Saturday, December 20, 2014 • Afternoon Edition • "70 slogans - collect 'em all!"

Your Top Teams Final

Written by Chris Mitchell on Tuesday, July 14 2009 and posted in Features
1topteams.jpgHere are at the Final Three, and what do you know, it’s an entire Marvel trio of teams. DC may rule the modern list, but Marvel triumphed over the Team list in serious ass kicking action. With 7 teams of the Top 15 being DC, and the final three being all Marvel. Well done, well done indeed.

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3. The Fantastic Four (236 points - 15 first place slots)

fantasticfour.jpg"What really needs to be said about Marvel's first family, stars of The World's Greatest Comic Magazine, and the founding fathers of the Marvel Universe? Reed, Sue, Ben & Johnny aren't just superheroes...they rarely ever were. They're family, to each other, and in a strange way to their fans as well. The first 100 issues of this book set a standard that truthfully no other comic has ever met, and the characters, while as familiar now as an old pair of shoes, still show us more depth than most others, and can still surprise us after all these years. Because they were the first heroes to feel like us...and they still feel like us...just normal people blessed or cursed with extraordinary powers. They were the first superheroes to fight, to bicker, to get really mad at each other; the first to marry and have kids; the first to do most everything...and they're still at the vanguard. And despite their differences, they're still family, and still the greatest team in Marvel Comics."

"The greatest team of heroes ever. Created in the 60's and still relevant today. Reed, Sue, Ben and Johnny are the rock from which the House of Idea's was built on. Sure Spidey is more popular but he wouldn't exist without the FF."

"THE perfect team (though Sue has been mis-managed at times). Rather than a group of super heroes combining their crime fighting abilities, they're a group of explorers that operate as a family unit. Best Team Ever."

"The World's Greatest Comic Magazine. The First Family of Comics. The feuding siblings, Johnny and Ben, The rock of Reed and Sue's love. The Kids. Awesome."

"More of a family than a superhero team the FF began the Mighty Marvel age of comics and have been going strong ever since. ‘nuff said."

"First family of comics."

"I can't say much about the four, except that they are damn near the greatest team ever. The family dynamic, the adventures all amazing."

"The only four that ever mattered."

"THE WORLDS GREATEST COMIC MAGAZINE BITCHES, WHAT!!!"

"I've always loved the FF...especially this fun, imaginative era. Plus Simonson's art really did it for me."

"The first family. Explorers. Inventors. Heroes."

I know I could've done a shot of the Fantastic Four charging into battle, or done a dramatic pose of them all ready for action but I decided to use a picture that went with the theme of your quotes: A Family portrait. Seriously, you cannot get anymore family then this team right here. Blood is thicker then water and all that jazz. Back in the day, I used to be a hardcore FFer, mind you, it really hasn't been that way in a long long long time, here is hoping Hickman can bring the Fantastic Four back to there cosmic-adventuring glory. Those who think the Fantastic Four are lame, just do not know good comics. Pick up the early FF by Lee/Kirby, then pick up the entire Byrne run, and you will see some of the best comics EVER. This team has so much to the Marvel Universe. Like what you ask? Well, let see: The Inhumans, Galactus, Silver Surfer, The Watcher, the Negative Zone, Annihilus, Skrulls, it reintroduced Sub-Mariner to the Marvel Universe, and most importantly it gave us the awesomeness of Dr. Doom. So, if you hate the Fantastic Four, you hate Marvel Comics.

Fact.

And for those who are wondering, I merged all the points of the Fantastic Four where the original team where a part of. So if you voted for the Stan and Jack days, the FF with Byrne, the Waid and Ringo days, the Simonson days, they are all counted in this section. I am pretty friggin’ shocked by this, I honestly thought they wouldn't even break the Top 10, but you people of shocked me, and this time in a good way. I am not really gonna talk about the Byrne era, because it did cover it back in the Thing-less Four entry, so yeah.

The first family super team of Marvel Comics, the Fantastic Four opened up the genre to a whole new way of telling the old story of family binds above all else. Reed Richards, scientist and inventor of the first spaceship capable of reaching planets beyond our moon. The government was about to cut funding for the flight. Reed saw no choice but to launch the ship before the whole thing was scraped. Reed invited his girlfriend Susan Storm along for the trip and her brother Johnny Storm decided to come along in order to keep his sister safe. Lacking a pilot for the trip Reed turned to his former college roommate Ben Grimm who was a test pilot for the United States Air Force. Everyone ready for launch Reeds got a warning from the authorities that they were unaware of the effects of the cosmic rays on human bodies so far out in space and declined Reed's request for launch. So one night at the change of the guards they sneak in and launch before any planes could be scrambled to intercept them or even shoot them down with missiles. Successful in leaving Earth’s atmosphere halfway along in their trip they were bombarded by cosmic rays before they expected it which affected all of them making them unable to continue the trip, so they turned back towards Earth and crash landed in a small opening in a forested area. Luckily surviving the crash but radically changed. Ben feels his body become heavy and finds he's turned into a monster. Reed tries to calm him down and realizes that he has wrapped his body around Ben. He now has elastic abilities. Johnny bursts into flames while Sue panics as she turns invisible. Soon they all manage to calm themselves and agree to band together as a team. Johnny calls himself the Human Torch, Sue calls herself the Invisible Girl (and later changes it to the Invisible Woman). Ben calls himself the Thing and Reed decides to call himself Mr. Fantastic. Thus the Fantastic Four are born. As a team of superheroes, they remain a family first. Their headquarters in the Baxter Building also serves as their home. They have fought several enemies and have traveled to many different universes. They have become the foundation of the heroes in the Marvel Universe.

The Fantastic Four made their public debut when a villain named Mole Man (A villain that lives underground) began attacking the surface. He attempted to destroy the human race by unleashing his army of monsters that he created through an atomic blast. The Fantastic Four, led by Mr. Fantastic, would be able to defeat Mole Man and stop his threat on the world. The Fantastic Four continued their illustrious careers as superheroes and unlike Spider-Man, they were well loved by the public and the media by appearing on television and more. The Fantastic Four would be the first to meet The Inhumans, the Kree, and the Skrull races. They also discovered the hidden country of Wakanda. During one of their adventures they would encounter their arch-nemesis Doctor Doom, also known as Victor Von Doom and was a former college classmate and rival of Reed Richards. He had always blamed Reed for one of his experiments going wrong and scarring his face. Dr. Doom had recently become the new ruler of his homeland, Latveria. Dr. Doom kidnapped Invisible Girl (She would become Invisible Woman during John Byrne’s run) and forced Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, and the Thing to use his time machine to travel back to the past and retrieve a magical stone. The three of them agree to do so and used the time machine. However, once they finished the mission and returned, they decided to fight Doom instead and were able to defeat him and free Invisible Girl. Reed Richards also created the “unstable molecules” which are used for their costumes. This allows Reed’s costume to stretch as he does, Invisible Girl’s goes invisible when she does, and Human Torch’s doesn’t burn up when he flames on. Reed would also discover The Negative Zone (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby shared credit for the creation of the Negative Zone and unstable molecules). The Negative Zone is a parallel universe in which all matter is negatively charged. It also has a breathable atmosphere which allows Mr. Fantastic to lead his team on adventures in the Negative Zone. The Negative Zone is mostly uninhabited and Reed was eventually able to map out most of the area.

The Fantastic Four would eventually battle against Galactus, the devourer of worlds. Galactus sent his herald, the Silver Surfer, to search for planets to feed the hungry Galactus and he would eventually discover the planet Earth. What looked to be a losing battle, the Fantastic Four eventually allied themselves with the cosmic entity the Watcher. They were able to liberate Galactus’ herald the Silver Surfer, who felt rebellious to Galactus. Reed would eventually be able to defeat Galactus by threatening to use the Ultimate Nullifier (A weapon that erases anything and everything, that was stolen by the Human Torch on Galactus’ vessel) on Galactus. Galactus promises to not devour Earth again and departed.

Reed and Sue eventually married in 1965 and it became a celebrity event. The couple continued their newly married life in the public eye for years to come. Later Sue would become pregnant with a baby boy whom would be named Franklin Richards. Due to Sue being pregnant, she had to take a temporary leave on the team. The Fantastic Four decided to recruit the Human Torch’s girlfriend, Crystal. However due to the pollution on Earth, it forced Crystal to leave the Fantastic Four soon after. Sue eventually gave birth to Franklin on 1968 in Fantastic Four Annual #6, and returned as an active member on the Fantastic Four. However, Sue and Richards’ relationship became dysfunctional because Sue began hating the life of a celebrity. Sue left the Fantastic Four and the Inhuman named Medusa would fill-in for Sue while she took a break. Sue eventually returned to active duty in the Fantastic Four again. Lee and Kirby ended their run when Kirby left Marvel in 1970.

The Mark Waid era saw the Fantastic Four in a lot of new concepts and amazing arcs come to light. His first stories on the book dealt with the Fantastic Four as Imaginauts and how they dealt with the fame that they always had their way. We also saw glimpses of Johnny as a much more responsible man, thanks to his sister’s conjecture. We also witness Doom's ruthlessness in trying to cause harm to the Fantastic Four at any costs. He sold his loves life, Valeria (his first love) in an attempt to gain more of the magic that was always in his blood and which he denounced for a life of science. Seeing now that having both would help him in his end, he betrayed her to demons and was able to get the magical knowledge he yearned for. To add to that, when Doom delivered baby Valeria, he cast a spell on her that would make her his magical familiar and he used the connection to carry out a devastating attack against the team. In the instant she uttered "Doom" demons kidnapped Franklin and Reed and Johnny tried desperately to save him before Johnny was burnt badly by demon fire. Sue and Ben hurry to Reed to tell him what's happened when they discovered Johnny wailing and notice his burnt flesh. They explain what happen and the team sets out to rescue Franklin and heal Valeria from this affliction Doom gave her. They travel to Latveria where the team is ambushed by Doom. He takes Valeria and uses his magic in order to have the team suffer through painful versions of each others powers. He gives Johnny, Reed's stretching abilities, stretching him to his limits. He gives Sue a painful version of her brother's flame power. He has Ben fight off dozens of monsters. And finally he sticks Reed in a room full of magical information. But with the help of Doctor Strange, (or should I say his astral projection), Reed escapes and saves his family. Together they defeat Doom, and rescue Franklin and Valeria. Doom was vanquished and left in Hell by Reed, but not before Doom instilled a parting gift on him and scarred his face. This encounter would have lasting affects on the team and Reed.

 


2. The All New, All Different X-Men (324 points - 23 first place slots)

xmen-giantsize.jpg"They're the X-Men... nuff said."

"The classic X-Men for me. And, more importantly, somewhere in the middle of "Who's Wolverine" and "Is there a single comic on the stands without Wolverine?" The perfect mix of Wolverine possible."

"THIS TEAM WAS THE MOST POPULAR AND MOST INFLUENTAIL TEAM FOR DECADES AND CREATED THE BIGGEST FRANCHISE OF X-COMICS EVER!!!"

"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."

"Without this era, the X-Men would not be the biggest franchise in comics. This eclectic batch of international characters became a family under this creative team and to this day remain the heart of the X-Men."

"You cannot get better comics than this, to this day no X-Men era has surpassed the scope of stories this era told."

"Love them or hate them, Claremont and Byrne built something spectacular here. They took the awesome new creations from Wein and Cockrum and breathed life into them no one ever expected and no one could ever do again"

"The Cockrum designs are phenomenal. Nightcrawler’s look is so simple yet effective. I so love this era."

Not my favorite era, but I can see why everyone else loves this one and how it got so high. Without it, half of what is in the Marvel Universe wouldn't be here. Between Fantastic Four and X-Men, some of the coolest concepts were created in the Marvel Universe. Should I list them? I will anyways: Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, The Hellfire Club, The Phoenix Force, The Shi’ar Empire, The Imperial Guard, and the dystopian future for which so many X-Men stories have dipped into, Dazzler, Kitty Pryde, Proteus, Madrox, Alpha Flight, and so many others. Wolverine would just be another Hulk villain if it weren't for this era. Come on, all you Wolverine haters cannot tell me him coming out of the water in the sewer is not a badass moment?

xmen-gs2.jpgStill, like I said it’s not my favorite X-era, I prefer the Mutant Massacre and Outback X-Men era myself, but we wouldn't have any of those stories if it weren’t for Len and Cockrum followed by Claremont and Byrne. Well done, gentlemen, you have done a wonderful job expending on the Universe. And I wanna thank you for creating the Imperial Guard, for without them we wouldn't have the event that rocks my socks to this day: War of Kings! So, you are all buying War of Kings, right? Good.

In Giant-Size X-Men #1, writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum introduced a new team which was featured in new issues of The X-Men beginning with issue #94. This new team, however, differed greatly from the original. The new members were older and more ethnically diverse. Each was from a different country with varying cultural and philosophical beliefs, and were already well versed in using their mutant powers, several being experienced in combat situations. The "all-new, all-different X-Men" were led by Cyclops from the original team and consisted of the newly created Colossus (from the Soviet Union), Nightcrawler (from West Germany), Storm (an African from Kenya), and Thunderbird (a Native American from the Apache nation), along with three previously introduced characters, Banshee (from Ireland), Sunfire (from Japan), and most notably Wolverine (from Canada), who eventually became the breakout character on the team and, in terms of comic sales and appearances, became the most popular X-Men character. A revamped Jean Grey soon rejoined the X-Men as the popular Phoenix; Angel, Beast, Havok, and Polaris also made significant guest appearances.

The revived series was illustrated by Dave Cockrum, and later John Byrne, and written by Chris Claremont. Claremont became the series' longest-running contributor. The run met great critical acclaim and produced the "Proteus Saga", "Dark Phoenix Saga", and later the early 1980s "Days of Future Past" as well as other characters introduced during this time include Amanda Sefton, Kitty Pryde, the Hellfire Club, Multiple Man, Mystique, and Moira MacTaggert with her genetic research facility on Muir Island. Byrne soon parted ways from the X-titles after some creative differences with Claremont and such and moved on to Alpha Flight and the Fantastic Four which is stated above.


1. The Avengers (352 points - 24 first place slots)

   avengers-b.jpg

"Classic characters with new faces in Firestar and Justice meeting old and new school threats in a modern style story telling. PEREZ ART! This brought me into the Avengers for the first time. Look at the roster, that is power."

"This Avengers team was my favorite, as it had the "big guys" and rookies, and I loved Wanda as co-chair."

"This is as close to perfect as you could get. If Pietro had been a full time member, it would have been perfect. Iron Man, Cap, Thor, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision (my favorite Avenger, the heart of the team), Wonder Man, Wasp, Yellowjacket. I mean, this is an awesome team. Just needs Hulk. But having Pietro there when needed made for a nearly perfect line up. To me the Avengers are about the guys that don't carry their own book. Folks like Vision, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch that have all their big things happen in this book. That's what makes them special. Alone they may not be the strongest, but together they can take on ice giants and time travelers and alien overlords."

"I really wasn't an Avengers fan until this team came on board. I liked Cap, Thor and Iron Man but mostly as a solo team. This book showed me what a real great team book can be. The line up was just a solid well balanced force and the character all played well off one another. Great team."

"An incredible mix of long time members and brand spanking new members. This group fought everyone from Ultron to Kang and came out on top. This version of Avengers also introduced some great new characters to the Marvel U (Triathlon/3D Man). All in all, Busiek’s Era of Avengers was the greatest." avengers-b2.jpg

"Taking two of my favorite characters from my 2nd favorite comic (New Warriors) and letting them graduate to my first favorite comic was a dream come true. I love this comic era and always will."

"I voted for the issue 200 lineup because of Perez, in fact Top 3 choices are all Perez teams, but this one gets top spot. Perez just improved his skills by 10 times since he was last on this title, and with Busiek writing it was an unbelievable era" 
Do you want to read Avengers done right? Well, here it is. Not my favorite era, I like the 11th place team the best because of Blue Furred Beast, but he did make a guest appearance in the first issues. But anywho, these were some damn fun stories and as you can see its not only the most loved Avengers team on this list, it’s the most loved team overall. All you anti-Bendis must of rallied together and wanted to kick the Post-Dissembled loving Avengers in the crotch. One of my favorite storylines and one of yours I hope is the Ultron one. Seriously, that story was messed up and spooky and showed what a badass old Ultron is. This title was the best way to wash yourself off of the icky and gross Liefeldian Heroes Reborn stuff. Blah. Blah. Blah.

So, all you fans of this era sit back and gloat that this team has reigned supreme in the battle for Top Team, and all you Marvel Zombies can do the same.

Together with the Fantastic Four and others, many of the Avengers apparently die stopping the gestalt psychic entity Onslaught, although it is later revealed that Franklin Richards preserves these heroes in a pocket universe. Believing the main team gone, the Black Widow disbands the Avengers, with only butler Jarvis remaining to tend to the Mansion.

avengers-b3.jpgMarvel contracted out The Avengers and three related titles - Captain America, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man - to former Marvel artists Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld, two of the founding creators of Image Comics. The previous continuity of the Marvel Universe was set aside as the heroes were "reborn" in the pocket universe. While the Avengers was relaunched as a new series, the "Heroes Reborn" line ended after a year as planned and the license reverted to Marvel.

Writer Kurt Busiek and penciler George Pérez launched a new volume of the series with Avengers #1 (Feb. 1998). Busiek also concurrently wrote the limited series Avengers Forever, a time-travel story that explored the history of the Avengers and resolved many outstanding questions. New members during this run included Ms. Marvel; the revived Wonder Man; Justice; Firestar; Silverclaw; and Triathlon. Busiek's run included many of the Avengers traditional villains such as the Grim Reaper; Ultron and Kang.

Again, I wanna thank everyone who has participated in the threads and submitting lists. It’s always a blast for me to see the discussions, the ranting, and the gloating all going on. I wanna thank Lord Simian and Jude Terror for letting me use up the front page as much as I have. I wanna thank misac for keeping secrets and posting all the stuff for me, he does a wonderful job. And lastly, I wanna thank King Impulse for being my outsource writer this time around, his help was extremely invaluable and I so greatly appreciate it.

Thank you again, and be on the look out for the Top Comic Youths thread, it’s a coming soon!!

 


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