The final two before the Top 25. And from this point on, all the characters have first place votes.
27. Cannonball (98 points - 2 first place slots)
"Probably my all time favorite male character, but definitely my favorite teen. He is a farm boy who is thrown into the world. We get to see him transform from awkward teenage boy to a leader to the big leagues."
"I pretty much am picking him for the same reasons I am choosing Cyborg. Sam went to school at the Academy for gifted youngsters and like every young mutant that goes to that school he made friends and went on crazy adventures but more so then any other New Mutant he became a full fledged X-man and took Prof X's dream in his own heart. Cannonball is what every Teacher at Xavier’s school wants for their students to join the community of Mutants who come back to the school to teach other young teens with special powers and to fight for equality as an X-man."
Samuel Guthrie was born in Cumberland County, Kentucky, the eldest of eleven children to Lucinda and Thomas Guthrie, a coal mine worker. After the death of his father, sixteen-year-old Samuel Guthrie became the man of the house to his large family, which included former X-Men characters Husk and Icarus. To help support his family, Guthrie decided to work in his father's occupational field as a coal miner. The dangerous nature of the occupation caught up with him one day when Sam found himself trapped in a collapsing mine shaft. While trying to rescue his fellow worker, a friend of his father's who had introduced him to the job, Sam subconsciously activated his mutant ability to propel himself at superhuman speeds and used it to escape the pair to safety.
As part of the New Mutants, Sam formed close friendships with his fellow teammates Sunspot and Wolfsbane. Although initially a slow learner at using his mutant abilities, eventually Sam had an ongoing rivalry with Danielle Moonstar (then known as Psyche) as the two acted as the team co-leaders. He also supervised other teammates, including Magik, Karma, the late Cypher, and Magma, among others.
Early on in his career with the team, Cannonball visited Nova Roma and encountered his future teammate Magma. With the team, he soon met the New Mutant rivals, the Hellions, a team structured as the future of the Hellfire Club (the Hellions were also the anti-thesis of the New Mutants, with Jetstream his supposed equivalent). With the New Mutants, Cannonball also encountered the Gladiator, the Shadow King, Loki, the Enchantress, and other major villains. Sam also meets a young intergalactic rock star named Lila Cheney, with whom he eventually shared a romance. Guthrie also teamed up with Spider-Man and defeated the nefarious Incandescent Man.
The New Mutants found themselves under the guidance of Magneto at the behest of Professor Xavier. Magneto's heavy handed leadership did not sit well with the team, and Cannonball began to display a measure of independence and rebellion against authority. These traits would grow stronger as he matured. The ancient entity, the Beyonder, encounters the New Mutants, and in his curiosity, kills them. They are resurrected by the Beyonder soon after but this trauma leaves the team deeply shaken. For a time they go with Emma Frost, to her Massachusetts Academy to join the Hellions. They eventually recover from the trauma, especially after a fight with the Avengers, in which they are forced to rescue Warlock and Magneto. Over time with the New Mutants, Sam develops a brotherly affection for Rahne. He remains oblivious for some time that Rahne harbors much deeper feelings for him. They worked with the Power Pack when the latter group needed help dealing with a team of minor demons. Sam leads the group in chasing the Impossible Man around the world, which had gotten into a potentially deadly one-upmanship competition with Warlock. Sam even meets (and fights) his older self when an alternate future version of the team travels to his time. This adventure is erased out of his mind by the future version of his friend Karma. Sam meets with Lila again. A jealous admirer of Lila drugs Sam, intending to kill him. The resulting fight leads to the accidental release of the creature Bird-Brain who would join the team for a while. Unfortunately for the team, taking Bird-Brain back to his island home ends with the shooting death of Douglas Ramsey by the Ani-Mator, Bird Brain's creator. The team also battles Cameron Hodge and the Right. Defying Magneto, the team sneaks out to another Lila Cheney concert. They are swept up in a kidnapping of Lila and dealings with the powerful entity known as Gosamyr. In preventing Gosamyr's relatives from endangering innocent lives, Lila seemingly dies.
Returning to Earth, the team got caught in the events of Inferno. They team up with the X-Terminators who would eventually merge into their team. They help neutralize the demonic invasion plan by rescuing kidnapped infants high above New York City. One of the new members, Boom Boom, soon became a primary romantic interest. The New Mutants fight the Hellfire Club on the remains of the X-Mansion, formally rejecting Magneto's leadership. Danielle's adventures in Asgard, most of which took place while Sam had been healing, involved her rescuing Brightwind, one of the horses ridden by the Valkyrie. Brightwind chose her as her new rider, granting her Valkyrie powers. This leads to the team being involved with the realm once again. The death goddess Hela managed to overwhelm all the Valkyries, including Danielle. With behind-the-scenes assistance from Doctor Strange, the team heads to Asgard yet again. Sam's feelings for Kindra get the team in trouble. When he sees her being threatened, he rashly rushes out to save her and all the New Mutants are captured by Hela's forces. The group is split up but Sam manages to lead his half safely through many dangers, later reuniting with his friends. They manage to save Odin, who was vulnerable, from a murder attempt.
Soon after returning to Earth, the team first encounters Cable. They then assist Cable in fighting the Mutant Liberation Front. Wolfsbane, Warlock, Rictor, and Tabitha are kidnapped from the grounds of the X-Mansion by Genoshan forces under the control of Cameron Hodge. Warlock soon perishes, murdered by Hodge in an attempt to get his powers. Sam joins the X-Men on a rescue mission and Genosha's government is toppled. Rahne stays behind to help the fellow victims of Genosha's regime
Cannonball and the other New Mutants left the X-Men's supervision, and joined forces with the mysterious Cable to become the hard-edged X-Force. Cable named Cannonball Second-In-Command and field leader of the team. It was early during this time that Sam was impaled and killed by the mutant Sauron during a clash with an incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants. However, only a few minutes later, he had healed and returned to life. Cable revealed the he had chosen Sam to lead the New Mutants initially because he suspected Cannonball to be an External - a particularly rare type of mutant who is virtually immortal. Cable had come to train Sam to fight Apocalypse, another External who, in Cable's future time, had conquered the world. Many other Externals, such as Saul and Gideon, also came to believe Sam was one of them. It was also around this time that Sam's sister, Husk, was revealed to have mutant powers. Cannonball's existence as an External was disputed by Selene, who once claimed that he was not an External. However, she is not a particularly trustworthy source and no alternate explanation has been given for his surviving the wounds Sauron had inflicted. His immortality was later brought up as the reason he survived 3 gunshot wounds to the chest. Sam's time in X-Force was not easy, as he was considered 'out of line' by the X-Men and X-Force were considered outright criminals by S.H.I.E.L.D. This even devolved into a fight between a S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Nick Fury and supported by veteran superhero War Machine. Later, any rivalries were put aside as Sam was instrumental in helping the other X-Men, particularly Forge and Wolfsbane defeat the Phalanx.
This incident brought Samuel to the attention Donald Pierce, who hired him as a mercenary for the Hellfire Club. Pierce intended to use him in a plot to attack the X-Men junior team, the New Mutants. Sam's kind nature brought him to his senses and he eventually turned against Pierce. Professor Charles Xavier saw the good qualities inside Sam, citing Pierce's manipulation as the cause for his misdeeds, and asked him to join his New Mutants. Cannonball left his large farming family in Kentucky to join the team.
26. Billy Batson (104 points - 3 first place slots)
"The best rags to riches tale. The kid had the ultimate magical powers in the universe, he's gone toe to toe with Supes as Captain Marvel and without Billy there would be no Black Adam."
"Always been a really cool character in my mind. He's full of win, especially when he was Captain Marvel still."
With the success of Superman at National Comics (DC's forerunner), Fawcett Publications decided to publish their own comic book stories. In 1939, artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker created "Captain Thunder" and published Flash Comics #1 (also known as Thrill Comics). Due to trademark concerns, Flash Comics was renamed Whizz Comics and artist Pete Costanza suggested renaming the lead "Captain Marvelous" which was shortened by editors to Captain Marvel. He was first featured in Whiz Comics #2.
In 1941, National Comics sued Fawcett for copyright infringement. The case eventually went to trial in 1948 and found in Fawcett's favor in 1951 as the judge decided that Superman was not properly copyrighted. After an appeal Judge Billings Learned Hand found Superman's copyright was valid but Captain Marvel did not infringe it, only some of his stories. In the face of further action, Fawcett agreed to stop publishing the character and settled out of court for $400,000 in 1953. Fawcett also decided to shut down its comic book division. DC leased the character from Fawcett in 1972. Because Marvel Comics held the trademark on the name "Captain Marvel," DC was forced to come up with a different name for the comic book, and decided to call the book Shazam!
Better known as the nefarious Black Adam), he was separated from his sister Mary and sent to live with his uncle. Unfortunately, his uncle kicked out Billy and stole his inheritance. Living on the streets, Billy sold newspapers until one day, a strange cloaked man lead him to a part of the subway he'd never seen before. A marvelous train awaited them, covered in hieroglyphs and runes. Billy and the stranger rode the train deep into the bowels of the Earth and into a cavern that contained statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. There, he met the ancient wizard Shazam who had protected mankind from them for thousands of years. Shazam had chosen Billy to succeed him and granted him all of his extraordinary powers by speaking his name.
Pre-crisis Marvels origin is only slightly different from the current Captain Marvel. Shazam was killed after Marvel's first transformation and would often appear as a ghost during the run of the series. Doctor Sivana first appeared after attempting to silence all radio transmissions unless he was giving an extremely large amount of money. Billy informed the head of Whiz radio Sterling Morris that he would fix the problem if he would give a job. Morris amused his request and agreed. Marvel captured Sivana's men destroyed his machine and captured Sivanna himself. As Morris promised he granted Billy's request and gave him a job as a radio reporter. Black Adam was also a former champion for Shazam but because of his extreme methods his was imprisoned but accidentally freed by Marvel. These events and changed in the modern age.
Modern age Billy has made many enemies as Captain Marvel aside from Black Adam such as Captain Nazi, Doctor Sivana, Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil and more. Captain Marvel joined the Justice Society of America so he could keep an eye on the "reformed" member Black Adam. However Marvel stayed with the team even after Adam left. As a member Marvel began to date Stargirl however he left the team because although his true age it was a strange sight him being with a teenage girl. After the Infinite Crisis Shazam was killed by the Spectre during the Day of Vengeance. The Rock of Eternity was also destroyed spreading many ancient and evil magics. With help from Zatanna and the other Marvels imprisoned the Seven Deadly Sins and rebuilt the Rock. Marvel soon battled Adam after being enraged by the death of Isis after a battle with the "Four Horsemen" that were created by many of DC's mad scientists. Marvel was forced to change Adams word after striking him with a bolt of lightning.
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