Marvel Superheroes Who Deserve The Modern Spotlight

The Marvel Universe mostly does a great job of keeping track of most of its characters. From Willy Lumpkin to Iron Man, nearly every major and minor character has a role to play in the Marvel Universe, so fans can keep up with their favorite characters no matter who they are.

However, some characters do fall through the cracks. Some great Marvel heroes were very important at one point but they’ve faded into background characters in recent years. Heroes like Patriot and Spider-Girl could use their own ongoing, or join a super-team so they can get the attention they deserve.

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10 Red She-Hulk

Red She-Hulk Betty Brant armed to the teeth in Marvel Comics

After years of being treated as a distressed damsel, Marvel finally stepped up the writing around Betty Brant and let her have more agency. Her time with the Hulk has left her capable of transforming into multiple forms, including the Harpy and Red She-Hulk.

More recently, Red She-Hulk spent her time with the Defenders, helping them out both as Red She-Hulk and as the Harpy. However, a character with such a long and rich history deserves a miniseries of her own where she’s the focus, away from all the men she’s been attached to for so many years.

9 Patriot

Elijah Bradley aka Patriot of the Young Avengers in Marvel Comics

At one point, Patriot played a crucial role as a member of the Young Avengers. However, in its most fondly remembered run, the character was written out almost entirely. Since then, his appearances have been sporadic at best, even as the rest of the Young Avengers have found their own place in the Marvel Universe.

While the Patriot name has fallen to Falcon’s apprentice Rayshaun, there’s still plenty that can be done with Elijah Bradley. If nothing else, his connection to the Captain America legacy could still be explored in another miniseries.

8 Justice

Vance Astro, aka Justice, in Marvel Comics

Justice was set to be the next big hero in the Marvel Universe. Originally, he was a Buck Rogers analog, frozen for centuries before becoming Major Victory in the future, leading the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Later though, timeline shenanigans led to him becoming a key member of the classic Marvel super-team, the New Warriors.

Eventually, Justice became a member of the Avengers, but that’s where his legend stopped. He basically faded from view, which is a loss for the Marvel Universe. Heroes of his era rarely ever get to level up to reach the big leagues, and having him re-appear in the spotlight and exploring where he’s been all these years would be great.

7 Ka-Zar

Ka-Zar and Shanna Zabu in the Savage Land in Marvel Comics

Kevin Plunder is a throwback to Marvel’s earliest era when they were still trying to publish pulpy superhero comics. Growing up alongside his partner, Zabu the saber-toothed tiger, Ka-Zar became the sole protector of Marvel’s strange Savage Land located at the heart of Antarctica. From there, he’s developed close ties with both the X-Men and the Avengers.

Most recently, Ka-Zar became a member of the Agents of Wakanda during the Avengers’ big battle against Mephisto. However, Ka-Zar represents an opportunity to tell more strange adventures while also developing the Savage Land in new and fun ways.

RELATED: 10 Marvel Comics Where Iron Man Fought Other Heroes

6 Spider-Girl

Mayday Parker, Spider-Girl, in Marvel Comics

Mayday Parker still holds the record for female Marvel superhero with the longest-running ongoing, even though it’s been over a decade since her Spider-Girl series was canceled. Even now, she maintains a sizable fanbase, thanks to the way she represents the future that Marvel tries so hard to avoid giving Spider-Man fans. One where Peter Parker and Mary Jane finally lived happily ever after, and raised a child together.

Spider-Girl’s home reality of MC2 could stand to be developed more, as it’s almost the only Marvel Universe timeline that isn’t a horrible alternate future. However, if the hypothetical book’s focus had to solely be on May, she could also be brought into the main timeline and and develop her relationship with the main universe’s Peter Parker.

5 Hercules

Hercules braces himself for combat in Marvel Combat

Hercules has one of the best character arcs of any major Marvel superhero. Originally a member of the Avengers, his hedonism and constant search for glory led to his fall in the heroic community. At this point, the Avengers won’t have him, and he can barely find a place on Earth.

Recently, however, Hercules made some positive changes in his life. He embraced technology, gave up alcohol, and did everything he could to be a better hero. It’s a fascinating journey that he continued when he was with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but he currently doesn’t have a team or a book to be part of.

4 Wonder Man

Wonder Man (Simon Williams) in Avengers Vol. 1 issue 685 in Marvel Comics

At one point, Wonder Man had a key role in the Marvel Universe. For years, he was a member in good standing with the Avengers and the West Coast Avengers, and his partnership with Beast was legendary. However, as the Avengers began focusing on bigger-name characters with “star power,” Simon Willaims was gradually phased out.

Wonder Man’s last major appearance was during the admittedly great Avengers storylines “No Surrender” and “No Way Out.” Since then, he’s had only minor parts, but the character could easily be re-introduced to mainstream Marvel. The Avengers shouldn’t only consist of the most well-known characters, after all.

3 Nick Fury

Nick Fury as the leader of S.H.E.I.L.D. in 1970s Marvel comics firing a gun

The original Nick Fury spent decades as the man in the shadows as the Director of SHIELD. However, Marvel phased him out and made him into the Unseen, a version of the Watcher. He remained in that role for years until the Watcher was revived, and Nick’s humanity was restored.

Now, though, he’s in a more interesting place than ever. Nick Fury Senior’s been placed in charge of Uatu’s home and granted access to the powerful technology there. Fury is the new Man on the Wall, protecting humanity from unknown danger abroad. How well he’s handling that role could be a major Marvel story.

RELATED: 10 Strongest Black Marvel Characters, Ranked

2 Quasar

split image of Avril Kincaid and Wendell Vaughn as Quasar in Marvel Comics

Quasar is one of Marvel’s most powerful cosmic heroes. However, after years of either having their own ongoing or being a major part of some super-team, they’ve been sidelined. Recently they got to join the Guardians of the Galaxy, but even that came to a quick end when the team’s line-up changed.

A being that possesses one of the most powerful weapons in the universe, every adventure with Quasar has the potential to upset the delicate balance of the Marvel Universe. That plus the way Avril Kincaid and Wendell Vaughn are forced to share their power could be the basis of a great comic.

1 War Machine

War Machine firing his weapons in Marvel Comics.

One of the earliest heroes who took on another major hero’s responsibilities before branching out on his own, James Rhodes has always been an awesome character. He’s proven several times over that he can do Iron Man’s job when Tony isn’t able or willing, and setting aside Iron Man he’s Marvel’s most recognizable armored superhero by far.

At one point, War Machine played a key role on the Avengers West Coast and led a solo title of his own. These days, however, he’s just a background character in the main Iron Man ongoing and he deserves a second shot at a solo comic book that focuses on how he’s outgrown his role as a glorified sidekick.

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