Class of 2016: Rookies to Watch

This week we give the microphone to friend of the site Valiant so he can take us through his 16 top characters introduced last year in comics. Thanks, D!

Hello everyone and welcome to the 2016 rookies to watch list. I put this list together to highlight some of the 1st appearances we had last year. The criteria to be considered for the list is simple, the character has to have debuted in a book released in the year 2016. Then I took into account things such as popularity, current 1st appearance book value, potential for the future and overall impact on the market/community. So without further ado here is my 2016 16 rookies to watch list.

#16 Kid Kree / Mel-Varr (Marvel)

First appearance: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #7

Moon girl has defied all logic in the comic world, steadily pushing forward against all odds to being a widely known and purchased 1st appearance. As moon girls first new antagonist, a Kree, then later ally, Kid Kree is a shoe in to tag along for the ride as moon girl continues to grow and cross over into other mediums. Sales have not been great on this book but as moon girls popularity grows I see Kid Kree having potential for an uptick.

#15 Red Dagger (Marvel)

First appearance: Ms Marvel #12

Red dagger debuted a bit under the radar in what seemed to be a filler issue of ms marvel. In that issue Kamala traveled to Pakistan to visit family where she had a run in with a local hero by the name of Red Dagger (Kareem). Not the most stunning or exciting meeting but it did serve as a solid back story and introduction to the character. I’m sure with the care taken to build him into Kamala’s story that marvel will be revisiting him very soon. His first sells for pretty low with the exception of the 1:25 variants which are good to own at a fair price.

#14 Gabby (Marvel)

First appearance: All New Wolverine #2

Gabby is a genetic creation based off of wolverine like x-23. Her along with fellow (clones?) Zelda and Bellona debuted in all new wolverine #2. While all have potential, Gabby makes the list due to the fact that she becomes the partner of X-23 (wolverine). We all know and love X-23 so being closely related to anything X-23 is a no brainer in my eyes. The first appearance is already doing well with a variant that i can’t see dropping much ever, this is certainly a rookie to watch.

#13 Savage (Valiant)

First appearance: Savage #1

I will be the first to admit I do not know much about Savage and he seems like a rehash of Turok. But I also have to admit like it or not his debut book made some noise in the comic world. The first book to break up the marvel fest the list has been so far, Valiant comics may be on to something with this guy. The reemergence of Jurassic World has shown us that maybe dinosaur battles may be overdue for some love. Not everyday do we have a completely new character debuting in his own book on his own merits so this is a rarity in comics today with everything being a tie-in, cameo or cross over. Also Valiant is soon to throw its hat in the cinematic world, that with the over saturation of traditional super heroes on-screen, maybe savage can fill a gap with something different. So many variants to choose from on this book but the regular cover is not hard to grab.

#12 Lord Drakkon (Boom)

First appearance: Power Rangers #9

I grew up in the era of the Power Rangers. Since its creation Power Rangers has had something to offer every generation. This is why Lord Drakkon is important. If you have watched any season of Power Rangers you have seen the redemption story of an “evil” ranger turned good. Also you probably know of Tommy, the green Ranger still one of the most beloved Rangers to ever exist. Well take that, take away the redemption story and you get Lord Drakkon who is essentially a pure evil version of the best Ranger to ever do it. Power Rangers has a fan base who may not be comic readers at heart but the books do seem to get approval of the fans and is very liked. Already adapted into the Power Rangers mobile game Lord Drakkon seems to be a rising star in the Power Rangers mythos and his first appearance may be sought after as I don’t see Power Rangers dying any time soon. The book has some variants with the 2nd print being my favorite by far and fits in nice with the most popular helmet variants done for Power Rangers.

#11 Beta (Image)

First appearance: The Walking Dead # 154

I am not a Walking Dead fan, so when a character’s name reaches my ears I know they have caused a stir. Lets face it The Walking Dead is a gold mine in the collecting world and from what I understand Beta is a major player in the Whisperer Wars story arc. Negan’s impact on comic books can not be denied and while I don’t expect Negan level excitement, a good TV appearance and some time can solidify Beta’s place in comic history. Definitely a rookie contender for 2016. First appearance book is still pretty cheap.

#10 Fast Track (DC)

First appearance: Flash #3

Here it is, D.C. comics first rookie on the list Meena Dahawn A.K.A. the speedster Fast Track. As much as i complain about Flash comics introducing new speedsters i really do like Fast Track. She is a female speedster hero who seems to have turned villain recently and this is the type of origin story that keeps characters fresh and relevant. I find myself wanting more which is why Fast Track holds the #10 spot on the list. You can pick up copies of this first all over.

#9 New Super man / Kenan Kong (DC)

First appearance: New Super Man #1

Long thought to have first appeared in Batman / Superman #32 Kenan leads the way for a new chinese initiative in DC comics. While this may or may not work Kenan is a major player and front-runner of this movement which makes his role detrimental. While i personally don’t read New Super-Man I can not deny the impact the announcement of his arrival made. Which makes him hold the #9 over some others who may seem more qualified. His first appearance should be cover price anywhere comics are sold.

#8 Adam Osidis (Image)

First appearance : Seven to Eternity #1

You may not have heard of Adam Osidis but I’m sure you have heard of Seven to Eternity. What we have here is the closest thing to Rick Grimes since Alana (Saga….yea I went there). Headlining the genesis of a new image fantasy hit makes him impossible to overlook as a 2016 rookie to watch. This book has so much upward potential with good story, art and a steady fan base. I can see why his first appearance (which has a bunch of other firsts also) has not come down in price since its release. This is a first you should get into your collection.

#7 Nadia Pym / Wasp (Marvel)

First appearance: Marvel FCBD 2016

Nadia Pym is a very complex character whose little known back story with the red room provides an opening for some great comics. Add that together with being a genius, shrinking powers,the daughter of Hank Pym (Ant-Man) and the leader of the team G.I.R.L. Nadia Pym has some serious staying power in the world of marvel. Her first appearance shouldn’t be too hard to find as stacks of Free comic book day books may be sitting in your LCS’s back room or trash can at this very moment.

#6 Gotham Girl (DC)

First appearance: DC Rebirth

Man, do I love Gotham Girl! A new Batman ally who has the ability to increase her powers at the cost of lessening her lifespan. Ties to batman check, ability to fight the best dc has to offer check, easily recognizable costume check. I could see Gotham Girl doing big things in the dc world both in and outside of comics. A Batman / Supergirl mix with a tragic family story makes Gotham Girl easily one to keep an eye on for years to come.

#5 Mara al Ghul / The Demon’s Fist  (DC)

First appearance: Teen Titans 1

With Damian Wayne quickly becoming one of the top bat family members its only right that his rival/cousin makes the list. Mara is already a force to be reckoned with and having a father who is the forgotten son of Ra’s al Ghul gives her the set up for some dynamic stories moving forward. I would be surprised if she is not used in a major way in future Damian centric storylines as well as anything league of assassins related. This one is an easy pick up and such a cool new character for the batman mythos. Her first appearance is alongside the rest of the demons fist and still sells for less than $10. I would also keep an eye out for the foil variant.

#4 Kid Kaiju (Marvel)

First apperance: Totally Awesome Hulk #3

Kid Kaiju brought the monsters back into marvel comics in a big way. Headlining what was one of marvels better events in recent years Monsters Unleashed, he has a lot to bring to the table and even has his own ongoing. I don’t think he will be instant gold but for 2016 1st appearances Kid Kaiju is an important hero who will be in marvel comics for days to come. His first is a 35k print run book (with some ratio variants) that’s getting hotter and harder to find.

#3 Gwenpool (Marvel)

First appearance: Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 (cover) / Howard the Duck #1 (full in comic)

I’m not sure i will ever understand the love for these mash-up characters but, i can not ignore the craze that they cause. Gwenpool already has a cult following that would make even squirrel girl proud and in just 1 years time. One day the fad may die out but Gwenpool shows no signs of stopping so, she is a must have for a rookie pick. The first appearance regular cover can still be had easily but the Ron Lim variant will cost you some serious coin.

#2 Godspeed (DC)

First appearance: Flash Rebirth #1 (one-shot)

When it comes to cool and villainous on a classic level Godspeed has it. I can not stress enough i despise new speedsters. Seems like they are always one-upping the last fastest man but i cant help but like Godspeed. He has all the makings of an instant classic, tragic origin, conflicting normal identity, cool costume, strong enough to best his hero at his own game. With the (re)death of Reverse Flash, August Heart aka Godspeed has a clear lane to speed himself into rogue gallery excellence in no time. His first appearance can be had easily and you should be grabbing them whenever possible.

#1 Riri Williams / Ironheart (Marvel)

First appearance: Invincible Iron Man #7

So here it is Riri Williams the #1 2016 rookie pick. I’m sure many may disagree with this but allow me to help explain. The new legacy hero thing did not go over well with most and i understand as i tend to agree with most of them being underwhelming but, in the case of Riri I think we got the start of something that may actually work. Lets toss aside the fact that she is hitting a diversity trifecta being a young black female but if you have not yet, i encourage you to read her invincible iron man story. While I don’t think it will win as best origin ever, the book is full of heart(lol iron heart) fun and emotion. Not just another thrown together back story forced into a popular book to gain attention, the build up for Riri feels very organic and has the qualities to stand alone apart from the rest of the marvel universe which is a good thing at this time. Unlike some other gender change heroes i think people actually wanted a true female version of iron man. I watched miles morales skyrocket from obscurity and disdain to soon to be a house hold name with his book values following. I think Riri Williams is a lot more likeable than early miles and will be the #1 first appearance to own for 2016 hands down no question. First appearance has a 50k print run with a non ratio variant not hard to find but will cost a bit to own.

Thank you all for checking out my picks for top 16 rookies of 2016! Feel free to comment on who you think belonged here and why or who should at least be an honorable mention. Now i will leave you off with some class awards.

Best Hero: Riri Williams Best Villain: Godspeed
Biggest Hype Letdown: Mosaic and Redtool (tied)
Most unlikely to double cover price: King Spider (Spawn) Lamest Name: Blast-Hands (Power Man and Iron Fist)
Coolest costume: Lord Drakkon Weirdest Character: Itsy Bitsy (Spider-man/Deadpool)

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