Monday, June 18, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Comics: we give a crap!"

your Top Teams part 32

Written by Chris Mitchell on Monday, June 29 2009 and posted in Features
1topteams.jpgWelcome to the Top 100 teams folks, from this point on there will be controversy and eyerolls and swears and mocking and gloating and me laughing at it all. Why? Because up to this point, there were really just med to ok teams. But all of you, who were bored with the posts before, shouldn't be now because all the Top Teams will be appearing from this point on. Who have we yet to see? The Current X-Factor and X-Force. We have yet to see the Big 7 JLA and Meltzer’s JLA either. We still have all of the New Avengers lineups as well as Dark Avengers, and which Thunderbolts lineup will reign supreme? The Original? The Ellis-bolts? Or the one lead by the bow-wielding douche bag? Only one way to find out. Keep reading the list.





100. The Dream Reborn X-Men (27 points)

This is a great lineup, we have Nightcrawler and Colossus my two favorite X-Men. Then we have Kitty, Wolverine and Storm. Seriously, with these three how can you go wrong, right? Then you have Marrow.....wait, what!?!? How can my dream be reborn with a crapass character like that?? Specifically cancelled Excalibur so Kurt, Peter, and Kitty can come over to this team and you welcome them home with Marrow? Jebus.

This was all during the Kelly/Seagle era of the X-Men. Joe Kelly wrote the X-men while Seagle wrote the sister title Uncanny, right after Lobdell left. What did this era bring us? Cecila Reyes, a character that gets much love for I dunno why, we also have Maggot who Kelly debuted in his fist issue. Maggot. Lovely. We had the search for Xavier and the Magneto war between Magneto and Joseph, I think. I was outta comics at this point in time.

Both Seagle and Kelly tenure were cut short when the creators quit, blaming constant editorial interference. Kelly's last issue was #85 in 1999.

99. The Brotherhood of Freedom Force (28 points)

"Mutant mercs workin’ for the 'gummint' as dear ole Blob would say. Mystique gets Val Cooper to pardon her guys. They do their paymasters bidding and show heroic character in a bunch of previously one dimensional villains. Mystique had lesbian lover Destiny. Pyro wrote best selling romance novels. Avalanche tended to a garden. Blob? Blob ate things. Stonewall, Crimson Commando and Silver Sabre were tremendous additions that fleshed out a fun team.

And any team that can boast Spiral and (Arachne) Spider-Woman? Simply awesome. Oh, for their first gig, they talked Magneto into surrendering. The X-Men never pulled that off."

Freedom Force started out as an incarnation of the terrorist organization the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. When mutant and human relationships worsened, the team's leader Mystique decided that it had become too dangerous for them to continue their current path. She offered the services of the Brotherhood to Valerie Cooper, a United States National Security Advisor in exchange for full pardons. Cooper saw a great opportunity in Mystique's offer, but wanted the team to prove their loyalty first by arresting the original Brotherhood's founder Magneto. The team accepted, was renamed Freedom Force and the sorceress Spiral was added to the team. They attacked Magneto at a remembrance ceremony for the Holocaust and Magneto's new allies, the X-Men opposed them. In the end, Freedom Force was successful when Magneto turned himself in.

On their next mission, the second Spider-Woman was added to the team's line-up. When the Avengers were framed by their embittered former member Quicksilver, the U.S. government sent Freedom Force to arrest the Avengers, which they did successfully. Spider-Woman felt guilty for these actions, freed the Avengers from jail, and left Freedom Force, becoming a fugitive. Another three members were added; Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Silver Sabre had been World War II veterans who had decided to take justice into their own hands to hunt down and execute criminals. When they erroneously targeted Storm, they were defeated and turned themselves in. It was thought that the former heroes could be redeemed and they were offered a position on Freedom Force.

Over the next few months, they were given many unpopular tasks, such as enforcing the Mutant Registration Act and arresting the outlaw X-Men, they also acted heroically to save the people of Dallas during the "The Fall of the Mutants" storyline. Freedom Force had its own dark secrets though, secrets that would make them clash with X-Factor and the New Mutants; these "secrets" largely revolved around indications that Freedom Force was helping the U.S. government forcibly recruit young mutants and potential mutants for training and eventual government service. During this time Spiral left the team for her own reasons. Freedom Force also helped train John Walker to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America and assisted Walker in apprehending the mutant terrorists known as the Resistants. Walker would later become the hero known as the U.S. Agent.

The team slowly began to fall apart after the mutant Forge asked them to protect Muir Island against the Reavers. During this mission Stonewall and Destiny were killed, and Avalanche was severely injured. The death of Destiny especially hit Mystique hard and the team would fight the Avengers without her leadership. Shortly after the battle at Muir Island, Val Cooper was possessed by the Shadow King and ordered to kill Mystique; however, Cooper resisted the Shadow King's influence and seriously injured herself rather than commit murder. Mystique then assumed Val's identity, passing Cooper's injured body as her own corpse, and later aided the X-Men and X-Factor in the Shadow King's defeat as a "mole" among the villain's servants.

Without Mystique, the remaining members of Freedom Force were sent on a disastrous mission in Kuwait during the first Gulf War, in which Super Sabre was killed and Crimson Commando was severely injured. To save Commando's life, Avalanche left Pyro and the Blob stranded in enemy territory. This mission would mean the end of Freedom Force, though Avalanche and Commando, now a cyborg, would continue to work for the US government, apparently as covert operations agents. The team was soon replaced by a government team called X-Factor, also under Val Cooper's supervision that will appear later on the list.

98. The Dynamic Duo (28 point)

Marvel Zombies are gonna have a field day with this one, aren't you? Honestly, I thought these two would be top "duo" on this list, if not, in the Top 3 duo and would appear in the Top 50 somewhere. But wow, this is sad, not as sad as the Trinity placement, but sad nonetheless.

About a year after Batman's debut, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced Robin the Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 1940. The name "Robin the Boy Wonder" and the medieval look of the original costume were inspired by The Adventures of Robin Hood. Robinson noted he "came up with Robin because The Adventures of Robin Hood were boyhood favorites of mine. I had been given a Robin Hood book illustrated by N. C. Wyeth and that's what I quickly sketched out when I suggested the name Robin, which they seemed to like, and then showed them the costume. And if you look at it, it's Wyeth's costume, from my memory, because I didn't have the book to look at." There have been several "Robins" that tagged along with Batman over the years, I will give you a run down on a few of them.

Dick Grayson was the first Robin, He was taken in by multi-billionaire Bruce Wayne after his parents, a circus act called the Flying Grayson’s where killed. Bruce brought Dick into the frame because he could feel himself slipping and he might cross the line. Dick’s training was near abusive. Bruce trained Dick in hand to hand, criminology, leadership and how to be a detective to name a few. Dick trained for years and when he was around 13 years old he became Robin, the boy wonder and Batman’s sidekick. However, as he grew up, graduated from high school and enrolled in Hudson University, Robin continued his career as the Teen Wonder, from 1970 into the early 1980s. The character was re-discovered by a new generation of fans during the 1980s because of the success of The New Teen Titans, in which he left Batman's shadow entirely to assume the identity of Nightwing. Recently, after Wayne's apparent death, Grayson has taken over the mantle of Batman.

DC was initially hesitant to turn Grayson into Nightwing and to replace him with a new Robin. To minimize the change, they made the new Robin, Jason Peter Todd, who first appeared in Batman #357 (1983), similar to a young Grayson. Like Dick Grayson, Jason Todd was the son of circus acrobats murdered by a criminal (this time the Batman adversary Killer Croc), and then adopted by Bruce Wayne. In this incarnation, he was red-haired and unfailingly cheerful, and wore his circus costume to fight crime until Dick Grayson presented him with a Robin suit of his own. At that point, he dyed his hair black. After the mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, much of DC Comics continuity was redone. Dick Grayson's origin, years with Batman and growth into Nightwing remained mostly unchanged, but Todd's character was completely revised. He was now a black-haired street orphan who first encountered Batman when he attempted to steal tires from the Batmobile. Batman saw to it that he was placed in a school for troubled youths. Weeks later, after Dick Grayson became Nightwing and Todd proved his crime-fighting worth by helping Batman catch a gang of robbers, Batman offered Todd the position as Robin. Readers never truly bonded with Todd and, in 1988, DC made the controversial decision to poll readers using a 1-900 number as to whether or not Todd should be killed. The event received more attention in the mainstream media than any other comic book event before it. Some outside the comic book community mistakenly thought that DC was considering killing Dick Grayson, not realizing he had been replaced. Readers voted "yes" by a very small margin (5,343 to 5,271) and Todd was subsequently murdered by the Joker in the A Death in the Family storyline, in which the psychopath beat the youngster severely with a crowbar, and left him in a warehouse rigged with a bomb. Jason Todd later returned as the new Red Hood (the original alias of the Joker) when he was brought back to life due to reality being altered. A year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Todd appeared posing as Nightwing, but subsequently returned to his Red Hood persona. On the Countdown to Final Crisis series, he briefly returned to his Robin persona as the Red Robin after meeting an Earth 51 version of Batman during his journey throughout the multiverse with Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and a Monitor. After returning to his own dimension, he abandoned the Red Robin mantle and returned to his role as a ruthless vigilante. After Bruce Wayne's apparent death during Final Crisis, Todd attempted to usurp the Mantle of the Bat by battling Tim Drake and Dick Grayson during Battle for the Cowl as a brutal and murderous version of Batman. He ended Tim Drake's run as Robin after he severely injured him, but was later defeated by Grayson who assumed the role of Batman with his former mentor's biological son, Damian, as the new Robin.

DC Comics was left uncertain about readers' decision to kill Todd, wondering if they felt Batman should be a lone vigilante, disliked Todd specifically, or just wanted to see if DC would actually kill the character. In addition, the 1989 Batman film did not feature Robin, giving DC a reason to keep him out of the comic book series for marketing purposes. Regardless, Batman editor Denny O'Neil introduced a new Robin. The third Robin, Timothy Drake, first appeared in a flashback in Batman #436 (1989). Drake was a young boy who had followed the adventures of Batman and Robin ever since witnessing the murder of the Flying Graysons. This served to connect Drake to Grayson, establishing a link that DC hoped would help readers accept this new Robin. Drake surmised their secret identities with his amateur but instinctive detective skills and followed their careers closely. Tim has stated on numerous occasions that he wished to become "The World's Greatest Detective," a title currently belonging to the Dark Knight. Batman himself has stated that one day Drake will surpass him as a detective. Despite his combat skills not being the match of Grayson's (although there are some similarity in that they are far superior to Todd's when he was Robin), his detective skills more than make up for this. In addition, Batman supplied him with a new armored costume which included full leggings to give Drake improved protection. Tim was introduced as a happy medium between the first two Robins in that, from the readers' point of view, he is neither overly well behaved like Dick Grayson nor overly impudent like Jason Todd. Drake is the first Robin to have his own comic book series, where he fought crime on his own. Tim Drake, as Robin, co-founded the superhero team Young Justice in the absence of the Teen Titans of Dick Grayson's generation, but would then later re-form the Teen Titans after Young Justice disbanded following a massive sidekick crossover during which Donna Troy was killed. Tim served as leader of this version of the Titans until 2009, at which point he quit due to the events of Batman R.I.P. Following the events of Infinite Crisis and 52 Tim altered the colors of his Robin costume to simply red and black in tribute to his best friend, Superboy, who died fighting Earth-Prime Superboy. After Batman's disappearance following the events of Final Crisis and Battle for the Cowl, Tim is now under the identity of Red Robin.

There was also Spoiler and Damien who have been part of this team, but no one cares about them, right?

97. HYDRA (28 points)

Their organization takes its name from the many-headed serpent-like monster of Greek mythology, the Lernaean Hydra, whose venom was lethal and who was known for its ability to grow two heads immediately to replace any head that was severed. (The Lernaean Hydra was slain by Hercules as one of his legendary Twelve Labors.) HYDRA prides itself on its ability to regroup and rebuild itself, allegedly mightier than before after any major defeat just like its namesake. Indeed, the organization has now endured for over four decades.

As revealed in Secret Warriors, the current leaders of HYDRA known as the Ruling Council are Kraken, Madame Hydra, The Gorgon, Viper, The Hive, and Baron Von Strucker.

Baron Strucker along with Madame Hydra, Viper, the Hive and Kraken have resurfaced and have been raiding and destroying several significant S.H.I.E.L.D. shadow facilities. The Hive staged a raid on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s largest hidden weapons factory called Barracuda. With the assault of the second Twilight Dawn by HYDRA’s leaders, Baron Von Strucker forced the high priests to use the remaining stone fragments to resurrect The Gorgon, as the final member of his new Ruling Council.


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