Sunday, April 22, 2018 • Afternoon Edition • "Comics: we give a crap!"

Your Top Teams part 40

Written by Chris Mitchell on Wednesday, July 01 2009 and posted in Features
Now that we are in the Top 75, I guess the question is who will make the Top 50? Dun dun dunnnnnn....




74. Planetary (38 points)
"X-Files meets the Authority meets Shield. Kind of. It was cool."

I have yet to pick these up, and I so want too after what I heard in the Top Modern List. I may try to pick up the first volume tomorrow. We shall see what I do. On that note...

Elijah Snow started writing guides to his explorations of the strange in the 1930s. Reflecting the grand scope of his travels, they were called Planetary Guides, and cataloged nearly every amazing, strange, horrifying or unbelievable thing he encountered in his travels through the world. The guides were published once a year, and were indispensable for those who suffered from greater-than-average wanderlust.

As late as the 1990s, Snow had changed Planetary from a one-man project into a global organization, with offices around the world, reflecting its name. The main office was in New York City, and it was there that the three-person field team was based.

The original members of the field team were Jakita Wagner, Ambrose Chase and The Drummer. Together they explored the world and its mysteries until they caught the attention of The Four.

The Four were a group of meta-humans working to prepare the Earth for takeover from a parallel universe. Part of this task was eliminating all possible threats. All magic, helpful aliens, super-technology and meta-humans were to be hunted down and eliminated. Anything that might provide humanity with an advance was wiped out. They had been working in the shadows since 1961, and by 1995 perceived Planetary as a threat to their mission.

During an invasion of Planetary's Antarctic base, they captured Elijah Snow and threatened him with the death of his team if he did not subject himself to blocks on his memory. Snow agreed, and Randall Dowling eliminated nearly all of his memories of The Four, Planetary or his friends. While he was gone, Ambrose Chase led the field team, but was killed in 1997.

Soon after, Jakita Wagner found Snow again and tried to bring him back into the group. His memory blocks were strong, however, and it took some very careful work to get them to collapse. Once they did, and his memories started to return, Snow began an intricate plot to stop The Four and their mission.

Planetary's main purpose is also Elijah Snow's purpose - to find the hidden archeology of the world, all of its true wonders, and to save them.


73. Secret Six (38 points - 1 first place slot)

"Why on earth hasn't anyone mentioned this team yet? Gail Simone's Secret Six. Duh. Must I even describe how good this book is, and how great this team is? How they combine ruminations on love, death, and morality with lots and lots of violence and sex? How Ragdoll might be the single greatest character ever? How Simone rescued Catman from the litter box? How splendiferously awesome Deadshot is? Seriously, this is number 1."

"Of all the Infinite Crisis lead-in mini series, Villains United was the one I remember being most on the fence about. By the second issue it had become the most anticipated. Simone's characterization of these D-listers is amazing; never would I have thought I'd be a Catman fan after his appearance in Green Arrow. And the art has only gotten better; Eaglesham was great, but Nicola Scott has made the series and the look of this team all hers."

"This is a great book. A Villain team who seems to at least work well together but no way do they trust each other."

Lex Luthor, under the guise of Mockingbird, brought together a team of six criminals to combat the operations of the Secret Society of Super-Villains being run by an impostor Lex Luthor. These original six were Scandal Savage, Deadshot, Cheshire, Fiddler, Ragdoll and Parademon. However, the Fiddler failed to perform in an early mission and was deemed a liability, so Deadshot executed him. Catman was brought on to replace him after Mockingbird had Deadshot execute Catman's pack of lions and pin it on Deathstroke. Mockingbird similarly used coercion or blackmail to keep the rest of the Six in line.

The Secret Six's existence alone was enough to make them a major target of the Secret Society. It made the organization look weak to have such a band of deifiers out there, so the Secret Six were ambushed and captured. The Crime Doctor immediately began torturing them for information on the identity of Mockingbird, but none of the Six actually knew. Catman led a successful escape, and they left most of their captors alive. Except for Hyena, who they killed as a message to the rest. The Six then resumed their actions against the Secret Society, hitting one of their facilities and freeing Firestorm, who was being used as a power source. Also, they began trying to investigate the true identity of Mockingbird under his radar. This attempt failed. He was aware of their attempt to learn about him and promised that one of them would be punished. Catman made a counter offer, asking that they be allowed to make a suicide run against the Secret Society. Since they would either die or succeed, it would suit Mockingbird either way. He agreed.

The Six never got far. Their location was betrayed by Cheshire, who felt Mockingbird had nothing over her head now that she was pregnant with Catman's child. However, she was shot with a sniper rifle by Deathstroke, because the Secret Society had no use for traitors. The siege of the Six's hideout began with dozens of super villains attacking. During the fight, the Six were aided by Knockout, who had secretly been a mole in the Secret Society and Scandal's lover. Parademon sacrificed himself by detonating ten Mother Boxes to give the others a chance at escape. When it came right down to it, the impostor Lex Luthor ordered off the attack due to being threatened by Vandal Savage. And Mockingbird had some final words for Scandal, revealing that he was lying the whole time and never had plans to kill any of their families.

The remains of the Secret Six decided to stay together as a mercenary group, but they knew the Secret Society would still be a problem for them. They investigated what the organization had planned next, realizing it was an all-out attack on the heroes in Metropolis. In the end, the Six chose not to get involved. That was the Justice League's problem, and it didn't have to be theirs.

After Salvation Run, the band was put back together again. Bane, a teammate of Deadshot's from Suicide Squad and a fellow inmate from the prison planet, joined up with Scandal, Deadshot, Catman and Ragdoll. They took a job from an unknown employer to retrieve a card that was allegedly a genuine "Get out of Hell" free card from Neron and the thief who had stolen it, Tarantula. Both were to be brought to Gotham City. The Six quickly discovered that they had been marked for death with a very high bounty on each of their heads, as if having the card alone wasn't enough for nearly ever criminal in the world to come gunning for them. Mainly, they were pursued by Junior, a disturbingly evil villain that seemed to scare everyone. They picked up their sixth member, Jeannette, along the way to Gotham City with their two packages.

Having Neron's card began to create divisions among the Six, specifically between Scandal and Catman. It seemed more and more likely that they were going to kill each other to keep the card, but it was Deadshot who made the move. He shot Jeannette and Scandal, hit Catman with a car and ran over Ragdoll, taking a near dead Bane, the card and Tarantula on the final stretch to Gotham City. He said he wanted the card for himself, but it seemed more likely that he was completing the job on his own to spare the rest a likely suicide run to the end. Despite the attempt, the rest of the Six caught up to him on the bridge leading into Gotham City where they were all ambushed by an army of meta-criminals. Mad Hatter, who was their employer on this job, watched to see his vengeance on the Secret Six play out. Soon, Junior arrived to retrieve her card, but Tarantula leapt on her, saying she had the card. Both women where destroyed in an onslaught of attacks from the assembled meta-criminals. With no card and no one left to pay a bounty, the Secret Six were left alone. None of them realized Scandal still had the card.


72. Birds of Prey (38 points - 1 first place slot)

I loved this book. I loved it when Dixon was writing it, it was all wall to wall action with a great sex appeal to it. Then, when Simone took over, it kicked it up a notch big time. This book was always first to read for me. Always. So much OMG moments in every issue. And hell, she brought my Ice back to the DCU. How the hell can I not love Simone for that? Ice is one of my fav. characters in comics, I know, shut up but I love her. McKeever’s run was ok, it was nowhere near the level of Simone, and Bedard’s was just meh. It’s a shame this title died for the new Sirens of Gotham or whatever the hell it is. Who know, maybe one day it will be back, my fingers are crossed.

Barbara Gordon, formerly known as Batgirl is wheelchair-bound following an attack by the Joker Batman: The Killing Joke. Not one to retire gracefully, she began a new career as an all-inclusive information resource to the superhero community, using the name Oracle. Her first agent, Power Girl, left the team after a mission went awry and innocent civilians were killed. Her next agent, Black Canary (Dinah Lance defined the term and it’s modus of operation, but left for more personal reasons.

Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress and a former Batgirl, now serves as the teams ad hoc leader, while other members are recruited as specific skills are needed. Initially headquartered in Gotham City, the team eventually relocates to Metropolis, further expanding the team with the addition of Lady Blackhawk, a lost-in-time crime fighter from the 1940’s who serves as both pilot and chauffer. As with other superhero teams the roster of the Birds of Prey has fluctuated over its hundred-plus issue history. The founding membership stayed static up until issue #99, in which Black Canary announced her departure from the team. In issue #100 she discusses her reasons for her departure.


71. COBRA (38 points - 3 first place slots)
"If any group deserves to be #1 it's this one YOU FOOLS!! No other evil twisted terrorist organization can compare to Cobra. From its diverse treacherous chain of command to its leadership being a dude named Cobra Commander.

Just what hasn't Cobra done to try and rule the world only to be stopped by those damn G.I. Joes!!

Not to mention it was always a wild ride for this group given it's leadership floundered when Cobra Commander was dethroned by Serpentor only for Cobra Commander II to take it back for him only to lose it to Destro and then the original Cobra Commander returning and then wipes out all enemies to his command (namely a ton of characters who weren't getting any new ones via the toy line yet). But it's always under Cobra Commander's rule when Cobra is at its most lethal. So in conclusion…


Oh and Bubba you better damn put the opening movie video when they're listed."

Three first place slots? Really? REALLY? Wow.

The Cobra Organization had its beginnings when the financially ruined man who would become Cobra Commander settled in an American town called Springfield. Blaming the federal government and big business for his misfortunes, he conceived a plan of forming a secret organization to acquire wealth and power and thereby wreak his revenge on the world. Springfield was a perfect place to start the organization as the town itself had fallen on hard times and the population was disillusioned. Soon, the organization was growing with the entry of like-minded individuals from all over the country. Much of Cobra’s early funding came from pyramid schemes and other semi-legitimate business plans initiated by Cobra Commander. In a very short time, Cobra evolved from a business into a paramilitary movement. Motivated by greed and power, the group soon expanded all over the country, operating in secret, engaging in terrorism to achieve their objectives. By the time the U.S. government recognized Cobra as a threat, the organization had already gained footholds as a powerful private army and terrorist organization around the world.

Many of its members (especially those in the elite Crimson Guard units) lead seemingly normal lives, supporting Cobra covertly. Cobra attracted members with the promise of fast financial rewards and power for those willing to be ruthless enough. It also offered a world of order and strength, with its 'model community' of Springfield being one example of the Cobra ideal. Cobra would eventually achieve a temporary legitimacy by the artificial creation of Cobra Island, which was recognized as an independent nation by the international community, much to the dismay of G.I. Joe. This allowed Cobra to have diplomatic facilities in the United States via the Cobra consulate.

During Serpentor's tenure Cobra's primary source of income came from arms sales to Third World nations. This led to a clash with Destro's MARS Organization, which provided Cobra with much of its arms. For a comic series predominantly aimed at children, Cobra was a relatively realistic depiction of a highly successful terrorist organization. With its strong symbolic imagery, charismatic and ruthless leader and fanatical hierarchy, the fictional group is similar to other fictional terrorist and fascist organizations such as SPECTRE of James Bond fame and the similar Marvel Universe organization HYDRA.

Larry Hama depicted Cobra troops as being motivated by money, power, and a sense of brotherhood. However, they are not fanatical to the point where they would fight to the last man and to the last breathe. If all is lost, they would willingly surrender or run away had they the chance, something their leaders rarely let them do. The brutal training depicted in the file cards of the troopers are very much characteristic of ritualistic hazing.


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