There’s something uniquely special about a group of superheroes teaming up to fight the fights no single hero could fight alone. It’s an inherent aspect of comic books, and without the Avengers or the Justice League teaming up and solidifying a publishing line as all starring characters that are sharing the same universe, comics as we know them today just wouldn’t be the same. And, whoa boy, there are a whole lot of teams to choose from as Tops from both publishers, so much so that I wanted to do two separate lists; one for DC and one for Marvel. Even with that, there’s so many teams, and from Alpha Flight to the Young Avengers, there’s tons of terrific teams to choose from. So, without further ado, we don’t just list a bunch of X-Teams, give props to the movies, and just really love great stories, as we run down another weekly list in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Marvel Comics Teams.
Honorable Mention : The X-Men
One of the premiere teams in all of comics, the X-Men have included some of the most diverse and unique characters in all of popular culture. While it all started with Professor X and his handful of hopefuls, the X-Men have grown and splintered into 10’s of teams, and books like X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, Exiles, X-Force and every other X thing you can think of has been a Marvel superhero team. I’m a bit partial to X-Factor Investigations myself, but there’s simply not enough room on this list for every awesome X-team. Hmmm, maybe it needs a list all its very own…to be continued!
5. Secret Warriors
When the Skrull invaded Earth under the guise of average, ordinary human beings unbeknownst to most of the Marvel U, one man knew the truth and worked to fight against this Secret Invasion. Nick Fury went around the world collecting this ragtag band of underachievers and turned the Secret Warriors into THE team to look out for during the midpoint of Marvel’s decade of events. Written by Brian Michael Bendis and an early run at Marvel for Jonathan Hickman, the book’s art, drawn by Stefano Caselli, was the standout aspect of this amazingly well-done team book. Fresh; new; exciting; and, for a brief moment anyways, meaningful.
4. The Fantastic Four
The first family of superheroes may be a really cool comic book superhero team, but they are first and foremost a family, which is a unique and compelling way to put a comic book team together. We may be able to pick our friends, but we can’t pick our family members. There’s no way out of the FF without some tears being shed and some awkward Thanksgivings in the future. While the family dynamic of the FF was always its most appealing aspect, the individual members of the team played off each other quite well, adding another layer to the group. They were just a really good team of superheroes, that happened to be related.
Debuting in 2003, and created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways was one of the most creative, wholesome, fresh, and different takes on a superhero team at Marvel in decades. The children of a group of villains known as The Pride, the team of Runaways was depicted as a dysfunctional yet loving family of easy to adore castaways that just couldn’t find a place to fit in. The story really resonated with its audience and was equally well-received by critics. While it’s had its fair share of follow-up volumes from creators like Terry Moore, Joss Whedon, Humberto Ramos, and most recently Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli, and although the book is still listed as an ongoing by Marvel, Runaways has been on hiatus for years, and the chances of a comeback at this point are slim to none.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
This team of alien outcasts may be the toast of Hollywood as of late, but I’ve been a fan of the Guardians since before they were the world recognized misfits they are today. In 1969, writer Arnold Drake and the legendary artist Gene Colan created a 31st century, other universe version of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and it immediately struck a tone with readers. While this was all fine and good, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s 2008 work on Guardians of the Galaxy brought us the team everyone in the world now knows and loves thanks to a certain little film. But the Guardians aren’t only cool because they just had a movie, the Guardians are simply plain old cool, fun, and awesome, because that’s just the way they are. Crazy characters, fun interstellar settings, and witty dialogue are the mainstays of this team. The heroics is there, but it’s all about the fun, unlike the Top pick in this Lot.
1. The Avengers
I’m not sure there was much doubt in this pick, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The Avengers were the first real team of heroes formed to tackle the problems that no single hero could defeat on his own. Could you imagine it? Back in the day, when there were no team books, buying Iron Man, and Hulk, and then, all of a sudden, here’s Marvel giving you a book with both of these characters on a single team…and then they throw in Wasp and Giant Man and all the rest! It also saw the return of Captain America to comics and, arguably, to his best role: Leader of the Avengers. But it’s not just a single team either. New Avengers, The Illuminati, Young Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Dark Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, the list goes on and on. There’s not only an Avengers for all season, and an Avengers for every kind of reader, but also an Avengers for those who don’t even want to read, as The Avengers was also turned into a film you’ve probably heard about. It’s hard to beat The Avengers as the premiere superhero team at Marvel Comics, and they deservedly sit at the tippy Top o’ this Top o’ the Lot.
See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.