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Your Top Teams part 29

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Closer and closer we creep to the Top 100...

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114. JSA volume Poo...oh, I mean Two (25 points)

jsa-v.poo.jpgBefore I hand it over to my fellow Outsourcer, I'm gonna add my own quote:

"Volume 2 sucked goat scrota."

Reformed and revitalized over a year after the events of Infinite Crisis, the elder statesmen of the JSA, Green Lantern, The Flash and Wildcat regrouped with a new purpose, to not only save the world on a daily basis, but to take on legacy heroes and teach them how to live up to their names. The roster grew quickly, first with JSA alumni such as Power Girl, Mr. Terrific, Doctor Mid-Nite and Hourman, but later to new recruits such as Cyclone, Lightning, Amazing Man and Lance Corporeal David Reid (take note: important later). Their first mission back together was to solve who was extinguishing the bloodlines of JSA members, turned out it was Vandal Savage, who during a fight between Wildcat and his son, Wildcat, didn’t hear the sound of a FIRE ENGINE and was mowed down like a bitch.

Next up was The Lightning Saga, a crossover with Brad Meltzer’s Justice League of America book which brought back Wally West from wherever the hell he was, and returned the original Legion of Super-Heroes as THE Legion of Super-Heroes. After a brief encounter with the villainous ‘speedster’ Zoom the team launched into their next epic adventure, a sequel to Alex Ross’ overrated Kingdom Come story, titled ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.

The JSA had to contend with Gog, a god from the Third World, who was balling around Africa making wrong things right and fucking with the JSA’s powers. He returned Dr. Mid-Nite’s sight, making him ineffectual as a doctor and a super-hero, he restored Damage’s good looks and sent Power Girl back to Earth-2, where she was wanted and hunted by the JSA equivalents their (which resulted in a filler issue where the JSA fought the JSI, just in case this story wasn’t long enough already). When David Reid was killed fighting in Gog’s name, Gog brought him back as Magog, his herald or whatever. Eventually, enough people realized that the Gog fellow probably wasn’t all he was cracked up to be and sure enough, he wanted everyone on Earth to worship him without fail and the JSA were like ‘Nah mate’ and they had a big fight, Gog took back all his ‘gifts’ and Kingdom Come Superman ripped off his head and attached it to the Source Wall before going off home. Oh yeah, Kingdom Come Superman was there for no real reason, other than to make the loose ties to the original story a bit stronger.

Then Alex Ross left and the book got kinda good with an arc where Geoff Johns tried to clean up the whole Shazam mess but ended up making it worse. Now Billy and Mary have no powers and Black Adam and Isis are statues, but in typical Johns style, someone mysterious has claimed the couple as his own champions. Johns finished his run with an intimate story about Stargirl’s birthday that was actually very good. The comic is currently being written and drawn by Jerry Ordway before new ongoing writers Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges take over, it looks like it might not be that bad. The art looks fantastic.

Oh, and apparently Sand is still on the team. Has anyone actually seen him DO anything?

 


113. The Original Guardians of the Galaxy (25 points)

guardiansofthegalaxy1.jpg"They were all the last of their respective races, trying to defend the future galaxy from the threat of the Badoon."

I a fan of the originals, but alas I love the new book so much more. But, I will not talk about them, they come much later on this list. As for these guys, it was pure fun. Valentino has some fun art, the stories were neat, but got a little silly. I remember Wolverine’s great granddaughter or something. Though, the future Phoenix was cool. As was Hollywood aka Wonder Man in the future.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are freedom fighters of the 31st century formed by a diverse group of beings. The home reality of the Guardians of the Galaxy has been designated Earth-691. The founding members are Vance Astro (later Major Victory), Charlie-27, Yondu and Martinex. The team first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 to fight off the Badoon race, which had conquered the Sol system and the Alpha Centauri system among others.

The Guardians are later joined by Starhawk in Defenders #27 and eventually defeat the Badoon's oppressive regime. Appearing in Marvel Presents #3-12, the Guardians continue as space explorers and adventurers and recruit Nikki along the way and learned about Starhawk's other half, Aleta. The Guardians eventually encounter one of their greatest foes, Korvac, in Thor Annual #6, which lead to a significant story arc in Avengers #167-177 known as the Korvac Saga. The Guardians were all granted honorary Avengers membership after this event.

After staying in the 20th Century for some time, the Guardians continue to have various adventures with other heroes such as the Thing and Spider-Man. Vance Astro even meets his younger self (actually parallel counterpart) and inadvertently unleashes young Vance's own latent psychic abilities.

This results in young Vance Astrovik walking in a path different from Vance Astro. Young Vance grows up to be Justice of the New Warriors and later the Avengers. The Guardians eventually return to their own time period and decide to embark on a quest to recover Captain America's lost shield. This quest sets the stage for Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1 #1 and during this first series run Vance Astro became Major Victory.

The group also acquired a few more members such as Firelord, Replica, Hollywood (Earth-691 Wonder Man), Talon and Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara from Earth-616). Martinex took a leave of absence from the group to form the Galactic Guardians in an effort to expand the Guardians operations. He recruited Firelord, Replica, Mainframe (Earth-691 Vision), Spirit of Vengeance, Hollywood and Phoenix IX.

The Galactic Guardians completed several missions before Martinex eventually returned to the Guardians of the Galaxy. By the end of this series, Starhawk, Firelord, Replica, Talon and Yellowjacket had left the group for their own reasons and the remaining Guardians embarked on another mission in the past. The series ended with the group composed of Charlie-27, Nikki, Major Victory, Martinex, Aleta, Yondu and Hollywood. The Guardians make their most recent appearance with this lineup in New Warriors vol 1 #68. No sign of the Guardians has been seen since until Major Victory and Starhawk suddenly appears in the current Guardians of the Galaxy series. No indication as to the whereabouts of the other Guardians.

 


112. The Foot Clan (25 points)

footclan.jpg"If the Turtles are on my list, their arch foes are a must as well. There's been numerous memorable battles between these two groups all involving their leader, the Shredder. Unlike some other ninja groups, there are actual different ninja classes in the Foot with you being either a regular grunt, elite, or Mystic. And their leader is the frickin’ Shredder. That's enough to guarantee the spot."

Nice, and yes, they Turtles are on the list obviously, and they did pretty damn good as a matter of fact. How good? Well, you will have to wait and see on that one. Cuz, I am not a spoil sport.

During a time traveling adventure to feudal Japan Raphael met two men called Sato and Oshi and taught them Ninjitsu. After the turtle and his brothers return to the present the two men vow to never mention the strange shelled creatures they encountered. They predict that they and others that join with them will become a force to be reckoned with and because every journey starts with a single step they poetically call themselves "The Foot".

By the 1980's The Foot had become the most feared Clan of assassins in Japan. When a member called Hamato Yoshi killed a fellow member Oroki Nagi over a feud involving a woman Yoshi brought dishonor and was given a choice by the clan to end his own life and hope for honor in the next or exile. Yoshi chose the latter option taking his love Tang Shen and his pet rat to New York to start a new life.

Nagi's younger brother Saki vowed vengeance on his brother's killer and was adopted by the clan who used Saki's anger to bend him to their will, and over the years rising up the ranks to become the fiercest warrior. At a mere eighteen years of age the leaders chose Saki to lead a branch of the Foot in New York. Within a year now calling himself the Shredder had turned the New York Foot into formidable criminal empire involved in drugs smuggling, arms running an assassination. Saki as the Shredder sought out Yoshi and Shen and killed them both in cold blood.

Fifteen years later the Shredder was challenged to a dual to the death to avenge Yoshi. Arriving at the specified location Shredder was surprised to find that his challengers were four giant turtles. The turtles battled with a group of Foot Ninja, swiftly defeating them but not without incurring injuries of their own. Challenging the turtles himself, they were no match for the Shredder until Leonardo managed to plunge his katana through the Shredder's torso. Incapacitated the Shredder asked the turtles to "finish it" but the turtles offered the human the opportunity to restore his honor by killing himself. Taking out a thermite grenade he vowed that if he was to die he would take the turtles with him, Donatello quickly used his bo staff to send Shredder and his grenade over the rooftop as it exploded killing the Shredder.

Nearly a year later on Christmas Eve they had managed to track down the whereabouts of turtles now living in an apartment with their friend April O'Neil, the full force of the Foot Clan engaged in a battle with Leonardo on the rooftops of New York. The turtle managed to hold his own until he the arrival of a familiar cloaked figure. Dropping him through April O'Neil's window the battered turtle revealed that the Shredder had returned. Shredder and the Foot invaded April's apartment and antique shop below fighting a fierce battle with the turtles, Splinter and Casey Jones. When the building caught fire and police sirens could be heard the Shredder ordered the Foot to retreat but warned his enemies to watch their backs.

A year on the Foot had once again expanded their criminal empire setting up multiple complexes in the city's sewer system with the Foot using the Sewers to move about the city undetected. After their exile in North Hampton the turtles returned to New York. Finding one of the Foot's underground complexes Donatello used their computer to locate their main surface head quarters which was a hollowed out city block. Along with their Triceraton ally Zog the turtles managed to infiltrate the Foot's Head Quarters battling their way through Foot Soldiers. The turtles encountered more resistance when the encountered three genetic monsters dressed like the Shredder that swiftly killed Zog. The turtles battled the monsters that were joined by the Shredder's Elite Guard and more Foot Soldiers while Leonardo went off to confront the Shredder alone. Before battling the turtle, the Shredder revealed that Foot's knowledge of science and magic allowed them to bring him back to life using a colony of worms that fed on remnants of Saki which would take the form of what they fed on, interlocking and forming together. Shredder and Leonardo battled on the rooftop while the rest of the turtles inside tried using the Foot's high tech machinery against them, including launching a missile into a tower containing deadly chemicals causing massive explosion destroying the building as Leonardo decapitates the Shredder.

Back in the sewers Leonardo carried the corpse of Oroku Saki. The four turtles hold a funeral pyre were the burn Saki's body to honor their enemy and to make sure he can never be resurrected again. While this would be the end of Saki's leadership the Foot Clan would survive to menace the turtles again.

 


111. Decepticons (26 points)

decepticons.jpg"I was going to go with the Predacons, but they don't really have a good showing in comic form, while the Deceptcons do. Heck they've currently laying waste to Earth and driving the Autobots in to banishment on an asteroid in All Hail Megatron! That said... DECEPTICONS TRANSFORM AND RISE UP!"

In the Marvel comic continuity, it was established that the Decepticons came out of the gladiator pits on Cybertron. Early on, the leadership of the Decepticons constantly changed due to their tendency to kill and replace their leaders. It would not be until a lowly Decepticon affiliated gladiator named Megatron assumed the throne that the Decepticons became a true threat to the rest of the population of Cybertron.

While Megatron was the primary leader, other Decepticons had prominent roles as leaders of the group. Shockwave, Scorponok, Bludgeon, and Ratbat all led the Decepticons, often overthrowing Megatron in the process or taking over the group during the period when Megatron was believed dead.

In the G2 Marvel series (which continues from the G1 Marvel series), it is stated that the Decepticon forces on Cybertron underwent a massive split in the wake of Megatron's disappearance when Megatron, Optimus Prime, and their respective troops crashed on Earth. The smartest, strongest, and most intelligent Decepticons left Cybertron to colonize nearby galaxies, leaving a token leadership of overly cruel and duplicitous Decepticons to control Cybertron. These Decepticons who left their homeworld became "The Second Generation" Decepticons, who were led by the villainous Liege Maximo. On the final page of the last issue, the Liege Maximo indicates that the Decepticons and all their descendants came from him, which indicates that he is the original founder of the Decepticons.

The origins of the Decepticons in the IDW continuity would be explored in The Transformers: Megatron Origin, which confirmed Megatron as their founder in this timeline. On the run after an attack on an Autobot Senator after a mining dispute, Megatron stumbled onto underground gladiator games in the state of Kaon and quickly became one of its rising stars. However, it only truly became more than this when Ratbat, seeing an opportunity for profit, dispatched Soundwave to arm the gladiators. Megatron's forces then began to commit acts of terrorism increasing in scale and daring, attracting the attention of Sentinel Prime. Kidnapping Senator Decimus as a symbol (with the help of new airborne recruit Starscream) Megatron issued a rallying call to the gladiators and their supporter, promising to unite them under one badge and make the whole planet their arena. Prime's forces then found and arrested them en masse. This was all part of Megatron's plan: a supposedly informant Starscream massacred the Autobot Senate and freed the prisoners, signaling revolution and anarchy in Kaon. Megatron eventually killed Prime one-on-one as a symbol, and the Decepticons were forged.

In this continuity, there are a number of differences to the traditional norm. The Decepticons are no longer based on Cybertron due to its devastation by rogue scientist Thunderwing. Instead, they have spread out through the galaxy, using their transforming abilities to infiltrate target worlds (such as Earth or Nebulos) disguised as local vehicles and equipment. They then use their modes to create conflict, leading to complete anarchy as the world's political and social systems collapse. The Decepticons then move in and harvest the world's raw resources. How the world is pacified is unknown, although the The Transformers: Spotlight issue on Sixshot revealed he is often sent in to complete the destruction of entire worlds. As in other continuities, Megatron is in command, and thus far has had to deal with the rebellion of Starscream's Earth infiltration unit and the reemergence of Thunderwing, as well as moving on to Earth in order to harvest the extremely powerful Energon variant Ore-13, something which promises to give the Decepticons a significant edge over the Autobots.

 


110. The Champions (26 points)

champions.jpgThe Champions debuted with great fanfare as the first major super-hero team in Los Angeles, but for all its money, power and promise, the eclectically mismatched group lacked unity and direction, and its history was short. The team began with an attack on the UCLA campus by the rogue Olympian god Pluto, who sought to force his fellow gods Hercules and Venus (both UCLA lecturers at the time) into marrying Hippolyta and Ares as part of a plot to overthrow Olympian monarch Zeus. Hercules and Venus resisted with the aid of super-spy Black Widow, demon cyclist Ghost Rider, and mutant heroes Angel and Iceman. Pluto's plot was foiled, and while Venus chose to return to Olympus, the other five heroes decided to remain together as a new super-team, the Champions.

The driving force behind the group was the wealthy Angel, who created a "Champions, Inc." corporation to finance and administer the team with the aid of business manager Richard Fenster and lawyer Emerson Bale. The idealistic Angel envisioned the group as "heroes for the common man" who would be more accessible to the general public, though in practice they fought the same sorts of exotic menaces other super-teams did, such as mad scientist Dr. Edward Lansing's Super-Soldiers and the armored maniac Rampage (embittered engineer Stuart Clarke). Angel nominated Black Widow as team leader, a choice readily endorsed by her fellow Champions, and her old friend Ivan Petrovich often assisted the group. Ivan's estranged son Yuri would attack the Champions as the Crimson Dynamo alongside Griffin, Rampage, and fellow Russian super-agents Darkstar and Titanium Man (Boris Bullski); but the heroes triumphed with the aid of Darkstar, who switched sides and defected to join the Champions.

The size-changing Black Goliath became an unofficial part-time Champion, serving as the team's technical adviser as scientist Bill Foster; he and other Stark Industries technicians helped design the team's high-tech skyscraper headquarters (the Champions Building) and a custom aircraft (the Champscraft), both of which proved defective due to faulty materials used by corrupt contractors. Despite their technical difficulties, the Champions battled menaces such as Shadow Realm's Warlord Kaa, Stilt-Man, the null-life bomb, the Possessor (Kamo Tharnn), Swarm, Godzilla, M.O.D.O.K., A.I.M., Typhon, Magneto, Doctor Doom, the Sentinels, Vanisher, Blob, Lorelei (Savage Land), and Unus, sometimes alongside allies such as Hawkeye, Two-Gun Kid, the Stranger, S.H.I.E.L.D., Iron Man, Beast, and the Avengers.

In the end, though, the Champions were their own worst enemy: Ghost Rider and Darkstar were never fully accepted by the others, Iceman was a reluctant super-hero, Hercules was a loose cannon, and internal tensions fueled near-constant bickering until the Champions finally disbanded. Everyone quit except Angel, who closed up shop, liquidating the group's assets; he and Black Widow later donated a repaired Champscraft to the Thunderbolts super-team. Angel and Iceman would remain friends and frequent partners, serving together in several other super-groups, some of which Angel financed. Black Widow and Hercules became lovers but soon drifted apart, though they have served together with the Avengers. Darkstar returned to Russia before her apparent death in action with the X-Corporation. The five founding Champions recently reunited to help X-Force thwart a new scheme by Pluto, but parted amicably after Pluto's defeat. Whether the Champions will ever make a lasting comeback remains to be seen.

 

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