10. The JSA (138 points - 6 first place slots)
"Specifically around the Princes of Darkness storyline."
"Legacy heroes are one of my favorite concepts in all of comics. They’re what made me a DC fan (and their marginalization in favor of Didio’s favorite Silver Age characters is why I’m not currently buying any DC books, but I digress). Naturally, putting together an entire team that revolves around the concept of legacy heroes is going to attract my interest. And having it as well written as Geoff Johns’ run and filling it with such fascinating characters as Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl and the Atom Smasher is going to put it on my top ten favorite teams."
"The first DC team book to really pull me into the DCU. Before this book I was a casual DC fan. I liked The Flash, and I had started the JLA but this book was something else. Every one in the book pretty much was only in the JSA and nowhere else. Meaning all the character work and plots they had were contained in JSA. The characters were all wonderful and the idea of the old guard training some new up and coming heroes was very cool. And man did we get some cool new guys fleshed out. Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl, and Jakeem Thunder are all great. Black Reign still stands head and shoulders above any other team story from the 00's. Great book."
"My favorite comic in my adult life. It has been the best-written team comic which shows issue after issue that sometimes a character or concept needs a fresh look at what made it a good idea in the first place. The JLA may be the sizzle of the DCU, but the JSA is the steak. Hawkman, Green Lantern, Wildcat, The Flash, Power Girl, Starman, Hourman III, Stargirl...it goes on and on. It is sad that we've just today come to the end of that era, and I have nothing but high hopes for the Willingham/Sturges creative team...but I'll always measure them against what Geoff Johns established with this team."
"I never was a big fan of the JSA until I happened to pick up Black Reign and got instantly hooked on this team of legacy characters teaching the new generation how to be heroes. Stargirl, Doctor Fate (Hector Hal), Sandy, Jakeem Thunder and Black Adam here some of the new characters I got to know in this book and that I love til this day."
"Numerous lineup changes, but I'd go for the one that was featured in "Black Reign". Johns truly took the meaning of "legacy" in the DCU and infused it with this team. A mix of the old (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Wildcat), the new (Stargirl, Jakeem Thunder), and the impossibly awesome (Power Girl)."
In 1999, the Justice Society of America was revived in a popular and critically acclaimed series (called simply JSA) which mixed the few remaining original members with younger counterparts. This incarnation of the team focused on the theme of generational legacy and of carrying on the heroic example established by their predecessors. The series was launched by James Robinson and David S. Goyer. Goyer later co-wrote the series with Geoff Johns, who went on to write the series solo after Goyer's departure. The series featured the art of Stephen Sadowski, Leonard Kirk and Don Kramer, among others. It also featured a story by Pulitzer Prize Winner Michael Chabon.
They've been opening cans of intergalactic villain stew since before the Justice League was born. The Justice Society started in 1940, just ten years after costumed heroes started appearing. Eight of the world's greatest heroes all banded together to stop Hitler's invasion of Britain and protect President Roosevelt from Nazi assassins. They were Green Lantern (the first, Alan Scott), Flash (Jay Garrick), Spectre, Doctor Fate, Hourman (the first), Sandman (the first), Atom, and Hawkman. Once they realized they worked well together, those eight banded together, becoming the Justice Society of America. After Pearl Harbor, the U.S government created the All-Star Squadron, which banded together every costumed hero. The JSA became one of the most active parts of the All-Star Squadron. Their roster constantly changed, and other prominent members were Johnny Thunder, Doctor Mid-Nite (the first one), Mr. Terrific (the first one), Hawkgirl, Starman, Miss America, and Hippolyta (The mother of Diana, the original Wonder Woman.).
But then Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, Hourman, Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, Johnny Thunder, Starman, Sandman, Wildcat, and Sand agreed to battle gods for eternity in limbo to prevent the end of the world. They escaped, but in Zero Hour, the villain Extant killed Atom, Hourman, and Dr. Mid-Nite. Flash and Green Lantern disbanded the JSA.
In the modern, Silver Age, the Dark Lord Mordru murdered the Wesley Dodds/Sandman. This caused many retired members of the JSA to come back and reform a new, modern JSA, consisting of Flash, Green Lantern, Wildcat, Hawkman, Sand, Atom-Smasher, the new Mr. Terrific, Star-Spangled Kid, new Dr. Fate, new Hawkgirl, and more. They fought crime for a long time, with miscellaneous enemies. The greatest event and challenge was the event Darkness, where Mordru, Obsidian, and Eclipso tried to plunge the world into eternal night. Recently, a vigilante group consisting of Black Adam, Eclipso, Northwind, Brainwave, and Atom-Smasher took the law into their own hands. They started a violent coup in the terrorist nation of Kandaq to end the JSA. This also exposed that Mister Mind was manipulating the JSA. This was called Black Reign, and it greatly affected the JSA. It caused Captain Marvel to quit. But the Justice Society of America fights crime still as the Best of the Best.
Then OYL happened, look lower down on the list for volume two of this series.
9. The Rogues (147 points - 4 first place slots)
"As assembled by Geoff Johns."
"The Rogues weren’t much to speak of before Johns got his hands on them. Just another bunch of generic costumes villains really. But Johns turned them into multi-dimensional characters with relationships and even twisted ethics."
"They aren't the strongest guys. In fact, the Flash shouldn't even have to worry about them at all. Their powers and looks are ridiculous. And yet, they are the best villain team of all time. No one is even close. They know each other's strengths and weaknesses. They follow their code. They watch their backs. And they generally don't try to do more than they can actually achieve. They don't want to take over the world. They don't want to kill the Flash. They just want to steal some money and make ends meet. The blue collar criminals. Great stuff and the only villain team on my list."
"The Best Villains in comics, end of story. Led by the ever uncompromising Captain Cold, the Rogues are a family that works for each other. They may tease reform or retirement, but once you're a Rogue, you're a Rogue for life. Just don't think you can lay claim to being Top Dog, you think that's a wise move...ask the Top."
"The ultimate humanizing of a sad, lonely, mad, misfortunate band of criminals. This is what Johns does best. Taking a band of characters and elaborating on their character flaws and their day to day relationships, their shortcomings and still retaining their menacing tone."
"As seen in Rogues Revenge. Johns' one shots on the Rogues during his run on the Flash are some of my favourite comics ever. Rogue War only just went to show just how fantastic Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave and Weather Wizard were, and Rogues Revenge was only further proof that they took no shit from nobody."
Out of nowhere the Johns touch does it again. He made Hal Jordan make it to the Top 3 of the Top Leaguer List (he came in 3rd between Superman and Martian Manhuner), and Sinestro in the Top DCU Villains list (a 2nd place between Luthor in 3rd and Joker in 1st). OK, not as good as them, but wow, a Top 10 appearance by these guys? I never ever would've expected that when I started this list. At all. Do they deserve to be here? Discuss.
Instead of going into the LOOOOOOONG history of this team, I thought I talk about something different, the origin of the Rogue Rules. The Silver Age Flash villains first started calling themselves the Rogues. Since then, just about anyone who has fought the Flash has been considered a Rogue. This does not mean that all Rogues are part of the same team. Outside of the core Silver Age group, Rogues rarely team up to commit crimes or battle the Flash. In fact, the Rogues often fight among themselves. Golden Glider, Chillbane and the Top all died at the hands of other Rogues and several more have had close calls.
However, despite all this, the Rogues will generally help each other when in need and put out the word to other Rogues when they intend to cause trouble. On a professional level, they show each other respect, especially in death. When a Rogue dies, they are buried in Avernus (the entrance to the underworld in Roman mythology), a graveyard contained in a single plot created by the Folded Man and cloaked by Gorilla Grodd. Rogues buried here include Sam Scudder (the original Mirror Master), Golden Glider and George Harkness (the original Captain Boomerang). If the deceased is a member of the core Rogues, they will commit crimes and raise havoc using the late Rogue's weaponry as a tribute to their fallen friend.
The one group of Flash villains that are not considered Rogues except by the police are the Reverse Flashes. During the Silver Age, the other Flash villains despised Professor Zoom because he copied the Flash's powers instead of designing his own unique weaponry (never mind that Weather Wizard stole his weapon from his brother). During the Bronze Age, this conflict escalated and the Rogues destroyed Thawne's body only to be kidnapped by the Reverse Flash when he returned from the future. Thawne's successor (or predecessor depending on how you look at it), Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom has stated his outright hatred for the Rogues and his belief that they are merely wasting the Flash's time, punctuating the point by killing Plunder. Inertia was given a chance to team up with the Rogues which ended in disaster and the following conflict lead to his death. Traditionally, Gorilla Grodd and Abra Kadabra have also found themselves outsiders among the Rogues. This is because of their great power and lack of concern over the well being of the other Flash villains. Grodd views the other Rogues as beneath him (being human and all) and Abra Kadabra is just too crazy and unpredictable. However, in recent years, Kadabra has shown more interest in becoming a full Rogue, teaming up with the Core group several times.
After the reformation of the Silver Age Rogues, Captain Cold instituted the Rogue Rules. The number one rule is that you don’t kill cops needlessly as this draws the attention of superheroes and you don't kill superheroes needlessly because this draws the attention of even more superheroes. Further rules include not doing drugs, refraining from cruel and immature behavior and not fighting other Rogues. These rules generally only apply to Cold's Rogues, who will not hesitate to rough up other Flash villains if they get out of line. And finally, never kill a Flash. Ever. A rule Inertia helped tricked and convinced them into breaking, and for that he got what he deserved in Rogues Revenge.
8. The X-Morrison Era (156 points - 8 first place slots)
"What the hell is a Marvel title doing here??? Well, like I said - Morrison is either very good or very bad. This is an example of him being very good. I had little to no interest in the X-Men (or really any Marvel comics) until I saw this. Between the excitement from the 2000 movie, along with the fact that the goofy guy from the Doom Patrol was writing it got me to check it out. I was hooked! The strength of this team is shown by the fact that I completely lost interest in the X-Men again once Morrison was gone. Oh, if only his crappy JLA run could have been this good!"
"The last time the X-Men weren't insular, incestuous fan-wank, yet also the last time the title was truly intelligent and didn't simplify its themes, concepts or storytelling to attract newer audiences. Full of big ideas and brilliant character moments, it managed the balancing act between portraying recognizable franchise properties from movies and television, and a fresh approach and interpretation of characters who'd probably seen and done everything, and had everything done to them. Xavier's school lived and breathed as never before or since with color and personality. Excellent stuff."
"The modern X-Men. A concept that was lost too soon."
I haven't read this era at all, most of it happened when I was on my hiatus from comics, and by the time I came back I heard so much whacked shit bout it was unreal. Wow. But like, Johns' two teams above Morrison too has he devoted followers. In 2000 after Claremont left the title and the beginning of the Joe Q era of Marvel, X-Men had its title changed at this time to New X-Men and new writer Grant Morrison took over. This era is often referred to as the Morrison-era, due to the drastic changes he made to the series, beginning with "E Is for Extinction", where a new villainess, Cassandra Nova, destroyed Genosha, killing sixteen million mutants. Morrison also brought reformed ex-villainess Emma Frost into the primary X-Men team, and opened the doors of the school by having Xavier "out" himself to the public about being a mutant. The bright spandex costumes that had become iconic over the previous decades were also gone, replaced by black leather street clothes reminiscent of the uniforms of the X-Men movies. Morrison also added a new character, Xorn, who would figure prominently in the climax of the writer's run.
Since I didn't read this, it would be unfair for me to write about it, so my next few paragraphs I took from an IGN review on this era. Sit back and enjoy, and feel free to roll your eyes if you so desire:
Morrison, one of the pioneers of deconstructionism, did some unexpected things during his 41-issue tenure on New X-Men. In a four-year period, the X-Men fought only one "classic" villain in the form of Magneto (whom it turned out later was not actually Magneto). Otherwise, the X-Men were often in the grips of internal struggles, which brought the team back to what had originally made them a success. Morrison kept things lively with action, but focused on the personal demons facing the New X-Men.
The first major story introduced readers to Cassandra Nova, Professor Xavier's twin sister. Having been "murdered" in the womb by Xavier, Nova had a major bone to pick with Professor X, his dream and mutants in general. No sooner had Morrison taken the reigns of the New X-Men and Genosha was destroyed, 16 million mutants dead. This is exactly the entrance needed to grab the attention of readers who had been lulled into accepting mediocrity for too long.
Through the machinations of the Nova arc, Morrison is able to comment on the often ignored hypocrisy within the X-Mansion and push the X-Men in a new and necessary direction. While in control of Xavier's body, Nova outs the Professor as a mutant and reveals that the mansion is a training ground for Homo Superior. It's hard to believe that it took 40 years for the big secret to finally get out. Better late than never.
Things remain largely internal for quite a bit longer, as Morrison zeroes in on the new students at Xavier. The new breed of mutants tended to be freakish looking. Long ago, an Angel with wings was considered a gruesome physical mutation. Now, there's Beak, an ugly bird-boy who can't fly. There's Martha, who is a brain in a glass jar. Not only must these kids deal with humans who fear and hate them, but a mutant class that deems them "special" for their abnormal appearance. Mutants are now so common, they can afford a form of racism within the school.
A long-running subplot of Cyclops's psychic affair with Emma Frost proves the most interesting aspect of Morrison's entire run. Not only does it ask if having sex in your mind is "cheating," but it's the first time anyone's had the guts to question if Jean Grey is the right woman for Scott Summers. And just as Scott Summers is about to choose between the two, Jean does what she does best.
Morrison's greatest error, if you can call it that, is in delivering such high-quality work in his first two years without much follow through at the end of his run. The subsequent year plus of stories can't live up to the thrilling beginnings. The final leg of Morrison's run has polite and genuine healer Xorn revealing himself to be Magneto. That seems a stretch in itself, but it's made all the worse by Morrison's characterization of Magneto as a two-bit has-been who's little more than a Batman villain with magnetic powers. We know now that this whiny, ineffective nut-job is not actually Magneto, but in the context of the story there's little to admire in "Planet X".
Ok, I am back. Thoughts?