Friday, May 25, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "We're the god damn Outhousers."

Your Top Modern Characters part 107

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, April 23 2009 and posted in Features
Top List
0topmodern.gifAnd thus the Top 10. Am I happy how the last ten turned out? Yes, I have no problem with this list. Was I surprised? Yep, mind you it was a pleasant surprise. But enough of my jibba jabba, I will just get to business!



10. Blue Beetle (229 points - 12 first place slots)

Year first appeared: 2006

"Easiest call on my list. He's the best teen hero of at least the last 20 years if not of all time. Best supporting cast to be created in decades. Awesome character who starred in one of the best series DC has published in decades."

"It seems to me that Blue Beetle is the most popular character to never sell particularly well. He gets a lot of hate because some folks feel he's a token legacy character. But I personally think he's proof that tradition-rooted comics can try something new while still adhering to the rulebook. He's very much your average mainstream superhero, but at the same time, he's relevant to the new, younger audience comics so desperately are seeking."

I agree with both of these quotes. A lot of people purposely ignored this title for the simple fact that they hated how Ted Kord got killed in Countdown to Infinite Crisis. Mind you, I hate how he got whacked too, but I still love this book. All that he has in common with Ted Kord is the fact they both share the same name. He is a completely different entity entirely. I am glad he’s still in the Titans lineup, and he will have backup stories in Booster Gold. And in July, he is teaming up with Hardware in the Brave and the Bold. And maybe, with his cartoon appearances he popularity will sore high enough they can give him a new ongoing. Anywho...

The mystical Blue Beetle scarab, which had given Dan Garrett his powers, had been thought destroyed. When it was found intact, it was given to Ted Kord, who was never able to use it. After an attack by Brother Eye, the scarab appeared energized, and Ted brought it to the wizard Shazam, who took it and sent Ted away. Shortly thereafter, in the Day of Vengeance storyline, Shazam was killed and the scarab was blasted across the globe, along with shards from the Rock of Eternity.

The Blue Beetle scarab came to Earth in El Paso, Texas, where Jaime picked it up. Not long after, Booster Gold appeared at Jaime's house to retrieve the scarab, only to discover that it had fused itself to Jaime's spine while the teenager had been sleeping. Booster recruited Jaime for Batman's assault on the Brother Eye satellite, since the scarab was the only thing that could see the satellite. Using the scarab's powers, Jaime was able to find the satellite and reveal it to Batman's group, enabling them to defeat it. Once Brother Eye was sent plummeting Earthward, Jaime disappeared from the ship, apparently teleported away by the scarab, which sought to escape the Green Lanterns on board.

Jaime was next seen in his own ongoing monthly series, fighting off Green Lantern Guy Gardner, who had been driven to rage by his ring's reaction to the Blue Beetle scarab. A flashback expanded on Jaime's initial discovery of the scarab, revealing how the scarab bonded itself to Jaime and showing his first encounter with a meta-human. After the fight, Jaime found himself alone and naked in the middle of the desert, and had to hitchhike home. Upon his return, Jaime discovered he had been missing for a whole year. Unlike most superheroes who keep their identities hidden from all but the closest of associates, Jaime's family and friends know Jaime is the current Blue Beetle.

He has since begun a career as a superhero, meeting Oracle, the Phantom Stranger, and the current Peacemaker during his early adventures. He often associates himself with a group known as the Posse, a street gang of local super humans with powers of magical origin. Blue Beetle's support team has also recently agreed to help Jaime keep track of crime and natural disasters in the Midwest via the Internet.

Contrary to Jaime's initial belief, the scarab is revealed to be a piece of extraterrestrial technology. However, magical influences involving the first contact with Earthmen left the scarab "corrupted", and unable to be controlled by the Reach of Space Sector 2. Guy Gardner returned and revealed to Jaime how the Reach and the Green Lantern Corps had battled in the past, forcing the Reach into a truce. The Reach however continued pursuing their invasion plans offering the Scarab as a "protector", and then forcibly turning his host into the vanguard of their attack. This would imply that the Scarab's fully functional A.I. acts as an agent for the Reach. As Jaime's scarab has only a partly functioning A.I., falling more and more into his control and forming an alliance with him, the Reach changed their agenda into feigning friendship with Jaime and the Earth, attacking him in a more subversive manner.

Jaime takes the fight to The Reach, using the time-warping qualities of the Bleed to attack three of their machines at once. When this fails, Jaime attacks the Reach's flagship, but the Reach uses their weapons to attack Jaime's home. Jaime's emotional outburst at this attack allows the Reach to shut down the scarab and remove it from Jaime. Jaime is thrown into a holding cell while the Scarab is taken for examination on the bridge. However, the scarab transfers its knowledge into Jaime before removal, allowing the young hero to break out of his cell. Meanwhile, Jaime's family, having escaped the attack, are protected from further Reach assault by Peacemaker, the Posse, Traci Thirteen, La Dama, and later, Guy Gardner, Fire, and Ice. Attacking several guards and taking their armor, Jaime heads for the engine, forcing the Reach to shut it down, revealing their ship. Once captured and brought to the bridge, Jaime shouts "Khaji Da!" [13]. He then reveals that during the time spent with him, the scarab has gained a personality of its own, and fully detached itself from the Reach hive-mind. Claiming Khaji Da (the combined utterance of Khaji, the codeword for Infiltrator and Da, its own serial number) as its name, the scarab has sided with Reyes against the Reach. As the battle continues, and the Reach Negotiator in retaliation for his defeat unleashes a doomsday device on Earth, Jaime and the scarab agree to sacrifice themselves to stop the super weapon from destroying Jamie's home planet. At the last moment, Booster Gold appears and saves them both. The bond with the scarab stronger than ever, Jamie is left to wonder if other scarabs will gain a personality due to Khaji Da talking to them about individuality.

Jaime first teams up with the Titans in Teen Titans #50/Blue Beetle #18, fighting Lobo along with the group to ensure the launch of a satellite armed with anti-Reach technology. The Reach themselves apparently hire Lobo to keep their facade as benevolent protectors; however, at last, Batman and the Teen Titans believe Jaime. Although Jamie is criticized for his lack of formal training, the Titans extend an invitation to visit and perhaps at a later time join the team. The Reach later attempt to remove Jaime from the equation, combining the missing A.I. of Jamie's scarab, a new scarab, and a Sinestro Corps Power Ring into the Peacemaker, forcing him to cut the scarab from his spine in order to ensure that his scarab could not be used as a weapon again.

Jaime comes face to face with the Spectre, along with Luis, the man who had been responsible for Jaime's father being crippled. After a visit from his quasi-girlfriend Traci Thirteen, Jaime realizes that he cannot stop the Spectre from executing the inmates. Jaime is forced to forgive Luis and try to reason with the Spectre. Partially successful, The Spectre warns Jaime that if he ever lets the Scarab kill, The Spectre will come for him.

During the "Titans of Tomorrow, Today!" arc in Teen Titans, Jaime takes the Titans up on their offer to visit, only to find that an alternate future version of the Titans have attacked the Tower and managed to kidnap key members of the Justice League. He later proves instrumental in the Titans' victory against their future selves and proves himself to be a competent hero by incapacitating the Future Flash, and freeing the Justice League. He also aids the Titans in defeating Starro. During much of the conflict with the future Titans, Jaime is actively attacked by the adult version of Kid Devil, Red Devil, who claims that Jaime cannot be trusted.

Jaime is recruited by Black Beetle (who originally identifies himself as a Blue Beetle from the future), and Dan Garrett to go into the past with Booster Gold in order to prevent Ted Kord's death. After saving Kord, and sending Jaime and Garrett back, the future is revealed to be a dystopia ruled by Maxwell Lord, who was now never exposed and defeated. Black Beetle is also revealed to be a future enemy of Jaime's, who tries to create this future so he will never have to deal with Jaime, and so he "wouldn't lose her". In Booster Gold #10, seeing the damage that was already done by their actions, Ted decides to accept his death and returns to the past, seemingly to the exact moment where he was murdered by Maxwell Lord, returning the time line to equilibrium and thus preventing the future they had witnessed, however, in the epilogue for Booster Gold #1.000.000, a figure with a scarab enters a Kord Industries building which contains a Bug and a picture of Kord's enemy Overthrow among other things. It is hinted by his trademark laugh "Bwa-ha-ha" that it is actually Ted, who somehow escaped death but managed to fix the time stream and return to the present.

Jaime has recently been seen battling Shockwave, who reveals that Kord Industries is now owned by the 100. He again came into conflict with Kid Devil, who still harbored a grudge against him because of both the future Titans incident and his status with Ravager. Jaime tries to mend fences with Kid Devil, but to no avail at first since their squabbling allowed Shockwave to escape. But during their second battle with him, Kid Devil managed to tap into his demonic powers and partially melted Shockwave's armor, enabling both boys to defeat him in a concerted effort. This seems to help squelch the ill feelings between them. Then Kid Devil asks Jaime if he's heard from Ravager, and Jaime replies that he's faced down an entire alien race, but Ravager scares him. Kid Devil finally realizes that Jaime is being sincere and they shake hands and tell each other their real names. Later at Titans Tower Robin offers Jamie full-membership into the Teen Titans, to which Jamie finally feels ready to accept. Soon after when Kid Devil officially takes the new name of Red Devil, Jaime deals out some good-natured teasing about his new costume, calling him the "Crimson Jazzercizer". Red Devil chases after him, both of them with smiles on their faces.

A group of Reach infiltrators and a negotiator invade Jaime's school's dance. Having been inspired by the Scarab to rebel against their masters, the group, calling themselves the "Kahji Dha Revolutionary Army", set out to make Earth safe by destroying all those that could pose any threat, no matter how small, to the planet. When Jaime tries to stop them, they see him as a threat, and attack. During the fight, Nadia, one of Jaime's tech support, is killed. Taking the fight into orbit, Jaime has the Scarab hack into and deactivates the KDRA, unfortunately deactivating itself for 27 days in the process. The negotiator quickly recovers, and Jaime is forced to take him on a kamikaze dive onto the earth's surface. The impact kills the negotiator and badly hurts Jamie, although the Scarab put up a shield that protected him from the brunt of the impact. Over a period of weeks, Jaime and the Scarab slowly recover. The scarab of the negotiator had, unbeknownst to Jaime, been recovered by Hector, Jaime's other tech support, who, as he left the country, used the negotiator's serial number as his name, indicating that he had bonded with it.


9. Spawn (244 points - 9 first place slots)

Year first appeared;

"Those chains. That cape. Deny it all you want, Spawn help create modern comics."

It’s true, modern comics and creator owned comics would not be what they are today without this dude right here. Like him or hate him, he does have a place in history. Is that a dark spot in the history of comics? Perhaps, but that’s all subjective. I know I dropped the book, because I couldn’t stand him being all emo on top of churches. But apparently in my absence from comics Spawn got really good. How can that be possible, you ask. I can tell you, McFarlane left the book. The book got interesting once he put it into someone else’s hands. Go figure. From everything I learned, Spawn became good again. And on that note...

He was THE anti-hero of the 90s. He was dark, mysterious, extremely powerful, an ex-soldier, a killer, a monster, and he loved to destroy people with giant guns that the Punisher who orgasm over. Al Simmons was the government’s top soldier and assassin until his boss, Jason Wynn, betrayed him. Leaving behind his beautiful widow, Wanda, he made a deal with Malebolgia to become a Hellspawn to lead Hell’s army against God during the Apocalypse in return for Al to be able to see his wife again, only to appear back on Earth 5 years later and completely burnt, also finding out that his best friend was married to his wife with a child. Filled with so much hate and incredible power which was all connected to a symbiotic suit and necroplasm, Al fought demons, angels, cyborgs, mobsters, KKK, etc, as all he wanted to do was be kept alone. Eventually, having enough of being Hell’s pawn, he finally kills his master and became the King of Hell only to reject it.

Eventually, Armageddon began to come forth, demons and angels finally coming into ranks against each other with God and Satan leading, Al teamed up with Man of Miracles (aka Mom) who was revealed to be the creator of both God and Satan and gained the powers of a God after eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Destroying the Earth, Al left God and Satan on the uninhabitable Earth to continue their constant battle where Al then using his new powers to create a new Earth without God and Satan.

Recently, after going through an emotional battle against Mammon and eventually defeating him, Al discovered many things about his past. After leaving Limbo and returning to NYC, Al committed suicide. It is unknown why but the mantle of Hellspawn has passed. But the one and only Spawn that comes to mind will always be the best known as Al Simmons.

Spawn's body is quite dense, weighing over four hundred pounds, and is composed completely of necroplasm. This gives him super strength and durability. While he still has internal organs, they are non-functional, and their damage/destruction does not hinder Spawn in the least. These organs re-appear when he magically regenerates his wounds. This may be due to Spawn's inability to let go of his human self, retaining his human organs even though he no longer requires them.

Spawn wears a living symbiotic costume, Leetha of the 7th House of K (aka: K7-Leetha). While wearing it the host assumes a dominant role over his suit. His cape, spikes, chains, and skulls are all part of an organism bonded to his central nervous system that will protect Spawn even if he is unconscious. Violator once said the suits feed on souls. This is true, as the suit is a K7 model which is one of the pureblood breeds that siphons the souls of those it kills and sends them straight to Hell to bolster Malebolgia's army. The K7 model is a stronger, more refined symbiote, which makes this Spawn stronger than many that, came before him and some that have come after him such as Billy Kincaid who was once bonded to the less powerful K2-Myrlu. While it is not known exactly what effect the consumption of souls has on the Hellspawn's uniform it is likely that it helps the suit evolve over time. Violator was obviously upset that Spawn not only had the power to regenerate (called "The Gift") but that his suit was able to move to a higher necrostate at a completely unprecedented pace. There are nine different necro-states, during which time the suit goes into a dormant hibernation stage to mutate and evolve. When it awakens it is more powerful and if the suit evolves faster than the host's ability to control his suit then the suit will assume the dominant role.

The true source of the costume is the necroplasm in Spawn's body, which it feeds off of. It is possible for Spawn to draw this energy back when he needs it, using it to power his abilities without draining his own reserves. The costume can also feed off evil energy from the physical world, feeding off the ambient evil of people, animals (mainly carrion insects, but also wolves and bats) and even certain parts of the city.

Spawn has vast magical powers. In the issues before issue #50, Spawn had a limited power supply or "9999". Each time Spawn used his energy, the counter would drain. Because of this reason, he relied primarily on his costume's natural abilities in fights. Other than the counter, the only limit was Spawn's imagination. Though he always tried not to expend a lot of magic, he has been shown using it for a variety of effects including resurrecting the dead, firing blasts of necroplasmic energy, teleportation, shape shifting, and curing the sick.

Spawn still retains the military training and weapons expertise from his days as a soldier and thus frequently uses guns as an alternative to his magic. Spawn has an ability to "feel" or "sense" misery, pain and hatred as a gift/punishment given to him by The Keeper, an agent of the Emerald Parliament of Greenworld. He is aware, even subconsciously when someone is attacked or murdered because he has gained a further affinity with the creatures of the night and shadows and through them experiences the anguish of all mankind. Spawn typically travels in the shadows, even "flying" on occasion. He is often described as notoriously difficult to spot, often only caught out of the corner of one's eye as just a streak of red (his cape). Spawn can also transform into a swarm of bats and transports from place to place. He has done this on several occasions. Recently, Spawn has shown that he contains an unknown number of lost souls who can share his Hellspawn abilities that are collectively known as The Legion. Detective Twitch theorized that the souls that Spawn carries are those that died during the same hour that Al Simmons was killed, and that there could be as many as 6,000 souls within him. It seems that the power from these souls is the reason Spawn was uncontrollable by Malebolgia, and often referred to as "The One". With the help of a young Spawn he is able to summon them to aid him in his quest to stop Armageddon.

Following Issue #161, the Man of Miracles had given him fruit from the Tree of Life and propelled his power to relative-omnipotent levels, enabling him to rival God and Satan. Now with the powers equal to both God and Satan, Spawn is the third power in the battle of Armageddon. Spawn has apparent control over the Earth itself, using it to his will when in battle against both armies. Spawn used the Earth to swallow all other Hellspawn and imprison them back in Hell.


8. Jesse Custer (258 points - 8 first place slots)

Year first appeared: 1995

"Jesse is a man's man. He has a very strong code of honor and pride and a strong belief in what's right. Add in the power of The Word and you have a man who is a dangerous son of gun. Too bad God ticks him off and sends him on a quest to find the Almighty and set things right. Custer will do anything for his friends, his family and for folks who just need help. Very few characters I can think of have as strong a moral compass as him. When a very powerful man insults Jessie's parents he says, "My mother was Christina L'angelle the only good woman to come from a family of scum. My father was Private John J Custer United States Marine Corps, and the only thing that ran through his veins was iron. You say one more thing to dishonor their memory you worthless son of a bitch and I will kill you no matter what the cost."

"The most badass character in comic’s history. His uncompromising stance on what is good and what is evil probably speaks more to me than anything else I've ever read. Custer's main mission is to set out and right the wrongs he thinks God has caused his people, that's fucking hardcore shit right there, and he actually accomplishes what he sets out to do. His love for Tulip is so strong it leaps off the page, and when both characters are reunited, it's one of the best moments in comic history. I still remember his Dads advice, and try to live by it ‘You've got to be one of the good guys Jesse, because there is way to many of the bad.’”

"Jesse here represents one of the most fun, most blasphemous series I've ever read. I still say Preacher is one of the three best runs in the medium ever."

"A man who has the word of God and decides to go on an epic quest to use it on the man him self, amazing."

"’I'm tellin' you, Jody, I'm tellin' you right now, I'm gonna kill you! I'm gonna choke the fuckin' black soul from your worthless corpse an' I'm gonna do it with my own two hands! I swear to God! I swear to fuckin' God, you are DEAD!’ He says things like that and does them, he's one badass hombre. Plus, the Duke is his spiritual guide. The Duke!"

Never read this book, would I be happier if other characters were here? Probably, but then again, I never read this book. And many of you have and well, I know of the popularity of Preacher and again, deserves to be on this list.

Jesse Custer is a small-town reverend that becomes fused with a powerful entity named Genesis, gifting him with the ability to order people to do whatever he commands. Using this power, he begins a journey of discovery and revenge across America, with the aim of forcing God to answer to his creation for His sins. Standing in Jesse's way is a secret religious military organization mysteriously known as The Grail, as well as Jesse's own twisted family.

When his soul becomes merged with the angel-demon entity Genesis, its powers, that of which is greater than God's, are focused into what Jesse Custer refers to as "The Word of God." When he uses the Word, his eyes turn red and his voice changes that sounds like "nails scraping against your soul." Although, no one can resist his commands, his victims must be able to understand them, meaning that those who do not speak English cannot be commanded by him. Jesse prefers to keep his Word in reserve, using it only when necessary. He is an incredibly able hand-to-hand combatant, being able to take on anything from a team of assassins, a vampire, and Jody, a man seemingly impervious to harm. It remains unclear as to where he learned to fight, and shoot, but it is assumed that he was taught by Jody, as in The Alamo, he states: "Being taught how to fight by the man who killed your dad sure does make you pay attention". He uses the word for all sorts of situations, from ordering a Ku Klux Klan member to 'shit himself' to calling in on a radio phone-in show and ordering the guests to tell America what is it they really want.

Damn you. I am gonna buy this now.


7. Kyle Rayner (302 points - 8 first place slots)

Year first appeared: 1994

"For a long while in Hal's absence, Kyle became one of the most polarizing characters in comics. It’s hard to imagine that he's been a Green Lantern for more than 14 years. Looking back, it's hard to imagine that he was THE Green Lantern for almost as long. Love him or hate him, you damn sure know who he is."

"Much more interesting than Hal because he isn't perfect."

"While I'll always be a Hal fan first, Kyle really came to grow on me over the years. Now that he's just another generic GL, I appreciate his early stories that much more."

After the destruction of Coast City by the alien conqueror Mongul and villainous Cyborg, Hal Jordan, maddened with grief was driven to rage against the seemingly indifferent Guardians of the Universe. Jordan's quest for vengeance pitted him against his former allies in the Green Lantern Corps, many of which he callously killed to reach his goal. To protect the Central Power Battery on Oa, the Guardians chose a living host, Ganthet, as the repository of their energies. Jordan destroyed the Central Power Battery, and apparently the inhabitants of Oa.

Ganthet fled to Earth because of its history of great heroes. Weakened and desperate he offered the ring to the first person he found and disappeared after a few cryptic words. Placing the ring in his hand, Kyle Rayner was transformed.

Initially Rayner was uncertain in his use of the power ring, but with a vivid imagination and the help of his Justice League allies and longtime Green Lantern Alan Scott, he has followed in the footsteps of a proud and glorious history of a Green Lantern.

Rayner joined the superhero group the Titans for a brief time, during which he dated Donna Troy, but eventually became a member of the Justice League. He initially clashed with the Flash (Wally West) early in his career. West had grown up with Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern and he had reservations about Kyle replacing Jordan, but he eventually became one of Rayner's best friends and biggest supporters. Surprisingly, another of Kyle's biggest supporters amongst the League was Batman, who often treated him with more respect than he showed certain other League members. Rayner also formed friendships with Alan Scott, Scott's daughter Jade, Connor Hawke, and John Stewart who, after taking a leave of absence, decided that since John was already doing such a good job in the League to let him take his place.

For a brief period, Kyle achieved godhood as Ion. This was after he absorbed the energy Hal Jordan had left in Earth's sun during the Final Night incident, energy that had merged and grown with energies released after Oblivion's defeat. With his new powers, Kyle could bend time, space, and reality. Kyle could even be in many places at once. Kyle's trans-godlike powers had drawbacks: Ion was one with everything, but Kyle Rayner could no longer sleep or separate himself from the overwhelming responsibilities. Rather than sacrifice his humanity, Kyle abandoned omnipotence, bleeding off the vast power, recharging the Central Power Battery on the planet Oa, and helping to create a new group of Guardians in the process. Before he purged all of the power, though, he modified his ring. Once again limited only by his willpower and imagination, Rayner's ring can still affect yellow, does not have a set time limit on its power, and is keyed directly to him. Kyle modified the ring so that it would always return to him, and so that it would always have a lifeline of power available (although the ring still required charging to get up to full power).

After the brutal beating of his young assistant and friend Terry Berg, Kyle went on a lengthy self-imposed exile into space. Before leaving, he placed John Stewart, recently recovered from his paraplegia and given a new power ring, into his spot in the Justice League. On his return, he discovered that Jade had begun seeing someone new, and was doing so in his own apartment. He left New York and spent some time trying once again to find his place on Earth, and ended up staying with his mother for a brief time.

During his time on Earth Kyle had witnessed some good things and some awful things, he finally saw the worst side of humanity when his assistant, Terry, was brutally attacked by a homophobic gang. Finally seeing the worst of humanity, Kyle became lost, without hope for the future he left Earth with Jade to find their future in space. He said one day he would return, but for now he didn’t feel that Earth was his home anymore. Returning to Earth for a brief period he fought with Major Force again, finally putting to rest the fears he had about his mother and the feelings he still felt about Alex. After a brutal fight with Major Force, Kyle managed to seal his living energy inside an emerald ball and send it drifting out into the universe; finally putting things right for Alex.

During his time away from Earth Jade had moved on however, splitting up with Kyle and moving on with her life to find her own future. Finally realizing that Earth had nothing left to offer him, Kyle decided to move on with his own life and find something more for himself, something he could call his own. Saying a final farewell to Earth, Kyle flew off into space looking for his own future. In a final Retcon that split Green Lantern fans down the middle DC brought back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern and changed Parallax so it wasn’t Hal who had gone crazy with grief after the destruction of Coast City, but rather he had been under the influence of an alien symbiote by the name of Parallax who was the cause of the yellow impurity in the rings.

This retcon wasn’t well received by fan’s, which were on one side happy to have Hal Jordan back as a Green Lantern, but were appalled by DC for taking away the most human side of his character.

Bringing Hal’s body back to Earth to join with his spirit, who was now a host for The Spectre, Kyle fought Parallax, who had taken Ganthet for a host, with John Stewart, Kilowog, Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. Finally defeating Parallax and imprisoning him again, it finally looked like the Green Lantern Corps were back in business.

I can go on, but I will not. I will end with this:

Kyle > Hal.




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