Over the long and colorful history of comic books, superhero sidekicks have been almost as ubiquitous as costumes. Once mere stand-ins for the audience and a sounding board for the hero, some sidekicks have even inherited their mentor’s super alter ego. Here are our choices for the six top sidekicks in comics today.
As the first Robin, Dick Grayson brought some sunshine and a carefree attitude to the brooding Batman. Eventually graduating from college and leaving Bruce Wayne behind, Dick established himself as Nightwing and has even led his own team in the Teen Titans. So important has Dick been in DC Comics history that editorial plans to kill him off a few years ago was met with violent protests from DC fanboys and fangirls.
When Captain America was reintroduced into the Marvel Universe of the 1960s, one character left supposedly dead in his past was his partner, Bucky. James Bartholomew “Bucky” Barnes was killed off right before Steve Rogers was frozen for a few decades. Thanks to writer Ed Brubaker, Bucky was revealed to have been rescued and brainwashed by the Soviet Union and trained to be an elite assassin during the Cold War. Brought back to the good guys by Cap, Bucky even spent a few years as Captain America when Roger was “killed” in the mid-2000s and will undoubtedly be front and center for 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier where he will be played by Sebastian Stan.
The one and only sidekick that the Joker could ever have is also head-over-heels in love with him. Created for Batman: The Animated Series by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, Arkham Asylum psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel was determined to “cure” the clown of his insanity. Instead, Joker toyed with her emotions and drove her mad. Adopting a new psychotic clown persona, Harley has since shown total devotion to “Mister J” even though he hardly gives her a second thought. Harley has also teamed up on occasion with Poison Ivy.
It’s tough enough being sidekick to one hero, imagine what it’s like to be the trusted partner to more than one. Rick Jones’ carelessness directly resulted in Dr. Bruce Banner’s accident that turned him into the Hulk. To atone for it, Rick acted as the Hulk’s sidekick, calming the monster down when his rage would be too much. He has also served as partner to other heroes such as Captain America, two different Captain Marvels, and even the Spaceknight known as Rom.
The first African-American superhero in comics history, Sam Wilson is also famous for fighting side-by-side with Captain America for most of the 1970s. Able to see through the eyes of his pet, Redwing, as well as other birds, Wilson’s equipment gives him high-speed flight as well as other tech-based abilities. The Falcon will have a prominent role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will be played by Anthony Mackie.
At only 10½ years old, Mindy McCready is the youngest in this list, but that doesn’t make her any less effective than her elders though. Trained from a young age by her dad Damon a.k.a. Big Daddy, Hit-Girl (unforgettably played on film by Chloe Grace Moretz) is a master of several weapons and fighting techniques. Initially serving as Big Daddy’s sidekick, Mindy eventually takes on Kick-Ass as her own sidekick, training him and teaching him how to hunt criminals.
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