Author Archives: Derek Melloy

About Derek Melloy

I love comic books. If you love them too, check out my blog: wallsofdericho.wordpress.com

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #2

Coming in 2nd in the villain-collection countdown is my favorite superhero, Spider-Man. His cast of bad guys is most definitely one of the best, and is surely one of the most colorful. His villains tend to not be massive level threats, but rather smaller-scale ones that often focus their evil deeds directly at Spider-Man himself. Also one distinction Spidey has over other heroes is that it could be argued that he has two nemeses.

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Spider-Man

 

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The most vicious, personal, and psychologically damaging among his rogues gallery is the Green Goblin. Norman Osborn was the first villain to learn Spider-Man’s secret identity, and has continually used that knowledge to torture Peter Parker ever since. Brilliant both in science and tactics, and given enhanced strength and durability (but driven insane) by an experiment gone wrong, the Green Goblin attacks Spider-Man and his family on all fronts, and is responsible for arguably the defining moment of Spidey’s life: the death of his first love, Gwen Stacy.

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Almost on par with the Green Goblin is Dr. Octopus. He has been Spider-Man’s most consistent enemy having made his first appearance in just the third issue of Spider-Man’s solo comic, and has been wreaking havok on him continually since. Equipped with mechanical arms that he can control telepathically, Otto Octavius is almost singularly obsessed with killing Spider-Man, even once saving him from another villain that was about to kill him, just so he could kill Spidey himself. The history between Doc Ock and Spidey became even more entwined when their consciousnesses were swapped and Ock was dying. Inside Peter’s body he swore to be an even better Spider-Man, but ultimately failed as he didn’t hesitate to kill criminals instead of bringing them to justice.

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As part of his obsession with defeating Spider-Man once and for all, Dr. Octopus formed the Sinister Six, a super group of some of the Wall-Crawler’s greatest foes. Though the line-up has changed throughout its history, the team usually consists of: Electro (ability to shoot and control lightning), Mysterio (expert illusionist and effects specialist), Sandman (body composed of shape-shifting sand), Vulture (brilliant criminal with a bodysuit equipped with wings), Kraven (the world’s greatest hunter who sees Spider-Man as the “ultimate prey”), and lead by Doc Ock. Spider-Man typically requires help from other heroes to defeat the Sinister Six.

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After Spidey manages to remove the Symbiote that had become his black costume, the Symbiote falls onto Eddie Brock, a humiliated reporter that Spider-Man had proved a fraud. Their combined hatred for Spider-Man and Brock’s cancer-ridden body producing extra adrenaline (which the Symbiote feeds on) come together to form a new and totally vicious entity known as Venom. With full knowledge of literally everything about Peter Parker, the ability to block Spidey’s Spider Sense, and a twisted sense of morality, Venom immediately becomes a major threat to everyone in Spider-Man’s life.

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When the offspring of the Symbiote is left in Eddie Brock’s prison cell after his escape, it bonds with his cellmate, the psychopathic serial killer Cletus Kasady. Fueled by hatred for its “parent” and Kasady’s psychosis, Carnage is born. Breaking free and going on brutal killing spree, it took a truce between Spider-Man and Venom to defeat him. Even after his initial defeat, Carnage has continued to be a sadistic thorn in the side of the Web-Slinger.

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When biologist Curt Connors experiments on himself with reptile DNA in an attempt to regenerate the right arm he lost in the military, he is instead transformed into the mindless reptilian monster simply known as The Lizard. He eventually changes back, but will occasionally revert back to his monstrous form without warning. His story is one of the more interesting of Spider-Man villains, as Spidey is stuck trying to stop The Lizard’s deadly rampages but also trying to do so in a way that doesn’t permanently harm Connors.

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Biochemist Michael Morbius attempted to cure himself of a rare blood disease by experimenting on vampire bats, he inadvertently gave himself a form of “psuedo-vampirism” where he must subsist on human blood in order to survive and gains superhuman strength, reflexes, durability, and the ability to fly. His appearence also changes to resemble that of a bat, becoming known as Morbius the Living Vampire. His need to feed has set him at odds with Spider-Man on multiple occasions.

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While J. Jonah Jameson may not be the type of character you think of when you’re discussing a hero’s rogues gallery, but he has been every bit as big of a thorn in Spider-Man’s side as anyone else. Being Peter Parker’s boss at the Daily Bugle means that Peter has to listen to Jameson’s constant hate-filled defaming of Spider-Man on a daily basis. Jameson hasn’t settled to just attempt to destroy Spider-Man’s reputation through the media, but has also been behind several supervillains’ attempts at killing Spidey, including being responsible for the creation of major Spider-Man villain, The Scorpion.

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Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #3

Following The Avengers at # 5 and The Flash at #4, coming in third in our countdown is Marvel’s merry band of mutants, the X-Men. There probably isn’t a more diverse group of villains that those of the X-Men. They have enemies ranging from those capable of destroying entire solar systems to super-powered assassins. This is a rather lengthy list, so I’ll try to be brief with all of them.

The X-Men

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Obviously first and foremost among X-Men baddies is the Master of Magnetism, Magneto. Rarely does a villain and hero represent such diametrically opposing ideas as the X-Men and Magneto. For most of his time in comics Magneto has sought to subjugate mankind under mutant rule, while the X-Men fight to be accepted by and live in peace with humans. He even formed his own group of mutants to fight for his cause called the Brotherhood of Mutants. While he is the oldest and most persistent villain to Professor X’s team of mutants, he has on multiple occasions been a part of, and even lead, the X-Men.

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Much like Magneto, Mystique has been a major antagonist to the X-Men both as an individual and as the sometimes-leader of the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood’s roster has always been in a constant state of flux, the most prominent members include Toad, Mastermind, The Blob, Pyro, Avalanche, Destiny, Sabretooth, Sauron, and even briefly Magneto’s twin children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch before they reformed and began fighting for good instead of evil.

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Jealous of of his step-brother, Charles Xavier, and what he perceived as preferential treatment from their father, Juggernaut hated Professor X long before he found the Gem of Cyttorak that granted him superhuman strength, near invincibility, and unstoppable momentum while in motion. His only real weakness is to psychic attacks, so he (like Magneto) wears a helmet that keeps telepathic mutants from being able to attack him psionically.

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Created by Dr. Bolliver Trask as a means to exterminate the mutant population, Sentinels have long been a major threat to not only the X-Men but all mutants. Their level of threat was never more on display than in the “Days of Future Past” story arc, where it is revealed that in the future, after a US Senator is murdered by a mutant (Mystique), the Sentinels wipe out the vast majority of mutants and other super-powered beings, and the few that are left are rounded up into internment camps. In a desperation move, the future Kitty Pryde is sent back to the present to stop the assassination from taking place.

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Bent on creating an army of mutants to fight for him in what he believes to be an inevitable war between humans and mutants, Apocalypse is one of the most dangerous baddies the X-Men face. To create this army, he pits mutants against one another in battles to the death, many times against their will. Those that survive he brainwashes, enhances their abilities, and often mutilates their bodies into better weapons. There is no better example of than when Apocalypse captured Angel, turned his skin a pale blue, ripped his wings off, and replaced them with metallic ones with razor sharp feathers that could be thrown at an enemy. Born in ancient Egypt, Apocalypse is believed to be the very first mutant.

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Obsessed with DNA and creating the perfect mutant, Mr. Sinister is one of the stranger big bads of the X-Men. While he is a brilliant physicist and biologist, Sinister is also a serious threat in battle as well. He is essentially immortal and has the ability to control his body down to the molecular level, he can change the consistency, density, strength, and appearance of any part of body, making him virtually indestructible. The one thing that has shown to consistently hurt him are the optic blasts of Cyclops, leading him to focus his obsession for perfection on Scott Summers, his wife Jean Grey, and the future version of their child, Nathan Summers, better known as Cable.

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When Jean Grey became bound with the entity of pure psionic power known as the Phoenix Force, her already considerable telepathic/telekinetic abilities were enhanced to virtually limitless levels. The Phoenix Force lay dormant inside Jean until muniplulation from Mastermind and a telepathic battle with the then-evil Emma Frost of the Hellfire Club brought it to the surface, becoming the Dark Phoenix. After nearly killing them and draining a sun to rejuvenate itself (killing all life in the solar system surrounding it), the Dark Phoenix was immediately recognized as one of the most dangerous beings in the universe. There are very few beings in comics that can match the Phoenix Force in terms of sheer power. It can destroy all creation in all dimensions of existence if it so chose. This has put it at odds with the X-Men and other peoples throughout the galaxy. The difference is, the X-Men are concerned with not only stopping the Phoenix but also saving their friend in the process.

 

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #4

Last week, we took a look at the rogues gallery of Marvel’s super team, The Avengers. This week we get our first solo hero on the list.

The Flash

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Coming in at #4 in our countdown of villain collections is DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster, The Flash. While there have been several different characters to hold the title of The Flash, the crop of villains associated with the title have remained pretty consistent.

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Much like The Flash himself, the title of Reverse Flash has been used  by multiple villains. They’ve all typically worn costumes that are the opposite color scheme of The Flash, literally being his “reverse”. Despite being the second villainous speedster (behind The Rival), Eobard Thawne was the first to be referred to as Reverse Flash. He quickly became the nemesis of the second incarnation of The Flash, Barry Allen. His singular objective is to cause pain and suffering to Barry Allen and those he loves. He is responsible for the death of Barry’s wife Iris, and through his ability to use his speed to travel through time, also Barry’s mother Nora.

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The third speedster villain, and nemesis of Kid Flash, Wally West. Unlike The Rival and Professor Zoom, Zoom does not actually have superhuman speed, but rather slows time around him which essentially mimics the effects of super speed. Hunter Zolomon was once a cop and close friend of Wally West, but after an attack on Iron Heights Prison left him paralyzed from the waist down, and Wally refusing to alter the timeline to prevent it, Zolomon attempted to alter it himself using The Flash’s time traveling device the Cosmic Treadmill. When it exploded, he regained the use of his legs, but was left detached from the timeline. Using his new found abilities, he followed in the other Reverse Flash’s footsteps and began tormenting The Flash.

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Leonard Snart, otherwise known as Captain Cold, may be more concerned with profit as a criminal than he is the suffering of The Flash, but he has proven to be a rather large thorn in the side of The Scarlet Speedster. He is a master strategist and criminal mastermind, but is definitely most known for his use of the Cold Gun that can freeze anything down to absolute zero temperatures. Snart has shown the ability to begrudingly work with The Flash when it suits his own ends, though these cooperations tend to be short-lived. Captain Cold has also been the sometimes leader of a team appropriately named The Rogues comprised of major Flash villains like Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, The Trickster, Heat Wave, The Top, and Captain Boomerang.

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Gorilla Grodd was granted super-intelligence, telepathy, and telekinesis by an alien after its spacecraft crashed into the jungle. After using Grodd and his fellow gorillas to build a super-advanced civilization known as Gorilla City, Grodd has the alien killed and assumes rule of the city with world domination as his next goal. Eventually gaining the ability to control the minds of others, Grodd has become a prominent antagonist against The Flash. Has also been an occasional member of The Rogues as well.

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When an unexplained mystical event renders Richard Swift ageless and immortal, with the ability to conjur, control, and travel through shadows and darkness, The Shade was born. The Shade has been a foe of both the Jay Garrick and Barry Allen incarnations of The Flash. Seemingly unable to be harmed by any form of inury (once had his heart ripped out and continued to live), he is a worthy foe for The Scarlet Speedster. He is only vulnerable when he is rendered shadowless. Meaning his shadow must be removed through magical means or by surrounding him with light so he casts no shadow at all.

 

 

Top 5 Rogues Galleries in Comics – #5

Due to there being a 3-way tie for 5th place in the poll, it took awhile to actually decide a top 5. But we finally have it sorted out. So without further ado, let’s get started on the countdown of the greatest collection of villains, as voted on by you.

We begin our journey with Marvel’s primary supergroup:

The Avengers

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Earth’s Mightiest Heroes don’t have quite as lenghty a list of major adversaries as some of the other protagonists in the poll, but the level of a threat that their villains typically pose is quite high. Which makes sense considering that the whole point of The Avengers is to deal with threats that no hero could handle individually.

 

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Atop their list would be Ultron, an android bent on the annhilation of the human race. Created by Hank Pym, and given his brain patterns, Ultron is as brilliant as he is powerful. Equipped with an army of drones that all share a hive mind, a myriad of laser weapons, the ability to control and/or transfer his memory and personality into other mechanical devices remotely, and an exoskeleton made of the virtually indestructible metal adamantium, it’s not difficult to see why he has remained such a constant thorn in the side of The Avengers.

 

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Not far behind Ultron on the list of Avengers baddies would be the maniacal Kang the Conqueror. Using time-traveling technology from the 30th Century, Kang (who is a decendant of Mr. Fantastic, with connections to Dr. Doom as well) travels from one time period to the next attempting to establish himself as ruler. Even though he possesses no actual superpowers, his genius-level intellect, his knowledge and skills in physics and engineering, and armor and technology from far more scientifically advanced times, Kang has been a major villain for several of Marvel’s heroes, but most notably The Avengers.

 

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Essentially the antithesis of The Avengers would be the Masters of Evil, a team of major, and sometimes not so major, villains banded together to destroy their heroic counterpart. While the team has gone through several incarnations, it is usually lead by prominent Captain America big bad Baron Zemo. The first villains to really bring the fight to The Avengers instead of the other way around, they have attacked The Avengers Mansion on several occassions.

 

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It would be very easy to dismiss The Taskmaster as a major player, but that would be a mistake. While he has no superpowers outside of “photographic reflexes”, the ability to absorb, recall, and replicate knowledge and information instantaneously. This allows him to mimic and predict the movements and tendencies of any hero he sees. His in-depth observation of The Avengers has allowed him to replicate the hand-to-hand combat skills and athleticism of Black Panther, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Captain America, as well as Cap’s abilities with his shield, the marksmanship of Hawkeye and Black Widow, and the swordsmanship of the Black Knight. It may not seem like much, but he has proven time and time again to be a threat worthy of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

 

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While he is most notably a villain of Thor, Loki has been a significant adversary of The Avengers as well. In fact he inadvertantly lead to the creation of the team. He had used The Hulk as a puppet to try to get revenge on Thor. Eventually his deceit is discovered and Rick Jones, Hulk’s sometimes sidekick, reaches out to Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp to assist them in defeating Loki. From that moment on, he has remained a fly in the ointment of The Avengers.

 

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Arguably the greatest single threat to the Marvel Universe was Thanos when he wielded the Infinity Gauntlet. Granted virtual omnipotence from the Gauntlet, heroes (and even a few villains) from across the galaxy joined forces lead by The Avengers in an attempt to stop Thanos from destroying all life in the universe. Even after his defeat in the Infinity War, The Avengers have continued to battle The Mad Titan over his obsession with death.

Reader’s Poll: Who Has the Best Rogues Gallery in Comics?

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What good is a hero without great villains? No matter how incredible or interesting the protagonist in a story may be, if he/she is not met by equally incredible or interesting antagonists, the story just feels flat. Aside from Star Wars‘ Darth Vader, who is without a doubt the coolest bad guy in pop culture, there’s no better place to find villains than comic books. So which hero has the best rogues gallery? You as the reader get to determine which ones I write about. Vote below and I’ll feature the top 5 vote-getters in a future post (might be a multi-parter).

 

Spoilerific Review of Season 7 Premiere of The Walking Dead

 

landscape-1476100221-rick-negan-walking-dead-season-7After 6 months of speculation about who new The Walking Dead big bad Negan had chosen to kill after the creepiest game of “eeny meeny miney mo” ever, we finally got our answer Sunday night. Following a significant backlash from fans upset by the fact that Season 6 ended with no closure on who Negan’s victim was, producers promised that the fans’ patience would be rewarded with the premiere. Now that the show is back, can we really say that it was worth the wait?

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW! If you have not seen the episode yet and don’t want to know what happened, now is the time to turn back.

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You’ve been warned.

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I’m not kidding.

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Seeing as how that victim turned out to be Abraham (a character already dead in the comics by this point), and a second victim, Glenn (thanks to Daryl lashing out for Negan taunting Rosita with the bloody Lucille), was the character that got the business end of the bat in the original story, it would be easy to say “No, it wasn’t worth the wait.” But I would disagree. As I’ve written before, I felt like Glenn NEEDED to die here. It couldn’t just be someone that was expendable like Aaron or Sasha, or even fan favorite Daryl. It HAD to be Glenn. So I’m not upset with him being one of the 2 that met their bloody end Sunday night, nor do I feel like it was lazy on the writers’ part as I’ve seen some suggest.

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With Abraham also falling to Negan, it did give the story on the show a twist that fans of the comic wouldn’t see coming. I’m sure the writers also felt like this would give even more gravity to the episode. But, knowing what I know about how the story progresses from here and how it affects those left alive going forward, I can’t help but feel that having more than Glenn die here kind of cheapened the moment. You couldn’t really finish processing or mourning Abraham’s death before you’ve been shocked further by seeing Glenn get very brutally and graphically beaten to death as well. But it’s not something that bothered me so much that I was unhappy with the final product.

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We also got to see Rick finally reach his breaking point when after repeatedly failing to convince Negan that he was in fact “his”, Negan forces Rick to choose between cutting Carl’s arm off with his own hatchet or watch everyone die. A sobbing Rick picks up the hatchet only to have Negan stop him at the last second, knowing that Rick is completely broken and subservient to his will. Man was it uncomfortable to watch. Rick Grimes is the baddest of badasses. He is the one for 6 seasons that we’ve seen give out orders and kill those that he deemed a threat to his people with little to no accountability. Now he’s the one groveling on his knees to someone else. I’ve read from some fans that this was so upsetting to watch that they claimed if it stayed like this for very long, they’d quit watching the show. *Insert eye roll*

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First off, fans threaten to quit watching the show all the time for really dumb reasons…and yet they continue to watch. Second, let the story play out before you start going to that point. Let’s not be so quickly reactionary. Third, the writers are painting the picture that Negan is a legitimate threat. They need you to see that Rick and his band of survivors are vulnerable and outmanned. They need you to believe that our group may not be able to win. That’s good writing and villain development.

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It looks like next week is going to be solely about Morgan and Carol being brought into The Kingdom. We’ll hopefully be introduced to the leader of The Kingdom, King Ezekiel and his pet tiger (yes you read that right) Shiva. I. Can’t. Wait.

Werewolves and Vampires and Zombies. Oh My!

It’s October. Which means one of my favorite holidays is right around the corner, Halloween. I love Halloween. The costumes, the candy, and a little good old fashioned scariness all come together to make for a great season (because seriously it’s more than just one day). With spookiness and supernatural roots being part of the core of the season, what better time to highlight some of the greater supernatural characters in comics. I tried to steer clear of characters that dealt specifically with magic (John Constantine, Dr. Strange, Zatanna, etc.) and those who are the product of science experiments gone wrong (Swamp Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire), and instead focused on those that have more true supernatural origins and abilities. Let’s take a look at some of the characters that go bump in the night.

 

Spawn (Image)

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Arguably the most popular character on the list, especially at his peak. When Al Simmons dies and is sent to Hell for his sins, he was granted powers from Malebolgia (essentially Satan) with the intent on him becoming his greatest weapon against Heaven. Simmons rebels against Malebolgia and becomes a very violent anti-hero instead.

 

Blade (Marvel)

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Marvel’s half-human/half-vampire. After his pregnant mother was bitten by a vampire, he was gifted with the strength, speed, and stamina of a vampire (but also the hunger for human blood), without the weaknesses against daylight, garlic, and holy water. Blade decides to use his abilities to rid the world of vampires.

 

The Spectre (DC)

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Chosen as the Spirit of Vengeance after his brutal death during a robbery, Jim Corrigan is one of the more powerful beings in all of DC Comics. He is for all intents and purposes omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent with the ability to change reality. One of the few characters uneffected by DC’s multiple continuity resets, retaining knowledge of all of the realities that existed before.

 

Werewolf By Night (Marvel)

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As the name would suggest, Jack Russell, due to a family curse, transforms into a mindless werewolf during a full moon. However, he can also voluntarily transform outside of the full moon, and during these times he retains his human intellect. Much like Blade, Werewolf By Night uses his abilities to defend mankind by fighting against the forces of darkness.

 

Solomon Grundy (DC)

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DC Comic’s resident zombie. When Cyrus Gold was murdered in a swamp, he was reborn as a monstrous, almost mindless undead creature. Taking on the name Solomon Grundy after the nursery rhyme, he returns to the life of crime he had lived before his death. Mostly an enemy to the Green Lantern, he has also been a major villain in the Batman comics as well.

 

Ghost Rider (Marvel)

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Stunt-rider Johnny Blaze is fused with the demon Zarathos after a deal with hell dimension ruler Mephisto goes wrong. Blaze transforms into a skeleton wreathed in flame when in the presence of evil. Cursed to punish the wicked, he is one of the more violent and merciless anti-heroes Marvel Comics has to offer.

 

Deadman (DC)

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When trapeze artist Boston Brand is murdered during a performance, his spirit is imparted the ability to possess the body of any sentient being by the Hindu god Rama Kushna in order to seek justice. After doing so, he continues on as a force for good among the dark. When in ghost form he is able to become invisible, intangible, and can fly.

 

Moon Knight (Marvel)

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After being betrayed and left for dead in the Egyptian desert by his parter, mercenary Marc Spector is given the chance to survive from the Egyptian god Knoshu by becoming his avatar on Earth. He takes the opportunity, avenges his attempted murder, and begins fighting crime as the vigilante Moon Knight. With his sanity connected inseparably to the moon and its phases, the fuller the moon, the more violent and erratic he becomes.