Monday, March 10, 2014

Top Tenth of the Month: Animal Farm - The Top Ten Animal Superheroes

Animal Farm: The Top Ten Animal Superheroes

  The Concept:  When being human isn't enough you have your super humans but what if super human isn't enough?  Well for those time when being a super human just won't cut it you can count on our furry friends or amphibious friends to come in and save the day.  These are the top ten animal superheroes!

This is just a subjective list, this isn't a brawl scenario like the others.  Mostly because that's just kind of cruel.

10)  Ace the Bathound

--Who They Are:  He's Batman's dog sidekick.  Depending on the source he is either a German Shepherd (pre-Crisis), a Puggle (post-Crisis) or a Great Dane (New 52 and Batman Beyond).  He originally showed up in Golden Age, when things were batshit crazy, and has come and gone throughout Batman continuity since.

--Why They're 10:  He's Batman's dog and that's pretty much all we know.  He had a stint in the Krypto animated series but I didn't really watch that so that would probably provide WAY more characterization and might actually make me care.  As it is I always smile when I see a reference to Ace because I know he exists but I don't particularly care about him.

9)  Krypto

--Who They Are:  He's Superman's dog and apart of the ridiculous menagerie of super animals created for Superman and Supergirl in the form of the Legion of Super-Pets.  He is a White Labrador with all the powers of Super-Man.

--Why They're 9:  Well the company he keeps doesn't help elevate him much beyond a Golden Age joke.  Company like Comet the Super-Horse, Streaky the Super-Cat and Beppo the Super-Monkey.  However he was the focus of a couple of truly heart breaking panels back in Action Comics #583 and he gets some props for that.

8)  Deadpork

--Who They Are:  He's a pig version of Deadpool.

--Why They're 8:  He's a pig version of Deadpool.  What you want more?  Okay fine, he was a hallucination created by the Hypno Hustler in Avenging Spider-Man #13.  It's a funny story even though it messed with the continuity of the main Deadpool book at the time (this took place when all Wade wanted was to die, which plays a part in his motivation to work with Hypno Hustler.  But the main book at the time was all about how Deadpool WANTED TO LIVE!).

7) Raphael

--Who They Are:  One of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  He's a hero in a half shell who can be told apart from the others by his red bandanna and weapon of choice: the sai.

--Why They're 7:  He's probably one of comics biggest badasses period.  Angry, cynical and sarcastic he's the turtle with perhaps the most growth.  A lot darker and more prone to violence than his brothers what he lacks in precision he makes up for in pure brutality and a never say die attitude.  But as the comics went on he softened a bit as he learned to open up through his interactions with his crime fighting partner Casey Jones.  He's number 7 because this isn't a street fight and I like the others better.

6) Monkey Joe

--Who They Are:  He's Squirrel Girls first and best squirrel.  He was kind of surly and count be counted on to point out the stupidity of things.

--Why They're 6:  Well in his first appearance he helped take out Doom.  Yep, Dr. Doom.  So that's pretty badass.  Also I'm a pretty big fan of Squirrel Girl so that helps.  But he eventually got himself killed by GLA reject Leather Boy of all people.  So that doesn't get him many points.

5)  Throg

--Who They Are:  Depends.  He could be Thor turned Frog (Loki turned Thor into a frog in Thor #363).  Or he could be Puddlegulp a frog Thor met when when he was a frog himself.  Puddlegulp eventually finds a small piece of Mjolnir which allows him to be Throg full time in the, no shit, Pet Avengers.

--Why They're 5:  Well, once again, this isn't really a fight because if it were a god like frog would probably be number one.  But since this is based on my own bias he's here because I like the idea of Throg more than I like the character.  I even have a Throg mini-bust but I like him more because it's a ridiculous concept and most of what I know I know through deliberate research more than being an actual fan.  But on concept alone it makes number 5 as it tops a super dog, a sarcastic squirrel or a talking turtle any day.

4)  G'Nort

--Who They Are:  He's the humanoid dog Green Lantern in charge of a totally lifeless sector.

--Why They're 4:  He's a humanoid dog with the most powerful weapon in the DC galaxy and he uses it to chase cars.  He comes from an interesting time in DC comics when they had superhero comedy books.  Stuff like Justice League Unlimited, Mister Miracle, I think there was a Blue & Gold series, Blue Devil, comics that could have serious things happen but overall the tone was light hearted with more of a focus on fun characterization.  G'Nort was a product of that, honorable and loyal he was also bumbling and his appearances were, for the most part, quite humorous and entertaining.

3)  Dex-Star

--Who They Are:  He's the incredibly angry Red Lantern cat.  He was created because Shane Davis thought it would be the strangest thing he could think of vomiting.  Geoff Johns describes him as the most sadistic and malicious Red Lantern.  The Red Lanterns are a league of people fueled by anger, rage and hatred.  He's the worst of them.

--Why They're 3:  He's an adorable cat with a power ring who vomits acidic hatred.  I think the question should be why isn't he #1?

2)  Peter Porker: Spider-Ham

--Who They Are:  He's a pig version of Spider-Man and another ridiculous concept that I love.  He lives on Earth-8311 which is entirely populated by animal version of heroes.  But, he got a dark turn in Ultimate Civil War: Spider-Ham

--Why They're 2:  I have a thing for pig versions of superheroes.

1)  Howard the Duck

--Who They Are:  Howard the Duck has been around a long, long time.  Since the 70's in fact.  He's usually the lone point of sanity in the crazy things that go on around him and is often a reluctant participant in the heroics of the world he was forced into.  The original hero in a world he never asked to be a part of in the original show about nothing, he is often used to comment on things happening in both the real world and the comic world.  He is also a master of Quack-Fu.

--Why They're 1:  I genuinely like Howard the Duck.  I have his Marvel Essentials and I enjoy reading them because they can be thought provoking, interesting and are mostly funny.  His stakes aren't always that high but his reactions to them and his commentary on them always provide something extra.  In my opinion he's probably the smartest Marvel character in existence and I don't mean in the comic or "in continuity" (that would be Hank Pym, suck it Richards!) I mean just in general.  His comics always "say" something and I think they say something with more intelligence and more humor than anything Alan Moore has ever done because Howard never gets up his own ass.  He's always aware that ultimately he's a comic book character and while he may do interesting things they ultimately don't matter because it's just a comic.  He's just there to entertain and he can be used in a variety of roles.  From his existential adventures in the 70's to the commentary on the "grim n' gritty" in his return to the MAX imprint in 2001 to his straight up comic exploits in the Fear Itself formation of the Fearsome Four he's always an interesting character.  Even if it is merely for his presence as a sarcastic 3 foot talking duck.

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