By Marcus A. Scott
With Comic-Con closing this week, Newsone has decided to bring you the Top Ten Black Superheroes in comic books. In the age of Obama, where getting more diverse is status quo, comic books have become more saavy than ever. X-men, the trailblazing comic book, has added several African and African-American characters over the last decade, for example. These aren’t just black people with superpowers, these are educated luminaries with powerful gifts to change the world or destroy it. They aren’t just juiced-up mega humans; they are in a sense, demi-gods. Intelligent, well-written, off-the-cuff and ultra-powerful. Here’s our list:
With the map of Africa on her face, silver hair and della robbia blue eyes, Ororo is one of the most powerful and (as her name suggests) beautiful mutants in the X-men pantheon. The vain reigning queen consort of Wakanda (a fictional African nation), after marrying King T’Challa, is known as Black Panther. Storm puts rapper Trina to shame as the baddest… well, you know. As a mutant with the psionic ability to control weather, an expert in espionage, and one of the most skilled fighters, she was one of the first black super heroines to grace comic book pages.
9. Black Panther
Praised for its spectacular and sophisticated wit in faintly ultramodern technologically-advanced, xenophobic Africana milieu, the tale of a Wakanda reigning emperor and his adventures is one of the best written in the Marvel universe. Black Panther, the first black contemporary superhero is one of epic proportions.
Black characters are rarely in comics and often a character would be introduced and later given the shaft depending on the writers, either by fatal comic book death or a long excursion somewhere. Frenzy, the mutant supervillainess with the steel-hard skin and super strength is a tough-as-nails badass able to exchange blows with Rouge and She-Hulk without breaking a sweat.
Okay, so maybe that bling-bling No Limit crew phrase had too many followers when Salvador Larroca and Peter Milligan created Roxy Washington, daughter of hip-hop artists Roy “Daddy Libido” Washington and Angel “Sexy Mutha” Depres. Whatever. Working under Gambit, this durable young lady can project diamond shards from her diamond hide.
This guy makes our list because he is one of the few depictions of a non-hostile, motivated black male superhero in comic books. Why is this important? Well, it just so happens that this African mutant pacifist can provisionally amplify his muscle mass to hyper-extreme echelons to the extent of lifting 100 tons, but does need the help of vibranium tattoos titivating his body to keep his powers under control.
The Afro-Latino chameleon, and one of the X-men’s most powerful mutants, does whatever he can to survive, and is constantly in a state of evolution, like his code name suggests. He is a victim of reactive evolution. If there is a fire, his skin may turn to steel. If he is in danger of drowning, he grows fish gills. If it’s dark, he has night-vision. If he’s in an Ivy League classroom, he can increase his intelligence. If we say he’s awesome, he’s awesome.
The smarty-pants lost his powers in an Armageddon free-for-all, but before that he had the telepathic aptitude to absorb and mimic the knowledge and skills from the minds of people in his close proximity and the ability to know opponents coming attacks, that even allowed him to duke it out with Wolverine! With self-compulsory mental blocks, he prefers to learn naturally which hindered his abilities, but don’t count him out just because he was depowered: he has knowledge from Beast and trade secrets from Professor X as well as martial art skills from that Hugh Jackman guy…
3. Angel Salvadore
So, how does one explain this without getting others offended? She’s a common human fly that happens to be a total hottie in X-men world. With the capability to vibrate her wings at turbo, she could produce an ear-splitting ultrasonic sound and a nasty gestation period; she is one of the most fabulous mutants to explode on the pages.
She’s basically the Wonder Woman of Marvel Comics’ X-men. Are they using her correctly? We don’t know but she’s got a great back story that involves a dead boyfriend, twin quarrels and family issues up all over the place. She is a genius and also has a perfect memory, intuitive dexterity, superhuman strength and invulnerability, a healing factor, can fly at supersonic speeds, and is a pretty powerful telepath.
M’s dead ex-boyfriend and fearless leader of Generation X was one of the most powerful black mutants ever and died saving civilians from a live bomb. His bio-engertic aura allowed him to “synch” with other mutants in his vicinity and duplicate the effect of their power, and often had better control of their powers better than they could.
The dreadlocked vixen is running from a certain “he” and won’t give up the ghost about who “he,” is, but luckily for her that this adroit mole has the capability of full-spectrum invisibility and absolute stealth, mentally or physically and can even phase through solid objects.
Hands down, the toughest X-man we’ve seen in years, with his signature M over his right eye. More powerful than his baby sister Shard, who can blast photon lazers, the time travel nomad can absorb all types of energy at one time and is superb armed and unarmed combat as well as being a studious marksman.
3. Static Shock
Virgil Hawkins, was your average high school student until he came into contact with an experimental mutagen that allowed him to possess the power to organize and maneuver electromagnetism and was named after the first black to go to law school as well as the lead plaintiff in the fight to desegregate the University of Florida College of Law.
Jet’s Beauty Of The Week, anyone? Vixen can facilitate her power to make direct contact with gaia’s morphogenetic field which grants her power to mimic the abilities of nearby animals and can hold on to those powers. She has demonstrated the debilitating shock of an electric eel, having the strength of a bull elephant, the agility of a monkey, the sonar of a bat, the speed of a cheetah, the swimming acrobatics of a dolphin and the ability to spit venom a la a cobra.
Constantly denied as one of the unforgettable superheroes, Orpheus was a martial artist and dancer, capable of blending into shadows via stealth suit.
6. Cecilia Reyes
An Afro-Latina trauma surgery medical doctor from the Bronx, Reyes can generate a psioplasmic bio-field around her body that can protect her and others and be used offensively as bladed weapons that can puncture the human form. Not bad, eh?
People get very offended when you put Blade on a list of greatest superheroes because he’s essentially a vampire killer. With a world overran by Edward Cullen-types, isn’t it fair to say that he should be honored as one of the greatest superheroes ever? The day walking dhampir martial artist is an accomplished jazz trumpeter, an expert swordsman and marksman and has a rapid healing factor that makes it easy to hunt his prey at all times.
8. John Stewart, The Green Lantern
One of the first black superheroes ever given superior powers and the only black to wear the powerful oan power ring—the most powerful weapon in the DC universe—he can greet solid-light constructs unlimited by his willpower and imagination… which is dope. Why? Well, he tried creating a planet from scratch, and even the ring couldn’t keep up.
Why is he listed when he’s not even a hero, huh? Well, every villain is as good as the superhero. Besides; let’s face it, as an African-American albino with razor-sharp barbed teeth, able to withstand bullets and toxic gas with superhuman strength and agility, he’s one of the strongest depictions of all of the colors in African Americans.
The “black one” in the Avengers, he is one of the coolest as well. He has the ability to control birds, and see through their eyes. In one issue, he noted: “I have over six billion pairs of eyes in the United States alone,” which makes him an awesome spy. He’s also an expert gymnast and flies with off-the-chain wing gliders.