Saturday, April 21, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Comics: we give a crap!"

Your Top Teams part 38

Written by Chris Mitchell on Wednesday, July 01 2009 and posted in Features
Now who will make the Top 75??? None of these folks.




80. The Howling Commandos (36 points)

howlingcommandos.jpg"So I love war storied, wanna fight about it? This team also owes some of their success to Winston Churchill who incorporated them into the British Army. The team itself is awesome though, how can you not love Nick Fury, a circus strongman (Dum Dum), the first integrated Black soldier in the US army (Gabe), the first Jewish-American hero (Izzy), an actor (Dino), a Nazi defector (Koenig) and a Brit who uses an umbrella as a weapon (Pinky) fighting Nazis together. I fully expect a number of them to be making s comebacks in Hickman’s excellent Secret Warriors series"

The Howling Commandos of World War II, a Ranger squadron of the United States Army, was under the field leadership of Sergeant Nicholas Joseph Fury, with Captain Samuel Sawyer, nicknamed Happy Sam, serving as its Commanding Officer. It earned its nickname during a mission in Italy when its members commandeered a sound truck and let out a cry of "Wah-HOOOOOOOOO" to scare off the enemy.

Known members of the World War II Howling Commandos were Sergeant Nicholas Joseph "Nick" Fury; Captain Samuel Sawyer, nicknamed Happy Sam; Corporal Timothy Dugan, nicknamed Dum-Dum and noted for wearing a bowler hat at nearly all times on duty; Percival Pinkerton, nicknamed Pinky, who had joined the unit from the British Special Operations Executive; Robert Ralston, nicknamed Rebel; Dino Manelli; Gabriel Jones, whose brother Fred had been a founding member but was disabled in action; Isadore Cohen, nicknamed Izzy; and Eric Koenig, who had once been a member of the German Wehrmacht but had left it to join the Allied cause after realizing what and who Adolf Hitler really was.

King George V Windsor of Great Britain bestowed the honor upon the "Howlers" of becoming the first United States Army Ranger squadron to become Commandos in His Majesty's Army.

After the war, Fury, Dugan, and certain other former Howling Commandos became active in international intelligence, and eventually came to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., then the Supreme Headquarters of the International Espionage and Law-Enforcement Division, whose Public Director Fury became.

I can go more into the history of SHEILD, but I will do that later when we actually have the S.H.E.I.L.D. entry on the list.


79. Super Buddies (37 points)

superbuddies.jpg"They're fun. They're awesome. And they deserve better than whatever DC has done to those characters."


Most of the Super Buddies recruited by Maxwell Lord and his robot sidekick L-Ron were former members of Justice League International when Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire worked on the series: Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Ralph Dibny (The Elongated Man) and his wife Sue, and Captain Atom. A seventh former member, Captain Marvel, was recruited by L-Ron, but he turned down the offer. His sister, Mary Marvel joined in his place.

The Super Buddies do not and cannot get along: Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, formerly the self-proclaimed "Abbott and Costello" of the JLI, now find themselves constantly arguing and fruitlessly attempting to prove to one another that they've matured. No one takes Booster or Ralph Dibny seriously, though not without good reason. Fire runs a website, "", where she makes sensual pictures of herself available for (paid) download, and cannot get along with the polite and innocent Mary Marvel, whom Fire dubs "Mary Poppins". In addition, Fire convinces Sue that Ralph rates as "a four" (out of ten), giving Ralph an inferiority complex as a result. Captain Atom has no idea why he even joined the team, and is constantly tense and frustrated around the others. To top it all off, Maxwell Lord plans to fully exploit his employees' images; he sets their headquarters up in a Queens, New York strip mall storefront, making the team available for contact through a 1-800 number and producing a Super Friends-esque television commercial for the Super Buddies.

This new team successfully defeats the E-Street Bloodsuckers, a gang of Harvard dropout super-powered hoodlums, thanks to a well-timed slap from Mary. The Super Buddies are then kidnapped during their first team meeting by Roulette, who brainwashes them into serving as gladiators in her intergalactic meta-human arena. Mary Marvel and Captain Atom are pitted against each other, and the mind-controlled Mary nearly beats Atom and Fire to death before she overcomes her programming and the team is released from captivity.

While Beetle and Booster rush a seriously injured (and radioactively leaking) Captain Atom to a hospital, the others find that Manga Khan, L-Ron's former master, has come to Earth to reclaim the robot. Khan offers to trade G'Nort, another former JLI member, for possession of L-Ron, but when this offer is refused, and Booster accidentally knocks over several rows of Khan's sentries, Khan declares war on Earth. Only by the intervention of the real Justice League (who have been spying on the Super Buddies in anticipation of such a faux pas) is an intergalactic crisis avoided.

A six-issue sequel to Formerly Known as the Justice League, I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, was produced by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire in 2004, but its publication was held off until 2005, after DC's Identity Crisis, in which a pregnant Sue Dibny is killed, had run its course. A running gag in the miniseries, involving whether or not Sue is pregnant, seems somewhat morbid as a result of the delay.

I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, published in JLA Classified #4–9, finds the Super Buddies settling into their roles as super heroes for hire. The Elongated Man is bragging about Sue allegedly being pregnant, when she is in fact not pregnant. Fire and Mary Batson (Mary Marvel's sixteen-year-old alter ego) become roommates, much to the distaste of Mary's brother Billy Batson (aka Captain Marvel). Captain Atom has quit the team because of the incident with Mary from the previous miniseries and sued Maxwell Lord, leading him to attempt to recruit both Power Girl and Guy Gardner to join the team. Gardner causes several problems of his own: he is opening a bar next door to the Super Buddies' strip mall headquarters, and he takes delight in sexually harassing Fire, Sue, Power Girl, and Mary Marvel.

While visiting the Justice Society of America headquarters, Booster Gold begins messing around with Doctor Fate's talisman and inadvertently wishes the team to Hell. From the depths of Hell, Fire calls Sue for help (on her cell phone, which is then accidentally destroyed), and Power Girl and Guy Gardner are recruited to follow the team to Hell and save them. While in Hell, the Super Buddies work at a labyrinthine version of Big Belly Burger called the "Beelze Burger" fast food restaurant, with the demons using Mary Batson as a hostage, since her magic word - "Shazam!"-- does not work in Hell (since the wizard Shazam himself is not present in that plane of existence). Ralph's stretching abilities allow him to help foil a plan of torture the demons come up with. To the amazement of both Fire and Gardner, the Super Buddies discover Ice, another former JLI member, among the denizens of Hell. Sickened by Fire and Gardner's displays of sorrow, the demons free the group, allowing them to take Ice with them, as long as they don't look back on their way out (a direct allusion to the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice and Lot's wife). Fire accidentally looks back, resulting in Ice's immediate return to the afterlife (whether heaven or hell is left ambiguous) instead of returning to life. It is implied, however, that Ice will be sent to Valhalla.

The group makes its way out of Hell, but soon find themselves trapped in an alternate universe populated by a team of sinister versions of themselves and their fellow heroes called the "Power Posse". This team is a group-for-hire who operated out of a strip club owned by a sleazy, or sleazier, version of Maxwell Lord and his moll, a degraded and somewhat dimwitted version of Sue Dibny. The Power Posse consisted of a giant-sized G'nort who began a destructive rampage, sado-masochistic incestuous versions of Captain Marvel (who talked with a lisp) and Mary Marvel, who called herself Mistress Mary, a murderous Ice, now a stripper answering to Tiffany, an even stupider version of Booster working as a bartender, and bouncer Metamorpho. The Fire of this universe had been killed by Tiffany and Sue had divorced Ralph. Doctor Fate finally brings the team back to their correct dimension after they have to do battle with doppelgangers of themselves. Most of the battle takes place on the hairy, insect-infested body of G'Nort.

The two series, while on the surface seemed mere parody and humor, contained foreshadowing of what was to come for the characters involved. Blue Beetle made the point of saying that he would be dead if he joined the team, and Mary Marvel's evil doppelgänger closely resembling the current dark Mary Marvel.

Then Infinite Crisis happened and ruined EVERYTHING!!


78. Captain America and Falcon (37 points)

captainamerica-falcon.jpgSam started out as a hoodlum in New York City. On his way to Rio de Janeiro, his plane crashed and he was found by the Red Skull. Using the Cosmic Cube which gave Sam telepathic communication to birds, the Red Skull turned him into the ideal fighter that will take on Captain America, but Cap was able to snap Sam out the Skull's control and together they defeated the Red Skull.

During the Avengers Disassembled storyline, where the Scarlet Witch became insane, she reverted Sam back into the "Snap" persona. While he still continued to team-up with Captain America, his attitude become more of a nuisance and eventually Cap and Sam parted ways. Later, Captain America saved Falcon from being killed by taking the bullet, but when he was told that he was assassinated by the Anti-Cap, Cap looked for him but found only his costume.

In the events of the Civil War, Falcon joined up with Captain America's Secret Avengers. When Cap was incapacitated during a fight between the Avengers and the Pro-Registration Heroes, Sam took charge while Steve recovered. When Cap was assassinated, Falcon was one of the pallbearers in his funeral. After that, S.H.I.E.L.D. assigned him and Sharon Carter to investigate the assassination by locating Bucky Barnes (who was still the Winter Soldier at the time) and tracking down the Red Skull (the primary suspect to the death of Captain America).

These two even had series out for a while. The 2004 Captain America and the Falcon series' fourteen issues were all written by Christopher Priest, with the artwork duties passing to a number of different groupings. The artists with the two most prominent runs were Bart Sears and Joe Bennett.

The idea to begin publishing Captain America and the Falcon began with Marvel editor Tom Brevoort. Captain America's solo title had been restarted in 2002 as a part of the Marvel Knights imprint. This resulted in a situation in which the character's then current solo stories were no longer taking place within Marvel's main shared universe, the Marvel Universe. Captain America and the Falcon was meant to fill the gap created by this situation

The death blow for Captain America and the Falcon came when Captain America's solo series was once again relaunched in 2005. This new solo series featured stories once again set in the Marvel Universe. With sales dropping and the series very reason for existing now gone, Marvel canceled Captain America and the Falcon with issue #14.


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