Sons of Ireland: Top 5 Irish Superheroes

Irish Heroes Getting The Job Done

It’s March, and that means an important holiday is around the corner: my birthday! However, one holiday celebrated by more people is St. Patrick’s Day. A day to celebrate Irish culture, literature, and more. Some choose to celebrate it a more…obnoxious way. We at Word of the Nerd would like to celebrate this date by honoring the Irish lads and colleens in comics. So, here we have a top five Irish heroes in comics…and one dishonorable mention.

Shamrock - Top 5 Irish Superheroes

Dishonorable Mention: Shamrock – A Walking Stereotype

While a certain notable member of the X-Men will show up on this list later, we start with our dishonorable mention. Molly Fitzgerald first appeared in Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #1. This colleen from Dunshaughlin was inhabited by the spirits of those killed during the “Troubles” and other Irish conflicts. These spirits, however, gave her the power of luck. Predating upcoming movie star Domino, Shamrock could alter luck to give herself a good outcome, and her enemies bad luck. With this rather “meh” power and being a bit of an Irish stereotype, she was not a fan favorite. She later retired and became a hairdresser and bar owner.

Kyle Rayner - Top 5 Irish Superheroes
Kyle Rayner

5. Kyle Rayner – It’s Not Easy Being Green

Kyle Rayner is a fan favorite Green Lantern. However, he’s at the bottom of this top five because he’s only half Irish. His father, a secret agent, was Mexican American. His mother, however, was Irish, and Kyle takes his Irish heritage seriously. Raised only by his mother, Kyle considered himself of Irish descent through-and-through. Plus it doesn’t hurt that he wears a green uniform and slings green energy from his power ring. By the way, some interesting history for you. Soldiers from Ireland took part in the Mexican-American War, on Mexico’s side. This led to a major cultural exchange between Ireland and Mexico that persists to this day. 

Hitman - Top 5 Irish Superheroes

4. Hitman – Irishman with Deadly Aim and Dark Humor

Created as a spinoff from a lesser DC Comics event and brought to life by Garth Ennis, Hitman is deadly and hilarious. A former soldier turned hitman, Tommy Monaghan was bitten by an alien parasite. This activated his metagene, giving him x-ray vision and telepathy. Perhaps the least known character on the list, Tommy is known for his dark humor and his “touch of the old ultraviolence.” After all, this is a Garth Ennis creation. Ennis himself is Northern Irish, making Hitman one of the few Irish characters in mainstream comics made by an Irishman. However, Hitman has not been seen commonly seen since the ’90s, as his brand of shock humor and violence fell out of favor. He has made appearances here and there, though, even teaming up with fellow ’90s icon, Lobo.

Daredevil - Top 5 Irish Superheroes

3. Daredevil – Irish Defender of Hell’s Kitchen

Matt Murdock is a good lad of Irish descent making his neighborhood proud. This is due to his being a champion of justice, both as a lawyer and as Daredevil. It only makes sense that that neighborhood should be Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen, a rough-and-tumble (at least in the comics) section of Manhattan, was once the seat of the Irish mob. It was Frank Miller, also of Irish descent, who brought Matt’s Catholicism and roots more to the forefront in his legendary run. Matt’s Catholic faith and guilt have been a driving force for the character ever since. However, that guilt helps drive him in his pursuit of justice. Plus he treats his mother like a saint. He has to—she’s literally a nun. 

Top 5 Irish Superheroes - Top 5 Irish Superheroes

2. Banshee – A Mutant from the Old Country

This list would be remiss without a mention of this guy. This son of Ireland known for his supersonic abilities is sometimes a walking stereotype, but he was of the legendary “New Class” of X-Men. While his original tenure was short, he was present at several important moments in X-Men history, such as Jean Grey becoming Phoenix. He also fell in love with Dr. Moira McTaggert, Charles Xavier’s ex, and stayed with her after his powers became inactive due to injury. He’s also known to go up against his cousin, the notorious criminal Black Tom Cassidy. His daughter currently serves as Banshee, as he is recovering from being one of Apocolypse’s horsemen…long story.

Top 5 Irish Superheroes - CAPTAIN AMERICA
Captain America

1. Captain America – Child of Immigrants, Keeper of the Dream

My fellow “Kid from Brooklyn” tops the list. The son of Irish immigrants, Captain America is the keeper of the American Dream for all people. An exemplar of what America should be, Cap is proud of his family’s roots, even if they aren’t a major part of his character. However, the scene that puts him on the top of this list brings them to the forefront. A comic a few years ago had Cap going after deranged super-soldier Nuke, who was targeting immigrants. Pinned down by the madman, Cap revealed his own immigrant roots in an attempt to calm the madman, who hero-worships Captain America. In this day and age, with politicians and pundits railing against immigrants, it is nice to see a major hero acknowledge his own immigrant past and reminding us that ALL Americans have similar roots. 

 There you are, several heroes to celebrate as you go about on St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish have given so much to American culture, so it’s no surprise that they would be represented among some of our greatest heroes.

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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

Contact him at danielk@wordofthenerdonline.com