Ever since the Justice Society of America graced the cover of All-Star Comics #3 in the winter of 1940 (a nice one can be yours for about $30K!), superhero team-ups have been an essential part of the genre and of the storytelling.
Some groups (such as Justice League and the Avengers) were creative ideas to put established characters together such as in The Brave and the Bold #28 for the first Justice League or Avengers #1. Other groups like in Fantastic Four #1, X-Men #1, or Forever People #1 were original ideas that turned into smashing success stories (all by Jack Kirby, what a surprise!). These teams have become so popular over time, it’s hard to think of comic book lore without them.
But because they have been around so long, membership has changed drastically over the years. Very few (if any) teams resemble the original iteration that was first conceived. Most of these teams, however, have a figurehead – a leader, a guide, or a convener that stands out as a symbol of the team, whether current or past. We know the teams. We know the leaders. But just who is the best among all of these groups?
I’m glad you asked. I introduce today the first week of the Superhero Team Leader Bracket Challenge. You get to help determine – through this very unscientific process – who the best team leader of all time is. Is the underdog Cable, introduced in New Mutants #87 worth considering against other Marvel stalwarts? What about Robin, who has long been a part of the DC canon, but was introduced as a member of the Titans in The Brave and the Bold #54? How would he rate as a leader of that team?
How does it work? Simple. Leave your picks for ROUND ONE ONLY in the comments. In a week, they will be tabulated and the winners will move on to Round Two. Within a little more than a month, we will have our grand champion. Factors to potentially consider: longevity, impact on the team, respect within his universe, and noteworthy moments.
1. Captain America (Avengers) vs. 16. Major Victory (Guardians of the Galaxy circa 1969)
2. Cyclops (X-Men) vs. 15. Hawkeye/Kate Bishop (Young Avengers)
3. Mr. Fantastic (Fantastic Four) vs. 14. Karma (New Mutants)
4. Star Lord (GOTG circa 2008) vs. 13. Angel (The Champions)
5. Dr. Strange (Defenders) vs. 12. Guardian (Alpha Flight)
6. Wolverine (Savage Avengers) vs. 11. Cable (X-Force)
7. Hawkeye/Clint Barton (West Coast Avengers) vs. 10. Ikaris (Eternals)
8. Luke Cage (New Avengers) vs. 9. Nova (Nova Corps)
1. Superman (Justice League) vs. 16. Americommando (Crusaders)
2. Green Lantern (Green Lantern Corps) vs. 15. Vril Dox II (LEGION)
3. Wonder Woman (Justice League Dark) vs. 14. Cionus (Wanderers)
4. Robin (Teen Titans/Titans) vs. 13. Uncle Sam (Freedom Fighters)
5. Hawkman (All-Star Squadron) vs. 12. Primus (Omega Men)
6. Superboy (Legion of Superheroes circa 1958) vs. 11. Chief (Doom Patrol)
7. Rick Flag (Suicide Squad) vs. 10. Moonrider (Forever People)
8. Cosmic Boy (Legion of Superheroes circa 1994) vs. 9. Oracle (Birds of Prey)
SOME DISCLAIMERS: First, I know this isn’t a perfect list. These teams have had a lot of leaders, but I did my best to try and pick one that would represent the team most reasonably. Second, there are assuredly some teams left out. There are so many over the history of these publishers that it would need twice this many to come close to including all of them. Third, this is for fun. It’s unscientific and one person’s opinion. Got it? Let’s vote…
Since I know this bracket below is impossible to read (especially on a phone), you can also download a PDF of the bracket at this link.
See you next week for the results! Be sure and vote in the comments and share with your friends who might like to participate.