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TOP 5 MOST OVERRATED COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS OF THE PAST 25 YEARS

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Posted August 1, 2012 by Jeff Carter in Features


5.) Cable

Get used to seeing the name Rob Liefeld, because it will be popping up a lot on this list. The one-time Levis commercial star and world-renowned worst comic book artist in history teamed up with writer Louis Simonson in March, 1990 to create a character that embodies everything that sucked about comic books in the 1990’s. Glowing eye? Check. Giant shoulder pads? Check? Cybernetic limb? Check. Ridiculously huge guns? Check? Superfluous belt and thigh pouches? Check. Convoluted origin? Oh my God, check.

The only thing more ludicrous than Cable’s physical appearance, is his absolutely insane, paradox-riddled existence, which involves cloning, enough time travel to make Doc Brown look like a rank amateur, and — because this was the 90’s, and anything “techno” or “cyber” was totally rad — Cable was born with a “techno-organic” virus that threatened to kill him.

Cable has spent the past 25 years time-hopping around the Marvel universe, repeatedly failing at the three things he basically exists to do – control/cure his techno-organic virus, rid the world of the villain Apocalypse, and protect the “Mutant Messiah,” Hope. The virus keeps consuming and/or killing him, Apocalypse still pops up to do…whatever it is he does, and if my comic book research is accurate, he most recently got his ass handed to him by the Avengers while failing to protect Hope yet again, leaving her in a middle of a war and about to be gobbled up by the Phoenix Force. Nice job, asshat.

 

 4.) Spawn

Cripes, just look at this guy –  giant red Dracula cape, spikes, skulls, chains, and…more pouches? What in the bloody blue hell does a dead man encased in a magical, Satanic suit of plasmatic armor need to keep in a set of thigh patches? A toothbrush? Tums? Steroids? (Hey, it was the 90′s after all.) At any rate, yeah, Spawn. What a terrible, terrible character.

Ol’ Spawn here was an oh-so-clever abbreviation for “Hellspawn,” and he was created by superstar artist Todd McFarlane (who is, to be fair, much better than Rob Liefeld) in 1992 as part of the initial launch of the creator-owned company Image Comics. He was once a CIA black ops badass named Al Simmons, but he was double-crossed and murdered by his boss, so in order to return to Earth and see his wife again, he got rooked into a Faustian deal with a demon called the Malebolgia, who transformed him into this poorly designed clusterfuck of spikes and chains. Seriously, Spawn looks like what would happen if one of Spider-man’s enemies punched him into the coat check room of the local Goth bar.

So why is Spawn so overrated? Well, probably because he’s nothing more than a walking symbol of empty, juvenile fantasy-fulfillment; the embodiment of adolescent predilections for gratuitous splash pages full of boobs, blood, and blades. Spawn is a character that has done absolutely nothing to deserve his iconic status in the comics world. Seriously, think about it — in over 200 issues of meandering nonsense, can you name a single memorable or critically acclaimed Spawn story? Don’t try to answer that, you’ll just hurt yourself.

 

3.) Venom

If there is a more overrated villain in comic book history, I certainly can’t  think of who it could be. Venom hs amassed a legion of rabid fans based solely on the fact that he…looks kinda cool? That really is the main issue with Venom — he’s not a character, he’s just a visually striking design.

Venom started out life in the mid 80′s as a blob of black goo on an alien world that took a liking to Spider-man, and bonded with him to create his spiffy black costume. Soon Spidey was acting strangely, and found out that the costume was a symbiotic alien that was trying to consume him. Spidey then used church bells and fire to separate the symbiote from his body permanently, but the alien goo found a new host in Eddie Brock, a disgraced reporter with a pro wrestler’s physique and a serious mad-on for Spider-man. Together Brock and the symbiote formed Venom, and they set out to make Spider-man’s life a living hell in a couple of truly classic Spidey stories.

The problem is Venom was never meant to be anything more than a temporary antagonist for Spider-man, but when that initial Symbiote saga storyline exploded and resonated with fans, Marvel saw dollar signs and decided to keep bringing Venom back over and over again, telling the same story repeatedly because Brock’s character was so thin. When the Spidey vs. Venom conflict had exhausted its potential, Marvel turned him into an anti-hero and spun him off into countless other books and eventually his own ongoing series, all of which were absolutely God-awful. Venom was exploited, watered-down, and completely over-exposed. Any threat or menace he once held vanished forever amidst a sea of foil covers and guest appearances with Ghost Rider.

 

2.) Gambit

Hey bro, sweet trenchcoat. Remember when those were cool for like, six months in the mid-90′s? Now the only people who wear them are subway flashers and fat teenagers who read R.A. Salvatore dark elf novels and listen to a lot of Type O Negative.

Gambit here is undoubtedly the most overrated X-Men character of all-time. He’s got all the prerequisite qualities of an abysmal 90′s creation: a mysterious, convoluted past involving Mr. Sinster (that guy’s ridiculousness could fill an entire article of its own); a horribly designed costume with one of those goofy and unnecessary headpieces that allowed his super-cool 90′s bangs to hang over his black and red eyes [OH MY GOD GAMBIT IS SO RAD, LOOK AT THOSE BLACK AND RED EYES];  a “totally extreme bro!” mutant power that allowed him to charge objects with kinetic energy , which he used solely on playing cards – because he’s a gambler, you see, Mon Ami?

Also, whenever Gambit is  featured heavily in a story, readers are subjected to page upon page of  irritating phonetic cajun dialog like this: ” HELLO DERE MON CHERI, I AM DE RAGIN CAJUN, AND I GAH-RUN-TEE DAT YOU ARE DE HOTTEST T’ING SINCE MY GRANDADDY’S CRAB JAMBALAYA OH HO HO HO!!” Ugh. It’s been almost 25 years of this, dude. Please just shut the hell up.

 

1.) Deadpool

Deadpool started off as a lame Rob Liefeld-created ripoff of DC’s Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke The Terminator (writer Fabian Nicieza even named Deadpool’s true identity Wade Wilson because of this), in X-Force. He had all the usual 1990′s attributes – mysterious past tied into the Weapon X program (are you sensing a pattern here yet?), as well as the obligatory big swords, big guns, and pouches everywhere. In the mid-1990′s, first under writer Mark Waid, then Joe Kelly, he started to become a “funny” character – spouting off rapid-fire insults and jokes, talking to himself, and eventually breaking the fourth wall to address the reader with amusing observations.

The only thing more annoying than Deadpool’s lame fourth-wall breaking and constant, grating one liners, are the legions of fanboys who think Deadpool is the single greatest comic book character OF ALL-TIME. It’s like they’ve never seen a character in a red costume with black and white eye-pieces in his mask hurling wisecracks and one-liners at this enemies. Wait a minute, that sounds kinda familiar, hmmm…

Oh yeahhhhh….that guy.


About the Author

Jeff Carter
Jeff Carter

Jeff is the defining voice of his generation. Sadly, that generation exists only in an alternate dimension where George Lucas became supreme overlord of the Earth in 1979 and replaced every television broadcast and theatrical film on the planet with Star Wars and Godzilla movies. In this dimension, he’s just a guy from New England who likes writing snarky things about superheroes, monsters, and robots.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrance.lee.18 Terrance Lee

    My neck is getting sore from nodding in agreement especially what you said about Deadpool. I use to dig him but now i’m just sick of him I mean if Marvel really wanted a funny character why not bring back Slapstick at least that guy was actually funny. Yeah now that’d be a crossover Slapstick calling Wade out on how he isn’t funny before smashing him with his mallet.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      @facebook-628719346:disqus Congratulations! I think you are the first person to mention Slapstick since someone in New Jersey talked about him on AOL sometime in 1998! Thanks for reading and visiting!

      • http://www.facebook.com/terrance.lee.18 Terrance Lee

        Funny thing I learned about Slapstick in the “Cartoon Physics” article on the Superpowers wiki but i’m serious Marvel really needs to give this character another solo series and show that hack Deadpool what real comedy is about. Also can you believe they’re making a game about Deadpool?

        • BV

          Slapstick was in the Avengers: The Initiative series from a few weeks back. They kinda portrayed him in a bit darker light with his slapsticks making him a killer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/terrance.lee.18 Terrance Lee

            Yeah I remember he savagely beat a guy with a boot for talking smack about the New Warriors.

  • http://twitter.com/DaEvilGenius Da Evil Genius

    Im with you on all of these except Gambit! Good article though. Finally, someone realizes what I’ve been saying about Venom for years. “oh Venom needs his own movie franchise bc he is just so baaaad ass!”… Um no, he doesnt.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      A venom movie is probably the worst idea anyone has ever had. I’m so relieved Josh Trank dropped out of that project and onto Fantastic Four. Thanks for visiting the League, @twitter-19605294:disqus . Hope you come back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/terrance.lee.18 Terrance Lee

      I know Venom didn’t start becoming cool until he bonded to Flash Thompson who I dubbed “Splinter Cell Venom” because he kinda looks like cross between Spider-Man and Archer from Splinter Cell: Conviction.

  • Phoenix Killian

    Awesome! I totally agree with you on this!

  • Hanzo the Razor

    Eh, this is a pretty “safe” list. Make fun of a bunch of 90s characters that were a product of their time.

    It’s like making a list of the top 5 overrated rock bands and listing nothing but 80s hair metal bands… what’s the point?

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      @hanzotherazor:disqus The point, good sir, is first and foremost to entertain. The second is to back up the entertainment with some facts and opinions to validate the list, which I felt I did quite well. Nowhere in your comment do you mention anything about the information I presented about these characters. Do you agree with anything that I said about them? If you just show up to a website and dismiss the list outright because of a poor analogy without critiquing any of the content, that’s just plain ol’ trolling. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Hanzo the Razor

        I followed a link to the article from a message board I frequent. This is my first time on the site… that said, I almost never respond to articles but I was just struck by the fact that all five characters came from the 90s and are “in vogue” for fandom to goof on. I mean, how many websites out there make fun of Liefeld and his pouch-laden characters these days?

        I don’t disagree with you, BTW — I’m not a fan of any of them. I just think it’s easy-pickings to make fun of these 90s heroes and for me, just my opinion, it doesn’t make for an interesting article to say “Gambit is lame, Spawn is lame, etc.” since people have been saying that over a decade now. It’s like goofing on Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer; it’s old hat. An article explaining why they suck wouldn’t be particularly interesting, no?

        Sorry if you feel like I’m trolling you — I’m honestly not, nor am I looking to pick a fight. Your site posted publicly accessible content and invited people to share reactions. Just because I didn’t want to write out a detailed rebuttal or critique to the article doesn’t mean I’m trolling — I’m just throwing out my honest, natural reaction to the content posted.

        • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

          @hanzotherazor:disqus – I’m sorry that you feel the article was safe and cliche. “it doesn’t make for an interesting article to say “Gambit is lame, Spawn is lame, etc.” I couldn’t agree with you more there, which is why I went into some detail on just exactly why i felt these characters were unworthy of the rabid fanboy followings they’ve amassed.
          An article isn’t sunk by it’s title or premise, it’s sunk by it’s content. Just because something may seem obvious or has been written about on other sites, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential to be interesting and funny, as long as the writer does their job to make it that way.
          That’s what I tried to do here, and I had fun with it, which is all I was really trying to do. A lot of the content I post here is meant to be informative, but also entertaining and humorous. The world is too serious out there, so if the Geek League can provide some levity, then I’m going to try like hell to provide it.

          • MarcellFNWallace

            Jeff I know this is an old article, but I just stumbled over from Captain Planet. That being said, you were way to defensive on this. HR was right you played it safe; and the research you did was solely to prove your point. Your list was was weak, and your tone was jaded. The Punisher was not on the list, but seriously over-rated sure he has a sweet pad in the sewers next door to Splinter and the turtles, but sit thru three movies and try to explain why we love to be punished? Punisher is not even a word is it? How about Iron-Man, or Batman? Everyone loves these guys why not bust one down. I think it would be fairly easy, here watch me do it. I am a insanely intelligent spoiled rich dude with a really sweet suit who has ridiculous gadgets and such, to fit any occasion no matter how absurd. Who am I? If you guessed Millionaire Playboy Bruce Wayne and his Batsuit you are wrong. If you guessed Robert Downey and his flying rocket shooting Iron-Man super-suit; you are wrong. If you guessed Lex Luther evil rich guy with his awesome Warsuit; you are wrong again; I am also not: Dr. Doom, Green Goblin, Hob Goblin, Darth Vader, Ozymandias, Mr. Fantastic, Iron fist, Sub-Mariner, Dr. Strange, Thor, Magneto, Green Arrow, Nite Owl, The Phantom, Black Panthor,or even Scrooge McDuck. No sadly I am Richie Rich. See that. I just put Iron-Man, Batman, and every other Daddy Warbucks cliche’ in the same boat as Richie Rich and Scrooge McDuck. Verbose. And well researched. I didn’t even remember who green arrow was when I started writing this.

            In the time it took you to read this comment Bill Gates has made tens of thousands of dollars from his investments which does not include the approximately 2 million dollars a year he and Malinda earn from his tax sheltered Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation.Ha ha!

          • Mr. Literal

            In a comic book world with superpowered beings, don’t be suprised when normal peopke try to compensate.

        • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

          Also, Not all of these characters are 90′s creations. The Venom symbiote has been around since 1984, and Venom’s first full-fledged appearance with Eddie Brock was in 1988. And Cable was introduced as an infant in 1986. Gambit and Cable’s adult form debuted early on in 1990, which means they were created earlier. The only true “90′s” characters then, are Spawn and Deadpool. Even Deadpool’s current comedy shtick wasn’t fully developed until the very late 90′s/early 2000′s.

          • Contrarian

            Late to the party but feel the need to spout off on this one major jump in your comment section arguments because…well that’s what I do. You used the 90′s lameness argument in 4 of the 5 explanations and now you want do distance yourself from it by saying only 2 are actually 90′s characters. Pick one and fight for it, can’t have it both ways.

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  • http://twitter.com/Glides Glides The Man

    I agree. The rest are stupid. Well Venom is awesome, but he is a bit overrated. But Deadpool on the other hand, despite everything you said about him being true, is still awesome to me. It’s the fact that he’s so off-the-wall stupid and meta that makes me love him. So yes, he IS a Spider-Man ripoff. But I love him anyway. Excellent article, though.

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  • The Kang A Lang

    Wolverine and the Joker aren’t on this list? They are WAY more overrated than Deadpool. Sorry, but the Joker’s “unpredictability” and “insanity” is really just a crutch that writers use to not have to put forth an effort to make him seem three-dimensional. And why would they? Rack up a hefty amount of sales JUST because the posers ONLY read Batman issues with the Joker and put forth very little work to do it. They attempted to give the Joker depth in “The Killing Joke”, but then undid all of that just to go back to the easy paychecks.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      @98cb26ecc68dbda31fe26401e541bf7c:disqus Oh dear lord, you’re right. How did I not put the most iconic, evil, twisted, psychologically complex villain in comic book history on this list? I mean,the guy has only been Batman’s arch-nemesis for 72 years! What was I thinking?

  • Doug Goss

    So…Gambit is number 2, and “undoubtedly the most overrated X-Men character of all-time.”…and then Dead Pool is number one??

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      That’s correct. I don’t consider Deadpool a member of the X-Men.

  • Darren Green

    I agree with your list, but I still like Gambit and I too love Venom just cos he looks cool. But what’s up with Todd McFarlane rehashing the same character over and over? He drew Spider-Man, ok cool, designed Venom who basically looks like evil Spider-Man, Created Spawn who is a cross between Spider-Man and Todd’s version of The Prowler (Google it) then he creates Haunt which is demonic Spider-Man. Seriously dude, if you love Spider-Man so much why don’t you go back to Marvel. lol – sorry, bit of an unrelated rant there…

  • Venom

    Why is venom on this list. this site sucks.

    • http://www.geekleagueofamerica.com/ Jeff Carter

      I’m not totally sure – I was drinking a LOT of cough syrup that day – but I’m pretty sure I wrote a paragraph describing why he’s on this list.
      P.S. – you have the most ’90s-sounding e-mail address ever. Bravo.

  • Billy Batson

    Cable and Deadpool are awesome, Venom I can take or leave, I don’t give a crap about Gambit, but you hit it dead on with Spawn. And thing is, he beat the girlfriend that he sold his soul to see again. What a douche

  • Jim

    I’ll only have to agree on Deadpool he really is kinda lame, ok mayb Gambit & Cable too but rest are cool or maybe just because I’m biased, but Deadpool here is the sure shot I’m sure even marvel will have to agree on that, cheers mate nice one on this list too, takes up lot of research & courage to post things like this, :D

  • you dont need to knoe

    So let me see, because you don’t like them they’re “overrated”. If people like them it must be for a reason. Learn to deal with it that people like them. Oh but let me guess all the characters you like are deserving of their popularity. Yeah i call bullshit ;)

  • Bob

    Deadpool is hilarious in more recent episodes. He was lame when Rob Liefield was doing his stuff though. In fact everything he touched was immature crap and how he got a job as an artist is beyond me.

    Spawn was always a lame amalgam of Venom and Ghost Rider. Todd McFarlane is a brilliant INKER. He was always a substandard penciler and writer.

    My top pick for most overrated characters is Batman. The guy could have saved thousands of more lives if he’d actually grow a set and not selfishly hold to his twisted morality to not kill. He’ll torture, even maim, break and enter, violate the rights of others (even non-crimminals). I have no problem with that but when some one will actually save a life of someone who will go on to murder over and over, he’s got a lot of blood on his hands for someone who refuses to kill. At least in Batman Begins he was willing to let the villain die.

  • P

    Wow your so hyper sensitive… your vagina bleed much? saying characters are overrated when in reality you don’t like them.. Go get your self a puppy.