The List: Top 10 Greatest Superhero Teams

Well, this was an interesting poll. We had a lot of votes and a lot of good suggestions by you guys, some that I would have never thought of in a million years, and some rather interesting results. So let's get right on into said results.

Hon Mentions: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Incredibles, The Defenders

10. Doom Patrol

Iconic Line-up: The Chief (Niles Caulder), Robotman (Cliff Steele), Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr), Negative Man (Larry Trainor)

Dubbed "The World's Strangest Heroes", Doom Patrol were a group of heroes with fantastical powers that made them outcasts to society. Being led by a very smart dude in a wheelchair, this did invite some comparisons to Marvel's X-Men team (another group of societal outcasts with superpowers led by a dude in a wheelchair, although one without a fantastic beard) despite Doom Patrol actually debuting 3 months earlier (it is therefore unlikely that X-Men were a direct ripoff of Doom Patrol as it would not have been possible at the time to write, draw, print and publish a book in that time, unless Marvel had prior inside knowledge of what DC was planning). The original team would last only 4 years before being killed off and the group would be in and out of publication ever since, expanding over its many incarnations, with Robotman being the only consistant member. It is also worth noting that the Doom Patrol series would introduce everyone to a certain green goofball that we will probably cover much later in this list, so that's something.

9. The Justice Society Of America

Iconic Line-Up: Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Wildcat (Ted Grant), Doctor Fate (Hector Hall), Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders), Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore), Mr. Terrific (Michael Holt), Doctor Mid-nite (Pieter Cross), Captain Marvel (Billy Batson), Atom Smasher (Albert Rothstien)

The first superhero team (which has to count for something) the JSA have been active since 1940, when the team consisted of all of DC's greatest superheroes... that weren't Batman or Superman, bummer. But that line-up still included The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Atom and The Sandman (although, not any of the versions that people think of when they think of those superheroes, bummer) as well as Doctor Fate and The Spectre, which is a pretty hard hitting line-up. It's been said that the Justice Society is more like a family than anything else and despite DC royally screwing the team over by their 50's rebooting of all the characters (thus dooming the JSA to play second fiddle to the JLA during the second comics boom, which has influenced culture to this day), the team has still hung around, also despite DC literally wiping their reality out with Crisis on Infinite Earths, and has kept growing. With only the original Flash and Green Lantern staying consistant throughout the almost 70 years existance, the team has grown, incorperating new members in the form of other classic characters (see: Captain Marvel/ Shazam), new takes on classic characters (see: various versions of Doctor Fate) and new characters that would go on to become classics (see: Power Girl).

8. Power Rangers

Iconic Line-Up: Red Ranger, Blue Ranger, Yellow Ranger, Pink Ranger, Black Ranger, Green Ranger

Our first and only superteam not to originate in comics, the Power Rangers tv series was designed as a multimedia franchise by Saban Entertainment, the tv show being a vehicle to sell toys. Based heavily on the Japanese series Super Sentai (in fact, taking much of its footage from said series, hence the oft hilarious monster costumes), the series follows much the same pattern throughout its many incarnations, a group of teens gain powers through the help of a mentor and pilot huge mechs that can combine together to form a super-mech, which they use to defeat the bad guys who want to destroy Earth. So pretty much every mecha themed anime/ tv show then. But Power Rangers, due to its huge toy line, has had immense staying power, with over $6 billion in toy sales and the franchise recently being aquired by Hasbro for $522 million. There have been 26 series of Power Ranger TV shows, 3 films, 20 comic series, 24 video games and a book. Not bad for a show that originally only used around a quarter of its own original material.

7. The Green Lantern Corps.

Iconic Line-Up: Hal Jorden, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Killowog, Tomar-Re etc. (I am not naming every Green Lantern, are you out of your mind?)

So, the intergalatic police force, made up of aliens from every sector of the galaxy, beholden to the Guardians of the Universe on Oa who provide their corps with rings powered by willpower (green on the emotional spectrum) that can create solid energy structures of whatever the wearer can think of and conjure with their willpower, so as they can protect the universe from evil and the powers of fear. Well, at least they're accountable to someone I guess.

6. Guardians Of The Galaxy (2008- present)

Iconics Line-Up: Star Lord (Peter Quill), Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, Groot (and if you aren't just looking at the MCU: Adam Warlock)

Now, two things. 1. the version we are talking about wasn't the first incarnation of the GOTG. There was one back in the 70's that didn't last very long that featured guys like Yondu, Vance Astro etc. But the 2008 version is more well known because it's the one that got films made about it. And 2. We all know and can admit that this team would not be on the list (and probably wouldn't have even made the poll) if it wasn't for the MCU right? Anyway, superteams work best when they feel almost like a family. We've seen this with the JSA and we'll see it with some future listeese, but GOTG also get this nod, though they are possibly the most disfunctional of the lot (and that's saying something, as you'll see later). But still, how can you not love a team that has, at various times, counted in its line-up: a talking raccoon, a tree, literally Venom, Horse-face Thor (aka Beta Ray Bill) and a dog. Oh and their movies are pretty good.

5. Fantasic 4

Iconic Line-Up: Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), Invisble Woman (Susan Storm/ Richards), Human Torch (Johnny Storm), The Thing (Ben Grimm)

Speaking of teams that feel like families, let's look at one that actually is one (well, except for Ben, but he still counts). Actually, can I just take a moment to say that I'm very disappointed in you all that these guys didn't get one place higher. I mean, where's the logic? Anyway, Marvel's First Family (although not their first Superteam, that was the All-Winners Squad back in 1943, because Marvel were always late to the party back in the Golden and Silver Ages), the team that ushered superheroes back into publication for Marvel (altough DC had been doing it for at least 5 years prior and never actually stopped publishing Batman or Superman). Still, the team has had amazing longevity, hardly ever changing a member throughout their near 50 year existance (off the top of my head, Crystal and Medusa both replaced Sue for a while whilst she was pregnant, She-Hulk replace Ben for a while after Secret War and Spidey replaced Johnny whilst Johnny was spending a few months being dead) so that's remarkable consistancy. They've gone through everything, in-fighting, deaths, births and massive 1960's style sexism and getting their comic cancelled because Marvel and Fox couldn't play nice together at the time, but still have come out all the stronger for it. Now if only they could get a good movie.

4. Teen Titans

Iconic Line-Up: Robin/ Nightwing (Dick Greyson), Starfire (Koriand'r), Raven (Rachel Roth), Cyborg (Victor Stone), Beast Boy (Gerfield Logan)

Okay, maybe I can allow these guys to be above the F4. Origianlly just Robin hanging out with fellow sidekicks Aqualad, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl (with Speedy and Hawk & Dove occassionally tagging along for the ride), the team took on a life of its own when it was brought back from cancellation in the early 80's. All of the original members bar Robin were gone (although they'd all come back at some point or another) and in their place were the green goofy kid from Doom Patrol and some new characters. What happened next can only be described as one of the greatest comics series ever. It turned out that the new characters: Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, were secretly some of the best characters in comic book history (especially Raven), we saw Dick Greyson shed his Robin mantel and become Nightwing (secretly one of the best characters in comics history) and poor Garf would have his heart ripped to shreds. Speaking of which, we'd be introduced to Deathstroke (rather unsecretly one of the greatest villains in comic book history) and new members Terra and Jericho, all of which would lead to The Judas Contract storyline (not so secretly possibly the best storyline in a manistream DC comic ever). Oh and then the team would start adding back old members and some new versions of old members before becoming just Team Titans in the 2000's. And then they got their own cartoon series, which was great, and another one, which was also pretty good. And then the New 52 happened, which was bad, and screwed up the Titans so bad that DC have still not managed to fix the damage. But still, the live-action TV show is apparently not as bad as the original trailers would have you believe, so there's that I suppose (honestly, just watch the toons).

3. The Justice League

Iconic Line-Up: Superman (Clark Kent/ Kal-El), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan or John Stewart), The Flash (Barry Allen or Wally West), Aquaman (Arthur Curry) , Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz)

Speaking of the Teen Titans, this was the only picture I could find of the classic Justice League line up because half of them had Cyborg in. I do not want any Cyborg in my Justice League thank you. He should be in the Titans and stay in the Titans. Anyway, the Justice League. Surprising to see this team at number 3, but oh well. Much like the JSA before them, this was DC's greatest hits superteam for the Silver Age and, much like the JSA, it didn't originaly contain Batman or Superman, but that soon got fixed. Having a revolving door of members throughout its history, some good (Firestorm, Black Canary, Supergirl), some bad (Guy Gardner) and some Green Arrow, and at some points they've been somewhat neglected by DC a bit (like that time in the mid-80's when the team consisted of guys like Vibe, Steel (not the famous one) and Gypsy), but since the late 80's, the Justice League have been the be-all-end-all of DC. They are the guys who fight the biggest bads, guys like Mongul, Brainiac and Darkseid. Plus they team usually has all of DC's biggest hitters in now, which kinda helps on the public image a bit when you have Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (but mostly Batman because he's popular) on a team together.

2. X-Men

Iconic Line-Up: (Oh god... um) Professor X, Cyclops, Phoenix, Wolverine, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Shadowcat, Rogue, Gambit? (I don't know, I've probably missed someone)

Right, Charlie X's magnificent mess of majestic mutant madness. No team has had more infighting (literally they have had a war within their own team), nor more members (which is understandable considering the entry requirements don't preclude actually needing to have an origin story) than this one. The idea was genius and still is, what if superheroes, instead of being involved in scientific accidents or stumbling across magic artifacts, were just born with their powers? What if this was just the natural progression of evolution and what if people hated these heroes for their differences, making it an allegory for the civil rights movement and all future fights against discrimination meaning that the series was always relevant and essentially future proofed itself. And what if it was set at a school, to make it more relatable for our young audience. Oh wait, with such a broad premise we can have the series grow out of the school and become the first fully international team, because if people can be born with powers, then why not have people from other countries be born with powers and become heroes? Oh and while we're at it let's just up and make some of the most iconic and recognisable characters the medium has even seen, like Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, Beast, Nightcrawler and, of course, Hugh Jackman. So, yeah, pretty easy to see why they're so high. Still, the movie time-line is a mess

Anyway, the inevitable..

1. The Avengers

Iconic Line-Up: (haha nope)

So, why did the Avengers not just win the poll, but by a landslide (getting nearly double the votes of X-Men and almost triple the votes of their DC counterparts)? Well, I could say the MCU and that would be a fair point, the series did so much to increase the profile of all of its members that it took Iron Man from being a B+ hero to being half the worlds favourite, made Hawkeye (somewhat) cool and made Black Panther a legitimate cultural icon. But there is something more to it, I feel. Unlike DC, the Avengers have always been consistant for Marvel. Sure Spider-Man or the X-Men have been higher priorities for Marvel throughout their history, but the Avengers have never felt neglected. The team has always had a roster that is full of heroes like Captain America, like Iron Man, like Thor, not exactly on par with Batman or Superman as cultural icons, but these were Marvel's biggest hitters (in universe) and at least one of them was always on the team and always surrounded by a supporting cast of other excellent characters, like Vision, Black Widow, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel/ Warbird/ Captain Marvel, Black Panther etc. In fact, because of this, it is pretty much impossible to chose the most iconic Avengers line-up (except for maybe the original Avengers movie one, but that only appeared in the comics for about 2-3 issues, after the films came out, so...). So, that is why, I believe, the Avengers are topping this list (and the MCU stuff is pretty important too, it probably would have been a lot closer if Justice League was actually done with the same care).

So, what do you guys think? Also, I was going to make a poll following on from this asking which Avengers line-up is the greatest, but actually finding resources that list line-ups is surprisingly difficult, so maybe leave which Avengers line-up you think is the most iconic in the comments below and that might become a future poll.

And with that

JR out.

 

JR19759

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3 Responses to The List: Top 10 Greatest Superhero Teams

  1. Avatar The Atomic Punk

    I agree that all of the Top 10 have benefited from multimedia exposure. Though surprised that Doom Patrol beat TMNT. Does anyone subscribe to DC Universe? That the JSA made the list tells me that the Arrowverse is still popular.

    Guardians of the Galaxy scored big time from a single movie. Take a relative unknown, spend money for quality directing and production, then boom! Profit. Wait… that was Iron Man. Which became the winning formula for the MCU.

    Personally, the Avengers beat the X-Men because of “quality issues” in the movies not the comics or the characters themselves. Bad writing tends to do that. And… which is why the Justice League took such a beating in this poll.

    I just realized that I forgot to add The Elementals! Why do I think of these things after the polls close?

  2. Doom Patrol has gained much more name recognition as of late. Even people who haven’t seen the series have probably heard good word of mouth about it, and good word of mouth for an adaptation can do wonders for the source material.
    As for the JSA, I don’t think their popularity has anything to do with the Arrowverse. They have only made two appearances in Legends of Tomorrow, which is a niche fandom inside of but fairly separate from the rest of the Arrowverse. Thier late ’90s/early 2000s run has become one of the best known superhero team books of all time.
    For the TMNT, I think the issue has to do with many people not quite seeing them as superheroes (not that I agree with that sentiment).

  3. The Doom Patrol gained a lot of popularity from Grant Morrison’s turn to the bizarre with the team, when he created new popular characters, such as Crazy Jane, Mr. Nobody, and Flex Mentallo. So, while the show has had some effect, the team already had become a bit of a legend in the comics world because of Grant Morrison’s turn towards the psychedelic and surreal in terms of characters and stories.