34. The Incredible Hercules (161 points - 6 first place slots)
"One of Marvel's all time great fun characters, who had been overlooked for too long, only appearing as a member of ensemble team books periodically. Now he's finally getting a chance to shine thanks to a couple of great creators in a book that never ceases to bring a smile to my face."
Hercules is the son of Zeus, king of the gods of Olympus, and Alcmena, a mortal woman who lived about three thousand years ago. Recognizing the need for a son who would be powerful enough to defend both the Olympian gods and humanity from future dangers he foresaw, Zeus seduced Alcmena in the guise of her husband, King Amphitryon of Troezen. Thanks to Zeus's enchantment, Hercules was born with the potential for extraordinary strength, which he first displayed before he was even one year old by strangling two serpents which attacked him. As an adult, Hercules is best known for his celebrated Twelve Labors, which were performed in part to prove his worthiness for immortality to Zeus. (One of these Labors, the cleansing of the Augean Stables, was actually performed by the Eternal called the Forgotten One, who was sometimes mistaken for Hercules.)
In the course of these Labors, Hercules provoked the wrath of three immortals who remain his enemies to this day. By slaughtering the man-eating Stymphalian Birds, he enraged the war god Ares, to whom they were sacred. In temporarily capturing Cerberus, the three-headed hound that serves as guardian to the Olympian underworld (not to be confused with the shape-shifting giant of the same name), Hercules offended Pluto, the lord of that realm. By killing the Nemean Lion, the Hydra, and other creatures spawned by the inconceivably grotesque and powerful monster Typhoeus, Hercules gained the bitter enmity of Typhon, the immortal humanoid offspring of Typhoeus and a Titaness.
However, it was the centaur Nessus who caused Hercules' mortal demise. Nessus kidnapped Hercules' wife Deianeira, whereupon Hercules shot him with an arrow. Feigning a wish to make amends, the dying centaur told Deianeira how to make a love charm from his allegedly enchanted blood, aware that it was now tainted with the lethal poison of the Hydra, in which Hercules had dipped his arrows. Some time after Nessus' death, Deianeira, distraught over her husband's latest infidelity, rubbed the supposed love charm into Hercules' shirt. After putting aflame. Zeus then intervened, consuming the pyre with his thunderbolts and bringing Hercules to Olympus to be made a true immortal.
Issue #112 of the Incredible Hulk series was re-named Incredible Herc(ules), starring him and Cho.
After Hercules convinced Amadeus Cho that taking S.H.I.E.L.D. down was wrong, they went to Athena to lay low for a while. Athena advised Hercules to look over Cho as he was at crossroads and could one day become an effective hero or an unstoppable villain.
Athena, Cho and Hercules went to a place to see a Celestial host and Icaris and Thena (working for the Celestial) thought Hercules was Gilgamesh, The forgotten one (Gilgamesh was the one who performed several of the labors, like the cleaning of the stables and the carrying of the earth on his shoulders). It turned out that the eternal Makkari had made an error in translating the Celestial's message, the Celestials were looking for other forgotten ones, Thena was not sure what they meant, Athena replied "Wouldn't you like to know".
The godheads met to discuss a new threat to earth, the Skrull's secret invasion. Hercules will play a part in this, working with other divine representatives consisting of Snowbird, Tecumotzin, Amatsu-Mikaboshi, and Atum the God Eater. At first he was reluctant to join the newly formed and aptly named the God Squad but Hercules sealed his decision when he asked "If you follow, I will lead" and the group decided to join him
In route to Skrull space through the dream realm they battled Nightmare, and received his map of the dream realm. While enroute to Skrull space Hercules connected with Snowbird. As they come upon the edge of the Skrull's realm, they are discovered and challenged. During the course of the ensuing battle they loose both Snowbird and Cho. Upon their arrival to the throne of Sl'Gurt and Kly'bn, Aztec leads a rebellion against him placing the blame for the loss of their companions firmly on his shoulders. Hercules allows him to assume command, though when Kly'bn arrives to confront them, it is Hercules who ends up doing battle with him.
Enraged by Cho's loss (which was the boy genius' plan) Hercules cuts loose, and battles the god-head to a stand still. (Impressive being as he is the Emperor over the whole of the Skrull Empire and rules over all their captured Pantheons) Hercules holds him, while the rest of the team battles Sl'Gurt, though Atum meets his end at her hands, Mikaboshi is able to defeat her. Working with the newly returned Snowbird, Hercules uses Atum's spine to impale Kly'bn killing him. Having defeated their Godhead and broken the back-bone behind the Skrull's spiritual based Invasion, Hercules and his companions return home.
While Hercules decides to have a vacation with Namora after the Secret Invasion, a group of Amazons attack and capture Amadeus Cho. They wanted him to find the Omphalos, and use it to become the world's dominant force. Hercules manages to save the captured Poseidon, and heads to intercept the Amazons at the new axis mundi, in Washington D.C. but, the Amazon leader Artume succeeds anyways in reshaping the world into an Amazon-dominated one, with Hercules as the sole remaining rebel against her empire.
Meanwhile, Hera and Pluto have taken over the Olympus Group/ Olympus Corporation, the modern day seat of power for the Olympians, via the inherited shares of Zeus' and by buying out Poseidon, and have decided the company has a new major goal: the deaths of Athena and Hercules.
Hercules, Amadeus, Athena and others manage to slay Artume and restore all of reality. Hercules discovers that Namora's fondest desire is to love Namor, to his shock. Hercules and Amadeus unite after Athena uses what remained of the axis mundi energies to undo the damage inflicted.
Hercules and Amadeus Cho, is then sent by Athena to Hades, so they can neglected by Pluto through his attachment to the mortal plane, must work to defend his fallen father Zeus from the condemnation of Pluto hundreds of feet down in Hades as the court case of the divine rages.
In the aftermath of Secret Invasion, the activities of the Chthon created a series of freak events that Cho dubs the "chaos cascade", and concludes the Avengers will be necessary to deal with the events. Hercules and Cho locate Edwin Jarvis, and then Hank Pym and Jocasta, to form the new Mighty Avengers. This team is lead by Hank Pym.
The Mighty Avengers invade the Baxter Building to recover ' Dimensional Wave Inducer". Hercules using a image inducer disguises himself as the Red Hulk. His mission is to distract the Thing while Hank faces off with Reed Richards.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Cho is alerted to the activities of the Elder God Chthon, which cause a "chaos cascade". Cho and Hercules form a new team of Mighty Avengers along with USAgent, Vision, Hank Pym, Stature, Quicksilver and Jocasta in order to meet the threat. The team goes on to break into the Baxter Building, battle the Unspoken in China, visit the Inhumans to return the Xerogen crystals, fight a cosmic cube empowered Absorbing Man and capture Loki for information about the Scarlet Witch. Due to Pym's poor treatment of the prisoner and strange desire for Loki to join the team, the others lose faith in him and quit. Hercules then teams with both Mighty and New Avengers in an attempt to storm the Olympus Group headquarters and stop Hera from remaking the universe with Continuum. Hercules succeeds in defeating the villain Typhon in the Continuum universe using Lethe water, but is badly injured. His sister Athena appears and seems to be in a position to help him, but instead she destroys the Continuum universe and Hercules along with it. She explains that he must die so that Amadeus Cho can replace him as the new "Prince of Power."
A funeral service is held at the Parthenon in Athens, where a tearful Amadeus demands Athena show herself and pay her respects. In her place appear a collection of earth's heroes including Thor and the Warriors Three, Bruce Banner, Skaar, Namor, Namora, the Black Widow, Wolverine, Angel and Snowbird. They share memories of their adventures with Hercules until Athena finally arrives. She casts everyone but Amadeus out of her temple and reveals to him that he is the new leader of the Olympus Group. Athena is, however, opposed by her brother, the god Apollo who declares that if Cho is Athena's champion, he too will choose a champion to vie for control of the Olympus group. His choice is Phobos, the young son of Ares. Other characters get involved and a battle ensues, which Cho wins when he cannot fall to Phobos' fear power as his greatest fear, the death of Hercules, has already happened. He then works with Phobos against the other gods and gains safe passage to the realms of the dead. Here Cho meets the goddess of the dead, Persephone who reveals that Hercules is not dead. Cho returns to the Olympus Group and tells Athena he intends to find Hercules and help him return as he is Hercules' champion, not hers.
33. Colossus (166 points - 2 first place slots)
"HE'S RUSSIAN HOW DO U LIKE MY TERMINATOR IMPRESSION YAH (taken from second Juggernaut @!@#$ parody video lol)."
"Organic metal covering the biggest softie in the Marvel Universe. This man has had a lot dumped on him between a dead brother returning as a bad guy only to die a few more times, a kidnapped sister that was aged and turned half demon only to be de-aged and contract the equivalent of AIDS and die (only to be brought back), dying himself only to be brought back & tortured and having his parents slaughtered by his own government. It's no wonder he switched sides to Magneto's team. Even then, he refused to act like a villain. All in all, he still is the quiet artistic farm boy that was introduced 35 years ago. He follows his heart and always tries to help."
One day Professor Charles Xavier came to the Russian farm to ask Piotr to join his new team of mutants, the X-Men. Xavier was recruiting a new team to rescue the original team being held on the sentient island Krakoa. Colossus decided to remain in the United States to fight along side the X-Men. At first he had a hard time adapting to the different American way of life, which differed from his Russian roots, but he grew close friendships with Wolverine and Nightcrawler and he quickly became an asset to his team.
Peter frequently wrote letters home. Shortly after joining the X-Men, Miss Locke kidnapped many of the team's loved ones to use as hostages in order to force the X-Men to aid her in freeing her employer, Arcade, from captivity by one of Doctor Doom's robots. Among her captives was Colossus' younger sister Illyana. Arcade brainwashed Colossus into becoming "The Proletarian" and he battled the other X-Men until they countered the brainwashing. The X-Men freed Illyana and she stayed with her brother Peter at Xavier's Mansion.
When the X-Men fought the evil mutant Proteus, Colossus thought he had killed Proteus on coming into contact with his metal skin. During his early career with the X-Men, Colossus shared a young teen attraction with fellow X-Man Kitty Pryde (who was then known as Sprite). Although they never officially dated, the relationship provided the foundation of a deep and lasting friendship.
When the Dark Phoenix' powers raged out of control, Colossus was forced to battle her. He punched the Dark Phoenix, temporarily stopping the Phoenix so that Cyclops could kill her. He then battled the Imperial Guard again, in an attempt to save Phoenix's life.
During a battle with the Brotherhood, Colossus was later turned into solid metal, but was returned to normalcy by the Morlock Healer. His relationship with Kitty Pryde was doomed when he met the alien Zsaji. He instantly fell in love with her, and unknowingly fathered a child with the alien woman. His relationship with Zsaji drove a large wedge between him and Kitty. It continued to weighed heavily on his mind when he was absorbed into the Darkforce Dimension by Sunspot who had been possessed by Cloak's powers. Colossus even battled the Juggernaut one-on-one.
During the Morlock Massacre, Colossus became heavily involved in the X-Men's efforts to save the Morlocks from the Marauders. When Kitty was severely injured by Harpoon, Peter gave in to his rage and snapped Riptide's neck. He tried to fight through his pain and anger, but eventually passed out from previous wounds inflicted by Riptide. Magneto, with the aid of Kitty, used his powers to heal Peter's armored form, but the process left him paralyzed. He was sent to Muir Island along with Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde and the surviving Morlocks to recuperate. Over time, Colossus' wounds healed, but he could only retain his human form.
When he saw the X-Men in Dallas during their battle in Dallas, he had his sister teleport him to the battle, where he became a wild card, as Destiny had not seen him in her vision of the X-Men's demise. When the team decided to sacrifice themselves to stop the Adversary, Colossus joined them; dying to save the world. Like the rest of the X-Men, he was revived by Roma and the X-Men worked out of an Australian base. The events in Dallas had been televised, so the X-Men decided to let the world believe they were dead. Illyana watched and re-watched the news footage of her brother's death, driving her into a desperate state of grief and further into her Darkchilde persona.
The X-Men returned to New York during the Inferno. While they battled with X-Factor, Colossus recognized the demons that had infested the city and set of in search of his sister. Illyana had fully transformed into Darkchilde, but Colossus could not reach her because of the combined scheming of Sym and N'astirh. Therefore Colossus was left to battle Sym (who had killed Colossus in a previous alternate time-line) while the New Mutants scrambled through time to save Illyana's six-year old counterpart. Darkchilde sacrificed herself in a blinding flash of light leaving behind the lifeless eldritch armor. Colossus cradled the armor until he heard a murmur from inside it. He tore it open t reveal his little sister; Dakchilde had saved her younger counterpart. Colossus had to leave his sister with the New Mutants while he went to battle the Goblin Queen alongside the X-Men.
The X-Men began falling apart with Rogue vanished, Wolverine took off, Longshot quitting, and Storm had apparently been killed. Psylocke telepathically prodded the remaining three to disband and travel through the Siege Perilous to gain new lives. Colossus emerged in New York with no memory of his past life, and invented a new persona for himself as 'Peter Nicholas'. He quickly became a successful artist and began having visions of a beautiful model, who turned out to be Callisto transformed by Masque. The two were kidnapped by the Morlocks, though Peter had no memory of his time with the X-Men. He resumed his armored form and defeated Masque. He was saved by Forge, Banshee and Jean Grey, who decided it better that he live his new life rather than be dragged back into theirs. Unfortunately, Peter was psychically dominated by the Shadow King and sent to hunt down Stevie Hunter and Charles Xavier. Xavier had no choice but to destroy the Peter Nicholas persona to break the Shadow King's hold. Colossus joined in the battle of Muir Island, and rejoined the X-Men as a member of Storm's Gold Strike Force.
Not long after, Peter's parents were slain and Illyana kidnapped by the Russian government, who hoped to genetically evolve Illyana to the point where she would have the use of her powers again, and defeat the mutant known as the Soul Skinner for them. Colossus, with the help of the X-Men, saved Illyana and brought her back to the Mansion.
The X-Men went to another dimension where they discovered Colossus' brother, Mikhail. Mikhail had gone mad during his time in another dimension, but returned to Earth with the X-Men. There, he became the new leader of the Morlocks and transported them back to another world, killing many of them in the process.
Later, Illyana became an early victim of the Legacy Virus and died from it.
The loss of the last member of his family, as well as brain damage that forced him to remain in armored form, caused Colossus to rethink his position with the X-Men and joined Magneto's Acolytes.
Colossus eventually recovered from the brain damage, but decided to remain with the Acolytes of his own volition, hoping he could temper the Acolytes' extremist methods with what he had learned from Professor Xavier. After a stint with Excalibur and the X-Men once again, Using notes from the recently murdered Moira MacTaggert, Beast claimed to have found the cure for the Legacy Virus. Unfortunately, it could only be made airborne with the death of its first user. Colossus sacrificed himself by injecting himself with the cure. Kitty Pryde took his ashes back to Russia to be scattered on his native soil.
Although the X-Men believed he was dead, it transpired that Colossus' life had been restored by alien means. His body was held by Ord. Ord explained that Colossus was only dead by "human" standards, and he had discovered that it was a mutant from Earth who would end up destroying his world. His goal was to experiment on Colossus's body. He revived him and, after discovering the Legacy Virus in his body and cured him.
It was Kitty who found him later and freed Colossus from a secret chamber miles deep underground. Colossus' initial rage was clammed upon recognizing Kitty, and he returned to the X-Men.
And I will leave it there...
32. Rogue (170 points - 4 first place slots)
"Lots of dimension to her besides her mutant abilities. A reformed villain who wants to make up for the past and her journey in controlling her powers. Now that she has gotten out of her several phases that held down the character (namely Gambit) she's standing tall and being perfectly written by Mike Carey."
You know, instead of writing bout her and such (Cuz we all know who she is, right?) I thought I write about all her different powers she has had and what not. Cool? Cool.
Rogue possesses the mutant ability to absorb the psyche and abilities of another human being (or members of some sentient alien races) through skin contact. Rogue can absorb the memories, knowledge, talents, personality, and physical abilities (whether superhuman or not) of the person she touches, as well as occasionally duplicating in herself physical characteristics of her victim. The victim's abilities and memories are absorbed for a one second to 60 second ratio of contact. The victim loses those abilities and memories for exactly the amount of time that Rogue possesses them. This absorption usually leaves the victim weakened, and sometimes renders them unconscious. Their powers may also be temporarily weakened or removed. Rogue's power is constantly active, rendering her incapable of touching others without the absorption process taking place. However, evidence suggests that Rogue's inability to control her powers is psychological in nature. During the times when the Ms. Marvel personality would overtake her psyche, she was able to touch people freely. This fact has since been corroborated by the discovery that Rogue's absorption power never developed beyond the stage of its original manifestation; Xavier later rectified this by telepathically removing the psychological barriers stunting it.
The transfer of abilities is usually temporary, lasting for a period of time relative to how long contact is maintained, but if Rogue holds on to her victim for too long, the transfer may become permanent, leaving the victim nearly dead. Most often this process happens instantly when Rogue touches someone, but certain extraordinarily powerful beings have proven resistant to Rogue's power, and she may only share part of their memories and power, as was the case when Rogue once attempted to absorb power from the alien Magus. However, in the process of doing so she gained an immunity to the Technarch transmode virus.
As Rogue is absorbing the total psyche of a person, there is a risk of a personality overwhelming her and taking control of her body. It has also been shown that even though the memories she has absorbed eventually fade when a psyche returns to its body, remnants, or 'echoes', of the personalities of victims whose memories she has absorbed remain buried in her subconscious indefinitely, and while there is little to no risk of those personalities overwhelming her like the Ms. Marvel personality could, they can occasionally make their presences known.
Following the conclusion of Messiah Complex, Rogue's slate was wiped clean. The mutant baby's touch mysteriously erased all of the previous memories and abilities Rogue had absorbed, including those of the Hecatomb. It also cured her of the Strain 88 virus. Rogue's touch is no longer lethal; it simply steals the memories and abilities of individuals she comes in direct skin-to-skin contact with. The longer the contact, the longer Rogue retains the absorbed information.
Following the events of X-Men: Legacy, Rogue appears to be able to activate her powers at will, as opposed to them being constantly active, as demonstrated when she kisses Gambit without incident. Her inability to control her powers stemmed from mental blocks within her mind which formed each time she used her abilities, crippling the development of her powers from their nascent stage. When Professor Xavier removes the blocks, her powers are allowed to develop normally. With this new control, Rogue demonstrates the ability to absorb and collectively utilize all the powers of the New X-Men, in order to defeat a rogue Predator X, with no apparent harm to either them or herself.
As a young woman, Rogue permanently absorbed certain superhuman powers and the psyche of the original Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers). This provided her with superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and the ability of flight. She was able to repel bullets and achieve supersonic flight. She could also survive unprotected in outer space.
Rogue also gained a precognitive "seventh sense" that enables her to predict an enemy's move subconsciously during battle. She used this ability to predict where Nightcrawler would teleport and from which direction Magus of the Technarchy would attack.
When she possessed Carol Danvers' psyche, her "double" consciousness made her highly resistant to telepathic probes, even those of Charles Xavier, which was said to have been a byproduct of two minds existing in one body and/or Carol Danvers' Kree physiology. Rogue could also draw upon the combat and espionage training of Carol Danvers by allowing her alternate personality, a duplicate of Danvers', to dominate her conscious mind.
When Rogue later lost all of her superhuman abilities for a time, her Ms. Marvel powers vanished and did not return
During the Maximum Security miniseries, Rogue absorbed an injured Cadre K girl named Z'Cann. The girl held on longer than necessary, using her telepathy to boost the process and because of this (perhaps because she had absorbed a fluid Skrull physiology) Rogue mutated further, gaining the ability to 'recall' the powers of anyone she had ever absorbed before, though she could not control when or which of these powers surfaced. For a short time Rogue also had a Skrull appearance, scanned as though she had Skrull DNA, and had their shape shifting powers, but these soon faded and she returned to her normal appearance.
Through meditation, Rogue learned how to suppress the random manifestations of most of these abilities, but found herself with Wolverine's claws and healing factor, and Cyclops' optic blasts for a time (she had to wear ruby quartz glasses), while also still retaining her mutant and Ms. Marvel powers.
Later, Sage used her own mutant abilities to 'jumpstart' Rogue's power, giving her the control to manifest any ability she had ever absorbed, whenever she wished to. It is generally accepted that after regaining her powers after X-Treme X-Men, she has lost this ability.
Though Z'Cann was a telepath, Rogue never displayed this power (though she did manifest telepathy, it was with the Phoenix energy form, so it was most likely an echo of Jean Grey's powers).