For a while now, I've endured the slings and arrows thrown at Marvel, saying the characters are whiny and not as heroic as DC characters. And you know what? That's bullshit. It's easy to be a superhero when you're insanely rich, insanely powerful or just don't have any people to worry about at home. Granted, Spider-Man seems to come off whiny when Jeph Loeb has him crying over Captain America or Straczynski has him worrying about his decisions hurting Mary Jane and Aunt May, but there portrayals are an exaggeration of old stories. When Peter complained about not making rent or missing a date, he was making the same complaints we make daily. He wasn't crying just wishing things lightened up a bit.
Just because Marvel heroes deal with more "real world" problems and question whether what they are doing is right doesn't make them less heroic. Being able to do the right thing is something most people don't really think about on a daily basis, but it makes sense for someone who regularly tries to save lives would think about it from time to time. The fact they remain heroes when it would be easier for them to live a normal life just shows their nobility.
I think what really gets to me is that people seem to equate liking Marvel as to appealing to the lowest common denominator, that it's low brow, therefore, open to anyone to like. It makes it seem as though DC is so high-minded and more worthwhile of your time. Like Amazons Attack! or Countdown or Meltzer's Justice League of America.
I was going to sit here for a few hours listing characters who don't follow the DC fans' perception of Marvel heroes, but you know what's better. Read some Marvel books. There are many out there that will blow away all preconceptions, and I will list those.
Zemo: Born Better - I can't stress enough what a good job Fabian Nicieza did on this mini-series. It's like a character study mixed with time travel and mass murder. It doesn't end the way you expect it to and features Tom Grummet's excellent art.
Immortal Iron Fist - Kicks ass.
Punisher (MAX) - Garth Ennis on Punisher is the best work I think he's done. It's violent and provocative, but not as over the top as his Vertigo work, where you are looking for something crazy to happen more than the story to progress.
Thunderbolts - I was fully prepared to hate Warren Ellis on Thunderbolts until he made me cheer on Jack Flag and appreciate how subversive his writing can be.
X-Factor - Peter David's take on Madrox and crew is intriguing, witty and poignant. Each character is fleshed out and thrown into wild situations that keep you coming back every month with anticipation.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man by Peter David - The best depiction of Spider-Man in a good long while.
Annihilation - A space epic with more characterization than many of the characters involved have ever received. Some might say it's Marvel's version of a DC crossover. I say, how can you read Starlord, Quasar or Super Skrull as anything but pure Marvel?
Daredevil - Brubaker has done a brilliant job making his mark on the character, closing out some of Bendis's plotlines while introducing his own. I think what really makes Brubaker's work standout is his ability lay the groundwork for later stories without sacrificing the pace of the current ones.Fantastic Four - McDuffie is blending in the FF's penchant for traveling to far off places and classic superfighting, at the same time providing a fresh take on the classic team. Also check out Waid and Ringo's run for truly fantastic reading.
She-Hulk - The pure joy of the Marvel Universe.
Cable & Deadpool - I don't care what you have read with these characters before, Nicieza develops them into multifaceted people for which there is no mold. This comic is like no other you have read before and it's a shame that people take one look at the title and dismiss it.
Captain America - This just may be my number one. Brubaker takes what would generally be the last issue of a series and makes it a springboard for four stories centering around Cap's friends and enemies and their eventual collision.
Astonishing X-Men - Whedon and Cassaday's run is everything you loved about the X-Men in the 80's, but with Whedon's knack for dialogue replacing Claremont's knack for overexposition.
Nextwave - Insane, and you will love every page of it.
Uncanny X-Men - His first arc reestablished the X-Men's connection to the Shi'ar Empire and now Brubaker is giving us a new version of the Morlocks and a rejuvenated Professor X.
World War Hulk - Everything you expected and there's still two issues left.
Ms. Marvel - Started slow but now has really hit it's stride and is showing Ms. Marvel as a leading hero in the Marvel U.
Avengers: The Initiative - The frontline of the Superhero Registration and you can already tell the system has some kinks to work out. What's interesting about it is Dan Slott shows both the pros and cons of The Initiative, leaving you wondering if it will actually work or if it will eventually fall apart.
Super-villain Team Up: MODOK's 11 - A heist tale with minor super villains being led by a deceiving engine of destruction and how it goes off the rails.
Punisher War Journal - A perfect reintroduction of Punisher into mainstream Marvel. Matt Fraction has placed Punisher into world of super-villains for the first time and let's him go full steam.
Moon Knight - Since his creation, many people have called Moon Knight Marvel's Batman. Charlie Huston has cemented Marc Spector as really an anti-Batman. Moon Knight doesn't solve problems with his brilliant mind, he beats them nearly to death with his fists and loose boards.
Before you decide to spend $2.99 on the latest Countdown tie-in, why not try one of the comics I've listed. I promise you won't be disappointed and will more than likely be trying to find the back issues and trades.
The Marvel Universe is a glorious place and welcomes you.