Disclaimer: This blog contains spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #800 written by Dan Slott(the Red Goblin storyline), World War Hulk #5 written by Greg Pak, The Flash(Volume 5) #47-50 written by Joshua Williamson(Flash War), 2019’s Doctor Doom #3 written by Christopher Cantwell, and All-Star Superman #3 written by Grant Morisson.
Some of the most interesting stories for me are not actually from novels but comic books. Growing up, comic books have always been a great love of mine and that has not changed. For the longest time I wondered what it was that made me so interested in them. The worlds were filled with such interesting lore and concepts, and while those are definitely factors, I don’t think it was simply that.
Dynamic characters, that was it!
I genuinely believe that comic books have some of the most interesting and unique characters in literature. For me this makes all of the difference!
Today, I wanted to talk and share some of my favorite comic book characters. However I don’t want this to just be any other list; there’s plenty of those around. I made sure I would list characters that truly meant a lot to me as well as some of iconic moments with them.
#5: Agent Venom (Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson)
Agent Venom. to me., is such an amazing character because he’s a character who turned his life around. To many, Flash Thompson was known as Peter Parker’s personal bully, originally nothing more than a stereotypical dumb jock. However he was a die-hard fan of Spider-Man(Marvel gets extra points for the nice irony there). Later on, he would enlist in the army and end up losing his legs in battle and afterwards he’d be bonded with the Venom symbiote with the goal of doing special missions for the military. Hence Agent Venom was born.
The thing that draws me so much to him is that I originally only ever knew Flash Thompson as the bully. So for the longest time that was my perspective of him. When I eventually learned of Agent Venom, I was just so intrigued by it. He became a genuine hero and it was so incredible for me to see.
Agent Venom is a redemption story. While Flash was never an outright villain, he was a character you were originally meant to despise, and that I did. Yet with Agent Venom, I grew to love him, and soon the Venom symbiote itself switched from a supervillain to a superhero. Flash motivated the symbiote to want to be better. A moment that I think is very iconic is a rather grim one: Flash’s death. Flash Thompson passed away in Amazing Spider-Man #800 written by Dan Slott.
At the time of writing this, Flash is still currently dead. However, that can always change, I mean this is comics after all. Seeing Peter reflect on Flash is honestly very emotional to read and reflects how far he came as a character. I really miss him and hope for his eventual return.
#4: Worldbreaker Hulk
This version of the Hulk is my absolute favorite and arguably the most dangerous. Worldbreaker Hulk is from the World War Hulk comic written by Greg Pak. It stars the Hulk who has become ruler of the planet Sakaar. He has a loving wife, and an entire planet he looks over. All that is taken away from him when the planet is destroyed. Believing that this was orchestrated by his former teammates, the Hulk decides to head back to Earth and declare war.
To say the Hulk is angry here is a severe understatement. We get a much more violent, powerful, and ultimately emotional Hulk here. Hardly any of the Earth’s superheroes are a match for him. Ultimately, the Hulk becomes so angry that he emanates energy which threatens to destroy the entire planet (comic books).
This point in the Hulk’s life is really heartbreaking. He found real family only to lose it. The Worldbreaker is my favorite iteration of the Hulk not only because of how his character was at this point, but also because of what this storyline did. This storyline sees the birth of the Hulk’s two sons: Skaar and Hiro-Kala. Both of whom somehow survived the planet’s destruction(comic books).
#3: The Flash (Barry Allen)
Barry Allen is a character who just gels well with others. While not as extensive as Batman or Spider-Man’s, Barry’s rogues gallery is pretty diverse and all around interesting. His fights with the aptly named ‘The Rogues’ are always entertaining. I also love the dichotomy between him and his arch enemy, the Reverse Flash. That alone is worth an entire discussion.
One of my favorite storylines involving Barry puts him in direct conflict with his nephew Wally West, a character who’s also been the Flash. Flash War was written by Joshua Williamson and in it the two Speedsters are pitted against each other.
Williamson is great at creating real tension between the two as well as creating really emotional scenes. Wally West is motivated to get his kids back and through any means necessary, means that Barry points out are very dangerous.
The storyline is one of my favorites because of how emotional it is and also because of the things that come from it (the returns of both Bart Allen and Hunter Zolomon). Williamson knows not only how to write Barry Allen but also how to write Wally West. A Wally West comic written by Williamson would be amazing!
#2 Doctor Doom
Hail Doom. In all honesty, Doctor Doom is just such an amazing character. It’s incredibly hard to pick an iconic moment with him because he is filled with plenty of them! Doctor Doom never lets anything get to him. He’s one of those supervillains that is just so interesting.
I love Doctor Doom because of how persistent and stubborn he is. He simply refuses to ever let any threat knock him down. It’s this mentality against adversity that’s just so compelling to me. Other characters have that sort of ego like Doom, such as Lex Luthor and Norman Osborn, but in my eyes, neither are as consistent or impressive as him. One iconic moment of his comes from fighting Mephisto, the (sorta) Devil of Marvel.
This happened in Doctor Doom #3 written by Christopher Cantwell. This isn’t the first time Doctor Doom has found himself fighting Mephisto. Afterall, Doctor Doom’s tried to free his mother from Hell regularly(comic books).
Superman gets a lot of hate. I get it. I used to hate him too. However, I learned to change. Superman is probably the most human character in comics (don’t @ me). He’s never been confined to just one weakness and he isn’t as overpowered as you might think. He’s a compelling character who’s superpower isn’t really bench=pressing a building or shooting lasers out of his eyes, I would argue his superpower is that he cares.
It may sound a little bit corny, but that’s really who he is. Superman is a character who does anything he can to save the day and then some. He’s someone we can all aspire to be. Like with Doctor Doom, it’s hard to pinpoint some iconic moments because there’s so many with him. One that I’d like to bring up is from All-Star Superman #10 written by Grant Morisson. In this, Superman saves a girl who’s on the verge of suicide.
It’s a very powerful moment where actions speak much louder than words. I think it just reiterates how important Superman is.
About the author: Izhan Arif is a Teaching of English major at UIC who loves to write in his spare time. Izhan is also a very big fan of comic books and comic book TV shows and movies, he hopes to write his own comic books at some point as well.