The Civil Rights Movement produced many things. In the 1960s the time was ripe for the comic industry to welcome some diversity in who they allow to be depicted as super men and women in the eyes of our nation’s youth. In the Schomberg Library in Harlem, there is a photo of a little black boy with a towel tied around his neck and his hands on his hips while staring admiringly at a white superman-like superhero and the picture is entitled “What’s wrong with this picture?” In a multi-cultural nation a few comic book trail blazers answered the call for inclusion.
Below is a list of the top 12 black superheroes of all time. This list was carefully arranged not to include “b” and “c” versions or re-spins of preexisting iconic white heroes. Many successful heroes fall into that category like Miles Morales as a black alternate universe Spiderman or War Machine who is a spin-off of Iron Man. This list is reserved mostly for the best black super heroes who were created as themselves on their own merit and story line. Any exceptions will be explained. The following choices were selected for their coolness, powers and abilities, back story line, impact and pop culture popularity.
Comic World: Marvel
Year Created: 1966
Alter Ego: T’Challa
- Super human senses: sight, smell and hearing
- Olympic level strength (750lbs), speed, agility, reflexes and stamina
- Genius level intelligence, inventor, scientist, strategist
- Trained gymnast and acrobat
- Hand-to-hand combat master
- Vibranium enhanced suit and vibranium claws that can rip through any metal
Everything about Black Panther is cool. Black Panther was the very first black superhero in mainstream circulation. Gabe Jones aka Sgt. Fury preceded him, but Black Panther is the first mainstream black superhero with powers. He is also affiliated with one of the greatest superhero teams of all time, The Avengers.
The Black Panther is the leader of the Panther tribe and the king of a fictional African kingdom called Wakanda. Similar to The Phantom, The Black Panther is a hereditary position that one must also earn in training and in combat. After the qualifications are met, the new Panther and king of Wakanda is ceremoniously given an herb that bonds him with Bast, the Panther god. The Black Panther is then endowed with heightened senses and almost superhuman powers.
Wakanda is an advanced country in Africa that keeps itself secluded from the outside world. Wakandans protect an extremely valuable alien metal called vibranium. Vibranium has kept Wakanda technologically superior to outside forces trying to take its resources. Largely due to vibranium, Wakanda is a technological advanced, powerful nation with the Black Panther as its leader.
Son of T’Chaka, T’Challa was another son in line to become The Black Panther. T’Challa’s biological mother died during his birth.
T’Challa’s individual narrative as the next Black Panther is compelling and ripe for its own movie. He was once even married to Storm of the X-men. T’Challa is also a skilled inventor and scientist whose prowess even rivals that of Tony Stark aka Iron Man.
T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father was the Black Panther who was assassinated by super villain Ulysses Klaw. Witnessing the killing, the young T’Challa used Klaw’s weapon against him injuring him severely and drove him off.
Although he was the heir to the throne, T’Challa was too young and inexperienced to become the new Black Panther. He was sent off to fulfill his rite of passage. His uncle, his father’s younger brother S’yan passed the trials and became the new Black Panther in the meantime.
While fulfilling his rite of passage, T’Challa met a young Ororo Munroe who would later be known as Storm, and the two fell in love. Although the two were in love, T’Challa had to leave because of his duty to his people. He battled his uncle S’yan for the Black Panther title and T’Challa defeated him. S’yan supported his nephew, stepped down gracefully and served as counsel.
The Black Panther was first introduced to the Marvel universe through the Fantastic Four in the comic series Fantastic Four #52-53 (July-Aug. 1966). The Fantastic Four came across Wakanda and its secret technology and source of vibranium. They fought Black Panther and the Wakandan army, and then they eventually became allies and fought together.
T’Challa’s ascension to the throne was met with jealousy, treachery and melodrama. Featured many times in several comic series and in cartoons, Black Panther is featured as a reoccurring member and ally to The Avengers.
The Black Panther is without a doubt one of the coolest Marvel heroes growing in popularity. The story is solid. If Marvel does not betray this character with weak subjugating plots, and Hollywood gets with the program and invests in it, The Black Panther can very easily come up huge.
Year Created: 1975
Alter Ego: Ororo Munroe
- Control of weather, temperature, lightning, rain, mist and wind
- Resistance to extreme hot or cold temperature
- Potential magical abilities and sorcery
- Telepathic immunity
- Very skilled in martial arts, hand-to-hand combat, fencing, and piloting
- Energy vision enabling her to see all things around her in light or complete darkness
- Connection to the biosphere and all life forces
Storm is a very well known character from the hugely popular group, The X-men. Storm is from a long line of African priestesses with white hair and mystical abilities. She is the daughter of a Kenyan princess (who also had white hair in this line of priestesses) named N’Daré, and African American photojournalist David Monroe. Storm’s parents moved from Kenya to Manhattan where she was born, and then to Egypt. Living in Cairo, Egypt her parents were killed in an airplane bombing leaving her an orphan at six years old.
As an orphan in the streets of Egypt, Storm became a skilled thief proficient in hand-to-hand combat under the tutelage of Achmed El-Gibar, for whom she was a prize pupil. Achmed El-Gibar was a master thief and leader of the street urchins in Egypt.
Later on in her youth, Storm bonded with prince T’Challa who would later become the Black Panther. The street smart Storm aka Ororo saved T’Challa from a dangerous situation and the two had a brief romance. T’Challa eventually left Storm to tend to the business of finishing his rite of passage, avenging his father’s death and to fulfill his destiny as the future king of Wakanda. However, the two would meet again.
As a youth, many entities became aware of her extremely powerful potential. One of those entities was Charles Xavier aka Professor X. Professor X met her as a child and was one of her victims of thievery. Professor X was diverted into a battle with the Shadow King and was unable to reach Storm at that time and change her life coarse. Regardless, Professor X kept a psychic connection with Storm.
Eventually Storm traveled back to the homeland of her ancestors in Kenya. After the manifestation of her growing abilities, she was worshiped as a goddess. She was taught by an elderly tribal woman named Ainet, to be responsible with her powers and to use them for good.
While in Africa, Professor X communicated with her telepathically and recruited her help in battling a dangerous sentient being called Krakoa. He explained to her that she was a mutant, not a goddess and that he could help her understand and master her abilities. Agreeing to assist Professor X began her evolution into becoming one of the principle members of the legendary X-men.
Storm is known as one of the most powerful X-men of all time and is often positioned as the leader. Storm has the ability to fly, generate intense winds, hurricanes, tornadoes and hurl lightning. Her body temperature fluctuates and adapts to her environment making her virtually immune to all extreme conditions of cold or heat. Storm has one of the strongest wills in the Marvel universe and she cannot be manipulated or tracked telepathically. When not flying or wielding her supernatural power, Storm can hold her own as a formidable fighter.
Storm is a very popular staple in the comic universe and is most recently known for being featured in the very successful X-men movies portrayed by Halle Berry.
Comic World: Marvel
Year Created: 1973
Alter Ego: Eric Brooks
- Superhuman strength (1 ton), stamina, speed, agility, reflexes, and durability
- Regenerative Healing factor
- Ability to sense undead or supernatural creatures
- Skilled swordsman, martial artist, and marksman
Blade’s mother Tara Brooks, was a prostitute who lived in a brothel in England in 1929. She was pregnant and experiencing severe labor complications. Dr. Deacon Frost, who was really a vampire, was called in to help her and he instead fed on her until she died. When the brothel residents became aware that Tara had been murdered the rest of the brothel prostitutes chased him off. The baby was still able to be delivered, though Tara Brooks was deceased. Because of a transference of enzymes between Tara Brooks and the vampire, Blade was born half human and half vampire.
There have been a few variations of Blades’ powers. The most current and accepted is similar to the ones depicted in the Blade movies. As half vampire, Blade has many vampire abilities including speed, strength and a prolonged life. He has many vampire-like abilities but not the weaknesses. He is not affected by garlic or silver, and he can walk by day in the sun. Blade regularly takes a serum to suppress an innate craving to feed on human blood.
Blade grew up in the brothel and eventually came under the tutelage of vampire hunter Jamal Afari. Blade developed his fighting skills by routinely dispatching young, less powerful vampires. Most importantly, the young Eric Brooks developed extraordinary prowess with weaponry which eventually earned him his nickname, “Blade”. Blade’s superior excellence with swords and weaponry garnered him a reputation and he was soon feared by both vampire hunters and vampire’s.
Blade faced his strongest challenge through the oldest and most powerful vampire he had ever faced, a vampire named Lamia. Blade very narrowly defeated Lamia but he lost his girlfriend Glory. Driven by the death of his girlfriend and haunted by the unresolved death of his mother at the hands of a vampire, Blade has committed himself to a life of vampire hunting.
Blade went on to have many encounters with Dracula who killed off most of his close human loved ones, including his mentor Jamal Afari. Hardened and determined, Blade evolved even more into the serious vampire-slaying loner who chased Dracula and other vampires relentlessly.
Blade’s character exploded in popularity in the late 90s which led to the very successful Blade movies starring Wesley Snipes. In his signature black leather, shades, swords, and no nonsense attitude, Blade quickly became a Marvel universe fan favorite.
Comic World: Image Comics
Year Created: 1992
Alter Ego: Albert Francis “Al” Simmons
- Superhuman strength, agility, speed, endurance, and durability
- Healing Factor
- Highly skilled martial artist, swordman, marksman, athlete and acrobat
- Necroplasmic energy blasts
Spawn is a newly created complex and very dark comic book character. The dark and very original plot resonated strongly with new comic fans with a taste for more complicated story lines.
Al Simmons was a decorated US Marine who quickly rose up the ranks to Lieutenant. He later joined the Secret Service, the CIA, and then finally into a top secret covert ops division directed by Jason Wynn. Jason Wynn and Simmons had a rocky relationship and often rammed heads. Simmons knew too much classified information about the true intentions of the government and the role many important high-ranking people played and it concerned Wynn greatly. Wynn had an ominous eye out for Simmons their entire work relationship.
Simmons was a masterful assassin trained in various martial arts and hand-to-hand combat disciplines. He was also gifted with weapons, swords, knives, and marksmanship.
Because of his turbulent relationship with Wynn, Simmons intended on resigning and spending time with his wife. Despite his intentions of leaving the assassins life, he was persuaded into one last mission in Botswana. During this mission, Simmons was murdered by a fellow assassin named Bruce Stinson, who was appointed by Jason Wynn to fulfill the hit.
Simmons died and was sent to hell because of his life as a killer. He made a deal with a demon named Malebolgia to be a Hellspawn for his army if he could see his wife Wanda for one last time.
One day Simmons awoke confused, badly disfigured and with a loss of most of his memory. He was now a Hellspawn. Simmons becomes aware of, and adjusts to extensive, seemingly limitless powers and is monitored by a demonic clown named Violator.
When some of Simmons memory returns he decides to visit his wife for his promised final visit only to learn that five years had already passed, she married his best friend Terry Fitzgerald and the union produced a daughter named Cyan. It devastates him. Simmons took the form of his friend Terry and made love to her. Wanda became pregnant and the pregnancy made possible the prophecy of a child that will one day decide the fate of reality.
Now known as Spawn, Simmons began his antihero adventures taking down gangs and despicable criminal entities becoming both the hero and the necessary evil in many instances.
Spawn quickly became one of the most powerful and compelling heroes of the comic world that exploded into successful movies, a cartoon series, merchandise and toys. Although Spawn popularity has subsided in the past few years, Spawn ripped into pop culture significance faster than most and a resurgence can be expected at any moment.
Comic World: DC
Year Created: 1980
Alter Ego: Victor “Vic” Stone
- Superhuman strength, genius level intellect, highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat and enhanced durability
- Interchangeable parts, lasers, and occasional cybernetic enhancements
- Numerous functions such as sensors and advanced weaponry
- Supersonic Flight
Victor Stone is the son of two STAR Labs scientists intent on using their research to better mankind. Victor resented his parents because they were seemingly more interested in their work than in him, and even once used him as a subject in one of their experiments. Victor’s parents successfully increased his intelligence to genius level. Regardless of his intellect, Victor gravitated to sports and athletics.
Victor’s life changed forever one day when his parents were conducting an inter-dimensional experiment and a protoplasmic creature got loose in the lab. The creature killed Victor’s mother and critically injured Victor before Victor’s father Silas was able to send the creature back.
Desperate to save his son’s life, Silas used untested cybernetic enhancements to rebuild Victor. Even though Silas was supremely successful, Victor was enraged by what his father turned him into and he felt like a monster. Being ashamed of his appearance gave him new psychological trauma. Regardless, he had a new life, an array of new powers and abilities, and Cyborg was born.
Cyborg had a few alterations to his story. Originally he was befriended by Raven and introduced to The Teen Titans and became a principle member. He was later reintroduced as a founding member of the Justice League replacing Martian Manhunter.
Cyborg has risen to immense popularity as a beloved member of the very popularTeen Titans cartoon, and again on Teen Titans Go.
Most recently Cyborg will be featured as one of the principle Justice League characters in the new Superman vs Batman movie airing in 2015.
Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Comic World: DC
Year Created: 1971
Alter Ego: John Stewart
- Wields the power ring of the Green Lantern Corps that enables flight at varying speeds, limited invulnerability, force field generation, and the use of solid green energy to produce projectile attacks, or to defend or grab according to the ring wearers imagination and will.
- Translation of nearly all languages
- Communication between ring wielders, regardless of distance apart
- Hypnosis, including projecting the target’s thoughts onto constructed maps
- Creation and emission of certain types of radiation including kryptonite
- Accelerated healing of wounds
Green Lantern was originally depicted as the white Allan Scott, and then revived, rebooted and augmented as Hal Jordan. However, he is included on this list because not only were there always multiple Lanterns, but the John Stewart version has quickly become the more popular and successful Lantern in the current era of comics. This is mostly due to Stewart’s integral role on the Justice League Unlimited cartoon series. John Stewart’s dogmatic personality that forces clashes with other characters, his former military experience and his love affair with Hawk Girl has catapulted him to the forefront of comic geek intrigue.
The Green Lantern Corps is a sort of ancient intergalactic police force. Each Lantern is chosen on the merit of his heart and character, and in some cases a unique characteristic. The chosen Lanterns are sworn to an oath and equipped with a power ring, one of the most powerful weapons in the universe.
John Stewart was a US Marine, and later an architect from Detroit Michigan. Stewart was chosen by the Guardians of the Universe to be Hal Jordan’s replacement on the Green Lantern Corps after acting Lantern Guy Gardner was seriously injured. Although Jordan objected at first, Stewart’s intuitiveness and shrewd quick thinking won him over. When John Stewart didn’t spring into action to save a racist politician from an assassination attempt which was his assignment, Hal Jordan was infuriated and doubted that Stewart had the temperament to be a Lantern. However, Stewart illuminated Jordan that the politician set the whole thing up as a publicity stunt and he had already caught the real culprit while Jordan was off chasing the false lead. Jordan had to wipe the egg off of his face and ended up respecting Stewart as more than the right man for the task.
Over the years Stewart filled in for Jordan as back up and filled in for him whenever he was unavailable. Stewart became full time Lantern of Earth when Hal Jordan gave up being a Lantern and when Jordan was thought to be deceased. For decades, Stewart became the premiere Lantern in the DC world.
Hollywood and DC have attempted to reposition Hal Jordan as the premiere Green Lantern unsuccessfully and to the disdain of Green Lantern fans. Hal Jordan was given an individual movie and a cartoon series. However, the cartoon ran for only one season and the movie tanked. Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of Hal Jordan was not well liked or met with favorable reviews and consequently Hal Jordan’s character wasn’t able to be sufficiently revived. Nor did the movie have the support of comic fans. Not only did comic fans make it known that they expected and preferred a depiction of John Stewart over Hal Jordan in the first place, fans appreciated Reynolds’ portrayal of Deadpool much better in The Wolverine than his portrayal of Hal Jordan. So Ryan Reynolds may not be to blame. They used Reynolds in an attempt to find Hal Jordan a new personality for the era. Revitalizing Hal Jordan isn’t the problem, it’s the mistake.
This is the heart of the issue: DC truly has a plethora of more iconic successful characters of yesteryear. At many times however, Marvel comics left DC in the dust because they always provided more “real” characters with real issues and diversity. In the 70s and 80s Marvel began putting DC to shame with its corny, lily white line up of stiff characters. Marvel was beating DC to the punch in taking more risks, and it was working. In response, Hal Jordan was always one of the founding Justice League members that DC swapped out to try other things because they already had so many other principle white characters as it was. With Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Hawk Man, and so many others, Hal Jordan wasn’t very necessary or sustainable when trying to build diversity and implement more interesting characters. There was nothing terribly unique about Hal’s story besides his awesome powers and Green Lantern Corps affiliation to keep him in the big 7. Cyborg was written in to the Justice League and became a principle character. However, Cyborg was eventually used for other things and then soared into popularity after becoming a part of the Teen Titans. When John Stewart was subbed in it to the Justice League it served several purposes.
Overall Hal Jordan’s story line or persona isn’t connecting as well to a modern audience and doesn’t have enough substance to differentiate himself from the other big box office heroes. In the same way that Hal Jordan refreshed the role of the Green Lantern from Allan Scott, Jordan may have to pass the baton of focus to John Stewart. DC just has to catch up and get that memo.
Stewart was written in as a key member of the Justice League for much of the 80s, 90s and 2000s in the cartoons and the comics, and it worked. Stewart’s importance to the DC Comic world grew further with the offspring of himself and Hawk Girl. Their son Rex Simmons aka Warhawk, was featured in Batman Beyond.
In another last ditch effort to resurrect and reposition Hal Jordan in front, DC was strongly considering the idea of killing Stewart off. Not only do fans strongly disapprove, rumor has it that DC writer Joshua Hale Fialkov has left DC over the decision. If DC is committed to an obstinate agenda, Stewart’s fate is unknown. However if DC has any sense, expect to see John Stewart’s version of the Green Lantern for a long time to come.
Comic World: Marvel
Year Created: 1972
Alter Ego: Carl Lucas, Power Man
- Superhuman strength (25 tons) , durability and stamina
- Invincible skin highly impervious to damage and temperature
- Accelerated healing factor
- Excellent street fighting skills and superior hand-to-hand combatant
Carl Lucas started out as a troubled youth in and out of street gangs. He was known for his skills as a fighter with his friend Willis Stryker who was good with weapons and blades. Lucas became disinterested in the street life and wanted to turn his life around. He later joined the police force and became a decorated cop as his friend Stryker rose in the crime world. Even though they went in different directions, they remained friends.
Eventually a woman named Reva Connors got between the two friends. Reva was Stryker’s girlfriend, but she became turned off by his dangerous criminal activity and turned to Lucas. When Reva dumped Willis for Carl, Willis Stryker set Lucas up by planting drugs in his home and calling the police. Lucas was arrested from the set up and was sentenced to prison.
While in prison, Lucas was dealing with rage for many reasons. He and his father were led to believe that the other was dead because of Lucas’ brother James, Jr. Because of jealousy, James, Jr. intercepted Lucas’ letters and hoodwinked them both. Lucas was also angry about being set up and incarcerated unjustly. Lucas was stuck in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, and sat helplessly thinking he missed the death of his father. Consequently, he fought a good part of the time and attempted many escapes.
Lucas was transferred to a prison in Georgia where he became the target of abuse from a racist prison guard named Albert “Billy Bob” Rackham. The abuse that Lucas received led to Rackham’s demotion which he blamed Lucas for. Even though it was his own fault he was dead set on pay back.
Desperate to get out of prison and avenge himself, Lucas accepted a deal to be a part of an experiment to reduce his jail time. The experiment was for experimental cell regeneration based on a variant of a super soldier procedure. Lucas was left unattended in an electrical field to start the experimentation. Rackham intended on sabotaging the experiment to maim or kill Lucas, so he meddled with the procedure and pushed the intensity to go beyond what was intended. Rackham’s acceleration of the procedure instead left Lucas with super strength and durability. Lucas used his newly acquired powers to break out of prison and went back to New York City.
Lucas changed his name to Luke Cage and became a hero for hire. Eventually his innocence was restored and he set up a Hero-for-Hire office in Time Square, Manhattan.
Well known for his partnership with Iron Fist, his street life drama and fighting skills, Luke Cage became an important fixture in the Marvel Universe growing in popularity through the years. Luke Cage has recently picked up steam being featured in the New Avenger’s and as a principle character in Avenger’s comics and Marvel video games. Luke Cage and Black Panther are the two hottest black super heroes that Marvel has been flirting with ideas for movies, cartoons and/TV series for the last few years. Luke Cage has recently exploded into popularity with the red hot series on Netflix starring Mike Colter.
Comic World: DC
Year Created: 1993
Alter Ego: Virgil Hawkins
- Electromagnetic phenomena generation
- Super-conduction manipulation
- Electrical manipulation
- Magnetism manipulation
- Telepathic resistance
- Interacts with wireless communication
- Expert scientist, inventor, and strategist
Virgil Hawkins is a teenager in high school who was routinely bullied by another student named Francis Stone, also known as Biz-Money-B. Virgil was a comic book geek and video game enthusiast who was getting beaten up on the regular and he had had enough. Virgil had an older friend named Larry Wade, a street hustler who always looked out for him. Wade asked Virgil to meet him at a secluded place where he handed him a gun in order for him to finally get his revenge on Francis Stone. Virgil thought about enacting his revenge but it wasn’t for him and he came to his senses. Virgil was unable to resort to that sort of violence and threw the gun into the water.
This took place on the very same night rival gangs were supposed to settle things between each other. It was called “The Big Bang”. The mayor and the police knew about this night and prepared for it. Because it was an election year the mayor, Thomasina Jefferson, wanted to fortify a tough on crime image and approved the use of tear gas that would be laced with a harmless chemical that would enable law enforcement to track the gang members at the scene of the incident that got away. The plan was to have everyone involved arrested by that same night or by the next day, which would be certain to impress the community.
Because Virgil was in that bad part of town, he happened to be near the scene of The Big Bang. The police arrived and used the tear gas, but things went terribly wrong. The chemicals in the gas turned out to have adverse effects killing 90% of everyone who was present. The few that survived were either on their death beds, mutated with monstrous deformities, or gained superhuman powers. The deaths were swept under the rug and attributed to gang violence. However, the survivors would be known as “bang babies” by certain circles. Virgil was one of the people affected and he gained electromagnetic powers. Virgil made the decision to understand and embrace his powers, became a superhero and called himself Static.
Static started out primarily as a kid friendly comic strip but eventually became more important to the DC Universe.
Static’s story line was never that strong but his powers were cool and his character was very likable. His daily struggles as a bullied teen to conceal his powers and identity in order to attend to more important threats was compelling to readers and resonated with fans. Consequently, Static had his own successful cartoon. He was also featured on The Justice League Unlimited, Batman Beyond, and Young Justice cartoon series’s. Expect this character to continue to be seen and blossom in the years to come.
Comic World: DC
Year Created: 1993
Alter Ego: Augustus Freeman IV
- Superhuman Strength (100 tons plus equal to Superman)
- Superhuman speed (on par with the Flash), agility, reflexes, and stamina
- Superhuman Reflexes: Icon possesses the ability to move, think, and react at superhuman speeds. Icon’s reflexes are superior to those of peak human ability.
- Enhanced Senses: Icon is constantly aware of his own state of being, physical health and mental status.
- Enhanced Mental Perception: Icon possesses a super genius intellect. He can sense and comprehend things on levels that exceed human capabilities.
- Self-Sustenance: Icon can survive in harsh environments without air, food or water, and his bodily evacuations aren’t needed. He’s also able to survive in space.
- Accelerated Healing
- Positron Manipulation: Hand energy blasts, Concussion Force Beams, Stun Bolts, Expanding Energy Bolts, Energy Ball Projection, Force Field, Energy Shield
- Decelerated Aging
Icon is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe and his powers are almost limitless. He is without a doubt the most powerful black superhero of all time to date.
Arnus was an infant alien life form in a pod headed for Earth after an explosion. The pod was programmed to have Arnus mimic the appearance and genetic make up of the first life form it encountered in order to adapt. The pod crash landed in a plantation cotton field in 1839 and was discovered by a slave named Miriam. Because Miriam was the first life form Arnus encountered, Arnus took the form of an African American.
Arnus stayed on the plantation with Miriam until he realized he seemed to stop aging and that he had supernatural powers. He soon became aware of his true identity. He came up with a way to deal with his slow aging by pretending he had a son and then he would eventually assume the identity of the son. Arnus did this for three generations. He gave himself the name Augustus Freeman IV. Augustus was a stiff, proper man who lived a life downplaying his power. He eventually became a conservative-minded Republican lawyer.
For the first time in several decades Augustus used his powers to apprehend burglars and he was seen by Raquel Ervin. Raquel was a young girl who lived in a bad, crime infested neighborhood and she wanted to change it. Raquel eventually convinced the stiff Augustus to embrace his powers and become the superhero known as Icon with her as his sidekick Rocket.
Icon fights dark forces with Rocket as he waits for the Earth to advance to the technology of his home planet. Icon has appeared on Static Shock and Justice League Unlimited. Taken from Milestone comics, Icon is starting to make a splash in the DC universe.
- Telepathic link with birds: He is able to command the birds verbally and/or telepathically, and he can garner sensory information from them.
- Master Martial Artist
- Master Acrobat
- Master Aerialist
- Weapons Master
- Special suit: Falcon’s costume is a Wakandan creation that consists of jet powered glider wings. They are charged by sunlight and they are linked to Sam’s brain enhancing the ease and speed of all functionality. It’s equipped with a talon for capturing enemies and he has a mask that enhances his vision to 360% range, and superhuman and infrared capabilities.
Sam Wilson grew up with a strong affinity for birds and had the biggest pigeon coup in Harlem. He always maintained a special bond and connection with birds throughout his life.
Sam had very religious parents and his father was a prominent minister. In his teen-aged years he began to resent his parents faith. Rather than push religion on him, to his surprise they were supportive and encouraged him to read literature on other faiths. Soon however, Sam’s father was killed trying to break up a neighborhood fight. Very distraught, Sam dedicated his life to community activism and became a respected neighborhood figure. Two years later his mother was also killed because of street violence and it was too much for him and Sam began to unravel. Sam headed down a path of crime and adopted the name “Snap”. Wilson began a life of high level street crime, violence and racketeering for the mob.
On his way to Rio de Janeiro for a criminal job, Sam’s plane crash landed and he fell into the hands of the Red Skull where he was compromised and brainwashed. The Red Skull used his Cosmic Cube on Sam and he gained the ability to communicate telepathically with birds. He was also able to see through the eyes of nearby birds, command them to a certain extent, and he had a super-normal connection with one bird in particular that he named Red wing. The Red Skull intended to use Wilson as a means of killing Captain America.
Red Skull toyed with Wilson’s mind able to revert him from “Sam” to “Snap”. Snap Wilson was Red Skull’s dangerous henchman until Captain America was able to break the Red Skull’s spell over Wilson and the two defeated the Red Skull together.
Sam fought side-by-side with Captain America and joined SHEILD. He was later given super powered Wakandan wings and weaponry gifted to him by the Black Panther and he became The Falcon.
The Falcon was selected for this list for a variety of reasons. Firstly he’s technically the first African-American superhero (Black Panther is from Africa) and the second black superhero of all time. Secondly, he has remained extremely important to the Marvel Universe since the 60s intertwined with the lives and adventures of Captain America and the Avenger’s. Not many heroes black or white get the same face time that Falcon does. Most recently he’s been featured on The Avenger’s Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and The Superhero Squad cartoons and he will appear in the new Captain America and Avenger’s big screen movies played by Anthony Mackie.
Comic World: Marvel
Year Created: 1991
Alter Ego: Lucas “Luke” Bishop
- Beyond peak human strength that extends to high superhuman levels with energy absorbtion
- The ability to absorb energy and redirect it in energy blasts
- Agility, stamina, and intellegence
- Time travel
- High tech gadgets
- Weapons mastery
Lucas Bishop is a mutant from Earth’s future in a time in which mutants were persecuted and put in concentration camps. The earth was dominated by the control of the Sentinels. Lucas’ grandmother raised Lucas and his sister Shard with stories of the X-men heroes of old who were all long deceased.
Lucas grew up in an apocalyptic age and found himself blasted into the time of the X-men. After fighting them and realizing it was the X-men who’s stories he was raised on, Bishop eventually joined them.
Bishop, also called “The Last X-man” is extremely powerful, easily one of the most powerful X-men of all time. He has been described as a human battery, able to absorb energy and propel it powerfully where he wants.
Bishop is getting a lot of focus appearing on numerous video games TV shows and cartoons. Bishop will appear in the new X-men movie X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2015. Bishop is a new face in the X-men line up that we will be seeing a lot more of in the years to come.
Comic World: DC
Year Created: 1981
Alter Ego: Mari McCabe
- Super strength when applied
- Super senses: sight, hearing and scent
- Power mimickery
- The ability to take on the abilities, strengths and capabilities of animals
- Super speed and agility
- Flight when applied
- Skilled in hand-to-hand combat
Vixen is by far DC’s hottest black female super hero who almost garnered her own TV series until it fell through.
Mari McCabe was born in Africa. Her father possessed a magical item called the Tantu Totem. Both Mari’s parents were killed so she moved to New York City where she became a model. She eventually came back to Africa to recover the Tantu Totem. There have been several variations on her story and how her powers became a part of her. As she continues to grow in popularity expect her story to develop with augmentations.
Vixen grew in comic world prestige after being included in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. DC was able to showcase several of their heroes and some of them were able to resonate with fans, as did Vixen. She furthered her importance by being an ex of John Stewart. She was also featured on Teen Titans Go! So far, Vixen is holding the spot as DC’s top black female superhero.