Everyone knows and loves the classic superheroes, and with good reason. Who can resist Clark Kent’s sparkling smile and perfect personality? Or Peter Parker’s boyish, awkward demeanor? And don’t even get me started on Deadpool’s dry wit and tendency towards breaking the fourth wall. But not every character has as much fandom as those whose names are splashed across the title page. Those characters, from superstar sidekicks to mavens of costume design to lesser-known heroes themselves, deserve their time to shine. So, without further ado, here is my list of the top five unsung, often underappreciated, stars of the superhero world.
April O’Neil is undoubtedly one of the most awesome ladies of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle universe. Whether she’s reporting on the antics and adventures the Turtles embark on, programming tech to help the gang, or fighting crime alongside them, April’s friendship is invaluable to the TMNT squad.
Edwin Jarvis, aka J.A.R.V.I.S.
Though he was turned into a supercomputer in the Iron Man and Avengers movies, and eventually merged with Vision, Edwin Jarvis is a classic example of comic book butlers going above and beyond the call of duty. As Tony Stark’s butler, Jarvis is one of the only people who has been with the Avengers since the very beginning. Considering Jarvis’ unfailing sense of duty to the team, as well as the horrors he has to go through – being tortured by Mister Hyde among them – Jarvis definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Though this amphibious hero is slated to grace the big screens later this year, Aquaman is one of the most disrespected characters in DC and Marvel canon. I get it, his powers essentially amount to the ability to gossip with marine life, but who doesn’t love Nazi-fighting, quasi-merman with a penchant for justice? Though DC is trying to rehab his often-parodied image into something a little more gritty, Aquaman will forever be a climate change-conscious sweetheart in my books.
Edna “E” Mode
While Elastagirl was the focus of the newest Incredibles movie, Edna managed to steal the show once again. When it comes to perfect, punchy quips, designing and caring for superhero costumes, or babysitting, there’s no one better than Edna Mode, and fans – myself included – love her for it.
Captain Planet’s squad of multicultural, eco-conscious teens is an obvious choice for this list. The Planeteers, made up of Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi, and Ma-Ti, defend the planet from eco-villians and natural disaster. They also provide every day citizens with so much earth-friendly education that even Al Gore would shed a grateful tear. Considering there have been several failed attempts at movie adaptations of the television series, these teens are definitely underappreciated.
The realm of superheroes is vast, and so many great characters exist beyond your typical Avengers or Justice League line-up. While Batman’s brooding and Mr. Incredible’s strength are sure-fire summer blockbuster hits, I think these underrepresented supers deserve just as much time in the spotlight as their more famous counterparts.