6 Underrated Pop Culture Heroes

"I can be your hero, baby. I can take away the pain." - Greek Proverb

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes - and the ones that come in the weirder shapes and the smaller sizes are usually ignored and maligned in favor of the flashier, cooler ones. But this isn't right - so many of these heroes that are unjustly derided and mocked by the internet are actually pretty great. It's a shame that they're associated with being worthless at best, irritating jerks at worst - so we've put together this list of 6 that just need some solid re-branding to get their public image in line with reality.

 

1. Cyclops

6 Underrated Pop Culture Heroes

Professor X may be the spiritual leader of the X-Men, but in combat situations, it's Cyclops who calls the shots. Scott Summers is one of the closest allies of Dr. Charles Xavier, and a powerful mutant who is not to be underestimated. His ability is shooting incredibly powerful beams from his eyes, which is why he has to wear that geeky-but-cool visor. Beside his power, he is calm, resourceful, well-trained and possesses sharp leadership skills. So... why does he get all the hate? Well, unfortunately for Scott, Wolverine happened.

Logan quickly established himself as the alpha male of the X-Men through his bad boy image, adamantium claws and nigh-immortality. So, by comparison, since Cyclops lacks Wolverine's Hugh Jackman-ish looks and Steve Blum-y voice, he must be the wuss. And that is so wrong on so many levels. Have you ever wondered how Scott survives all the crazy situations the X-Men have to deal with all the time? Rest assured that without the healing factor, Wolverine would die in every single storyline he ever was included in. Cyclops doesn't have the luxury of running into gunfire because he is just as vulnerable as any human. He had to train his body to its limits and in combat situations he constantly has to look out for his own safety just as much as those of his teammates. Logan is the cheap player who uses God Mode on the easiest difficulty setting. Scott tackles Hard, fair and square like a pro.

 

2. Robin

6 Underrated Pop Culture Heroes

Batman is, perhaps, the most popular hero of our time. He holds his own in a world full of people like Superman and Wonder Woman as a mere human being. And we love him for it. Unfortunately, that love doesn't apply to his trusty ally, Robin.

The two most important Boy Wonders are Dick Grayson (currently known as Nightwing), and Tim Drake. The one thing they have in common is the countless jokes about how worthless and crummy they were as sidekicks. Now that is curious for a number of reasons:

  1. They both learned their skills from Batman, who then treated them as equals. If they were good enough for the Caped Crusader, they should be good enough for us.

  2. All trash talk about Dick Grayson ceased when he quit as Robin and became Nightwing, hinting that all that illogical hate is aimed at the costume alone (ironically, Tim Drake/Joker really hated that Robin suit too in Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker).

  3. Tim Drake is both smarter and stronger than Bruce Wayne was at his age, earning the nickname 'Detective' from Ra's al Ghul (the only other person he calls that is...Batman)

As a matter of fact, Tim Drake just may be the most impressive character in the DC universe. He does everything Batman does and he isn't even old enough to legally purchase alcohol. When Batman was brainwashed by Brainiac, Robin had to keep Gotham safe all on his own despite being roughly 10 years old. By the time Superman showed up to temporarily impersonate Batman, Tim has had been doing the whole crime fighting alone for weeks. He also had to outsmart and take down a bold and potentially homicidal Dark Knight when Scarecrow eliminated Batman's fear. Batman can save Gotham from all his iconic villains, but only Robin can save Gotham from Batman.

 

3. Donatello

6 Underrated Pop Culture Heroes

TMNT fans usually come in 3 varieties. Some favor Leonardo for his role as leader, his code of honor influenced by the bushido, and impressive swordplay. Yet another bunch prefers Raphael for his hot-headed nature and sharp tongue. And the rest can't get enough of Michelangelo and his goofy antics. And somewhere, behind the others, Donatello weeps by himself, surrounded only by his inventions.

I don't know why Don is the least popular of his brothers. Maybe it's because his weapon is a stick, instead of something a little more flashy, like "two swords." Or maybe it's because he is less of a fighter than Leo and Raph, and lacks the rich personality of Mike. But the purple-clad genius still deserves a special place in all of our hearts. His invention skills (including the creation of the Turtle Van and Blimp) have been far more useful to the Turtles than any of Raphael's snarky quips.

Plus, he's the best character in the first TMNT NES game. Makes Rocksteady look like a straight up chump. Where you at now, Raph?!