It's never easy to create new characters these days, especially ones that are wholeheartedly accepted by the fans. Oftentimes, attempts to push a new breakout star will lead to them falling by the wayside, as recently demonstrated by DC's New Age of Heroes line where the last series standing - The Terrifics - is the only one that prominently features pre-established characters.
Despite these shortcomings, new characters here and there have been able to win the hearts of many over the last twenty years. Whether they originally appeared in the comics, an animated series, or a live-action television show the best characters of this century all appear to have the one thing in common: breaking the mould.
Too many characters - heroes and villains alike - these days feel like cheap copies of the original, rehashing motives or struggles that don't fully resonate with the readership anymore. Whether it is due to their ethnic background, sexual orientation, personal struggles, or just the questions they ask, these characters are able to connect with the modern audience and the ever-evolving world that they inhabit.