The heroes in their respective half shellsThe day? March 17th. The topic? Green heroes. No, not Al Gore or Bono! Characters that wear the color green on their very skin! I decided to limit the list to comic characters (sorry, Kermit and Oscar), and then to limit it again to heroes (sorry, Poison Ivy, Composite Superman, and Brainiac). So, with all due respect to Kit Fisto and the GLC’s Green Man . . . my favorite green heroes . . .
11: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Though I lean toward Raphael, I really couldn’t pick just one. Instead, I place the quartet and their inherent enjoyability at number 11.
10. Triton: Member of the Inhumans royal family and brother to Karnak (my favorite Inhuman),. Triton is the guy in Attilan that you call when you need . . . a guy to do stuff in water. Though frequently limited by his dependence on water and/or his special suit, Triton got an upgrade during Secret Invasion that enabled him to fight in space. Not bad!
9. Hulkling: The shapeshifting, super-strong Hulking is a member of the Young Avengers and the son of Captain Mar-Vell and the Skrull Princess Anelle (hence the green). Hulkling and his teammates (which include his boyfriend, Wiccan) seem to always team up with the Runaways during the bigger events of the Marvel Universe. Most recently, Teddy was part of the Central Park battle with the Skrull invaders at the close of Secret Invasion.
8. The Savage Dragon: Green, finny, and given to hanging out occasionally with U.S. Presidents and God, the longevity of Savage Dragon is a tribute to the dedication and (let’s face it, warped) perspective of Erik Larsen.
Megan Fox would never to green body paint...7. Fathom: Yes, Megan Fox-faithful, I know that that Fathom isn’t green. However, my Fathom, the Fathom of The Elementals, is. The other criminally uncollected/out-of-print early ‘80s deconstructionist milestone in super-hero comics (next to Miracleman), The Elementals remains a smart book that I enjoyed tremendously. And few of the characters were as appealing as Fathom, the charming heart of the team.
6. Jade: For me, it was really close here between Fathom and Jade. I give Jade the nod because her deep history in the DCU, including her run with Infinity Inc., the fact that her father (Green Lantern I and Obsidian) are members of the JSA, and her stint as a Green Lantern herself. Currently dead, Jade could possibly get a career boost from the pending Blackest Night.
Brainiac 5 on the cover of Legion of 3 Worlds #45. Brainiac 5: Though he’s been played a few different ways, I’ll always cotton to arrogant and annoyed Brainy the best. One of my favorite stories early in my long-life as a Legion reader was when the team had to get Brainy out of the insane asylum to help the Subs defeat the League of Super-Assassins. I remember reading that as a kid and thinking, “Whoa! Super-heroes go insane?!” Indeed. And they can also be smarter-than-thou pains in the ass. Which is why I love Brainiac 5.
4. Martian Manhunter: Oreos, man. His incredibly fun stint in the JLI aside, J’onn gets a high nod from me because he’s always been, to my mind, the heart of the JLA. Played to great effect in other tales, like the JL animated series or The New Frontier, J’onn remains that classic sci-fi conundrum: a character that wants to understand humanity without realizing how humane he actually is.
3. She-Hulk: Why so high? She brings the funny. In the right hands (Byrne in the day, Peter David, Dan Slott) there are few characters that can be as out-loud hilarious as She-Hulk. The fact that she likes being She-Hulk and enjoys kicking ass on top of it just makes her that much better. Also, my wife thinks that she’s great.
Save the earth, hug a Swamp Thing2. Swamp Thing: It’s hard to argue with this guy’s creative pedigree. Swamp Thing certainly benefits by having been handled by some magnificent writers. The Moore run is appropriately legendary; I’ve always been partial to the whole “Shadow Creature That Menaced Heaven” bit myself. By turns philosophical, involving, and occasionally, yes, romantic, those classic Swamp Thing tales deserve to be discovered by new audiences on an annual basis.
THE green hero1. The Hulk: Okay, so it seems cliché, but really, I gotta give the guy his due. I was around five when the Bill/Lou show hit TV, and I never missed it. Later, I was a huge fan of Peter David’s run, and later still, I found a lot of enjoyment in the lengthy “Planet Hulk” arc. The Hulk has many interesting character traits, but one of the things that fascinates me is how kids react to the big guy. Kids LOVE the Hulk. MY kids LOVE the Hulk. There’s something primal we experience with the Hulk, a type of vicarious joy (particularly when we humans have to “behave” so much of the time), when the Hulk starts wreaking stuff. Kids love it because they would get in trouble for melting down and breaking the house, and adults love it because they wish that they could occasionally hit their co-workers with a VW on each hand. Gotta love the Hulk, friends.
There you go . . .my favorite Martian and ten other green peeps. Anyone else you’d like to share?