Superheroes are, by definition, ridiculous. Even the most accomplished and popular costumed vigilantes are still grownups in colorful costumes beating up other grownups in colorful costumes. But you can at least build good, convincing stories out of the best of the best, like the ones currently heading the vaunted Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Not every hero, however, can be Captain America or Iron Man. Not everything that came from Jack Kirby’s brain is worthy of inclusion into the MCU. Want proof? Because we’ve got it. Here are some truly awful heroes who, no matter how many times they technically saved the world, aren’t worth the ink spent showing us how they did it … and probably will never make the jump to the MCU either.
13. Ulysses Solomon Archer (US-1)
Truckers are certainly important to industry, but just imagine Iron Man or Captain America fighting alongside a guy whose entire modus operandi is “trucks.” That’s why you’ll never see US-1 taking down Thanos while cracking wise with Thor.
Introduced in the early 80s, when truckers and “breaker breaker one nine” lingo was all the rage for whatever reason, US-1’s real name is Ulysses Solomon (get it?). An ordinary truck driver, Solomon was abducted by aliens, who replaced the top of his head with a cybernetic alloy that allowed him to hear CB transmissions. And why would they want that? Because they were seeking truck drivers to become space pilots and decided Solomon was just the man for the job, naturally.
Years later, down on his luck after years of nobody in the Marvel universe so much as sniffing him, he applied to be Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’s nanny. They passed, which must have been his life’s biggest letdown since his boss cut his meal per diem in half.
12. Adam-X The Extreme
Back in the 90s, everything in comics was extreme, edgy, and cool…as long as you thought scowls, tiny feet, and more ammo pouches than skin cells was the epitome of being “tubular.” Perhaps no Marvel character was more 90s than Adam-X The Extreme.
Despite being an alien. Adam-X adapted to 90s Earth culture super-quick, what with his backwards ball cap and Shredder-esque blades adorning half his body. Even his superpower is quintessentially 90s: he can electrocute oxygenated blood, which involves him cutting his foe open and then shocking the exposed blood. Why he couldn’t just cut the bad guy until he bled to death like a normal warrior is beyond us. We’re probably not extreme enough to get it.
Originally, he was to be revealed as Cyclops’s half-brother, but when Marvel writer Fabian Nicieza quit writing X-Men comics in 1995, the idea was dropped, officially making Adam-X a clean slate. Don’t expect the Avengers to fill that slate with a membership offer anytime soon though. They’re simply not edgy enough.
11. Combo Man
Unless Combos (the snack food people) buddy up with Marvel yet again, don’t expect Combo Man to ever show up in the MCU. His only story may have been a one-shot, but it was one too many.
Combo Man was a kid named Rick Wilder who was bullied into sneaking into his school lab, but conveniently, enough bad guys were there too. Their tussle triggered an explosion, and since Wilder was holding both a Marvel Comic and a bag of Combos, he became Combo Man: a ridiculous mash-up of 14 different Marvel heroes. He had Hulk’s hair, Carnage’s elbows(?), Sabretooth’s biceps and abs, and Gambit’s feet, among others. Also, he apparently had all their powers at the same time, which would make him the greatest hero ever if he weren’t such a goof.
The point of the comic was both to promote Combos and to educate about peer pressure and bullying. Of course, the only real lesson here is, “peer pressure is awesome, because it’ll make you a superhero.”Marvel probably didn’t think that one through …
10. Jack of Hearts
On the surface, there’s nothing too crazy about Jack of Hearts. Even his name, which screams “Gambit ripoff” is actually super-generic. His name is Jack Hart, you see, and his father loved cards, so now his name is Jack of Hearts. And you thought Jubilation Lee (Jubilee) was the ultimate in lazy nicknaming.
Then, however, you learn what’s truly unique — and ridiculous — about ol’ Jack: his power. He could emit beams of energy from his body, like many heroes before him. However, in a world full of superhumans who quickly learned to control their powers, he was one of the few who couldn’t. Instead, the energy became increasingly unpredictable, shooting out of his body at the worst possible times. He would regularly go live in space simply because there was nobody around he could hurt.
Eventually, he exploded in a burst of his own energy, which is like Iceman developing hypothermia. He was brought back, however, and…immediately exploded again. His odds of ever having anything to do with the MCU are precisely jack.
When your one and only superpower is screaming really loud, you know you’re in for a rough go as a hero. That would explain why Thunderer has gone nowhere for over 60 years, a trend that’s likely to continue just shy of forever.
In 1941, a radio operator named Jerry Carstairs grew sick of Nazis and other criminals, so he became a vigilante. He built a microphone into his costume, which somehow gave him the ability to amplify his voice to ear-splitting levels. Concrete-splitting too, as his scream as been known to literally destroy buildings. Other than that, he’s basically just a guy in a hood, shouting at everything. Maybe he can cameo in the Skyrim movie if they ever make one, but he has little hope of ever gracing the MCU.
He did grace TV once, however: in the 90s Spider-Man animated series, he appeared alongside other terrible heroes as the “Forgotten Warriors.” Not since Superman has a name hit the nail so squarely on the head.
Hindsight (formerly Hindsight Lad) has no powers, no money, no fighting ability, no muscular physique, and isn’t a super-genius. His one and only “ability” is that he can deduce the best combat strategy, but only after the fighting is done. He’s the Monday Morning Quarterback of superheroes, and if you think any part of him sounds awesome, you need to stop lying to yourself.
Amazingly, this most pathetic of “heroes” actually played a significant role in a major storyline. The comic book version of “Civil War” featured a website dedicated to slandering the names (and exposing the identities) of the Warriors, after an explosion they accidentally caused killed hundreds. Eventually, it was revealed Hindsight was behind the site. Once a Warrior (albeit one confined to office work), their deadly accident left him enraged at his former colleagues, and he made it his mission to bring them down. There may be room for a similar storyline in the MCU, but they’d need to make the character behind it way more interesting first.
Batman works because bats are mysterious and awesome. Frog-Man doesn’t because frogs are, well, frogs. No kid wants to ribbit while playing hero, and we’re guessing few actors would either.
Frog-Man was the son of a villain called Leap-Frog, though he wasn’t exactly Joker himself. Whether good or bad, somebody was still inside a frog suit, complete with flippers and a full froggy face mask. Imagine if Bruce Wayne designed his suit to look exactly like a bat, and then realize how quickly he’d fail too. Frog-Man might as well have been trick-or-treating rather than crime-fighting.
What’s more, Frog-Man’s suit granted him no powers aside from the ability to jump far and bounce off stuff. Oh, and he couldn’t control it, meaning he usually just bounced around uncontrollably until he barreled into a bad guy and saved the day through no real effort of his own. “Avengers: Accidental Wars” doesn’t exactly sound like a hit to us.
Swords are pretty effective weapons in the right hands, but when they’re literally all you’ve got, you don’t get to call yourself a superhero. Somebody should’ve told Swordsman that before he embarrassed himself.
Swordsman actually started out as a villainous mercenary, infiltrating the Avengers as a double agent. But while there, he realized being a good guy made him feel better about himself, and eventually joined their side for real. Not that he was all that memorable — he was basically Hawkeye with a sword, but at least Hawkeye has overpowered, gimmicky arrows to make his repertoire more interesting. Swordsman simply has a bunch of swords.
Aside from a brief resurrection during the ‘Chaos Wars’ of 2011, Swordsman has been dead since the mid-70s, after he took a bullet to save the life of Mantis, whom he loved. That’s awfully noble, but when you’ve been dead that long, don’t expect a Hollywood resurrection anytime soon.
No, not the video game fox. Marvel’s Starfox is an Eternal (the Marvel equivalent of the ancient Greek gods of Olympus, essentially), and is actually named Eros. But when he tried to join the Avengers, they decided they didn’t want a guy named Eros on their team, since it all but means “love machine,” so the Wasp renamed him Starfox. Because he’s foxy, you see.
Starfox’s main power, aside from the usual super-strength, was that he could manipulate the pleasure centers in people’s brains. In short, he had the power to make people feel really good, putting him roughly on par with those relaxing ASMR videos you find on YouTube. Also, much like other Eternals, he could manipulate cosmic energy. Unlike other Eternals, he wasn’t very good at it, and few things are sadder than a superhero who can’t control what makes them super. That, plus the risk of a legal kerfuffle with Nintendo, likely means Starfox will stay far away from Marvel movies for a good long while.
It says a lot about a supposed superhero when they share their nickname with an insult. Bird-Brain is one such hero, though calling him that is most certainly a stretch.
Bird-Brain was a human-bird hybrid created by a mad scientist as a potential slave, but he broke free and began life as a hero…kind of. His only power is flight, and his talons certainly can do some damage, but other than that he’s fairly useless. Plus, he looks just plain ridiculous: a skinny man with feathers, a beak, wings, and bird-like hands and feet. If you’ve seen the Chicken Lady from Kids In The Hall, you’ve seen Bird-Brain. Unlike Chicken Lady, however, Marvel actually wanted you to take Bird-Brain seriously. What a bunch of bird brains.
What’s more, the MCU already has a bird-themed hero in Falcon. Unlike Bird-Brain, Falcon actually looks cool, with his metal wings, protective armor, and ability to look like an actual person. Even Howard The Duck fits in the MCU more than Bird-Brain.
There’s an old Far Side cartoon about something called the “Vamp-Cow.” As weird as that was, Marvel actually beat Far Side to the punch by over a decade, with the vampire-bovine hybrid, Hellcow.
Introduced in the wonderfully named Giant-Size Man-Thing comic series, Hellcow is literally just a cow, albeit one with vampire powers (and a vampire cape). She got them after Dracula drank her blood, since there were no humans around and he was feeling simply ravenous. Hundreds of years later, she rose from her grave and vowed revenge on Drac. Instead, she found Howard The Duck, whom she decided was Dracula because cows aren’t the brightest. She met her end at Howard’s hand, once he grabbed a wooden stake and jammed it in the walking steak’s heart.
She reappeared years later as one of Deadpool’s running buddies, and this time she looked and walked mostly like a human, albeit one with a cow’s head. Either way, the only way Hellcow will make it into a Marvel movie is if Scarlet Witch gets a hankering for some hamburgers.
Superheroes based on stereotypes aren’t very super at all, which is why you’ll never see Shamrock in the MCU. Hell, you won’t even see her in the comics anymore — not because she’s dead, but because she quit being a hero.
Shamrock might be the most overtly Irish character stereotype besides Lucky the Leprechaun. Her real name is Molly Fitzgerald, her costume was green and covered in clovers, her hair is fire-engine-red, and her superpower was luck. Technically, she served as a vessel for the souls of innocent people killed during war, and those spirits aided her at the most convenient of times, but it looked exactly like the luck of the Irish. All she needed was a jaunty jig to dance after winning a fight and she’d somehow be 150% Irish.
Shamrock’s now retired as a hero, because the luck-giving spirits are gone. No major event took them from her — they just skedaddled on their own. She now works regular-people jobs, mainly as a hairdresser, so unless she finds an Infinity Stone in her blow dryer, she’s not going near the MCU.
1. Billy Ray Cyrus
Don’t worry about confusing the superhero Billy Ray Cyrus with the country music star: they’re the same person. For whatever reason, 90s Marvel decided they could make money by publishing a Billy Ray comic, starring the “Achy Breaky Heart” guy as a legitimate hero. Don’t confuse “legitimate” with “good,” however.
Cyrus’s debut comic involves him teaming with two school kids to fight Cherokee Indians they think are ghosts. But in a wacky twist, the Cherokees think Cyrus is a ghost too, and they all fire at each other with toy guns. Not a word of that was made up. Amazingly, Cyrus’s follow-up comic was even weirder: he somehow travels to medieval times, and rather than immediately get beheaded for terrorizing innocent eyes with his mullet, he’s actually celebrated as a dragon-fighting knight. Also, he shoots invading armies with a laser gun, not that it’s ever explained where he picked it up.
You’re more likely to see Miley Cyrus play a Skrull in the MCU than you are to see Billy Ray play anybody, even himself.