Saturday, June 23, 2018 • Morning Edition • "At least we're not The Comics Reporter!"

Your Top Teams part 57

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, July 09 2009 and posted in Features
Our 2nd of three DC characters to appear before the Top 10 is in this batch.



18. X-Factor Investigations (101 points - 4 first place slots)

xforceinvestigations.jpg"The early issues of the current series are some of Peter David's best stories; I loved the noir-esque tone, the art, and most of all the actual feeling that I didn't know where the next issue was going! Something all too rare in comics these days."

"This is the best book written by Marvel today. Great stories, great subplots, and a tendency to make the unexpected happen every month by Peter David have kept this title fresh, even while being dragged through Messiah Complex."

"I enjoyed PAD’s original X-Factor run, but this team has more characters I like in it. Madrox works really well as the voice of the series. PAD writes Strong Guy and Wolfsbane better than any of the past writers. Layla Millar has become one of the most interesting new characters to date. What it comes down to is PAD is a great writer with a distinct voice for each character, he creates an ensemble that you can relate to."

With money accumulated from game-show winnings, Madrox started up a private investigation firm in Mutant Town with Wolfsbane and Strong Guy. Originally calling his company XXX Investigations, the group settled on the name X-Factor Investigations after the team they were formerly members of. Jamie also hired Siryn and M, who were former teammates of his during his time with Paris branch of X-Corporation.

After M-Day the majority of the inhabitants of mutant town lost their powers. Rictor was one of the de-powered mutants and after considering suicide (with help from one of Jamie's dupes) was convinced to join X-Factor with the others. The cryptic child Layla Miller ended up spending a lot of time at X-Factor Investigations, often irritating and confusing the occupants. Layla continued to hang out with X-Factor, subtly influencing their actions with the stuff she knows. Learning more about her life as an orphan, she was invited to live with the team.

The team has since encountered a deranged depowered mutant named Doctor Leery, Damian Tryp and his rival investigation firm Singularity Investigations, the Isolationist, mercenaries Clay and Solo, depowered mutant terrorist group X-Cell (including the Blob and Marrow), and most recently Silver Age X-Men villain Arcade. The team has also notably been rivals with former teammate Quicksilver who has often tried to repower depowered mutants with ineffective and often disastrous results. X-Factor has also experienced internal friction after a drunken Multiple Man created dupes that slept with both Monet and Siryn. At first the two girls stopped speaking to each other, but the pair then became frequent partners and best friends.

Although often non-combatant rivals with the X-Men, X-Factor Investigations were recruited to participate in the X-Team affiliated fight for the first new mutant baby. Madrox agreed to send two dupes of his to the future (with the help of Forge) to gain information about the future. Layla hitched a ride on the device and became stuck in the future. Unbeknownst to Madrox, there was no way in retrieving the dupes and Cyclops and Forge had intended to kill his duplicated selves before Madrox Prime could reabsorb the information. With Layla trapped in the future, alternative methods were needed but Jamie soon fell into a coma.

In the future, after being imprisoned in a mutant concentration camp, Layla and one of Madrox's duplicates met up with a young Lucas Bishop. After learning about the stories he was told about a mutant baby damning the mutant race, Layla stole a bomb from one of the security guards and threw it at the Madrox dupe, allowing Madrox Prime to wake up. Madrox awoke in a panic, relaying the information to the X-Men and with an M tattooed over his eye. Layla is now stuck in the future, and it is unknown what happened to the other dupe.

During the event, Rictor also posed as a baseline human who hated mutants in order to infiltrate the Purifiers. Under the guise of "Joaquin Murrieta", Rictor pretended to shoot and perhaps fatally injure Wolfsbane in front of members of the group to gain entrance. He then gathered information from their computers to relay to the X-Men about their advanced technology and information regarding the whereabouts of the mutant baby. The New X-Men, on a mission of revenge, interrupted his undercover duty blowing his cover. Luckily, Rictor was teleported away from the scene in time.

Monet, Siryn, and Strong Guy's role in the mission was to participate in combat against the Marauders and the Acolytes on Muir Island. Wolfsbane participated in the X-Force as one of the vicious trackers, a role she would continue with undercover under the orders of Cyclops.


16. Sinister Six (103 points - 4 first place slots)

sinistersix.jpg"Ok as far as Spidey's worst nightmare ever of a group of villains go these six where probably the worst. Uberly upgrades (Electro got some armor that amplified his powers, Ock had adamantium tentacles, Hobby and Vulture had a ton of weapons). Their purpose? World domination of course. They killed numerous members of Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D., Gog's home dimension, and numerous innocents before finally being brought down by Spidey, Deathlok, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Solo, and Sandman."

"This is a really great team of scumbags and villains. Taking Spider-Man's greatest villains and putting them on a team is always fun."

Most people except a few just put Sinister Six on there list, while others put the exact lineup. In fact, the number of people who did that I can count on one hand, so I just merged all the Sinister Six points together, I really hope no one minds? Executive decisions like that have to be made sometimes, and this was one of them. Oh, so it appears out of the three villains teams left on the list the Six came in third.

After suffering three defeats in a row from the wall crawler, Doctor Octopus realized he required assistance from others in order to defeat Spider-Man. After his recent defeat followed by the police successfully removing the tentacle pack, Doctor Octopus mentally controls his tentacles to come to him and he escaped from jail. Afterwards, he contacted every known super-villain that had crossed paths with Spider-Man, but only five responded: the Vulture, the electrifying Electro, Kraven the Hunter, master illusionist Mysterio, and the Sandman. Knowing he'd never be able to keep the team together for long, Doctor Octopus quickly formulated a battle plan in which each individual member of the Sinister Six would battle Spider-Man in a carefully chosen location, giving each of them personal glory and Spider-Man an early death.

Spider-Man himself had his own problems, as he had somehow lost his powers and prepared to return to normal life as a teenager. While blaming himself for the death of his Uncle Ben, Spider-Man lost his balance and fell down the side of a building, ending up clinging to a flagpole. As Peter returned to his normal life as a student and a freelance photographer, he was unaware of the fact that the Sinister Six realized the Daily Bugle secretary Betty Brant played a large role in Spider-Man's life and kidnapped her, along with an innocent bystander who turned out to be Aunt May. It was then left to the Vulture to spill the beans to J. Jonah Jameson, warning him to inform Spider-Man that Betty was being held hostage along with Aunt May and if he wanted to see them alive, he'd have to battle the Sinister Six.

Despite not having his powers, Peter put on his Spider-Man costume and went to fight Electro at an electrical plant. During the battle, Peter somehow regained his superpowers (the loss was speculated to be caused by his own self-loathing for the loss of his uncle, which he got over when facing a life-or-death situation) and easily defeated Electro. Spidey then battled against Kraven (who confronted him with some wildcats) and defeated this foe too. After defeating Mysterio, Sandman and the Vulture, Spidey went up against Doc Ock, who lured him into an enormous fishbowl. The two foes battled and Spider-Man was victorious.

In Amazing Spider-Man Vol.1 #334-339, the villains all escaped prison and went to get revenge on the wall-crawler. However, times had changed as Kraven had committed suicide, so the Hobgoblin took his place. The group was organized once again by Dr. Octopus, who claimed they would try to defeat Spider-Man. However, this was a trick, part of a larger plan by which Octavius alone would be the master of the world. The Sandman, at this point in his career reformed, aided Spider-Man in defeating the Sinister Six, and ultimately stopping Octavius' plans to conquer the world.

In Spider-Man Vol.1 #18-23, the group reunited once more in a bid to take over the world with alien weaponry. Sandman's foster family was hit with a bomb, and Sandman, believing Octopus had attacked his foster family as punishment for betraying him, joined the other members of the Sinister Six in a plan to take revenge upon Octopus. Despite his grief, however, Sandman contacted Spider-Man and asked him to shadow the group as insurance against him being double-crossed or unexpected surprises. By this point, Octopus had already obtained his lost adamantium arms (by killing a wealthy, unethical individual who offered to sell the arms to him) and stealing the old man's robot soldiers and weapons. Octopus easily defeated the other members of the six with them, then zapped Sandman with a weapon that transformed his living sand body into solid glass (Octopus, however, was apparently not responsible for the bombing of Sandman's foster family, which was apparently done by the other members of the Six in order to coerce Sandman into joining their revenge scheme; in addition, Octopus had not only anticipated the Six's plan to reassemble and take revenge upon him, but had deliberately facilitated it, even secretly paying Electro to help ensure the Six reassembled so that he could coerce the other members into aiding his scheme). The assembled Sinister Six went off on a rampage, stealing advanced weapons and technology from several sources, including raiding an alien dimension for advanced weaponry and attacking a facility specializing in cybernetics. In the process they had several successful encounters: beating Spider-Man, the Hulk (in his Professor identity), the Fantastic Four, Sleepwalker, Deathlok, Nova, Solo, Cyborg X and Ghost Rider. Before acquiring more advanced alien weapons, the Hulk trounced the other members of the Six, then got stomped upon by Octopus because Octavius had the adamantium arms. Defeated in his initial encounter with the Six, Spider-Man was left with hairline fractures on one arm and leg, but was able to pursue them with medical attention including cybernetic casts. Eventually, Spider-Man and several other heroes confront the villains as they are seizing a HYDRA base to gain access to deadly, world-devastating weapons (during the Six's raiding assaults on various locations, the group engaged in wanton mass murder, simply exterminating anyone who got in their way, shocking Spider-Man, as, despite their lack of scruples, these particular villains didn't generally kill wantonly). The last member of Octavius' Sinister Six was revealed to be Gog, and a combat between members of the super hero community summoned by Spidey (including the Fantastic Four, Nova, the Hulk, and Solo) broke out, ending when the broken-glass body of the Sandman shredded Doctor Octopus, nearly killing him.


16. Young Justice (103 points - 6 first place slots)

youngjustice.jpg"The first comic team there wasn't a character I didn't 'get'. PAD and Nauck rocked the house. "

Robin, Superboy and Impulse interceded on behalf of a D.E.O. "cleaner" team transporting a gaseous entity known as Secret to the Wabe Facility for disposal. Working together, the teens were able to rescue "Secret" from her D.E.O. captors.

The teens later found themselves at the epicenter of the conflict involving an ancient Atlantean force which possessed Boston teenager Matthew Stuart and somehow granted him godlike powers. Stuart was in fact responsible for transporting our world's entire adult population to a simulated Earth devoid of children. Stuart, while under the mystical influence, calling himself Bedlam, allowed the remaining adolescents to have destructive free rein until Robin, Superboy, and Impulse (as well as the audit Captain Marvel) defeated him.

Following this adventure, the threesome decided to remain together as a team. Adopting the JLA's "Secret Sanctuary" in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island as their de facto headquarters, the team soon found themselves on their first adventure unearthing an ancient vehicle appearing to be a so-called "Super-cycle" of New Genesis origin. Meanwhile, former Justice League member Red Tornado awoke from stasis and became the mentor to the fledgling team, who had accidentally acquired the name "Young Justice."

Soon after, some girl-power was added when Wonder Girl, Arrowette and Secret joined the team. Arrowette left the team after a traumatic adventure while other members would join the teenage team, including the mysterious Empress, the incorrigible Slobo and the Ray.

When Secret was turned to the dark side by the demonic Darkseid, Young Justice was faced with perhaps their greatest challenge. Robin was able to bring Secret to her senses, but the victory was both bitter and sweet; Secret reverted to human form (her fondest wish) but Slobo sacrificed himself to save her from Darkseid.

Shortly afterward, a conglomerate known as Optitron offered to sponsor the Titans and Young Justice after summoning them to San Francisco. Before any decisions could be made, a mysterious cybernetic girl known as Indigo emerged from the future. Unwittingly, she somehow activated a rogue Superman android, resulting in the apparent deaths of Troia and Omen. At Troia's funeral, Nightwing disbanded the Titans.

At Troia's funeral, Nightwing declared to Arsenal that he is tired as seeing friends die and the Titans are officially over. Meanwhile, members of Young Justice, especially Wonder Girl, felt responsible for the tragic deaths. This led Wonder Girl, Robin, Impulse and Superboy to form a new group of Teen Titans under the guidance of the more experienced Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy (later joined by Raven).




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