Supernatural beings have been idolized, worshipped and admired throughout history. Here’s a modern look at supernatural beings through the lens of the comic book. Listed are the Top 10 Heroes, the Top 5 Villains, and the Top 5 Honorable Mentions from some of the most popular comics of the last few decades.
THE TOP 10 HEROES
10. The Flash- This super speedster was first introduced back in 1940 and has been embodied by four different characters since. Being able to think and move at the speed of light, the Flash also has superhuman endurance and can even phase through walls.
9. Dr. Manhattan- From the graphic novel “The Watchmen,” Dr. Manhattan was created after physicist Jon Osterman was accidentally locked inside an Intrinsic Field Subtractor and disintegrated into only atoms. After piecing himself together, Osterman gained the ability of super strength, telekinesis, the ability to manipulate matter, duplicate himself, grow or shrink to any size and he can perceive the past, present and future all at once.
8. The Thing- The most beloved character from the Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm was a rough-and-tumble Air Force Pilot before being mutated by cosmic radiation. Now appearing like a giant, orange rock-monster, the Thing possesses super strength and physical invulnerability. What you may not know is that he occasionally loses his powers when returned to his human form. In this case, he wears a suit of armor designed to replicate his rocky form, by his friend and fellow Four member, Mr. Fantastic.
7. Daredevil- This crimson crime-fighter makes up for his blindness by way of superhuman sensitivity in his other four senses. His hearing is so sensitive that he can act as a lie detector when interrogating criminals by listening to changes in their heart rate. His sense of touch is so sharp that he can read the words on a page by simply running his finger across it. Something that might surprise you is that he’s a dedicated Catholic and a lawyer when he’s not taking part in vigilantism.
6. Thor- Originating in Norse (Scandanavian) mythology, the hammer-wielding God of Thunder belongs to the Asgardian people. Thor is the strongest, most physically gifted Asgardian and has the ability to travel through time. His trusty hammer, which is named Mjolnir, allows him to fly at supersonic speeds simply by throwing it in the direction he wants and hanging on. Unknown to many, Thor has the ability to go into the “Warrior’s Madness,” where his stamina and strength are increased tenfold. The only problem with this is that he attacks anyone around him–friend or foe.
5. Wonder Woman- With strength and agility comparable to that of Superman, Wonder Woman is definitely the alpha female in the DC comic universe. Olympian goddesses blessed Wonder Woman with super strength, wisdom and intelligence, heightened senses, the ability to fly and beauty. Something I didn’t know was that her abilities can be removed if her magical bracelets are chained down by a male.
4. The Incredible Hulk- This big, green mass of superhuman ability was created when scientist Bruce Banner leapt in the field of a gamma bomb in order to save a teenager named Rick Jones. After the gamma radiation seeped into his body, Banner became subject to monstrous transformations when he was scared or angry, which people referred to as the Hulk. Did you know that the original Hulk was intended to be grey-colored, but was accidentally published in green due to ink problems?
3. Wolverine- Commonly referred to as Logan, the Wolverine is a mutant that possesses extraordinary senses, physical ability, and a mutation that allows him to regenerate his body tissue very rapidly in order to heal himself from almost any type of physical injury. Because of his ability to regenerate, Logan was chosen for an experiment and forced to undergo a complete skeletal procedure that left him with a metal called adamantium fused to his bones. He has three razor sharp adamantium blades that extend from his knuckles and possesses a “berserker rage,” during which he fights with incredible aggression. What you might not know is that Wolverine is very well-traveled, multilingual, and highly trained as a pilot and a covert operative.
2. Spiderman- Peter Parker was just your average, nerdy high school science-whiz until he was bitten by a radioactive spider while visiting a science exhibit and laboratory. As a result of this bite, Parker gains the proportionate strength, agility, and ability to climb, of an arachnid. He later designs his own “webbing” that he can shoot out of contraptions around his wrists and becomes the acrobatic vigilante we all know and love. Something that I learned was that Spiderman is actually turned into a giant spider in a comic issue from 2004.
1. Superman- As the golden boy of supernatural beings in comics, Superman represents the comic book superhero on every front and has been described as an American cultural icon. Known for being almost irritatingly powerful, Superman has super strength, super speed, the ability to fly, both laser and x-ray capabilities in his eyes, the ability to create strong winds and the ability to exhale freezing air. What you may not know is that Superman has been defeated twice, both times in famous fashion. Once by the uncontrollable intergalactic monster Doomsday, and once in a fight against the Batman.
THE TOP 5 VILLAINS
5. Loki- The evil adopted brother of Thor has always been the lesser of the two, but even as an average member of the Asgardian race, he possesses enhanced physical traits and an alien metabolism that allows him to withstand almost all physical damage. His intelligence is at a genius level and he is a very skilled magic user. I also found out that he’s shapeshifter, and can morph into animals or the forms of other people.
4. Catwoman- As the original love interest in Batman’s life, the Catwoman has famously bordered the line of friend and foe for many years. She’s not an evil genius, not even a killer for that matter, but she has a knack for breaking and entering as well as theft. Her iconic weapon of choice, the whip, has certainly done a number on Batman on multiple occasions. The creator of Batman said he developed Catwoman’s character to add a little sexuality to the comic.
3. Venom- This memorable face of evil is actually a “Symbiote,” or an alien being that acts as a gooey liquid parasite that tries to latch onto human beings. Once he has, Venom has amazing shapeshifting and camouflage abilities that make him a nightmare for Spiderman. What I didn’t know was that since Venom latched on to Spiderman a few times, he has learned how to shoot webbing similar to Spiderman’s even from a different host.
2. The Joker- The Joker is an ever-popular criminal mastermind and maniac who loves two things: dressing like a clown and telling funny jokes. Originally a chemist and engineer, then a failed a comedian and criminal, the Joker owes his creepy appearance to a chemical accident caused by the Batman. He’s known for his arsenal of comic prop weapons and manic behavior. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest villains in American pop culture.
1. Magneto- The primary villain of the X-Men, Magneto, is a holocaust survivor and a very powerful mutant with the ability to move and manipulate all forms of metal with his mind. Many know him by his cover identity, Erik Lehnsherr. Magneto is a very complex character whose intentions are benevolent (the protection of the mutant race from violence), but not executed as such. He uses violence against humans and other mutants and is protected by his small army of followers, the Brotherhood of Mutants. He has, however, come to the X-Men’s aid in the case of mutual enemies. His uniqueness and ambiguous character put him at #1.
THE TOP 5 HONORABLE MENTIONS
(Heroes who have no supernatural abilities)
5. The Green Arrow
4. The Punisher
3. Captain America
2. Iron Man
About Spencer Aull
I'm a Senior at Kansas University studying Strategic Communications at the J-School. I like writing, thinking, and playing basketball.