Welcome back to another mystical addition of Top-5 Friday! Do you want to know what I think is dying out in comics? Magic. It feels like each year, the list of magical heroes continues to shrink. We had an entire team of mystic heroes, who have vanished at this point in the DC universe. There are a few exceptions to this, such as John Constantine and the enchantments on Wonder Woman, but I felt today I should take some time to tell you some of my favorite mystical heroes. The rules for this list are that their powers or origin have to have magical elements in some nature. As always this is an opinion based list, so if you see something you don't like, I apologize. Enough talk! Grab your spell books and ritual candles and let's start this list.
Do you know what often goes hand in hand with magic? Arthurian Legends. As a fan of both, you'd expect me to be drawn to Etrigan at first sight, right? Well when your first time seeing him is his frightening transformation in the Justice League cartoon at age 7, it's not a good start. At that age, I questioned why the heck would the Justice League hang out with a guy that had a DEMON connected to his soul. Then as I grew older, I found him always allied with the side of good, and while it's mostly due to Jason Blood's influence, I learned how much of a bad-#%^ character he was. Now rather than cower in fear of this demon, I now get a huge grin as he slugs it out with some of the toughest customers in DC. Run, run as fast as you can. Here comes the Demon, Etrigan!
4: Doctor Fate
To be more specific, I am referring to the one I'm most familiar with; Khalid of Earth 2. Kent is great, and the Khalid of Earth one continues to grow, but Khalid of Earth 2 is one of my favorite characters of the series before it began to roll downhill. He is a compassionate archaeologist who found one of the most powerful artifacts on the face of the planet. Think back to when we first met Khalid and how he was working to get all the wonders to work alongside one another. He distracted the world army so Jay can get his mother away from them....... and that was without the powers of Fate. When he does get his hands on the helmet though, it presents one of the most powerful Wonders on Earth 2. With the art of Nicola Scott, each of his spells feel as if they could ruin an entire city, but not before leaping off the page. The only real reason he is so high up on the list is that we barely scratched the surface with him before World's End wound up ruining most of the characters. Doctor Fate deserves more spotlight, and whenever the JSA comic comes out, I hope he gets his chance.
While he might act like he's not magical, Billy Batson might be one of the strongest conduits of magical energy in the DC universe. The Council of Wizards were powerful enough to be considered a worthy jury of God when it came to the Trinity of Sin. They're powerful enough to erase a person's identity for crying out loud! That's when all seven were alive. Imagine what power could come from just one of them. How much power could their champion, Shazam have? The power to fight gods? Yeah, that's a good start.
Unlike Doctor Fate, Shazam uses his brute strength and speed from his enchantments to combat evil rather than spells. However, when he does use his magic, it does some amazing things. Sometimes it could be epic like creating the Shazam Family, and sometimes it can be a little silly, like making a ping pong table on the Watchtower. Either way, I hope to see this magical hero in the coming months of Rebirth stories.
2: Phantom Stranger
Coming hot on the heels of Shazam is another character enchanted by the Council of Wizards... Though this enchanted hero isn't like the mightiest mortal at all. In fact, he's quite the opposite. His magical powers were given as a curse due to his crime. While many would try to take advantage of such a power, he has no motivation to use it for evil and that's where my liking of the character shows. I won't lie when I say that he didn't start out as a good guy, heck some of the things in his New 52 series can sometimes be questioned, but he has come a long way and still seeks to redeem himself. He went to hell to save his family, but chose to save an innocent caught in his fight. As he points out at the end of his series; he will always be there to help humanity... As a stranger.
Marvel Mention: The Civil War II Sorcerers
You were expecting to see Dr. Strange or the Scarlet Witch up here didn't you? Those two are always pushed to the front of anything magical in the Marvel universe, and for good reason, but also overshadow somebody other fantastic characters. During Civil War II's first issue, Dr. Strange gathered six powerful sorcerers in the Marvel universe to manage a gigantic flaming demon. Along with Dr. Strange and Scarlet Witch, there was Dr. voodoo, shaman, Hellstrom (patsy walker's ex and son of the devil), Magik of the X-men, and the witch's son Wiccan. Look at that list and tell me you don't want to see all of those sorcerers working together and other adventures outside of the mediocre Civil War. A bad-$%^ team of magic users each using a different type of magic to complement one another. It will probably never happen… But God, that would be awesome!
1: Swamp Thing
By just hearing his origin alone, one could put Alec Holland into the sci-fi horror category. A guy is working on a serum to grow new plant life. He gets caught in an explosion, and the serum fuses with his body as he sinks to the bottom of the swamp. He comes back as a mutant plant man. Very open and shut, right? Wrong. He's an avatar of The Green and as such controls all plant life in the universe. Through his power, he can use the plants to appear anywhere to fight evil, often in the form of The Rot, the force in the universe that rots all life. He could appear made of grass and trees, or even an unpopped kernel of popcorn. The amount of lore behind Swamp Thing's true magical origin is large enough to be an article on its own. He is a part of a magical force that is so fascinating as well as ties into many other heroes and villains of the DCU. He might be one of, if not the best, C-list hero that DC has in stock. Somehow John "I'm a tortured jerk" Constantine keeps getting new comics. Ironically the only reason John is a thing is because he showed up in Swamp Thing. With that in mind, I expect him to pop up in Hellblazer from time to time, like he's doing right now....... Keep the Swamp Thing going!
That's it for this week's Top 5 Friday! Who is your favorite mystical hero? Leave a comment and I'll see you next time!