Movies & TV / Columns

The Top 10 Alien Races In Comics

November 18, 2022 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Klyntar Image Credit: Marvel Comics

The truth is out there. And in comic books, you don’t even have to look that hard; there are aliens EVERYWHERE.

Some are heroes. Some are villains. But there is absolutely no lack of interstellar life in Marvel, DC, or the independent comic book arena. So Fox Mulder would be like a pig in… wait, would he be? Or would the ubiquitous nature of extra terrestrials just kind of put him in a defeated funk?

“Scully, I’m telling you, there are ALIENS!”

“Yes, Mulder, we know. See, there’s the Martian Manhunter punching a Daxamite.”

“Oh yeah. Okay, I guess.”

Poor guy.

ANYWAY, let’s take a look at the top ten alien races in comics!

10. Star Conquerors

Image Credit: DC Comics

The first ever Justice League foe AND the final antagonist of James Gunn’s excellent Suicide Squad reboot, Starro’s people (actually… does he have people? Or is it just Starro? I was led to believe there is a whole race) kick us off!

The design of these guys is great… I mean, Starro is just a starfish, but he’s a MASSIVE one, and his little spore buddiess just stick to your face and turn you into a drone for the big guy. So just the appearance of your former friends coming after you with this evil star on their face, staring you down with its one eye? That’s creepy!

9. Kree

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

I always feel like Marvel wants the Kree to be more important than they are. They are tied into EVERYONE, basically. The Inhumans, mutants, the Fantastic Four. There’s always the big “The Kree visited Earth and set us on a path” thing, but if you asked me to name, like, ten Kree? That seems hard.

Still, look at what they’ve given us. Both Captain Marvel’s (Mar-Vell and Carol). The Supreme Intelligence as an awesome looking foe. The Kree-Skrull War. Hulkling. They have had huge impacts across the Marvel Universe, even if they are most often more of a background race.

8. Viltrumites

Image Credit: Image Comics

Hey, here’s a step up! The Viltrumites are the race from which Invincible was spawned. They are a huge driving force for almost everything that happens across the Invincible series, from Omni-Man turning on his son to the Viltrumite War and beyond.

Obviously “flying superstrong aliens that are the basis for a fictional universe” is not a brand new idea. We’re going to see it at least twice more before this list is over. But Invincible put its own unique spin on the concept to keep it fresh. Well. Kind of unique. They have a LOT in common with our #3 entry even in concept. But it’s still a good series!

7. Martians (Various)

Image Credit: Dynamite Comics

Mars being our closest neighbor and inspiring the imagination of so many of us here on Earth, OF COURSE writers from all over the place have given us various types of Martians in comics. The above-mentioned Invincible had Martians. Marvel has hinted at the idea of Martians, but never really committed to it. Topps trading cards inspired Mars Attacks comic books, and they had an enormously impactful crossover with Image Comics in the 1990’s which shaped that universe (particularly the Savage Dragon end of things) for years to come.

And, of course, the most famous and noteworthy Martians in comics reside in the DC Universe alongside J’onn J’onzz and M’gann M’orzz. In addition to the pair of heroes, there is the threat of the White Martians, a much more sinister branch of Martian evolution with designs on Earthly domination. I’ve actually just started seeking to read more about Miss Martian, and her DC history is distressingly sparse, but she remains a big part of the Young Justice TV show!

6. Skrulls

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

A lot more prevalent than their Kree foes, the Skrulls and their ability to blend in through shape-shifting just typically see more usage as an antagonist.

I always think of shape-shifting as kind of an obnoxious power that lets writers get away with some of the more frustrating tropes, but judging by how long people have been anticipating Secret Invasion in the MCU, I’m clearly in the minority.

5. Oans / Guardians

Image Credit: DC Comics

I always get a kick out of how badly Geoff Johns seemed to hate these guys. His entire run on Green Lantern was basically character assassination of the Guardians. They were constantly shown to be incompetent at BEST, and downright malicious and evil at WORST. It never made a load of sense to me because Johns usually made Ganthet relatable and balanced, and Ganthet literally raised and trained the rest of the Guardians, so how did they become such dicks that hate and resent him?

But oh well, the Guardians are the keepers of Oa and the Green Lantern Corps. Their duty is to, you know, GUARD the Universe, even if they have to do a terrible job at it. Just look at how many important Green Lanterns there have been in DC! And they are all because of the Guardians!

4. New Gods

Image Credit: DC Comics

Are these guys “aliens”? And are, say, Asgardians or Olympians “aliens” if so? It gets a bit confusing, and I’m trying not to think too hard about it. The New Gods live out in space, so I’m counting them!

Anyway, Jack Kirby’s whole Fourth World is by far his most lasting legacy with DC Comics (as you might have guessed since the Snyder Cut of Justice League didn’t feature cameos by, like, fucking Kamandi). This fantastic realm of, well, new gods that sprung up from the ashes of a former godly civilization has been a cornerstone of the company since the 70’s.

3. Saiyans

Image Credit: Shueisha

A baby sent by rocket to another world. His homeworld destroyed and his people dead. He is raised by an Earthman who instills values in him. And then he becomes a hero to the planet. But, oh wait, his home race are evil conquering monsters!

What a fun little twist on the whole Superman story. And, like I alluded to before, the fact that his birth people are evil is something that Kirkman tinkered with on Invincible.

Dragon Ball Z and its Saiyan heroes was a LOT of peoples’ introduction to Eastern comics and cartoons. Their influence is inescapable, and Akira Toriyama’s creations are popular to this day. Sure when Toriyama decided to make the hero of his Dragon Ball series an alien he ripped off Superman, but the similarities ended there, and he made his own legacy.

2. Klyntar

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

What’s weird about the Klyntar is that they existed for YEARS, if not decades, before their race was given a name. They were just “symbiotes” for ages. Even when others besides Venom came to Earth, they were never really given a proper name until the last few years.

Venom’s popularity aside–and he is a massively popular character who has his own film franchise and appeared all over Marvel Comics since the 1990’s–Donny Cates took the whole symbiotes thing even further and made them a foundational part of Marvel’s historical mythos within the last few years.

1. Kryptonians

Image Credit: DC Comics

Just because something is the easy call doesn’t make it the wrong one. By every measurable metric, Kryptonians are the best/most important alien race in comic book history. The superhero boom started with Superman, and he never really faltered (well, that’s a lie. The 50’s existed). The Man Of Steel, an infant sent from a dying world to save our own, has been one of the most well-known fictional characters in history. Arguably, he is THE most well-known. I mean… it’s him or Mickey Mouse, right?

He is THE superhero powerset. He is THE standard for strange visitors from another world. And his mythology has given us Supergirls, Superdogs, Superhorses, Superenemies. Just everything! So yeah… Kryptonians. It was never in doubt.

Kind of a letdown #1! But like I said… the only thing worse than going for the obvious choice at #1 is pretending anything else makes sense.

What do you think? What are some of the best alien races NOT mentioned here? Let me know!

Until next time… take care!