There are certain standards in superhero comics that just won’t go away: there will always be more Bat-books than copies of the Bible in print, Wolverine will always be having, at minimum, 3,700 adventures a week, and there will always always always be superteams. For many of us, superteams were our introduction to the world of comics. Be it through the COVERED IN SCORPIONS 90s X-Men cartoon, the brilliant (and oh so underrated) Justice League Unlimited series, or the modern Avengers movies. We love our heroes, and the more together, it seems, the merrier.
And while often we’ll see guest stars beaming up to the JLA Moon headquarters or scarfing down some crumpets with Jarvis at Avengers Mansion, rarely do we get to truly shake things up with team lineups. Sure, Bendis might shoehorn Wolverine onto the Avengers, or Geoff might, for a goof, throw Kingdom Come Superman in the Society, but we all know what we really want. We want a world where the boundaries of copyright and licensing fees have dissolved and we’re able to mix once-forbidden superhero ingredients into one hell of a superteam cake.
Today I’m taking one member from each of the major superteams and cramming them all together to create the ultimate, most fanboyirific superteam the world of four-colored funnybooks has ever seen. Unrealtors may I present: THE SUPER SUPERTEAM.
FROM: THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA
POSITION: THE LEADER
Called “the third smartest man alive” (and please, SOMEONE, TELL ME WHO ONE AND TWO ARE!), Michael Holt turned tragedy into triumph following the sudden deaths of his wife and unborn child by becoming the newest iteration of the paragon of fair play: Mr. Terrific. Armed only with his intellect and ambition (and some pretty rad, floating T-spheres), Holt became a superhero force to be reckoned with by becoming leader of (arguably) the most powerful superhero team in comics: The Justice Society of America.
To me, Mr. Terrific is the most obvious choice to lead. First of all, superteams are here to protect the common man, and Michael Holt is very much that. Sure, he’s a genius intellect with Olympic-level athletic skills, but he’s still just a man. He’s Batman with a heart, a down-to-earth Iron Man.
And he’s respected by gods.
Think about it. Alan Scott? God. Kingdom Come Superman? Greying god. Thunderbolt? Captain Marvel? Dr. Fate? The list goes on and on. And each and every one of them takes order from a dude with a T on his face.
And as cheesy as it may be on paper, the idea of fair play is the goal of all superheroes, but most are too busy being sad or drowning in pathos to ever acknowledge it.
This guy stitches it on his clothes. Forget it, he’s the boss.
FROM: THE DEFENDERS
POSITION: THE MUSCLE
Yeah, sure, The Defenders aren’t the most prestigious of teams, but, man, when you’ve got a roster that includes Dr. Strange, the Silver Surfer, and ol’ Purple Pants here, they’d be the first team I’d call when there’s trouble a’brewin’.
Look, every team needs that one member that you really, really don’t want to punch you in the face. Every team needs that one member that just seeing them makes you reconsider your life choices.
The Hulk is like nineteen feet tall with muscles the size of Nebraska and he’s green. I’m not telling him no. It might make him angry…
FROM: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
POSITION: THE POWER
Throw a rock and you’ll find a group in comics that’s had at least two Lanterns on it, so what superteam would be complete without one?
But even without that superteam standard, Green Lanterns are some intimidating jewelry-clad powerhouses. With the user’s willpower and imagination being the only limitation, a Green Lantern ring is truly the most powerful weapon in the universe. When you can create anything…you can create anything. The implications of that are endless.
You may be asking what’s the difference between being the muscle like the Hulk, and being the power like GL here? I’ll put it to ya this way. Need to keep a mountain from falling on you? Call the Hulk. Need to keep a planet from falling on you? So long as it ain’t yellow, call your resident ring-slinger.
FROM: THE FANTASTIC FOUR
POSITION: THE SCIENTIST
Every once in a while a team comes up against quite the technical doo-dad and in such moments, you need yourself a big stinkin’ brain. Well, the good Doctor here not only has that, he can make it stretch.
Widely considered to be Marvel’s number one know-it-all, Reed Richards has proven his scientific acumen time and again. Unstable molecules, Fantasti-cars, H.E.R.B.I.E. just to name a few. He even scared the pants off Galactus by whipping up a faux ultimate nullifier. Fella’s got him some know-how.
Sometimes problems can’t be punched into submission. Sometimes the keen, analytical mind is needed to examine, extrapolate, and execute whatever must be done with that cool and collected method only the best and brightest science guys (or gals) can pull off.
This one isn’t a stretch at all. Yeah, I couldn’t resist.
FROM: THE AVENGERS
POSITION: THE MAGICIAN
On the other side of unorthodox superteam calamities, we’ve got the wild and weird world of magical maladies. For every earth-ending laser cannon, we got ourselves a dark sorceror conjuring up some sinister spell to turn everyone into goo. And since I’d rather stay solid, every team’s gotta have someone in a pointy hat who’d feel just as much at home in Hogwarts as they would Titans Tower.
While she may have grown quite the crazy tree in her backyard over the years, the sheer power of the Scarlet Witch just cannot be denied. If you can change the entire planet with three words, remake reality in your sleep, and still look great in tights while doing it, you’re getting a membership card in my team.
While perhaps Dr. Strange or Zatanna or Shadowpact’s Enchantress might seem more controllable, less volatile choices, it’s Scarlet Witch’s instability that makes her seem a more choice conjurer. Magic is unstable. Anyone who thinks they can ever really control it is doomed to eventually be overtaken by it. However, someone who dipped their toe deeper into the rapids is more likely to learn how to swim stronger.
Just keep her away from any androids.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
FROM: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
POSITION: THE GREASEMAN
Look, let’s not kid ourselves. While we’d rather have a team of saints, sin is a liquid substance and will find its way through the most impregnable of institutions Sometimes there’s dirty work to be done. And if you gotta do it, you’d probably be better off not being seen.
The Invisible Man…is a douchebag. How bad? Well, amongst many other transgressions, he sold out the entire human race to a bunch of aliens. What a jerk. He’s not a nice guy, certainly not a good guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a useful guy. In the world of LOEG, the Invisible Man was very effective, be it in general sneaking around, murder, or, eventually, near-genocide.
Consider him a freelance member of the team. If something unsavory arises in the world of global peacekeeping, you give him a call, a paycheck, and not mention it to anyone. He’s the perfect example of out of sight, out of mind.
FROM: BIRDS OF PREY
POSITION: THE INFORMATION HUB
Lemme just position my soapbox here real quick. Okay, here we go.
DC’s New 52 has been met with a lot of skepticism and scorn from fans, and while I think most of it is unwarranted, and, frankly, a little immature, the transformation of Barbara Gordon is just unforgivable.
Barbara Gordon as Oracle was one of DC’s finest characters. Aside from being an excellent role model for disabled readers as well as a very progressive character in terms of feminism in comics, the idea of Oracle: a center for information for the forces of good in comics, was just genius. It made so much sense, contributed to so many stories, and, in my opinion, was the best example of evolving a character in the history of comics.
Now it’s all been erased because everything has to be like comics were when the people in charge were growing up. And now Barbara Gordon, one of my all time favorite characters in all of comics, has become boring and regressive. Boo.
But since this is my dream team, I get my dream Babs. And here she is. And this team and comics in general would be a better place for it.
FROM: THE X-MEN
POSITION: THE MORAL COMPASS
Hear me out.
Yes, yes, Emma used to be a bad guy. Yeah, she kinda had an affair with a married man. And, yeah, dude, totally, she was the WORST character in X-Men: First Class. But these days Emma’s diamonds sparkle on the side of the angels, and to me, that makes her an ideal candidate for a team’s moral center.
Wisdom is where you find yourself after walking down many paths, and no one’s more travelled than the White Queen. Even after sipping wine at the Hellfire Club, even after witnessing the rise and fall of mutant paradise in Genosha, still still still Emma decides that light must be shined into dark corners and chooses to make the world a better place.
It’s way more fun to be bad, but the worthwhile people realize that life is more than just personal pleasures. She might be a bit of a bitch, but that’s only because she stands for something. And every team needs strength of conviction just as much as they need big, bulging muscles.
POSITION: THE BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LOVE A MONKEY?
Or ape, whatever, look at his hat!
FROM: THE INHUMANS
POSITION: THE MASCOT
Team’s gotta make money somehow, and the t-shirt and lunchbox biz is always booming. Everyone loves a good mascot and who could be a better and brighter choice than a lovable slobberhound? Just lookit that punum. And he’s kinda got some superpowers. But whatever. He’s just so dern adorable. Kiss my grits, Gleek, this is the ideal superpet.
And that’s the lineup, Unrealtors! Agree? Disagree? Did I miss your favorite team? Assemble and let me know!
Adam Esquenazi Douglas is a playwright who was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn’t have an accent.
He is co-host of two podcasts, The JimmyJew Podcast Extravaganza and Schmame Over, which can be found at http://jimmyjew.libsyn.com/ and http://schmameover.libsyn.com/ respectively, as well as on iTunes. He is a contributing writer to www.GamersSchmamers.com.
He currently lives in Brooklyn where he drinks far too much coffee.