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Your Top Teams part 12

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Two teams with a connection, and one from way out in left field...

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175. Infinity Inc (11 points)

infinityinc.jpg"I love Jade."

Not too shocked these guys are here, somewhat of an older team with really no big names. But some old-schoolers did remember to vote for them, well done, I applaud you. Well, it’s more of a golf clap, but a clap nonetheless.

The story of Infinity Inc. starts after the children of several members or the Justice Society Of America were not allowed membership by the team. The than youngest member of the J.S.A the Star-Spangled Kid, proposed that they form a group of their own titled Infinity, Inc. Soon Silver Scarab, Fury, Nuklon, Northwind, Jade, Obsidian, Power Girl, the Huntress, and Brainwave Jr. became founding members. The Star- Spangled Kid owned Stellar Studios and the team soon operated from there as their headquarters. When information provided by the Ultra-Humanite resulted in the outing of the secret identities of the members of Infinity, Inc. at a live, televised press conference. This ended up revealing the true identities of Miss America, the original Hawkgirl and Hawkman. After several successful adventures, the JSA reconsidered their views on the new young generation of heroes. They than decided and offered to admit the entire group into their ranks, but the Infiniters declined.

As the team continued adventuring their credibility grew and new members were admitted. Doctor Midnight, Hourman II, and Wildcat II were admitted into the ranks as the original team members fluctuated. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths this new team had many appearances assisting with time tossed characters and fighting against the Anti-Monitor. The Helix was one of the Infiniters adversaries who had connection to Wildcat. Months later after fighting on different occasions they went on trial, resulting in one of their members, Mister Bones, being remanded to the custody of Sky-Man, the former Star-Spangled Kid, leader of Infinity Inc. While in a savage battle with Harley Quinn and Solomon Grundy, Mister Bones was slammed against Sky-Man, instantly killing the hero with his cyanide touch. Infinity Inc. avenged Sky-Man's death but sadly enough their Stellar Studios headquarters burned to the ground leaving them without a leader and a place to live. A lost and distraught team decided to disband the team of prodigal heroes forever, going their separate ways to their own destinies.

The stories of some of their former members continued and usually took a similar road like that of Sky-Man. Lyta Trevor-Hall, the former Fury II, would be remade in the pages of Neil Gaiman's Sandman and would eventually give birth to the next Lord of Dreams, David. Hector Hall would join Geoff Johns’s incarnation of the Justice Society of America, as the new Dr. Fate. Atom-Smasher (formerly called Nuklon) would join Hector in hopes of honoring the legacy of his Godfather the Atom I. The mystically powered and bitter Black Adam would form his army to conquer Kandaq, recruiting Brainwave (no longer junior) and the newly mutated Northwind. The reformed Obsidian would have recurring heroics with the JSA and the new Manhunter. The also reformed anti-hero Mr. Bones went on to head the DEO and has regularly been heavy handed with heroes all across the DC Universe.

It is a sad legacy of young heroes who have left more dead members after their collapse as a team. The following members have all met an early demise, Sky-Man, the Huntress II, Silver Scarab, Fury, Jade, Doctor Midnight, and Wildcat. Both Obsidian and Nuklon as Atom Smasher, have become corrupted by their powers, only to repent their actions. A legacy no one would have seen coming from the valiant efforts of its members.

 


174. Alan Moore's Youngblood (12 points)

youngblood.jpgBeat the Trinity ladies and gents, they beat the Trinity.

In 1998, Liefeld hired Alan Moore to relaunch and revamp Youngblood. Moore's run on the title began with a miniseries entitled Judgment Day, which revolved around the mysterious murder of Youngblood member Riptide and the subsequent "super-trial" of fellow member Knightsabre. The trial was held in Supreme's citadel and conducted entirely by super-humans from all corners of the extended Liefeld comic universe. Soon, the heroes learned of the all-powerful "Book Of All Stories" which dictated the order of the universe, past, present, and future, all of which could be altered by simply writing within its pages. Knightsabre's defense attorney, former super-sidekick Toby King (aka "Skipper") discovered that Youngblood field leader Marcus Langston, aka "Sentinel", had murdered Riptide himself, framing Knightsabre - all by using the Book of All Stories. Toby revealed that years ago, Sentinel's father had stolen the Book from Riptide's father, "Storybook Smith", and, thinking it worthless, had left it for his son. In its pages, the adolescent Marcus Langston found a grim and brutal future for himself, and decided to change it by rewriting the future with the Book. Langston created a world full of superheroes in which he was "Sentinel", a brilliant scientist and natural leader. But the young Langston's immature fantasies grew darker, and the future he painted grimmer, full of blood and turmoil. At a Youngblood team cookout, Riptide discovered the Book of All Stories from her parents' tall tales sitting on Sentinel's bookshelf, and took it back for herself. Sentinel responded by killing her, and framing Knightsabre for the crime. Once exposed, Sentinel attempted to fight his way out of the citadel and regain the Book, but was taken down by the assembled heroes and imprisoned by Supreme. The government, however, had disbanded Youngblood, and the team members went their separate ways.

Many readers felt that the dénouement involving the immature, unbalanced Sentinel perverting the Book of All Stories and thus "creating" the Liefeld/Youngblood universe was a meta-commentary by Alan Moore on the company's line of books and the "grim 'n gritty" era of comics as a whole. Numerous other Liefeld created heroes and super teams also underwent changes in direction and concept in the back-up strips within Judgment Day, heralding a brighter, more adventurous and optimistic future ahead

With Judgment Day concluded, Alan Moore's relaunch began. Moore created a new teenage Youngblood group that was independently financed by the millionaire Waxey Doyle, formerly the WWII superhero Waxman introduced in Moore's run on Supreme. The team was formed by Shaft and the new members included Big Brother (Leonard Doyle, Waxey's adopted African American son who piloted a series of versatile, heavily armed robots of varying sizes; the largest was as tall as a skyscraper and able to act as the team's transport), Doc Rocket (Rachel Richards, a speedster and a medical doctor in the mold of Doogie Howser) who is also the granddaughter of Rex Richards, a golden age superhero of the same name who was once Waxy's teammate in the Allied Supermen of America), Twilight (Linda Kendall, Professor Night's niece and sidekick, analogous to the Dick Grayson version of Robin/Nightwing), Suprema (Sally Crane, Supreme's adopted sister) and Johnny Panic (John Paneczik, in Moore's words, "the first postmodern superhero"; his powers come from a suit that can create holograms and his chosen weapon is a "buzzgun" that fires designer drug ampoules). The team's headquarters at this time was Waxey's mansion, the House of Wax, itself something of a museum of Golden Age super heroics.

Most of the villains featured in this series were Moore's creations, like Stormhead (a mutant whose mood influences the weather around him), most members of Badblood (a team created by former Team Youngblood leader Sentinel that intentionally paralleled Shaft's new team in terms of powers and personal connections) and Jack-A-Dandy (Professor Night's archenemy, a Victorian gentleman-themed schemer modeled after The Joker).

However, despite Moore's well-publicized plans for at least 12 issues of his new Youngblood, only two issues were ever printed and the third issue was published in another book called Awesome Adventures. The team also appeared in a short story in the Awesome Christmas Special where Shaft's journal provides the narration as the new team comes together. Moore's rough outline for the series was published in Alan Moore's Awesome Handbook, and included a budding relationship between Big Brother and Suprema, a giant planet-devouring entity called "The Goat", Shaft's fruitless crush on Twilight and the revelation that Johnny Panic was the biological son of Supreme villain Darius Dax.

Moore's lineup parallels various incarnations of the Teen Titans, which in itself reflects Liefeld's original conception of the characters that would become Youngblood. In the Handbook, Moore also reveals he intentionally chose the team members for their connections to various points and significant characters in the Awesome Universe's superhero history, particularly that which he had created in Supreme, noting this as the case in the 1980s launch of The New Teen Titans. The NTT series' redefinition of the team beyond its "sidekicks club"/"Justice League Junior" perception seems to be noted in the Awesome Holiday Special story, where Shaft rejects Suprema's attempt to replace his chosen lineup with junior assistants of Supreme's Allies teammates. Twilight's update of her look and weaponry parallels Dick Grayson's evolution from Robin to Nightwing in NTT; furthermore Twilight is at the same biological age (19) as Grayson when he assumed his new identity.

 

173. Original Justice Society of America (12 points)

jsa.jpgI am a busy guy, so I outsourced this team and the Legion of Superheroes to one of its biggest fans. And he is doing a bang up job, the Legion of Superheroes I know nada about so I was so happy he took 'em. As for the JSA, I know his love for the team so when he suggested if he could write one of them, I offered him all FOUR versions that are on this list. Yeah, that’s right, there are four JSA's on this list. Told you this list will be crazy.

The Justice Society of America (JSA) was conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox in late 1940. The team debuted in All-Star Comics #3, the idea was to take all the heroes that the kids loved, and put them in the same book. The only rule was that if a member received their own comic, they would retire to ‘honorary status’ and no longer appear in the comic (similar to the current JLA book, haha, SATIRE!). The original roster was made up of Doctor Fate, The Spectre, The Sandman and Hour-Man (how it was spelt back then) from National Comics, and from All-American Comics; The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman and The Atom. After #6, The Flash was replaced by Johnny Thunder and Green Lantern left shortly after due to having his own comic as well.

The in-story origin of the JSA is that naughty man Adolph Hitler got hold of the ‘Spear of Destiny’ an occult weapon that could turn the tide of the war, word got back to the States and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt enlisted The Flash and Green Lantern to go kick some Nazi-ass. Meanwhile, king of mystical hubbub Doctor Fate learned of Hitler’s plans and decided that was a grade-A example of ‘mystical hubbub’ and recruited Atom, Hawkman, Hourman and the Spectre to go to England and kick Nazi-ass. The two teams grouped together after totally saving Britain from invasion, but were too late to stop one of the mystical Valkyries that Hitler had summoned killing FDR. Then the Spectre actually pleaded with God to bring him back to life, and God did so, warning the big man that he was fated to die again.
The team then went on to operate in secret, to comply with the USA’s isolationist stance, The Flash stepped down as chairman and Johnny Thunder, Starman and Doctor Mid-Nite all joined the team. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour (Yes, that’s how it should be spelt!) America entered the war, President Roosevelt unveiled the JSA and renamed as the more offensive-oriented ‘Justice Battalion’ a name they kept throughout the conflict.

After the war was won, American eyes turned inwards with the ‘Red Scare’ and the heroes were no exception. Due to time-fiddling by Per Degaton, the JSA were called up to testify before the House Un-American Activities Commission. The team all refused to reveal their identities and so disbanded. Several members such as Starman and Black Canary carried on adventuring in secret. Others like Green Lantern retired and had children, either way, the JSA wouldn’t be heard of again for over ten years and it would take a CRISIS for them to come back to the forefront of comics...

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