Tag Archives: Thanos

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.

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The Avengers: Infinity War Predictions

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With Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War just a week away, the culmination of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point is almost here. You’d be hard-pressed to go anywhere online without finding some talk about the movie going on. And with good reason. It is without question the most ambitious undertaking in the history of cinema. Leading the threads of nine separate series into one enormous, inter-connected franchise has been nothing short of incredible. The fact that over the span of 18 films with 15 different directors Marvel has rarely fumbled in delivering high quality, enjoyable entertainment would be reason enough for celebration on their part, but to have done so while weaving together a world of gods, super soldiers, aliens, spies, and genius billionaire playboy philanthropists, is truly amazing.

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For all 10 years of its existence, Marvel Studios has been building to this moment…to Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. Based loosely on Infinity Gauntlet, the 1991 limited series by Jim Starlin that saw the powerful titan Thanos collect the six Infinity Gems (changed to Stones in the MCU) that each contain the essence of and grant control to the possessor of a different facet of the universe: Mind, Power, Reality, Soul, Space, and Time. For all intents and purposes, to wield them all is to be like God…though Marvel’s actual version of God, the One-Above-All, is still more powerful as he exists outside of reality and time. Thanos uses his new found omnipotence to wipe out half the life in the universe to balance the scales as a tribute to Death, with whom he is desperately in love. This obviously draws the attention of Marvel’s heroes as well as a few villains and more neutral cosmic beings. An alliance of them all faces off against Thanos with him easily defeating/killing almost all of them, taking some serious manipulation and reverse psychology to finally get the Gauntlet from his hand, allowing Adam Warlock to reverse all the destruction Thanos had caused.

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The main question surrounding Infinity War is “who will survive.” With the contracts of several of the main actors in the MCU coming to an end, and one (Chris Evans) having said he’s looking to retire from acting to focus on directing, many believe that a lot of the old guard like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are on borrowed time. I have my own theories on what to expect in this monumental event.

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Personally, I don’t expect as many major deaths in this film as most seem to. That is not said as a slight to Marvel Studios for fearing to pull the trigger on killing off their major properties as I’ve read several Marvel-haters imply. I simply believe that with Avengers 4 coming out next year and acting as a 2nd half to this story, that that is when we will see the bulk of superhero slaughter. I see Infinity War as focusing on Thanos and his quest to collect all the Infinity Stones. There will obviously be resistance from our merry band of heroes, and I do believe we will see a few deaths in the process, but not on the scale that many are expecting.

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One hero whose days are all but surely numbered is Vision. The sentient android is literally walking around with the Mind Stone on his forehead. Unless he finds a way to survive without it, he’s going to have to die for Thanos to complete the Gauntlet. I also have a suspicion that Loki may meet his end in the film, possibly very early on. In the mid-credit stinger from Thor: Ragnarok we see the ship that now carries all of the Asgardian people intercepted by an enormous spaceship that clearly carries the design of Thanos’s helmet on the front. We can assume then that the ship is that of the Mad Titan himself…probably there to collect the Tesseract which houses the Space Stone. While we never actually saw Loki take the Tesseract from Odin’s vault, it clearly caught his attention on his way to resurrect Surtur in the Eternal Flame. We also see in the trailers for Infinity War that Loki appears to be holding the Tesseract and offering it up to someone. This leads me to believe that Thanos will board their ship and start killing Asgardians trying to find the Stone…a battle that I believe will result in Thor being thrown from the ship (as he’s seen floating in space and discovered by the Guardians of the Galaxy in the first trailer). Loki, finally heeding his brother’s words that he could be more than just the God of Mischief, will offer it to him in exchange for sparing his people. I see Thanos accepting the deal, but then turning around and killing Loki instead. With Loki sacrificing himself, he’ll finally be the savior of Asgard with the admiration of his people he always desired.

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Outside of those two, I don’t believe any of the major characters perish in this film. I can see several of the supporting characters meeting their end, like Dr. Strange’s fellow sorcerer, Wong, or some of the secondary characters from Black Panther, as there definitely seems to be a large scale battle taking place in Wakanda, with Thanos even squaring off with Cap in one of the most truly epic snippets in any of the trailers.

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So who do you think will die in Infinity War? We’ll find out if I’m right next week. I’ve got my ticket for the preview night on the 26th. I’ll try to have a review out the following day. See you then.

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.

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 11

50. Thanos

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Possessing incredible superhuman strength and endurance, telekinesis, a brilliant scientific and strategic mind, and an obsession with the embodiment of Death, the being known as the Mad Titan is one of the most formidable in all comics. Unique among major villains in that he is not the nemesis of any one particular hero. Through his callousness and attempts to impress Lady Death, Thanos has crossed paths with virtually all cosmic heroes, and just about all of the Earth-based ones as well. Never was he more powerful than when he located all six of the Infinity Gems and created the Infinity Gauntlet, granting him control over reality, time, space, power, the mind, and the soul. He was omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent…basically the most powerful being to ever exist.

49. Scarlet Witch

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The daughter of Magneto and twin sister of fellow mutant hero Quicksilver. As her name would imply, Wanda Maximoff has the ability to cast all sorts of spells and hexes, but what makes her truly powerful is her ability to alter and control reality itself. So incredible is this power that in the “Decimation” story arc, with the utterance of the simple phrase “No more mutants,” Scarlet Witch wiped out about 99% of the world’s mutant population. With her mutant genetics, she has had short stints with some of Marvel’s X-teams, but she is most often portrayed as a long-standing member of The Avengers. Her tenure with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes eventually lead her to a romantic relationship with the android Vision.

48. Loki

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The Norse god of mischief, Loki is the adopted son of Odin and brother of Thor. Loki desires for nothing more than power and control. He believes that his brother is a brash, hot-headed, brainless warmonger who is far less fit for the throne of Asgard than he. Because of this the relationship with his adoptive brother is almost always one of contention, though they have worked together one more than one occasion. Loki is also responsible for the creation of The Avengers, as events he set in motion necessitated several of Earth’s heroes banding together to stop them.

47. Captain Marvel (Shazam)

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DC Comics’ Captain Marvel, though due to a lawsuit with Marvel Comics, he is otherwise known as Shazam. When the child Billy Batson utters the word “Shazam!” he transforms into an adult with power that rivals that of Superman. He is virtually immortal and invincible, can shoot and control lightning, has a genius-level intellect, can fly, and possesses superhuman strength and speed. While Captain Marvel is typically regarded as a character from a bygone era, he was never more modern or relevant (or dangerous) than he was in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s masterpiece Kingdom Come, when he is manipulated and controlled by Lex Luthor into a climactic showdown with the Man of Steel…a fight that eventually leads to the death of nearly all of DC’s heroes.

46. Archie Andrews

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Another iconic character from a simpler time. The last holdover from the days of wholesome, strictly family-friendly comics. Portrayed as the all-American boy-next-door, Archie Andrews and the comic that shares his name epitomized the look and feel of the 1940’s and 50’s. Unlike most comic characters, whose appearances change slightly depending on the artist, Archie and the rest of the gang from Riverdale have remained mostly the same throughout the vast majority of their 70-plus years of existence. Only in the recent years was a change made to make the characters appear more current. The cartoonish style in which the characters were drawn has become synonymous with the characters themselves, leading people to refer to it as the “Archie-style.” Archie is also notable in that he is the only major comic character to have an entire publication company named after it.

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

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Sorry I haven’t been around much lately guys. Had a death in the family and needed to focus on that. But I’m back! And what better way to make my long(2 week)-anticipated(not really) return, than to review the biggest comic movie of the summer: Guardians of the Galaxy!

Before I was able to see it, I had heard nothing but wonderful things about the movie (with the exception of one guy on here that seemed rather angry over a lot of nothing). I had heard from several people that it was the “greatest Marvel movie EVER!” Very lofty praise considering how epic and groundbreaking The Avengers was, and how downright amazing Captain America: The Winter Soldier was. I tried to take these comments with a grain of salt since some of those I heard this from where the same people that said X-Men: Days of Future Past was the greatest Marvel movie ever. And as you’ll recall, I disagreed with that view. Now that I’ve seen Guardians, I have to disagree with the claims that it’s the greatest too. But don’t fret, dear reader…the movie is awesome! It would only rank 3rd on my list of Marvel movies, and probably 5th among comic movies as a whole!

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The story is pretty basic and nothing particularly innovative, but it works very well at being an introduction into this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without the help of any established or major characters, it was a smart move to keep the script mostly light-hearted and funny. It always helps to not take yourself too seriously in a movie that has talking trees and raccoons.

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Speaking of which, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, absolutely stole the show. His voice work was great and fit the character to a tee. James Gunn did an excellent job writing for him too, making Rocket equal parts badass and comic relief. I also liked Groot a lot more than I thought I would. I was wary of how they were going to endear a character that can only say, to quote Rocket, “‘I’, ‘am’, and ‘Groot’. Exclusively in that order.” But the CGI team did an incredible job in conveying his emotions and feelings through his facial expressions, and Gunn used, to great effect, Rocket’s interactions with Groot to get across the things that expressions could not. Well done.

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I thought Chris Pratt was great. Take the best parts of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds and sprinkle in some 80’s pop culture references, and you have Star-Lord. Pratt was funny and engaging, and turned out to be quite the leading man…something I was unsure he could be.

Gamora

While I’m still not blown away by the look of Gamora (it’s the markings around the eyes that just aren’t quite right), Zoe Saldana was very good in the role. I do feel that Gamora was a little underwhelming as a fighter at times, considering she was supposed to be a walking weapon, but that’s not Zoe’s fault. She was still a very powerful, independent female character that girls can latch on to (my friend Justin’s daughter said that Gamora was her favorite character when we got out of the theater).

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The actor I was most impressed with was Dave Bautista. I’m a huge fan of wrestling, so I’m very familiar with his work as a professional wrestler, but I have to admit, I’d never seen a single movie he’s ever been in. I had very low expectations for his ability as an actor, but he was a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t Oscar-worthy or anything, but he did a good job with what he was asked to do.

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Ronin was a good, yet somewhat inconsistent, villain. Despite these small inconsistencies, he was a complete juggernaut in battle, which definitely put some suspense into the final showdown. I enjoyed Nebula quite a bit, and look forward to where they take the character next. But the real gem of the baddies in Guardians came in the form of Thanos. We finally got to see him fully on screen. While I still think he looks too small, the voice was perfect. And to say that I’m excited for what’s coming next with him, would be a gross understatement.

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Even if you’re not a fan of the comic, or of comics in general, I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy, especially if you’re a fan Star Wars and/or Firefly. It’s a fantastic sci-fi flick, loaded with both humor and action, and one of the greatest soundtracks ever. And even if you haven’t seen the rest of the MCU movies, there aren’t many connections to the other films. And the ones that are there, aren’t so drastic that you lose anything by having not seen them. So what I’m trying to say is: Go see this movie! It’s worth every penny!

Oh! And if you’re a comic fan, make sure you stick around for the post-credits stinger. Nothing really building towards another movie, but a great, funny moment for geeks to enjoy!

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We Finally Have Our Thanos

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With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out later this summer, and Guardians members Drax the Destroyer and Gamora having deep connections to him, one could guess that Thanos would be popping up in the film. Interestingly though, with only a few months left until the release of the movie, no one had been announced as playing the character. This lead most fans, myself included, to believe that either Thanos wouldn’t actually be seen on screen and only be mentioned, or that they were saving it for a surprise (possibly even just a stinger cameo again like in The Avengers).

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Last week, both of those theories were shattered like Thor after Thanos turned him to glass in The Infinity Gauntlet, when it was officially announced that Oscar-nominated actor Josh Brolin will be providing the voice of the Mad Titan. Apparently, Thanos will only appear on screen as a hologram.

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I’m not sure how I feel about the casting of Brolin. It’s nothing against his acting ability. He’s a very good actor and has been in some great films (True Grit, No Country for Old Men, and Milk, just to name a few). I’m just not convinced that he really fits the character. He’s not particularly tall (5’10”), muscular, or intimidating…three things Thanos most definitely is (Thanos is 6’7″). Brolin’s voice isn’t really what I envision when I think about what Thanos would sound like.

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Of course a lot of this can be covered up/altered using visual and sound effects. And it’s yet to be revealed whether Thanos will be physically played by Brolin, or if he will merely be providing the voice and motion-capture work like James Spader is for the CGI-created Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because of this, I’m staying cautiously optimistic about the character’s representation. Brolin is a top-notch actor, so kudos to Marvel Studios for bagging another big time Hollywood personality to play such an important character in their Cinematic Universe. I’m definitely excited to see Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet story arc finally getting to be presented to the world on screen.

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Captain America: The Best of Us

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Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny that Captain America is one of the most iconic characters in all of comic books. Having debuted in 1941, his history is almost as old as the superhero genre itself.  So on the eve of the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I’ll give you my perspective as to why he might be the greatest superhero of them all.

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Principles: The entire character of Captain America is a symbol of doing what’s right. He was created a year before the attack of Pearl Harbor forced the United States into World War II solely because Joe Simon and Jack Kirby opposed the actions of the Nazi Party. The cover of the very first Captain America comic features the titular character punching Adolf Hitler in the face. This decision was extremely controversial at the time. Many opposed the US getting involved and felt that this could possibly cause retaliation from the Germans. But Simon and Kirby refused to sit quietly while Europe was locked in a bloody battle for freedom. This set the tone for the character that they created, and that still lives on to this day. Regardless of what is popular or safe, Captain America always stands up for what is right.

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Lack of Superpowers: One of the most intriguing things about the Star Spangled Avenger is the fact that, while he has no actual superpowers, he is one of the most respected and feared individuals in the Marvel Universe. True, he had his physiology pushed to the absolute peak of human potential by way of the Super Soldier Serum, but nothing about him is remotely superhuman.

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Intangibles: What he lacks in superpowers, he more than makes up for with his unwavering moral code, a brilliant tactical mind, an incredible fighting prowess, and relentless courage. This lack of abilities has not deterred or prevented him from going toe-to-toe with the likes of The Hulk, Dr. Doom, or Iron Man. He even stood up alone to Thanos while he was in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, making him practically omnipotent. Even the god of thunder Thor, has stated that Captain America is the only human from whom he will take orders…the ultimate sign of the respect that Steve Rogers garners.

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Longevity: The fact that a character that was created to be a symbol of American patriotism in the face of a World War has stood the test of time speaks volumes to its appeal. The fact that he has remained relevant even now in a time where Americanism is not considered something to be valued or proud of, is an incredible testament to the undying hope for the ideals upon which his character is founded.

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So, let’s all give a heartfelt salute to the Sentinel of Liberty and show Hollywood (and the world as a whole) that Captain America is and forever will be the best of what comics has to offer, by throwing down your hard-earned cash to see his new movie.