Our Poll Position question this week is pretty straight-forward:
What I always loved about the "Magneto Leads the X-Men" stories was how it really fleshed out Magneto as a character. A lot of writers take the easy way out with a villain, giving them the storytelling equivalent of a curled black mustache and no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But Magento's villainy arises from the same roots as Xavier's heroism, making them two sides of the same coin in many ways. Putting him in charge of Charles' team brought out those essential qualities and highlighted them. Magneto changed, and that's the core of a great story.
So when thinking about which characters might be equally interesting if put in the same situation, I wondered whose villainy arose from the same seeds as heroism, who might have it in them to take over a team and be changed by them.
- The Red Skull leads the US Army. The Red Skull and Captain America, like Xavier and Magneto, have a lot in common. Both are used to leading groups of soldiers. Both fight on behalf of their country. Both leave no hair on their heads exposed. Granted, that's because the Red Skull HAS no hair, but still. I don't doubt that the Skull could effectively lead any army, even that of his country's greatest enemy. But while the US Army is filled with good men and strong patriots, I don't know if it has the kind of super heroism it would take to turn a megalomaniac into someone willing to consider the welfare of others above his own.
- Lex Luthor leads the Justice League. We've had Elseworld type stories before with Luthor being the President, but I think the smaller and more direct leadership required for a group like the Justice League would be much more revealing. He's also led teams of super villains, like Magneto did, so he knows what he's doing with supremely powerful individuals. And egos. I actually think he's capable of growing into the role, of being changed by it like Magento was.
- Ultron leads the Avengers. This could be a cool concept if done well. Granted, UItron is a mechanical killing monstrosity, utterly devoted to ending all life, so I'm not sure how this would ever come about, but the creation meeting (and leading) its creator has a certain appeal.
- Dr. Doom leads the Fantastic Four. This has probably already happened a dozen times over. My Four-Fu is weak.
- Sinestro leads the Green Lantern Corps. I imagine Sinestro completely making over the GL Corps into a much more ruthless, much more aggressive force. I don't think he'd be much changed by it, though.
- Mumm-Ra leads the Thundercats. Mumm-ra never struck me as having much of a personality beyond "Kill All Furries", so I am dubious that he'd be much interested in leading the lost cubs of Thundara.
- Deathstroke leads the Teen Titans. Again, this probably happened at some point. But I like Deathstroke a lot as a character; I find him multi-layered and interesting, much more than just the cold-blooded soldier of fortune he's made out to be. Plus he already has white hair, like Magneto, so that's practically the same thing right there.
- Skeletor leads Eternia At one point, Skeletor and He-Man had two halves of the Power Sword, and even joined forces to defeat a common enemy. He's used to leading groups of warriors of various stripes, so I think he could handle the likes of Man at Arms without much trouble. And let's face it, when She-Ra gets all up in your skeletal grill, you're going to be readjusting your thinking.
- Megatron leads the Transformers I'm betting even Megatron can't tell one transformer apart from another. In fact, I bet it's fairly common in the middle of a meeting for several transforming robots to stand up and admit they got confused about who they were following home, and sheepishly back out to go join their actual team. So it's possible this scenario has already happened, only no one noticed.
- Cobra Commander leads G.I. Joe This is not a stretch at all. In fact, with more cutbacks, the Joes might just have to start hiring mercenaries anyway.
The one with the most appeal to me is Doom leading the Fantastic Four, but since I'm pretty sure that's been done before, I'll go with Luthor leading the JLA. I have a soft spot for bald guys in leadership positions.
What about you, what would you pick?
(Image © Marvel Comics, from "X-Men" number 200.)