In honor of Black History Month, I’ve put together a list of the “Top 10 Black Comic Book Superheroes.” As we all know, racial tensions are higher than ever, in today’s times. Recognizing the achievements and presence of all groups is essential to coming together. Hopefully, we can even make better world, someday.
In the meantime, let’s enjoy a list of the Top 10 Black Superheroes, ever! I look forward to seeing your feedback in the comments ^_^
10. Ultimate Nick Fury
Real Name: Nicholas Joseph Fury
Debut: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #5 (August 2001)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, and slowed aging due to Super Soldier formula; cybernetic right arm with enhanced strength; genius-level tactician and strategist
How can you go wrong by starting with the character that inspired the movie version of Nick Fury??? Answer, you can’t. Debuting in the Ultimate Universe, this Nick Fury is every bit as capable—if not more—than his David Hasselhoff-esque Main Universe counterpart. He’s so secretive, he even once used a piece of bubblegum that was programmed to explode after 200 chews. Clearly, no other person is qualified to be Director of S.H.I.E.LD.
Real Name: Eric Stokes Brooks
Debut: The Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina, and reflexes; heightened senses; advanced healing factor; slowed aging; immunity to daylight; able to sense supernatural activity; highly adept martial artist
This is the character some argue actually started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whatever your stance on Blade, there is no question he is awesome. Wesley Snipes??? Somewhat strangely, Blade was actually born with only the ability of immunity to vampire bites and hypnosis (his mother was bitten by a vampire while giving birth to him.. comics). Another bite by Morbius gave him all his superlative vampire attributes. Blade walks the line between human and vampire while being completely badass the entire time.
Real Name: Victor Stone
Debut: DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, and durability due to cybernetic implants; flight; sonic cannon; New 52 version: All preceding powers, in addition to EMP blasts, technology absorption, technopathy, underwater adaptation, and use of Boom Tubes due to fusion with Mother Box technology (rather than previous traditional components)
Now we’re getting into whom I would consider the first OP character on this list. There’s a reason Cyborg is a standing member of the Justice League, as well as one of the only characters Batman ever chooses to work with. He was portrayed as jocular on Teen Titans, but Cyborg is unsettlingly powerful and considerably intelligent. He has the ability to communicate/control practically any variety of machinery and is an unmitigated nightmare in hand-to-hand (or distance) combat. When they gave him the ability to summon Boom Tubes, he officially went into HAX/OP territory. No incarnation of a DC powerhouse team is complete without the machine-man, Cyborg.
7. war machine
Real Name: James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes
Debut: Iron Man #118 (January 1979)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, and durability due to Iron Man-technology powered armor; supersonic flight; repulsor weapons technology; variety of traditional (albeit, highly advanced) munitions; regenerative life support (while in suit)
Who doesn’t know the Don Cheadle (previously Terrence Howard.. 😦 ) portrayed, brother-in-armor to Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark? Rhodey may come off as a sidekick, but this perception could not be further from the truth. My respect for Rhodes went to a different level when I learned he actually was Iron Man in the comics, for quite a while (from 1983 to about 1992, our time.. a long time). Rhodey has proven to be just as heroic and capable in battle as Stark, and also more responsible. His stable hand has kept Iron Man from going over the edge on more than one occasion.
6. blue marvel
Real Name: Adam Bernard Brashear
Debut: Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1 (November 2008)
Powers/Abilities: Extreme superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, and reflexes; nigh-invulnerability; flight; energy generation/projection; enhanced mental perception; molecular manipulation; longevity; bioluminescene; genius-level physicist and engineer
Now we’re getting into the true blue (no pun intended) powerhouses of the comic landscape. Blue Marvel aka Adam Brashear is a character that definitely needs more shine in the Marvel Universe.. as well as our universe. Brashear was present for the explosion of a Negative Reactor (of course), which permanently altered the composition of his body. The reactor was designed to generate anti-matter, which is the source of Adam’s abilities. His additional status as a legitimate scientific genius only further adds to his hyper-star status. Oh, and did I mention he has a massive undersea headquarters in the Marianas Trench that only Namor knows about? Boss.
5. spider-man (miles morales)
Real Name: Miles Gonzalo Morales
Debut: Ultimate Fallout #4 (August 2011)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and durability; ability to cling to any and all solid surfaces; precognitive “spider-sense” which alerts of danger; enhanced healing factor; camouflage resulting in invisibility; venom strike; venom blast; wrist-mounted web shooters
Bringing in the top 5 is a hero who needs no introduction, at this point—Miles Morales. The black-suited Spider-Man is my favorite in the Spider-Family for a number of reasons. He’s actually stronger than the original Spider-Man (handily defeating Mysterio, Electro, and Venom), his “venom strike” sends him into legit OP territory, and the suit.. one of the best in Marvel comics. I’m happily waiting on the sequel to Into the Spider-Verse and his eventual/unavoidable introduction into the main MCU. “Hey.” (Watch the movie.)
4. luke cage
Real Name: Carl Lucas
Debut: Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #1 (June 1972)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength and durability; “unbreakable skin;” accelerated healing factor
We’re keeping the powerhouse train rolling with this entry. Luke Mother *bleeping* Cage. Bruh. Now we’re to characters that actually need no introduction. Luke Cage was immortalized during his 3 season (please bring more seasons to Disney+) show on Netflix, portrayed by the way-too-cool Mike Colter. Believe it or not, that version is a drastically underpowered version of the true “man with the unbreakable skin.” He has strength on par with an initially transformed Hulk or Colossus aka no joke. He was even leader of the Avengers for a good while in the comics. Luke Cage’s “never give up”-attitude, elite leadership abilities, and constant commitment to his community place him in the top-tier of respectable superheroes.
Real Name: Albert Francis “Al” Simmons
Debut: Spawn #1 (May 1992)
Powers/Abilities: Extreme superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and durability; super-powered symbiotic suit capable of creating chains, spikes, and various other weapons; highly prehensile cape able to shape itself into a variety of weapons capable of severing limbs, or, alternatively, defensively protect the wearer; necroplasmic energy projection; healing factor; invulnerability; immortality; teleportation; shape-shifting; transformation; resurrection; energy and molecular manipulation; telepathy; time manipulation; divine abilities; various demonic abilities; skilled martial artist, tactician, and weapon wielder
Get all that? If this was a list of the most powerful Black superheroes of all time, Spawn would most likely be #1, even ahead of the decidedly overpowered Blue Marvel. Spawn’s legacy is deep and far-reaching. From his beginnings back in the early 90’s, to his cult-classic HBO show, to his immaculately detailed toy appearances, Spawn is a character with absolutely no shortage of exposure.. or ability. In his universe, he even defeated both the Devil and their Supreme Being, taking the spot of both, for a while. Spawn has stood the test of time and easily ranks as one of the most powerful comic book characters of all-time, Black or otherwise.
Real Name: Ororo Munroe
Debut: Giant Size X-Men #1 (May 1975)
Powers/Abilities: Essentially unlimited weather control; control over atmospheric pressure and temperature; ecological empathy; flight; extreme resistance to high degrees of heat or cold
We’ve now arrived at the pinnacle. Storm.. this X-gene carrying behemoth may actually be the most popular entry on this list. Ororo Munroe has been a hit with comic culture since her introduction way back in 1975. What more can be said about this megalithic heroine? She’s an Omega-level mutant, meaning her powers have no upper-bound, and they’re also the strongest known incarnation of that particular power set. For all intents and purposes, she’s practically invulnerable. Storm has led the X-Men, as well as multiple other mutant teams. In fact, to become leader of the X-Men back in 1986, Storm defeated Cyclops in a hand-to-hand duel.. while she had no powers Cyclops did. That shouldn’t even be possible. Storm has a cemented place in X-Men, comic book, and media history, and she isn’t going anywhere, any time soon.
1. Black Panther
Real Name: T’Challa
Debut: Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and senses due to Wakandan heart-shaped herb; Black Panther suit made of Vibranium-weave with various and almost innumerable capabilities, as well as extreme durability; access to highly advanced “Kimoyo” supercomputer; resistance, or outright immunity, to magical forces; reanimation of the dead and summoning of spirits from the afterlife; power and knowledge of all previous Black Panthers; genius-level physicist and inventor; extremely adept hand-to-hand combatant
Who else could be #1? T’Challa is one of the most admirable, powerful, and popular characters in all of comics. His hit 2018 movie did a lot to send him into the notoriety stratosphere. However, even before the film, Black Panther was one of the most formidable and stalwart characters in the entire Marvel line-up. T’Challa has a never-ending list of responsibilities, and he handles them all in stride and with grace. He’s an example of leading others and remaining strong, no matter the toll it exerts on the bearer. Not to mention, in his first appearance, he soloed the entire Fantastic Four with absolutely no effort. Did I mention he was married to Storm (see above)? No matter how you slice it, Black Panther is the most important Black superhero ever and one of the most significant characters ever drawn with a pencil and pen, in any medium.
I hope you enjoyed this list! I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Keep reading comics, and Happy Black History Month!
—The Cavalier Nerd