There are a few targets in comics that are always considered fair game for horrendous mockery: Bouncing Boy and Matter-Eater Lad.  Aquaman talking to fish.  The Clone Saga.  But of all the easy pickings to be had in snarky put-downs, the arguable champion is the 1984 revamping of the Justice League as a full-time hero squad operating out of a bunker in Michigan.  One of comics’ earliest (and, honestly, one of the least ham-handed) attempts at diversity, this Justice League featured founding members Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter, along with veterans Elongated Man and Zatanna, training several young heroes in the ways of super-herodom.  In short, it predicated a lot of the comics of today in both content and tone, and threw some interesting (if badly timed) bits into the lore of the League.  When DC chose to revive Vibe in the new 52, there were many nay-sayers, but for my part, I knew that it was simply a matter of things being ahead of their time.  (‘Course, his new book was recently cancelled, but never mind about that right now.)  Whether you understand the brilliance of Steel, Vixen, Gypsy and Vibe or not, their much-maligned history begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) wants to point out that the adventures of this iteration are quantitatively better than the League run that preceded them, and some of the run that followed, asking: What team (or team lineup) is the most under-rated of all time?

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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6 Comments

  1. November 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    I dont know if its under-rated but certainly not gotten much attention: Latest Justice Society of America reboot before New 52. My favorite superhero team tied with early-mid 80´s Claremont X-Men. I think first 25 or so issues were great.

  2. Kirby
    November 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    I actually really enjoyed the JSA All-Stars line-up. It felt like a real genuine team, as did Willingham’s run on the parent title.

  3. Zombi
    November 7, 2013 at 8:33 pm — Reply

    The late 80’s Avengers with Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), She-Hulk, Black Knight, Namor, Marrina, and… Doctor Druid…well, ok, no team is perfect

  4. Jared Agan
    November 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm — Reply

    Not sure if underrated but a wonderful show (reruns) from when I was younger was The All-New Super Friends with Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and of course the Wonder Twins and their pet monkey Gleek. During the show the twins were kind of lame, with Zan basically turning into a bucket/puddle of water and Jayna either saving his butt or using him to help take down the bad guy. later when they were introduced into comics the twins were not half bad with Zan actually being able to turn into a water-based monster no just a water base.

  5. Bob
    November 8, 2013 at 8:24 am — Reply

    The Legion in all it incarnations is probably a great example of an under utilized team.Back when Darkseid was the biggest baddest villian of all time,they stood their ground.Long live the Legion!

  6. November 8, 2013 at 11:14 am — Reply

    I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Detroit League. It’s first issues were street level and geared towards character development rather than super-villains. As it continued, Vibe got the reputation for being a whiner while nobody cared for Steel. Vixen seemed to be the only one to successfully get out of the league by joining the Suicide Squad and dating Bronze Tiger.
    This is a League I think was extremely underrated and can think of no groups lower regarded than they.

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