Superhero Private Eyes: Ranking the Top 5

No One Hides From These Private Eyes

Gemini:Gemineye, someone wants me dead.
Gemineye:That’s what you said.
Gemini:So I called on you.
Gemineye:What can I do?
Both:Learn his name, pick apart the clues.”

“Gemineye” by The Megas

The snow was blowing outside, flakes fat and white as Capitol Hill. The heater was on, but a chill crept in like an assassin. A ringing bell heralded my client. They were bundled like a mummy in scarves and a coat that wouldn’t look out of place on Stonewall Jackson. Gloves, goggles, and a hat hid everything. Feeling cold or staying anonymous? Could be both when you’re hiring a private eye.

The client’s voice was muffled, but their words were clear. They represented a museum showcasing The Amethyst Eye, a jewel the size of a bowling ball and worth a helluva lot more. The night guard found a calling card, claiming to be from a master of disguise called The Phantom Thief. The palooka plans to steal the Eye while disguised as one of our city’s greatest detectives. Figgers I didn’t make the cut, but that’s why the client was here. 

I have to find out who has been replaced and stop The Phantom Thief. I’ll be up against the best of the best, the Top 5 Superhero Private Eyes. Can I crack the case? Let’s find out.

#5 Private Eye: Angel

Series: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel

Angel:You might as well go home, Spike. The Gem of Amara stays with me.”
Spike:Why? Because you’re ‘Angel, Vamp Detective’ now? I’m so scared. What’s next? Vampire Cowboy? Vampire Fireman? Oh, Vampire Ballerina!
Angel:I do like to work with my legs.”

Angel “In The Night” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Most of us private eyes don’t look like Bogart. Some punk with a knife, a bottle, or a gun makes sure’a that. My next suspect has the face of an angel, but there are plenty of stories to the contrary. He’s a killer who’s left scores of victims in his wake. I doubt you can ever really atone for that much carnage. Least Angel’s easy to track. Just follow the blood.

Angel is a vampire who was turned 200 years ago. He rampaged through Europe until he killed a Roma girl. Her family cursed him to regain his soul, forcing him to feel guilt for all he had done. Angel sought atonement by helping a vampire hunter named Buffy, but split town because of romantic drama.

Angel set up shop in Los Angeles and worked as a private eye. He was joined by several monster hunters and opposed the demonic law firm Wolfram and Hart. While not fighting monsters, Angel snooped and performed espionage for clients. The detective trappings slowly became unimportant before disappearing in the last season.

#4 Kamen Rider W

Series: Kamen Rider W, Fuuto P.I.

Philip and Shotaro:Henshin!” [they transform]
Kamen Rider W:All those who make this city cry shall forever hear our call: Now count up your sins!

Kamen Rider W “Two Halves of One Detective” (Season 1, Episode 1)

It’s weird that two guys earned one spot on our list of private eyes, but they’re a double act. Monsters are their specialty and there ain’t much that can stop ‘em once they break out their party trick. Least they don’t run around in a giant robot. This hero’s powers would be perfect for pulling crimes if they’re my mark.

Mysterious items called Gaia Memories have spread through the city of Fuuto. They contain all knowledge on a concept and turn criminals into monstrous Dopants with power over that concept.  A dorky detective named Shotaro investigates crimes committed by Dopants alongside his enigmatic partner, Phillip.

Shotaro and Phillip have purified Gaia Memories that allow them to merge into a superhero called Kamen Rider W (Double). Their transformed state has weapons and powers that destroy Memories while sparing the criminals. On the rare occasion that they capture a Memory without destroying it, Kamen Rider W can purify the Memory to get new powers.

#3 Private Eye: Bigby Wolf

Series: Fables

Bigby: “I can’t help but notice things, Snow. I believe that’s why you hired me as Fabletown’s Sheriff.”


Gonna have to head into enemy territory for this private eye. Anyone with half a brain knows ya steer clear of Fabletown unless ya got no choice. Eyes are on me as I prowl the streets. They know I‘m an outsider. A girl in a red hoodie gives me the goods. I break from the crowd and I’m hunting for the Wolf.

There is a hidden New York district called Fabletown, home to personifications of stories called Fables. A mix of strong personalities, magic, and good old-fashioned violence leads to many seemingly unsolvable crimes. That’s when Bigby Wolf, the Sheriff of Fabletown, comes into play.

Bigby is a gruff detective and brawler who struggles with his instincts. He’s eaten hundreds of people and accepted the Sheriff job to atone for his crimes. Bigby can shapeshift into a giant wolf and call on that heritage to blow gale force winds. Don’t give the Big Bad Wolf a reason to huff and puff or he’ll blow more than your house down.

#2 Jessica Jones

Series: Marvel Comics

Jessica: My greatest weakness? Occasionally, I give a damn.”

Jessica Jones, “A.K.A. Crush Syndrome” (Season 1, Episode 2)

This dame used to be a Name. Never one of the bigwig Avengers, but someone trying to help the little guy. The papers kept quiet about why she quit, but her story is whispered where people think she can’t hear. My heart bleeds for her, but there’s every chance she’s my mark. A barkeep nods as I close in on Jessica Jones. 

Jessica Jones was an aspiring superhero called Jewel. Her life was changed when she fought a villain called The Purple Man, who mind-controlled her into becoming his slave. The Avengers freed her, but her treatment left psychological scars.

Jessica hung up her costume and became a private eye. Her cases specialized in superpowered people. She occasionally helps superheroes if they get involved in her cases, but her cynical and jaded personality pushes them away.

If you want to know more about Jessica Jones, check out her backstory.

#1 Private Eye: Harry Dresden

Series: The Dresden Files

Dresden:My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things are at their darkest, when what goes bump in the night flips on the lights, when there’s no one else to help you, give me a call. I’m in the book.

Storm Front

Spend enough time wandering the night and things change. I ain’t superstitious, but I’ve seen things I can’t explain. This private eye’s got a lotta of rumors attached. Some say he’s Voldemort with a gun and duster. Others mark him as Gandalf played by Clint Eastwood. Could Harry Dresden be The Phantom Thief?

Harry Dresden is a detective and wizard for hire. He consults for police on supernatural crimes and investigates magical threats. Dresden’s cases often escalate to a mix of Die Hard and The Lord of the Rings by the time he’s found the culprit.

Dresden has enough power to carry him through cases. He specializes in fire magic, augmented with soulfire. He later adds wind and ice to his repertoire. Dresden’s greatest strength is pulling stunts too audacious to work, including riding a zombie T-Rex into battle or asking a fae archmage to get him a doughnut. You never know what trick Dresden will pull next. 


I’d run into a dead end and needed to organize the evidence. I returned to the office. The door was unlocked. I’d sealed it like Fort Knox when I left. Pulling out my gun, I burst in. No one was there, but a newspaper sat on my desk. A late-edition, proclaiming that The Amethyst Eye had been stolen. There was a check next to it and a note thanking me for keeping the private eyes busy. 

The Phantom Thief played me for a sap and I’d burned my bridges. Glaring at the check, other names fluttered through my head. Could they have cracked the case? Hell if I know. If you got any comments, you know where to find me.

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