Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, October 17, 2016

My Top Five Superheroes in the Small Spotlight

The most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly has a ranking of the most powerful superheroes, a power list of 50 from both Marvel and DC.

 They even have a Top Ten villains line-up to boot, which is fun and fine by me. Any superhero list that places Wonder Woman at the top of it(spoiler alert!) is alright in my book.

However, this did get me to thinking about a few other good guys and gals out there, the ones who may not otherworldly powers or big league franchises yet still deserve a special shout out of their own. To that end, I've pulled together my personal picks for the Top Five Small Spotlight Superheroes:

1) AGENT CARTER: Peggy Carter was an occasional character in the Captain America comics as the American girlfriend of Steve Rogers who burst out into the main stage in the 2011 movie Captain America: The First Avenger as British secret agent Carter, a solid fighter in her own right.

Since then, she's appeared in several Marvel movies and had her own TV show for two seasons that was sadly canceled. Many fans took to this incarnation of Peggy for her smart and savvy ways, not to mention in additional to battling the evil forces of Hydra, her greatest enemy was the persistent sexism of her day.

 While Marvel may be done with Agent Carter for now, she will not be soon forgotten by those of us inspired by the unwavering courage of her convictions:

2) LIV MOORE/IZOMBIE: The DC/Vertigo comic book that brought this undead heroine to life is a little more loosely structured than the CW TV series adaptation(not to mention her original name was Gwen in the books) but many of the core elements remain the same.

 In this incarnation, Olivia "Liv" Moore was just another overly ambitious med student until a bizarre incident at a boating party turned her into a brain craving zombie. Realizing that she could hold onto a semblance of her humanity by eating brains in regular but small amounts, Liv got a job at the Medical Examiner's office in order to ethically maintain her new diet.

A side effect of her condition is absorbing the memories and personalities of those she consumes, which Liv channels into solving murders. It's a twisted talent that has it's merits and pitfalls, to be sure. Yet, using her new outsider status to be a protector rather than a destroyer is what ultimately makes Liv a heroine worth admiring:

3) WHITE CANARY: First seen in the DC comics world as a minor enemy of Black Canary, she's been reinvented as Sarah Lance, the long lost sister of Laurel who takes on the mantle of reluctant heroine in the series Arrow and is now a major player on DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

Her reformed ways, upon leaving the realm of hit-woman for hire as a member of The League of Assassins, has left Sarah with superior fighting skills and remarkable talents as a covert agent. Yet, her dark side is never fully under wraps, as she's prone to throw a punch first and ask questions later at times.

Her current story line on LOT has her pursuing a vendetta against the man who killed her sister through time, an understandable goal that could distract her way too much from the main objective of guarding history. Nevertheless, White Canary will do what's right in the long run as her best asset is keeping her cool in the midst of battle and knowing when to call for back-up:

4) THE MIDDLEMAN: This cult comic book was briefly made into a TV series for ABC Family, which lasted only one season. That was a shame as the quirky title character was charmingly cheerful with a "can-do" attitude that never grew old.

The main viewpoint of both the comic book and the series was apprentice Wendy Watson, who was unexpectedly chosen to be training as a future replacement(it's a status that is passed down from generation to generation).

Wendy's creative energy and her slightly more cynical approach to life was a good balance for the current Middleman, whose array of weapons and vast knowledge of unusual foes such as mad scientists, vampire puppets and sirens, made him an excellent buffer against the forces of evil. Also, the Middleman had a off beat wit and unaware flair for word play, something that may be a cliche  but is a great component to any hero's arsenal:

5) THE BOWLER: Out of the numerous characters from the off beat Mystery Men comics(which began as an off shoot of the Flaming Carrot series) that made it into the 1999 movie version, The Bowler has become quite a favorite with folks who enjoy a snarky superhero.

Carol, daughter of legendary Carmine the Bowler, joins the title crew in order to avenge her father's death.  Using the skull of her departed daddy(to whom she has a telepathic link) to guide her aim when throwing her specially made bowling ball, Carol is quite a team player.

She also adds a good amount of street smarts to the group, not to mention that out of all them in the original bunch, she's the only one with a truly formidable power. What's best about The Bowler is her determination to hold her own in a crime fighting field overrun with fellas looking to prove something, a skill that she has in abundance:

 No doubt there are many more superheroes/heroines that also should have their special place on the mainstream media stage highlighted as well here. Yet, it just goes to show you that heroes, super or not, can be found where you least expect them and not only in this genre.

For example, while I adore Nancy from the Nightmare on Elm Street series, there's a solid spot in my heart for Alice Johnson, a later Freddy foe whose courage and talents proved to be as equally powerful against that dream stalker. Fighting evil is scary business that calls many but those chosen don't have to be flashy figures who leap tall buildings or sport bullet proof bracelets. They just have to be ready to embrace their destiny:

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