The Definitive 100 Greatest Black Comic Book Superheroes/Villains: RANKED

Samuel L. Jackson Stars As Elijah Price in "Unbreakable."

The Definitive 100 Greatest Black Comic Book Superheroes/Villains: RANKED

Did your favorite make the list?

Published 3 weeks ago

T'Challa is still the king of the box office. Indeed, Disney-Marvel Studio's record-breaking triumph Black Panther continues to dominate the big screen as the four-day opening weekend haul of the superhero hailing from mythical African nation of Wakanda has taken in an astounding $242 million in the United States alone. For sobering perspective, it's the highest four-day gross ever, beating out Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the highest grossing domestic film of all time. 

The Great 28: Ryan Googler

The success of the big-budget event movie delivered yet more proof that superheroes of color can emphatically hold their own against their white counterparts. In fact, even before the Ryan Coogler-directed instant-franchise took over theaters becoming a cultural phenomenon, it was the trailblazing success of 1998’s Blade, starring Wesley Snipes, that not only helped Marvel Comics rise out of bankruptcy, but it kicked off a string of superhero flicks headlined by some of Marvel’s most beloved and obscure characters (X-Men, Spider-Man, Ironman, Captain America, Thor, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange).

Living in a post Black Panther world now means that every film studio will be scrambling to find the next hit “Black superhero” franchise. And there is an overabundance of source material from independent to mainstream publishing titles to choose from. What you are about to read is the definitive list of the 100 greatest Black comic book superheroes/villains of all-time—all ranked. So where did such heavyweights as Luke Cage, The Walking Dead’s Michonne, Amanda Waller, X-Men’s Storm, Spawn, Cyborg, Black Lightening and the aforementioned Blade and the King of Wakanda land? Prepare yourself for the ultimate debate, true believers.  


  1. 100. Jezebel Jet

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Batman #656, 2006

    A former lover of Bruce Wayne, Jezebel is a striking, highly deductive former model who also happens to be a member of the sinister Black Glove, a secret organization intent on ending the life of Batman.

    99. Lobo

    Publisher: Dell Comics

    1st Appearance: Lobo #1, 1965

    The first comic book with an African-American lead, created by D.J. Ameson, broke all the stereotype-defying rules. Not to be confused with DC Comics’ wise-cracking, space hog riding, intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, the groundbreaking “Old West Lobo” (based on the 1965 book The Negro Cowboys) was a mysterious Black, wealthy, and defiant gunslinger who was more Lone Ranger than Jesse James. His trademark: a gold coin imprinted with ominous images of a wolf and the letter “L.”  

    98. Shades

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Heroes for Hire, 1972

    One of Power Man’s (Luke Cage) original Harlem baddies went on to become a community organizer in Hell’s Kitchen.   

    97. Fox

    Publisher: Top Cow Comics

    1st Appearance: Wanted #0, 2003

    When it came time for this gorgeous, ruthless professional assassin to get her close-up on the big screen in the 2008 action film Wanted, she was brazenly white-washed with Angelina Jolie taking on the role.   

    96. Tattooed Man

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Green Lantern Vol. 4, 2006

    The at times conflicted Mark Richards, who can mentally control the sins of all of the men he has killed tattooed on his body, was given honorary membership in the Justice League of America after playing a pivotal role in breaking Darkseid’s hold over Earth.

    95. Black Mariah

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Hero for Hire #5, 1973

    One of Power Man’s most infamous and controversial arch villains, Mariah Dillard is as ruthless as she is brilliant.

    94. Thunderball

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Defenders, 1974

    A member of the Wrecking Crew, Thunderball can do incalculable damage with his enchanted wrecking ball. But Dr. Elliot Franklin, a genius PhD physicist, isn’t all brawn.

    93. Tobias Wale

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Lightening #1, 1977

    Just like on CW’s Black Lightening, Mr. Wale’s weapon of choice is a wale harpoon. But in the comics the Black 6-foot-5, 400-pound albino is even more menacing.

    92. Idie Okonkwo

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Uncanny X-Men, 2010

    Born in Nigeria, one of Wolverine’s favorite mentorees has the ability to alter and manipulate temperature.

    91. Marie Laveau

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Dracula Lives #2, 1973

    This supernatural being has gone toe to toe with Dr. Strange and Blade. In other words, the ancient Laveau is no joke.


  2. 90. Rubberband Man

    Publisher: Milestone Media/DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Static #33, 1996

    Created by the late, game-changing African-American comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie, Rubberman Man was a D-list character in the Static universe. That is until he was given new life in the Static Shock animated television series (2000-2005).

    89. Lysistrata Jones

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Icon #13, 1996

    As part of the over-the-top ‘70s Blaxploitation spoof Buckwild, Lysistrata Jones is still debating between the title of “Black Queen of Crime” or “Queen of Black Crime.”

    88. Lady Sentinel

    Publisher: Image Comics

    1st Appearance: Youngblood #8, 2009

    Kiesha Langston wears high-tech armor, which she helped to create, giving her super human strength, the power of flight, speed and the ability to generate energy blasts.

    87. Midnight Sun

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Marvel Special Edition #16, 1974

    The African-born M’Nai went from being a henchman for the politically incorrect mastermind Fu Manchu to being reanimated and enormously enhanced by the Kree, almost coming close to taking out the Silver Surfer.  

    86. Murmur

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Alpha Flight # 1, 1997

    A member of the Canadian mutant superhero collective Alpha Flight, Arlette Truffaunt can take full control of someone’s mind with just one touch.

    85. Synch

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: X-Men #36, 1994

    When he’s in the same vicinity of other super humans, Synch has the ability to take on any power they possess. The St. Louis teen was later killed during an explosion as he successfully saved human students attending the Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters.

    84. Prodigy

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: New Mutants, vol. 2 #4, 2003

    A former Xavier Institute student, David “Prodigy” Alleyne lost his mutant power to absorb the knowledge and specific talents of anyone within a distance. However, he later regains every skill and intellect he has ever taken on, making him an exceptional teacher for future X-Men members. 

    83. Lightning

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Kingdome Come #1 (1996)

    The youngest daughter of Black Lightning shares the electrical manipulation powers of her old man with a few differences, most notably the ability of flight.

    82. Bulletproof (Zandale Randolph)

    Publisher: DC Comics/Milestone

    1st Appearance: Icon #19, 1994

    One of several citizens who survived the Big Bang event, Bulletproof’s lack of ambition led him to small time robbery.  

    81. Dr. Positron

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Legend of the Blue Marvel #2, 2009

    While attending Howard University during his final year, Max’s mother is killed. He eventually discovers that his father is none other than superhero and Avengers member Blue Marvel and blames his pops for his mom’s death as well as his brother Kevin’s imprisonment in the Neutral Zone. Seeking revenge and a way to rescue his sibling he joins the criminal enterprise W.E.S.P.


  3. (Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

    80. Thunder

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Outsiders vol. 3 #1, 2003

    The meta-human muscle of the Pierce family, Anissa is the oldest daughter of Black Lightning.  

    79. Rage

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Avengers #326, 1990

    The Brooklyn-born Rage wanted to use his newfound powers (superhuman strength, which increases with more applied force) to make a difference. With stints in the Avengers and the New Warriors he more than fulfilled his dream.  

    78. Cecilia Reyes

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: X-Men #65, 1997

    When it came to a choice between being an X-Men and a life in medicine, the reluctant Afro-Latina mutant took the Hippocratic Oath. But Cecilia Reyes, who can generate a sustained force field, still keeps in touch with her good friend Beast.

    77. Calypso

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    Amazing Spider-Man #209, 1980

    Over the years, the powerful voodoo practitioner has tangled with the Web Crawler. And Calypso can also resurrect herself after death. Fun times.

    76. Patriot

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appeared: Young Avengers #1, 2005

    A member of the Young Avengers and grandson of Isaiah Bradley (who took on the mantle of Captain America when the original super soldier was presumed dead during World War II), the Patriot sided with Steve Rogers, opposing the Superhuman Registration Act. 

    75. Joshua-X

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Crew #1, 2003

    The son of Black World War II super soldier Isaiah Bradley, Joshua-X converted to Islam, later joining the super team The Crew, which includes War Machine and Kasper Cole. Joshua possesses a more stable peak human gene making him superior to past super soldiers and proudly carries his father’s triangle Captain America shield.   

    74. Kasper Cole

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Panther #50

    A narcotics officer, Kasper Cole’s honesty proved to be too much for his corrupt Lieutenant Sal Anthony who ambushed the straight arrow lawman and his crew in a hail of bullets. Good thing Kasper was wearing a bulletproof Black Panther costume he took from his boss Sergeant Took, an ally of T’Challa. He later becomes White Tiger.

    73. Livewire

    Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

    1st Appearance: Harbinger #3, 2012

    The statuesque Amanda McKee, who was trained in the ways of the samurai by Harbinger founder Toyo Harada, can manipulate all machines and cyber technology.

    72. Kid Flash

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: The Flash Annual #3, 2014

    The dynamic speedster and second Kid Flash is the nephew of Iris West and the son of the Daniel West, a.k.a. the Reverse Flash.

    71. DMZ

    P1ublisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, 1993

    The most mysterious member of the criminal gang turned super human street hero clique the Blood Syndicate, DMZ does not talk. But he is unflinchingly loyal when it comes to his cohorts and can be counted on during a battle with his alien-derived strength, speed, enhanced senses, flight and the ability to generate light.

  4. 70. Battalion (Jackson King)

    Publisher: Wildstorm

    1st Appearance: Stormwatch #1, 1993

    The son of former Team One member Isaiah King, the telekinetic and telepathic Jackson King joined the super powered United Nation crises team Stormwatch under the codename Battalion.

    69. Gentle

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: New X-Men vol. 2, #23

    The Wakandan native and member of the X-Men is arguably one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, with the ability to dramatically increase muscle mass, size and strength to Incredible Hulk-like levels. The drawback? While Nezhno “Nez” Abidemi, who is enrolled in Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, has vibranium tattoos to keep his powers under control, he cannot continue his massive state for long without causing seizures.

    68. Destiny Ajaye

    Publisher: Top Cow Comics

    1st Appearance: Pilot Season: Genius #1, 2008

    The 17-year-old South Central native utilizes her advanced leadership skills to unite the all the gangs against a systematically corrupt police force.

    67. Star Boy

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Teen Titans/Legion Special #1, 2004

    Like the original, the updated version of Star Boy is a member of the time traveling Legion of Superheroes.

    66. Malcolm Dragon

    Publisher: Image Comics

    1st Appearance: Savage Dragon #33, 1996

    The biracial Michael Eugene Jackson Dragon (his mother is Rapture, an African-American Chicago law enforcement officer in the “Freak Force” program and his father is legendary green-skinned humanoid Savage Dragon). To serve and protect is in his blood.  

    65. Black Halo

    Publisher: Wildstorm

    1st Appearance: Backlash #21, 1996

    Black Halo has the physique of Superman. But his strength isn’t bending steel, it’s his psionic power. Black Halo can create a telekinetic field with his mind, fly and move massive objects.    

    64. Rocket

    Publisher: Milestone Media/DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Icon #1, 1993

    The conservative Icon’s more liberal partner, Rocket (Raquel Ervin) is a teenage single mother who convinced the alien to use his vast powers for good for the people of Dakota. Rocket’s inertia winder gives her superhuman punching power and can control kinetic energy. When she first crossed paths with Batman before teaming up with the JLA she easily deflected his Batarang.  

    63. Captain Universe

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Avengers #1, 2013

    Following a car accident that left her hospitalized for 10 years, Tamara Devoux was chosen by the Uni-Power symbiotic force to protect the universe when needed.

    62. Dora Milaje

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Panther vol. 3 #1, 1998

    Black Panther’s highly skilled personal bodyguards (most famously led by Nakia and Okoye) helped T’Challa defeat the seemingly unstoppable Dr. Doom after he attempted to take over Wakanda.   

    61. Flint

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Inhuman #3, 2014

    An African Inhuman, Flint was adopted by an American family before the Terrigen Bomb unleashed his ability to move rocks and form a shell around him granting the young man super human strength.  


  5. 60. Centurius

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #2, 1968

    No one knows just how old the man born Dr. Noah Black truly is (the genetics specialist ages incrementally). What is known is the criminal genius that won the Nobel Prize during the 1930’s is obsessed with destroying all life on earth as we know it.

    59. Oblivion

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Icon #22, 1993

    An inter-galactic mass murderer wanted across the galaxy, Oblivion killed Buckwild (a blatant spoof of Marvel’s Luke Cage) who before his death was asked to fill in for Icon, even wearing the alien’s trademark caped costume. 

    58. Flashback

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Blood Syndicate, 1993

    Even superheroes are human. Sara Quinones has battled substance abuse triggered by the painful memory of using her time traveling powers to save mortally wounded members of the Blood Syndicate. 

    57. The Prowler

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Ultimate Spider-Man #1, 2011

    Before his death, the uncle of Miles Morales (Spider-Man) was also the Marvel Universe’s most prolific thief, hacker and code breaker.

    56. Ironheart (Riri Williams)

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Invincible Iron Man, 2017

    At the age of 10, Riri Williams had already created her own hi-tech armored suits. Five years later, after stopping two inmates from escaping prison, the intellectually endowed teenager gets the attention of Tony Stark who encourages her to become a superhero.

    55. Killer Croc

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Batman #357, 1983

    While he has been on the losing end of several battles with Batman, Killer Croc remains one of the Caped Crusader’s most bloodthirsty opponents.

    54. Technique

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Hardware #9, 1993

    When villainous businessman and head of Alva Technologies Edwin Alva wanted to put an end to genius vigilante Hardware (Curtis Metcalf), he added the gifted Tiffany Evans to his team. As Technique she came close to beating Hardware. But after discovering that she was being used, she teams up with Metcalf to defeat IRAA. 

    53. Cottonmouth

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Power Man #19, 1974

    There’s nothing soft about Cottonmouth’s metal teeth. Anything illegal under the sun--from prostitution rings to drug distribution--Cornell Stokes has done it.

    52. Robbie Robertson

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1, 1967

    Technically, Joseph “Robbie” Robinson is not a superhero. But the beloved Daily Bugle city editor and father figure to freelance photographer Peter Parker has used his journalistic skills to fight against injustice in all its forms.

    51. Aqualad

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Brightest Day #10, 2010

    Created by DC in 1960, Arthur Curry’s fresh-faced partner has gone through significant changes over the decades. In the Brightest Night series, Aqualad is introduced as Jackson Hyde, a black teen from New Mexico. In addition to breathing under water, superhuman strength and swimming at high speeds, he can manipulate water and reshape it into a plethora of objects such as a sword. But the animated Young Justice version of Aqualad remains the most prominent. On the television show his father is none other than Black Manta, Aquaman’s fiercest foe.


  6. (Photo: Roy Rochlin/WireImage)

    50. Diamondback

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Luke Cage-Hero for Hire #1, 1972

    Power Man’s oldest foe has sat at the same table as New York City crime boss Wilson Fisk (Kingpin), and is strong enough to take a punch from Luke Cage and his allies Iron Fist and Jessica Jones.

    49. Matty’s Rocket

    Publisher: Dieselfunk Studios

    1st Appearance:  Matty’s Rocket #1, 2015

    The fairly recent Matty’s Rocket, from the mind of Afrofuturism writer Tim Fielder, follows the adventures of 20th century Mississippi native Matty Watty, who not only has to battle oppressive Jim Crow laws, but an alien invasion.   

    48. Night Thrasher

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Thor #411, 1989

    The significance of the Night Thrasher (Dwayne Taylor) is connected largely to his impactful death. The leader of the New Warriors, Taylor revamped the group of novice heroes into reality television stars. But as the Night Thrasher and team were being filmed in a battle against the super villain quartet of Coldheart, Speedfreak, Cobalt Man, and Nitro, a massive explosion was accidentally triggered killing 612 people. The horrific tragedy jump starts the Civil War event in which the government passes the Superhero Registration Act, which lawfully requires all powered individuals to be under regulation, essentially giving up all secret identities. 

    47. Despot

    Publisher: Wildstorm

    1st Appearance: Stormwatch #10, 1994

    Scientist Isaiah King saw his natural psychic abilities greatly enhanced after being exposed to the Comet Effect while stationed on the Monitor One satellite. Unfortunately, a side effect of the dramatic power boost was insanity. The destructive mad man Despot is the father of Battalion (Jackson King) and Strafe (Malcolm King).

    46. Brother Voodoo

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Strange Tales #169, 1973

    If there was ever a comic book character that managed to transcend their problematic and at times cringe worthy beginnings it’s Brother Voodoo. Just how far has he come? Jericho Drumm took over the title of Sorcerer Supreme from the iconic Doctor Strange.

    45. Man Ape

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Avengers #62, 1969

    The leader of Wakanda’s outlawed white gorilla cult, M’Baku is one of the most serious threats to Black Panther’s ruling authority. Vastly stronger than T’Challa, Man Ape has also operated outside of his technologically superior homeland, becoming a member of the Masters of Evil as well as Purple Man’s Villains for Hire. 

    44. Fade

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, 1993

    The black Dominican born Carlos Quinones joins a small list of gay comic book characters. Fade needs his sister Flashback around to fully control his powers, which includes the ability of flight, density control and seeing seconds into the future.

    43. Tangent Superman

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Tangent Comics: The Superman #1, 1998

    After being experimented on by the government, Earth 9’s Harvey Dent, a dedicated policeman, uses his new psionic gifts to protect the innocent. But as his power steadily increases (the telepathic is as strong and invulnerable as Clark Kent), the controlling God-like “SuperMan” soon learns of the existence of another earth protected by Superman, Green Lantern and Justice League. Believing New Earth to be a threat, “SuperMan” decides to take over and reshape what he believes to be a wholly corrupt world. 

    42. Gwendolyn

    Publisher: Image Comics

    1st Appearance: Saga #8, 2012

    In the critically acclaimed science fiction/fantasy comic book Saga, Gwendolyn is the former fiancée of Marko, a foot soldier against the Coalition of Landfall who soon becomes a pacifist renouncing his oath to “The Narrative.” The no-nonsense Gwen, aided by her grandparents’ translation pendant, joins bounty hunter “The Will” to capture Marko and his family.  


  7. 41. Bronze Tiger

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1, 1975

    Trained by master martial artist Richard Dragon, Bronze Tiger (Ben Turner) once beat Batman one on one. Following a painful stint as a brainwashed assassin, Amanda Waller rescues Turner and recruits him into the Suicide Squad where he eventually takes on a leadership role. He has been romantically linked to Vixen.

    40. Bumblebee

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Teen Titans #45, 1976

    A valued member of both the Teen Titans and Doom Patrol, Bumblebee is an exceptional scientist who constructed her own hi-tech battle suit giving her super strength, flight ability, electric stinger rays, and the power to shrink down to size. She follows John Stewart as officially DC’s second African-American superhero.

    39. Achebe

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Panther vo. 3 #3, 1999

    It’s been said by creator Christopher Priest, whose celebrated late ‘90s reboot of the Black Panther gave the veteran character new life, that the psychotic Acheba is the Joker to T’Challa’s Batman. Except Black Panther’s most unpredictable nemesis is also a brilliant Yale Law School grad that sold his soul to the demonic Memphisto.

    38. Steel

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: The Adventures of Superman #500, 1993

    Following the shocking death of Superman, Dr. John Henry Irons, a successful weapons engineer for AmerTek Industries, was inspired to continue the legacy of the Man of Steel. He created a nearly indestructible power suit and sledgehammer to fight crime in the gang-plagued inner-city section of Metropolis. 

    37. Alex Wilder

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Runaways vol. 1 #1, 2003

    The brains of the Runaways, Wilder was a genius-level strategist who was later discovered to be a mole for the criminal outfit the Pride. 

    36. Erik Killmonger

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Panther--Jungle Action vol. 2 #6, 1973

    It could be said that Erik Killmonger’s intense hatred for Black Panther is understandable. After all, his family was banished from Wakanda to the United States after his father was forced to work with T’Challa’s most dangerous enemy Ulysses “Klaw” Klaue. Because of the death of his dad and Black Panther’s lack of mercy, the ruthless, genius Killmonger dedicated his life to overthrowing the Wakandan government by any means necessary. 

    35. Tombstone

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Web of Spiderman #36, 1988

    While he may seem like just another street tough, the menacing 6-foot7, 460-pound disfigured Tombstone, who can lift in excess of 10 tons, has made life miserable for Spiderman, Daredevil, Luke Cage, X-Men’s Gambit, and the Punisher.

    34. Masquerade

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    1st Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, 1993

    The first transgendered comic book character, the Dwayne McDuffie, Ivan Velez Jr. and Denys Cowan conceived Masquerade stands as a criminally obscure game changer. Born female, the mysterious founding Blood Syndicate member used his shape shifting powers to reflect the man that was always inside of him.   

    33. Mr. Terrific

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Spectre vol. 3 #54, 1997

    Mr. Terrific ranks as the third smartest man on earth and has saved the day on more than one occasion as a respected member (and later chairman) of the Justice Society of America. 

    32. Goliath

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Avengers #32, 1966

    It took the brilliant Dr. Bill Foster to improve on Hank Pym’s unpredictable growth formula. Over the years, he has assisted Power Man and has been a member of the Champions of Los Angeles and the West Coast Avengers.

    31. Holocaust

    Publisher: Milestone Media/DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, 1993

    To get an idea just how much of a force Holocaust truly is, the former gangbanger and enforcer once pushed the powerful Superboy to his physical limits. He was kicked out of the Blood Syndicate after showing his sadistic side. Holocaust came close to killing Black Lightning and has defeated the Teen Titans.

    30. Blue Marvel

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1, 2009

    The brilliance of Blue Marvel is how the character intersects historically with racism in America. According to folklore, Adam Brashear is Marvel’s first black superhero, but his legacy was buried because the U.S. government was not ready for the prospect of a black man being the most powerful force in the world during the 1960’s. Blue Marvel is basically Superman with antimatter energy, which means he is pretty much indestructible.

    Blue Marvel is also on the same supreme intelligence level as Marvel heavy-hitters Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and the Black Panther. Decades later after being asked to retire by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 when it is discovered that he is an African-American, he comes back to team up with the Avengers.



  8. 29. Wise Son

    Publisher: Milestone Media

    Blood Syndicate #1, 1993

    The indestructible Wise Son is a follower of Islam and leader of the Blood Syndicate. He is able to resist mental control and can briefly extend his invulnerable abilities to others with just a touch.

    28. Moon Girl

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur # 1, 2015

    Lunella Lafayette’s life was forever turned upside down after being exposed to the Terrigen Mists.The beyond genius-level pre-teen is able to transfer her consciousness into Devil Dinosaur. In this form she is imbued with super human strength, keeps her off-the-charts intellect and can speak. Moon Girl has been cited canonically as Marvel Universe’s smartest person.  

    27. Sphinx

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Man Called Nova #6, 1977

    With the Ka Stone, the magical entity known as Sphinx is not only immortal, but also a world-ending threat that managed to take out the entire Fantastic Four. He was only briefly defeated after the desperate FF manufactured a battle between Sphinx and the omnipotent Galactus. 

    26. Firestorm

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Firestorm vol. 3 #1, 2004

    In the modern-day update of Firestorm, during a terrorist attack at his high school, student Jason Rusch met with fellow classmate Ronnie Raymond, the captain of the football team. Rusch showed Raymond a vial given to him my Professor Stein containing the “God Particle,” just one of several “Firestorm” protocols. The God Particle transforms the pair into Firestorm. In the 2010-2011 Brightest Day series, Ray Palmer (the Atom) figures out a way for Rusch and Raymond to both become Firestorm without ever combining. As Firestorm, Rusch has complete control over molecules allowing him to switch the density of gases, liquids, and solids. During flight he can reach speeds of more than 600 mph and can fire off nuclear blasts. 

    25. Martha Washington

    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

    1st Appearance: Give Me Liberty #1, 1990

    Created by The Dark Knight visionary Frank Miller, Martha Washington is an exceptional military-trained fighter, computer programmer and hacker. During the course of her incredible life, she has saved the South American rain forest, took part in the second Civil War, and stopped an alien invasion, among other universe-shifting achievements.   

    24. Captain America (Isaiah Bradley)

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Truth: Red, White & Black #1, 2003

    Penned by the late Robert Morales and drawn by Kyle Baker, Truth: Red, White & Black flipped the entire Captain America mythology on its head. During World War II, a new super soldier serum was tested out on Black soldiers mirroring the real-life Tuskegee Experiments. The men unknowingly succumbed to mutation and death, all except Isaiah Bradley who stopped the Germans from creating their own super soldier formula after the original star spangled hero was presumed dead.

    23. Deathlok (Luther Manning)

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Astonishing Tales #25, 1974

    Since his early ‘70s debut, Deathlok has gone through various incarnations. But the so called “classic” Deathlok remains Colonel Luther Manning, a Detroit, Michigan native who after losing his life is bought back to life as a cyborg in the post apocalyptic future.

    22. Vixen

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Action Comics #521, 1981

    Born Mari Jiwe McCabe in the fictional African village of Zambesi, the famous super model returned to her homeland where she was given the mystical Tantu Totem by her uncle. She soon discovers that the artifact endows her with the ability to mimic any animal she chooses. Vixen has been a member of both the Justice League and the Suicide Squad.

    21. Ultimate Nick Fury

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5, 2001

    The Ultimates’ version of Nick Fury, the grizzled head of S.H.I.E.L.D. proved to be so popular with the public that when the Avengers was finally bought to the big screen the Samuel Jackson-lookalike was played by Jackson himself.

  9. 20. War Machine

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Iron Man #118, 1979

    A veteran of the Marines, James “Rhodey” Rhodes bravely filled in for an alcoholic Tony Starks wearing a more aggressively weaponized version of the Iron Man armor. War Machine became a respected hero in his own right facing off against the Living Laser, Radioactive Man, Mandarin, Thunderball, the Beetle, and the Zodiac.

    19. Amanda Waller

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Legends #1, 1986

    The ruthless Amanda Waller has been both an unapologetic villain and the anti-hero director of the Suicide Squad. She has also served as the Secretary of Metahuman affairs under President Lex Luthor. It has been inferred that not only does Waller know the secret identity of Batman, she has used her stockpiled Kryptonite to fuel an Anti-Superman team she sees as the last defense between humanity and the caped alien from Krypton.

    18. Bishop

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #282, 1991

    A time-traveling mutant from the dystopian future, Bishop can absorb and re-channel energy. He has fought alongside the X-Men and eventually became a member of the 20th century Charles Xavier-led team of super powered outcasts.

    17. Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Ultimate Comics Fallout #4, 2011

    Before merging with Peter Parker’s Earth 616, 13-year-old Brooklyn high school student Miles Morales got his powers after being bitten by an Oscorp enhanced spider. He soon discovers that he has developed similar powers to his reality’s Spider-Man, who was killed during a battle against Norman Osborne and the Six. The Afro-Latino Morales can produce a venom blast, heals faster than normal human beings, and can use his spider-camouflage to sneak up on would be foes.

    16. Cloak

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man #64, 1982

    Tyrone Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) were both homeless runaways when they met in New York City. Seeking shelter, the pair was forcibly taken to nefarious chemist Simon Marshall who used the teens to test a new synthetic heroin. After fleeing from the facility, Johnson was suddenly engulfed in total darkness and was overcome with an intense hunger that can only by eased by Bowen’s illuminating light. Cloak can teleport and use his body as a portal to the “Darkforce Dimension” trapping criminals and draining them of their life force.

    15. Black Manta

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Aquaman #35, 1967

    Aquaman’s greatest and most dangerous antagonist wears a high-tech suit, which allows his body to survive the crushing pressures of the deep blue sea. His telepathic scrambler can jam the Atlantean’s aquatic frequency and Manta’s optic blast projection from his helmet is among a seemingly endless array of weapons at the brilliant and hate-filled mechanical engineer’s disposal.

    14. Michonne

    Publisher: Image Comics

    1st Appearance: The Walking Dead #19, 2005

    One of the few survivors of the zombie apocalypse, the stoic, skeptical and deeply loyal Michonne is an exceptional fighter who wields a Japanese katana sword. A former attorney, she joins Rick Grimes’ group and shares an unshakable bond with the police officer.

    13. Misty Knight

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Marvel Team-Up #1, 1972

    When NYPD’s Mercedes “Misty” Knight loses her arm in a bomb explosion she is forced to resign from the police force. But her reputation as a relentless and outspoken detective soon gets the attention of Tony Starks, who creates a super human bionic right arm for Misty. The hardware is made of indestructible vibranium and diamond and can liquefy all metals at close proximity. A skilled fighter and Heroes for Hire team-leader, Misty can also generate an anti-repulsor field and can manipulate technology. Among Misty’s allies are Luke Cage, Colleen Wing, and ex-boyfriend Iron Fist.  

    12. Black Lightning

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Black Lightning #1, 1977

    DC Comic’s first lead Black hero was a gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete who hid his meta-human powers for most of his life. But when he returned to his old crime-infested neighborhood on the South Side of Metropolis he decides to use his ability to control and generate electricity to battle the 100 criminal street gang led by the blood thirsty Tobias Whale. Black Lightning is a founding member of the Batman-backed superhero Outsiders collective and is part of the Justice League.

    11. Icon

    Publisher: Milestone Media/DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Icon #1, 1993

    After crash landing on Earth in the American South in 1839, the Terminan alien Arnus’ life pod transforms his body to duplicate the DNA of the nearest life form: an African-American slave woman named Miriam, who lovingly raises the child like her own son. When his alien powers start to manifest, Armus uses them to aid fellow slaves through the Underground Railroad.

    Hundreds of years later, the immortal and homesick Augustus Freeman IV, now a successful corporate lawyer in Dakota, is close to fixing his ship when he meets his future partner, Raquel Irving (Rocket). She inspires Icon to use his powers to fight for justice. It is said that the flying, positron-beam-emitting force is as powerful as his good friend Superman.


  10. (Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images)

    10. Static

    Publisher: Milestone Media/DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Static #1, 1993

    Caught in the middle of a gang war, Virgil Hawkins is hit with an experimental chemical, which allows him to produce electromagnetic powers. By day the awkward teenager attends high school and by night he is costumed adventurer Static, the protector of Dakota from criminals using their newfound “Big Bang” powers for evil. Static has teamed up with the Blood Syndicate and the Shadow Cabinet and has been a member of the Teen Titans.

    9. Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau)

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #16, 1982

    Before Carol Danvers took on the title of Captain Marvel there was Monica Rambeau. A lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol, the cargo ship captain was exposed to extra-dimensional energy from a dangerous weapon funded by a South American dictator Ernesto Ramirez and Captain Marvel was born. Among her abilities, Rambeau is able to convert her body into pure energy and control cosmic rays, electricity, ultraviolet radiation, and light. With her exceptional leadership skills, Captain Marvel quickly rose up the ladder of the Avengers and became chairwoman of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. She later took on the costumed alias Photon and finally Pulsar.

    8. Blade

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: The Tomb of Dracula #10, 1973

    Half human/half vampire, the slow-aging Blade has dedicated his life to hunting down the living dead. The ruthless master martial artist is powerful enough to hold his own against Dracula and has killed hundreds of vampires. Blade’s impressive arsenal includes his signature double-edged sword, ultra violet and silver-based weapons, a katana, and a hi-tech, muscle controlled firearm/grappling hook created by S.H.I.E.L.D. He has battled alongside a diverse roster of heroes including Doctor Strange, the Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, and Nick Fury and the Punisher.

    7. Falcon

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Captain America #117, 1969

    While Black Panther, the ruler of Africa’s mythical kingdom of Wakanda, is Marvel’s first Black superhero, the Falcon (Sam Wilson) is mainstream comic’s first headlining African-American crime fighter. Another product of Harlem, “Snap” Wilson was living a life of crime. But when his plane goes down in Rio de Janeiro, he attracts the attention of the Red Skull, who uses the future Falcon as a pawn to draw out Captain America.

    He directs the Cosmic Cube to control Wilson and mentally fuse his psyche with that of a bird he bought named Redwing. Cap soon tracks down his mortal enemy and breaks Wilson from the clutches of the Skull. It is later discovered that he was never a criminal and that the crimson menace had all along created the nefarious “Snap” persona to manipulate Wilson, who, in reality, was a beloved neighborhood social worker. Wilson eventually becomes Captain America’s trusted partner and is given a wing harness, which allows him the power of flight. And the Falcon’s telepathic link to Redwing has been expanded exponentially to the point where he can see through over six billion bird’s eyes.   

    6. Cyborg

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26, 1980

    Victor Stone’s father (Silas) and mother (Elimore) subjected their son to a series of IQ enhancement experiments. While his intelligence greatly increased, Victor’s true love was sports and he was a star athlete, but soon he fell into the gang-banging crowd. While visiting his parents at S.T.A.R. Labs, he is nearly killed by an accident caused by dimensional travel technology. In an attempt to save his dying boy, Silas Stone grafts cybernetic synthetic nerve bases to Victor’s spine and replaces his limbs and half of his face with molybdenum steel. Distraught with the fear that he has lost all of his humanity, Cyborg joins the crime fighting group the Teen Titans, where he is embraced as not only an integral member of the Robin-led faction, but as family.

    5. Luke Cage/Powerman

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Hero for Hire #1, 1972

    Harlem’s Carl Lucas was framed for drug possession and sentenced to prison. After being transferred to the notorious Seagate, a maximum-security facility in Georgia, he is recruited for clandestine medical research. But while inside the Electro Biochemical System, corrupt prison guard Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham disrupts the controls accelerating the treatment, giving Lucas superhuman strength accelerated healing, bulletproof skin and nearly unbreakable bones.

    Changing his name to Luke Cage, he sets up his Heroes for Hire business at first using his powers for profit. Over the years, Cage has partnered up with his unlikely friend Iron Fist and has led both the Avengers and the Thunderbolts.  

    4. Spawn

    Publisher: Image Comics

    1st Appearance: Spawn #1, 1992

    Recruited by the CIA’s Black ops, Al Simmons grew increasingly disturbed by the morally bankrupt missions he was being assigned. A distrusting Jason Wynn, the villainous director of the Unites States Security Group, hires Simmons’ partner, Bruce Stinson, to murder him. When the tortured assassin dies in an inferno, his soul is sent to hell for his part in the killing of innocent people.

    But Simmons makes a deal with the demon Malebolgia, allowing him to see his wife again. The catch? He is transformed into a “Hellspawn” with little memory of what he had done in his life. But when Spawn is told that he must use his demonic powers to lead the armies of hell to war against Heaven, he balks at his destiny, eventually deciding to punish the most evil among us.  

    3. John Stewart (Green Lantern)

    Publisher: DC Comics

    1st Appearance: Green Lantern #87, 1971

    When Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern backup, Guy Gardner, was seriously injured, the Guardians of the Universe picked John Stewart to replace him. Jordan, however, did not believe that the two-fisted, anti-authority Stewart was a good fit to protect the space surrounding Earth (Sector 2814). Nevertheless, he recruited the Detroit architect, who was issued a power ring and lantern power source. Like all members of the Green Lantern Corps, Stewart can use his power ring as a weapon to create any shape or form just by sheer will. He joined the Justice League after Rayner took an extended break from Earth.

    2. Black Panther

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Fantastic Four #52, 1966

    As the ruler and protector of technologically advanced nation of Wakanda, T’Challa takes his duties quite seriously. Like his father, King T’Chaka, he is descended from a long line of brave warriors who have taken on the spiritual mantle of the Black Panther. As “Prince T’Challa,” he defeated his uncle King S’yan in ceremonial combat and was named leader of a Wakandan nation rich with the indestructible mineral vibranium.

    Protected by his vibranium-layered, bulletproof Black Panther garb, T’Challa also has enhanced strength, instincts, speed, and agility—abilities gained from ingesting a heart-shaped herb that connects him to the Panther god Bast. He is also the 10th most intelligent person in the Marvel Universe and has protected his country from a series of would-be invaders. One of the richest individuals on earth, Black Panther calls the Fantastic Four allies and once joined the Avengers just to spy on them before beginning a long run with the superhero faction.

    1. Storm

    Publisher: Marvel Comics

    1st Appearance: Giant Size X-Men #1, 1975

    Consistently ranked among the top 10 of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe, before joining the X-Men Storm was worshiped as a goddess in her own country of Kenya. Born Ororo Monroe, the former juvenile pick pocketer (she was discovered by X-Men founder Charles “Professor X” Xavier when she attempted to lift an item from the powerful telepath) has psionic control over all aspects of weather. She can generate rain, snow, wind, fog, tornadoes, hurricanes, and powerful ocean currents as well as manipulate and direct lightening.

    Storm is also able to fly by increasing wind levels around her and is known to be such an accomplished hand-to-hand combatant that she was named leader of the Morlocks after beating the feared Callisto. Following the departure of Cyclops after the death of Jean Grey, Storm headed up the X-Men and led the team through a series of memorable missions. When she married the T’Challa (Black Panther Vol. 4 #18), the pair became the superhero world’s ultimate power couple.




Written by Keith Murphy

(Photo: Getty Images)


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