Tuesday, November 25, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "Where keepin' it real goes wrong."

Your Top Teams part 58

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, July 09 2009 and posted in Features
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Three more for ya!

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15. The Ellis-bolts (106 points - 3 first place slots)

thunderbolts-ellis.jpg"A team full of crazy psychopathic villains led by Norman Osborne...what's not to like? Great book after Civil War and Ellis writes the best Norman."

""Osborn has been the Marvel flagship's arch-nemesis for 30 years. Now, he gets put in a position to mess with all the other heroes. Wait...is that Bullseye and Venom? Holy crap - awesome!"

With the end of the Civil War the Thunderbolts were given new members and a new director Norman Osborn. The new team included Moonstone, Songbird, Penance, Swordsman, Venom, Radioactive Man, and the secret member Bullseye. Their first assignment was to capture Jack Flag and Moonstone had Radioactive Man destroy a number of cars in the area in an attempt to cripple Jack. She then sent in Venom and Swordsman to finish the job, however Jack wasn't out of the fight yet, he shattered Swordsman’s sword and kicked the broken piece into Venom. Mac became enraged and was about to eat Jack when Moonstone activated his nano chain shocking him. She then had Penance use his energy blast to hit Jack. Jack went into a warehouse were Bullseye had stabbed him in his spine which couldn't allow Jack to walk again.

After that they were sent to capture Steel Spider, who Norman is constantly mistaking for Spider-Man. It is also revealed that Moonstone wants to be the leader of the Thunderbolts and asks Swordsman to help her with it. Swordsman too shares a grudge against Osborn for not yet cloning his dead sister. When the Thunderbolts go after Steel Spider, American Eagle and Sepluchre. They all fought against each other and the Thunderbolts took loses with Moonstone having an arrow shot through her wrist, Swordsman getting tossed into a building, and Penance having a mental breakdown. In the end Venom bit off Steel Spider's arm and ate it. Songbird not wanting to see her team become monsters tried to get rid of everyone, she talked to Bullseye saying that his nano chain was disabled and he was free. Bullseye killed his handlers and decided to kill American Eagle. When Bullseye fought him he was hardly a match. Swordsman saw that Bullseye had killed his handlers and called Moonstone. She ordered his nano chain to activate, Bullseye was paralyzed from the combination of electric shock and getting punched by American Eagle across his head.

Then along came Secret Invasion and Dark Avengers....

 


14. The Founding Defenders (109 points - 7 first place slots)

defenders-founding.jpg"And this is my #2 team. Hulk, Namor, the Silver Surfer, and Dr Strange. Great power set. Great personality mix. Unstoppable greatness. And when they have been forced to get together, the entire universe has been at stake. No saving the Earth or fighting a big monster crap. More like Dormammu has remade existence in his image or something. They work great for straight up action or comedy. Plus they have four of my 15 favorite heroes of all time."

"The original four. Ok let's take four of the most antisocial heroes Marvel has and put them on the same team. Oh and Namor one of the strongest guys at Marvel? He's the weakest link! What a great concept. These guys don't like each other very much but they have to work together to save the day with poor Dr. Strange trying to prevent them from killing each other. I wish they never added Nighthawk."

"The Defenders is probably the most powerful team in comics with the smallest line-up. These four characters could take any one. Including my favorite team, The Avengers."

"Talk about your powerhouses. This team has it all, Cosmic, Strength and Magic in abundance. Not only do they have the power, but they have some great contrasting personalities between the members. Don't tell me that you don't enjoy seeing Hulk and Namor bicker."

"A team that's not really a team. But when they get together, it's all sorts of fun."

Love this team.

Four great characters, and there really isn't more I can say then what these quotes have said.

The origin of the Defenders can be traced back to two crossover story arcs by Roy Thomas prior to the official founding of the team. The first, in Doctor Strange #183 (November 1969), Sub-Mariner #22 (February 1970), and The Incredible Hulk #126 (April 1970) occurred when the Dr. Strange series was cancelled and the storyline was completed in the other series. Dr. Strange teams with Sub-Mariner, then the Hulk to protect the Earth from invasion by Lovecraftian inter-planetary beings known as the Undying Ones and their leader, the Nameless One. Barbara Norris, later the host of the Valkyrie, first appears in this story. In the second arc (featured in Sub-Mariner #34 and #35, February and March 1971), Namor enlists the aid of the Silver Surfer and the Hulk to stop a potentially devastating weather control experiment (and to inadvertently free a small island nation from a dictator) and face the Avengers. These two story arcs were reprinted in the first Essential Defenders volume.

The Defenders first appeared as a feature in Marvel Feature #1 (December, 1971), where the founding members gathered to battle the alien techno-wizard Yandroth and remained as a team afterwards. Due to the popularity of their tryout in Marvel Feature, Marvel soon began publishing The Defenders.

In 2001-2002, The Defenders reunited in Defenders (volume 2) #1-12 created by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen, immediately followed by The Order (see lower on the list), in which Yandroth manipulated Gaea into "cursing" the primary four Defenders (Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner, the Hulk and the Silver Surfer) so that they would be summoned to major crisis situations. These members were then mind controlled by Yandroth into forming the world-dominating "Order"; once the Order were freed from this control by their fellow heroes (including their teammates Hellcat, Nighthawk and Valkyrie), the Defenders apparently disbanded.

A Defenders five-issue miniseries debuted in July 2005, by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire (as a team, best known for their work on DC's Justice League franchise), featuring Doctor Strange attempting to reunite the original four Defenders to battle Dormammu and Umar. This series focuses mostly on humor as the characters spend most of their time arguing with and criticizing one another. The series was later collected into both hardcover and trade paperback collections, entitled Defenders: Indefensible.

 


13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (114 points - 4 first place slots)

tmnt.jpg"I can't leave the Turtles off. Too many fond memories of my childhood to pass them up."

"They are TEENAGE...I like that in characters...they are MUTANTS...works for the X-Men....they are NINJA...can't get much more awesome than that...and they are TURTLES. Those four words combined are a creative awesomegasm. If you don't love the Turtles, you have no soul."

"THEY ARE HEROES ON THE HALF SHELL!!! HUZZAH!!!! "

"I have these guys since was 5 years old....which is way before I really got into comics so they had to make at least my second spot on the list. I had every toy I could my hands on at the time and I went to see all the movies (even TMNT 3). Raph - the badass, Leo - the leader, Donny - the smart one, and of course Mikey - the party dude (I'm sorry I couldn't help it I had theme song in my head). Together whether animated or live action they kick ass."

"YO! It's the green machine -- Gonna rock the town without bein' seen
Have you ever seen a turtle Get Down? -- Slammin' Jammin' to the new swing sound."

"Don't tell numchamp. He'll never let it go I voted for the shell heads."

"They're the world's most fearsome fighting team. Not only are they really hip, but they each fill vital team roles: Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, and Raphael is cool (but crude), and Michelangelo is the archetypal party dude."

I really wanted these guys to be in the Top 10. I mean seriously, what comic characters have accomplished what they have? Toys, clothes, TV shows, multiple comics, video games, everything. Not too many, and they are indie characters. But a thirteen out of 205 is nothing to shake a stick at, well done. Well fucking done.

The story if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starts in Japan in the year 1964 with the pet rat of Hamato Yoshi. The rat would often watch his owner as he practiced Ninjitsu and would try and mimic him. Yoshi was the best warrior of the Foot Clan, his only rival was a man named Oroku Nagi with whom he competed in all things but none more fiercely than for the love of the lady Tang Shen. Both tried to woo her but from the beginning she loved only Yoshi. One day Yoshi walked into Shen's home to find her being beaten by Nagi who demanded that she love him, enraged by this Yoshi fought and killed Nagi.

Yoshi's shame was great, by killing a member of his own clan he had only two options; to end his own life and hope for honor in the next or flee to another country. Yoshi chose the latter and took Shen and his pet rat along with him to immigrate to New York. Back in Japan Nagi's younger brother Oroku Saki vowed vengeance against those responsible for the death of his brother. He enrolled in the Foot Clan and over the years became their deadliest warrior. The Foot decided to expand its influence to the rest of the world and chose Saki to lead its American branch. Using this opportunity for revenge Saki set up the Foot in New York and took on the persona of "Shredder". He tracked down Yoshi and Shen and killed both of them in cold blood.

Leaving only Yoshi's pet rat he scavenged the streets for food until one day he saw a road accident involving a truck carrying toxic waste. Out of the truck a canister came flying out which struck a bowl of four baby turtles which was being carried by a young boy. The canister and the four turtles fell into an open manhole. The rat followed them down onto the sewers and saw the four turtles covered on the ooze which was spilling out of the now broken canister. Not knowing exactly why he gathered them up getting ooze on himself. He awoke the next morning to the shock that they had doubled in both size and intellect. The four turtles followed the rat everywhere except above ground. They all began walking upright but the rat received a shock when one day one of the turtles actually spoke the word "Splinter" and in doing so named the rat, soon they all began to speak.

Knowing that the outside world would not understand them Splinter began training them in the art of Ninjutsu that he had learned from his Master Yoshi. With an old renaissance art book that he found in a storm drain he gave them all names ; Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.

When the turtles were thirteen years of age, after facing off against a Street Gang known as the Purple Dragons, Splinter decided that their training was now complete and told them the full story of their origin. He had grown old now and thought that he had not long to live and so charged the turtles to avenge the death of his Master by killing The Shredder.

Raphael was chosen to deliver the message to Shredder. He infiltrated the Foot Clan's Head Quarters dispatching many of the ninja guards. Spying Oroku Saki inside a separate building doing business he threw one of his sais through the window. Attached was a note which challenged Shredder to a dual to the death to restore the honor of Hamato Yoshi.

The turtles arrived on the roof top location specified on the note and waited for their foe. From afar Saki now in his Shredder guise watched and wondered who the four mysterious creatures were and how his murder of Yoshi could still come back to haunt him. Facing the turtles they suddenly were surrounded by Foot Ninja with which they did battle. The turtles managed to defeat the Foot with some injuries. It was then that the Shredder chose to face the turtles. The four turtles initially tried to battle the Shredder individually but the armored warrior was too strong. They decided to face him all together, not faring much better until Leonardo managed to plunge his katana through the Shredder's torso. As the Shredder lay bleeding he told the turtles to "finish it" but Leonardo refused, offering him his katana saying that would regain his honor if he ended his own life. Saki refused and took out a thermite Bomb which would wipe the rooftop clean of all life. Donatello quickly used his Bo Staff to knock Shredder and the bomb off the roof. As he fell the bomb exploded killing The Shredder. With their mission complete the four turtles returned home.

From there so many great characters were brought into the world of TMNT like The Mousers, Baxter Stockman, The Ratking, Casey Jones, and April O'Neal. I am glad I have these originals and the trades of them (which are colored). Some great, great stories. 
Again, well done turtles.

 


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