When most people think of superheroes they think of one nation: The United States Of America. Along with jazz music, the comic book superhero genre is one of the main cultural contributions that the US has given the world. Superheroes, rightly so, are seen as a very American concept. This is largely due to the fact that they were invented in the USA and that most comic books to this day are manufactured and sold there.
Furthermore, the bulk of comic book characters, good and bad, are fictionally from the United States. Most of the DC Universe’s most prominent characters are based in fictitious American cities. Take cities and towns such as Coast City (home of Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern), Central City (Barry Allen’s Flash), Star City (Green Arrow), Metropolis (Superman), and Gotham City (Batman), for instance.
Moreover, the Marvel Universe is largely based in the ‘real world’. Most Marvel heroes herald from New York City, or are at very least are based there. Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Xavier’s (X-Men) School For Gifted Youngsters and The Avengers are but a small example of heroes established in, or around, The Big Apple.
Yes, the bulk of characters do originate from the United States, but some do originate from other shores. We have Nightcralwer from Germany, Russia’s Black Widow, The Martian Manhunter and Captain Britain from, umm, Britain. But with St. Patricks Day just around the corner, let us cast our eye at the top 5 Irish superheroes!
Marvel’s Siryn, Theresa Cassidy, is the daughter of the late Banshee/Sean Cassidy. Although previously using the name Siryn, she has now has adopted her father’s mutant code name as a homage since his death. Her power-set is the same as her fathers; she too possesses a “Sonic Scream”. This auditory ability is primarily used as a weapon to injure opponents, with Siryn varying how much damage she does by controlling her volume. This power can also help her to fly as it can propel her skyward by aiming the shock waves at the ground. Although possessing stunning features (Why are there no ugly superheroes?) she can be quick to anger, with a fiery temperament to match her beautiful red hair!
This green-clad heroine first appeared in 1982’s Marvel series, The Contest Of Champions. Her powers are somewhat stranger than most. She is a vessel for the ‘souls’ of all those unfortunate enough to be lost in wars aound the globe. These spirits then eminate from her creating an aura which alters probabilities, thus giving her ‘good luck’. This ability is apt seeing as her father was a staunch IRA member who wanted powers to be granted upon his son to smite his enemies. His daughter, thankfully, received them instead. Perhaps not one of the most recognisable heroes Marvel has to offer, but certainly one of the more interesting.
3. Kyle Rayner’s Green Lantern
Although,Green Lantern Kyle Rayner was origianlly based in Los Angeles, he is actually half Irish. Born to a Latin-American father and Irish mother, Rayner is immensely proud of his Irish ancestry. His mother, in a bid to help him identify with her native country, taught him to speak Gaelic from an early age. When the greatest Green Lantern of them all, Hal Jordan, became mad with grief following the destruction of his home, Coast City, another Lantern had to be chosen. Hal went on to become the vengeful entity Parallax and struck down almost all of his fellow GL’s and their masters, The Guardians. Kyle Rayner was then chosen by Ganthet, the last of the once powerful Guardians Of The Universe, to become the galaxy’s sole Green Lantern. In hindsight, it is apt that out of all the corps in the colour spectrum, he was chosen to wear green!
2. Captain America
Yes, that’s right, the most American of all superheroes is actually Irish! Well, to be more accurate, Captain America’s Steve Rogers is Irish-American. It may seem like a bit of a cheat, but his Irish parentage shaped Cap greatly. Being brought up by poor Irish immigrants in a very impoverished sector of New York in the 1930’s instilled in him a strong self-belief and a desire to stand up for the disenfranchised. If Steve Rogers had a different upbringing he most certainly wouldn’t have become the superhero we all know and love!
For many years Banshee was one of Marvels most recognisable mutant characters. An heir to a massive fortune, the Irishman decided to join Interpol rather than becoming a playboy or man of leisure. Eventually, after meeting up with others who shared similar capabilities, he joined the X-Men. His auditory ability, the aforementioned “Sonic Scream”, made him exceptionally powerful as his voice could pack a super powered wallop. His gift also gave him the ability of flight, as focusing his ‘scream’ at the ground would drive him aloft. He unfortunately met his maker in the line of duty while trying to save a passenger plane from being destroyed. He sadly failed and was found among the debris and the dead. A heroic end to an honourable Irish hero.
Who is your favourite Irish hero?