From DC to Marvel comics and Image to Dark Horse, there are dozens of superheroes and villains that have inspired the world for the past couple of decades. However, the same high number of heroes and bad guys is what makes some of them fall through the cracks. Let’s review 10 of the most underrated superheroes from both movies and comic books.
1. Captain Marvel (Shazam!)
Even though the vast majority of people view Captain Marvel as a poor copy of Superman, the truth is that Shazam! is one of the most powerful heroes in the DC universe. Introduced in 1940, Captain Marvel is in fact a grade-school boy who earns a multitude of abilities simply by uttering the word Shazam! Although a well constructed superhero, he did not receive half the attention he deserves and the various attempts of DC to revive the interest in this character failed miserably. Shazam! experienced the same fate in the animated series, as he only briefly appears in a fight against Superman on the Justice League Unlimited series.
2. The Black Panther
With Wolverine-like senses and an outstandingly sharp intelligence, Black Panther is among the few Marvel characters that actually has a very interesting background story. However, it seems that most comic book fans are not very impressed with either the story or the abilities of the hero that are coming from the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. In fact, they see this as a poor attempt of Marvel to get black people to read their comics. Nonetheless, looking beyond the controversy, you will discover an incredible character who married X-men member Storm and later on, got the chance to replace the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four.
3. Elongated Man
Perhaps the most reasonable explanation for the limited popularity of Elongated Man resides in the fact that he was introduced in the 1960, a decade when any character with these abilities was easily overshadowed by incredible superheroes such as DC’s Plastic Man or Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic. Sadly, the world has lost a great superhero who was also an excellent detective besides being able to stretch, change his shape and withstand the amount of firepower that would destroy a building in a matter of seconds. Similar to Shazam!, Elongated Man appeared several times in the Justice League series.
The best way to describe Nightwing is that he is Robin, but only after he stopped acting like Robin. In a way, he is some sort of a Batman Jr. without the family fortune. As you probably guessed, he is not blessed with incredible super powers, but is very skilled in advanced fighting techniques and extreme agility. Although he had his own series (highly recommended), Nightwing also plays a central role in The Dark Knight Strikes Again movie and has been part of almost every series associated with Batman. However strange, this DC hero didn’t manage to draw the attention of the fan community either.
5. Iron Fist
Granted, Iron Fist does not have a dramatic or exciting back story. However, the whole idea around this superhero is special: he has an incredible strength and agility, he is a master in martial arts, he has the ability to heal himself and others and he is immune to danger (at least for a short while). Iron Fist was not greatly received by comic book fans, meaning that Marvel’s ongoing series – the Immortal Iron Fist – is far from being big hit. On the other hand, everyone is waiting for the movie, which is rumored to hit the box office in 2012 and that will feature Ray Park (Darth Maul).