Sunday, April 21, 2019 • R.I.P. Edition • Cyclops was right.

Your Top Modern Characters part 98

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, April 16 2009 and posted in Features
I love each of these characters, and you all better love them as well.





39. Spider-Girl (69 points - 2 first place slots)

Year first appeared: 1998

"The child of the Parkers that Marvel would love to dump and be done with. Like father like daughter, she has the same wiseass mouth, and about the same problems her dad has had. Unlike her father, she hasn't had the load of tragedy dumped onto her (save for her childhood friend, Normie Osborn turning into a Green Goblin)."

"Mayday Parker is everything that's good about old-school Marvel in a modern-day book; teen angst mixed with optimism, responsibility, and a bright-line sense of right and wrong, she is a magnificent replacement for the legacy of her dad."

I loved this book. I really, really did. And I am glad it got the run it did, and I am happy it will live on in the digital world, but I would be happier if it lived on in the regular paper book in my hand world. But alas, you people suck. The End.

In a not-too-distant possible future, Peter Parker retires his Spider-Man career to live a normal life with his wife Mary Jane and daughter May. The adolescent May becomes a very athletic and agile varsity basketball player. During a game, Peter and Mary Jane noticed that their daughter exhibits what could be considered superhuman agility and skill. Dismissing the incident as a fluke, they decided to keep the whole situation under wraps.

The Green Goblin, seemingly returned from the grave, relays a message to Peter through his daughter. Peter vows to meet the Goblin for a final showdown at the Brooklyn Bridge. Frightened for her husband's life, Mary Jane revealed to May that her father was once Spider-Man, and that she inherited his abilities. Donning a spare Spider-Man costume, May enters the battle, saving her father's life - and thus began her career as the stunning Spider-Girl.

May possesses powers inherited from her father, including the proportionate strength, speed, and agility of a spider. While unable to lift 10 tons like her dad, she is more agile than Peter. May also has super equilibrium. She also has the subconscious premonition of "danger" sense known as her "spider-sense." May's spider-sense seems to be more developed than her fathers. Whereas Spider-Man could only get a feeling that a particular spot was dangerous to him (or similarly to the preservation of his secret identity), Spider-Girl is able to sense the exact direction from which the danger comes. In addition, whereas Spider-Man's spider-sense simply registered a general sense of danger (with the strength of the response being in proportion to the amount of danger he was in), Spider-Girl can recognize sources of danger. This allows her to determine whether the danger is posed by a familiar source (such as an attack by a familiar foe) or is a new threat. This applies even if she has incomplete knowledge of the source of danger. For example, if May is being spied on by an unknown observer on several different occasions, she is able to tell if each incident involves the same, or a different observer as a previous incident. May also has a power that her father doesn't have. May can magnetize an object by touching it. A magnetized object will stick to a wall without falling off, and she can also force an object at high speeds away from her with reverse magnetism.


38. Darkhawk (70 points)

Year first appeared: 1991

"What can I say, I love the guy. I grew up reading him and thought he was the biggest badass ever. Excellent design, cool supporting cast and badass villains. Darkhawk=WIN"

"I've only read him in Loners and Nova but I like the character and am looking forward to his WoK tie in."

Buy War of Kings. Do you hear me? BUY IT!

Chris Powell's father, Mike Powell, was a member of the Cabal, a group of current and retired police officers turned vigilantes. By utilizing bribes garnered from major crime bosses, the Cabal had financed a suit of powerful armor called Savage Steel. Chris spied upon his father as he was receiving his final payment from crime lord Philippe Bazin and assumed his father was criminal himself. Chris was found by Bazin's henchman but accidentally came upon the amulet. He transformed into the android form and defeated Bazin's men.

With more time, Chris discovered that his armor was in fact an autonomous android. When Chris would grab the amulet it actually caused his body to switch places with Darkhawk though his mind still remained in control. Darkhawk was brought aboard the Avengers West Coast as a reserve member, after assisting them several times. He saw little action with them after becoming a member, because they  dissolved shortly after he had joined them.

With even more time, Chris and Darkhawk would split in two different entities the armor would be updated. This new version gave Darkhawk new powers. Such things like a force field around his armor, the ability to construct a gigantic force field shaped like a hawk and being able to summon weapons from Osch. By the end, Darkhawk and Chris re-emerged, no longer needing the amulet to switch bodies. He is also no longer classified as an "android" but is a fully biological entity.

Darkhawk was soon shown back in his original form, without any of his upgraded powers. No explanation was given about that fact, causing an inconsistency in Darkhawk's continuity. The reason for the change seems to be for recognition. Phil Urich {the former Green Goblin} was able to take the amulet and transformed into a "Goblinized" version of the Darkhawk. Chris Powell managed to tap into the amulet by touching it on Phil's chest, allowing him to summon his second, upgraded armored form. Although Phil Urich retained the amulet itself. After the amulet was retrieved, he used it to change back to his first form.

Darkhawk seemingly could already fully control the amulet and his suit. He went to his new job as an agent for P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Some villains contained there escaped and one of them was Vector. Darkhawk fought Vector and as Vector tried to remove his amulet, Darkhawk couldn't control himself and ended up killing him. Seeking help, he went to visit his old friend Mickey who is also known as Turbo. They later went to Chris' house and when they arrived his amulet started to behave differently again. Something from the sky fell in his backyard and as they went over to look what it was, they saw that it was another person who also had the Darkhawk armor. Chris was shocked as he thought that he was the last person who possessed the amulet.

Before Chris can interact with the new arrival his house is leveled by another blast. Chris is quick to rescue his family from the rubble while trying to remain calm and not give into his anger. The other Armor quickly introduces himself as Talon under a barrage of questions fired at him from Chris but before more can be explained a Hunter drone sent to kill their kind as Talon informs Chris that he is part of the Fraternity of Raptors attacks them.

Chris engages the Hunter drone but can't seem to make a dent while a severe blast charge that catches him forces his suit to reconfigure into a supercharged strike suit which Chris wasn't even aware that it could do or how he did it. Talon comments on the fact that while the bond between the suit and Chris is deeper than anticipated it was faulty. Talon also switches into the Strike suit mode which clues Chris in that the switch was a conscious one and they together battle and destroy the Hunter Drone.

Chris later engages Talon in anger but Talon proves to be superior and defeats Chris. Talon explains that Chris is a Raptor but that the Raptor armor was never built for humans and that Chris never properly bonded with it. Which was why its alien presence was messing with his head. He has come to help Chris so that together as the last of their kind they could do the task they as the Fraternity of Raptors are meant to do. The Raptors are sworn to serve and use their skills and powers to safeguard the advance of Galactic Culture, they influence, adjust, shape and improve. With an eye on the war that is coming in the Cosmo and striving for the outcome to the greater good. They start their travel to the Negative Zone via a portal that Talon opens.

Their travel thru the Negative Zone brings about a battle that to Talon and Darkhawk that threatens to overwhelm them till Talon engages them in his superior battle armor that he reconfigured to and nullified the threat. Talon shows distaste at Darkhawk’s qualms about murdering in the scheme of things and again when confronted with an angry Darkhawk he shows superior skill. Chris still has more questions about the Fraternity of Raptors and Talon is evasive in most of his answers as he keeps telling Chris to keep his anger in check so that the armor can bond with him properly and then all can be explained.

Darkhawk is clearly overwhelmed but still tries his best to understand what is all happening even as Talon shows him other capabilities that he wasn't aware the suit had. Upon finding the Cosmic Rod they go in to extract it but are engaged once more by the enemy who is guarding the Rod. Talon then tricks Darkhawk into accessing it full combat mode by opening his mind, which he does so believing that Talon is cornered. What follows Chris realizes as he killed all the guards in his direct area and confronts Talon he begins to realize who and what the Fraternity of Raptors truly are which is that they are the bad guys.


37. Connor Hawke (71 points)

Year first appeared: 1994

Damn you Didio. I hate you.

Connor is the son of Oliver Queen and Moonday Hawke. He was brought up in a Zen Buddhist temple where he studied many forms of marital arts but was unable to find the inner peace he sought. It was not until one day that a traveler (Oliver Queen) who had once studied at the temple many years before that he discovered this inner peace as well as helping Ollie to discover his confidence again.

Years of studying hand-to-hand fighting at the Ashram have honed Connor into an unparalleled opponent whose metagene enables him to have a phenomenal physical memory. Once he has witnessed a move, Connor can instantly adapt it to his own growing repertoire of martial art disciplines. Connor cemented his place in the hierarchy of martial artists when the clandestine Cult of the Monkey Fist initiated a worldwide contest of mortal combat. Fighting alongside Batman, Black Canary, Nightwing, and others, Connor bested the Silver Monkey proving himself to be one of the world's greatest living fighters, perhaps even better than the Dark Knight himself.

Teaming up with Oliver, Conner designed a costume to become Green Arrow's sidekick and had many adventures. During this time he was introduced to Eddie Fyers, who had discovered the truth about Connor and Ollie's relation. After Ollie's death, he became the new Green Arrow. Connor, Eddie Fryers, and Master Jansen had many adventures together. Connor also had a couple of teem-ups with Kyle Rayner, and Wally West. Then Connor decided to tryout for the Justice League of America. When he was transported up to the station, he found the Key had overrun the facility. Connor had to use his father's trick arrows after his own had been ruined. The Key was defeated by the classic boxing glove arrow. Conner was initiated into the Justice League without a single objection after that.

When Oliver came back to life, Conner spent more time with him along with Mia Dearden (Speedy), who had developed a crush on him. One night on patrol, Connor was attacked by Onomatopoeia, who grazed his head with a bullet. Connor survived this attack and was later attacked in the hospital after recovering from surgery from Onomatopoeia again. Both times, Oliver saved Connor's life. His drive is to prove himself as a marksman as well as a hero second to none. Recently he was in a coma after being shot. Later he disappeared and Oliver and Team Arrow went searching for him. They found out that Shado and the League of Assassins were to blame for his assault. They would free him from Dr. Sivana who tried to turn him into a drone. He woke-up from his coma with no memory of his past life and gained a healing factor and feels no pain.


36. Steel (72 points)

Year first appeared: 1993

Raised in a mean urban area where death was a constant companion, John Irons resolved to use his talents as a Football player to earn a better life for himself and his family. In high school, Irons developed an appreciation for science as a means to enhance his techniques on the football field. With his combination of athleticism and academics he received a full scholarship to college.

While at college his younger brother Clay was killed in a drive-by shooting while he was working at the neighborhood grocery. His parents had died years earlier in an auto accident, so he forewent grad school and got a job working in a munitions factory to support his extended family. It was while at the munitions factory, Ameretek that he first began to develop the ideas for his armor system. Renting a workshop he developed his first prototype.

An unfortunate turn of events with his employer ended in his workshop being destroyed and Irons was presumed dead. Under an assumed name, Irons moved to Metropolis and worked as a high-rise construction worker. Attempting to save a friend and fellow worker from a deadly fall, Irons was in turn saved by Superman. Days later Superman was apparently killed by the alien Doomsday. Resolving to honor the slain hero Irons completed his armor and dedicated himself to serving the community as Steel.

Irons suffered mortal wounds releasing Doomsday from the JLA Watchtower to battle Imperiex. Superman was unable to turn away the Black Racer, a being that gathers souls and ushers them into the afterlife. This time, however, the Black Racer delivered Irons to Apokolips, where the evil Darkseid restored life to Iron's body. But the cost at which Steel was brought back to life has still not been determined.

John Henry Irons donned his armor once more in the wake of the Battle of Metropolis during Infinite Crisis. Along with most of Earth's united heroes, Steel helped defeat the Secret Society of Super Villains in Superman's city, but has become extremely bitter at life and what he feels is the self-absorbed narcissism of Earth's superhero community.

During the cleanup of the disaster, John baits his niece Natasha into an argument when he prevents her from leaving Metropolis in order to join the Teen Titans. John refuses to let her go and orders her to continue collecting all the debris in the city, culminating in him destroying her armor in spite. He later identifies a recently discovered corpse as that of a Lex Luthor from a parallel universe, namely Alexander Luthor, Jr., exonerating the real Lex Luthor from all of his recent crimes.

A week later, at his Steelworks facilities, John Henry appears to be hallucinating due to the effects of an unknown metabolic toxin. Irons' flesh appears to be in the middle of transforming into metal just before the lab explodes. Three days later, Steel, again wearing his armor, is called in by Doctor Mid-Nite to help him with the wounded heroes returned from space after the Crisis. He uses Pseudocytes to aid in Mal Duncan's recovery.

With the help of Kala Avasti from S.T.A.R. Labs, John learns that he was injected with a small dosage of Lex Luthor's new exo-gene therapy, causing his skin to mutate into stainless steel and back again. He returns to Steelworks to find Natasha attempting, and failing, to build a new suit. She then claims he is a hypocrite for accepting Lex's exo-gene treatment, not aware of the truth.

Three days and two nights later, Irons appears, transformed into a man of living steel, (similar to the Marvel Comics character Colossus), at a party held by Lex Luthor. In a rage, he attacks Luthor, demanding to see Natasha and threatening or endangering anyone that gets in his way. However, Natasha herself soon appears to stop John before he kills Luthor. John, still enraged, is then beaten by Natasha one-sidedly until he comes to his senses. Realizing that Natasha was right to stop him from killing Luthor, he admits it, but maintains that he is right, too. He then asks Natasha to "give it up, come home". Natasha responds by punching John repeatedly and sending him flying into the Metropolis bay. He then resurfaces several weeks later, having built a new suit of armor for Natasha, to make up for his behavior toward her. He emotionally breaks down when he realizes that it is too late to make amends.

He later returns to active duty, saving lives and discovers from Kala that the exo-gene therapy allows Luthor to take away any powers he has given out. He then shares his suspicions with the Teen Titans and a former test subject who had his powers stripped away. Investigating the Everyman Project along with Doctor Mid-Nite, Beast Boy, and Kala on Thanksgiving, John discovers that his metal skin is peeling off, realizing that the therapy grants powers only for a limited time before they disappear completely.

In "52" Week 40, after Natasha was captured by Luthor, Irons, in his full armor, leads the Teen Titans, consisting of Raven, Beast Boy, Aquagirl, and Offspring in an open assault on LexCorp. After defeating armed robot guards and Infinity Inc., Irons, with his armor destroyed, engages Luthor in battle. However, Luthor gained similar abilities to Superman and thrashes Irons. Natasha uses Irons' sledgehammer to create an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down Luthor's exo-gene and John Henry defeats him. In 52 Week 47, John Henry and Natasha reestablish Steelworks.


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