Oh, this next group is painful to even write...
44. The Inhuman Royal Family (65 points - 2 first place slots)
"Royal and Badass."
"Another team that is just as much if not more importantly a family. Amazing concepts and designs and their relationships, from the siblings Black Bolt/Maximus and Medusa/Crystal to the cousins Karnak/Gorgon/Triton I’m a fan of them all and it’s looking like they’re finally taking the high position in the Marvel U they deserve. So to steal a line from Bubba; Buy War of Kings!"
"The Inhumans have everything that makes a team (and a family awesome). Great characters and they are only getting improved with the War Of Kings."
At the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War, millions of years ago in Earth time, the alien Kree established a station on the planet Uranus, a strategic position between the Kree and Skrull empires. Through their work at this station, they discovered that sentient life on nearby Earth had genetic potential invested in it by the alien Celestials. Intrigued, the Kree began to experiment on Earth's then-primitive homo-sapiens by splicing Eternals DNA into Cro-Magnons.
Their goal was apparently twofold — to investigate possible ways of circumventing their own evolutionary stagnation, and to create a powerful mutant race of soldiers for use against the Skrulls. However, although their experiments were successful in creating a strain of humanity with extraordinary abilities, the Kree abandoned their experiment for reasons which are not yet clear.
Their test subjects, the Inhumans, went on to form a society of their own, which thrived in seclusion from the rest of humanity and developed advanced technology. Experiments with the mutagenic Terrigen Mist gave them various powers, but also caused lasting genetic damage and deformities. This led to a long-term selective breeding program to try to mitigate the effects of these mutations. Their city, Attilan has frequently been relocated and, as of 2005 stories, rests in the oxygen-bearing Blue Area of the Moon.
The once-secret existence of the race has come to light among the general public as the Inhumans interact more often with many of Earth's superheroes — including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men — whom they have aided against threats such as Galactus, Ultron , Magneto, and Apocalypse. The Inhumans are led by their king, Black Bolt, and his royal family, consisting of Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, Crystal, Maximus the Mad, and the canine Lockjaw.
In the events of Son of M, Quicksilver stole the Terrigen Crystals in an attempt to regain his powers and cure the de-powered mutants from M-Day. The theft led to a conflict on Genosha between the re-powered mutants (whose powers came back as too powerful for their own good, causing their eventual surrender), the Inhumans, and the U.S. Office of National Emergency. The conflict ended with the O.N.E. confiscating the Terrigen Crystals, an act that incited Black Bolt to verbally declare war on the United States. In January 2007, the mini-series Silent War begins, with Gorgon launching a first strike on New York. Although the Inhumans do manage to recover the crystals, the episode ends with Maximus again taking control of Attilan.
It has recently been revealed that Black Bolt has been replaced by a Skrull impostor, in a time frame after Silent War, but before World War Hulk. The impostor revealed himself to the Illuminati and was killed. Both the sudden rift between Medusa and Black Bolt apparent in Silent War and Black Bolt's later defeat at the hands of Hulk in World War Hulk could be attributed to this development, for it is uncertain just when Black Bolt might have been replaced by his Skrull duplicate.
By Heroes writer Joe Pokaski, this story digs into how the Inhuman Royal Family deals with the news that the Black Bolt they knew was a Skrull impostor. The Skrulls attack Attilan while Black Bolt is revealed to be a prisoner of the Skrulls, who intend to use his voice as a weapon of mass destruction. The Inhuman Royal Family defeated several Skrulls soldiers and took a Skrull ship with the point of taking the war to the Skrulls and save Black Bolt. With some help from the Kree, they rescue Black Bolt and return to Attilan.
Finally deciding they will no longer be used and abused by other races, the Inhumans take drastic action to ensure their survival as a race. To that end, they activate a series of long dormant machines beneath the city of Attilan, transforming it into a gigantic starship, powered by Black Bolt's voice. Breaking free from its resting place on the Moon, Attilan enters hyperspace and tracks down the remnants of the Skrull Armada, completely eradicating it. As Attilan enters Shi'ar space, it attracts the attention of three Shi'ar warships, who order them to depart or they will open fire. They too are destroyed without mercy.
Attilan reaches the planet Hala, destroying the protective shield that guards their weakened empire and enter the planet itself. The Royal Family confronts Ronan the Accuser, who is serving as king. He admitted he felt that he was just holding the spot of ruler for their true king, Black Bolt.
Seriously for the rest just pick up War of Kings. BUY IT!!
43. X-Punks (66 points)
"This was the team to beat both in roster and creators. Excellent art, powerful stories, major character development and it set the bar for the title and team books from here on out."
"I too grew up reading these X-Men, and while the Byrne-era may have established much of the mythology, here's where the risks seemed real but the X-family was never tighter. I lived in Jersey so it was easy to imagine that the "muties" were walking the streets of NYC. The run includes two of my favorite Marvel Comics of all time. #205 (Wolverine and Katie Powers vs. Lady Deathstrike and the Reavers drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith and seemingly directed by James Cameron) and #173 (Wolverine and Rogue vs. Silver Samurai and Viper in a tale that fully brings Rogue into the fold)."
"Truly unique, this team was far different than most variants and the one I secretly love since this team was about redemption. Rogue and Magneto had just turned good. Storm was human thus trying to adapt without her powers (this also was her mohawk era), and then you had Rachel Summers adjusting to this new world with Wolvie, Kitty, Kurt, and Pete being the sane normal ones."
"This team was when the X-Men defined cool."
This era and the era that followed were my two favorite eras of X-Men. I called this one the X-Punk well, just look at the hairstyles. The era that follows is the Outback X-Men days. You can say they are the same, but I separated them by one key event that took place: The Mutant Massacre. That one event that took place changed the X-Men forever, but I will go into that in a little bit.
What happened during this era? Well, as one voter said we have Rogue joining the team, someone who was once a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. And Professor Xavier went off into space and left Magneto in charge. We have Storm and Cyke battling it out in the Danger Room over who should be leader of the X-Men, and at the time Storm had no powers. Oh, did I mention she is the leader of the Morlocks as well? We get Rachel Summers joining the X-Men and from the future we get the uber-Sentinel Nimrod coming to kill her. We get the wedding of Wolverine. We get the great X-men vs. Avengers mini and the trial of Magneto. So much awesome stuff took place in this era. But the best was the introduction of Mr. Sinister and his Marauders, and one of the most celebrated rivalries since Batman and Joker, and that is Wolverine and Sabertooth.
The mysterious Marauders attack a mutant named Tommy and her Hellfire Club boyfriend in Los Angeles for the purpose of following her back to New York and finding the location of the underground mutant community known as the Morlocks. The Marauders kill Tommy and hundreds of Morlocks before the X-Men and X-Factor teams arrive separately and fight them, saving scores of innocent Morlocks from death. The two teams however do not meet during the battle and suffer crippling losses: X-Factor's Angel is crucified by the Marauders while the X-Men's Colossus, Shadowcat, and Nightcrawler are all severely wounded. X-Factor's casualties are less due to the arrival of Power Pack and Thor, who help save the horribly wounded Angel and the rest of X-Factor from suffering any additional harm.
Thor uses his powers to cleanse the dead from the Morlock tunnels with fire, which causes problems for the X-Men, who briefly believe that the firestorm was caused by the Marauders and believe that the New Mutants died in said fire. Meanwhile Wolverine saves the Power Pack from the Marauder Sabertooth. After the fight, Sabertooth follows Logan home to the X-Mansion. He destroys Cerebro, but is kept from hurting the other Morlocks when Psylocke engages Sabertooth in battle. Wolverine and the rest of the X-Men arrive and Sabertooth falls off a nearby cliff in order to escape the X-Men, and he is pursued into the water by Wolverine. As the fight continues in the ocean, Psylocke is able to glean some information about the Marauders from Sabertooth's mind.
The consequences from this storyline had HUUUGE ramifications on the X-World. Angel was pinned to the wall by Harpoon and Blockbuster, causing massive trauma to his wings which were later amputated following the onset of gangrene. He would eventually have his wings replaced by Apocalypse and become Archangel. Shadowcat became permanently trapped in her phased form whilst protecting Rogue from one of Harpoon's attacks. Nightcrawler, already badly injured after a battle with Nimrod, was beaten by Riptide who used his speed to injure the weakened X-Man, leaving him comatose. Stabbed by hundreds of throwing stars by Riptide, Colossus was briefly quadriplegic as a result of Magneto using his powers to heal the damage done to his metal form. Also, Colossus did something he never thought he would: He killed someone. From this storyline we get the team known as Excalibur when Rachel, Nightcrawler, and Kitty go to Muir Island to recover. And with Magneto believing the New Mutants died in the fire, he slowly goes back to his villainous ways thinking he has failed at the duty Xavier left him with.
The massacre diminished the Morlock community and allowed for the villainous Morlock Masque to assume control over the Morlocks who returned to the tunnels after the "Inferno" event. Masque's tenure as leader of the Morlocks would be equally devastating, as he used his flesh altering powers to forcibly disfigure all Morlocks under his rule, an act that caused many, many Morlocks to go insane as a result of having their faces and in some cases, bodies, warped into new inhuman forms. Wolverine discovers that Jean Grey is alive after smelling her scent in the tunnels, but keeps the knowledge a secret from the rest of the X-Men. Apocalypse saved Plague from being killed by Harpoon and teleported her back to his ship so that she could be transformed into his horseman Pestilence. She had already staved off one attack from Sabertooth, by touching him and making him sick. Harpoon was about to kill her from a distance but was concussed by Apocalypse. It was later revealed that Gambit was employed by Mister Sinister to assemble the Marauders. Gambit was temporarily expelled from the X-Men for his part in the massacre.
42. The Original Thunderbolts (66 points - 2 first place slots)
"Come on… the originals with their perfect plan to trick the world into believing they’re heroes, when in truth they’re super villains and this is yet another scheme for world domination."
"Have you figured out what my favorite all time comic book is? Though it lacks the strong character development of the later eras, it was still an utterly fascinating concept that started with what might be the single greatest last page reveal in comic history."
"Probably the best idea to come out of Marvel in the late 90s. The concept and execution make it one of the most interesting team books ever."
Yep. That’s right. The Ellis-bolts received more points than the Originals. For shame, for shame on all of you.
Baron Zemo summoned several of his former allies from the fourth incarnation of the Masters of Evil during a rescue attempt of Goliath (Zemo's father's former bodyguard). The summoned members included Beetle, Fixer, Moonstone and Screaming Mimi. Zemo took the accidental gathering as an omen, and decided to reform the Masters of Evil and attack the Avengers. Before they could strike, the Avengers (and many other Marvel Universe superheroes) were apparently killed by the villain Onslaught.
The death of the superheroes created an opportunity for Zemo and the Masters of Evil. Zemo realized that the world needed super powered champions, and that his team could fill that need. By posing as superheroes, the Masters of Evil could gain the public trust and build a position of power that rivaled the status of the Avengers. Once they had gained the public's faith, Zemo believed they could gain access to all the secrets of the Avengers and the paramilitary organization S.H.I.E.L.D. once they were in ultimate power. Zemo then planned to sell the secrets they found to the criminal underworld.
The villains adopted new heroic costumes and codenames. Baron Zemo became the patriotic American Citizen V, patterned after a WWII hero his father killed. Former Spider-Man foe Beetle became MACH-1. Fixer became the gadget-wielding Techno. Goliath became the powerhouse Atlas. Screaming Mimi became Songbird. Moonstone was secretly freed from the Vault and added to the team by Zemo, who extracted a promise of loyalty from her. She was to be Zemo's personal enforcer against any betrayal committed by the others. She took the alias Meteorite. Calling themselves the Thunderbolts, the six new 'heroes' were ready for action.
The team found tremendous success as super-heroic champions. Jolt, an Asian American teenage girl whose entire family was killed by Onslaught, soon joined the team. Jolt, however, was not a super villain. The young girl honestly believed that her new friends were heroes. After a few more adventures, some of the villains began to think of themselves the same way. Around this time, the public began to think of the Thunderbolts as heroes. Dallas Riordan, an aide to the Mayor of New York, befriended the new heroes.
Soon after the addition of Jolt, Techno's neck was broken in battle with the Elements of Doom. Techno then seemingly transferred his mind into an android body built from his tech-pack. Just as Zemo's plans were about to come to fruition, everything unraveled. To the astonishment of the entire world, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers returned. Faced with the return of the lost heroes, Zemo revealed the true nature of the Thunderbolts to the world. Ostensibly, he did this to ensure the loyalty of the team by ruining their chances of becoming heroes.
The Thunderbolts (minus the android Techno and Atlas) turned on Zemo for his betrayal. In the ensuing battle, Zemo and Techno used a mind control device to turn the Avengers and Fantastic Four against the remaining Thunderbolts, who, with the help of the size-changing Atlas, ultimately rallied and freed the other heroes. Together, they defeated Zemo and Techno. Unbeknownst to his teammates, Atlas helped the wounded Zemo escape, while Techno fled under his own power. Amidst this chaos, Meteorite decided to return to her old identity. She altered her costume and changed her codename back to Moonstone. After a brief stop-over in an alternate dimension, the team learned that Moonstone had no intention of reforming and becoming a superhero. She told them she only turned against Zemo out of self-preservation.
Oh, for those who are bitching bout this and how the Ellis-bolts beat out these guys, do not worry Zemo always gets the last laugh.
41. S.H.I.E.L.D. (67 points)
"I can't say enough about S.H.I.E.L.D… I love what they were, and how much of a control in the Marvel Universe they had. Led by Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D. was the ultimate control in the Marvel U."
"Under Nick Fury and some of his Howling Commandos these times under these men where of legend. That said READ SECRET WARRIORS!!"
S.H.I.E.L.D. was formed by (of course) Nick Fury, in the period after World War II. However, he figured the U.S government wouldn't want a group like that, so he disbanded it. Later, though, after a terrorist attack, he noticed that a group like S.H.I.E.L.D. could really have helped and prevented the disaster. So he reformed it. Meanwhile, the United Nations had already taken S.H.I.E.L.D. and restarted it, made it big. Fury immediately joined and rose to the top. The Nations had reformed it in response to a HYDRA attack, and once Fury was leading it, it flourished. S.H.I.E.L.D. operated as a covert, military/intelligence agency at the time, and members of it had already appeared. S.H.I.E.L.D. already fought HYDRA then-the evil group had plots like the aforementioned "Overkill Horn". A.I.M. made its first appearance, and individual villains such as Red Skull also popped up and needed to be stopped by S.H.I.E.L.D. At this time, Godzilla came, and the Godzilla Squad was formed to take the monster down.
S.H.I.E.L.D. had tough periods during this time. Several lifelike robots got so smart that they became able to think and make choices-they became sentient beings. They had a grudge against S.H.I.E.L.D. for making them follow orders all the time before they had intelligence-so they drugged important S.H.I.E.L.D. members and took their place within the organization. Several of these were Contessa Valentina Allegro De Fontaine, Jimmy Woo, and Jasper Sitwell, among others. However, the valiant Fury managed to take them down.
Most of the reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. was so effective started with Fury. He started the group and put good, effective agents in place. He was extremely popular in and out of S.H.I.E.L.D., and had strong ties with the hero community. Without him, many "pessimists" and intellectuals theorized that S.H.I.E.L.D. would fall, and fall hard.
Unfortunately, they were right.
S.H.I.E.L.D. ran into disastrous times. As aforementioned, Nick Fury did a mission in Latveria to stop them from attacking the U.S. However, it was totally unauthorized, and Fury was forced to resign from S.H.I.E.L.D. Warrants went out for his arrest. The new head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Maria Hill-who proved to be incompetent at the position. The President of the U.S was a driving force behind Hill's election-for two reasons. Hill was a North American, and the President expected her to be loyal first and foremost to the U.S. Even though S.H.I.E.L.D. was a United Nations facility. Also, many men and women had been members of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a long time, and they would have been much better as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, they were "too loyal to Fury", so Hill got the job to keep the Fury loyalists out.
S.H.I.E.L.D. took a downward turn. Fury's work as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was extremely effective, and an insane amount of work had kept corruption out of the huge organization. Unfortunately, Hill wasn't as good as Fury at it, and S.H.I.E.L.D. became corrupt and weak. Crimes were committed. Criminals were "stockpiled" in prison. Worst of all, the Avengers discovered that someone was mining the anti-metal in the Savage Land using slave labor-and S.H.I.E.L.D. was the prime suspect.
The Civil War changed everything though.
The Civil War started when the New Warriors (consisting of Robbie Baldwin, Namorita, Microbe, and Night Thrasher) went on a basic mission to catch four criminals in an old house. They included Speedfreek and an old Captain Marvel villain-Nitro. These villains had escaped from the Raft when Electro broke them out. The New Warriors easily defeated the villains-but Nitro was escaping. Namorita stopped him, but he let off an explosion, destroying Stamford and murdering 600 people.
Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, proposed the Superhuman Registration Act, where all super humans would have to register their powers and identities. They'd basically be cops. Maria Hill, who was the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., supported the Act, and eventually it was passed. Many super humans disagreed with the Act, the most important and prolific being Captain America. S.H.I.E.L.D. was enlisted by the U.S government to take down Cap and his anti-registration hero team, the Secret Avengers. New S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, nicknamed cape-killers, went after anti-reg heroes. S.H.I.E.L.D. was led by Maria Hill, and was fully pro-reg. Iron Man worked closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. also-he revealed his identity as Tony Stark. Many battles were fought. Eventually, Tony Stark's pro-registration side-and S.H.I.E.L.D.-won. However, Maria Hill found out why she had been made the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., as aforementioned-to keep more effective "Fury loyalists" out and be loyal to the U.S. She was not supposed to be effective, and she wasn't. Dismayed, she turned leadership of S.H.I.E.L.D. over to the man she thought deserved it most-Tony Stark. Stark, also Iron Man, is currently the leader and head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the fallout of Secret Invasion Norman Osborn is granted the keys to the whole world and closes down S.H.I.E.L.D. and replaces it with his own special forces known as H.A.M.M.E.R. And in Secret Warriors first issue, we learn a big secret about S.H.I.E.L.D. that blew the minds, and rolled some eyes of many fanboys across the world, Either way, Secret Warriors is one of the best books on the market right now and everyone should be buying it.