Movies & TV / Columns

Alternate Takes 01.19.13: Top 10 Superheroes Who are Jerks

January 19, 2013 | Posted by Shawn S. Lealos

Welcome to Week 237 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

Check out the new trailer for Red 2.

When the Marvel Now series began, I was quick to criticize the launch. That came from me reading the “Consequences” storylines following the X-Men vs. Avengers series. I hated what they did with Cyclops and felt it was not a fun read at all. I don’t mind intensity and grittiness in my comics, but they should still be enjoyable reads, and this was not. I gave them another chance with Amazing Spider-Man #700 and was impressed. I also enjoyed the launching of Superior Spider-Man and I was off and running.

Now that I have read a bit, I really like some of the titles.

First up, the new Fantastic Four books are all kinds of great. Matt Fraction (Iron Man) is the new writer and the books have taken the Fantastic Four off of earth to explore undiscovered universes. The reason for the travel is because Reed Richards realized he has a degenerative condition because of his powers that will kill him, and there is nothing in the known universe that can reverse the effect – so he decides to go to the unknown universe.

Reed, being Reed, refuses to tell anyone but Scott Lang (Ant-Man). He just tells his family that they are going to explore and help their kids, Franklin and Valerie, learn about the universe by going through the universe. Of course, the first thing that happens is a monster tries to eat them, but that is where all the fun comes in. This isn’t fighting a bad guy each issue, this is fun sci-fi adventures, which fits the team perfectly.

Reed Richards remains his old, arrogant, self, unable to really communicate with anyone not as smart as him (the entire population of the world). Sue is a bit underwritten, and not really a solid character, but I am hoping that works itself out. Franklin and Valerie are written as perfect kid siblings. Ben Grimm is a bit annoying sometimes (he calls people dummies about 20 times too many in the first few issues).

Then there is Johnny Storm.

The last Fantastic Four comic I read was the “Death of the Human Torch,” and I saw a very mature hero save the lives of all his friends and family. With Marvel Now, Johnny has reverted back into the egotistical, bubble brained, boy toy. He is dating a major mainstream pop star (think Katy Perry) and when he gives her a special gift (it looked like a ring box), it contained his business card “with the direct line to my phone.” When the team decides they need to find someone to replace each of them on earth while they are gone, Johnny forgets. He checks his phone, sees the note “talk about the thing,” and proceeds to talk to his girlfriend about Ben Grimm, The Thing.

Johnny Storm is the highlight of these comics character-wise.

That leads me to the series FF, which stands for the Future Foundation. Well, not only was Reed looking for someone to substitute for the Fantastic Four, but he was looking for someone to watch over the kids in the Foundation in case something happened. See, Reed calculated that they would be gone for a year, but in earth time it would be a few minutes. Therefore, Reed chose Ant-Man (who is still in pain over the death of his daughter), Sue chose Medussa of the Inhumans, Ben chose She-Hulk, and Johnny forgot to choose anyone and picked his girlfriend at the last minute.

She has no super powers, but that is ok because the Fantastic Four would only be gone for a few minutes in earth time – except they never came back.

FF is not as praise-worthy for me as Fantastic Four for one main reason. I hate the cartoony art work of Michael Allred. I can’t say it more clearly than that – I hate the artwork and that really kills the book for me. It is funny (No one knows where Medussa is, and then the next panel shows her in the bedroom in the Baxter Building ringing a bell wondering where her servants are) and I loved how their first fight was against the Fantastic Four’s “greatest villain” The Mole Man.

But the way this book is drawn and the comedy style of the writing makes it seem to be aimed for young children. At the end of this month’s issue, a charred Human Torch looking character flies out of the portal the Fantastic Four went through and then bragged that the Fantastic Four were dead and no one would ever come through that portal again. That cliffhanger makes me want to read more, but I don’t know if I want to buy another issue.

Fantastic Four is well worth your money. FF is worth checking out at the comic store, to follow the storyline.

With the excitement of the new Fantastic Four, I realized that both Reed Richards and Ben Grimm were kind of dicks in the books. Added to the superiority complex of Superior Spider-Man, I realized that a lot of these heroes were kind of D-bags. With that in mind, and looking at last week’s topic of face turns in Marvel comics, I am going to look at the biggest superhero jerks in comics, this week DC Comics and Marvel combined.


10. Thor
Yes, Thor is a God, but damn if he isn’t the most arrogant, self centered superhero. You would figure that when his own father kicked him out of Asgard because of his arrogance and selfishness, he would learn some humility. Nope. He still does good things, he saves people’s lives and he kicks the bad guy’s asses, but he pretty much treats everyone – good guys, bad guys, mortals, aliens – like shit. There is a funny moment in the recent Marvel Now Thor comic where he heads to the great library of the Gods and asks about Gods disappearing. The librarian said that all Gods are forgotten, and one day even the great Thor will and then mumbled to himself “hopefully.” That is what Thor’s attitude comes across to those around him. He might be the most arrogant God of them all, and that says a lot.

9. Reed Richards
Reed Richards doesn’t mean to be a dick. He is just the smartest man in the world and has no comprehension of how to talk to normal people. A perfect example is when he went to Scott Lang to ask him to fill in for him as the leader of the Fantastic Four and asked how he was doing after “that thing.” “That thing” was Scott’s daughter dying. Reed said he was sorry, he just doesn’t know how to talk about things like that. Don’t get me started on how he has remained married to Sue. He can’t keep his mind on her, or their kids, and never takes anyone else’s opinions or feelings into mind when making decisions. He lies to everyone all the time and figures it is ok because he knows more than them. The guy is just an anti-social elitist with no communication skills.

8. Green Lantern
When the DC New 52 kicked off I really got into the Justice League, but something kind of surprised me. Hal Jordan has always been kind of a dick in a space cop kind of way. That is how law and order people come across. However, in the New 52, Hal became an antagonistic prick, especially to Flash. I have no idea when Hal became such a trivial prick. However, one thing that hasn’t changed was his spot on a list like this. He just went from being a military jerk to an elitist (I use that word a few times in this countdown) jerk.

7. Wolverine
He is not the biggest dick in the X-Men, but Wolverine is becoming pretty bad. The one thing that makes Logan so popular is that he really doesn’t care. However, recently in the Avengers vs. X-Men story and the new Marvel Now, he just comes across as an arrogant know it all. Really, it seems like Marvel is dropping the ball because Wolverine is not really the great outsider he used to be, the antihero that everyone loved. Now he is a member of The Avengers, acting sanctimonious around everyone and acting like he is better than his contemporaries. I mentioned in the review above that I didn’t like Marvel Now because of the first “Consequences” story and that was all because of Wolverine and Cyclops meeting at the prison. That make me really start to hate Wolverine.

6. Booster Gold
You don’t get more jerky than Booster Gold, a superhero who only exists in our time because he wanted to be a star. The fact that he puts more credit into his advertising and promotional deals than actually, you know, fighting crime, makes him a Grade-A jerk. However, Booster Gold is also one of the best characters in DC Comics when the writer gets him right. Sure, he is a egotistical jerk who just wants to see his face on posters but he is also a really fun character when it comes to fighting crime.

5. Cyclops
Now, we are getting into the real asses of the comic book world in the Top 5. I’ll start off with Cyclops, easily the most elitist X-Men member of all time. You can go back to the start and see how he acted around his teammates, or jump to the New X-Men when he was an ass clown to people like Wolverine. He has always been a self centered jerk, but also remains the one mutant who really wanted to fight the battle that Professor X envisioned. He was always on the front line to make sure that Mutants were protected and honored. Then he got the Phoenix force, killed Professor X, became one of the most wanted criminals in America and now wants to be a martyr, a man that mutants can hang the poster of on their walls and say “Cyclops was right.” The guy has always had this arrogance about him, and this is just the next step in his evolution.

4. Iron Man
Tony Stark is an arrogant jerk in both the comics and the movies, however in the movies he is Robert Downey Jr. and everything is forgiven in that circumstance. In the comics, you don’t get the personality that Downey portrays and what you end up with is a genius who always thinks he is right, treats almost everyone around him like they are under him and hurts more people than most superheroes have. Plus, he is arrogant enough to think that it is ok for him to do it, but not for other people to do it. A perfect example is Civil War, a storyline I have made clear that I hate. The reason I hate it is because of Iron Man. At that point, Tony Stark became one of my least favorite characters.

3. Jason Todd
Jason Todd deserved to be on this list before fans voted to let Joker kill him. He was a little prick who took complete advantage of the fact that Batman took him in to help him. However, when he came back from the dead he was not a little prick anymore. He was a full-fledged asshole who treated everyone like shit and was about the last person you could trust. He is an antihero but he has grown from a bratty kid into a very arrogant man. Damian Wayne is also a little brat who I hate more than any other Robin before him (even more than Jason back in the day), but Jason Todd deserves the respect to be on this list. Damien just deserves to be an the list of most annoying characters, while this list is an honor for the heroes to be part of.

2. Namor
From the start, there was no more arrogant character in comics than Namor, the Sub Mariner. The guy was the King of Atlantis, which makes sense why he was such a jerk when he thought land dwellers destroyed his kingdom, even after helping the Allies in World War II. However, since then he has grown worse. He tried to seduce and steal Sue Richards from Reed. He teamed with bad guys when he knew it would help him. While Iron Man acts like he is better than everyone else, Namor believes he is better than any other individual alive. Namor is a jerk, pure and simple, and he has mastered the attitude.

1. Batman
Batman. He didn’t used to be this way. When he was with Dick, he was a decent enough guy. However, over time he developed an intense personality and trusted no one. He is the ultimate conspiracy theorist and has a plan developed to beat every superhero on the planet. While he gets along well with Superman, he doesn’t trust Superman’s power. He has a plan in sight to kill Superman if the need arises. Hell, he created the Brother Eye system because he remembered when the Justice League erased his memories of an act of vengeance against Doctor Light. Because he couldn’t trust them, he created Brother Eye, an A.I. surveillance system that allowed him to keep track of every superhero on earth and that led to Infinite Crisis where Maxwell Lord used Brother Eye to try to kill all meta-humans. This was all because Batman won’t trust anyone. Batman is a jerk, but he is still one of the best comic book characters ever created.

Last week, Jean Grey beat The Thing, 728-190, which makes sense because even if she didn’t have the Phoenix Force, she still has her strong mental powers, rivaled by only Professor X. Spider-Man won a close fight with Deadpool, 487-444, as Spider-Man probably used his spider sense to detect when Deadpool was getting ready to shoot in order to offset his marksmanship. Hellboy beat Daredevil, as the son of Hell beat the man who only patterned himself after the devil. Finally, Captain America soundly beat Swamp Thing, 735-175. I have no idea how Captain America can beat Swamp Thing, but I would just assume he would use his brains to figure out a way to offset Swampies powers. Any ideas in the comments about how a fight between Cap and Swamp Thing would go down?



Iron Man


Captain Marvel



Iron Fist

Welcome to the 5th week of D-Rock’s Corner! I am John “D-Rock” Dotson, and this week we will be discussing who should handle the task of directing Justice League of America. Last week, sources leaked an unofficial rumored list of characters who would make the JLA roster. What they have not yet announced is a “short list” of film-makers who would be handling the property. So, as always I figured it would be fun to make a wish list of names that should put their signature on the beloved comic-book super team. This is just for fun, so feel free to chime in on the comment section below with your selected directors as well. Here we go…

1. Duncan Jones

Duncan Jones has proven himself to be quite a sufficient film-maker as far as balancing realism and scifi-fantasy elements. He had a terrific career starter with his debut film Moon, as well as a strong follow-up with the sci-fi “whodunit” Source Code. If given the job, I think Jones would handle the property well. If the DC Universe is taking a turn towards the “fantastic” side, he would be a potential I would keep on speed dial.

2. Rian Johnson

Before the release of Looper, I’m not even sure if Rian Johnson would be someone I would consider. Don’t get me wrong, I love him as a director, I’ve just never seen him handle big projects up until recently. Johnson’s touch on the “time travel” genre was clever and unpredictable at every turn. I love how he is able to play within genre cliches, and bring something new to them at the same time. This is why I think it would be fun to see him tackle JLA. Give him the chance to do a script rewrite the way Marvel gave Joss Whedon, and I bet we end up with a superhero film unlike any other.

3. The Wachowski’s

I’m honestly divided myself on this choice, but Andy & Lana Wachowski always deliver interesting films. I think I was one of the few in the minority who absolutely loved Speed Racer. I didn’t exactly “love” Cloud Atlas but I respected what it was trying to accomplish. However, the Wachowski’s are still great in handling style with a grand vision. If given the chance, I think it would be interesting to see how they would handle JLA.

4. Brad Bird

This has to be my favorite choice out of all the names I have mentioned. Brad Bird’s The Incredibles is one of my all-time favorite animated features from Pixar. In my opinion, his first live action film, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is the best entry in the franchise. I think his sense of great storytelling mixed with a perfect balance of entertaining spectacle is just what we need for Justice League of America. If DC/WB have any good sense, they will have this man on their reach-out list.

There you have it folks! My four top Director picks for Justice League of America! Who would you like to see handle JLA in 2015? As always, let me know in the comments!

January 4: Texas Chainsaw 3D
January 25: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
January 29 – The Dark Knight Returns Part 2
February 1 – Bullet to the Head
March 1 – Jack the Giant Slayer
March 8 – Oz: The Great and Powerful
March 29 – G.I. Joe: Retaliation
April 12 – The Evil Dead
May 3 – Iron Man 3
May 17 – Star Trek: Into Darkness
June 14 – The Man of Steel
June 21 – World War Z
June 28 – Kick-Ass 2
June 12 – Pacific Rim
July 3 – The Lone Ranger
July 19 – R.I.P.D.
July 26 – The Wolverine
August 2 – Red 2
August 2 – 300: Rise of an Empire
August 6 – Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
September 6 – Riddick
September 13 – I, Frankenstein
September 13 – Machete Kills
October 4 – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
October 25 – The World’s End
November 1 – Ender’s Game
November 8 – Thor 2: The Dark World
November 22 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
December 13 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

April 4 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
May 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2
July 18 – X-Men: Days of Future Past
August 1 – Guardians of the Galaxy

March 6 – Fantastic Four
May 1 – The Avengers 2
November 6 – Ant-Man


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Shawn S. Lealos

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