Tag Archives: Batman

Bananaman & the Power of Food

Comics have certainly given us characters with some strange abilities. Seriously, just take one look at The Doom Patrol for proof. Today we’re going to focus on powers based around food, because I was feeling some writer’s block (hence the long break between posts) and asked someone whose opinion I trust to help me come up with a topic. In what can only be considered a joke, she said “bananas”. But taking it as a challenge, I decided to give it a go. This is destined to be one of the weirdest posts I ever make. So, let’s take a look at some of the random food-related super powers.

 

Bananaman

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Anyone that watched Danger Mouse on Nickelodeon back in the 80’s will remember the companion series of Bananaman. But few probably realize that it was based on a British comic book character of the same name. Whenever ordinary boy Eric Wimp eats a banana, he is transformed into ultra strong but equally dimwitted crime fighter, Bananaman.

 

Tony Chu

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Easily one of the strangest, and at times disgusting, food-based powers is that of Tony Chu, protagonist of the Image Comics series Chew. He is a cibopath. Meaning he gains a psychic reading off of anything he eats (with the unexplained exception of beets…sorry Dwight Schrute), including human flesh. He uses this ability to help solve murders and other crimes…many times by eating a piece of the victim.

 

Condiment King

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One of several characters, like notably Harley Quinn, that first appeared in the fantastic Batman: The Animated Series, that were later adapted into Batman comics. Not one of Batman’s more well known (or threatening) villains. Mitchell Mayo (yes, even his real name is condiment joke) uses various condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and relish to attempt to commit crimes while spouting off condiment puns. Always easily taken down by the Dark Knight, Condiment King is nothing more than a silly comic relief villain.

 

Too Much Coffee Man

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Dressed in long johns and sporting a giant coffee mug for a hat, the character doesn’t have any actual super powers, nor does he fight crime. Unless you consider existential banter and musings a super power. Too Much Coffee Man is simply a means of social commentary and satire, but is also one of the oddest looking characters in comic books.

 

Eye-Scream

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It had to have been hard to see the X-Men and all their amazing powers out there making a difference in the world, while you’re a mutant with the ability to transform your body into…any flavor of ice cream. You read that correctly. Appearing in only one issue, Eye-Scream used this useless power to attempt to sabotage the Danger Room, hoping it would malfunction and kill the X-Men. He failed miserably and thankfully was never seen in Marvel Comics again.

 

Egg Fu

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When people point out the absurdity and ridiculousness of comics, it’s hard to defend them when characters like Egg Fu exist. Originally designed as a “Yellow Peril” stereotype villain (complete with cartoonish Asian features and speech patterns) to take on Wonder Woman. Over the years, DC Comics has realized the racist undertones of the character and have given it several reboots, redesigns, and new backstories. Regardless, it’s difficult to get past the utter silliness of a talking giant egg being considered a serious threat to a half-Amazon/half-god warrior like Wonder Woman.

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Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 3

A recap of the list so far:

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)
23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)
22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)
21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)
18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)
17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)
16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

And now, onward and upward!

15. Hela – Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok)

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It’s a tough task trying to be a menacing villain in a comedy-heavy film like Thor: Ragnarok, but Cate Blanchett pulls it off wonderfully. Hela is powerful and incredibly deadly, while still managing to throw in a couple dabs of humor as well without making her seem like any less of a threat. It’s a testament to her ability as an actress to strike that perfect balance. My only disappointment with Hela, and it’s nothing to do with anything Cate Blanchett did, is that Hela was not used as the stand-in for Death in The Avengers: Infinity War.

14. Captain Cold – Wentworth Miller (The Flash)

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While Wentworth Miller’s take on The Flash’s nemesis, Leonard Snart, might rank at #14 on this list of best portrayals, it might be among my absolute favorites personally. As I’m not a huge fan of the character in the comics, I never expected to love it so much in a live-action setting…but man do I. Incredibly charismatic, with a line delivery that borders almost on the absurd, but regardless draws you in, Captain Cold is highlight of The Flash, and the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, as he attempts to gain some redemption for his past transgressions, but still manages to keep his twisted sense of morality.

13. The Joker – Jack Nicholson (Batman)

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The first truly homicidal psychopath Joker to grace the screen. Even though Jack Nicholson did a great job bringing the Clown Prince of Crime to life, much like Alfred Molina’s Dr. Octopus, I was not a fan of linking the villain to the hero in a personal fashion unnecessarily. In the comics, the Joker is not the man that murdered Batman’s parents (that distinction goes to petty criminal Joe Chill), and changing that fact served no purpose in the film other than being able to deliver the “You made me!/You made me first.” line. But even still, his actual performance hits the high notes of the zany, ultra violent insanity we’ve come to expect from the Joker.

12. Helmut Zemo – Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War)

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He may not have been any sort of physical threat to Captain America, Helmut Zemo was one the most dangerous villains in the MCU. His methodical approach to exacting revenge on the Avengers for the deaths of his family in Sokovia by forcing them to turn on each other, was absolutely brilliant. I loved the subtlety in his performance. When you have a film with so many big hero personalities, trying to squeeze another big villain personality could have made the film feel over full. So choosing to tone Zemo back and have him operate mostly in the shadows was fantastically done. He’s also distinct among movie villains, in that he actually achieved his goal. While Cap and Iron Man didn’t kill each other, their bond was broken and most of the Avengers were left as fugitives. I only wish he would have donned some form of his mask from the comics at some point.

11. Magneto – Ian McKellen (X-Men)

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Magneto has long been among my favorite villains in the comics. He is the perfect example of how a person’s life experiences shape their world view, and Ian McKellen…and to a lesser extent Michael Fassbender…have done an amazing job bringing that to the big screen. McKellen’s portrayal is layered, powerful, and multi-faceted. His hatred and rage, even when more subdued and subtle, are always very tangible and delivered in a way that is believable and understable. He’s also rare in that while most villains end up dead in comic book movies, he has managed to survive through multiple films.

Come back tomorrow where we’ll crack the top 10 among the best live-action performances of comic book villains. See you then.

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 2

The countdown of the best live action portrayals of comic book villains rolls on. Just a recap of who has been covered so far.

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff (Blade)

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)

21. Doctor Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)

Now on to the next 5:

20. Vulture – Michael Keaton (Spider-Man: Homecoming)

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Back-to-back Spider-Man foes. Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton managed to make a villain whose only real threat was flying really high into a truly menacing adversary to everyone’s favorite Wall Crawler. Seriously. That scene in the car when he’s taking his daughter and Peter to the dance is one of the most intense scenes in the entire MCU. He did a fantastic job of explaining his very realistic motivations to the point of you almost side with him a little, while also reinforcing the fact that he is most definitely a villain with willingness to kill anyone, including a 15 year-old kid, that interferes with his business.

19. Deathstroke – Manu Bennett (Arrow)

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Easily the best villain in the Arrowverse so far. Deathstroke also benefited from having one of the most fleshed out backstories as well, since he was a large part of Oliver Queen’s own backstory, with it finally leading to the moment that turned Slade Wilson against him. Responsible for the removal of Oliver Queen as the CEO of Queen Industries, the murder of his mother, Moira, and leading an army into Star City, Deathstroke has by far been the most destructive foe for the Green Arrow.

18. Green Goblin – Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man)

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The first big bad in the cinematic side of Spider-Man is also its best. While yes, the costume left a lot to be desired, Willem Dafoe is wonderful in his portrayal of Peter Parker’s nemesis. Norman Osborn’s ego and ambition are on full display, as is the distance in the relationship with his son, Harry, due to Norman’s high, somewhat unrealistic, expectations. But what really sells Dafoe as the Green Goblin is his insanity. As a huge fan of the character in the comics, the first time I saw the scene of him talking to himself in the mirror, I literally got goosebumps. It’s that perfect.

17. The Governor – David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)

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While the television version of the character isn’t quite as despicable as its comic counterpart, it’s still quite villainous. He may not have cut off Rick’s hand nor beaten and raped Michonne like he does in the comics, but he’s still responsible whether directly or indirectly for the deaths of Hershel, Andrea, Merle, Axel, Milton, and Martinez, as well as the sexual assault of Maggie, the beating of Glenn, and the destruction of the prison that Rick’s group had made a sanctuary. Also unlike the comic book, David Morrissey’s Governor actually got a fan-satisfying death.

16. Catwoman – Julie Newmar (Batman – TV Series)

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The original femme fatale of comic books played by the beautiful Julie Newmar, was sheer perfection for the campy 1960’s era Batman. She may not have been the acrobatic ass kicker we’ve come to expect from Catwoman, but her portrayal was spot-on for that time period. Conniving yet playful, dangerous yet sexy, you couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Sadly, Eartha Kitt’s attempt to replace her in the 3rd season of the series fell short.

My goal is to get the rest of the countdown knocked out this week. Watched Ant-Man and the Wasp Sunday, and want to get to the review. So, hopefully I’ll see you guys tomorrow as we drop another 5 baddies.

Greatest Comic Book Villain Portrayals – Part 1

What good is a hero without an equally menacing and compelling villain? Sure, the hero is the focus of the story, but he/she has to have something or someone to overcome. That’s what makes the hero’s journey so interesting and entertaining. Comics have long featured the best baddies that pop culture has to offer, so why would the movies and television series that are based on them be any different? So let’s countdown the best portrayals of villains in comic book properties (note: I’m only including live action portrayals…though there are some truly fantastic villain performances in cartoons…including the greatest villain portrayal ever: Mark Hamill’s Joker).

Here…we…go…

25. The Penguin – Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)

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While I’m not a fan of the show as a whole, for several reasons that I won’t get into here, I very much enjoy the portrayal of a young, power-hungry Oswald Cobblepot delivered by an underrated Robin Lord Taylor. Seeing the Penguin’s rise to power was one of the things that first interested me in the show. Sadly, it was not enough to overcome my other issues with the series.

24. The Joker – Cesar Romero (Batman – TV Series)

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The original Joker. His take on the character may not be the scheming, homicidal lunatic that the Joker was originally created to be, Romero’s performance was a perfect characterization of the Clown Prince of Crime’s comic counterpart of that era. Luckily the comics eventually dropped the camp and returned Batman to his darker, grittier beginnings, and in doing so saw the Joker’s portrayals change in kind.

23. Deacon Frost – Stephen Dorff  (Blade)

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It’s sad that the movie Blade is so often forgotten when it comes to discussion of comic book films, and with it, the fantastic performance of Stephen Dorff as the vampire Deacon Frost. Frost is violent, conniving, overly ambitious, and just as dangerous to other vampires that don’t share his vision of the future as he is to the humans he views as cattle. With his dark charisma, he very much plays the foil to Wesley Snipes’ dry and stoic titular half-human/half-vamp slayer, and ends up stealing the show in the process.

22. Saint of Killers – Graham McTavish (Preacher)

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Preacher hasn’t been quite the frame-for-frame re-telling of Garth Ennis’ seminal series that I had hoped for, and the characterization has been a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to capturing the essence of the comic’s counterpart. But one of the major hits has been the portrayal of the Saint of Killers. Cold, mostly emotionless, and virtually indestructible, he is the ultimate killing machine and is played to perfection by Graham McTavish. His origin story is easily one of the best parts of Season 1.

21. Dr. Octopus – Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)

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There are plenty who would probably claim I’m blasphemous for rating Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2 so low, but I’ll explain why. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with his performance, but I was not a fan of the decision to portray him as sympathetic and giving him a personal connection to Peter Parker…a theme that was rampant throughout the Tobey Maguire lead Spider-Man series. Literally EVERY villain was connected to him in someway. It wasn’t necessary and felt very forced. Then with the sympathy angle on top of that, it felt like a slight to the man that, until the Green Goblin murdered Gwen Stacy, could have been argued was Spider-Man’s primary antagonist.

 

That’s all for this round. I’ll try to get this pumped out quickly. With Ant-Man & the Wasp releasing this week, I want to make sure I can get around to its review before it’s been out too long.

Do We Really Need a Standalone Joker Movie?

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The DCEU has decided, despite its mixed at best reception, to make a spin-off of Suicide Squad with a standalone Joker movie starring Jared Leto. This comes after a Joaquin Phoenix-lead Joker film had been announced as well. It appears DC is prepared to go forward with both. Why make two standalones of the same character at the same time, but played by different actors? In what ways, if any, will these movies be connected? How will they tie into the DCEU as a whole? But the real question is, do we even need a solo Joker movie?

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Don’t get me wrong, I love the character. My love for him as a villain is almost equal to my love of his nemesis, the Caped Crusader, Batman. And we all know how much I love me some Dark Knight. But the problem is that everything that makes the Clown Prince of Crime so interesting is tied into his relationship with Batman. He is a fantastic foil and counterpart to Batman. He is an agent of chaos, while Bats is a sentinel of order and justice. Joker is a homicidal lunatic; Batman, while violent in his own right, won’t cross that line into killing (unless it’s Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck behind the cowl, then they’re just as much a murderer as Joker). And that’s a line Joker constantly taunts Batman to cross. It’s those diametrically opposing ideas and the dynamic they create that makes their relationship so compelling.

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Further tying the two together is the idea that the Joker wouldn’t even exist, at least not at the level his has reached, without Batman. Would the man that became the Joker still be a psychopath? Absolutely. But the Dark Knight gives him an object on which to focus his psychosis. With Batman’s resistance and constant thwarting of his plans, Joker’s psychopathy escalates. This is not to say that Batman is responsible for the Joker’s condition, but simply to illustrate the co-dependence to his enemy in the Joker’s mind. Never was this more on display than in Frank Miller’s influential The Dark Knight Returns, where after decades of crime-fightning, Bruce Wayne hangs up his cape. Without a target to channel his madness, the Joker becomes catatonic. But when Bruce is forced out of “retirement” by a new threat, Joker’s horribly deranged mind springs to life again, causing him to murder an entire studio full of people on television just to get Batman’s attention.
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Literally everything the Joker does is done as a way to hurt or punish Batman in a twisted game. Not grasping that concept (along with his utterly stupid appearance) was already a major flaw in Leto’s Joker, where he was willing to go to great lengths to rescue Harley, not something Joker would do unless it was directly part of a plot against the Caped Crusader. Which it was not. Just perpetuated the incorrect notion that he actually cares about her. He doesn’t. At all. She’s nothing but an expendable pawn to him. Throughout his history in the comics, Joker has murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd, paralyzed and sexually assaulted Barbara Gordon, and kidnapped and threatened to murder Nightwing, Robin, Alfred, Catwoman, Batgirl, Red Robin, and Jim Gordon all in attempts to hurt Batman without actually killing him.

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Even if we could go back in time and get a standalone film of Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, I wouldn’t be that interested. Hell, even if it was an animated movie with the ultimate Joker, Mark Hamill, providing the voice, I wouldn’t want it without Batman. Essentially what it all boils down to is that the Joker is a fantastic supporting character. He is amazing as the nemesis of Batman. But as a standalone figure, what can really be done? There’s nothing about him that is interesting strictly in and of himself. He needs Batman to play off of. Without that, he’s just any other mad man.

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25 Greatest Comic Character Portrayals (First Revision)

It’s been a couple of years since I made the first edition of this list. With the plethora of new comic films that have been released since then, several of which have introduced us to new characters or at least new takes on established ones, I figured it was time to dust off the old list and give her a revision. As before, I looked at a combination of performances that stayed true to the comic counterpart and just plain old great acting to create a compelling character. Some of them lean more towards one side of the equation, but I feel like all of them touch on at least a little of both. Some portrayals have risen in the ranks, some have fallen, and several fell off all together. Also like before, with several of these characters having been played by multiple people, I list the actor and what movie(s)/television show the portrayal is in.

Portrayals that fell off from the previous list:
Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) – Road to Perdition, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) – The Amazing Spider-Man, Marv (Mickey Rourke) – Sin City, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) – X-Men, Superman (Christopher Reeves) – Superman, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) – The Dark Knight trilogy

25. The Flash (Grant Gustin) – The Flash

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24. Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) – Black Panther

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23. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) The Walking Dead

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22. X-23 (Dafne Keen) – Logan

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21. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) – The Walking Dead

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20. Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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19. Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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18. Kilgrave (David Tennant) – Jessica Jones

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17. V (Hugo Weaving) – V for Vendetta

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16. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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15. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) – Watchmen

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14. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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13. Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) – Watchmen

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12. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) – X-Men

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11. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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10. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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9. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) – Deadpool

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8. Thanos (Josh Brolin) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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7. Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) – Daredevil (TV series)

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6. Daredevil (Charlie Cox) – Daredevil (TV series)

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5. Batman (Christian Bale) – The Dark Knight trilogy

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4. Captain America (Chris Evans) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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3. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) – Marvel Cinematic Universe

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2. J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) – Spider-Man

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1. The Joker (Heath Ledger) – The Dark Knight

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So what do you think? Who’s too low? Who’s too high? Who got left off that shouldn’t have been? Let me know in the comments.

20 Greatest Comic Book Television Series

* = indicates an animated series

20. Spider-Man*

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Kicking things off on the list is the Spider-Man animated series from the 90’s. Did a fantastic job weaving together both classic and modern elements of the Wall Crawler and his vast array of supporting characters. Was, along with Batman: The Animated Series, largely responsible for the resurgence of comic book properties in the mainstream and the corresponding boom in merchandise.

19. Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

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After the flop that was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, the Man of Steel laid virtually dormant as a media property outside of comics. This is the show that really brought him back to the public eye. Dean Cain played a serviceable, if not spectacular Superman, but his chemistry between he and the beautiful Teri Hatcher was the driving force of the series.

18. Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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Fun and easily accessible. A good portion of the fanbase for this teen supernatural comedy have no idea that it was actually a modernized take on an Archie Comics series. While Melissa Joan Hart was great in the titular role, the real star of the show was the animatronic cat, Salem.

17. Batman

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Yes, it’s campy. Yes, it strips away all of the darkness and edge from the Caped Crusader. Yes, it is just downright silly at times. And yes, it is ridiculously entertaining in its own right.

16. Legends of Tomorrow

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The first of 3 of CW’s series of inter-connected DC properties known as the “Arrowverse.” A ragtag team of former villains and fallen/disgraced heroes all in search of redemption as they travel through time battling threats to humanity. Not as consistent as Arrow, but at its best, I actually think it’s better.

15. Agent Carter

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Simultaneously a spin-off of both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Captain America film franchise, Agent Carter followed the life of Cap’s old love interest Peggy Carter and her struggles to prove herself as not only a capable agent, but actually the best agent in a male-dominated world. Really bridges the gap between the MCU movies and television series.

14. Arrow

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The show that launched CW’s “Arrowverse.” Much darker in tone than the other series in the shared universe, without being too dark. While Stephen Amell looks the part of Oliver Queen pretty well, and I appreciate his commitment to the parkour and training regimen for the role, his acting always seems to fall a bit flat, especially in comparison to some of his co-stars like Emily Bett Rickards (Felicity Smoak) and David Ramsey (Spartan). Known for strangely consistently using Batman villains instead of digging deep into Green Arrow’s rogues gallery.

13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles*

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Considered by many to be the definitive take on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s iconic crime fighting reptiles. Much more lighthearted and funny, and less faithful to and focused on the samurai culture than the original comic, but responsible for creating many of the personality traits and characteristics that have become widely-accepted parts of these beloved characters, including the turtles wearing different colored masks and making April O’Neil a reporter instead of a computer programmer and lab assistant.

12. Luke Cage

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While the series’ first season feels a bit uneven, with a fantastic, engaging first half followed by a slow, sometimes to the point of boring, second half, when it’s good, it’s very good. A huge part of that imbalance comes from the lack of Cottonmouth (played brilliantly by Mahershala Ali) in the back half, and the antagonist focus shifting to the poorly developed, far less interesting, Diamondback. Here’s hoping the second season can reach a little more consistency.

11. Preacher

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Loosely based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s seminal comic series of the same name, about a Texas preacher who becomes imbued with supernatural powers on his journey to literally find God. The first season serves almost as a prequel, with small pieces of the early issues woven in. While there are several great performances on the show, the true stand out is Joseph Gilgun as the hard-drinking Irish vampire, Cassidy.

10. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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The first television entrant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Started off a bit slow, but by the end of the first season, it really found its legs, thanks in large part to direct connections to the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Focuses on a team of specialized agents on clandestine missions for the government lead by Phil Coulson (resurrected after the events of The Avengers), and features one of the most diverse ensembles on television.

9. X-Men*

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Piggybacking off of Jim Lee’s excellent, highly successful run on the X-Men comics, the animated series was largely faithful to the source material and served as the entry point into the X-Men universe for a lot of kids in the mid- to late-90’s. And how much sadder would the Internet be without the overdubbed parody clip “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”?

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8. The Tick*

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Off-beat, quirky, and incredibly funny, The Tick may have only lasted for a mere 36 episodes, but it quickly developed a large cult following. Detailing the exploits of the extremely strong, but equally as dim-witted superhero, The Tick, the show did a tremendous job lampooning superhero archetypes and cliches.

7. Tales From the Crypt

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HBO’s horror anthology series is famous for the amazing guest starring roles it seemed to pull in every episode and the iconic pun-spewing host, the Crypt-Keeper. Borrowing several stories directly from the 1950’s EC Comics series, and paying homage to the classic horror style in the stories that weren’t, one of the best series in the genre.

6. Jessica Jones

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Heavy and gritty, the Netflix series delves deep into the scarred psyche of the super-powered titular hero (Krysten Ritter) and the effects of the PTSD she suffers after being raped and forced to kill by the mind-controlling sociopath Kilgrave (played to surprisingly icky perfection by David Tenant). Might have been even higher if not for a somewhat disappointing second season.

5. The Flash

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Proof that you don’t have to be dark to make a great comic TV show. Centered around the Barry Allen version of the Scarlet Speedster, The Flash is compelling, smart, and just downright entertaining. Grant Gustin is wonderful in the lead role and is surrounded by a great cast of supporting characters, with Wentworth Miller’s take on Captain Cold being a personal favorite. The only real issue with the series has been its over-reliance on speedsters as the primary villain, finally breaking that mold in the 4th season.

4. The Punisher

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Spinning off of Daredevil, Netflix’s The Punisher is as violent and brooding as you’ll find in a comic book based TV series. Jon Bernthal finally brings us the live action version of Frank Castle we’ve been waiting for. Even as violent as it is, the mayhem and blood never seem forced or over the top, but instead feel like a necessary part of the story of brutal justice for a man who had his family taken from him.

3. Batman: The Animated Series*

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Definitely the top animated series in the world of comics, and in the discussion for best cartoons period. Darker and more well-written than the average animated fare. For many people, myself included, this is THE definitive portrayal of both Batman and the Joker, played to perfection by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively. Also responsible for creating the beloved Harley Quinn and the now-canonical tragic backstory for Mr. Freeze.

2. Daredevil

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Netflix’s dark, gritty take on Marvel’s Man Without Fear, is the greatest superhero show ever produced. Compelling storytelling and some of the best fight choreography you’ll ever see are highlighted by incredible performances from Charlie Cox as the titular hero and Vincent D’Onofrio as his nemesis Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin.

1. The Walking Dead

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Easily the greatest television adaptation of a comic book, and arguably one of the greatest series in general. While the show has definitely taken a step down in quality as of late, it is still a fantastic journey into the human condition. When all of society crumbles after a zombie outbreak, you get to see who people really are. Watching the character progressions of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) are especially captivating.