Take 10

Take 10: Powerless

The Secret Cabal locks down their choices for the ten coolest non-powered heroes in 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. They say the powers make the man, but in the Marvel Universe, that ain't always the case. The MU boasts more than its fair share of champions who do just fine without being able to toss cars over their heads or shoot laser beams out of their eyes. This week alone you can check out super spy Nick Fury attempting to stem the Secret Invasion tide in MIGHTY AVENGERS #13 and the Punisher going up against archenemy Jigsaw in PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #19. This week, the Secret Cabal celebrates these powerless powerhouses with their top ten favorite Marvel heroes who get by on a little more than just their looks—but not much. For each entry, check out a bio, why they made the list, where you can find them next and a special spotlight comic courtesy of 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. MOCKINGBIRD Why We Have A Number Eleven: Honestly? Because RunawayJ cried and pouted when this character didn't make the list proper. First Appearance: ASTONISHING TALES #6 (1971) Learn More About Her… here Why She Makes The List: "Former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. PhD in Biology. Master of multiple fighting styles. Co-founder of the West Coast Avengers. Who says Bobbi Morse is 'powerless?' And now, thanks to Secret Invasion, it seems that the one-time lover of Ka-Zar and wife of Clint Barton is back from the dead! Since this list is comprised only of people who are confirmed to be still alive, Mockingbird couldn't make the list officially [Editor's note: She could have, but whatever.], but she certainly deserves to be mentioned!" – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Where She's Headed Next: Alive? Skrull? Keep checking out SECRET INVASION! Spotlight Comic: X-STATIX PRESENTS: DEAD GIRL #1—Mockingbird provides Dead Girl and Dr. Strange with a helping hand—from beyond the grave! 10. MISTY KNIGHT First Appearance: MARVEL TEAM-UP v1 #1 (1972) Learn More About Her… here Why She Makes The List: "Despite the fact that she spends most of her time around a super-powered martial artist and a dude with bulletproof skin, few would argue that Misty Knight is the Hero for Hire you don't want to mess with. Misty has the fighting skills to hold her own in any scrap—dating Iron Fist will do that—but her headstrong attitude and feisty spirit sets her apart. Misty Knight doesn't back down from any fight, including…heck, especially the ones she thinks she can't win." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Where She's Headed Next: Since the Heroes for Hire broke up, Misty has been semi-directionless, but she'll be making her way back into old flame Danny Rand's life big time in IMMORTAL IRON FIST. Spotlight Comic: DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON #1—Misty and her longtime partner Colleen Wing turn super-villain bounty hunters! 9. KA-ZAR First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #10 (1965) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Not just your average primo primitive, Ka-Zar mixes the scintillating savagery of his current environment with the cool wit of his British roots. Whether cavorting with his sexy consort, Shanna the She-Devil, or riding a dinosaur to victory over those looking to exploit his adopted home, Kevin Plunder provides the Savage Land with style." – Annihilator882 Where He's Headed Next: The Lord of the Savage Land makes his presence felt in SECRET INVASION, beginning with NEW AVENGERS #41 where he teams up with Spider-Man! Spotlight Comic: X-MEN v1 #10—Ka-Zar introduces the X-Men to the perils of the Savage Land! 8. SHANG-CHI First Appearance: SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15 (1973) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Not only does Shang-Chi not need any super powers to hold his own in just about any situation, he doesn't need a weapon—his hands are his weapons. Working past a troubled past and a father who personifies evil, Shang has emerged as a driven force for good. He constantly walks the razor thin line between the strict moral code he hopes will redeem the legacy of evil he wishes to divorce himself from and the violence bubbling just beneath the surface of his seemingly calm exterior. And did I mention he can beat the crap out of people with his bare hands?" – Annihilator882 Where He's Headed Next: Shang-Chi has been off the grid since the aftermath of "World War Hulk" and dissolution of the Heroes For Hire, but the Master of Kung Fu and his deadly hands could reappear any time. Spotlight Comic: HEROES FOR HIRE v2 #6—Shang-Chi and the other Heroes for Hire take on an illegal arms ring! 7. UNION JACK First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA v1 #253 (1981) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "More than simply Britain's answer to Captain America, Union Jack has become a symbol of Britain's strength and will, proof that a single man can make a difference. The mantle and costume have been passed down over the years, but whether he's battling vampires such as Baron Blood, fighting alongside the Invaders or foiling terrorist threats, Union Jack always protects the British people." – Secret Cabal member Agent M Where He's Headed Next: Union Jack reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones as the Secret Invasion hits England in CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13. Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA v4 #18—When Captain America comes to London, Union Jack comes to his aid against the forces of the Red Skull! 6. CAPTAIN AMERICA (Bucky Barnes) First Appearance: CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Sure he's got a bionic arm that can attack on its own, but James 'Bucky' Barnes is on this list for reasons far beyond that. As shown in the recent run of CAPTAIN AMERICA, the character no one thought should be revived has already proven he is an integral part of the Marvel U by picking up the mantle from his slain partner and becoming Captain America. The sidekick no longer, this black-ops soldier is now learning what it means to be the Sentinel of Liberty, and the power and responsibility that comes with that title!" – RunawayJ Where He's Headed Next: The former Bucky has his hands full with the Red Skull and his team of baddies each month in CAPTAIN AMERICA. Spotlight Comic: CAPTAIN AMERICA v4 #26—In the aftermath of Steve Rogers' death, the Winter Soldier must pick up the pieces and forge ahead! 5. THE BLACK WIDOW First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 (1964) Learn More About Her… here Why She Makes The List: "Natasha Romanoff has broken rules and hearts across every continent. Spy-turned-hero, this sultry and sleek siren has woven a web around the hearts of many men in her time to get the information she needs, willing to sting if necessary to make sure her mission in accomplished. Hand-picked by Tony Stark to be among the elite, she proves that you don't need powers to be considered MIGHTY!" – RunawayJ Where She's Headed Next: A key member of the team featured monthly in MIGHTY AVENGERS, all of the Black Widow's skills will come into play as the intrigue thickens in SECRET INVASION. Spotlight Comic: BLACK WIDOW #1—Natasha must contend with a new claimant to the name of Black Widow who wants to replace her, dead or alive! 4. ELEKTRA First Appearance: DAREDEVIL v1 #168 (1981) Learn More About Her… here Why She Makes The List: "Elektra was one of the first female characters in comics to really hammer the point home that ass kicking is an equal opportunity proposition between the genders. Unquestionably beautiful, Elektra's looks can be deceiving as she's without a doubt one of the most ruthless, relentless and lethal characters in all the Marvel Universe. Her romance with Daredevil gives her character another layer, but Elektra has never been just somebody's girlfriend—she was a bad girl before being a bad girl was cool." – Annihilator882 Where She's Headed Next: Currently M.I.A. and known to have been replaced by a Skrull at some point in the past, there's no telling if Elektra will pop up anywhere ever again. Spotlight Comic: DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1—Two lives change forever when young Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios meet for the very first time! 3. THE PUNISHER First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129 (1974) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Frank Castle is the quintessential man pushed over the edge. His family murdered after witnessing a mafia slaying, Castle has since dedicated to his life to eradicating criminal scum at every turn. Luckily for Castle, his years of training as a Marine, Navy SeAL and special forces soldier supreme have honed his skills as a killing machine to their zenith. Whether he's blowing the crap outta mobsters or putting supervillains in traction, our man Frank rules...plus he has one of the most badass costumes in comics." - Agent M Where He's Headed Next: Frank Castle has been contending—and will continue over the next few months to contend—with his most dangerous rival, the deranged Jigsaw, in PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL. Spotlight Comic: PUNISHER VS. BULLSEYE #1—Two of the most violent men in the Marvel Universe clash no-holds-barred as the Punisher and Bullseye cross swords (and guns and knives)! 2. NICK FURY First Appearance: SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS #1 (1963) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Spies? They're a dime a dozen. Hell, it's not that hard to find super-spies with their 007-esque gadgets and style. But rest assured there's only ONE Nick Fury (plus, ya know, some sweet Life Model Decoy robotic versions, but never you mind those). He's written the book on soldiering and spying in the Marvel Universe, having led the Howling Commandos during WWII and acted as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. for many years. Cool, calculating, infinitely dangerous and just as smart, there's nary a problem Nick Fury can't find—or shoot—his way around. As a further testament to Fury's awesomeness, even David Hasselhoff (in the campy 1998 "Nick Fury: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D." flick) couldn't sully Fury's badass, eye-patched image." - Agent M Where He's Headed Next: He has been gathering an all-new team of Howling Commandos in MIGHTY AVENGERS, but Fury looks to figure into SECRET INVASION in a major way. Spotlight Comic: STRANGE TALES #138—Nick Fury faces overwhelming odds as he goes up against the hordes of Hydra! 1. RONIN (Clint Barton) First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #57 (1964) Learn More About Him… here Why He Makes The List: "Trained by Captain America himself, Clint Barton has been a staple of the Avengers—even starting his own branch—since the team's first line-up change. Although he went through his own period of thinking one needs powers to be a hero, he soon learned what part of him has known since his origin: It's not the powers that make the heroes, it's the person inside. And if that's not enough, as he told Cap, if the fate of the universe is at stake 'in this world, you just gotta make your own luck!' Regardless of his costume or identity, Clint Barton is the go-to man to get things done!" – RunawayJ Where He's Headed Next: Regularly featured in the pages of NEW AVENGERS where he's contending with a budding relationship between himself and Echo, Clint has seen a monkey wrench thrown into that romance—and his life—with his thought-dead wife Mockingbird apparently back in SECRET INVASION. Spotlight Comic: TALES OF SUSPENSE #57—Armed with only his bow and arrow, Hawkeye the Marksman makes his dashing debut against Iron Man!

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