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Your Top Teams part 50

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More hearts broken, but that could be a good thing this time around.

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40. Original Excalibur (67 points)

excalibur-original.jpg"Practically my dream X-Team, this era established that they weren't going to follow in the footsteps of the X-Men. Beautiful character development and twisty stories paved the way for mystic problems in England (home of magic)."

"Nightcrawler is probably my favorite X-Men character. Shadowcat is also great (fuck you Whedon). Rachel is alright, and Captain Britain is great. Plus Lockheed who is one of the cooler pets in comics. So you take this crew, put them in England, and do all kinds of crazy adventures in the time stream and in alternate dimensions and dealing with magic and you end up with one of the most fun comics of my childhood."

After the events of the Mutant Massacre, some of the X-Men traveled over to Muir Island for a time out period. Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, and Kitty Pryde were joined by Captain Britain, a Marvel UK property co-created by Claremont in 1976, Captain Britain is a protector of Great Britain, endowed with superhuman powers by the legendary wizard Merlyn. Alan Davis and Alan Moore, during their joint early 1980s stint, established that the Marvel Universe's Captain Britain was one of many from various dimensions and that one of his main roles is guarding the lighthouse that is placed at the convergence of realities
 
Excalibur, which also featured Captain Britain's emotionally unstable, shape shifter lover Meggan, first gathered together in Excalibur Special Edition #1 and were soon featured in a monthly series. With the help of a manic, dimension-hopping robot named Widget, they embarked on a series of wacky adventures through parallel worlds.

Davis left with Excalibur #24, and Claremont with Excalibur #34 and the series began to lag badly. In addition, various plot points were left dangling and unresolved by Claremont before his departure. A year later, Davis returned to the book as both writer and illustrator with Excalibur #42 and rejuvenated it, returning to the (mostly) lighthearted tone of his original run, while resolving many plotlines Claremont had left dangling. He also added several new members, including the mystic Feron, the warrior Kylun, and the alien Cerise, and also introduced the size-shifter Micromax (in an interview in Wizard #6, Davis said that he was adding four new team members to the team; presumably if Davis's run had not ended prematurely, Micromax would have become a full member of the team during Davis's tenure, rather than the start of Lobdell).

 


39. The Under Siege'd Avengers (69 points - 2 first place slots)

avengers-undersiege.jpg"Wasp, Cap, Black Knight, Captain Marvel, Namor, Herc - Fun dynamics nice power mix, this is the best run of Avengers and the best team."

Wouldn't it be cool if Silver Surfer was on this team as well? Man, talk about awesomeness of power. But alas, he is not, still it’s an awesome team nonetheless. I don't think this era should've received this many points, but I think people associate it with one of the coolest Avengers stories of all time, and that’s the Avengers Under Seige. What is Under Siege you ask? Well, it’s when the Masters of Evil attacked the Avengers Mansion, but I will go into that team in another entry which will not be for a while yet.

This team, what did they venture thru? Well, they survived the 2nd Secret Wars, that’s a feat in itself....right? The role of Namor would come and go. Starfox was there for a bit, then Namor came in and took his spot in the lineup, which was a huge fucking big step up. Then after a short stint with the team, he helped them find the cocoon where Jean Grey was sleeping in and had some run ins with Alpha Flight and his marriage to Mariina. Then just before The Under Siege storyline he left and Thor rejoined the team this time with a beard. I think it’s a fair trade off.

Still, this team shouldn't be this high. Many other pre-Disassembled teams should be in this slot over this one. But oh well, congrats.

 


38. The Current X-Force (70 points)

xforce-current.jpg"Team Slash and Stab just...works. The darkness juxtaposed with characters like Elixir? Great stuff fully immersed in the X-Men Mythos."

In the middle of the Messiah CompleX storyline, Cyclops assembled a new X-Force, which consisted of the X-Men's best trackers. The new team is made out of Wolverine as team leader, X-23, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Caliban and Hepzibah. Their first mission was to track Cable and the newly discovered Baby Mutant, before the Purifiers, Marauders, Reavers and Predator X could get them first. They also participated in the final battle against the Marauders on Muir Island. However, after the death of Caliban and injury of Hepzibah, it was believed that X-Force was disbanded, or so we think!!

The team's first mission has them investigating the theft of Bastion's cyborg head from a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. The trail leads back to the Purifiers, lead by Matthew Risman and the mysterious Eli Bard. They have reactivated Bastion to help in their "holy war" against mutant-kind. Bastion revives several X-Men villains. Some were still alive (Donald Pierce and Leper Queen), while some he brought back from the dead (Cameron Hodge, Bolivar Trask, and Graydon Creed) by infecting them with the Technarch transmode virus. The virus allows Bastion a degree of mental control over the subjects.

During X-Force's raid on a Purifer base, Purifer leader Matthew Risman holds Wolfsbane hostage. While Wolverine calls for the team to stand down, X-23 decides Risman is bluffing and threatens him. After Wolverine commands her to yield once again, X-23 appears to surrender, but activates a concealed detonator that sets off a series of powerful explosives she planted earlier without informing her teammates. The explosion brings most of the base down around them, but Risman is able to escape with Wolfsbane during the chaos. X-23 leaves Wolverine and Warpath under the rubble to pursue Risman. When X-Force regroups later, Wolverine admonishes Laura for being so reckless with the lives of her teammates and for allowing Rahne to be kidnapped. Laura coldly replies to both accusations by coldly remarking "they survived" and "saving Wolfsbane was not my mission." Cyclops agreed with her.

X-Force retrieves Elixir, a prominent healer in the mutant community, so that he can heal Wolfsbane. X-23 then catches the scent of Elixir's and Angel's blood respectively, and runs off to help them. She reaches the room just in time to see Wolfsbane in her transitional wolf-form standing above Warren with his wings in her jaws. While in the Purifiers' custody, Rahne had been brainwashed by her abusive and deranged father, Reverend Craig, causing her to go berserk at the sight of an angelic figure. Wolfsbane escapes into the woods, where she encounters Hrimhari, the Norse wolf god who she fell in love with when the New Mutants had been in Asgard. Later, Elixir heals both his and Angel's wounds, and then discovers that Angel's wings aren't organic and can't be regrown. Angel transforms into Archangel, complete with metallic wings. Wolverine and Warpath attack Archangel and Archangel wounds Wolverine and X-23.

Meanwhile, the Purifiers had used samples of Angel's wings to develop techno-organic grafts for their soldiers, giving them similar (if weaker) abilities to Archangel, dubbing them "The Choir" (a play on "angelic choir"). X-Force pursues Archangel to the Purifiers' base and violence ensues. The team manages to defeat the remaining Purifiers, but Bastion escapes. Afterward, Archangel reverts back to his 'normal appearance' (a.k.a. Warren Worthington).

X-Force returns to Angel's home where they attempt to understand what has happened to Wolfsbane and Angel. A decision has to be made about what to do with Elixir, who unfortunately knows too much about X-Force (the other X-Men can't know about X-Force). X-23 believes the easiest thing to do would be to kill Josh, but she knows that would not be allowed. Instead, she goes behind everyone's back and contacts the Stepford Cuckoos. They would keep X-Force's existence a secret. X-23 and Josh request that the Three-in-One erase Josh's memories of X-Force, thus allowing him to return home without being a risk to the team. Elixir finds out, but realizes, however unsavory the methods, X-Force is doing the right thing, and he wants to help. He remains on the team.

Later, Graydon Creed appears on TV proclaiming he had staged a phony assassination attempt to protect himself. X-Force wants to go after Creed, but Cyclops tells them Creed will have to wait because X-Force will have to go after Vanisher first. Vanisher stole a specimen of the Legacy Virus. While in pursuit of the Vanisher, the team runs into Domino, who joins forces with them to recover the Legacy Virus sample. After finally managing to capture Vanisher and inducing an inoperable brain tumor in his head (courtesy of Elixir), Vanisher reveals he no longer has the virus. He lost it while escaping from a contingent of Marauder clones that had recently awakened after the death of Mister Sinister. Meanwhile, Warpath returns to his tribe's reservation at Camp Verde to visit his brother's grave, but is violently attacked by the Demon Bear. Warpath battles the bear, but is no match for it. Just as he is about to be killed, Warpath is saved by Ghost Rider, who offers his help in slaying the creature. After defeating the bear, Ghost Rider and Warpath are able to discern the origin of Eli Bard.

The team returned to the facility where Vanisher lost the virus and battled the cloned assassins. Domino manages to find and retrieve the virus sample, only to be confronted by The Right's shock troopers who have come to take the virus for themselves.

Meltdown, Hellion, and Surge are kidnapped by the Leper Queen, so Cyclops calls the X-Force to deal with the situation. Cyclops also tells them that he needs them to track down Cable in the future, and gives each of the team a time-travel device. The devices will be remotely activated when Beast determines Cable's exact position in the time stream. He orders them to deal with the Leper Queen for now, but to be ready to move when he activates the time-travel devices. Hellion and Surge are injected with the Legacy Virus and sent off to the UN building while Tabitha is keep in waiting for another strike. We also see that an Agent Morales, an agent of the newly formed H.A.M.M.E.R., has been tracking X-23, and has dispatched two squads to NYC on the hunt for Laura.

X-Force storms the Leper Queen's base in NYC, but just miss Surge and Hellion getting teleported out. They're about to find out where the Sapien League has taken them and rescue Meltdown in the process when Cyclops calls it in: they've found Cable. Despite Wolverine's protests and Beast's refusal to aid him in this, Cyclops pushes the button, sending them forward in time. Having been denied the death she was hoping for, Leper Queen shoots Boom-Boom in the head, killing her.

Next comes the Messiah War, and that is just awesome. I won't go into that cuz I rather you pick up the book for yourself, why? cuz it’s awesome.

 


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