With the recent announcement that Valiant is bringing back Quantum & Woody, a.k.a, “the World’s Worst Superhero team,” Den of Geek thought it would be apropos to look back at other super teams that absolutely suck. From heroes thrust together with no creative coherence whatsoever to teams that are just plain dull, these are some of the greatest missteps in comic book history. These are the Charlotte Bobcats of the superhero set…the hapless squads of justice that just can’t get out of their own way.
10. Armorines (Valiant)
First Appearance: X-O Manowar #24 (1994)
They were MARINES, they wore ARMOR, they were the ARMORINES! See, they were marines in armor? That’s really it. The major problem with these dudes, aside from looking like they took fourth prize in a Warhammer 40K painting contest, was that they all looked exactly alike. Readers could not tell one of these losers from the other. I’m sure there were compelling back stories for each character, as Valiant was still running on all cylinders in 1994, but aside from a bit of scrawls in sharpie on their chest plates and helmets, these fully covered fighting men were almost carbon copies of each other. Valiant’s no frills house style made the characters indistinguishable, but does it really matter? In a world of Robot Fighters, Manowars, Harbingers, and Eternal Warriors, the Armorines were just a generic snooze fest. Somehow, these idiots did star in their own video game for Nintendo 64, Playstation, and Gameboy Color though. If you’re curious, I’m sure Gamestop has a copy for 17 cents somewhere, but yeah, Wonder Woman has never had her own video game, but somehow, even though their comic lasted a mere dull as dirt twelve issues, the Armorines have. MARINES! BUT IN ARMOR!
9. Secret Defenders (Marvel)
First Appearance: Secret Defenders #1 (1993)
The Defenders have always been a tough sell for Marvel. The team has gone through many incarnations over the years, just to be cancelled. Marvel is currently publishing the Fearless Defenders, which, if we do this list again in a few years, might just make it (poor, poor Dani Moonstar). But even though the Defenders have a high rate of series failure, it would be hard to include any team on this list that consist of a core membership of the Hulk, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, and Sub-Mariner. Even the also-rans like Valkyrie, Hellstorm, and Hellcat are pretty cool, but the Secret Defenders are another story. The team wasn’t even a real team; Dr. Strange would get visions or something that told him which group of completely disconnected heroes he would need to assemble to get a job done. It was really just a convenient excuse to get Wolverine and Ghost Rider shoehorned into more comics. The premise fell apart pretty quickly as, I’m sorry, any team already consisting of Hulk, Thor, and Dr Strange just didn’t need Nomad or Paladin. When Strange left to join the Midnight Sons, Dr. Druid was left in charge, and we all must remember Comic Book Rule #871: if a team is led by Dr. Druid, it sucks.
8. Daydreamers (Marvel)
First Appearance: Daydreamers #1 (1997)
Yeah, the story was kind of sweet, but really, how can a super-hero team consisting of a bunch of kids, a sentient salad and a duck not make this list? Let’s look at the power set of this squad.
Franklin Richards: could be the most powerful being in the universe, until his father lobotomized him. Nice parenting, Reed.
Howard the Duck: he’s a duck, plus, he has the power to force George Lucas to quietly weep during the late hours of the night.
Man-Thing: a brainless cabbage that burns anything that feels fear. That’s good, one of the Daydreamer kids is going to wake up from an afternoon nap with a nightmare and ‘ol veggie face will set the little shit on fire.
Leech: has the power to nullify any mutant ability and is, like, three years old.
Artie: can project thought images. Yeah, that’s better than flight or heat vision.
Tana Nile: scores major points because she was created by Kirby. Alien, high tech weapons, looking like Betty Boop.
Beverly Switzer: Howard’s hot girl friend. Has the power to make bestiality acceptable.
Points go to this squad for defeating major X-Men bade Black Tom Cassidy, points lost for being the only super-hero team that requires snack time, and being the only team ever to have CPS called when their duck caregiver got drunk off bath tub gin and ported them off to another dimension.
7. Ravagers (DC)
First appearance: Ravagers #0 (2012)
The Ravagers have the honor to be the only team on this list still being published, but not for long…as they are scheduled for cancelation because they suck. While DC is still establishing direction and purpose for the Justice League, Justice League America, Stormwatch, Justice League Dark, and the Teen Titans, they also tried to shoehorn in a bunch of characters in needlessly shiny, but oh so modern costumes. Because it’s natural to have Kate Fairchild from Gen 13 team with some armadillo thing named Ridge, a new version of Terra, a new Beast Boy, and Thunder and Lightning. The thing that sucks about this team, other than everything, is that this was DC’s one chance to introduce popular and awesome characters like Beast Boy and Terra into their rebooted universe. You get one chance at it, and DC blew it with this 90s throwback. Not even a chromium holographic cover and a trading card could have saved this taco fart of a team.
6. Legion of Super-Pets (DC)
First Appearance: Adventure Comcs #293 (1962)
Full disclosure, I love the Legion of Super Pets. I own every appearance of the team, and I’m not ashamed to say so. That being said, a group of caped animals suck. There is nothing cool about a caped horse. Nothing. This “Legion” consists of Krypto, the super dog, Streaky, the super cat, Beppo, the super monkey, Comet, the super horse, and Proty, the shape shifting pet of Chameleon Boy. After Proty dies horrifically in an issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, Proty II joins, because god forbid the Legion of Super Pets loses their sentient blob of transmuting snot. Ever wonder why Marvel was able to make such a hardcore splash on the comics’ scene in 1961 with their cutting edge stories of pathos and realism? It’s because the competitors were caped monkeys that’s why. The Super Pets would get together, have super pet adventures, and generally set the maturity level of comics back to around 1934. Let me tell you something about Comet, he was actually a centaur who was in love with Supergirl. He was transformed into a horse by a witch and had a secret crush on Supergirl. So when she would ride him around, Comet would get a thrill of a lifetime. Dirty, dirty horse. Beppo was really just a monkey though. With Superman’s powers. That would be some high velocity poo slinging, I tells ya.
5. Justice League Detroit (DC)
First Appearance: Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984)
Speaking of poo slinging…in the early 80s DC thought it would be a good idea to replace the Justice League everyone liked with a bunch of newcomers. And what’s cooler than a satellite headquarters? Detroit, evidently. Did they recruit Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, or Magnum P.I.? No, they recruited the breakdancing Vibe, the Captain America rip-off Commander Steel, the corn rowed Vixen, and the gypsy Gypsy. I guess DC thought the League needed their own Kitty Pryde so they made Gypsy a subtle homage to the X-Men’s young stalwart by giving Gypsy the power to become immaterial. Nice, DC. The team also consisted of Aquaman, Elongated Man, Zatanna, and Martian Manhunter, otherwise known as the League members other than the ones people, at the time, actually liked. I take that back, Zatanna is, was, and always will be awesome. Aquaman soon left the team because of marital problems, meaning he was getting pissed that Mera kept laughing about how much his new team sucked, and soon he was joined by legions of readers. To DC’s credit, all four of these once maligned characters stuck around the DCU and became pretty awesome in their own right over the years. But their time as the League that no one really wanted to read will forever be a stain on their legacies.
4. The Champions (Marvel)
First Appearance: Champions #1 (1975)
This one could have been great. The Champions’ greatest enemy seemed to be editorial interference. Creator Tony Isabella wanted to write a book featuring the adventures of Iceman and Angel. In retrospect, I would have liked to see writer Tony Isabella write a book featuring the adventures of Iceman and Angel. Instead, Marvel editors insisted the team consist of five members, including a god, a woman, and a supernatural character. So Isabella added Hercules, Ghost Rider, and Black Widow and thus was born a team of five heroes that have absolutely nothing in common. I mean, there was no chemistry, no reason for them to be together, just a mish mosh of heroes doing stuff for seventeen issues. The team did fight Swarm, a Nazi scientist made up of evil bees, so that gives them points, but as a whole, a book that could have given Iceman and Angel a much needed spotlight turned into a directionless punchline.
3. Legion of Monsters (Marvel)
First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #28
Another team that is near and dear to my heart. Poor Ghost Rider, two teams in a row that made the suck list. Monsters are the ultimate outsiders, standing forever alone in a world that fears and hates them…so why not have them team up? The original line-up consisted of Werewolf by Night, the aforementioned Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, and Morbius, the Living Vampire. The team has the distinction of being the only team that realized they suck and breaking up right after they formed. Later, Morbius got the band back together and added the Living Mummy, and the Manphibian. That’s right, I said Manphibian. The problem with this team was that Marvel never fully committed to the concept. Where’s the haunted house headquarters? Where’s the monster rocket to whisk them off to adventures? Where’s the plucky group of teen crime solvers to help the Legion? But really, Comic Book Rule #989, if you allow Manphibian on your team, you suck.
2. The Super Globetrotters (HannaBarbera)
First appearance: Super Globetrotters NBC TV, 1979
So, fake basketball team the Harlem Globetrotters would hop into their mystic lockers when trouble reared its ugly head and transform into the Super Globtrotters. Nate Branch would become liquid, and was even referred to as Aquaman, much to DC’s lawyers’ delight. “Curly” Neal became Super Sphere and turned into a basketball in a fiendishly nightmarish scenario. Seriously, the dude transformed into a quadruple amputee in some kind of vile EC Comics twist of fate. “Twiggy” Saunders, as Spaghetti Man, could turn his body into a ladder or rope (Kim Kardashian would wield the same power with her ovaries years later). “Sweet” Lou Dunbar set back civil right eighty years as he became Gizmo and had a super-powered afro that he pulled different gadgets from. “Geese” Ausbie became Multi-Man and could clone himself. The team received their orders from the Crime Globe, a basketball-shaped satellite that would order around the team. The whole thing is nightmarish in scope and serves as a metaphor on how society would treat athletes in the future (EDITOR’S NOTE: No it does not.). Perhaps the Globetrotters shot themselves up with experimental HGH to turn into spaghetti and basketballs and to give themselves super afros. Or, it just proves that, at the end of the day, despite the Flintstones, Super-Friends, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera kind of sucked.
1. The Justice League of America (CBS TV)
First Appearance: Unreleased Justice League of America Pilot (1997)
This was the worst thing ever. This makes the Star Wars Christmas Special look like M.A.S.H. While never aired in the U.S., this gem can be a frequently found in bootleg form at conventions, so if you ever want to get back at someone for killing your family or something, buy them this piece of festering crap. Mark Waid called this celluloid treasure “80 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” What’s so bad about it? Well, let’s look at the team, since this list is “Top 10 Worst Super-Hero Teams” and not “Top 10 TV shows that Will Make You Want to Step in Front of a Train.” Martian Manhunter is played by a very fat David Ogden Stiers. How can Martian Manhunter be fat? He’s a shape shifter; would he choose to look like a corpulent sack of lard? Ice is a meteorologist. Flash is an unemployed shmuck. Green Lantern’s costume sucks and the show “creators” thought it would be a good idea to make Guy Gardner a software salesman. After viewing this show, one wishes the Anti-Monitor would just get it over with and destroy reality, this team, and the show they appear in with the true Anti-Life Equation.