Everyone knows of Superman, Spider-man, Batman, etc. but there are some great superheroes that seem to be left in the shadows of these comic book giants, well today I want to shed some light on some of these incredible, but lesser known characters. Here are five characters from the DC and Marvel Universes that have a lot going for them, but just can’t seem to make into the superhero mainstream.
Etrigan the Demon
The first big appearance of this character, outside of the comic books, was in the animated TV show, Justice League Unlimited, that ran from 2004 to 2006, and did they portray him well! The thing about Etrigan is he isn’t like most characters. Etrigan is a demon, obviously, who has bound himself to a human named Jason Blood. While he is a demon, he more than not allies himself with the forces of good. During the fight for Camelot against Morgaine le Fey, Merlin summoned Etrigan when Camelot was about to fall. When it was certain that the castle was doomed, Merlin sent Etrigan away and bound him with a human named Jason Blood. However it was not until centuries later that Blood stumbled upon the tomb of Merlin and read a poem upon the crypt. Blood is a Gotham resident, often found teaming up with the Dark Knight to fight crime (even before teaming up with Etrigan.) Etrigan is such an interesting character because DC is able to have a story line that focuses upon Etrigan and Jason Blood, two very different people, but two very interesting stories.
Watergate, the JFK assassination, 911, and any other event in history that has a conspiracy behind it, this guy eats up for breakfast. While Batman may be the World’s greatest detective, Question is the World’s greatest P.I. and conspiracy theorist. Created by the one and only Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-man). Vic Sage was an investigative journalist whose career went big when he became an on air news reporter. Not long after he began to investigate a Dr. Twain who had been working on a artificial skin called Pseudoderm. It was meant to be like New Skin (you know the liquid band-aid stuff) except it was toxic if it got into an open wound. Knowing that he could not face Dr. Twain on his own, he worked with one of Dr. Twain’s co-creators of the Pseudoderm, Aristotle Rodor, who suggested that he use a mask of Pseudoderm to hide his famous face. After stopping Twain and reporting his illegal activities on air as Vic Sage, Sage thought this disguise would be useful for future investigations. What makes Question so different from other superheroes of the Silver Age is that he is ruthless in his methods. However, while he may (kind of look) look like Rorschach, of the Watchmen, and act like him too, he found that, after trying to emulate Rorschach he gets his ass kicked! Therefore, he concludes that Rorschach sucks! (Obviously that is up to debate!) If you are a fan of a guy who looks for conspiracies and will do anything to find the answer, this is the superhero for you!
Megan Gwynn, aka Pixie, was born in a small mining town, one in which her father was killed during a mining accident. It is later discovered that he was not actually his father, but the villainous Mastermind, making Pixie to be the the half-sister of Lady Mastermind and Mastermind II. Megan was a very cheerful student at Xavier’s School who had always had an easy time making connections and getting along with her classmates and peers. As the name suggest, Pixie has a pair of insect-like wings which allow her to fly. She allows possesses “pixie dust” which created hallucinations to whomever comes in contact with it. What makes Pixie such an interesting character isn’t her powers (obviously) but instead, her intertwining with Illyana (also known as Magik), the younger sister of Colossus. Due to Darkchilde persona, Magik used a spell to immobilize Pixie, since she had the most innocent soul. While this process was interrupted, Pixie gained the ability to use magic, such as teleportation (which insistently was taught to her by Magik). She also gains a powerful weapon known as a Soulsword (the glowing pink thingy in the picture) that she uses in her various battles against the enemies of the X-men and Magik on many different occasions. This ability, through dark magic, lead to a dark time for Pixie in San Francisco, but you’ll have to read more about this in a future post!
Marvel has done something incredible with this character. We have seen Christian heroes, Jewish heroes, atheist heroes, heroes that had no religion because the world in which they came from did not have any, but no hero (to my knowledge) has been of the Muslim faith. I have got to say that is awesome. Sooraya Qadir, also known as Dust, maybe one of the first superheroes to come from Afghanistan. It reopens the idea that anyone can be a superhero, no matter what your background is. Sooraya was born into the slave markets of Afghanistan, a very unlikely beginning for most superheroes. She has the ability to turn her body into a large cloud of dust, as well as control sand around her. She first learned of her powers when a slaver attempted to take off her traditional garbs, known as a niqab. She is a currently a member of the Young X-men and a student at Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. She is a very quiet and nervous girl, which I can understand from being held as a slave for a majority of your childhood! Funny note, she is roommates with Surge (you will read about her next) who often is ridiculed and questioned her for wearing the traditional garments of her faith. Personalities will class I guess. But the greatest part about her is the fact that she is a rare example of a positive Muslim character, something that would be very fortunate to see in the comic book worlds: more acceptance of others.
There are good students in Xavier’s School who are “goodie goods” and there are some who are trouble kids, and THEN there are some who have found themselves in dark situation to deal with their mutant powers. Noriko Ashida, aka Surge, is the last type of person. Born in Japan, she was forced to rely upon acquiring prescription drugs illegally to reduce her highly accelerated mutant brain. As a child she ran away from home when her father refused to accept her genetic mutation. Since then she has had problems with authority and finds herself rebelling against it when she finds necessary. She has the ability to constantly absorb electricity, from the air, lights, fixtures, etc. She cannot control when or how much electricity she absorbs, therefore she must wear special gauntlets that help regulate her electrical intake. If she takes in too much electricity, it causes a mental overload (which is why she was initially taking illegally obtained prescription drugs) and she speaks too quickly as well as being unable to think straight or concentrate. Not only can she absorb electricity, but she can also release it in forms of electric blasts/channels that travel at lightning speed (pun intended). She is kind of like a Japanese Wolverine with boobs…and she can shot lightning from her hands! But personality wise, she is definitely like Wolverine! Ya know, clashing with peers and superiors, doesn’t do well with orders, etc.