Recently I was handed a Maxim magazine article from a few years back that was a rather stupid and badly researched article listing what Maxim deemed to be the 50 most lame superheroes of all time. In my far reaching memory I remember talk of this article because, when it was originally published, the list created quite a stir amongst the comic book community as nearly every major superhero, with the exception of Batman, the Hulk, Spiderman and Wolverine were on the list. The list of the “lamest” superheroes included Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Dr. Strange, the Flash, Green Arrow and Captain Marvel (a.k.a. Shazam to our friends who don’t read comic books) and even Superman – unquestionably the greatest and most famous superhero in the history of publishing. The #1 lamest character of all time, according to Maxim, was Batman’s pal Robin – yet the writer’s main criticism was about Robin’s silver age costume, a costume he hasn’t worn for over ten years, but hey, I guess they needed an excuse to make a few below the belt gay jokes.
Anyhow, with a bit of better research the ass who wrote the article could have written a far better one. I decided to sit down and do the subject some justice. So for your enjoyment
CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT PRESENTS
(in no particular order)
THE TOP TEN LAMEST SUPERHEROES OF ALL TIME
Cypher (a.k.a. Doug Ramsey) was a member of the “New Mutants” which was an affiliate of the X-Men. They were the young mutants that were being trained by Professor X and the rest of the X-Men in the 1980s. Cypher’s mutant ability was to basically decipher anything. You know, like languages and secret codes and stuff. Yup – that was it. He was pretty much a translator. Furthermore, he was just this little guy who didn’t have any fighting skills. To put it bluntly, poor Cypher was worthless during battle. When it came to defeating Galactus he wasn’t going to be much good, but if the X-Men’s mansion’s DVD player manual was only in Japanese, Cypher was your man. It’s probably not any surprise to you that Cypher was killed off and never brought back. Yet, for some reason, he remains a fan favourite to this day.
#9. The Red Bee
Appearing in the 1940s in “Hit Comics #1″ the Red Bee was basically your powerless vigilante type character. However instead of wearing a cool costume like Batman or the Shadow, the Red Bee opted for a red pirate shirt with pink pouffy sleeves and red and yellow striped tights. However, what made the Red Bee truly lame wasn’t just his eyesore of a costume, but the fact that he fought crime with the aid of a trained bumble bee! That’s right! You read it right! A trained bumble bee named Michael that lived in a compartment in the Red Bee’s belt buckle. I’m serious! A frikkin’ trained bumble bee… named Michael! So unless the Red Bee’s villains were allergic to bee stings he wasn’t much good. It may not surprise you that they also killed off the Red Bee in the pages of “All Star Squadron” but, again, the Red Bee remains to “bee” a fan favourite to this day.
# 8. Brother Power the Geek
In the late 1960s Captain America creator Joe Simon created Brother Power the Geek in the pages of “Brother Power the Geek #1″. Brother Power was a mannequin that was hit by lightening and came to life with super strength and other limitless magical powers. Also, since he was a dummy you couldn’t kill him or even really hurt him. Essentially Brother Power was more powerful than even Superman. I mean, in a fight between Superman and Brother Power, Brother Power could technically win considering that his powers were untapped and Superman can be harmed by magic. Anyways, Brother Power lived amongst the flower people and preached love and peace and fought against “the man” and “the establishment”. Brother Power made an attempt to run for president, but was accidentally shot into space in the pages of “Brother Power the Geek #2″. While that story was “to be continued” it wasn’t completed for over thirty years. After two issues Brother Power was cancelled, making it the fastest cancelled comic from a major publisher. Brother Power eventually made his return to earth in the 90′s in a well-written story by Sandman’s Neil Gaiman in a “Swamp Thing” Annual and was later featured in a very well written and received “Vertigo Visions” one shot. Once again, it may not be surprising that the two issues of “Brother Power the Geek” are cult favorites and very sought after books.
#7. Matter Eater Lad
Matter Eater Lad should at least get the award for the worst superhero name in comic history. Matter Eater Lad was a character from Legion of the Superheroes. Now in the 1960s the writers at DC comics were always looking for new and strange powers for their quickly growing cast of teenage futuristic heroes. However, though it seemed like they’d hit their all time low with Bouncing Boy, it turned out they could sink even lower with Matter Eater Lad. Get this – Matter Eater Lad’s power was the ability to eat through any substance. Yup. The power of “super eating”. It kind of worked like this: you needed to get through a steel door you got Matter Eater Lad to “eat” it. Dig? However Matter Eater Lad wasn’t into cannibalism so he never actually chowed down on any bad guys. Mind you, I think cannibalism was against the comic code act back then.
Dogwelder was a character from Garth Ennis’ “Hitman” series. Dogwelder was part of a superhero team known as Section Eight which was a band of these crazy guys that fought crime in rather inane ways. Dogwelder is my favourite of the bunch. He’s this madman in a silver welder’s outfit that basically just goes around welding stray dogs to villains’ faces. That’s it. That’s how he fought crime. Welding dogs to people. Mind you it would be a bitch of a thing to have happen to you. You try to rob a bank and you end up with a Lhasa Apso welded to your face, yapping for eternity. *shudder*
#5. Arm Fall Off Boy
Ah, that crazy Legion of Superheroes and their crazy writers! They’ll let heroes with some of the stupidest powers into the Legion, but they pass up a great character like Arm Fall Off Boy. Arm Fall Off Boy is an oddity all his own because although he only made one appearance in a comic book ever (Secret Origins #46 ), his appearance was so memorable that he has a cult following to this day. Arm Fall Off Boy made an apperance at a Legion of Superheroes recruitment drive where he displayed his “astounding” power to Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy. His power? To detach his left arm from his body and use it as a club. Sadly, Arm Fall Off Boy was surprised when the Legion let him know that his talents weren’t quite right for their organization. Arm Fall Off Boy sulked away into comic book oblivion, but was not forgotten. One only wonders how he felt when later on the Legion would accept Bouncing Boy and, well, Matter Eater Lad to their ranks.
The year was 1983. Break dancing was big. I mean really big, and being a fad that grew out of the Spanish American subculture all of America was embracing Spanish culture. Yup – Spanish Americans were a big thing. This was when Menudo was a sensation and Eric Estrada was a sex symbol. Anyhow, DC comics followed suit with their own break dancing Spanish superhero called Vibe. Vibe, a former Detroit gang leader left his West Side Story antics behind and moon walked his way into the Justice League and had fairly good powers (the power to create shockwaves – much like an earthquake) but spent most of his time hitting on women and dancing the night away. It should be no surprise that Vibe was also killed, and never brought back and actually has no cult following at all. Everybody just kind of likes to forget about him. Vibe is thought of today as the stain on the legacy of the Justice League.
#3. The Legion of the Superpets
In the late 1950s and the early 1960s DC just kind of got weird. They kept introducing all these super intelligent animals with the same superpowers as Superman who all wore red capes. The first was Krypto the Superdog who was sent to earth by Superman’s father Jor-El in a test rocket before he sent Superman to make sure it worked alright. Superman and Krypto were reunited on earth when Superman was a teenager and they fought crime together. Next was Beppo the Supermonkey. Beppo had pretty much the same story. Jor-El also sent a monkey to make sure the rocket would work. Everybody knows that comics need a chimp, so Beppo provided comic relief by wearing a Superman costume. The next was Streaky the Supercat. Now Streaky wasn’t sent from Krypton in a rocket but was infected by something called X-Kryptonite which gave earth animals superpowers. Finally came Comet the Superhorse. Comet was an alien horse that was really a centaur who had a curse put on him by some scorned goddess (or something like that) and turned human once a year when a comet passed through Earth’s atmosphere and would romance Supergirl in human form, but the rest of the year was nothing but her pet horse (holy Catherine the Great Batman!). Anyways, these animals eventually joined forces to become the Legion of the Superpets. I swear to god.
#2 – Zan from the Wonder Twins
Remember the Wonder Twins from the Superfriends cartoon? Zan and Jayna were these alien twins – Jayna could turn into an animal while Zan turned into a water element. So while Jayna could be a gorilla or a rhino or a cobra Zan, who was inspired, incidentally, by Donny Osmond, could become a bucket of water or an ice cube. To say the least, Zan wasn’t much good when it came to saving the world. I mean what would have happened to Zan if he was faced with Doomsday? Get Doomsday wet? Yeah… sorry Zan, that’s NOT going to stop him. However, if the Superfriends ever fought the Wicked Witch of the West, Zan would be your man. Unfortunately for Zan, the Wicked Witch of the West is not owned by DC comics.
#1 – Aqualad
Now everybody likes to pick on Aquaman as being lame – but can you imagine being his sidekick? I take you now to a meeting of the Teen Titans…
Robin: Okay everybody – how was your week this week? This week Batman and I stopped the Joker from causing mass genocide! What did you do this week Speedy?
Speedy: This week Green Arrow and I shook down some crooked politicians, joined a peace rally, stopped some racist cops and fed the homeless some of Green Arrow’s famous chili – how about you Donna?
Wonder Girl: Wow – me and Wonder Woman flew to Mount Olympus in her invisible jet and had a special meeting with Zeus and the other gods of Mount Olympus… how about you Aqualad?
Aqualad: Ummmm… me and Aquaman stopped some dolphins from going into a hydro dam!
Kid Flash: Wow – you suck Aqualad.
Furthermore, Aqualad had this really dumb looking perm – making him look like a Brady… Thanks for coming out Aqualad…
So that’s it, dear friends. However there are so many more characters I’ve left off the list! Jean the Baton and the rest of Section 8, The Inferior Five, the Lieutenant Marvels (with Hoppy the Marvel Bunny), Bouncing Boy (and other various Legionnaires) and the golden age Red Tornado just to name a few. However, as you can see, there are lame superhero ideas out there. Just those dimwits at Maxim magazine didn’t want to take the time to find them. Perhaps they should stop spending so much time thinking about half-naked starlets and read a few more comic books.
DON’T MISS THE EXCITING SEQUEL TO THIS ARTICLE!