The Marvel Universe is extremely expansive, to put it lightly. With so many heroes and so many events going on at the same time, it’s no wonder that some characters are unable to stand the tests of time. It seems like there’s always going to be a Spider-Man, a Captain America, and an Iron Man, but what about the characters that slip through the cracks? Hell, there are some characters who at one point were appearing in multiple books but seem to have fallen off the map. With MARVEL NOW! launching this October, there are so many books that we’d like to see! What small-time heroes deserve a chance to shine? Who do we think should get another crack at the spotlight? Find out below!

 

10. Doc Samson

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Psychologist to the supers, Dr. Leonard “Doc” Samson is ever the interesting character. Possessing a great deal of strength due to gamma radiation exposure (though much less so than his fully Hulked-out counterparts), Doc Samson is able to lift around 70 tons and has a vertical leap of 580 feet. Unlike the Hulk, Samson’s strength is not dependent on his emotions, which gives him greater control over himself at the expense of raw power. Once, his life’s ambition was to permanently cure Bruce Banner of the, shall we say, “anger issues,” the consequences of which had been plaguing him and those around him for years. In CIVIL WAR II we see that Doc Samson has in fact returned to the realm of the living. But as you know, if you’ve been reading CIVIL WAR II, he’s had to abandon this pursuit. Now that Doc Samson walks among us again, perhaps the famed MD/PhD will forgo an academic position, like the one he once held at Northwestern University, and play a greater role in the Marvel Universe. With the continued destigmatization of mental illness, I’m hoping Doc Samson will be introduced in a role more directly related to his profession, as opposed to some added Hulk-like muscle.

 

9. Purple Woman

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After the success of Marvel’s JESSICA JONES, it’d make sense for Marvel to bring back a character associated with the Purple Man. Kara Killgrave, the much lesser known Purple Woman, is the daughter of the Purple Man and Melanie Killgrave, one of the victims of his manipulation. Kara Killgrave chose not to follow in her father’s footsteps but instead use her powers of manipulation for good. After fighting alongside the other members of Beta Flight, the training division of Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, Kara Killgrave was incarcerated in a Canadian Weapon X facility. It’d be great to see her re-emerge as a staple of some new hero team. Perhaps a new incarnation of Alpha Flight?

 

READ: Check out why we love Marvel’s JESSICA JONES

 

8. Cosmo

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Initially launched into space as a test animal used by the Soviet Space Program, he drifted off to Knowhere at some point in the 1960s, mutating to the point where he becomes advanced enough to be the head of security for Knowhere. Cosmo is occasionally a liaison to the Guardians of the Galaxy, despite frequently butting heads with Rocket Raccoon. As if being the galaxy’s most advanced guard dog wasn’t enough, Cosmo is capable of telekinesis, telepathy, and firing psionic blasts. I need more dogs in all parts of my life; Marvel comics don’t get a pass just because they help me satisfy my need for more Spider-Man content. They’ve got a book about a talking duck who happens to be a detective, so what? I need more than the occasional appearance of Lockjaw or Pizza Dog to satisfy the desire for more dogs in my life. PLUS COSMO IS SO ADORABLE AND GOOD AND I LOVE HIM. 

 

7. Night Thrasher

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Dwayne Taylor (AKA Night Thrasher), head of the Taylor Foundation and founder of the New Warriors, was presumed dead after the incident in Stamford, CT that kickstarted what would be Marvel’s first CIVIL WAR. In CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS, a title launched with Marvel’s ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT lineup, it was revealed that Night Thrasher was dragged into the Battlerealm to serve as one of the competing champions. In the words of the one of the other champions, Night Thrasher is, “Black Panther and Captain America and he’s Tony Stark — and he’s got a skateboard!” With Marvel making greater efforts towards diversity, a black man with the technological prowess of Tony Stark and the morality of Cap wouldn’t be too off-brand for what I’m expecting from MARVEL NOW! In fact, one of the short stories included in CHOOSING SIDES #1, the first installment in a six-part CIVIL WAR II tie-in series, is centered around Night Thrasher. Hopefully, this means he’s being groomed for reintroduction into the mainstream Marvel Universe. Plus, he’s armed with an arsenal of advanced technology that somehow reeks of the 1990s, and rides a skateboard into battle, making him only the most rad superhero of all time.

 

 

6. Elsa Bloodstone

77607-134578-elsa-bloodstoneMarvel’s critics accuse them of engaging in too many sprawling space odysseys and cataclysmic events, and perhaps they’re right. That’s exactly why Elsa Bloodstone would be a great addition to the MARVEL NOW! roster. Bloodstone, a monster hunter by trade, enjoys both immortality and super-strength thanks to a fragment of the Bloodgem that she wears in a choker around her neck. In addition to this, Elsa Bloodstone is extremely skilled with both firearms and most melee weapons. She’s an incredibly formidable hand-to-hand combatant. After her involvement in Nextwave, Elsa hasn’t been seen in a book since AXIS, which means she’s due for an appearance. The blogger/huntress extraordinaire is the lovechild of the old world, and the new – what with her somewhat antiquated profession, and its associated side project: creating an electronic encyclopedia of all the monsters she hunts. Speaking of electronic encyclopedias, we’d like to know how her pokédex is coming if she plays Pokémon Go.

5. Speedball/Penance

Robbie Baldwin, the human kinetic energy sponge known as both Speedball and Penance, was a Marvel staple during both the CIVIL WAR and DARK REIGN events, first as a member of the New Warriors and then as part of the Thunderbolts. Initially a happy-go-lucky jokester, similar to Spider-Man in demeanor, his role as the only surviving catalyst of the Stamford incident sent Robbie into a deep depression, causing him to assume the moniker Penance. As Penance, Robbie wears an iron maiden-type suit, with 612 spikes, each representing one of the lives lost in the Stamford incident. Allegedly, the pain caused by these spikes helps amplify and focus Penance’s powers. Though Baldwin has since reverted to his Speedball persona, he has yet to shake the crippling depression that accompanied his role in the deaths of 612 innocent civilians. It’s an interesting aspect of his character that I believe warrants more discussion. By its very name,  CIVIL WAR II has opened up discussions on the first CIVIL WAR. Perhaps in its wake we’ll hear from Robbie Baldwin again?

 

LISTEN: For more on CIVIL WAR, check out our podcast centered around the event, and what it means for CIVIL WAR II

 

4. Trauma

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Terrence Ward (AKA Trauma) possesses a cocktail of superpowers referred to as “the holy grail.” Not only is he a telepath, but a shape-shifter as well. Trauma has a penchant for transforming into his opponents’ worst fears, which, as you can imagine, comes in handy quite often. Child of the powerful demon Nightmare, in his last appearance Terrence was at constant risk of having his body taken over and manipulated by his father. After a long bout with depression and denying Justice’s invitation to join the Avengers Resistance during DARK REIGN, Trauma left the eye of readers to figure out how to prevent his father from taking over his body. It’d be cool to see Trauma resurface after overcoming the influence of Nightmare and attempt to join the Champions, an Avengers-style team of the same name made up solely of teenaged heroes that will be featured in the forthcoming comic of the same name.

3.  Mania

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Andrea Benton’s life as a high school student in Philadelphia was interrupted when Flash Thompson became her neighbor and gym teacher. When an impostor Jack O’ Lantern releases deadly gas in Andrea’s apartment, Flash (as Agent Venom) protects her with a bit of his symbiote, which goes a step further by bonding to the teen. Mania is the intersection of the previously re-absorbed Venom clone and Mephisto’s Hell Mark, and because of this, she possesses all the abilities of Venom, as well as the power to control lesser demons. It seemed like writers had forgotten about Mania, until she appeared at the end of a recent issue of VENOM: SPACE KNIGHT. If she doesn’t make another appearance before the MARVEL NOW! relaunch, I’d be extremely surprised if she doesn’t play some role in the new VENOM series. It’d be really cool to see Mania on a team of some sort, if not in a book of her own. She would be an interesting addition to a world where teenaged heroes are re-emerging. Juxtaposing do-gooders like Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, Andrea Benton has a pronounced ruthless streak, exacerbated by the Hell Mark that continually corrupts her symbiote. Unlike them, she does not apprehend criminals, she butchers them.

 

READ: Like Venom? Read our analysis of Venom as a metaphor for addiction! 

 

2. Sentry

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Frequently described as the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe, Robert “Bob” Reynolds, AKA Sentry is an agoraphobic schizophrenic whose only near-rivals in terms of potential for destruction are the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, and the Phoenix Force. He possesses a seemingly limitless array of powers ranging from flight and energy projection to invulnerability and super strength. Often paired with the Sentry is a manipulative being called the Void, whose nature seems to waver between ‘the darkest part of Sentry’s fragmented psyche’ to ‘unknown.’ The Void is evil, malicious, and capable of unparalleled destruction, or in other words, the perfect foil to the golden guardian of good. With the help of Reed Richards and Dr. Strange, Sentry was able to erase all memory of himself from the Earth’s population in efforts to keep them all safe from the Void. Sentry’s instability is part of what makes him so interesting. At any given time, he could veer off the deep end, creating another situation similar to what happened with the Scarlet Witch. Sentry is a being of opposites. He is both the greatest threat to the world as well as its most powerful asset. In addition to his time with the Avengers, he had a brief tenure as the Horseman of Death. It would be nice to see the psyche of the Sentry explored in a bit more detail. That’s why he ranks so highly on our list: because of his potential for destruction, and the immense relief that would be experienced by all residing in the Marvel Universe if he were able to gain full control of his own mind.

1. Daimon Hellstrom

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Daimon Hellstrom (AKA Hellstorm), son of a human woman and the biblical Lucifer, is the hero we’d most like to see come back in MARVEL NOW! for a number of reasons. Before his descent into darkness and apparent villainy, Hellstorm was actually a member of the Defenders known as the Son of Satan. It was only after the removal and subsequent restoration of Hellstrom’s darksoul (the demonic counterpart to a human soul), due to a sacrifice by his then-wife Patricia Walker (AKA Hellcat), that his alignment began to change. After becoming ruler of Hell, Daimon’s allegiances became clear when he betrayed the Avengers by allying with Sin, and when he attempted to convert Agent Venom into one of his Monsters of Evil. This never sat quite right with me. In his early days, Hellstrom’s narrative was strongly rooted in his refusal to follow in his father’s footsteps. Daimon lacked the will to be evil, unlike his sister Satana, who from childhood aligned herself with their father. Daimon’s day job as an occult expert and occasional college professor kept him on the forefront of his field, frequently allowing him to go head-to-head with his father and his associated forces. Hellstrom’s bizarre and complicated history definitely needs some clearing up, should he ever return to the side of good. Having Hellstrom usurped by his father (now reincarnated in the body of Hellstrom’s own son) would be a plausible way for Marvel to work Hellstrom back into the mix, perhaps motivated by the likes of ex-wife Patsy Walker, who recently made a comeback with the launch of her own title in the ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT Marvel line. Bringing Daimon Hellstrom back into the eyes of readers would force Marvel to further incorporate the supernatural into their universe, instead of relying so heavily on sprawling space epics. His character needs no revamping or aesthetic redesign, just a slight nudge in the right direction in terms of alignment. I just really like Hellstrom, okay? (Axel Alonso, if you’re reading this, I’m available to write a Hellstrom ongoing, you can contact me at markbouchard@comicsverse.com).

 

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