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By Mark "The Shark" Gillins
Shark's Top 12 Faves
Really quick, I just want to apologize for having missed both columns last month. I've had a busy summer, as I'm sure most of you can relate. For this same reason I haven't been able to do the Casebook column this month! This month's top 12 list revolves completely around ME… almost like normal. While these lists are always my opinion, this one is even more so, as this month's is entitled "The Top 12 of Shark's Faves". That's right.. you'll get to know all my favorite heroes -- and all my despised. This time I'm not basing this on much, like insignia or anything. These are just my favorite DC heroes -- I'm not using a specific way to judge them.
Huntress - I accept her membership in the JLA, although I don't really feel that she belongs (Batman placed her in membership so she could learn what it's like to really be a hero). Her character is otherwise pretty cool. She fills that gap that I have from lack of Batgirl (I don't like the new chick, by the way), and she's got cool toys that Batman doesn't use. Good stuff.
Metamorpho - Another super hero who lives six feet underground, it took me a while to warm up to Rex. I hated his look he got after a while with the crystals or whatever sticking out his shoulders, but he still had unique powers -- the ability to change himself into any element. Back in the Eclipso JLEurope annual he pulls some awesome stuff when he makes different parts of his body into different elements so the mind-controlled teammates couldn't strike. I love this guy.
Green Arrow II - Connor's cool. Too bad his daddy's probably coming back to take the title again, but I loved Connor in the JLA! He proved that you don't need powers to be a hero. He took on the Key by himself, saving the JLA (Flash was going to help, but got taken out), and he proved extremely useful during the "Rock of Ages" storyline (in which he quits at the end). Maybe he'll come out of his monastery someday and make a name for himself.
Kid Flash II - Iris West (of "Kingdom" era) has reason for her father, Wally, to be proud. She's come a long way in her teenage years and has become a true hero. Hopefully we'll see more of her as this lame Hypertime deal is incorporated in the titles, but I don't know if I want to see her reality become our reality -- especially not anytime soon.
Offspring - Another "Kingdom" yokel, I thought this guy was a joke when I saw the cover. I then loved his single as we saw him and his father, Plastic Man, interact and make some really funny jokes. I'd also like to see him again sometime in the future.
Jesse Quick - She was a schmuck in the "Terminal Velocity" storyline, but in "Dead Heat" she turned around once her father, Johnny Quick, bit the bullet. She's now a really cool member of the Titans (she recently led the team when they were all given the Velocity 10 drug which gave them super speed) and doesn't hate Wally anymore!
Superman - He's classic! He's what every hero wants to be! Too bad his book bites! That's all I've got to say!
The Top Twelve
12 Argus - He appears in Flash every once in a while and had a 6 issue mini a few years back, but he never has been that popular. Nick Kovak received his powers from the "Bloodlines" aliens, the powers being super strength, the ability to become invisible in the shadows, and ability to see different forms of waves, such as heat, etc. His normal life is that of a cop, giving him the inside to a lot of information that heroes unlike Batman don't have access to. If he could find a good writer he could become a great hero.
11 Kilowog - This dude's dead, but he was the greatest of Green Lanterns (after Hal Jordan, of course). I was a little disappointed when he kicked the bucket during his little brawl with Hal when he went psycho, but then he came back in the Green Lantern "Ghosts" annual last year (and then proceeded to the after life or something after all these years), which gave me a little bit of short-term nostalgia. He appeared pretty often in JLEurope and International, lending help where he could and kicking butt all the time. Rest in peace, and don't come back or you'll be worse than when you used to be.
10 Wonder Woman - I don't read her title regularly because I can't stand all the Greek myth babble that goes on. I couldn't care less about Zeus -- just give me Diana, Artemis, and some action! Wonder Woman is so cool -- almost as strong as Superman, just as smart, yet she's a pure warrior (not to mention she looks mighty fine)! If her writers could ditch the myth junk (which I guess would be impossible) I'd read her all the time.
9 Hal Jordan - I placed a name there instead of his hero titles (Green Lantern/Parallax) because I'm not sure what to call him anymore. He used to be Green Lantern, then he became a villain known as Parallax, then he supposedly redeemed himself as he died, and if rumors are correct then he'll be returning as.. well.. I don't want to be spoiling anything for anyone in case you haven't heard. If you want to know, go to any JLA message board. But look for him in "Day of Judgment" in September. Hal's cool.
8 Green Lantern - Kyle's cool! I still don't really like that weird face mask he wears, but he provides a lot of perspective in JLA and adds humor that we can understand yet the other heroes can't (I guess the others are too serious or "mature"). Most of you are going to kill me for placing Kyle ahead of Hal, but remember that the only Hal I really know is Parallax because I got started reading his stuff right before "The Reign of the Supermen"!
7 Nightwing - Chuck Dixon is cool and all, but I don't really like the Nightwing title. I bought the first issue, and I really wasn't impressed. I might've liked it had the art been drawn better. Either way, I was smart to buy it because it's now worth 20 bucks according to Wizard! Heh heh heh… Anyway, Dick is a cool guy and has really come a long way since he was a weird looking Robin I. His costume now looks cool, he's lost his yucky ponytail, and he does a good job leading the Titans and making cameos in the Batman JLApe annual (giving something to be happy about in this sad sad story).
6 Zauriel - I really liked him when he first appeared and he had his mini-series, but now it seems that he's been mistreated. I like his new costume, but the helmet only looks good when the artist knows what he's doing. Sometime he looks just plain ugly! I hope he doesn't die off in the upcoming "Mageddon" storyline (knowing the fact that Morrison brought him into the world, he can probably take him back out), even though this supposedly is the main reason the heavens sent him to Earth.
5 Plastic Man - I don't think I'd ever buy a title with good ol' Eel as the only character (probably because I wouldn't be able to handle the pure insanity), but I really like his appearances in other titles and his involvement in the JLA. He lightens things up and can get me rolling-on-the-floor laughing. If I had his sense of humor I'd probably want those powers as well. What a joker!
4 Batman - Very cool guy. I'm not into his books, probably because I don't really like the dark style (I know it's necessary.. I guess I just don't ever plan on buying the title on a regular basis), but I love reading JLA and watching him put fear into the hearts of EVERYONE he fights! He could easily take out anyone -- he's just so smooth. One of my favorite scenes with him is in "All Access" #4 where he fights all of the X-Men and almost wins -- only losing because he's distracted and Bishop lands a lucky punch on him. Had the JLA not interfered, Batman could have taken 'em out!
3 Robin III - Tim Drake is the coolest! I think I relate to him rather well because I'm about his age (however, I'm not a super hero, so that changes things a little bit). I'd read his book, but I spend enough money on comics each month anyway, and I haven't really been into Batman comic books since Knightsend, where Jean Paul got his but kicked. Hopefully Robin won't get killed off or anything too soon. Oh, yeah, and I REALLY liked it when Robin moved to Keystone a few issues back. I saw that storyline and picked it up. Flash and Robin TOGETHER?! It was incredible. Anyway, Robin's the man.
2 Impulse - I know I really give him a hard time because the writing in his own book hasn't been done too well (except the recent storyline introducing Inertia, Bart's evil twin) and because his art is done poorly, but I really do like the character. It just takes a good writer and a good artist to please me. I've enjoyed his presence in Flash recently and find it fitting that he's the only one who remembers Linda (you got no idea what I'm yakking about? Check out any Flash message board). This guy is really cool when I'm in a good mood!
1 The Flash III - I'm not sure why I've always enjoyed Wally West. Ever since I started reading comics back in '93 I've always been a huge fan of his. I think what actually got me hooked was the 2-season Flash TV show that was on CBS. Barry was still the Flash in that show, but it got me hooked on the character and made me snatch up The Flash comic book that my brother got for Christmas (I later forced him to trade it to me). Most of you know Barry Allen to be the greatest speedster ever -- but, probably due to having mainly read only Wally, I beg to differ.
Runner Ups:
Tempest - He's much more enjoyable than his jerk-predecessor Aquaman, and his powers are much more interesting. His contributions to the Titans gives me great pleasure and he has that really cool mark on his face. I hope he doesn't lose an arm and grow a beard in upcoming issues.

Booster Gold - I didn't really like Blue Beetle or Booster Gold until I started reading older issues of JLA, back from the Giffen era. These guys are hilarious! Booster guest-starred in two issues of Green Lantern a couple of months ago and really did some neat things for the story. If any of you can get a hold of JLA 80-page Giant #1, go for it. There's a great story in there where Guy Gardner is turned into a pansy and the two jokers of the team face a giant mouse. I busted my gut!

Martian Manhunter - J'onn is cool, but he's another hero that doesn't have a strong title. I liked the first issue where his arch-Martian-enemy first appears and we learn J'onn's origin, but after that the stories got lame. Maybe it'll turn around someday, but for now I'll stick with reading J'onn in the JLA where he is portrayed better.

Hourman II - An android from the 853rd century, Hourman was the most powerful time-guy out there until he decided to limit most of his powers' time of use to an hour at a time. I guess this will allow the writers to work better without knowing there's always an easy way out, but I'd rather a hero learns how to deal with his powers rather than ditch 'em. But what do I know.. I'm just a kid.

Low on the Totem Pole:
Superboy - The kid was cool in "The Reign of the Supermen", but I never really liked his title and only a few of his guest-appearances have been worth forking up cash for. It's funny how differently he's portrayed, though. Young Justice shows him much more differently than I remember when he first appeared in the Superman titles, and I'm sure he's different in his own title, too. And then there's the short-lived Superboy and The Ravers title, but I won't go there.

Steel - Another guy whose title I didn't like -- and I wasn't sorry to see it go, either. He was cool during "The Reign of the Supermen" story, but then he moved to Washington, D.C. and went down the tubes. Now that he's in the JLA, I've grown used to him, but he still needs to get that dumb "S" off his chest and they need to burn all the copies of the lame-o Shaquille O'Neal movie.

Aquaman - Arthur has never been portrayed in a way that I've truly enjoyed. He used to be a weird gee-golly sea guy with a strange orange shirt, and now he's a gruffy, long-haired, bearded, one-handed tough guy. I can't stand his title because they deal too much with water stuff (I know I sound stupid) and his dumb royalty. I don't care about whether or not we have "bad fish" in the ocean -- I want to see Aquaman kick butt in the JLA like he's done in "Rock of Ages" and such.

Wonder Girl - Sorry, but I still can't stand this little heroine. She bugs the heck out of me every time I look at her. She needs some real clothing before I can even start to look at her with taste.
Guy Gardner (Warrior) - He's ok when he makes cameos in Green Lantern, but any more and I wouldn't be able to handle it. He bugs me. His series bit the dust. He needs help.

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