Not so long ago, Adriana and I bonded after an episode of Critical Hit about how great it was to finally have the traditional Five-Man Band character set in play.  We spent about an hour just analyzing the form and function of various fictional characters, and had a great time because we are enormous nerds.  The Five-Man Band, per traditional definitions, is a group of characters whose members fall into archetypical roles which all complement one another.  The five character archetypes, as defined by, are:

  • The Leader, embodied by Orem:  The leader of the group.  Can be a mastermind, charismatic, levelheaded, headstrong, or some combination of the four.
  • The Lancer, embodied by Ket: The second-in-command, usually a contrast to The Leader.
  • The Smart Guy, embodied by Randus: The physically weak, but intelligent or clever member.  Often nerdy and awkward and played for comic relief.
  • The Big Guy, embodied by Torq: The strongman of the team.  May be dumb, or mute.
  • The Chick, embodied by Trelle: A peacekeeping role to balance out the other members’ aggression, bringing them to a nice or at least manageable medium.  The Chick is often considered the heart of the group.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has probably never been so unnecessarily complex, asking:  If you could pick from all the fictions in all the worlds, who would make up your Five-Man Band?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. wdchefdave
    August 10, 2012 at 11:52 am — Reply

    If I understand the question…
    Arthur Pendragon
    Captain America
    Mr. Spock

  2. A D
    August 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm — Reply

    I would say..
    Captain America
    Guy Gardener
    Sherlock Holmes
    Ursa Major
    Snow Bird

  3. August 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm — Reply

    Richie Cunningham
    ‘Battle Of The Planets’ Jason
    David Banner
    Joe Swanson

  4. August 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm — Reply

    The Leader: Tommy the White Ranger
    The Lancer: Booster Gold
    The Smart Guy: Blue Beetle (Ted Kord)
    The Big Guy: Freakazoid
    The Chick: April O’Neil

    That would be a very, very crazy squad but also kind of awesome.

  5. Alexander D.
    August 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm — Reply

    The Leader – Bright Noa [Mobile Suit: Gundam] While young and supposedly inexperienced he is a leader who realizes what is right and when the politics of his superiors simply get in the way of victory. His weapon/tools include a spaceship and a tactical mind.

    The Lancer – Adieu [Lord of Lords: Ryu Knight] While he usually spouts out rhetoric from his lessons of the “Code of Chivalry” he also leaps headlong into battle without thinking about it (like most protagonists often do) but his Mech, the Ryu Knight Zephyr, is powerful enough to get him through practically anything. His weapons include the previously mentioned Mech, a greatsword, and a gallop (an offshoot of the famous chocobo).

    The Smart Guy – Randus [Critical Hit Podcast]. His Ridiculous contraptions seem to cover any situation for the group and his luck seems to work in ways that most people cannot understand. His weapons include a variety of magical weapons, random equipment, his robotic arm, and his faithful robotic crab assistant.

    The Big Guy – Argo Gulskii [Mobile Fighter: G Gundam]. Whoever said the big guy had to be there on his own volition? While he is a prisoner, and happens to get the arm of his mech ripped off more than both the Skywalker characters put together, his strength and skill are on par with the best. His weapons include a Flail (the heavy ball on the end ejects from his shoulder), and the ability to create giant spikey rocks errupt from the ground!

    The Girl – Hitomi [Vision of Escaflowne] While she isn’t as kick ass as some other female protagonists, she is physically fit and has shown the power to teleport herself, and even large mecha, to different locations as well as looking into the future.

  6. Navarre
    August 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    The Leader: Captain America
    The Lancer: Malcolm Reynolds (from Firefly/Serenity)
    The Smart Guy: Topher Brink (from Dollhouse)
    The Big Guy: Hancock (from the Will Smith movie)
    The Chick: Kitty Pryde or Hermione Granger

    Despite the trope of the 5 Man Band, it is sexist that there can only be one female on the team and she has to only be “the chick”. Kitty and Hermione could easily fit the “Smart Guy” role as well.

    But I get it’s playing off the old stereotypes so my list is above. Next we should do “Black Cop. White Cop.”

    • August 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm — Reply

      Despite the trope of the 5 Man Band, it is sexist that there can only be one female on the team and she has to only be “the chick”. Kitty and Hermione could easily fit the “Smart Guy” role as well.

      I don’t recall saying anything indicating that there could be only one woman on the team, only that the role of The Chick was usually played by a woman. You could do an all-female Five (Wo)Man Band as well, so long as the roles fit. You could even get away with inverting the gender roles, in my opinion, to wit:

      The Leader: Storm
      The Lancer: Rogue
      The Smart Guy: Kitty Pryde
      The Big Guy: Marrow
      The Chick: Nightcrawler

      • Navarre
        August 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm — Reply

        Then, from the Buffy universe:

        The Leader: Buffy
        The Lancer: Faith
        The Smart Guy: Willow
        The Big Guy: Illyria
        The Chick: Xander

        Also, Kitty and Hermione seem somewhat interchangeable in their team role as Smart and Chick. Maybe that says something about their characters.

  7. The_Bear_Jew
    August 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm — Reply

    The Leader: V
    The Lancer: Uncle Sam
    The Smart Guy: Doc Brown
    The Big Guy: Hellboy
    The Chick: Scully

  8. Dino
    August 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm — Reply

    All over the place with my stuff, but damn if it wouldn’t be entertaining:

    Leader: Danny Ocean (Ocean’s Eleven) Why? Because Batman is awesome. But really he has what any leader needs: absurdly circuitous plans.
    Lancer: Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect) Why? Lancers need to be suitably grizzled and not play by the rules. He’s basically Dirty Harry: IN SPACE!
    Smart Guy: Angus MacGuyver (MacGuyver) Why? Sure there might be smarter smart guys out there, but he certainly saves on costs when he can make a bomb with an old sock, a paper clip and a back issue of the Chicago Tribune.
    Big Guy: Seargent Detritus (Discworld) Why? Because he wields a ballista as a sidearm.
    Chick: Samwise Gamgee (Lord of The Rings) Why? If he can cheer Frodo up after spending time with Smeagol, he could pretty much do anything.

  9. August 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm — Reply

    – Leader: Tsuyoshi Kaijou, Akarenger (from Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, the very first Super Sentai series).
    – Lancer: Takeshi Hongo, Kamen Rider #1 (from the first Kamen Rider series).
    – Smart Guy: Swan Shiratori, DekaSwan (from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)
    – Big Guy: Gigantor (from the anime Gigantor)
    – Chick: Koume “Umeko” Kodou, DekaPink (from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger)

  10. Pablo
    August 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm — Reply

    The Leader: Captain James T. Kirk
    The Lancer: Tank Girl
    The Smart Guy: Peter Parker / Spider-Man
    The Big Guy: Godzilla
    The Chick: Jean Grey

  11. Creigh Brigman
    August 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm — Reply

    Are all of these members supposed to be proficient in combat?

    Malcom Reynolds (Firefly)
    Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)
    Tali’Zorah Nor Rayya (Mass Effect)
    The Hulk
    Nia (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

    • Creigh Brigman
      August 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm — Reply


      The Doctor (Doctor Who)
      Lelouch vi Britannia (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
      Thoni (Spelling? Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers Dungeons and Dragons Podcast)
      Jax (League of Legends)
      Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)

      • August 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm — Reply

        Any particular version of The Doctor or just any incarnation? I have him on a second list in my head, but I’m having trouble choosing one over the others.

        • August 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm — Reply

          Oh man, someone needs to jigger a team consisting entirely of versions of the Doctor! That would be awesome!

          Any takers?

  12. August 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    For added points, one ought to also consider an optional sixth slot, a position I like to call the Outlier. This is the figurative sixth ranger who is like the Lancer, except more independent and not tied (usually) to being the counter to any one character. Rather, the Outlier serves as the counterpoint to the entire group as a whole, legitimizing the need for that character to be more powerful than any single group member.

    Most importantly, that character if they are inclined to work with the group on a regular basis spends most of their time on the fringes or even distant from the rest, so as to have a reserve member should the main force get caught in a trap. And naturally, they are free to pursue separate courses of action to the other five, making sure not all the eggs go in one basket.

    • August 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm — Reply

      For added points, one ought to also consider an optional sixth slot, a position I like to call the Outlier.

      That actually does exist, and is generally referred to as The Sixth Ranger. :)

  13. Gehrigan
    August 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm — Reply

    For you Doctorphiles:
    Let the controversy begin:

    Leader – William Hartnell
    Lancer – John Pertwee
    Smart guy – David Tennant
    big guy – Tom Baker
    the chick – Peter Davidson

    • August 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm — Reply

      Or, alternately:

      The Leader: Jon Pertwee
      The Lancer: Patrick Troughton
      The Smart Guy: William Hartnell
      The Big Guy: Colin Baker
      The Chick: Peter Davison
      Sixth Ranger: Tom Baker

      • Slappy
        August 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm — Reply

        Leader – William Hartnell – Proven in The 3 Doctors.
        Lancer – David Tennent – Always able to stand by until really needed.
        Smart guy – Colin Baker – Only one to fix the Tardis’ Chameleon Circut.
        Big guy – John Pertwee – Since there are none physically imposing, he was the kickass chopsaki Doctor.
        The Chick – Paul McGann – Just a little more sensative than Davison.
        Sixth Ranger: Sylvester McCoy – Darkest of them all.

        • August 10, 2012 at 10:06 pm — Reply

          Big guy – John Pertwee – Since there are none physically imposing, he was the kickass chopsaki Doctor.

          I’d say that both Bakers are pretty imposing, being well over six foot tall, but I like your thinking here…

          • Slappy
            August 11, 2012 at 3:31 pm — Reply

            Thank you Mr. Peterson, and I know the Bakers were not slight, but they were not imposing in a physical way. Especially Tom with the goofey grin.

        • Bill the Seeker
          August 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm — Reply

          I would agree that Pertwee’s doctor was the most likely to resort to fighting and most skilled when it comes to combat.

  14. Gehrigan
    August 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm — Reply

    The Leader – Aquaman
    The Lancer – Superman
    The Smart Guy – Batman
    The Big Guy – Wonder Woman (or GL)
    The Chick – Flash

    this is for DC52, of course.

    • August 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm — Reply

      I don’t know if the current JLA is really a five-man band.

      They lack someone to be The Chick, and they lack a Leader in the traditional sense. Plus, you’d have to create another position called “The D-Bag” for New 52 Hal Jordan. :)

  15. Slappy
    August 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm — Reply

    The All Smart Guy & Chick Squad

    The Leader: Captain James T. Kirk – While he is know mostly as a womanizing strategic genius that doesn’t know how to lose, he is also very smart technically and can Macgyver up some stuff when necessary.
    The Lancer: MacGyver – Little more laid back than Cap, but able to do his job and command when necessary.
    The Smart Guy: 6th Doctor – While he is by no means a team player, his snarkiness and fights with Kirk may outdo Spock/ McCoy fights. He is also the smartest in this crew of Smart Guys, and will have no problem letting them know that.
    The Big Guy: Doctor Henry McCoy (Beast) – Aside from being the brawn of the team, he is also the comic relief.
    The Chick: Hermione Granger – One year after the battle of Hogwarts, she ends up in the malfunctioning Tardis piloted by a man in an extremely ugly suit.

  16. August 10, 2012 at 10:53 pm — Reply

    Leader: Luke Cage
    Lancer: Martian Manhunter
    Smart guy: Hank McCoy
    Big guy: Ben Grimm
    Chick: Oracle (Barbara Gordon)

  17. August 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm — Reply

    Leader: Nick Fury
    Lancer: Rorschach
    Smart guy: The Doctor
    Big guy: Sta-puff Marshmallow Man
    Chick: Kermit the Frog

    • August 11, 2012 at 12:18 am — Reply

      Written by Grant Morrison with art by Keith Giffen. I would SO buy this book…

      • Slappy
        August 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm — Reply

        Dr. Harleen Quinlan can be their group therapy shrink.

  18. August 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm — Reply

    Chick squad
    Leader: Monica Rambeau
    Lancer: Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)
    Smart guy: Oracle (Barbara Gordon)
    Big guy: Big Barda
    Chick: The Wasp

  19. DPDave
    August 11, 2012 at 9:20 am — Reply

    Leader: Aslan – the only guy I can think of who delivers more inspiration on tap than Captain America. Also, he’s a magical freaking lion.
    Lancer: Silver Surfer – well used to being a second and no longer over-awed by god-like beings.
    Smart guy: Data – because he could separate your spinal cord from your body in 15 different ways, but he’ll probably just modulate the frequency of something instead.
    Big guy: Hulk (Planet Hulk Hulk, specifically) – Because he is the strongest one there is.
    Chick: Door (from Neverwhere) – Inherently sympathetic character due to the loss of her family but also brings unique skills which could actually be of use to such a high-powered group.

    My selection suffers from cascading power requirements. Once I settled on Aslan as leader, I needed a very strong willed and powerful Lancer to have any chance of not being over-awed by his mere presence. That led me to the Surfer, but then the list of ‘Big guys’ who can actually hit harder than the Surfer is pretty small. Luckily I love the Hulk so no biggy. If you want a smart guy who can be played comically, Data is just the natural choice for me. And Door has such an interesting ability – to ‘open things’ – doors, minds, dimensions, cans of whoop-ass – that she creates pretty much infinite possibilities for the group’s adventures.

  20. wdchefdave
    August 11, 2012 at 9:21 am — Reply

    Added Sixth Ranger…
    It would be too easy and obvious to choose Wolverine, Deadpool, or Punisher…
    So, I’ll pick Doc Savage.

  21. Adam Murray
    August 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    My 80’s movie version:

    Leader: Conan
    Lancer: Lando
    Smart Guy: Emmet Brown
    Big Guy: Chunk
    Chick: Phoebe Cates

  22. Ricco
    August 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm — Reply

    The Leader: Nemesis
    The Lancer: Batman
    The Smart Guy: Elongated Man
    The Big Guy: Wonder Woman
    The Chick: Shazam

  23. Robbie
    August 12, 2012 at 1:21 am — Reply

    How about Gen 1 Transformers?
    The Leader: Optimus Prime
    The Lancer: Prowl
    The Smart Guy: Ratchet
    The Big Guy: Grimlock
    The “Chick” : Bumblebee

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