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Your Top DC Heroes part 57

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, January 28 2010 and posted in Features
Are you giddy to see the Top 20? You are. Don't lie.


23. Stargirl (162 points - 6 first place slots)

stargirl.jpg"Geoff Johns best creation."

"Stargirl represents the next stage for DC comics. Her origins are grounded in DC’s history, but the character is decidedly modern. Courtney Whitmore has grown from an annoying brat to a hero with potential to becoming the heart and soul of the Justice Society of America. Her appearance on the scene in comics was initially overlooked by many who skipped on the absolute treasure of a comic known as Stars & STRIPE. Some thought her a mere throwaway character, but she was the character who (alongside with the guy who eventually gave her the cosmic rod) showed that you could take DC’s rich history and use it to still create or expand upon legends. Unlike previous, failed “re-imaginings” of Golden Age characters like Fate or Firebrand, Courtney stayed true to the spirit of the legacy she was carrying, and that proved to be a strong point for her.

She is the best “teen” character in comics since perhaps the original Teen Titans or Peter Parker; and the biggest reason for that is that she’s not written like what some old fart writer thinks that a teen should sound like, going overboard to make her “edgy.”

A big reason for the strength of this character is the fact that she’s so closely protected by her creator, Geoff Johns, who is undoubtedly DC’s top gun. I have to think that protection has prevented the character from being misused or badly written. "

Courtney Whitmore found Sylvester Pemberton's gear in her stepfather's belongings and donned the costume in order to annoy him as partial revenge for marrying her mother and supposedly forcing the family to move from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Dugan, a skilled mechanic, designed and built S.T.R.I.P.E., a Powered Armor which he rides in to accompany and protect her.

As well as her relationships with Atom Smasher and Captain Marvel, Courtney is the object of a crush held by Jakeem Thunder. She has also been stalked by Solomon Grundy who was at one point obsessed with her.

Eventually, she joined the Justice Society of America and, after being given Starman's (Jack Knight's) cosmic rod/staff, changed her identity to Stargirl. Courtney has appeared in most issues of JSA and it was in these pages that her little sister Patricia Dugan was born.

Stargirl is one of the more powerful members of the JSA, thanks to her cosmic rod and converter belt. She has developed from a bit of a brat to a well-rounded heroine. She is best friends with Hawkgirl and is also close to Power Girl, whom Courtney considers a role model of sorts. As well, she has started to befriend the new Supergirl, Kara Zor-El. Early in her superhero career, Courtney was invited to join Young Justice; she declined, since she was already a member of the JSA, but she remained a reserve member. Courtney often trusts and stands up for those whom other members of the team seemingly distrust, such as Atom Smasher, or Brainwave. She has also developed good leadership skills and courage, often throwing herself directly into harm's way. She can also be quite violently effective when angered. After Courtney's family was killed by Per Degaton's Forces (incident later erased from history) she utilized the rod to disintegrate all of the attackers.

Despite a glimpse into the future, which showed an adult Starwoman married to Albert Rothstein (a.k.a. fellow JSA member Atom Smasher), Courtney briefly dated another JSA member, Captain Marvel, who in actuality is a teenage boy named Billy Batson. However, Captain Marvel was, by all appearances to those not knowing Billy's secret, an adult, and the seemingly pedophiliac relationship between Marvel and Stargirl drew the attention of JSA members Jakeem Thunder and Jay Garrick, the original Flash. After being confronted by Garrick over the issue, Marvel chose to leave the JSA - and Courtney - instead of telling the team his secret. Marvel has recently reappeared in the JSA and revealed he can't give his identity due to the wisdom of Solomon blocking him.

When Courtney's family was murdered by agents of Per Degaton. She traveled with the rest of the JSA back to 1951. The time-traveling adventure featured the newest versions of classic JSA members meeting and fighting alongside the originals to try to save her family and the future. While there, she found herself forced to work with Atom Smasher again, for the first time since he defected to Black Adam's rival team. Following this, she apparently forgave him, but Atom Smasher was then nearly murdered by The Spectre. Though Atom Smasher was saved, the events clearly revealed the depth of feeling she has for him. She was quite relieved to return after this time-traveling adventure to see that her family was still alive.

Recently Atom Smasher was tried and convicted for actions he took while working for Black Adam, during a TV appearance Courtney stated that even though he was in prison she would "Wait for him"

During the Infinite Crisis, Courtney was approached by the Shade, who told her of the final demise of her biological father. The tragedy, and the witnessing of the love between Liberty Belle and Jesse Quick, a love even stronger than their strained family bond, led her to rethink her family life. She discovered that she couldn't hate her biological father, even for being an absentee, a slacker and even a super villain thug, but learned from the tragedy to accept Pat Dugan as the first true paternal figure in her life.

While other members of the Justice Society were phased from the main Earth to the new Earth-Two, Whitmore along with teammates Mister Terrific and Doctor Mid-Nite remained, revealing that they would not have been native to Earth-Two.

Stargirl survived the Crisis largely intact, and has begun attending college. She has changed her equipment: her rod now compresses to a small cylinder, and when she activates it, her costume and belt appear while the rod grows to full size. She has started to take driving lessons from Mr. Terrific.

Courtney is involved with the new JSA helping to find the new Starman and is apparently somewhat of a hero figure for Cyclone. In issue #3, Courtney and Maxine Hunkel are seen picking out Maxine's new costume. During this Courtney notes that calling yourself the anything Kid apparently leads to people treating you like a six-year old.

22. Mr. Terrific (171 points - 8 first place slots)

mrterrific.jpg"A very interesting character with one of the coolest costumes in comics. I will never forget reading his origin in the back of one of the issues of 52 and just thinking about how this poor man has been through so much and has now become a superhero. This guy is a classic super hero with a tragic background who has become something more then just a man. I am in full support of him getting his own book and him getting a sidekick."

"Such a cool character with a cool look."

At a young age, Michael Holt showed remarkable intelligence, reading and assimilating the works of Bohr, Einstein, Planck and Feynman, the pantheon of theoretic physics, at the age of six. He studied advanced science, space and time "while other children struggled through Sesame Street."

Holt displayed as he called it, "a natural aptitude for having natural aptitudes," easily picking up and retaining complex skills and abilities that other men spent their entire lives perfecting. Before he began his career as a superhero, he already possessed 14 PhD's (two in Engineering and Physics -- including assorted doctorates and masters in degrees in Law, Psychology, Chemistry, Political Science and Mathematics). He was a self-made multi-millionaire with a high tech firm called Cyberwear (later Holt Holdings Inc.) and was a Gold-medal winning Olympic decathlete.

While contemplating suicide after the death of his mentally retarded older brother and the accidental death of his wife and unborn child, Holt was met by the Spirit of God's Vengeance, known as the Spectre (ironically, Holt is an atheist), who told him about Terry Sloane, the Golden Age superhero known as Mister Terrific. Inspired by Sloane's life story he took the name Mister Terrific and later joined the current Justice Society of America, eventually serving as its chairman.

He initially wore ordinary clothes and a leather jacket with Sloane's "Fair Play" emblem on the back. He currently wears a T-shaped mask, a black and white costume with red trim, and a collarless jacket in the same colors (the black sections of tunic and jacket forming a "T") with "Fair Play" written on the sleeves and "Terrific" on the back.

For a time he acted as spokesperson for Tylerco and consulted that company on industrial espionage and security matters in exchange for that company helping fund a youth center Terrific had started.

Holt has a friendly rivalry with Batman, his opposite number in the Justice League of America. Also, Michael Holt has encountered Terry Sloane twice through time travel, with Sloane expressing pride in having so worthy a successor. Holt has been noted as the most intelligent member of the JSA in its history, surpassing his predecessor. He describes himself as the third smartest person in the world.

During a conflict over leadership of the Justice Society between former chairman Hawkman and then-current chairman Sand, Terrific was elected as the JSA's new chairman by his teammates, despite not actively seeking the office. He served in this capacity until the team disbanded following the Infinite Crisis.

Mr. Terrific was part of the team assembled by Batman for an attack on the Brother Eye satellite responsible for controlling the OMACs. He played a critical role as his invisibility to technology allowed him to reach the satellite's propulsion system, sending it crashing to Earth. On this meeting he met and befriended another African American superhero - Black Lightning.

As part of One Year Later, though Holt is still a member of the JSA, he has also become part of the United Nations Security Council's intelligence agency Checkmate. He initially held the position of White King's Bishop, but when the previous White King (Alan Scott) was forced to resign, he became Checkmate's new White King, complicating his relationship with Sasha Bordeaux, Checkmate's Black Queen. He has also given up his chairman position, which has been taken over by Power Girl. Mr. Terrific has also established an ill-defined mentorship with the latest Firestorm, Jason Rusch, over the missing year. The specifics of their meeting are yet to be documented.

After Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman began discussing the reformation of the Justice League, in regards to Mr. Terrific as a potential member, Batman said, "I think we can get him." Wonder Woman reminded Batman of Terrific's position of leadership in the JSA, but Batman insisted, "That doesn't matter, we can get him."

21. Ray Palmer (186 points - 4 first place slots)

raypalmer.jpg"Blackest Night #4. 'Nuff Said."

"Toping my list DC’s smallest hero! My long time favourite character. The very first story I ever read was JLA rock of Ages! Where he took down Darkseid by dancing in his brain!"

"The little underdog that could, Ray has always been my favorite "lower-tier" DC superhero. Whether battling superheroes like Chronos, or running off to hang out in the jungle to escape his cheating-ass, crazy ex-wife, Ray has always been a cool guy. A mix of scientific mumbo-jumbo, a sense of humor, cool and inventive use of a fairly lame superpower, and my favorite costume in all of comics puts Ray in my top 5. "

While a physics graduate student, Ray Palmer discovered a tiny fragment of white dwarf star material that had fallen to Earth. Investigating matter compression, Ray theorized that if he were to grind a lens from this fragment and focus ultraviolet light through it, he could shrink anything struck by the light down to a fraction of its original size. Ray rushed off to his laboratory, tried the experiment, and found that it worked exactly as he had imagined, with one tiny little catch: the objects he shrunk became unstable and exploded moments later.

A couple of days later, a disillusioned Ray and some friends became trapped in a cave-in while out spelunking; Ray was forced to risk instability and use the shrinking lens on himself in order to escape the cave and save the lives of his friends. For some reason, however, Ray didn't explode and returned to his normal height. In fact, the shrinking lens worked on his body much better than he had expected, and he developed a set of control devices that gave him limited control over his weight as well as his size. Ray later hypothesized that some unknown "x-factor" in his genetic makeup prevented his atoms from becoming unstable, though many scientists now believe that Ray's ability to shrink was actually made possible by the "Metagene" possessed by all humans

Keeping his discoveries a secret, Ray created the secret identity of the Atom and embarked on a career of crime fighting in Ivy Town, Connecticut. For a while, the new Atom operated strictly on his own, battling such nemeses as Chronos the Time Thief, the Computer Crooks, and the Floronic Man. Atom was voted in as the League's second non-founding member after a battle with the mysterious Mister Memory, who was later exposed as perennial JLA adversary Amos Fortune. Ray later became a full-time physics professor at Ivy University, and married his longtime sweetheart Jean Loring though the couple was divorced only two years later. Just before his divorce, the Atom traveled to the Amazon basin, where he discovered the Katarthans, a race of six inch tall aliens. After he and Jean split up, Ray returned to live amongst the aliens, and fell in love with Laethwen, a beautiful Katarthan princess. The Katarthans and their village were soon wiped out by a horrible fire and the Atom returned to Ivy Town, only to find that one of his friends had written Sword of the Atom a book exposing Ray's secret identity in his absence. After battling various foes, such as Strobe, Humbug, and Swarm, Ray learned that a US Government agency had engineered the destruction of the Katarthans, in order to induce his return to the States. He avenged the Katarthans by permanently reducing the agents responsible for the massacre to six inches in height. Ray returned to Ivy Town just long enough to bid his friends farewell, and then briefly went into hiding.

The shrunken agents, now calling themselves the Micro Squad, vowed revenge on Ray. Ginsburg, one of their number, made an attempt on Ray's life, but died in the attempt. Ray approached Amanda Waller, who convinced him to fake his own death and secretly join the espionage unit known as the Suicide Squad. As a part of this mission, Ray went undercover and Adam Cray served in the Suicide Squad as the new Atom. Adam was killed by Blacksnake and Ray resumed the role of the Atom. Later still, he joined the then-current Justice League on a semi-active basis.

It was around this time the whole Identity Crisis thing happened, then Countdown, and we really do not need to go into that.


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