Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Midnight Edition • "The CBR of comic book journalism."

Your Top Modern Characters part 89

Written by Chris Mitchell on Monday, April 13 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
Two ladies and a Liefeld character.




69. Jessica Jones (46 points)

Year first appeared: 2001

"Alias was great, as was the Pulse. I like her so much better in her own series with room to breath. I'd kill for Bendis to write a MAX Luke & Jess book, hell put Danny, Colleen, and Misty in and bring back Heroes For Hire as a MAX series."

"This was the first character I thought of when I saw this thread. But sadly she is not number one. Jessica Jones in Alias and even The Pulse is amazing. But Jessica is not just a supporting character. She is not just Luke Cage's wife, although I do love them together. This girl is messed up, she doesn’t know what she wants. She doesn't want to be a superhero but is surrounded by them. Give this girl an important role. She is not someone you just come home to."

"Marvel comics grows up; her creation signaled the dawn of the Modern Age. Most Marvel heroes have feet of clay. When we first find Jessica, she's all clay and no form. You then spend a series getting to know a character re-discovering and re-making herself to the point where, when the action finally hits, you feel it and it matters."

Jessica Campbell was just about to speak to her crush, Peter Parker, before being distracted by the spider bite that gave him his powers. While going home, she and her parents are in their family car when it collided with a military truck that was carrying a radioactive chemical. Her parents were killed and Jessica slipped into a coma. The Jones family then adopted her and she woke up from her coma during the coming of Galactus to Earth to feast on the planet. She was enrolled back to Midtown High School, where she was at the receiving end of bullying by Flash Thompson. Peter felt empathy towards Jessica as he grew up without his true parents, but Jessica lashed out at him because she thought that he pitied her. It was at this time that the exposure from the radioactive chemicals gave her powers. As the superhero Jewel she had a brief career thwarting crime. During one of her adventures, she ran into the mind controlling Purple Man. He took control of her life and used her in many unpleasant ways. He eventually tried to use her to kill Daredevil, but instead she attacked the first person she saw in a red costume, which happened to be the Scarlet Witch. After a fight with the Avengers they helped to free her of the mind control, and even offered her a place on the roster. She declined, quite disturbed by the abuse the Purple Man inflicted upon her.

She started the Alias private detective agency and worked for some interesting clients, including Matt Murdock. During this time she became pregnant by Luke Cage and briefly dated Scott Lang. Later, she was offered a job working for the Daily Bugle on the superhero column The Pulse. She ended up arguing with J. Jonah Jameson over his opinions of costumed heroes and quit before the birth of her child. She and Luke Cage have since married. She is on the run from the law with her husband Luke Cage and their baby daughter Danielle. The new family is in hiding with the New Avengers. It has been speculated that Jessica might be a Skrull because her baby lit her eyes with a green flash. After the New Avengers fought and defeated The Hood's Gang, she feared for her safety and her baby and so she goes to see Iron Man to register.

When a Skrull ship crash-landed in the Savage Land, the Avengers go out to investigate. What is inside of the ship was some of pre-existing heroes, including Jessica in her Jewel costume. When she was later revealed to be a Skrull, she was killed along with the other Skrulls posing as heroes. The real Jessica Jones was present in the final battle between Earth's heroes and villains fighting together against the invading Skrull Empire. After the Skrulls lost, the Skrull that masqueraded as Jarvis kidnapped her child and disappeared. With the help of Norman Osborn, Luke found Skrullvis and took the baby back to momma. Now they are on the run from the law with the rest of New Avengers.


oracle.jpg68. Oracle (46 points)

Year first appeared: 1989

I know, I know. She has been around long before 1989 but that was at Batgirl. But in 1989, she became one of the most important and coolest characters in the DCU, and that was Oracle. She evolved into something great at the hands of Ostrander and then Dixon. Seriously, I really, really, really hope after "The Cure' she doesn't put the cape back on. Please, I am begging you.

As the Joker's thugs kidnap Commissioner Gordon, he shot Barbara, the bullet going from her waist and piercing through to her spine, ending her costumed career forever. Her paralysis caused her to go into depression that she could no longer help people in need.

Eventually she realized that with her wide variety of skills including photographic memory, computer knowledge, hacker skills, and with all the technology in the world, she could help fight crime in a different way. Barbara then adopts the code name Oracle and continues to help law enforcements and the superhero community by feeding them information on criminal activity. A man named Richard Dragon has also trained her, he trained her to use martial arts from her wheelchair. Barbara would later receive an invitation to join the Justice League Of America. She worked as an information and communications resource. She worked with the league for a good amount of time before she went inactive.

Barbara is the founder of the unofficially named Birds of Prey, a team of female heroines she employs as agents. Her member was Power Girl. However when one of their cases went wrong and caused several deaths, Power Girl quit working for Oracle, but helps her out occasionally. Having made many useful connections during her time as a crime fighter (and later as an information broker) Oracle was able to get back on her feet. She would eventually team up with Black Canary. Having similar backgrounds, Barbara and Dinah become best friends and the nucleus of the organization. The Huntress joined the team as a full-time agent, as did Lady Blackhawk and Vixen. Babs and even Helena herself were reluctant to allow Huntress on to the team. Barbara didn't agree with Helena's methods and believed she fought only for revenge. After she discovered Helena had a personal vendetta with the Birds of Prey, Barbara wanted her off the team. It took all of Black Canary's coursing to convince Babs that Huntress was a valuable member. Still feeling slightly uncomfortable with Helena, Barbara did eventually let her back on the team. Their friendship has been perpetually rocky. Although the personnel on Barbara's team grows and changes, Huntress and Lady Blackhawk remain core agents.

Blah blah blah Battle of the Cowl crap...


67. Supreme (46 points)

Year first appeared: 1992

Everyone who voted for him made sure they only voted for the Alan Moore version of Supreme, and I would agree with such voters. If you have never read those issues go out and find them. Chris Sprouse and Alan Moore made some great silver age stories with this junk character. It goes to show you that there is no crap characters out there, just writers who do nothing with them. Sure, you can say all Supreme is a Superman rip-off, and he is, but Alan Moore did some wonderful stuff with this character. And hell, if you do not wanna read a Supreme story, just imagine him as Superman.

Alan Moore was asked by Rob Liefeld to write further adventures of Supreme. Moore agreed on the condition that he could throw out everything previously done with the character, as he felt the comic was "not very good." Beginning with issue 41 of Supreme, Moore began retooling Supreme, using multiple layers of metafiction, with each issue containing commentary on comic’s history, storytelling, and the Superman mythos. The clichés of the superhero genre were frequently used without Moore's characteristic deconstruction and sense of irony. He stated in interviews that it was also something of an apology, as he had become famous for deconstructing superhero characters in various dark ways.

This new version of Supreme had a secret identity as Ethan Crane, a mild-mannered artist for Dazzle Comics, who received his powers as a result of a childhood exposure to a meteorite composed of pure supremium, a meta-element that can alter reality. When not saving the world as the archetypal superhero, Crane illustrated the adventures of Omniman, a Supreme-like character undergoing a re-launch with a change of writers.

Moore did not simply ignore the events of the previous issues; he turned them into a central part of his Supreme storyline. In Moore's first issue, Supreme returned to Earth from space and discovered that not only was he living in the most recent "revision" of reality, as it is an ever-changing story, but that there had been many previous versions of himself. Retired Supremes lived in another reality, dubbed the "Supremacy" by its inhabitants, an afterlife for characters whose stories had come to an end. Supreme first suffered from amnesia, but quickly learned that his returning memories were "backstory" that was gradually being filled in. As Supreme's memories "returned," the flashback sequences to Supreme's childhood and previous adventures were told in the style of different periods from comic’s history.

Supreme now also had a sister with identical powers, Suprema, and a super-powered dog, Radar the Hound Supreme, who was as intelligent as a human being, though he still very clearly had a canine mindset; these two characters were clear references to Superman's cousin Supergirl and his dog, Krypto, though it's worth noting that they were still distinctly different from the characters to whom they paid homage.

Darius Dax was also introduced in this storyline. He was a Lex Luthor-styled evil genius who begrudged Supreme. Dax died twice in the series. The first time, he died in prison of lymphatic cancer caused by exposure to Supremium. Before he died, Dax transferred a copy of his consciousness to "micro-machines, no bigger than dust mites" which he concealed in a book. He mailed this book to Judy Jordan (a Lana Lang analog) just before his death. When she opened the book, Judy inhaled the dust and the copy of Dax's consciousness was transferred into her brain after her own personality was erased. Dax used Judy's body to trick Supreme and trap him in his own prison. Dax went on to abandon Judy's body in favor of a super-powered android body. Still unable to beat Supreme, he merged the android body with Supremium, but died again after he merged with the Supremium only to become the Supremium Man, returning to Earth twice, and finally melting into a lump of Supremium by an astonishing twist of fate, the very lump which landed as a meteor and gave Supreme his powers in the first place.




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