Saturday, December 20, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Shit happens here."

Your Top Teams part 45

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, July 03 2009 and posted in Features
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I like this group.

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58. Batman and Alfred (49 points)

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I am just gonna give you the history of Alfred. Cool? Cool.

During the Golden Age, Alfred was this bumbling, fat, amateur detective. He always tries to help Batman but ends up doing something stupid or messing up the case. However, in the 1943 Batman serial William Austin played Alfred as a thin man, with a mustache and spoke in a dignified English accent. So the writers wrote a story where they sent Alfred to a health spa where he lost his weight and grew a mustache. Alfred's origin was also in a jumble or mix up, and as Denny O'Neil once stated "continuity wasn't a problem those days, the Batman I did and the one Julius Schwartz were very different" (this was after the golden age). Alfred had two origins: One was that he raised Bruce Wayne since his parents were murdered and the second was that he came into Bruce Wayne's life after Bruce had adopted Dick. Alfred lived with the Wayne’s for months without knowing they were Batman and Robin. One night, Alfred heard a screaming coming from the old Grand father, he opened and discovered the entrance to the Batcave and Dick Grayson as Robin with an injured and unmasked Batman. Dick was yelling for Alfred and he helped Batman back to his full strength (The latter one was used during the Silver Age with the addition of him being an actor and fought in World War 2)

Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams were offered the chance to write Batman and clean him up and in a way bring him back from the dead. O'Neil read up on the old Batman stories and wrote Batman in stories that made him a detective, a brooding and emotionally cracked Batman who hung in the shadows and patrols the streets for crime rather than wait for the Bat-signal. They also had Dick move to college. Batman also moved to his penthouse at Wayne Foundation and created a new Batcave underneath the building.

They tried to remove Batman from being thought to be a homosexual. To do this, they killed off Alfred. How? Batman and Robin were on a mountain when a huge boulder was pushed off to kill them. Alfred pushed Batman and Robin out of the way and he himself got crushed. Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet was used as Alfred's replacement (she first appeared in the Batman tv show). Alfred was later resurrected by a scientist named Dr. Brandon Crawford, Crawford used a regeneration machine and brought Alfred back. However, Alfred's physical appearance changed into a pasty skinned, rock patterned being with a desire to kill Batman and Robin. He now called himself the Outsider and used his telekinetic powers on Zatanna, the Grasshopper Gang and the Batmobile to attack Batman. Batman and the Outsider would later meet and they would fight. Batman discovered it was Alfred and during their fight, the Outsider got pushed into the same regeneration machine and returned to normal as Alfred. Alfred did not remember any of his time as Outsider. He then returned to the Wayne Household as their butler again.

Alfred's history was changed little after the First Crisis. Alfred's real name is Alfred Beagle, during his days as a British Intelligent agent, he changes it to Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred later leaves the government and becomes an actor and a make-up artist. Alfred's mother approved of Alfred's decision of becoming an actor. However, his father wanted to continue the Pennyworth tradition of becoming a butler. Finally, Alfred's father was about to die and Alfred swore that he would continue the family tradition. Alfred left England to serve the Wayne's Family. Upon arriving at the Manor, Thomas Wayne greeted him and as Alfred introduce himself, it is obvious that young Bruce was admiring him. Bruce offered to carry his suitcases but they were too heavy for him.

Some time later, Alfred helps young Bruce after a bully starts bullying him and teaches Bruce to think with his head rather than fists. Alfred was thinking about leaving when Bruce asked him not to go, when the Wayne's were murdered Alfred decided to stay. Alfred raised young Bruce Wayne together with Dr. Leslie Tompkins. Later, Bruce decided to travel abroad and Alfred stayed at Wayne Manor and had a little romance with Dr. Leslie Tompkins.

One night, when Bruce Wayne goes out on his first night, Alfred is fast asleep. He hears a sound and wakes up to follow a trail of blood. He hears the sound of shattering glass and the bell ringing. Bruce was in his chair bleeding and a bat had crashed through the window. Alfred nursed Bruce's wounds. In a story titled 'Waiting in the Wings' Alfred informs Bruce that he will be leaving the Wayne Manor. One night, before Alfred leaves, some of Bruce's friends come to visit him. However, Bruce is already out as Batman. Bruce's friends watch a tv news report, a street gang kidnaps the son of their rival they gather on the roof top with explosives. The roof top is that of the old theater where Bruce saw the Mark Of Zorro before his parents were murdered. Batman battles the crooks while his friends gasp at some of the injuries Batman suffers and Alfred tries to stay in character. Batman saves the boy and hands him over to the police. He says to them: Take care of the boy. Bruce's friends thought it sounded like Bruce but Alfred says that Bruce's voice is half an octave lower. A phone rings and Bruce's friends answer it, it was Bruce who says he can't come because of bad traffic. The guests leave and Alfred faces a critically injured Batman.

The next morning, Alfred calls some of Bruce's friends and speaks in Bruce's voice and tells them he has to go out of town for a while. Alfred tells Bruce that he sent off Bruce's guests last night by mimicking his voice on the telephone. Bruce tells him: Alfred, as your father was to my father, you will never be just a butler". Alfred walks out of the room with Batsuit and his shadow forming the Bat logo.

 



57. The Authority (51 points - 1 first place slot)
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"I stopped reading comics when I was maybe 17. But on a whim I popped into a comic shop at about 19 or 20 and happened to pick up the trade of The Authority vol. 1. SOLD. it is adult and intelligent and a wild f-ing ride."

"What first seemed like an easy parody of the JLA exhibited such immense power with clay feet that reading them was like seeing superhero comics again for the first time. Bonus points for the genius of "King of Cities" Aquaman analogue Jack Hawksmoor."

"My favorite team of people who mean business."

The team that would eventually become The Authority started out as the covert Stormwatch team, Stormwatch Black. The team consisted of Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoor and Swift, lead by Jenny with orders from The Weatherman. As a covert team, their missions involved fighting battles in areas where Stormwatch was not allowed (namely America). When Stormwatch had a confrontation with The Changers, Stormwatch Black was included in the attack and fought alongside their more publicly accepted teammates. The Changers were a group of SPBs led by The High. Their goal was to change the world into a paradise without the need for any form of authority. While Swift and Jack didn’t really do much fighting (Jenny Sparks however was engaged in battle with Henry Bendix), it was very important for the characters and their future team. First of all, two members of The Changers would eventually be reincarnated as members of The Authority. The idea behind the team - getting at the reasons behind crime, fixing those problems, and then handing the world back to the people – would also be carried on to The Authority, but in a much more violent way. At the time though, Henry Bendix escaped from Jenny Sparks and killed all of The Changers before doing so.

With Bendix out of the picture, a new Weatherman was needed. Jackson King took the position and kept Stormwatch Black on the team, but made them even more secret than they had been. Officially they were no longer on the team, but unofficially their jobs were the same. Because they couldn’t be seen with the team (and because Jack Hawksmoor couldn’t be on their space station for more than 15 minutes without getting sick) Stormwatch Black wasn’t on Skywatch when it was attacked by Xenomorphs. After the Alien attack on Stormwatch and the subsequent destruction of the main team, Stormwatch Black remained together. They felt that since there was no one left, it was up to them to save the world (and according to Jack, change it).

After Stormwatch disbanded, the three members of Stormwatch Black went on to become The Authority. The leader of this team was Jenny Sparks and it included Swift and Hawksmoor (SW: Black), Apollo and Midnighter (two creations of Henry Bendix rescued by Stormwatch), The Engineer and The Doctor (both of whom were people who had received the powers of Changers of the same name). The team had been gathered by Jenny who had also found The Carrier, the ship that would become their base of operations.

 



56. The Satellite League (52 points)
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In need of a new secure head-quarters, the Justice League moved into an orbiting satellite headquarters in Justice League of America #78 (February 1970). Through this period, the membership was limited to the remaining founders along with Green Arrow, Atom, and Hawkman, who were joined by Black Canary, Phantom Stranger, Elongated Man, Red Tornado and, eventually, the return of Wonder Woman. The League's twelve-member limit (sometimes explained as a "no duplication of powers" policy) was conceded (in Justice League of America #161) to have been simply a charter provision about numbers, once the League had formally removed the limitation and admitted Hawkwoman and hoped to admit more members (indeed, through this period, several League members challenged and joked about the notion that they shared skills and talents, for example, with speed races between Superman and Flash, and Hawkman's use of archery in combat). The policy change allowed Zatanna and Firestorm to be admitted as well.

Those involved in producing the Justice League of America comic during the 1970s include writers Gerry Conway, Cary Bates, E. Nelson Bridwell, and Steve Englehart, while Dick Dillin primarily handled the art chores. Justice League of America had a brief spike in popularity in 1982 when artist George Pérez stepped in following Dillin's death, but the commercial success was short-lived.

You know, thanks to Meltzer’s, this is when the mind wipes started to happen and the whole "League within a League" took place. Oh yeah, Sue Dibny got raped. Yes, she got raped big time by Dr. Light. All she wanted to do was look at the stars, that’s all. What did he come up for again? I think it was his gun, but it doesn't matter. He was so hooked up on adrenaline when by the time he got there, what else were they gonna do? When they came back from fighting Hector Hammond, this is what they discovered, Dr. Light raping Sue. And like always, Superman and Batman didn't stay for the clean up. But wait, Batman came back and shit hit the fan. And that’s when it started, the whole right between Hawkman and Ollie. Politics. It’s always about politics. Something things are bigger then Batman, dammit!!!

End scene.

 



55. The Douchebag-bolts (54 points - 2 first place slots)

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"To me, seeing characters develop in logical and meaningful ways is the single most important ingredient for a fantastic comic. That’s why DC’s legacy heroes dominated my list of Top Modern Characters. The only character to beat all of them comes from this book: Songbird. Watching her and the rest of the cast develop over the course of this series was the most thrilling and fascinating stories I have ever read."

Post Heroes Return the Thunderbolts were now fugitives, new members soon joined the Thunderbolts. These members included the former Avenger Hawkeye, and later a young African American hero named Charcoal who had previously fought the team, having been created by a "Create a character" contest in Wizard. Hawkeye convinced his new teammates they would be pardoned if MACH-1, who had murdered someone as the Beetle, turned himself in to authorities. The team considered joining the mysterious Crimson Cowl's new Masters of Evil instead. Ultimately, the Thunderbolts followed Hawkeye's advice. MACH-1 turned himself in and pled guilty to murder. Even with MACH-1's surrender, the U.S. Government refused to pardon the group.

The Thunderbolts then defeated the Crimson Cowl's Masters of Evil and took over their headquarters. After unmasking the Crimson Cowl, the team discovered that she was their old friend Dallas Riordan. In truth, Riordan was not the Crimson Cowl. The real Crimson Cowl was Justine Hammer. Riordan had been framed by Hammer to take the fall for the Cowl's crimes. While Riordan wasn't the Crimson Cowl, she did have her own secret identity. Riordan was actually the new Citizen V, leader of the secret V-Battalion. Riordan decided to keep her secret to avoid exposure of the group. She was sent to jail for the Crimson Cowl's crimes. She would later be rescued by the V-Battalion.

While exploring their new headquarters, the Thunderbolts discovered Ogre. Ogre was a former member of the villainous Factor 3, the original owners of the base. Factor 3 made Ogre the new base caretaker after they disbanded. This also left him with custody of Humus Sapien, a dangerous mutant teenager that Factor 3 had kidnapped and placed in suspended animation.

Ogre was accepted as a member of the Thunderbolts. Soon after, Techno attacked him, placed him in stasis, and assumed his identity. At the same time, MACH-1 was freed from prison in exchange for stealing some top secret weapons technology from evil industrialist Justin Hammer. MACH-1 returned to the Thunderbolts after gaining his freedom. Upon his return, Techno upgraded MACH-1's armor. MACH-1 was now MACH-2.

Meanwhile, Moonstone found herself going through changes. She fell in love with Hawkeye. Soon after, she learned that the spirit of the Kree Moonstone that powered her tried to make her a more honest person. This conflicted with her naturally amoral personality, and slowly made her insane.

The Thunderbolts faced many more challenges. Henry Gyrich sought to destroy the team and Hawkeye. Gyrich changed a brainwashed Jack Monroe into the new Scourge of the Underworld. The Scourge then attempted to assassinate the Thunderbolts one by one. First he killed Jolt. He then traveled to South America and apparently killed Baron Zemo. After this, Scourge broke into the Thunderbolts headquarters and destroyed the robotic Techno. He then killed Atlas by allowing the giant to implode into a storm of ionic energy.

In actuality, all four would survive in some form: the robotic Techno had recovered Jolt's body and used her electrical powers to resurrect her from the dead, even while he "died," imbuing her with the knowledge that Hawkeye had failed to get the team pardoned in the process. The Thunderbolts were upset with Hawkeye, but, on unmasking Monroe, decided that confronting Gyrich was more important.

While all this happened, Val Cooper had gathered her own army of heroes she named the Redeemers. This team included a new Citizen V, Atlas' brother Smuggler, and Fixer, who had only copied his mind into his tech-pack as a contingency. Leila Davis, the wife of the Ringer, used an updated version of the Beetle armor. The original Norbert P. Ebersol survived his injuries and recovered in secret while the robotic Techno continued on as a Thunderbolt in his place.

The Redeemers helped the Thunderbolts battle Gyrich, who had acquired experimental nanite technology. Gyrich wanted to use the nanites to kill off all heroes and villains on Earth. Gyrich's scheme was foiled. It was soon revealed that he had been infected with nanites, and had been secretly manipulated by Baron Strucker of the terrorist group HYDRA. Hawkeye tried to use this information as blackmail to get the Thunderbolts pardoned. Gyrich countered that he would tell the public himself about HYDRA's scheme. Ultimately, Gyrich agreed to stay quiet and give the Thunderbolts their pardon. In return, Hawkeye turned himself in for aiding the fugitive heroes. Hawkeye went to prison, and the team disbanded.

 


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