In the history of comics, there have been hundreds of super-teams, ranging from 3 members to 30 or more, and while every group has their standout fan favorites, not everyone get the attention they deserve…  Welcome to Ten Things!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, Presents:

TEN UNDERRATED TEAM MEMBERS!

10) SENSOR

Sensor

Dubbed “Sneckie” (from “Jeckie”, the character’s nickname since her Princess Projectra days and snake, which… seems self-evident), the rebooted version of Projectra/Sensor Girl receives an inordinate share of derision from Legion of Super-Heroes fans.  Granted, it is a pretty abrupt change from the pre-Zero Hour Legionnaire, who was a humanoid platinum blonde in the Marilyn Monroe vein, but non-human Legionnaires are few and far between.  Given that Quislet, Tellus and Blok, the most visible non-human Legionnaires, weren’t present in this take on the team, having Projectra be clearly alien is understandable, and her heroic contributions to the team were no less valuable as a snake.

 

9) THUNDERBIRD

Thunderbird-I

I admit it: John Proudstar’s death was his own fault, and came down to a combination of hubris and rage, accomplishing very little in the grand scheme of things.  That said, the out-of-universe rationale for his early demise was the fact that he shared a few too many similarities to fellow new X-Man Wolverine.  Had their positions been reversed, and Thunderbird been the one to survive and clash with Cyclops in the bad boy manner, it seems feasible to wonder if he might have touched off the anti-heroic revolution that reshaped the superhero landscape in the late 1980s.  Either way, his costume was demonstrably better than Wolverine’s yellow one…

 

8) DEMOLITION MAN

D-Man-II

Poor Dennis Dunphy.  Routinely at the bottom of lists of Avengers, treated as a joke when not as an afterthought, Demolition Man did nothing to deserve the hatred he engenders.  A close reading of his story will show you a young man who was honored to be an Avenger, who fought as hard as he could, even if he wasn’t a rocket scientist, who worked to improve the lives of homeless people after his seeming death, and later enlisted to serve his country as a soldier.  At the time that Captain America inducted him into the team, the most popular Avengers had either quit, ignored their team’s call or simply disappeared, while D-Man not only stepped up, he was ready to give his life against the forces of Ultimatum.  Frankly, if you diss him, I just assume that you don’t know anything about his story…

 

7) ICE

Ice

In many ways, Tora Olafsdotter was the most important member of the JLI in its “Bwah-Ha-Ha” incarnation for one reason: She was the perfect ‘straight man’ for the antics of her wackier teammates.  As the ‘Nice One’, she also humanized her friends and fellow heroes, keeping Fire’s vanity under control, balancing the vainglorious Booster Gold, even forcing Guy Gardner to act like a decent human being.  Her death in the 90s was rightfully treated as the end of an era, and hers is one of the few resurrections that I not only supported whole-heartedly, I was willing and able to overlook any continuity snarls created, just because Ice was back.  Whether she’s an ice goddess or not varies depending on the week, but she is to my mind the most underrated Justice Leager of them all…

 

6) THE LITTLE MERMAID

LittleMermaid

The original lineup of the Global Guardians is full of clever and unique heroes who derive bits of their origins from legend, lore and (in the case of Seraph) the Torah, but Ulla Paske is one of the most unique.  Her origin is in the same fairy tale story that gave us the Disney movie, but unlike movie Ariel, this Little Mermaid is a superhero through and through.  If nothing else, the fact that she’s a mermaid who CAN FLY should earn her some points, what with the mindless litany of complaints about Aquaman in Superfriends and all…

 

5) G-4: JINPEI THE SWALLOW

G4---Jinpei-The-Swallow

Growing up in the 1970s, I recall many playground arguments about who got to play G-Force/Battle Of The Planets leader Mark or resident cool dude Jason.  Thanks to my sumo-like proportions, I usually got stuck as Tiny, the pilot, but for reasons I still don’t understand, my comrades never wanted to be Keyop/Jinpei the Swallow.  As the youngest of the group, he often got stuck in the role of tagalong kid, and there was the issue of his unusual speech pattern.  As an adult, I now know that his verbal tics were a cover for the fact that, in the original Japanese, he cursed like a sailor, and careful analysis of the team’s combat skills make it clear that pound-for-pound, he’s as dangerous as any of the Gatchaman, save maybe Condor Joe/Jason.

 

4) SPEEDBALL

Speedball

One of Marvel’s periodic attempts to recapture the magic of Spider-Man, Speedball’s lot in life has been a tough one.  The original New Warriors book was his first real success, taking a character whom no one much liked and turning him into a well-rounded teenage hero.  When Fabian Nicieza left the book, though, Robbie Baldwin once again started taking a beating, with his power-up (and the related character development that accompanied it) rolled back, and leaving him in a loop of “goofy comic superhero” until the clusterschmozz that was ‘Civil War’.  Astonishingly, his turn as emo atoner was even more obnoxious, and while progress has been made in making Speedball once again relevant, those attempts have all been short-lived.  Still, he’s in better shape than many of his Warriors comrades…

 

3) CYCLONE

Cyclone

As one of the JSA’s new recruits in the 2000s, Maxine Hunkel (grand-daughter of the original Ma Hunkel, the Red Tornado) was criminally underutilized, and that mostly in the role of “sweet new kid.”  The fact that a recent revamp of the android Red Tornado meant she couldn’t use her gramma’s nom de guerre was one slap in the face, the fact that the covers kept intimating that she was naked under her big flowy dress was another (especially since she was 16), but the worst part came in her treatment after the JSA: All-Stars book ended.  Maxine was shuffled aside for a new batch of recruits, who were then wiped out by the Flashpoint retcon, and to my knowledge, she hasn’t reappeared in the new DCU, which is a real shame…

 

2) TIN

Tin

The same thing that made the Metal Men more than just robots (their faulty responsometers) made Tin’s lot in life so difficult.  Each Metal Man has a particular emotional state/handicap, and Tin’s is capital-n ‘Neurotic.’  The smallest hero, made of the most common metal, his inferiority complex is practically tangible, and his speech impediment doesn’t help.  Still, he is the Metal Man with the most heart, the first one to leap into action to defend the innocent and the weak, and an important psychological anchor for his teammates.  Sure, he has been destroyed literally dozens of times, but that also underlines the fact that his tin frame will be the least expensive to reassemble…

 

1) HAWKMAN

Hawkman-I

In the wake of Zero Hour, and the myriad retcons of the various Hawk-origins, Carter Hall was famously declared “radioactive” by DC editorial.  After a few years, he was revamped and reinvigorated in the pages of JSA, but the sheer weight of continuity was such that it couldn’t last.  The Blackest Night left him dead, the Brightest Day brought him back, and Flashpoint brought the most terrible insult of the all: A Rob Liefeld-driven reboot.  In the New 52, Hawkman has been saddled with being half Wolverine/half Lieutenant Worf, and sadly, all boring, even in the well-written adventures of Justice League United.  As one of the oldest superhero characters in existence, he absolutely deserves better.

Feel free to follow along (@MightyKingCobra) for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, as characters like Nightcrawler, Gokai Pink and Cassandra Cain will easily demonstrate…

Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

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About Author

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.

5 Comments

  1. Several of these are spot on. D-Man in particular really hits the nail on the head. Somewhere his creator is pumping his fist in the air and saying “YES! You get him!” Good call on Cyclone and of course Hawkman.

    But JinPei?!? The JarJar Binks of early 80’s Japanimation? How dare you sir. How dare you!

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