Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Who's the Best... Super-Hero Jerk?

Karen: But the biggest jerk of all is, of course, Superman:


J.A. Morris said...

Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Are we supposed to pick the "jerk" we like least or the most here?

Wolverine is the one here I like best. He became less jerkish over the years, I hated him in the early stories I read, he later became my favorite X-men (before his later overexposure). Claremont & Byrne made him an interesting,complicated character by the time the Dark Phoenix Saga began. Plus, I'm relatively short for a dude, so there were times when I could identify with Logan.

I'd say the one I like least is Quicksilver. He needs to let his sister be her own person and comparing the Vision to a digital watch crosses over from "jerk" to "@$$hole". And he's not that interesting even when written well. Another "fast" guy? Give me the Whizzer of Squadron Supreme/Sinister over Pietro any day. The only time I had any use for Quicksilver was the Modred the Mystic/Django Maximoff saga in Avengers, but that's about it.

Some of those guys listed are jerks, but they come to their "jerkdom" honestly. Sunfire had 2 bombs dropped on his country and Namor had his kingdom devastated by pollution. That doesn't justify hating Americans/Surface Dwellers, but it makes their attitudes somewhat easier to understand.

William Preston said...

Just for the sake of the historical record: Sunfire's homeland didn't only have two nuclear weapons dropped on two cities; dozens of Japanese cities--every significant habitation--were leveled and/or incinerated by the Allies.

He was utterly petulant in the Bronze Age, but I liked him.

Quicksilver's personality had nothing to recommend it.

Ah, Superman's "superdickery" (what a great web site). That had stopped by the time I was reading comics.

I think Kitty Pryde was right: Professon X is a jerk. I don't think I ever cottoned to him. Is there a jerkier team leader?

And does anyone aside from Scott Summers actually like Emma Frost? (Though I guess she doesn't get a chance to show off her personality (and everything else) till after the Bronze Age.)

Edo Bosnar said...

What? No Guy Gardner?! (Yeah, yeah, I know he only became a famous jerk post-Bronze, but there's no DC representation here).
Also, interesting that Moondragon appears in one of those panels. I think she definitely qualifies as a super-hero jerk.

Otherwise, following J.A.'s example, I'd say the most likeable super-hero jerk is Hawkeye, while I'd agree that Quicksilver is the least likeable.

And to be fair to Supes, I think most of the time those covers are misleading - he's usually nowhere near such a jerk in the stories (except when he messed with Lois, who of course gave as good as she got).

Rip Jagger said...

You've shown some good candidates, with the erratic Namor perhaps being the all-time jerk in comics.

But my favorite jerk is Green Arrow. His sarcastic barbs and lack of decorum after his transformation to groovy archer in Brave and Bold make Oliver Queen the king of cretinous behavior. His feelings so strong that they overwhelm his sense of decorum most of the time. His combat with Hawkman was awesome, a powerful shredding of the classic JLofA congeniality.

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

To answer J.A.'s question, I'll talk about the one I like the most - Hawkeye. When I first got into comics, the kooky quartet were in reprints while in the "present" Hawkeye was going through his lovable loser phase - trying to "put the moves on" (his words) Scarlet Witch, then going back to Black Widow, then even trying Valkyrie when he joined up with the Defenders. I loved the scene at the beginning of one of those Defenders issues, right before the Avengers-Defenders war, where he just figures he'll take on the Hulk, Subby and Val - his arrogance and self-deprecating wit were on simultaneous full display there. To me, he was a jerk that you couldn't help but pull for.


Humanbelly said...

Yep, I'm the tank w/ Hawkeye as the favorite jerk-that-you-can't-help-but-love. And I honestly liked him even more as he matured out of most of the worst (largely self-destructive) aspects of that tendency. I think one of his best/worst/cover-your-eyes moments was giving Deathbird that big ol' smooch upon defeating her in that long-ago Avengers issue. . .

The first jerk that came to mind (who made me INSANE-- couldn't understand how any team would put up with him), though, was Guy Gardner. Right on his heels would be USAgent.


Karen said...

I leave this one up to your interpretation -it can be the jerk you love to hate, the biggest jerk, the jerk you just plain hate, whatever. There are certainly enough of them. I did want to put more in the post but simply didn't have time to find all the reference material I wanted, and I'm low on DC. I would also throw in Wildfire as best jerk from the future, although in his case, I think the frustration of not having a physical body gives him a pretty good excuse for being a bit of a pain at times.

david_b said...

Yes.., I'd still go with Hawkeye for the reasons listed thus far, primarily for the mostly-insightful writing he's been blessed with over the years. You really had a chance to see ol' Clint mature, take lumps, try his luck at 'ladies man', even get passed over for membership all due to 'equal rights'.

We saw his initial barbs against Cap slowly warm up, with his thought balloons exposing his admiration for Cap, yet wishing to keep his role as antagonist for the sake of impressing Wanda. Later moving his barbs to Hank Pym, then taking the growth serum to overcome his shortcomings as an archer.., and so on. The diff between him and other is that early on, he was so well defined that it provided writers a clearly fleshed-out character. Folks like Namor and Pietro didn't have such care when it came to stories.

DC 'Superdickery'..? Oh those covers are the best, I just picked up a VF copy of Worlds Finest 180. Yes, many came before I started collecting, but you just can't resist picking them up for cover-value alone. Coverbrowser.com is a terrible place if you're trying to stick to a comic-buying budget, let me tell you..

MattComix said...

I'm going to take this as best *super-hero* jerk. In other words guy who acts like a jerk but still lives up to being a super-hero despite that.

Some might say Batman but really the jerk aspect there has more to do with dodgy writing and dumping excess degrees of dark into it because they think there is no such thing as too much.

He's supposed to strike fear and terror into the hearts of *criminals* not be a jerk to his allies or people he is trying to save. He's supposed to be the Dark Knight Detective not the Dark Knight Attitude Problem.

Now if we're talking a character was designed from the ground up to be a jerk who rises to the occasion of being a hero I'm gonna say Booster Gold.

Booster is selfish and has an ego but underneath that he's got a heart and usually that is what wins out even if it has to be a process.

Anonymous said...

I like Quicksilver's jerkiness for its consistency - could he be one of the most consistently written characters in Marvel history?

And Namor is certainly a jerk - not for his occasional hate for surface dwellers, but because of his whole monarch schtick (monarchs are only good for guillotines and the like).

The jerk I hate to hate is from the DC side (and I am surprised no one mentioned him), Guy Gardner. Hate that dude.

Never thought of Hawkeye as a jerk.

Doug said...

Osvaldo --

Not to be a jerk, but you were the third commenter to mention Guy Gardner...



Anonymous said...

Weird! I somehow did not see Edo or HB's comments at all when I commented, and I make sure to read everyone's comments before I comment to avoid situations just like this!

Now _I'M_ the jerk! :P

I blame spray paint fumes.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hey, Osvaldo! Who you callin' a jerk? Oh, wait... I must be a little scooters in the head. Just pass me that can of spray paint...

And Doug, now it's my turn to be the jerk: Karen specified "super-hero jerks." Emerald Empress and even Terra hardly qualify on that count.

Karen said...

Points to Edo for being the first to use "scooters in the head," our favorite new catch phrase thanks to Teresa's post from last night.

Guy Gardner is probably DC's biggest jerk, but at least in his most popular incarnation, he was designed to be overtly jerky, so it almost isn't fair. His jerkiness was as significant to him as his power ring. Then again, one might say the same thing about Namor or some of the other guys here.

I do think Moondragon is a jerk. And Mantis was the sort of jerk who acted like she wasn't being a jerk, but you knew she really was.

How about the original Thunderbird? Huge chip on his shoulder, and so he lashed out all the time.

I knew someone would mention Batman, and if you go by the modern incarnation, I think he has to get some consideration.

But if we just went on covers alone, Superman clearly is the winner. Yes, yes, I know the Silver Age covers were completely deceptive, but man, his behavior on those is just a hoot! I used to love Superdickery when it was still active. I still go there once in a blue moon just for a laugh. What a super-jerk!

Doug said...

Edo -

You caught me being a jerk and straying from the moderator' s intent.

But EE and Terra Terraare still jerkettes...


Doug said...

Egad! That's what trying to type a comment on my Kindle looks like!


Anonymous said...

I would say Namor is one of the biggest jerks in terms of arrogance, being an Atlantean prince and all. Being a half human/half Atlantean hybrid mutant does that to you sometimes!

Quicksilver is probably the biggest pure superhero jerk out there; I always wondered why he had such a big chip on his shoulder - he always seemed to be angry at the world, even more than his fellow mutant outcasts. If I was Wanda I would have put a personality hex on him.

Guy Gardner was a jerk right from the very start; I think he was initially written that way, as a counterpoint to the dry Hal Jordan.

- Mike 'acts like a jerk if anyone tries to take the last chicken drumstick' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Teresa said...

Marvel: I've been reading my way through the FF Essentials. I am almost done with book 4.
Wow, Reed Richards is a Jerk. He is early incarnation is a mean control freak. No wonder Sue was attracted to Subby. He's just like her eventual husband.

DC: The silver age LSH. May the Luck Lords have mercy on you if you weren't up to private LSH Clubhouse stature.
They were brutal and disdainful to applicants. They would out right call them "rejects."
Look at their try outs for Superboy. Let's see if we can make him cry? Then we will point and laugh. Then make him a member. The 30th century is not for the faint of heart.

So what do we figure the half life is of "scooters in the head?" (-;

Anonymous said...

I liked Nighthawk, who certainly had his share of obnoxious behavior in his tenure in the Defenders. I guess trying to run the "world's greatest non-team" could tax anybody's patience.
He bribed Valkerie's ex-husband to get lost(the guy took the money, and then came back, what a jerk!), and threw a hissy fit every time something didn't go his way or when somebody quit the group, which was pretty often! He even called Subby himself a "jerk" once to his face, although he was generally pretty polite to the Hulk (always a good idea).
But that's why I liked him; he acted like a real person.
And the Hulk could be a real jerk, too, let's not forget.

Anonymous said...

The Hulk was NOT a jerk. Just misunderstood!


William said...

I personally have never really considered Hawkeye to be a jerk. He's more of a wise guy. And Wolverine isn't a jerk either. He's a tough guy with attitude. And I would describe Namor as more smug and pompous than jerky.

However, Quicksilver and Sunfire are definitely jerks. Which one is the biggest jerk? I would almost call it a tie, but I think Quicksilver has the edge just because he's practically famous for being an a-hole. That said, I actually like both characters. Especially QS.

There is a really cool X-Factor story (by Peter David and Joe Quesada) in which members of the team all have to go see a shrink, (who happens to be Doc Samson). In Pietro's session, he actually explains why he's such a jerk. Basically it's because everyone is so slow compared to him, and his whole life is like being stuck in a perpetual traffic jam behind all the rest of us slow moving dolts. I thought that was a pretty cool moment for his character.

Edo Bosnar said...

William, that's a pretty good explanation - I guess pretty much everyone's a jerk when stuck in a traffic jam.

Teresa, interesting point about the Silver Age Legion. Seriously, now that I think about it, they were more like the Legion of Teenage Stuck-up Popular Kids than super-heroes.

Murray said...

I loved the exchange between Quicksilver and Hawkeye in a recent Avengers. Apparently not having interacted with each other for a while:

Quicksilver: "Careful you fools! If you breathe even a trace of that gas, you'll spend the rest of your misbegotten lives as primitives!"

Hawkeye: "Aww..that Eurotrash condescension takes me back. Call me a 'poltroon', willya? For old times sake?"

Quicksilver gets the Jerk Award for my money. Sure, the "stuck in a traffic jam" provides a little sympathy, but Pietro really absorbed a lot of the Old World Eurotrash Faults in his childhood. Arrogant, chauvinistic, aristocratic, elitist. I don't know how much of "doesn't play well others" is genetic, but the son of Magneto would start life with a solid dose of the Jerk Gene.

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