Sunday, December 21, 2014 • Morning Edition • "Thoughtful analysis of important cultural issues."

Your Top Modern Characters part 91

Written by Chris Mitchell on Tuesday, April 14 2009 and posted in Features
Tags:
Top List
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Four more characters for your disapproval...

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63. Miss Martian (48 points)

Year first appeared: 2006

"Jaime may get all the glory of being the best character created lately, but there's someone else who I think can almost challenge him for that title and that's M'gann here. In a place where most of the DCU is dreary and dark M'gann is a freakin’ box of kittens of cuteness and adorableness. I mean come on she "attacked" her evil future self with freakin cute lil puppies. Not to mention even in one panel appearances she steals the spotlight with her adorable expressions.

If there's anyone who truly deserves a mini where the only point is just fun and good times it's M'gann here. But knowing DC they'll find a way to screw it up and make violent and dark. Also a darn pity we never see her truly be around J'onn either other than her way of honoring him by her appearance."

Miss Martian is a white Martian different from the others, posing as a green Martian. She is a member of the Teen Titans during the 52 weeks between Infinite Crisis and the "One Year Later" stories. Afterwards, she finds a seemingly permanent home on the team after "One Year Later" that apparently sticks, as her future self comes to the present from the future, a Titan.

M'gann has green skin, shoulder-length red hair, dresses in a mini-skirt version of Martian Manhunter's outfit. Suspected of being a traitor, she eventually revealed the real traitor to be Bombshell, she beat her and proved her loyalty to the team. M'gann reads Bombshell's mind and becomes aware of the Titans East. She defeats Sun Girl who claims to be from a future were Martians are slaves to humans because of M'gann. Soon the Titans of tomorrow arrive at the present day. She encounters her possible future-self who try’s to mentally break M'gann and haves her battle Scorch.

Miss Martian is later abducted by the Terror Titans along with numerous other former Titans. She goes through the battles and soon takes the place of Star Spangled Kid and helps to free the other Titans. Then she, along with Aquagirl and Static rejoin the Teen Titans.

 

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62. Bishop (48 points)

Year first appeared: 1991

"“X-Men’s first black male on the team, joined during the 90s, aka the Rise of the Anti-hero Era. He was a total badass who took names after kicking ass. Coming from the future, he eventually grew accustomed to modern life and became a detective of honor as he fought alongside the X-Men and patrolled the streets of District X. It’s sad that Marvel has destroyed his character by turning him into a psychotic killer of babies and destroyer of a whole world populated by billons. Oh Marvel, when will your reign of terror end?”

Born roughly 70 years into one of Earth's alternate futures, Lucas Bishop grew up on a dark and desolate world, where the heirs to the X-Men's legacy founded the organization known as the X.S.E. (Xavier's Security Enforcers) on the belief that mutants could police themselves. Chasing one such criminal mutant, Trevor Fitzroy, Bishop and his X.S.E. lieutenants traveled back through time to the present day.

Stranded in the past, they continued pursuing their suspect. But, Bishop's troops were slain, and he was badly injured during the deadly battle that ensued. Only through the intervention of the X-Men did he survive. Feeling honored to serve the team whose members he had idolized since childhood, Bishop found new purpose with the X-Men.

And after the events of Messiah Complex, he hops around the multiverse trying to hunt down Cable and baby Hope to prevent his future from ever happening.

 

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61. Cassidy (48 points)

Year first appeared: 1995

"He's an asshole. He's a terrible person who takes advantage of everyone around him and does despicable things. He's totally irredeemable. He has no positive qualities. None. And yet despite all of this, you can't help but like the guy. I don't know how, I don't know why, but he's still a guy you want to like despite how horrible he is."

"A vampire whose own demonic impulses have to be repressed. A bastard whose friendship with Cassidy is tested by his own feelings for Tulip. Despite ruining many lives since he arrived in New York, and even hitting a woman, he constantly tries to reform and his eventual redemption at the end of Preacher puts him as a great character in my eyes."

How pissed are you on a scale of 1 to 10?

Cassidy, whose full name is Proinsias Cassidy, is an Irish vampire. Cassidy joins the Irish Volunteers and takes part in the Easter Rising in 1916, though his brother William (Billy) also joins to keep watch over him. He eventually forces Cassidy to desert the army because of its impending failure, and Cassidy is soon bitten by a "hag", who seemingly leaves fatal injuries. His body falls into the water, and he soon learns that he is not succumbing to the injuries and that the sun burns his skin. He decides to travel to America, so his family and other soldiers will believe that he is dead. He lives in America, picks up alcohol and drug problems, going as far as prostituting himself for drugs, and begins to wear sunglasses to hide his natural identity. This eventually escalates into the need to hide his eyes, which betray 70 years of substance abuse.

He eventually meets Tulip O'Hare and Jesse Custer. Cassidy forms a strong friendship with Jesse, and eventually falls in love with Tulip, though she does not reciprocate the feelings. He constantly struggles with his addictions and his feelings for Tulip, though after believing Jesse to be dead, both he and Tulip take up heavy drugs and alcohol, and start a sexual relationship. After reuniting with Jesse, he is told that Jesse no longer wants anything to do with him after finding about his history, though the two agree to meet one more time. They engage in a fistfight that Jesse's skill easily allows him to dominate, while constantly berating Cassidy. When Cassidy finally accepts his failures and begins, as Jesse puts it, "acting like a man," Jesse takes Cassidy's hand in forgiveness. Cassidy proves he's worth the gesture by walking into the sunrise to atone for all he has done, burning up in the process.

Once Jesse is gunned down by the grail, it is revealed that Cassidy has made a deal with God moments before his confrontation with Jesse; he would beat Jesse to the point of surrender and allow Genesis to be destroyed. In return, God must allow both Jesse and Cassidy to live. Despite events not quite going to plan, God keeps his word. Jesse is revived and goes looking for Tulip, while Cassidy watches his first sunset in years as a human being, then drives off with a pledge to act like a man.

Cassidy has superhuman strength and speed that can easily rip regular humans apart, though he is not very good at fighting, allowing Jesse to easily beat him without taking any damage. Cassidy can survive any physical wound, including decapitation, although he feels the full pain associated with the injury. He can heal superhumanly fast, and drinking blood allows him to accelerate the process. The only thing that can kill him is being directly in sunlight for a period of time, though he can stand indirect exposure with discomfort. Although Cassidy needs blood to sustain himself, he does not need human or even fresh blood, preferring instead the taste of beer or whiskey. He generally drinks blood from live humans only if they threaten him.

 

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60. Azrael (49 points)

Year first appeared: 1992

"Dude was Batman. Beat the crap out of Bane when Bane was still a tough guy. Has a split personality, one with low scruples. Ok….what’s not to like?"

Several centuries ago, the templar knight Dumas left his group to found his own Order of St. Dumas. They pillaged villages for their wealth, and came upon the fabled treasure of King Solomon. Using this capital, this secret society began collecting information for its personal agenda and researching technology that would advance beyond the rest of the known world. To guard this, the Order created the Azrael's, agents coached to believe it is an actual Biblical angel of vengeance passed on from father to son. When Ludovic Valley had impregnated a woman, the Order of St. Dumas retrieved the fetus to develop it on its own which would grow to Jean-Paul Valley.

Jean-Paul Valley, a university student in Gotham City, was unaware that he was the latest in a line of assassin-enforcers for "The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas", a sinister secret society, and had received training and mental conditioning to prepare him for his role since before he was born. He is a test tube baby, and his genes have been spliced with those of animals. For most of his life, he has been brainwashed with "The System", a deep level of psychological conditioning. The details of The System are never fully explained, but it is understood that training begins before birth and includes genetic modification, prenatal electric shock, and the use of gorillas as surrogate mothers. When he was sent by the Order to kill a weapons dealer who had killed his father (the last Azrael), Carlton LeHah who believed himself to be the idealistic opposite to Saint DuMas, his path crossed with Batman. After saving Wayne from an explosion set up by LeHah, Valley was shown the error of his ways, and he decided to fight with Batman against the criminals of Gotham, rejecting his "birthright" and seeking Batman's help in breaking his conditioning to forge a new destiny of his own choice.

Valley played a pivotal role in the epic "Knightfall" story arc (1992 - 1994), in which he stood in as Batman after Bruce Wayne was defeated and paralyzed at the hands of Bane. Against Bruce Wayne's orders, Valley fought and defeated Bane, but his performance as Batman was influenced by his Azrael conditioning; he grew increasingly violent, allowing the villain known as Abattoir to fall to his death, thereby also allowing one of Abattoir's still-living victims to die. Valley also refused to recognize Robin as his partner. Upon his return to fitness, Wayne was forced to fight the technologically enhanced Valley to reclaim his identity. After a prolonged battle on Gotham Bridge, when Azrael nearly killed Nightwing, he was defeated when Wayne tricked Valley into removing the bat-armor. Due to Valley's psychosis, once he removed the helmet, he also "removed" the Batman identity he had built.

Following this, Valley became a homeless drifter in the streets of Gotham, unaware or unwilling to adopt his identity as Azrael once again. After being contacted by Bruce Wayne, Valley soon dons his Azrael costume once again and searches for clues to his past in the Order of St. Dumas, and ancient organization which had engineered Azrael’s throughout ages, passed from father to son. This was done through the use of deep hypnosis and genetic experiments.

Upon discovering the Order in Europe, Valley found he had been replaced by another man claiming to be Azrael, who was quickly defeated by Valley. Eventually, after multiple contacts with the high priests of the organization, soldiers and the imposter-Azrael, Ra's Al Ghul and the development of a relationship with a former priestess of the Order, Lihly, Valley was able to largely destroy the Order. During the No Man's Land saga, Azrael assisted Batman in the earthquake torn Gotham and eventually by attempting to contact a US Senator who would have been key to federal funding for Gotham.

The Senator was killed by a man known as Nicholas Scratch, a rock-star who was also involved with many terrorist ideals. Scratch was eventually involved in the apparent death of Valley when he disguised himself as Azrael and was confronted by Valley. LeHah reappeared and fired on Valley with an armor-piercing bullet. LeHah and Valley toppled over a balcony; LeHah survived, Scratch was arrested and Azrael's body was never found. A panel of the comic showing Batman having an image of Azrael, sanz mask, is meant to lead readers to believe he is dead.

 

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