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Gillin with the Homeboys
By Mark "The Shark" Gillins Top 12 Teens!

Hey!  I'm back!  My apologies for not having a column for you last month, especially since we went a whole extra month without a new issue.  Well, at least I got around to it this month, and I'm trying to follow the "Titans" theme by going with the Top 12 Teens in the DCU.  Sorry if I seem a little bit biased towards Young Justice (most of the characters appear somewhere in here), but it was difficult coming up with teens that I actually know something about.   Anyway, all excuses aside…

HONORABLE MENTION:

Anarky- I thought this villain/hero was incredibly stupid until I picked up the first few issues of his new series (I was interested in seeing where the heck GL's ring had gone).  He's still KIND of dumb to me, but he's not as incredibly pointless as I thought.  The right stories should put him in a good place in the DCU -- and I hope this tension between him and the JLA keeps up.


Supergirl (Linda Danvers)- I thought Supergirl was awesome for a while.  I was even pleased with her new series and the integration of her new identity.  But then they introduced her wings.  Yeah, she's an "angel".  Why does she need wings, though?  I liked her just the way she was.  Ah, well.


Sparx- Another character that has let me down.  I liked her when she first appeared during the Bloodlines saga, but all of the other times she's appeared I haven't been interested.  Her powers aren't all that original, either (imagine a female Electro-Supes, minus some of his abilities).  Again, a good story or two could pick her up.


Robin I- Dick Grayson is THE Robin!  The main reason he didn't make it into the top 12 is that whenever I think of him I think of a cheesy TV show with this little dork saying, "Holy pythagorean theorem, Batman!" when encountering some dorky villain named the Mathematician (or a situation very similar to this).


The Secret- This young lady first appeared in the Girl Frenzy week a while ago.   That first story had me interested, but because I've totally lost interest in Young Justice, I haven't kept up with her lately.


Changeling- This guy is pretty cool, but I only like him when he's in action.   This is one of the few characters that I care not at all whatsoever about his personal life.  That whole "Titans vs. JLA" series had me moaning, "Action!  Action!" every time I heard him whining to Cyborg about friendship.  C'mon!  Change into some kind of monster and beat him up!


Argent- She's got something going for her -- she's the only member of the latest incarnation of the Teen Titans to survive DC limbo (other than the previously popular Captain Marvel Jr. and Atom).  I've enjoyed her so far in Titans, I appreciate the interaction that's been given between her and Damage, and I'm enjoying getting to know her.

The Top Twelve

12 Scorn - I like this big guy, although he's not your usual teenager.  It was great seeing him in the pages of Superman while Supes went all electric on us -- my favorite scene of him is when he crumpled up that guy's car into a tiny cube simply because he had parked in a handicapped zone (or something similar).  I hope he doesn't become overused, but I would like to see him maybe make appearances in other titles or maybe take part in the next DC crossover event.


11 Green Arrow II - Frankly, I didn't know that Connor Hawke was only a teen until I did a little bit of research on the web and found him listed in the bios section on DCU: The Next Generation (excellent web site, by the way!).  Connor is an awesome character.  It's really too bad he wasn't a member of the JLA for very long, because I was just warming up to him!  It's also a shame that his series has ended, but it appears it will return soon, this time with Ollie back with the bow.  Whether or not Ollie takes back his position, I sincerely hope we'll get to see Connor back in action really soon.


10 The Atom - This guy is just plain awesome!  He's physically at age 17 (due to Extant's little rampage during Zero Hour), but he's been alive for over 30 years and is one of the wisest super heroes I know of.  His way of handling Amazo in that recent issue of JLA was very nice and was actually very obvious (to me, at least), yet he was the only one that thought of the idea.   I'm looking forward to seeing him in future pages of JLA.


9 The Spoiler - A fun character to have around when Robin's in the mood for his social life.  I haven't been keeping up too well with Robin lately, but I guess she's his girlfriend now and she just gave birth.   Pretty realistic writing, if you ask me, but I look forward to her running around the roof tops again -- at Robin's side or not.


8 Anima - I don't really know a whole lot about this character, either, except that she originated from the poorly-handled "Bloodlines" event that DC had a few years back.  I think her character is intriguing and I'd like to see what other writers can do with her.  Her attitude is a little weird, but that big huge monster she creates is pretty smooth.


7 Kid Flash (Wally West) - This poor kid had to endure a lot!  At first he had a short-lived dream taken away from him when he had to stop using his super speed (it was said that much more of it would kill him), and then there was the whole deal with watching his mentor die.  Things turned out all right, though -- while still technically a teen, Wally took the mantle of the Flash and became his own hero (well, it took until he was out of his teens to actually make a name for himself).


6 Captain Marvel Jr. - The mini version of the Big Red Cheese goes down in my book simply because he picked a fight with SUPERMAN in "Titans vs. JLA"!  It was very smooth.  Forget all that other likeable stuff.


5 Kid Flash (Iris West II) - Probably one of the few Kingdom characters that I approve of coming into "normal" DC continuity.  The stories that she's been involved in have all pleased me rather well.   It's enjoyable to see her interact with her disappointing brother and to attempt to be acceptable as Kid Flash in her father's eyes.  I hope we get to see a little bit more of her in upcoming events. (Her costume is pretty cool, too!)


4 The Ray- A character who deserves a second chance at his own series.  He's got great dialogue wherever we see him and has some great powers, too.  What's even cooler is that Superman actually came to him for help in understanding his powers while he was going through that whole Static-Supes phase.


3 Damage- I don't really know about this guy so much because I never really got into his series, but from what I've seen of him in Zero Hour and The Titans, I think he's an enjoyable character.  He's got a personality that I can relate with, and his powers are unique.  What other super hero has the power to explode?


2 Impulse (Wieringo version) - The reason I specify our hyperactive speedster to a certain artist is because I believe that Impulse was only truly enjoyable during his first appearances, when Mike Wieringo was still drawing him and he didn't even have his own book.  Why?  Impulse wasn't so much of a little kid.  Sure, he was immature (even for his age), but he didn't act like a six-year-old.  He still was annoying, still impulsive, but not a little kid.   Once he got his own series, Waid totally changed his character and for some reason the artists decided to make him look like an idiot and drew his feet ten times bigger than they should be.  His hair got a little out of control, too.


1 Robin III - A very unique hero, Robin has been personally trained by Batman himself.  He's extremely agile, has no super powers whatsoever, and he has the ability to work side-by-side with detectives to solve puzzling cases.  A natural leader, Robin could have taken down Jean Paul Valley (Azrael-Batman) if he were only more physically mature.

Runner Ups:

Superboy- I liked Superboy when he first came out in the "Reign of the Supermen" storyline.  In fact, he almost became my favorite character.  Unfortunately, I've been caught at the wrong time picking up stories with him involved because I've lost interest in him as well.  I think Young Justice did it to me, and maybe he deserves another chance, but for now I'll stay clear of this attempt for a teeny-bopper super hero.

XS- Speedster/Legionnaire of the future, XS has some good qualities that I've caught onto in pages of The Flash.  Her dialogue with Bart Allen is fun, due to the fact that they're cousins from the same era but separated by hundreds of years.   She's one of the only members of the LSH that I enjoy.  Besides, Jesse Quick never would have been able to fly during "Dead Heat" if XS hadn't been there to loan her the Legion flight ring.

Offspring- Another Kingdom character, but I haven't seen this one integrated into main DC continuity (other than the silly Kingdom mini).  He's the future son of Plastic Man, and he's just about as goofy as our good ol' Eel.  He cracked me up in his one-shot a few months ago!

Nightstar- Daughter of Nightwing and Starfire, this Kingdom character has natural leadership abilities and is one of the few Kingdom heroes that has had a second major appearance.  By the way, if you haven't checked out the hilariously funny "Batty Bunch" proposal by our talented female writers in recent Fanzing issues, immediately go to the archives!

Low on the Totem Pole:

Arrowette- Ugh.  Silly character that I knew would be annoying the minute I saw her first appearance in Impulse.  Not entirely surprising that she's in Young Justice, but why can't they let this character hang in limbo until she grows up?  We have plenty archery-types out there as it is.

Aqualad- Just the name makes me chuckle a little.  Aqualad (Tempest) is now a pretty cool guy.  I just think he was a little dorky.  Don't get me wrong -- he was a good member of the Titans way back when, but I'm glad he's completely changed or I'd have to chop off his arm and make him grow a beard.

Speedy- Now the infamous Arsenal, Roy Harper was kind of looney back in his teenage years.  Addiction to drugs (heroin, specifically) made his character somewhat realistic but in my opinion takes him off the list of heroes in the DCU.  He kind of straightened out and I like him a lot more today, but he's still a little wacky (probably due to the heroin).

Losers:

Wonder Girl(present day) - Oh my gosh!  Could you FIND a more annoying-looking character?!  I can't stand her at all.  She was okay as a supporting character in Wonder Woman, when she stayed a blonde little girl who didn't partake in TOO much of the action, but now she's in Young Justice and she's wearing that ugly costume (actually, I'm pretty sure she's wearing Donna Troy's old costume now, but her older costume was annoying) with the glasses and black wig.  Man, somebody take that girl to a taylor!

Young Heroes In Love- Yep.  That's right!  ALL of 'em!   They ALL get on my nerves!  The only issue I ever brought myself to buy was the Genesis one, and it only confirmed my suspicions.  Sorry, but these Brady Bunch kids have got to go.

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