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Your Top Teams part 17

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Few interesting teams this time around...

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158. Classic Legion of Super Heroes (14 points)

classiclegion.jpgFirst of all, I’m aware that there is a massive amount of time for this team, and yes, the line-up would have fluctuated as members came and went, new characters were created, old characters died, etc, etc. The way the votes turned out, there were several Legion teams with more specific eras and creators mentioned, so this is more of an ‘everything up until _____’ (and if you work out the dates, you can guess specific creator gets his own entry).

The Legion of Super-Heroes was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, debuting in Adventure Comics #247. Three super-powered teenagers from the future (Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy, and Saturn Girl) arrive in Smallville and generally dick about with Superboy, it’s all quite mean. They stalk him around town shouting ‘Hey Superboy’ when he’s not in costume and ‘Hey, Clark Kent’ when he is, they get in his way and steal his glory, then challenge him to test to see if he’s worthy to join them. Superboy fails all of these tests because the Legion totally cheat, then Superboy cries until they let him in his club. They’re the 31st Century equivalent of a frat house.

Seriously though, fans always support a good idea and the Legion were brought back again and again, appearing in both Action and Adventure Comics, guest-starring in Superboy and Supergirl stories, it wasn’t until Adventure Comics #300 where they received their own regular feature billed as ‘Superboy in Tales of The Legion of Super-Heroes. It was during this time, most of the recognized Legion lore was introduced, such as the Legion Code, the Science Police and the United Planets.

1966’s Adventure Comics #346 (just shy of 100 issues since their creation) was written by the 14 year old Jim Shooter, who sent in pitches, scripts and full layouts, word balloons and all. DC ran these, not knowing Shooter’s age and as they say, the rest is history. Shooter was arguably the Legion’s most influential writer (along with one other guy, we’ll get to him), he introduced timeless concepts such as The Fatal Five, the Khunds and Mordru, and created classic characters such as Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid and Princess Projectra. He also wrote the first real and lasting Legion death (not counting the time everyone thought Lightning Lad had died) with one of the first ‘classic’ Legion stories ‘The Death of Ferro Lad’

In the 1970’s the Legion were demoted to a back-up feature moving to Action Comics and then on to Superboy. Popularity began to grow again when Dave Cockrum joined as Legion artist, and quickly set about re-envisioning the characters and their costumes. In 1973, ‘Superboy’ became ‘Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes’ and the team were back in a main feature. Written by longtime fan Paul Levitz, the stories were well received, most notable, ‘Earthwar’ a sprawling epic that smacks War of Kings in the back of the head and says “You want to see what a war is? I’ll show you what a chuffing war is!” (yeah, you can tell Bubba isn’t writing this one) then it puts its cigar out on Sinestro Corps War’s arm. Levitz left the book shortly after (I think we might just hear a bit more from him though...) and he was replaced with Gerry Conway and then later, Roy Thomas, the comic was renamed again as just ‘The Legion of Super-Heroes’ and some of the notable stories include Ultra Boy’s quest to find the team and the tale of previously glimpsed Legionnaire, Reflecto.

Then Paul Levitz came back and teamed with Keith Giffen he went on to—What!? Sorry Bubba, another entry you say? Sorry about that folks, I guess you’re going to have to come back later to hear about what happens next...

 


ultimatexmen.jpg157. Ultimate X-Men (14 points)

Upon its release in February 2001, Ultimate X-Men was the second comic of the Ultimate Marvel line, preceded a few months by its sister title Ultimate Spider-Man. The heads of the Ultimate Universe, Bill Jemas and Joe Quesada, originally tried to hire Brian Michael Bendis to write the title, but he declined. Marvel hired Scottish writer Mark Millar, who was best known at the time for his run on The Authority, because of his ignorance of the X-Men franchise. With the first X-Men movie as his only reference, Millar reinvented the X-Men. As a result, Millar's original X-Men consisted of telepath Professor X, Cyclops, whose eyes shoot concussive beams, telepathic/telekinetic Jean Grey, weather-manipulating Storm, simian genius Beast, metal-skinned Colossus, and cryokinetic Iceman. With the exception of Beast and Colossus, these mutants were also featured in the first X-Men movie.

Common to the Millar period was an edgy tone, featuring quick action-driven plots and less moral X-Men. For instance, Wolverine tries to kill Cyclops in "Return of the King" because he is envious of Jean's love. In an interview with Sequential Tart, Millar commented: "You're not competing with Cartoon Network on these books; you're competing with 'Buffy'. Superhero comics aren't adult, but they shouldn't be written for five year olds either." Millar shaped Ultimate X-Men into a commercial hit, consistently outselling its sister titles, X-Treme X-Men and Uncanny X-Men and staying just behind Grant Morrison's experimental and popular New X-Men run.

After Mark Millar's run, Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Michael Bendis took over for a year. Bendis stated that he was going to interpret his run in a more character-driven way, especially concerning Wolverine, who had previously tried to kill his teammate Cyclops.  Bendis' run was marked by the relative absence of major villains and was also notorious for killing Beast, who was killed when a Sentinel attacked the White House during Frost's public disclosure of her school. This made the character the first dead Ultimate X-Man. As a side note, Ultimate X-Men #40 features what Marvel claims to be the first marriage proposal in a comic book letters column, which is answered in Ultimate X-Men #44 with a positive response.

The third Ultimate X-Men writer was Brian K. Vaughan, more known at the time for his work on Y: The Last Man. His run was marked by the relative absence of Wolverine as the main character and the re-imagination of second-string X-Men characters that he felt were underused or "shoehorned". He introduced Mr. Sinister as a mutant-killing scientist with hypnotic/ stealth powers in The Tempest, German twins Fenris as mutant corporate criminals in Cry Wolf, as well as Mojo and Longshot, respectively, as a corrupt TV producer and a mutant felon in The Most Dangerous Game. It is worth mentioning that both are of non-alien origin in this world and have the civilian names "Mojo Adams" and "Arthur Centino", a play on their creators' names, specifically writer Ann Nocenti and artist Art Adams. Further arcs were centered on Professor X and Deathstrike in Shock and Awe. Lady Deathstrike possesses adamantium claws and regenerative powers. Vaughan also reintroduces Emma Frost's mutant team and Magneto in Magnetic North. As a side note, his run finally confirmed Ultimate Colossus' homosexuality.

Robert Kirkman, author of The Walking Dead and Invincible, followed Vaughn’s tenure. Kirkman's tenure was noted for adapting several major story arcs from the regular X-Men series. These included Jean Grey's transformation into Phoenix, the arrival of Cable and Bishop, and the appearance of Apocalypse. Kirkman reintroduced Wolverine as an important character and played with issues of team loyalty. Under his authorship major characters such as Nightcrawler and Colossus left the team. His tenure also featured Cyclops' decision to turn Xavier's into a more traditional school and consequently disband the X-Men. When this was done an alternate team of X-Men was formed by Bishop as part of the upcoming fight against Apocalypse.

 


156. The Elementals (15 points)

elementals.jpgI have never heard of this team, and most likely none of you have either Well, except for the ones that voted for them that is...

Four unrelated persons died in four unrelated accidents on the same day, each killed violently by one of the forces of nature, but following their deaths the four found themselves placed before the very spirit of the element that had slain them. Returned to life and imbued with the power of that element, The Elementals became the world's first recorded account of factual superheroes, as well as the first people to return from the grave.

Battling first against the evil Lord Saker who had unleashed the Shadowspear on the Earth, and later against various other magical beasts, which were created in the aftermath, The Elementals found themselves pitted against powerful magic and fantastic beasts. While the spirits of the elements that rested within them compelled them to battle against the evils, none of The Elementals had chosen the path of the superhero and often they found themselves torn by the consequences of their actions.

The Elementals enjoy rapid celebrity status in the world, in contrast to other settings where heroes are reviled and criticized, and were received well by the public for their efforts. The Elementals also made a strong commercial presence in the world, performing endorsements, marketing merchandise, signing autographs and forming their own corporation, Elementals Inc, which acquired them massive financial resources.

Perhaps the largest difference in The Elementals from both other comic teams and the common people in their world was the fact they were dead, and unlike other franchises, return from death was not simple nor without repercussions. Bystanders frequently referenced The Elementals seeming overly detached, emotionally deadened and uncomfortable to be around. Even The Elementals' closest friends noticed the discomfort and observed how they only truly seemed to enjoy being around other persons who had died and returned. Despite what would seem a strong common bond between the team to unite them, The Elementals frequently fell to petty squabbling and in-fighting, their contrasting personal beliefs and personalities clashing nearly as often as they did with villains.

Also noted should be, while most Superheroes seem to seek out villains and criminals to thwart, The Elementals rarely concerned themselves with any crime not of supernatural nature. More often than not, it was actually the Shadowspear directing the plotline, attempting to fulfill Lord Saker's final directive that it destroy the Elementals by creating powerful creatures for that purpose. Most battles with the Elementals were initiated by foes specifically hunting them for the purpose of destroying them, not villains seeking wealth or conquest.

 


deadpool-bob.jpg155. Deadpool and Bob (15 points)

You know, Deadpool has been on nearly every list thus far. X-Folk, Marvel Villains, and Top Modern. Now this one, which he appears two more times one. He will most likely be on the Top Marvel Hero I am sure. Glad he is here, I love the character.

Bob is, in every respect, a normal guy. He signed up for Hydra believing that they have a dental plan (which they don't), and made $40,000 a year. Bob kept a blog while he was at Hydra, primarily remarking about the mundane like complaining about the commissary food. When Agent-X was captured when a pharmaceutical company hired him to infiltrate Hydra, the mercenary known as Deadpool mounted a rescue operation to free him.

At the time Deadpool was only three inches tall due to exposure to Pym Particles. His height did not stop him from taking down several Hydra agents before finding Bob. While Deadpool was beating an unnamed agent, Bob came running down the corridor to locate the intruder and was tripped by the tiny merc. Wade commanded Bob to take him to where Agent X was being held. Believing that Deadpool could not hurt him, Bob refused. Deadpool then hurt him... twice (because it was so much fun the first time). Deadpool used the string from a retractable I.D. card reel to aim Bob's head, and (somewhat) forced Bob to shoot his fellow Hydra agents. After being abused and mistreated by Deadpool, Bob introduced himself. Deadpool recognized Bob from his blog.

On the way out of the facility with Agent X Deadpool shot Bob so that he could claim he was being held at gunpoint and rejoin Hydra. The three stole a Hydra plane and Deadpool forced Bob to pilot it away from Hydra. Wade now runs Agency X in Agent X's stead and has kept Bob on as a teammate. His opinion of Bob changes from moment to moment, but generally regards Bob as either a friend or a pet. Bob is not unhappy with Deadpool, but may believe himself to be kidnapped from Hydra (Deadpool refers to the kidnapping as a "liberation").

Wade's friend Weasel was also taken into Hydra custody, and when Wolverine attacked the Hydra base that Weasel was at Wade was afraid that Wolverine would kill Weasel during the carnage. Deadpool forced Bob to tag along as an insurance policy. Unbeknownst to Bob, Deadpool planned to (possibly) trade Bob for Weasel if the need arose (but he would not admit this to Bob). Bob and Deadpool go to several different mystic realms on behalf of Doctor Strange, to save the whole multi-dimensional existence by freeing T-Ray, and fusing his soul and body back together. They go to a swamp and meet Brother Voodoo, and Bob is knocked out and given Nightmares, as Deadpool does all the work.

When they finish up, they return back to Agency-X base. There he, and the rest of Agency X watch as Deadpool and Agent-X negotiate Deadpool's contract, by shooting at each other. Bob, Deadpool, and Weasel are then sent to the Savage Land. They get back to New York, and it has been infested with symbiote dinosaurs. Bob hides. Then one of the dinosaur’s tendrils grabs Bob by the foot and starts to drag him away. While Bob was being dragged around by the dinosaur, the dinosaur hits an electrical billboard, it falls on the dinosaur killing it. A reporter comes up to Bob asking him if the H on his uniform stood for hero because that’s what he truly is?! Bob replies by saying: "Yes, it does stand for hero because that is what I truly am!". He then gets a text from his wife saying she saw him on T.V. and that he looked hot. Then Bob and Agency X is seen at Deadpool's place watching T.V.

Bob is seen in Dark Reign helping Deadpool by shooting a bullet at Tiger Shark, who is attacking Deadpool. Tiger Shark then takes Bob underwater. Deadpool pulls Bob and the rifle he had out of the water and asks Bob how he found him Bob replies: "Saw you on the T.V." The next morning Bob and Deadpool are eating some food, Bob then grabs the rifle and says he's sorry but if he doesn't kill Deadpool the guy who hired him will kill him. Deadpool tells Bob that the person he should be afraid of is him. Tiger Shark comes in and Bob is sitting on the bed holding the rifle, Deadpool then attacks Tiger Shark and shoots him out the window. Deadpool then proceeds to shoot Bob in the hand for pretending to betray him. Bob then tells Deadpool that the man who hired him was Norman Osborn. Deadpool sends a note to Osborn saying he killed Bob and is coming for him. If Bob is dead or not is currently unknown.

 

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