There are a pile of characters in comics, sometimes they’re called B-list or even C-list. They’re the ones that never seem to get their own books, who fade in an out of continuity or who are often in the background. And yet, these characters fascinate us. People get obsessed with them, and sometimes they have the most interesting stories. These are some of our favourites.
Thanks to Peter David’s X-Factor, I’ve fallen in love with Shatterstar. He was sort of ridiculous when I did my entire original X-Force read for Siryn (let’s face it, everything about the 90s was ridiculous), but under PAD’s hand he’s pure delight.
Everything about Shatterstar (his power is he has four swords) makes me happy, from his relationship with Rictor, to how he reacts to the world and absorbs pop culture. (And I consider him second string right now despite his dubious status in the 90s. I like to pretend that Shatterstar was an older brother he never sees anymore.)
This was a very hard pick for me, but in the end it came down to two characters, and as they’re sisters I’m including them both.
Crystal and Medusa, of the Inhumans.
I started to read comics when I was pretty damn young, and back in the 80s the Inhumans popped up all over the place. Crystal was Quicksilver’s wife and pretty damn cool, even with the Kirby grip on her hair. Medusa was married to Black Bolt and had that hair. I honestly cannot say what it is about these otherworldly characters who weren’t all that important that I loved. I think it was the strange family dynamic they had, the fact that they held so much power but argued about how to use it or if they should use it. I love how Medusa stepped up to rule, I love how Crystal has helped the Fantastic Four and how their relationship has changed. The two have defended each other and fought each other and in the end, they’re both strong and both believe in what they do.
Most importantly, they are both strong women. Strong women who don’t get nearly enough exposure but they’ve both stood on their own, and they have stood both with and against each other.
Honestly, they amaze me and I love them both so much.
I sort of have a soft spot when it comes to the Hellions Squad and New X-Men, and while my first draw to the title is probably pretty obvious, I found myself liking a lot of the lesser known characters on the title as well. I think when it comes down to it, I liked Dust quite a bit. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I really love the idea that she’s a positively portrayed Muslim comic book character, one who isn’t really looked down on (at least not now) because she doesn’t wear the traditional skin tight garb that we see pretty much every other female hero wear.
Sooraya is far from being a first string character (or even a second string, really), but she’s always been one who has intrigued me a great deal. I guess I’m just a sucker for characters who are able to fit in while still keeping to their personal morals.
It is hard for me to whittle it down to just one. The majority of my favourite characters tend to be the ones that come and go as continuity pleases. Rachel Summers? Check. The Guthrie kids? Check, check, check. And so on and so forth. I like the idea that the universe is too big to be contained. But after some serious thought I’d have to say that my favorite second stringer would have to be Patsy Walker.
While she might not technically qualify as a second stringer given how long she’s been around and the fact that she’s had a few titles named after her, I would definitely make the argument that she currently qualifies. We don’t see a lot of her, but when she does pop up I am always amused (Marvel Divas notwithstanding). She’s kind of a popcorn character. I enjoy how she’s one-part empowered through old fashioned radiation and the rest through costumes and her own gumption. She can be flighty and silly, but she can kick ass. I just enjoy her appearances, as random and brief as they are.