Take 10

Take 10: Teen Heroes

From the Golden Age to the (alternate) future, Marvel.com picks the teens that rock the Marvel Universe

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By Ben Morse Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas. This week, the Cabal has teen heroes on the brain with NEW WARRIORS #9, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #9 and YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #2 all touching down. Check out what the Secret ones came up with for their list of Marvel's greatest underage crusaders, past—so they could have been a teen in the 60's even if they ain't today—and present, then read more about them on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

*11. MOLLY HAYES Why There Is A Number 11: She's actually only 12, so Molly can't technically make this list, but the Cabal really likes her… First Appearance: RUNAWAYS v1 #1 (2003) Learn More About Her… Here Why She Makes The List: "With the appetite of the Thing, the guts to knock out Wolverine and the world's greatest collection of hats, this spunky pre-teen metaphorically stands taller than her peer group. Molly Hayes reminds us all why the Runaways are always on the lam; she is the hope of a better tomorrow, she is the innocence we could all lose and she is the power that adults fear. Molly, we are indeed awesomed

by you!" –Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Teenage Turning Point: Molly punches the Punisher in the gut—awesome. (RUNAWAYS v2 #26—2007) Spotlight Comic: RUNAWAYS v2 #13 Separated from the other Runaways, Molly encounters another group of empowered youngsters.

10. CLOAK & DAGGER First Appearance: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN v2 #64 (1982) Learn More About Them… Here and here Why They Makes The List: An interracial pair of runaways whose mutant powers were kickstarted by drugs, leading them to launch a war on narcotics, Cloak & Dagger broke all sorts of barriers upon their bold introduction. Over the ensuing years, the heartwarming platonic bond between these two lost souls with nowhere else to turn has made them cult favorites whose appeal goes beyond their

fantastic visuals. Teenage Turning Point: In the heat of Carnage and his allies' ruthless rampage across New York City, Cloak & Dagger find themselves forced to grow up and become key players as Dagger survives seeming death at the hands of Shriek and finds her way back to life with Cloak's help to save the day. ("Maximum Carnage"—1993) Spotlight Comic: RUNAWAYS v2 #9 Cloak enlists the help of the Runaways to save Dagger's life.

9. X-23 First Appearance: NYX #3 (2004) Learn More About Her… Here Why She Makes The List: X-23, known in her rare quiet moments simply as "Laura," certainly shatters all illusions that you must be big, surly and male in order to be one of the Marvel Universe's premiere badasses. While still a relatively new creation who's yet to even hit her full creative stride, her fairly brief existence X-23 has already provided the fodder for an ever-growing handful of great stories about a

girl struggling to find her place in a world that doesn't know what to make of her. Teenage Turning Point: Laura proves she's not just a mindless animal when she resists the trigger scent designed to send her into a berserker rage and instead of killing her aunt and cousin, protects them from a Facility operative. (X-23: TARGET X #4—2007) Spotlight Comic: X-23 #1 Discover X-23's secret early years.

8. JUBILEE First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #244 (1989) Learn More About Her… Here Why She Makes The List: One of the few prominent teenage characters to be introduced in the late '80s and stick around with a lasting impact, Jubilee served as the avatar of that time period's unique youth culture with her devil-may-care attitude and carefree spirit. While she has matured a great deal over the years and even taken on a new identity as Wondra of the New Warriors, the core whimsy and spunk that made Jubilee a success remain. Teenage Turning Point: Wanting to tie up the loose ends in her life, Jubilee enlists

Wolverine to help her track down the men who killed her parents. When the pair of X-Men find the small-time hoods that did the deed, Jubilee chooses not to kill them, despite Logan offering her the option, earning her the further respect of her mentor. (WOLVERINE v1 #72-#74—1993) Spotlight Comic: JUBILEE #1 The princess of pyrotechnics returns to her hometown of Los Angeles in a solo adventure.

7. SPIDER-GIRL First Appearance: WHAT IF? v2 #105 (1998) Learn More About Her… Here Why She Makes The List: As the daughter of Spider-Man himself, May "Mayday" Parker opens up a whole new world of wish fulfillment as every comic fan has wondered what it would be like to have a bonafide Marvel legend as their parent. Spider-Girl's upbeat personality and never-say-die attitude also come as a breath of

fresh air that make the character endlessly endearing. Teenage Turning Point: Spider-Girl must protect her school from not one, not two, but six of her greatest enemies when the Savage Six attacks. Mayday overcomes overwhelming odds to send the villains packing, but in the process winds up paying a heavy price to save her friends. (SPIDER-GIRL #25—2000) Spotlight Comic: SPIDER-GIRL #10 Mayday Parker travels back in time to team with her then-teenage father.

6. PATRIOT First Appearance: YOUNG AVENGERS #1 (2005) Learn More About Him… Here Why He Makes The List: Patriot embodies the spirit of the Young Avengers: teens ready to be heroes and willing to seize the mantle of Earth's Mightiest whether their predecessors feel like passing the torch or not. Among all the members of the group, Eli Bradley stands apart as the one willing to go the extra mile, ethical or not, to see justice achieved and carry on the legacy of a champion he feels never got his due.

Teenage Turning Point: Having been exposed as using Mutant Growth Hormone to simulate powers, Patriot redeems himself in the eyes of his teammates and mentors by leaping into the line of fire during a Kree-Skrull skirmish to shield Captain America from the barrage. Though badly injured, Patriot receives a blood transfusion—and legitimate powers—from his grandfather, the first Captain America, Isaiah Bradley. (YOUNG AVENGERS #11-#12—2006) Spotlight Comic: YOUNG AVENGERS #8 With the secret of his powers revealed, Patriot must prove he's a true hero.

5. RICK JONES First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK v1 #1 (1962) Learn More About Him… Here Why He Makes The List: The ultimate everyman, Rick Jones embodied the average reader in ways even Spider-Man could not: as a powerless teen who finds himself surrounded by a world of Marvels. From the minute Bruce Banner saved Rick's life and became the Hulk in the process, Rick has been at ground zero of the Marvel Universe, forging relationships with Captain America, the Avengers, Captain Marvel and more. His constant sense of wonder reminds us why these stories remain so darn cool, while his level head and ability to hang with these titans allows us to imagine ourselves being part of the adventure. Teenage Turning Point: Though Captain America had made it clear to young Jones he didn't want him attempting to replace his

fallen sidekick Bucky, Rick stands by his friend without powers or a costume. When Cap journeys to South America to confront Bucky's killer, Baron Zemo, Rick accompanies him and makes sure the Star-Spangled Avengers sees justice served instead of his own demise. (AVENGERS v1 #15—1965) Spotlight Comic: AVENGERS v1 #1 Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade play a pivotal role in the founding of the Avengers.

4. BUCKY First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941) Learn More About Him… Here Why He Makes The List: One of comics' very first teen sidekicks, Bucky provided a hook to get kids reading the adventures of Captain America, complete with a nice sense of comic relief and fun. As the character was fleshed out seemingly post-mortem in the Silver Age on into today, we got a look past the cheerful facade and into the horror of a child fighting a man's war, transforming one-dimensional Bucky into a character with many shades of gray. As the newly minted successor to Steve Rogers, Bucky as Cap has brought this complexity to his new role and made it interesting, to say the least.

Teenage Turning Point: As World War II drew to a close, Cap and Bucky found themselves with a chance to turn the tide in favor of freedom by halting the latest scheme of Baron Zemo, but found themselves in a tricky situation as their foe launched a rocket weapon—with them still on it! Bucky proved himself a true hero by shoving his mentor off the projectile and remaining onboard to disable it himself, risking his own life in the process. (AVENGERS v1 #4—1964) Spotlight Comic: ALL-WINNERS COMICS #1 Bucky teams up with his fellow patriotic heroes in the heart of World War II.

3. THE HUMAN TORCH First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #1 (1961) Learn More About Him… Here Why He Makes The List: The Fantastic Four redefined the super hero team concept when they burst on the scene in 1961 and the fiery Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, proved key to their success. The kid brother of the FF's unique family dynamic, the Torch often provided much of the impetus and entertainment for the group's early adventures. While Johnny's egotistic flirting and

practical jokes on the Thing have provided many a classic moment, readers also grew up alongside the Torch as he became an uncle or got his heart smashed by Crystal and Frankie Raye. Teenage Turning Point: Fresh off the heels of getting his heart broken after the Inhumans deny him the chance to romance the lovely Crystal, Johnny Storm finds the weight of the world on his fiery shoulders as the Watcher sends him on a solo mission to find the Ultimate Nullifier, the only weapon capable of preventing Galactus from chowing down on Earth. (FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #45-#50—1965-1966) Spotlight Comic: FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #4 Striking out on his own, the young Johnny Storm discovers more than he bargained for when he meets Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

2. KITTY PRYDE First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #129 (1980) Learn More About Her… Here Why She Makes The List: After the X-Men grew up, going from a struggling book about bizarre teens to a blockbuster about adult heroes, Kitty Pryde set the franchise on its head once more by injecting a fresh, youthful perspective into the adventures of Wolverine, Storm and friends. Many feel Kitty played a key role in helping writer Chris Claremont usher in the golden age of the X-Men and changed the group forever by providing an entry point for younger readers as a thoroughly empathetic character, a template that would be

re-used time and again through the years. Teenage Turning Point: Turfed from the main X-Men team down to the New Mutants, Kitty fumes and looks for any way to prove to Professor Xavier—who's a jerk, by the way—that she still belongs at the adult table. Kitty finds her redemption in the form of a lingerer from the Sidrian Hunters—hostile aliens who had invaded the mansion—whom she defeats with the help of Lockheed. (UNCANNY X-MEN #168—1983) Spotlight Comic: MEKANIX #1 Kitty Pryde goes to college.

1. SPIDER-MAN First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY v1 #15 (1962) Learn More About Him… Here Why He Makes The List: Spider-Man made history as the first teenage super hero to star in his own ongoing comic book when he debuted in 1962. Up until that point, teens had been relegated to sidekicks and supporting cast, but Stan Lee and Steve Ditko recognized that with an increasingly younger audience, showing the life of a hero through a young man's eyes could make for successful comics on both a commercial and creative level. Peter Parker also broke the mold by being a realistic teen; insecure, unlucky and often selfish, Pete reflected actual readers more closely than any character to come before. Spider-Man has gone on to become one of the most successful and prominent comic characters of all time, teen or otherwise—in other words, we look forward to hearing arguments against him taking the top spot here. Teenage Turning Point: Nursing a flu, Peter Parker has to contend with both the

usual pressures of high school and duking it out with Dr. Octopus in between sniffles. When Pete attempts to rescue the lovely Betty Brant from Doc Ock, the ailing webslinger gets beaten and unmasked, only for the public to not believe a puny kid like him could be Spider-Man. Talk about adding insult to injury! Luckily, Spidey gets his heat back in the rematch. (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN v1 #11-#12—1964) Spotlight Comic: AMAZING FANTASY v1 #15 Timid teenager Peter Parker learns that with great power comes great responsibility in the historic first appearance of Spider-Man.

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