Monday, January 25, 2010

Looking Back at the "O*'s" - The 5 Best New Characters of the Decade

We got a lot of great new characters in the past 10 years. Here are 5 that deserve mentioning.

Winter Soldier

While Bucky Barnes has been around forever, it was his rebirth as Winter Soldier that turned this teen sidekick into a serious character of his own. Rather than destroy his earlier image, Marvel chose instead to go back and show us the "unseen" parts of his past. In other words, he might have looked like just a kid, but he was actually a serious secret weapon. Don't believe me? Just pick up the Avengers/Invaders story from last year.

When Captain America died, he stepped into the boots and kept the character alive. Unfortunately, this meant we lost Winter Soldier and it's apparently for good. Steve is back, but isn't Cap so I guess Bucky will continue to fling the shield for the foreseeable future.

The Sentry

What can I say? I love this character's potential. Unfortunately, it appears he will forever be crippled by Marvel from being all he could become. That final battle in World War Hulk where he got to cut loose gave us a glimpse of what he could become.

Yes, he's Marvel's answer to Superman...though they have yet to figure out what to do with him. For some strange reason they think giving him the mental crazies is a great way to make him unique. It's not. Stop it. Stop it now.

Currently working for Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers, Sentry's future is uncertain. I just hope Marvel someday decides to let this character get a normal mind and just become a hero. 

Red Robin (twice) as Jason Todd and Tim Drake

One of the truly iconic moments of Kingdom Come was a single page where Red Robin shows up to stop the aliens inside the Statue of Liberty's head (read it if you're confused by that statement). I guess it could even be considered cheating to say Red Robin came from the "0*'s", but I'm going to anyway. This decade finally gave us that character...even though it was Dick Grayson who wore the suit.

While three different people became Red Robin this decade, the two who make the biggest impression were Jason Todd and Tim Drake. Hands down, Jason Todd was the better of the two, but DC in their "infinite" wisdom decided to erase his time in the suit after Countdown to Infinite Crisis was over. Still, the short time he wore the suit allowed us to see him take the character in this "Batman" direction of beating down criminals and taking no prisoners. He even killed the Joker during one of his trips to the multiverse after watching that incarnation of Batman die! And yet all of that was over in an instant.

Tim Drake is currently the Red Robin, and it's an interesting fit. He has yet to really do anything that makes the character stand out any differently from his stint as Robin, but there are possibilities.

Red Arrow

Speedy's had a rough life of being a sidekick, to becoming a drug addict, then eventually turning up as Arsenal, and finally going back to the bow with Red Arrow.

What makes this character so interesting is how he eventually replaced Green Arrow (his mentor) in the Justice League. It was a changing of the guard that really showed his worth in the eyes of the elder heroes he'd grown up around.

He's had his fair share of moments as well. Perhaps the best was when he and Vixen were trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building. She was powerless, and he was hurt, yet he still managed to get them both out of there alive.

While he'll soon be leaving the Justice League and returning to his "Arsenal" name, his time there was a great move for the character.


We'd never heard of him until he got his own 12-part storyline. While you might think Damian, Batman's son with Talia, should rank a place in this list, I think this new villain gets the spot.

After tormenting Batman with hints of who he might or might not be, he turns out to be a childhood friend with a lifelong hatred of Bruce Wayne. While that might not sound like the most original supervillain idea, there was a twist on this one in the aftermath of Batman R.I.P. -- he became Bruce Wayne.

Imagine Lex Luthor getting to become Superman, his arch-enemy. Now you see how cool this moment really is.

Next week we close down this look back over the past decade at the single character who has had the busiest and most eventful years. I'll give you a hint: it's a DC character.

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