The top Marvel Comics character debuts – 2020 and 2021

Newsarama recently highlighted the best Marvel Comics characters to debut in each of the six decades of the Marvel Universe, year by year. Now that we’re into the second year of the ’20s, we’re adding to our list with a look at the best characters of the decade so far, one per year.

Though there are only two characters on this list so far (along with a whole host of runners-up), they show that the House of Ideas is still cranking out new creations that are earning their place in the Marvel Universe.

And after you look into the best characters of the ’20s so far, check out the best Marvel Comics characters to debut in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s.

2020: Pogg Ur-Pogg

Pogg Ur-Pogg

Pogg Ur-Pogg (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

First Appearance: (opens in new tab)X of Swords: Stasis #1 (opens in new tab)

Recommended Reading: X of Swords (opens in new tab)

The first X-Men crossover of the Krakoa era introduced a whole host of new characters, including most of the roster of the Swordbearers of Arakko, and a whole new crop of Horsemen of Apocalypse. But among the new introductions, one character, in particular, stood out to fans – partially because the enigmatic Arakko mutant known as Pogg Ur-Pogg towers above most of his countrymen and their enemies, the X-Men.

X of Swords: Stasis #1 cover

X of Swords: Stasis #1 cover (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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‘X of Swords’ was predicated on a series of contests between the mutants of Krakoa and their cousins from the island of Arakko, meant to determine who would be allowed passage through the Otherworld. While most of the combatants carried actual swords, Pogg Ur-Pogg, who was depicted as a giant, four-armed crocodile monster carrying a scimitar – though he was in fact a much smaller mutant hiding inside the body of the crocodile monster, which functioned as a ‘sword’ itself.

Though Pogg Ur-Pogg hasn’t had the ongoing presence that characters like Isca the Unbeaten and Bei the Blood have had since the crossover, he quickly became a favorite among fans both for his zany, monstrous design and the kooky concept it hides, as well as his almost sing-song name, which has become something of a meme among X-Men fans.

Didn’t Make the Cut: Isca the Unbeaten, White Sword of the Ivory Spire, Bei the Blood Moon, Redroot the Forest

2021: Gimmick


Gimmick (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

First Appearance: Marvel’s Voices #1 (opens in new tab)

Recommended Reading: Children of the Atom (opens in new tab)

X-Men spin-off Children of the Atom by writer Vita Ayala and artist Bernard Chang introduced a whole team of new characters with powers and costumes inspired by established mutant heroes, with the twist that the main characters believed themselves to be mutants whose powers never manifested due to the Scarlet Witch’s “No more mutants” spell. 

Marvel's Voices #1 excerpt

Marvel’s Voices #1 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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And though this didn’t turn out to be the case for most of them, team leader Carmen Cruz/Gimmick, a tech-genius with a brilliant creative streak who designed all the weapons and costumes used by her teammates finds out that she is indeed a mutant by the series’ end. Weirdly enough though, her mutant power hasn’t been fully revealed – her genius intellect is an inborn human quality, while her mutant ability seems to involve shapeshifting.

But more than that, by the end of Children of the Atom, Gimmick is established as a hero in her own right, and the heart-and-soul of her group of friends – and one of the newest mutants to make the trip to Krakoa for the Hellfire Gala. So far, we’re waiting to get to know Gimmick a bit better, but right now there are nothing but possibilities for the young mutant.

PS – there’s a slight technicality in Gimmick’s 2021 debut. She initially appeared in a single panel of Marvel’s Voices #1 in her civilian disguise, along with the other members of the Children of the Atom. However, the characters were totally unidentified and unnamed – so we’re counting her first full appearance as 2021’s Children of the Atom #1, in the mighty Marvel tradition of making our own rules!

Didn’t make the cut: Tammuz, Aaron Fischer, Somnus, Jacks Chopra, Hunter’s Moon

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