Best of Comic TV 2021: The Characters!

No hero flies solo these days. Even shows named after one specific character still need an IT Guy/Man in Chair, a sidekick, a love interest for the sidekick, and either a traditional or found family to lend support, so ensembles can get sprawling in a hurry. Who stood out? Who stole the show from the title character?

Best Male Supporting Character

Honourable Mentions: Tomer Capon and Chace Crawford brought a lot of depth to Frenchie and The Deep on The Boys; Randall Park was a lot of fun to WandaVision; having more of Timothy Dalton’s Chief on Doom Patrol was a big bonus; Owen Wilson was predictably entertaining on Loki.

Yes I heard the “depth to the Deep” thing too, leave it be, let’s keep going…

Bronze: Kevin Alejandro as Daniel Espinosa, Lucifer

When the punching bag begins to break.
Image: Netflix

Detective Daniel Espinosa, “Detective Douche” to his rival Lucifer Morningstar, has long had perhaps the most thankless role on Lucifer. In season one he was practically one of the villains, gaslighting his ex about a cop-involved shooting she’d been taking grief for, but after turning himself around in season two, he’s still been a punching bag for Lucifer and whatever other celestial happened to be in town, never understanding the cosmic intrigues he was wrapped up in.

But when Dan finds out that Lucifer is who he’s always said he is, then meets God, then immediately finds out that his late girlfriend Charlotte Richards was, when they first started hooking up, possessed by God’s wife, the Goddess of Creation, things shift. It’s… a lot. A lot for poor Dan to process, even ignoring the fact that his ex-wife and mother of his child is dating the literal Devil now. And it sends Daniel on a spiral that ends in the spectacular crime farce “Daniel Espinosa: Naked and Afraid,” and Kevin Alejandro threw himself into every twist and turn of the ride. He’s been putting in his dues the whole series, but this was his best season yet, and that’s worth an accolade.

And not a moment too soon. Because the show’s almost over, is what I mean. That’s all.

Silver: Will Forte as “Pubba,” Sweet Tooth

Father, son, and as far as the kid knows, the world’s best plush dog.
Image: Netflix

Richard, later known as “Pubba,” didn’t have an exciting life, until… okay I don’t want to say, that’s a big third act reveal, but suffice to say he ends up fleeing the collapse of society to raise his deer-hybrid son deep in Yellowstone national park. Where most hybrids are greeted with hate and fear, Gus is raised with love and protection, as Pubba has to get tough when poachers or Last Men appear around the fence. Pubba is source of Gus’ greatest gift, his huge and welcoming heart. Forte fills the character with kindness when raising Gus, fearful sternness when the outside world comes calling, and a bittersweet contentment when he and Gus manage a brief reunion.

Will Forte might not be in a lot of Sweet Tooth, but his few episodes are utterly essential, and he glows in each of them.

Gold: Daniel Bruhl as Zemo, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Drinking, dancing, plotting to annihilate all super soldiers, living his best life
Image: Marvel Studios

It feels a little weird to like Zemo this much given all the people he killed last time we saw him, but dang it, it’s nice having the cold, calculating mastermind be on the protagonist’s side for a change. And he’s a delight to watch, as he schemes and plots and points out the truths Sam and Bucky don’t want to face. Plus Zemo’s clearly just having a blast being out of prison, dancing at the club and chilling on his private plane, enjoying free life before he inevitably gets locked up again. Bruhl’s Zemo has long been one of Marvel’s best cinematic villains, and his appearance here only made him better. I’m hoping he turns up again soon.

Best Female Supporting Character

Bronze: Aimee Garcia as Ella Lopez, Lucifer

Not pictured: endless supply of adorable graphic T-shirts
Image: John P. Fleenor/Netflix

Lucifer’s resident forensics expert Ella Lopez has been a ray of sunshine on this show since she swept into the second season premiere with love and hugs for all. But this season saw the adorable Ms. Lopez grapple with inner darkness. Her attraction to bad boys is both revealed and hits a breaking point (I was very wrong in my theory that her new love interest was Saint Peter visiting Earth, just way off on that one). She examines how she reacts to potential death not with concern but curiosity, and begins to wonder if she’s really a good person, or if there’s too much darkness in her. Which leads to emotional scenes of support from Dr. Linda, Amenadiel, and most helpfully, God Himself (not that she knows that’s who she’s talking to, but He wasn’t gonna let her just suffer). She’s put through a real ringer, but her inner light keeps shining.

Gonna miss you, Ms. Lopez.

…What? I didn’t say she was the one who dies, the series ends in a month, I’m gonna miss all of them.

Silver: Toya Turner as Shotgun Mary, Warrior Nun

Ain’t just a cute nickname.
Image: Netflix

Few supporting characters nearly walked away with the whole show quite like Shotgun Mary. Her determination to uncover the truth about the assassination of her probable girlfriend, the previous warrior nun; her sometimes violent rivalry with the more entitled Sister Lilith; the way she carries her outsider status, being the one team member not a full nun; and how she’s the only one able to reach Ava, through nothing but patience and compassion. And shoving her off a cliff a little. And by pointing out that demons exist whether Ava confronts her new destiny or not. And Toya Turner nailed every bit of it.

I liked main character Ava, well I liked her seven out of eight episodes, but nobody kept me invested in Warrior Nun quite like Shotgun Mary. Shotgun Mary gets things done.

Gold: Rachel Skarsten as Alice, Batwoman

Best hope the Lost Girl doesn’t find you.
Image: CW

Alice may have lost her gang and her best friend/key ally Mouse, but she remains nothing to mess with. Alice’s quest to find her sister has a lot of twists, turns, reveals, and betrayals, and while she begins to regain touch with the love and empathy she buried alongside the name “Beth Kane” (for sinister reasons she and we learn this season), her unhinged, vicious, unpredictable nature remains. Don’t underestimate her, don’t turn your back on her, she’s always got another card to play. No matter how powerful you are, no matter how large your criminal empire… cross Alice, something bad’s coming your way.

Alice segued from primary villain to more of an all-purpose loose cannon, who the heroes all hate for various, often dead-mother-related reasons, but they need her help as often as they want to stop her. New Batwoman first wants Alice dead, then wants her in prison, but isn’t stopping Black Mask without her. And Rachel Skarsten hasn’t lost even half a step playing her since taking Silver for Best Villain last year.

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