It's a debate that has been raging ever since the first comic books and superheroes found their way into the hands of children and adults worldwide - Who is the greatest superhero? The allure of the superhero is undeniable - from the superhuman powers that we envy, the unique costumes that make them stand apart, the classic good v/s evil battles, and at times their vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Stories about superheroes have always been the most popular and adored tales, ones that despite their seemingly childish nature, stick with us well into our adult lives. Perhaps, there is a superhero inside all of us, waiting to leap out, and itching to embrace a battle, or a vision of a world larger than ourselves. Keeping with this spirit, we have hand-picked our list of the 10 most important and inspiring superheroes ever created, and while who should be number one is a matter of personal choice, we hope this list re-kindles this strange belief we humans nurture all through our lives - that we can be heroes.
#10 Captain America
A brave but scrawny soldier, Steve Rogers, volunteered as a test subject for the "Super Soldier Serum" and became a living symbol of freedom. Armed with an indestructible shield, Captain America was created to characterize the patriotic fervor in the country during World War II, and was often shown fighting the Axis powers. He was later revived from suspended animation by S.H.I.E.L.D and their superhero team - the Avengers. Captain America stands for all that America should be: noble, strong, hard-working, just, and honest.
Making a deal with the devil, government assassin Al Simmons was resurrected by the devil himself from a ghastly death executed by his own men with a rider: finite magical powers capable of nearly any feat imaginable which, when exhausted, will drag him back to Hell. And thus was born Spawn. Todd McFarlane's creation has become the most popular, and most respected independent comic book character of all time, and has paved the way for other independent comics world over.
The Norse God of Thunder, Thor possesses attributes including immorality, super human strength and invulnerability. He is armed with Mjolnir, the mystical war hammer capable of opening passageways through space and time, and bending the elements to its master's will. As a member of the Avengers, he is especially useful to them as he can summon the elements of nature and the storm to their aid in their battle against evil. Thor is a highly skilled and hardened warrior, having been brought up on a diet of monsters, gods, magical armies, and giant trolls.
Clark Kent, after being rocketed from his planet Krypton, grew to adulthood on Earth to learn that this planet's yellow sun and weaker gravity gave him near-invulnerability, strength, speed, stamina, and hearing, etc. As Superman, he now fights the never-ending battle for truth, freedom and justice. While Superman started the superhero comic genre, his popularity has been falling off late. Regardless, it's hard to argue against the killer combination extreme strength, lightning speed, heat vision, x-ray-vision, and the power of flight.
Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, genius scientist Dr. Robert Bruce Banner finds himself transformed into a 7-foot, one-ton green behemoth with near-unlimited strength, rapid tissue-regenerative powers and nigh-inexhaustible stamina - that we know as the Incredible Hulk. In forty years, he has battled virtually every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe, and is frequently pursued by the police and armed forces, often due to the extensive destruction he causes. With a super power that increases in direct proportion to his anger, The Hulk is not a super hero you want to mess with!
#5 Iron Man
A wealthy industrialist, Tony Stark was kidnapped by terrorists and forced to build a weapon of mass destruction, using the access he was granted to rudimentary resources he instead creates a powered metal suit to aid in his escape, only later realizing its applicability as a tool to do good for the world, and to make the world a safer place. And thus was born the invincible Iron-Man, the most high-tech super hero in this list, and the Marvel comics universe. Unlike most other super hero's the citizens of the world are aware of Tony Starks double identity, and the comic series also explore the pluses and minuses of this aspect of Iron Man's existence.
#4 Wonder Woman
Spawned by Greek goddesses on the paradise island of Themyscira, Diana is an immortal Amazon warrior blessed with the skills of flight, incredible strength, speed, wisdom, and beauty. Raised as an Amazon warrior, she's a highly skilled warrior who knows how to spot an enemy's weakness and exploit it. Wonder Woman is a "distinctly feminist role model whose mission was to bring the Amazon ideals of love, peace, and sexual equality to a world torn by the hatred of men." The worlds most well known female super hero, and a member of the Justice League of America, she is a character that men lust over, and women look up to as a role model.
Wolverine represents the Pure Animal Spirit, and possesses the epitome of the most envious of animal qualities - indestructible claws. Everybody's favorite mutant, Wolverine also has a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound given sufficient time. Wolverine is not your traditional hero, but instead a bit of rebel, willing to go to any length to get to his target and achieve his goal. This sometimes characterizes him as an anti-hero, and the marvel universe often utilizes this tendency to suggest an alternative way to solve a conflict - one devoid of tact and strategy perhaps, but with a simple focus on identifying the problem and neutralizing it.
#2 Spider Man
The bite of an irradiated spider granted high-school student Peter Parker incredible superhuman powers. When a burglar killed his Uncle Ben, and after pondering on his uncles famous words : With great power comes great responsibility, Peter Parker vowed to use his powers for the benefit of others and their protection henceforth. Spiderman possesses a range of powers including the ability to spawn super-strong spider-webs, speed, superhuman strength, and an extremely heightened sense of perception. When found lacking in ability, Spiderman made up in heart, and these factors together turned the wall-crawler into one of the most adored superheros world over. Spiderman is officially Marvels most popular superhero.
After witnessing the murder of his parents as a child, young Bruce dedicates his life to protecting the citizens of Gotham City from criminals. Batman is for many the number one superhero, because unlike others he has no special powers. Anyone could have been batman, but only he was ready to be. He honed his mind, body and spirit into a force that strikes fear into his enemies, and wrongdoers everywhere. Many people also identify with the dark brooding determination of Bruce Wayne, the multi-millionaire, as Batman, sworn to protect Gotham, and asking for nothing in return. From his double identity, his secret bat-cave, his simple and effective fighting tools, his awe inspiring cars and bikes - Batman has inspired more people worldwide than any other to don a mask and a cape and fight the forces of evil, and in that sense he transcends the comic world, and every other character on this list.