There were several publishing companies with talented authors and illustrators in addition to Marvel and DC comics. After working for these more compact but active production companies, some of them later joined the bigwigs in the comic industry. Top Cow Production, a collaborator with Image Comics, was one such company.
Marc Silvestri started it in 1992, and artists like Turner and David Finch, who eventually worked for DC and Marvel, were there. We have amazing comic book series from Top Cow productions including Cyberforce, Darkness, and blockbusters like Witchblade.
Because the plots were so compelling, crossovers with Marvel and DC occurred. Yes, you did hear me correctly, and not just once, but several times. There were a tonne of fascinating characters with awesome abilities and aesthetics that will keep your attention for a while. Therefore, we will talk about the top 10 Top Cow characters with intriguing backstories and captivating abilities in today’s video.
Jackie Estacado is a character from the comic book series “The Darkness” and the wielder of Darkness, which is shown as an evil force with a long history that seeks to despise humanity. Jackie was a contract killer who first appeared in the first issue of the comics’ first volume. She was born on October 29, 1981. When Jackie was six years old, the mafia don Frankie Franchetti recruited him.
Jackie’s mother passed away shortly after giving birth to him. Jackie had good moral ideals taught in him by Butcher Joyce despite being exposed to a violent and negative world. He reached adulthood relatively young, losing his virginity to a female officer at the age of 14, and began living a life filled with sex and violence. Jackie heard voices from the entity Darkness on the eve of his 21st birthday pleading with him to be awakened so that he may have everything he desired. Jackie agreed to the proposition and gave Darkness permission to manifest him.
Even though he was able to manage his profession more easily thanks to this new power, he soon began making more enemies. He soon realised he could use this new power for good and decided to quit the mafia, which quickly brought him into a clash with his adoptive uncle, Don Frankie. Frankie kidnapped a childhood friend of Jackie named Jenny, killed her, and sent Jackie a video tape of it.
Jackie soon seeks out a plan for revenge and calls out Frankie’s entire mob to a warehouse that was spiked with gasoline. When the team and Frankie arrived, he managed to burn down the entire place, which burnt him alive as well. Jackie wandered in Hell for two days, after which he was allowed to exit Hell by Tom Judge, while the Darkness constructed his entire body from his burnt remains, which was just his lower jaw.
Being the host of Darkness, Jackie had unique powers like flight, healing, and night vision. He could summon a horde or even an army of darklings which he could control telepathically. With absolute strength and speed, he possessed the ‘darkness armor’ which could protect him from any blow and shapeshift to become lethal weapons at his beck and call. Even without the aid of Darkness, Jackie was an excellent marksman and skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
The next character on our list is the latest synthetic humanoid from the Aphrodite series, Aphrodite IX. She was a gorgeous girl in appearance and was meant to perform undercover operations of infiltrations and assassinations. Aphrodite IX made her first appearance in ‘Wizard Tomb Raider and Top Cow Universe Special’ issue 1, published in 2000. Created by David Finch and David Wohl, this character is an artificial killing machine whose synthetic brain can adapt itself like an organic human brain and does not need traditional programming.
After every combat or mission, her brain is purged, leaving no memories of what happened or what she did. Eventually, she becomes aware that she is a weapon, and she hates it. She grows distaste for her work and starts experiencing desires and dreams like a human. In her dreams, she saw glimpses of her past where she murdered many without remorse.
All these persuaded her to seek more answers, after which she discovered a matriarchal society of similar cyborgs whose objective was to overthrow the present government. They informed her that it was her destiny to be their leader, but she refused and left to lead her life on her own terms. She also discovers that her real name was April which was given to her by her creator and adoptive father Dr.Mane whom she had previously killed.
Being a cyborg, Aphrodite IX possesses superhuman strength and endurance. She can resist 1.25 megatons worth of explosions without showing any damage and can free fall from skyscrapers at ease. Even if she does experience a fatal injury, her cybernetic enhancements can heal her quickly.
She can shapeshift and change her appearance at her will. It is noted that she can release artificial pheromones, which can cause anyone to get attracted to her. She is an excellent martial artist and a skilled markswoman. Being a cyborg, she has a computer-equivalent intellect and can scan opponents to learn about them. Her stealth tech can make her invisible and undetectable to most high-tech scanners.
Next on our list is Sara Pezzini, who was more like a traditional hero in tights and a cape. A version of her debuted in Cyblade/ Shi issue 1- ‘Battle for Independents.’ This version of Sara Pezzini was ultimately discarded, and Sara Pezzini was reanimated in Witchblade issue 1. Created by Marc Silvestri, Michael Turner, Davi Wohl, and Brain Haberlin, Sara was born in November 1970 and grew up as a homicide detective for the NYPD.
Her father was also in the police department before getting shot and killed during duty, while her mother’s name was not revealed. During that period, the Witchblade, a source of great power, was owned by a man named Kenneth Irons. Kenneth held an auction for the Witchblade to see who could bid for it and try to gain control over it.
Sara and her partner, Michael Lee, went to the auction as undercover cops, but Michael was captured and beaten badly. Just as Michael was about to get shot, Sara jumped before him and got hit by the bullet. She was dying on the ground when the Witchblade decided to make her its new bearer, saving her from death and healing her back to normal.
Sara Pezzini, before wielding the Witchblade, was an excellent hand-to-hand combatant and a good detective, but with the powers of the Witchblade, her own powers and abilities are only restricted to her imagination. She possesses super-human strength, enhanced vision, flight, energy blasts, and quick healing abilities. She can cling onto walls and fly with the aid of wings provided by the powers of the Witchblade. She can create high-intensity energy blasts and can even reanimate dead bodies.
The next character on our list is a Native American descendant from the ancient Iroquois Nation of North America called Robert Berresford, aka Ripclaw. Created by Marc Silvestri, Ripclaw made his first appearance in CyberForce issue 1, published in October 1992. Little is known about Robert’s past except for the day he was born, which was the 1st of April, 1969, and that he is a member of the Cyberforce.
During his teenage days, he started showing signs of mutations which gave rise to an array of questions in his mind. He finally confronted his father and left home, hoping to get answers for his unusual traits and true identity. He eventually ended up on an Apache and got seriously injured after stumbling into a fight. The local Shaman took him and explained to him about his past. He conducted a ceremony where Robert met the spirits of his ancestors and learned that his true name is Robert Bearclaw and not Robert Berresford.
The spirits told him that he was not just a mere human being but a warrior whose destiny was to bring back the glory of the Indian people. Post ceremony, the Shaman marked him with his blood and war paint which symbolized the pain and truth of his spiritual identity. Robert was raised and trained by the Shaman and soon developed animalistic attributes such as claws and teeth like a bear. His physical attributes were later modified by Cyberdata, removing his hands and replacing them with cybernetic enhancements.
Robert’s claws are the most dangerous weapons, which can transform into long ones, as much as 12 inches. He possesses enhanced strength, durability, vision, hearing, and smell. In addition, he could enter the astral realm of his choice and had quick healing abilities. The cybernetic enhancements which Cyberdata provided became so much a part of him that he could manipulate them to become claws just like his real hands. Apart from these, he could get psychic impressions from what he considered to be the spirits.
Created by Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, and Garth Ennis, The Angelus is a cosmic entity or a primal force that is equal to and opposite to ‘The Darkness’.The Angelus and The Darkness together comprise the 13 Artifacts mentioned in the ‘The Darkness’ comic series. Making its first appearance in ‘The Darkness’ issue 2, Angelus is shown to be establishing a symbiotic relationship with its host, depriving it of any free will of its own.
Although not much is known about the age of this cosmic entity, it is stated that The Angelus and The Darkness have been fighting and opposing each other since the beginning of time. Since it was a force of light and order ‘ it sought to destroy anything dark and chaotic.
However, for once, there was a truce between the two equal and opposite forces, and they gave birth to a child later known as the Witchblade artifact representing the eternal balance between Angelus and Darkness. In modern times when Jackie Estacado became the wielder of The Darkness entity, she found herself at odds with him. Jackie defeated Angelus and left it hostless for quite some time before bonding with Lauren Franchetti.
The Angelus possesses God-like powers even under darker conditions. She is ferocious as the blood-thirsty Kali yet as beautiful as Morningstar. She has the power of holy light and can project powerful light beams from her hands or channel it through her weapons.
She is immortal and impervious to mortal weapons. She can heal from any wound and also possesses the power of flight. Her pyrokinetic powers enable her to breathe and manipulate fire. With such catastrophic abilities, she also possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and teleportation. Angelus can use magic to summon or create servants to carry out her orders and communicate with her sentient beings via telepathy.
Carin Taylor going by the name Velocity is one of the main characters from the ‘Cyberforce’ comic series. Created by Marc Silvestri, the character first appeared in ‘Cyberforce’ issue 1, published in October 1992. Like the other members of the Cyberforce, she was also cybernetically enhanced by Cyberdata, a global corporation with the objective of controlling the work. Velocity was the younger sister of Cassandra Lane, aka Ballistic.
She had a rough childhood living with her alcoholic and abusive father, who had left her mother and would often beat her up. One night her stepfather was beating her mother when she managed to run to the nearest police station at superhuman speed, which was also the first time she experienced her powers. However, upon returning, she found out that her father had been killed during her absence by Cassandra.
After that, Carin spent several years in an orphanage before being chosen by Mother-May-I to be a Special Hazardous Operation Cyborg, also abbreviated as S.H.O.C. for Cyberdata. There she was cybernetically enhanced and trained in combat. At 16, she managed to escape Cyberdata with the help of CyberForce and eventually joined the team to bring down Cyberdata. After taking down Cyberdata things were not solved as they were all infected by the Doomsday virus and needed its cure.
Velocity going by the name runs at a tremendously high speed, sustaining Mach 1. Although her upper limit to not yet known, she is believed to cross the speed of sound at ground level.
Ian Nottingham was a British and American descendant and the only man who successfully wielded the Witchblade. Created by Davi Wohl and Michael Turner, the character first appeared in Witchblade issue 1, published in November 1995. He was formerly a Captain of the Special Airs Service for the MI5 but later made contact with Kenneth Irons and became an assassin for the Russian Mafia.
Unlike Jackie Estacado, Ian was highly indebted to both Yakuza and Kenneth Irons and was even considered to be a part of the Yakuza family. Despite holding a high rank in the Yakuza, he preferred being a freelancer, working for whoever he wished to.
Ian volunteered for a super-secret government testing under Project Odin, where his adult DNA was fused with some strange unknown element. Due to these enhancements, he could bond with the Witchblade, which gave him a wide array of powers. He, however, lost the Witchblade in a battle with Pezzini, which gave him serious injuries. He later acquired the Excalibur, which gave him a new set of powers and abilities.
Ian could summon mystical powers using which he siphoned powers from both The Witchblade and The Darkness. Along with this Ian possessed super human speed with which he could catch bullets easily. He is an excellent close combat fighter owing to his years of training. He is shown even to oppose The Witchblade with his experience and superhuman strength. Amongst notable weapons, Ian wielded the Blood Sword, which was one of the 13 artifacts. The sword could kill anything and also give him energy projections. The sword’s might is unparalleled, and it was used to kill the immortal, Angelus.
The next character on our list is a cybernetically enhanced mutant who could absorb and release ambient solar energy from his body. Created by Marc Silvestri, Heatwave made his first comic book appearance in Cyberforce issue 1, published in October 1992. Heatwave known as Dylan Cruise had a tragic past. When his powers began to manifest, he could not control them and killed his own brother in an incident, which had a devastating effect on him and his family. He left home, joined a naval training school, and later became one of the most decorated soldiers in the SEAL team.
He got married and had a daughter, but another tragedy took place before things could get better. His daughter was killed during a terrorist attack which ruined his marriage and also his performance in the Navy. Following all these, he got seriously injured during a high-risk operation when the evil global corporation, Cyberdata, showed up.
Cyberdata promised to build him an armor to control his powers but instead cybernetically modified him and placed a brain box on his head to control him as S.H.O.C for executing the purposes. Dylan’s aggression began increasing drastically, which was noticed by Doctor Corben, who managed to remove the brain box and show him the errors of his ways. Following this, he teamed up with Corben along with Stryker and Cyblade and formed the Cyberforce.
Dylan Cruise, aka Heatwave, could absorb and retain ambient solar energy and after Cyberdata redesigned him he could channel this energy to release a forced beam of superheated subatomic particles called plasma. This plasma could be used both as a weapon and as means to obtain self-propelled flight. Heatwave already had this power but the suit and the cybernetic enhancements helped him get control over it. The plasma, if left unchecked, could harm others as well as consume his body, and the suit regulated this flaw of it.
Magdalena first appeared in Witchblade issue 62 and was the creation of Brain Holguin and Eric Basaldua. She was believed to be the wife of Jesus, who gave birth to a daughter named Sarah. After this, the holy lineage of the Magdalena, a royal bloodline, kept passing with the sole intention of protecting the Catholic Church. Magdalena could see the human heart and guide people to change their wrong ways and redeem their sins. There is only one Magdalena in one generation who stood up against the world’s evils.
Since the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church served as her employer whose duty was to raise her and prepare her to take hold of her destiny and purpose. Owing to the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church Magdalena was either used as a pawn to the evil ambitions of the Cardinals or as an assassin to get rid of enemies of the Church or supernatural entities whom the Church believed ungodly. Over the period of time, many Magdalenas were murdered by the Church itself after she realized how she had been used to serve the motives of the Church.
Magdalena had the Spear of Destiny which allowed her to manifest the holy light from her own holy blood. The light forces her targets to experience their moral weaknesses along with the pain and suffering they have inflicted upon others. The intensity of this depends upon the severity of their sins.
The light could drive someone crazy and even goad them to commit suicide. Out of the very few who survived the wrath of her holy light was Jackie Estacado, the wielder of the Darkness as he was fully at peace with his nature and choices. Magdalena was a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and an excellent swordsman. Her athletic physique, owing to her rigorous training, gave her an edge over her opponents.
She was a skilled acrobat as well. Despite not having superhuman strength or speed or instant healing Magdalena could run at 11 miles per hour, lift 200lbs of weight and heal efficiently all because of her intense training. Along with these, she had the capabilities of being a skilled Markswoman and an efficient lock picker.
Ballistic was born Cassandra Taylor and was the sister of Carin Taylor, aka velocity. The character was created by Marc Silvestri and first appeared in Cyberforce issue 1. That night when Carin discovered her powers and went to report their abusive father to the nearest police station Cassandra killed their father by throwing a comb through his heart.
She learned that she possessed super athleticism and hand-to-eye coordination powers and soon became a successful player on her high school baseball team. However, her ex-boyfriend grew jealous of her success and led a gang of boys to cripple her throwing arm.
They attacked her and successfully executed their motives. Soon Cassandra was approached by Cyberdata, who not only replaced her broken arm with their tech but also brainwashed her using the brain box, finally transforming her into Ballistic. Ballistic became their weapon, and soon the leader of S.H.O.C. Under her leadership, they fought CyberForce on numerous occasions until CyberForce managed to remove her brain box. Upon its removal, she got access to her memories and declined her service to Cyberdata. She did not join Cyberforce but did help them on numerous occasions.
Ballistic’s skill set easily makes her one of the finest Markswoman. Her aim is accurate, and she never seems to miss her targets. After being operated by Cyberdata, her enhanced bionic arm could throw objects to a much further distance with pinpoint accuracy. Ballistic was brilliant in hand-to-eye coordination and superhuman reflex. She was also well trained in hand-to-hand combat, making her one of the best human-cyborg weapons for Cyberdata.