With the world more aware of superheroes than ever, it’s imperative that we look at the most influential, important, and genre-changing ones. While some superheroes achieve a temporary elevation in status, they don’t have the staying power as the few on this list. And why?
Simply because the superheroes on this list have been around the block and etched their names in history, some have fought wars, some serve entire galaxies, and some are born from outside this world. No matter who they are, what they serve, or where they come from, one thing remains the same. Each has a name that is so synonymous with the word superhero that even noncomic book readers know who they are.
With that, I present to you the greatest superheroes to ever grace the pages of a comic book.
1. Captain America
Personal biases aside, Captain America is one of the best superheroes ever. His role in comic books hasn’t deviated too much since his inception. He is the epitome of good. He possesses an unwavering commitment to doing what’s right. And more than these, stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
Captain America has received a surge in popularity over the last near-decade due to his role in the MCU. Consequently, more people are tuning in and seeing just how important he is in the war against evil.
From his early days of fighting Nazis to his later years of stopping alien invasions, Captain America’s inclusion is without a second thought. He is one of the greatest superheroes to ever grace the pages of a comic book.
Very few superheroes are as identifiable as Batman. More than any hero ever created, he has become a cultural icon. Batman has been trademarked, copyright protected, and duplicated because he’s Batman.
What makes him worthy of being called one of the greatest superheroes of all time isn’t his look. It isn’t the way that he attacks crime. It isn’t his gadgets. Nor is it how his character has darkened over the years. What makes him one of the best superheroes of all time is his Rogue’s Gallery.
Batman is here because there isn’t a single character who deals with more scum than he does
Superman. The Man of Steel. The Man of Tomorrow. Supes. The Last Son of Krypton. Superman.
For all the reasons Captain America deserves to be here, Superman deserves them more. Not only is Superman a Beacon of Hope for the entire DC Universe, but he was also the first superhero in existence.
Superman ushered in a new age of comic books. Through his never-ending promise to do what’s right, children began to believe in a different kind of hero. Sure, kids still looked up to their mothers and fathers, but not in the same way, they looked up to Superman.
He is a man capable of flight, super speed, x-ray vision, projecting heat from his eyes, and more. Superman is one of the best superheroes of all time because he is everything the human race should be. He’s infallible, ethical, trustworthy, and lives by a code of conduct that is unrivaled. Superman is one of the greatest superheroes … ever.
4. Green Lantern
While there have been many men, women, and aliens to take the mantle of Green Lantern, this list refers to only one. Hal Jordan.
His peers look upon Hal Jordan as a leader of the Green Lantern Corps. The Green Power Ring picked him after the death of Abin Sur. It picked him due to his unbendable will to do what’s right. Over time this, of course, proved to be incorrect, but that isn’t the point. Hal Jordan has been at the forefront of some of the best Green Lantern storylines: ‘Blackest Night,’ ‘Sinestro Corps War,’ ‘Rebirth,’ ‘Emerald Twilight,’ ‘Emerald Dawn,’ and ‘Brightest Day.’
And through it all, he has remained as important to comic book readers as the day he was created.
He can create anything his mind can dream up through the Green Power Ring. As such, his stories are often filled with some of the best in comic books.
5. Wonder Woman
The only woman of the “big three” DC superheroes, Wonder Woman is the most important female character in the history of comic books.
Wonder Woman gave rise to the notion that women could be courageous, powerful beyond measure, and stand toe-to-toe with Superman while giving hope to a segment of the comic book market that had never seen hope.
Wonder Woman is the quintessential superhero because she has every quality that is necessary to be one. I don’t refer to her super strength, her toughness, or her spot on the Justice League of America. Instead, I refer to the fact that she has become the perfect role model for anyone who aspires to do some good in the world.
Therefore Wonder Woman is one of the greatest superheroes of all time.
There are very few places in the world where people haven’t heard of Spider-Man. Spider-Man is as universal as the sun setting.
Spider-Man appears in so many of these lists, and lists like it because, more than his power set, he is relatable. That’s right. People worldwide love and respect Spider-Man because he isn’t too different from you or me. He’s an average teenager with an average teenager problem that, due to unforeseen circumstances, gains special powers.
As such, since his creation, he’s become as recognizable as the Coca-Cola logo. Spider-Man, like every other superhero on this list, is unafraid to challenge those who would harm others. Day after day, he puts his own life in harm’s way to protect those he doesn’t know.
7. The Flash
Like the Green Lantern, there have been many iterations of The Flash. However, of them all, none are as important as Barry Allen. In fact, if DC were to change their “big three” heroes list to a “big four” heroes list, Barry Allen would be the only superhero to make the new list.
Barry Allen is the first Flash named when asking someone to name a Flash. He is the one who DC built the entire Flash persona around. Yes, others have come and gone over the years, Wally West, Kid Flash, Jay Garrick, and Bart Allen. However, none are as important as Barry Allen.
Barry Allen is the Flash who has been at the forefront of DC Universe changing events like ‘Flashpoint’ and the birth of the New 52 and Crisis on Infinite Earths.
And why? Simply because Barry Allen is the most important Flash ever. He may not be the fastest or the one who has the most control over the Speed Force, but he is the most important.
First appearing in the 1960s, Daredevil has become a household name in the world of superheroes.
Daredevil doesn’t have a well-known Rogue’s Gallery, nor does he have a following as large as Spider-Man, but that’s ok. What he does have is a gift that makes him completely unique in the world of superhero comics. Daredevil lost his sight because of an accident that would cripple a lesser man.
However, his other senses were dramatically heightened as a by-product of this. He used his heightened senses to his advantage and trained to become a superhero who would make a difference despite his disadvantage. This means that, as the expression goes, he made lemonade out of lemons.
He trained and became one of the best fighters in Marvel Comics and now uses his abilities to rid the evil from Hell’s Kitchen. And uses them with style.
Daredevil is one of the greatest superheroes of all time and will firmly remain there for the foreseeable future.
The God of Thunder is one of the greatest superheroes of all time, and here’s why.
The man is a God who does everything he can to keep peace across the Nine Realms. He is the son of arguably the most powerful character in Marvel comics, Odin, and wields one of the Universe’s greatest weapons in Mjolnir.
Thor is a fighter not to be taken lightly, a hero who possesses strength equal to the Hulk, can fly through the cosmos, and can control lightning. Thor is so important that he will swing the side of any war to whichever side he sits on.
If this doesn’t convince you, know this. Thor is an original Avenger and, because of this, takes particular care in protecting the planet Earth. He doesn’t do this for the accolades or attention that it brings. No, he does this because it’s what superheroes do.
10. Jean Grey
Jean Grey was the first female introduced to the X-Men. Like Wonder Woman, she pioneered what it was to be a superheroine. Jean Grey is a powerful telepath whose mutation was so strong Charles Xavier feared what she could and would become.
Her power set is either on par or completely outmatches those with a similar power set. Up until her time as the Dark Phoenix, Jean Grey set the tone for what a lead X-Man was. This was so much to the point that when the Xavier Institute For Higher Learning fell, the Jean Grey Institute replaced it.
Jean Grey’s importance as a superhero cannot be understated. She has inspired millions worldwide, including myself, to believe that you do not have to be a product of your circumstance. Anyone can overcome the adversity of any kind if they believe they can.
The Incredible Hulk has become a synonym for rage and strength. He is among the most powerful characters in existence and also one of the most recognizable. Hulk is a bizarre story of savagery and impressive intellect. And this is what makes him one of the best superheroes ever created.
12. Ghost Rider
Now hear me out, Ghost Rider is perhaps not the most popular choice for these types of lists, but he is definitely among the coolest choices. He is a stuntman turned spirit of vengeance, has a flaming skull, and rides a bike. Ghost Rider is so underestimated both in terms of his powers and abilities and the impact he’s had on the bikers community.
Aquaman is among the oldest superheroes in DC comics, and he is most notable for talking to fish, and consequently, he was mocked far and wide in the popular media. However, the fact still stands that Aquaman is one of the most recognizable names in comics and in pop culture, and the recent developments in the DCEU and comics also testify to his powers.
15. Iron Man
Iron Man managed to land on this list because, in 2008, something incredible happened. The first ‘Iron Man’ movie was released, and with it, the MCU started. Something that eventually resulted in the most ambitious crossover of all time and one of the greatest film franchises in the history of cinema. This is what led to Iron Man being the most recognizable face of Marvel Comics in the last 20 years.
What do you think? Who would make your greatest superheroes list?