vision reverses the Cube's mental control over him. He is seen taking control of the Cube, declaring it to be the capital city of the new Kree Empire.

When the alien virus the Skrulls upload release all the prisoners within the Cube, Noh-Varr announces that it is "time to go." Later, while escaping on a stolen S.H.I.E.L.D. mini-jet, he's stopped by a dying Khn'nr. At first mistaking him for the original Captain Marvel, Noh-Varr stops to listen to his final words, as Khn'nr appoints him as the new Protector of the Earth, spurring him to fill in the role once covered by Mar-Vell himself, and stop the Skrulls, perceived as liars and honorless beings. Noh-Varr is left shaken by the revelation, after witnessing the dying Khn'nr reverting to his alien Skrull appearance. Finally deciding to take a side in the war, Noh-Varr using the solar energies of Captain Marvel's Nega-Bands causes a huge explosion in the middle of the battle in New York it is there that he declares to the Skrull army that their invasion is over.

He is now a member of the Dark Avengers and has taken on the mantle of Captain Marvel.


78. Ezekiel Sims (41 points - 2 first place slots)

Year first appeared: 2001

"JMS' run on AMS got a lot of flack, but honestly it was one of the best runs of Spider-Man in years."

"I really wish they brought Zeke here back, he was a really cool character."

When I first joined Rama in 2006 that’s when I first got back into comics, and I remember various people, most notably a snippy lawyer, bitching endlessly about a Spider-Man run. I have yet to read it, now I am just curious.

Ezekiel was a rich businessman who, in his younger years, ritualistically gained powers similar to those of Spider-Man. He wanted to use his powers to be a hero, but initially used them to found a corporation, believing that he couldn't do anything without a base of operations, and swiftly became too busy to use his powers on a daily basis.

Ezekiel, in his 50s, contacted Spider-Man and explained to him the nature of animal totems: people who gain supernatural abilities from a mystic link with certain animals. He suggested that the spider that bit Peter Parker was not mutated by the radiation, but actually trying to give Peter its powers before the radiation killed it. This meant that Spider-Man was now part of the supernatural food chain, and became a target for other totems and beings that feed on totems. He subsequently aided Spider-Man in fighting a being known as Morlun, apparently at the cost of his life, but it was later revealed that he survived and departed for Africa, where he aided Spider-Man in dealing with Shathra, another supernatural-based menace.

It was revealed that a variety of supernatural menaces that Spider-Man had faced were really after Ezekiel, and Ezekiel attempted to direct the consequences of gaining his powers onto Spider-Man himself, taking Spider-Man to the temple where he had been given his powers and drawing blood to attract a massive spider. However, in his last moments, he realized that he had done nothing with his powers but help himself, while Peter had selflessly risked his life to save others again and again. With this in mind, he attacked the spider that would have eaten Peter, giving his own life to save his friend, and thus gaining a chance for redemption that he would never have again.


77. Danny Ketch (42 points)

Year first appeared: 1990

"I know he's kind of lame. I know there haven't been a ton of great stories, but dammit the Ghost Rider is one of my favorite concepts in comics and Danny was the Rider in my youth. They took a darker tone in his series and it led to some great stuff like the Scarecrow story that still bothers me to this day. Jason Aaron is doing amazing stuff with both him and Blaze right now."

Daniel Ketch was born in Brooklyn, New York. Daniel and his sister Barbara, attacked by gangsters, fled and hid in a junkyard where Daniel found a motorcycle bearing a mystical sigil. Upon touching the sigil, he was transformed into the Ghost Rider. This Ghost Rider was nearly identical to the previous, though his costume and bike had undergone a modernized tailoring. He thrashed the gangsters, but was unable to save Barbara, who had been critically wounded by Deathwatch and slipped into a coma. Barbara was eventually killed by Blackout, whom Ketch had acquired as a mortal enemy. Ketch later learned the origin of Zarathos from the mystical dream lord Nightmare. Who believed the entity to which Ketch was bound was Zarathos reborn yet again and freed from the Soul Crystal. Ghost Rider denied this, though others, including Mephisto, believed otherwise.

When Ghost Rider became a part of the team the Midnight Sons, he died twice in the process. The first person that killed Ghost Rider was the vampire hunter Blade, who was at the time possessed by the mystical book the Darkhold. He was soon revived by the Darkhold Redeemers, along with everyone else killed by Blade. The second time the Daniel Ketch Ghost Rider died was when fighting Zarathos, but as previously, was resurrected.

Ketch and Johnny Blaze later learned they were long-lost brothers and that their family was the inheritor of a mystical curse related to the Spirits of Vengeance. Ketch eventually seemed to die, but the Spirit of Vengeance to which he had been bound through the bike's talisman lived on, and Ketch himself was resurrected via a bonding with Noble Kale Ghost Rider.

This Ketch/Kale hybrid version of Ghost Rider eventually became the King of Hell in brokered arrangement with then-ruler Blackheart. In return for Ghost Rider coming to Hell and marrying two handpicked demon brides, Pao Fu and the Black Rose, Blackheart would free the Ketch line from the curse; Kale accepted. On the night after the dual wedding, Black Rose betrayed Kale and tried to kill him. When she failed, Blackheart revealed that the entire arrangement had been a plan to kill Kale and destroy his soul. Black Rose was revealed to be Roxanne Simpson, the supposedly dead wife of Johnny Blaze. In response, Kale killed Blackheart, became King of Hell, and learned he was in fact the Angel of Death.

Danny slipped into a coma in the mortal plane and was later revived by his dead mother (Naomi Kale-Blaze) and brother (Johnny Blaze) and went on to live a seemingly normal life. Unfortunately, this was not to last; his longtime girlfriend Stacy found out she was pregnant with Danny's child and ran away. Ghost Rider (Noble Kale) now without a host, lost control of his powers and was later re-merged with Danny. Danny, tormented by the fact that his life has fallen apart because of the family curse, gets Ghost Rider exorcised from his body and started to go down a dark and lonely path

Danny recently returned and being conned by Zadkiel to hunt down other Ghost Riders with this cool blue flame head. It looks so cool.



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