Paragon City, the City of Heroes, was long anticipated by comic fans. It was long anticipated, in fact, even by those comic fans that didn’t know it was coming. I know this because I was one of the “uninformed.” I am not one of the select elite who can use the phrase “I’ve been here since beta” to lend credence to everything I say. Oh well.

But since the City of Heroes fan base comes from the genre in which it is set, it seems appropriate to have an active discussion on the genre itself. Ah, who am I kidding. I don’t plan to have a discussion. I plan to tell you the way it is.

That’s right, WarCry reader! Glow Girl is about to reveal to you the top 5 heroes and plot lines (or events) in comic book history (post silver age) as well as the 5 lamest heroes on the A-List ever dreamed up. I say A-List because I don’t want to tell you Spider-Man stinks (which I won’t) and have the Great Lakes Avengers thrown at me. We’re talking the first stringers here.

So, without further ado…

The Top 5 Comic Book Heroes Ever

5. Break out the eggs, I know you’re gonna throw em…
Cyclops! This is the character that the X-Men revolve around. Without Slim they have no leader, no link between so many characters (Havok, Madeline, Jean, etc) and no heart. He’s tragic, heroic, and has a simple yet interesting power. On top of that he’s full of surprises (sneaks up on Wolvie?! Yup!).

4. The Incredible Hulk
Breaking out of the medium sized scrapper mold we supersize our pummeler with the Incredible Hulk. The green goliath has gone through an amazing amount of evolutions but has always remained one of my personal favorites. Best years for me were the Joe Fixit days and the two best issues, no bones about it, were the Hulk vs. Think contest ending with Ben Grimm unconscious and left for dead. Smaller in size, reduced in strength, and not nearly as invulnerable as before, the gray enforcer put the then-power-boosted Thing down to the street. Fantastic my eye…

3. Wolverine (with caveat)
No, not the solo berserker hacking away at ninja after ninja… the Wolverine that was trying desperately to hold on to his humanity, help a team that was the only family he ever knew, and discover his shadowed past. The Wolverine that survived the initial encounter with the Hellfire Club and battled his way back to the upper levels from the sewers is the one that gets my vote.

2. Conan
Bring on the naysayers! Conan is the man! Robert Howard cannot be thanked enough for bringing us Conan (in 1932) long before J.R.R. ever “gave birth” to the fantasy genre with the Lord of the Rings (in 1954). Conan has been hacking his enemies into oblivion since before WWII and continues to do so in Cimmerian Style. Quick movie trivia question: What was Oliver Stone’s first major motion picture script? You got it, Conan the Barbarian.

1. Batman
Hands down. Don’t argue. What’s his superpower? He’s got determination. Everything this guy does is on determination. No one can beat him in a fight. Not even Superman. Who can forget that chilling line: “I want you to remember, Clark… in all the years to come… in your most private moments… I want you to remember my hand at your throat… I want you to remember the one man who beat you…” And when the JLA, a group of heroes of comparable power scale to Dark Age gods, gets itself in trouble, whom do they call? That’s right.

And on to the Top 5 Story Arcs

5. Crisis on Infinite Earths
Wow. A company took steps to improve the quality of its products based on fan feedback. Too bad we had to wait for City of Heroes to come out to see it done again. Crisis took the two-dozen multiple Earths DC had used to explain its continuity problems and condensed them using (gasp) a great story! This was the first all encompassing crossover by any comic book company. It went across dozens of titles, effected all characters in the DC universe and had long-lasting percussions on the heroes. This was the prototype of the massive crossover. For those who haven’t read it, here’s a list of the heroes that died (and have not returned) in the Crisis: Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick II, Power Ring, Luthor III, Lois Lane-Luthor (thank God), Johnny Cloud, Gunner, Sarge, Captain Storm, Farmer Boy of Easy Company, Nighthawk, Kid Psycho, Princess Fern, Lord Volt, The Monitor, the entire Justice Alliance of Earth-D, Supergirl, Flash (Barry Allen), Luthor I, Aquagirl (mercifully), Icicle, Mirror Master, Maaldor the Darklord, Fat Marvel, Tall Marvel, and Hill Billy Marvel, Dove, Green Arrow I, Prince Ra-Man, Clayface II, the Ten-Eyed Man (he didn’t see it coming… he he), Kole, Huntress II, Robin I, The Anti-Monitor.

That’s a lot o’ dyin’…

4. The Dark Knight Returns
Old and brooding, Bruce Wayne returns as Batman long after his prime because society is incapable of policing itself. Unwelcome, the US sends Superpawn to stop him. How does that end up? Clark Kent learns what it means to be a man and the Bat regroups with an army to help him. Fantastic art, great writing, good plotting… Frank Miller simply PWNZ.

3. Kingdom Come
This is the series that took comic books and proved them to the American mythology. If you haven’t read this series and are a comic book fan you need to rectify the inequity to retain your title. This was a classic the moment it was printed.

2. The Death of Superman
This story arc is important because it taught us that industries built on the imaginations of the young will be exploited using that selfsame wonder and innocence that supports it. The so-called death of Superman was long awaited, long dragged out, and then long lamented. The only issue worth mentioning, really, is the actual death issue… which has since been rendered a hiccup in the Superman mythology. Brilliant marketing… kill off one of the most popular comic heroes, force the readers to buy no less than 4 alternate titles to see what happens, and render the whole thing moot by bringing Big Blue back without involving the books you just forced readers to purchase for months… nice one DC.

1. Marvel’s Inferno
Though not marketed like the mega-arcs (ex. Infinity Gauntlet, Crisis in Infinite Earths), the Inferno arc was an amazing read across the mutant magazines. Brother against brother (Scott and Alex), Archangel in all his glory, and Madeline Pryor comes to a blazing end… not only that but the whole Cable/X-Man history can be traced back to the events of Inferno.

And the sure to invoke flaming on the forums list, the Top 5 Worst A-List Heroes:

5. The Man-Thing
A pile of semi-sentient algae that shambles about burning anything it scares… please.

4. Nomad
He’s Bucky. Rename him all you want, he’s Bucky.

3. Aquaman
No other superhero has been more shafted when it comes to powers than Aquaman. And to really stick it to him, later writers chopped off his hand.

2. Doctor Henry Pym
A dozen identities and none of them cool… no need to explain this one.

And the lamest A-List superhero prize goes to:
1. Iron Fist
He can punch you one time, really hard, and then he’s left in a weakened state. Any gang member with a sidekick is going to kill Iron Fist. Luckily his green and yellow leotard (cut low to show off his chest) will protect him…

So now you have it. This is what Glow Girl does when she goes on the road for Thanksgiving. All hail the laptop computer!

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