Banner Art by Carlos Pacheco
So, it’s as appropriate times as any to do a Top 10 Superhero Teams List. I’ve been doing the quintessential team members lists, so I’m going to tell you which teams are my absolute favorites. It is a little Marvel-heavy. DC doesn’t really have as many headlining teams, and (spoiler alert) I’m not that big a fan of the Teen Titans outside of the current Titans title by Dan Abnett. It has Wally West and Nightwing and it’s just a well-written book. Cyborg was my main man on the Teen Titans, but he’s a full-time Justice Leaguer now. Also, Hawk and Dove haven’t been on the team in forever. Also, I used to like the Suicide Squad before it became Harley Quinn and Her Amazing Friends (5 points if you get that reference).
Anyway, let’s get this show on the road!
Art by Arthur Adams
- The Guardians of the Galaxy
Grab a bunch of disparate Jim Starlin characters and space-faring castoffs, throw in a couple of Avengers from time-to-time, and you get the Guardians of the Galaxy! Well, there’s also the original future versions that is also an oddball team that protects the Earth from invasion from the Badoon Empire. I do prefer the newer iteration myself, but, in fairness, I’ve read a lot more with that version of the team. Plus, throwing the Thing, Venom, Captain Marvel, and Drax the Destroyer on a team is a good place to start with me. I also love Star-Lord quite a bit, and Rocket, Gamora, and Groot have all grown on me a lot too. I love the cavalier “fight-the-power” spirit of the team, and I love that they’re a band of outcasts that have only found companionship with one another. Star-Lord is a charming, Han Solo-esque leader, Drax and Gamora are the badass warriors, Rocket is the smart-mouth and murderous technician, and Groot is the charming, wooden heart. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did an incredible job of updating these characters and bringing them together under one roof. Brian Michael Bendis has managed to keep the spirit of their team going while infusing his own sense of humor. This team is fantastic and definitely worthy of this list.
Art by Alex Ross
- The Fantastic Four
The first family of superheroes and the first comic to come out of the Marvel Age, the Fantastic Four are the lovable and weird first note that led to the likes of Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Avengers. Superheroes, explorers, and ambassadors, the Fantastic Four have done it all. They have always represented the best of what humanity can be. Mr. Fantastic is arguably the world’s greatest scientific mind. The Invisible Woman is the determined fighter and maybe even a better leader than Richards himself. The Human Torch is the charismatic and joking motor mouth. The Thing is the gentle and loyal powerhouse who has gone toe-to-toe with the Incredible Hulk himself. They are a classic superhero team, and I truly hope that Marvel brings them back together soon.
Art by John Byrne
- The Champions
Yeah, I really like the weird and wild teams. Hercules, Black Widow, the Ghost Rider, Iceman, and the Angel: these heroes came together to form the Champions. This team actually worked out of Los Angeles, and, yeah, the lineup really makes no sense. That’s why I absolutely love it. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Iceman are all on the team. With the exception of Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man, they generally fought fairly odd rogues too, such as the Roman God Pluto, Swarm, and the Stranger. They were a short-lived team, but the name has been taken up by Nova, Ms. Marvel, Amadeus Cho, young Cyclops, Spider-Man, and Viv Vision in the new Champions title. This team is a lot more conventional than the original, but, as you know, I love it anyway. Also, the team name may have been briefly taken by some losers out of the Great Lakes, but we don’t talk about them around here. They lost their only good member to Sunspot’s New Avengers
Art by Marcus To
- The New Warriors
Essentially Marvel’s version of the Teen Titans, the New Warriors were a team that often consisted of fairly obscure characters. This is probably why it could never compete with the Teen Titans in terms of sales, but I honestly like this team more. I am the B-List Defender after all. The New Warriors often consisted of Justice, Speedball, Namorita, Night Thrasher, Rage, and Firestar. Nova, arguable their most popular member, left to become a spacefaring champion of the cosmos. Sadly, the most notorious act of the New Warriors will probably always be the Stanford Incident, in which they fought Nitro the Exploding Man on live television outside an elementary school. Nitro detonated, killing over 600 people, and this event helped kick off the original Superhero Civil War and the scarred Speedball becoming the Thunderbolt known as Penance. After this, the deceased Night Thrasher’s brother took up his mantle and united a new iteration made up of mutants depowered by the Scarlet Witch on M-Day. Among these mutants was Jubilee, and this new Night Thrasher taught this team how to fight without their powers while also using confiscated villain tech to give them artificial supernatural abilities. Since then, Justice has returned to lead the team once more and even recruited Kaine the Scarlet Spider (another “Spider” character I love more than Spider-Man). A youthful team with a lot of idealism and energy, the New Warriors have always appealed to me a great deal.
Art by Adi Granov
- The X-Men
How could I not include Marvel’s premiere team of mutants? The X-Men are just plain awesome. They have had a wide variety of interesting members with unique powers. They are a band of social misfits that formed under the dream of uniting all peoples. Their book has been used as a Civil Rights Movement metaphor as well as an emblem of the LGBTQ Rights Movement. Wolverine, Cyclops, Beast, Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Storm—their group has had many of Marvel’s most iconic heroes under their roof. Their first enemy was the greatest supervillain of all time: Magneto. I was also going to include the X-Force on my list, as Rick Remender’s run on the team made for one of my favorite comic book series. However, I decided to collapse that under this X-Men entry since it was technically an extension of the team. So here’s my mentioning of the X-Force. They’re awesome. Not the Cable-led version though; Cable sucks and that book was written and drawn by the reviled Rob Liefeld.
Art by Alex Ross
- The Justice League
Of course I have to list DC’s premier team. The Justice League are the world’s greatest super heroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Firestorm, the Atom, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Shazam, Black Canary… this list goes on and on. I do miss the pre-New 52 days when their lineup would show a little more variety. As it is now, I feel that the team has gotten kind of stale, and even the addition of the awesome Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz hasn’t revived my interest in the current book. That being said, I do look forward to the new Justice League of America lineup. It looks weird and interesting, plus it has the classic Lobo on the group. I love the Main Man. All this being said, I do still generally love the Justice League. They are the greatest heroes of DC Comics, and they will always have a place in my heart. Also, Bruce Timm’s Justice League cartoon was so much better than Batman: The Animated Series. That Justice League series was actually one of the things that first sparked my interest in superheroes as a kid, and it’s still my all-time favorite cartoon.
Art by Alex Ross
- The Justice Society of America
All that having been said, the Justice League isn’t actually my favorite DC superhero team. That title belongs to the Justice Society. They were the first ever superhero team to appear in a comic book. They have an air of prestige that is matched by no other team. This does not include Earth 2 Society by the way. That book has never captured the spirit of the old Justice Society for me. With the likes of Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Hawkman, Shazam, Mister Terrific, Stargirl, Wildcat, Power Girl, and even Black Adam, this team has had some of DC’s best and brightest on the roster of the Justice Society. They are old-fashioned heroes who believe in a clear-cut right and wrong. That is not to say they’ve never stumbled along the way, but they always tried to do better and fix their mistakes. I love the Justice Society, and I desperately hope that DC brings back the team properly in the near future.
Art by Sanford Greene
- The Heroes for Hire
Luke Cage and Iron Fist—do I need to say anything more? If you’ve been reading this site for a time, you know that nothing more needs to be said. However, I will throw in the names Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Shang Chi, Paladin, Ghost Rider, the Falcon, White Tiger, Ant-Man, and (no joke) Hercules. This team is the emblematic street-level super hero team. They work for the little guy to protect them from whatever threats assail them. Yes, they’ll take a payment, but when push comes to shove they’ll help no matter what. There’s not much more to say. They’re made up of some of the coolest characters in comic books, and they’re my 3rd Favorite Superhero Team of All Time.
Art by Mark Bagley and Andrew Hennessy
- The Thunderbolts
The freaking Thunderbolts, what can I say about this team that I haven’t already said a thousand times? Born out of a diabolical plot by the great Baron Helmut Zemo, this team grew to become genuine super heroes thanks to the conscience and will of Songbird, Mach I, Moonstone, Atlas, and Jolt. The team as changed and expanded over the years. It has been led by Hawkeye. It’s been based out of the Raft and charged by Luke Cage and John Walker aka the U.S. Agent. Its current form has returned to just Moonstone, Mach X, Atlas, and Fixer and is led by Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier aka my favorite freaking superhero of all time. The team has recruited people like the Juggernaut, Ghost, the Shocker, Radioactive Man, Blizzard, and so many others over the years. I just love the Thunderbolts, and I hope Jim Zub’s current run on the book lasts for a long time to come.
Art by Alex Ross
- The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
“And there came a day unlike any other, when earth’s mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day the Avengers were born! — To fight the foes no single hero could withstand!”
The Avengers have always represented for me the best parts of my other favorite teams. Like the Justice League, they are a team united against the great threats of the world. Like the Thunderbolts, they are often made up of former criminals and very flawed people trying to improve themselves. Like the Fantastic Four, they have traveled into deep space and seen the edges of the universe itself. Like the X-Men, they are often misfits and outcasts trying to seek refuge in like-minded people. Like the Justice Society, they have an air of honor and prestige about them which few other groups share.
I’m sure you likely noticed that my Top 10 Marvel Heroes List completely consisted of people who have been an Avenger at one point or another. Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the New Avengers introduced me to the characters that would become my favorite Marvel heroes. I love the Avengers They are Earth’s Mightiest, and they are my favorite Superhero Team of All Time.