The 6 Best Loser Teams in Comics
Want a little peek into the mind of creating weekly geeky listicles? So there I was putting together a list of comic book clowns based on the movie It, since I watched it and enjoyed it this month, and everybody loves comic book clowns. But as I was writing an intro — just like this one — I started talking up the awesomeness of The Losers Club. Those kids were the best part of the movie!
Granted, the kids themselves weren’t losers, they were pretty great. But it got me thinking about all the best loser clubs in comics! Not every super team can be the Justice League or even the Legion of Doom. Sometimes we get purposefully silly teams of losers who are too pathetic to amount to much! And I tend to love all those teams! They’re too pathetic and adorable not to love!
Join me after the jump for the best, most endearing teams of super losers in comics!
6. The Legion of Losers and The Misfits
I bet if I looked through enough comics, I would find plenty of loser villain teams! They’re probably a dime a dozen! But these are two hilarious versions from Marvel and DC. The Legion of Losers actually called themselves the Spider-Man Revenge Squad. It was the Spot, Kangaroo, Grizzly and Gibbon teaming up to beat up Spider-Man — and, of course, it all went hilariously wrong. The team could never agree on anything, and by the end of it, Grizzly and Gibbon had decided to team up as superheroes instead of going after Spidey. Good times!
At DC, we have the Misfits, who tried to take on Batman! Assembled by Killer Moth, this team included Calendar Man, Catman and some jabroni named Chancer before any of them were cool. The group kidnapped Commissioner Gordon, Bruce Wayne and the mayor in attempt to ransom them for $10 million. It didn’t go well.
5. Legion of Substitute Heroes
Total honesty, I love the Legion of Substitute Heroes. I love them more than the actual Legion of Superheroes. This is a squad of legitimate lovable losers if there ever was one. Basically, the Legion of Superheroes in the 31st century has pretty strict rules about who gets to join, and a lot of would-be superheroes get turned away. Some of these heroes — Polar Boy, Night Girl, Fire Lad, Stone Boy and the Chlorophyl Kid — decided to form their own team of rejects to help out the Legion in secret. Like, if the Legion had to leave Earth on some mission, the Subs would pop in and take care of business while the Legion was away. This system didn’t last very long, however, and the Legion found them out. Poor schmucks. The Legion was pretty cool about it, though, and most of the Subs went on to become proper Legionnaires, I think!
4. The Bizarro League
I love Bizarro. He’s such a weird and fun villain. Plus, the word ‘bizarro’ is perfect for a nerdy lexicon. And when you’ve got someone as weird and awesome as Bizarro, why not spread the love? Bizarro Superman has bread an entire Bizarro Justice League of creatures! Batzarro, the world’s worst detective; Bizarro-Flash, who is probably really slow; Bizarro-Green Lantern, a cowardly member of the Sinestro Corps; Bizarra, the Bizarro Wonder Woman! There have been a couple different versions in a couple different comics, and they’re always good for a laugh!
3. Ultimate Defenders
Poor Ultimate Defenders, their hearts were in the right place. One of my favorite comic books of all time is The Ultimates from Mark Millar, the Ultimate Comics version of the Avengers. They were a realism-focused reboot of the Avengers set in the Ultimate Universe, touching upon a ton of post-9/11 themes with more grounded versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the whole team. The Ultimates was one of my first major doses of modern realism in superhero comics, and is probably a good reason why that’s one of my favorite tropes.
The Ultimate Defenders are a team of would-be amateur vigilantes who think putting on costumes and coming up with codenames is all you need to create your own, homegrown version of the Avengers. The issue is brilliant, as classic comic characters like Nighthawk, Valkyrie, Black Knight, Power Man and more are turned into average Joes playing dress-up, who try their darndest at stopping crime, but end up getting their butts embarrassingly kicked. They have to contend with traffic, rent, their paltry skills and their desire to be more celebrities than crime-fighters. It’s great!
2. The Inferior Five
What happens when history’s greatest superheroes all hook up and have kids? Those kids get weird, pathetic combinations of their powers and decide to become superheroes for themselves! There’s Merryman, Awkwardman, the Blimp, White Feather and Dumb Bunny! The Inferior Five was a popular parody group published by DC Comics in the 1960s, who have since been sort-of inserted into real DC superhero continuity. The Blimp actually showed up at Booster Gold’s funeral! How funny is that? And Merryman, the jester, had a pretty big role in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, because he’s the kind of writer who pulls that off.
But my favorite Inferior Five gag is when DC created a serious villain version of them called The Superior Five.
They appeared in a single panel of the Villains United mini-series way back in the day, then showed up in the backgrounds of a couple different comics. That’s deep cut comic book referencing!
1. The Great Lakes Avengers
The Great Lakes Avengers are probably the most successful and potentially popular loser team in all of comics! They’re a bunch of pathetic superheroes who operate in Wisconsin, hardly the Mecca of superhero activity in the Marvel Universe. There’s Mr. Immortal (who is going to be on TV in the upcoming New Warriors show!), Flatman, Doorman, Big Bertha and Dinah Soar. They started out as a joke team introduced in the pages of West Coast Avengers so that Hawkeye could get all upset that a bunch of wannabes were using the Avengers name in Wisconsin. Then Marvel brought them back for their own mini-series in 2005, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek appearances since! They even took part in the Civil War and the aftermath, becoming an official Great Lakes Initiative team. Good for them!
The GLA even had their own short-lived ongoing series earlier this year! They’re a funny concept that just keeps sticking around, because we could all use more funny concepts in our lives.
Posted on September 27, 2017, in Comics, DC, Lists of Six!, Marvel and tagged Bizarro, Defenders, Great Lakes Avengers, Inferior Five, Legion of Substitute Heroes, Ultimate Defenders. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.