Movies & TV / Columns

Comics 411: Favorite Marvel Superhero Teams

July 1, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Marvel Avengers vs X-Men

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

  
 
Last week we discussed our Favorite DC Superhero Teams.Here’s what some of you had to say:

Gold Any Ranger: “The greatest alternate version of the Justice League, the Super Friends. Almost all the major League members were part of the team {Except Green Arrow, who only was in one episode and the Martian Manhunter, who never appeared at all.} This was my first introduction to a lot of DC characters, along with reruns of The Advebtures of Superman and Batman ‘66.”

John: “Giffen and DeMatteis’ Justice League, Fire, Ice, Booster, Blue Beetle, and Guy also one punch ONE PUNCH!”

ThinkerT: “Appreciate the mention of “Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew”! Hadn’t thought about them for years, but really enjoyed that comic.”

Carl Rood: “I’m going to give some love to the All Star Squadron, Roy Thomas’ love letter to the lesser lights of the Golden Age. They wouldn’t let him do a JSA book, so he took some other characters from that time, along with some original creations, and made his own team. He’d sneak JSA members in where he could and continued a “tradition” from All Star Comics of Hawkman appearing in some capacity in every issue.

Unfortunately, it didn’t survive the Crisis except with Young All Stars, but I don’t know if more recent JSA revivals would have happened without the Squadron. We certainly wouldn’t have Jessie Quick.”

Dexter Plisskin: “Bronze Age Justice League of America and Legion of Super-Heroes. A huge part of the fun for me reading the titles as a kid was the reveal of the members of the rotating roster at the start of each new adventure. I loved the New Teen Titans, but, the box-of-chocolates aspect of the JLA and the Legion is what made them distinct from my favorite teams at Marvel.”

Excollector: “I loved the JSA as a kid and when it came back with the new generation I read all of it that I could. The Teen Titans had a great run under Wolfman and Perez and Young Justice would be the book that recaptured that magic.”

Tayo Jones: “JSA. I love the mixture of old school and new school, with the veterans training the next generation of heroes like Stargirl and Damage.”

William Jansen: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen wins it for me, though it didn’t cross my mind that they were DC until I read the article. Every single book is so layered, in both text and graphics and if the story crosses a time-period you are interested in, then every corner of every panel is worth a study.”

Spacecowboy: “Geoff Johns Teen Titans
Justice League
Suicide Squad
Titans
Do the boys count? It started on wildstorm.”

Aejhaa: “Titans for me – The grown up fab five of Nightwing, Flash, Donna Troy, Arsenal and Tempest. The 99′ Titans had a great run and the Titans rebirth team in 2016 was excellent.

The team is so close that works in an intimate settings and the cast is popular and well known enough for and mirror the JL powers that work against bigger villains as well. Finally the chemistry among the 3 works very well in almost all settings.”

Gil: “My favorite DC team is the Titans and Young Justice. Add the Green Lantern Corps too. They are a favorite of mine but I honestly never thought of them as a “team”. But since you included them, then I will too.

Also liked the Image comics version of Gen13. I need to see what they’re all about in the DCverse?”

Hades209: “Here are my favorite DC Teams
– Suicide Squad
– Shadowpact
– Justice League Dark
– Gen13
– Teen Titans”

disqus_cGBSHJQv4v: “Legion of Super-Heroes, Legion of Substitute Heroes, Heroes of Lallor, L.E.G.I. O.N., Super Friends, Justice League, Extreme Justice, Justice Society, All-Star Squsdron,”

Michael L: “The animated version of Justice League that ran in the 2000’s was amazing. Of particularly interest was the early arc of Justice League unlimited ,which opened the League up to more Superheroes, but also had a story arc subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) running through the entire season, culminating in the penultimate episode, with the final episode being an interesting coda, set in the era of Batman Beyond featuring Amanda Waller.”

Richard C: “Rocket Red Brigade — there could be some juicy story lines for these current times.”

Jim Hammond: “Legion of Superheroes, up until the 5 years later mess
New Teen Titans
All Star Squadron
Infinity Inc”

Ken Wood: “For me, DC is all about Green Lantern Corps. Love this group. Hal Jordan is great but seeing a ton of different lanterns all over the universe is so much more fun. Kyle, Gardener, and Kilowag in space. Which trainees will be good? It’s awesome.

I recently picked up JLA and Teen Titans vol 1 but haven’t read them yet. I’ve never been the biggest DC guy.

Wildcats and Gen 13 are two of my favorite Image teams from back in the day. DC has done some interesting stuff with them but they’ve never felt as great as their original runs.

I also own the Authority omnibus but haven’t had a chance to read it either.”

rf: “crime syndicate for me”

Steed: “Hero Hotline ;)”

Thank you to everyone who commented!

This week we discuss our…

Favorite Marvel Superhero Team

Here we go again! So last week I mentioned that I had originally planned a “DC vs Marvel: Who Has the Best Superhero Team”…but that would have been a massive column that would take you a  week to read. Instead I pulled it back and we’ll do a two-parter that focuses on each publisher’s teams. Last week was DC and this week brings us to Marvel! I’ll be covering some of the bigger names out there and let you fill in the ones I missed. 

I’ll leave it up to you if we should include Ultraverse’s Ultraforce. Or New Universe’s DP 7, Kickers, Inc., Psi-Force, or Spitfire and the Troubleshooters. Or even Epic’s Strikeforce: Morituri.

Let’s start with the Fantastic Four! This team has been around since 1961. To most of us, the Fantastic Four, who gained superpowers after exposure to cosmic rays during a scientific mission to outer space, are: Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), a scientific genius and the leader of the group, who can stretch his body into incredible lengths and shapes; the Invisible Woman (Susan “Sue” Storm), who eventually married Reed, who can render herself invisible and later project powerful force fields; the Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Sue’s younger brother, who can generate flames, surround himself with them and fly; and the monstrous Thing (Ben Grimm), their grumpy but benevolent friend, a former college football star and Reed’s college roommate as well as a good pilot, who possesses superhuman strength and endurance due to the nature of his stone-like flesh. They’ve mainly been portrayed as a somewhat dysfunctional, yet loving, family. 

Of course we have The Avengers, aka Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! The Avengers originally consisted of Iron Man, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Thor, and the Hulk. Captain America was discovered, trapped in ice (issue #4), and joined the group after they revived him. A rotating roster became a hallmark, although one theme remained consistent: the Avengers fight “the foes no single superhero can withstand.” The team, famous for its battle cry of “Avengers Assemble!”, has featured humans, mutants, robots, aliens, supernatural beings, and even former villains. I’m pretty sure I’ve done a column looking at different team lineups but suffice to say just about anyone worth mentioning has walked the halls. 

If I had to pick my favorite, I’d go with West Coast Avengers with the Ultimate Avengers coming in second. 

Coming up next is the X-Men. The basic concept of the X-Men is that under a cloud of increasing anti-mutant sentiment, Professor Xavier created a haven at his Westchester mansion to train young mutants to use their powers for the benefit of humanity, and to prove mutants can be heroes. Xavier recruited Cyclops, Iceman,Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl, calling them “X-Men” because they possess special powers due to their possession of the “X-gene,” a gene which normal humans lack and which gives mutants their abilities. To go through this teams history would take a whole other column but ask Jeremy Thomas any X-related question and 99% of the time he’ll have the answer. 

For my money, the Exiles was a damn great book. As was X-Factor. And the early Excalibur. And…sheesh. I could have a Top 10 X-team books column easily. Make a note.

Another team that has garnered question over the years is Guardians of the Galaxy. This one is tough with the new fans who just know of the movie and the old school comic fans. The short story: The Guardians of the Galaxy is a group of heroes who opposed the Phalanx conquest of the Kree system (and many who had opposed Annihilus’ incursion into their universe), and banded together in an attempt to prevent any further catastrophes from ever occurring. While they’ve achieved success on the big screen, the comic side of things has been a little uneven. 

One of my personal favorites is The Defenders. I’m not talking about the Netflix team though. This “non-team” of individualistic “outsiders,” followed their own agendas. The team usually battled mystic and supernatural threats and its original incarnation was led by Doctor Strange and included the Hulk, Namor, and, eventually, the Silver Surfer.

Speaking of favorites, I have to put New Warriors into consideration. These young adults made a big splash in 1989! Consisting of the young superheroes Firestar, Marvel Boy, Namorita, Nova and Speedball, all of whom were once featured in solo series or were supporting characters, they added Night Thrasher, an original character to serve as the team’s founder and leader, to the mix. Something about the early stories just worked and I still read my collected editions pretty regularly. 

What about the 1975 lineup of the Champions? The Invaders? Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos?

Oh. Can’t forget about Alpha Flight. The group from Canada.

Your turn. Go ahead and list some other teams that warm your heart!

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!