Of all the things that All-New All-Different Marvel and DCYou are doing to excite readers, the variations in the lineups of their team books are at the very top for me.  Instead of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America and Iron Man being on every single Avengers team at once, we’re seeing a variety of new Avengers stepping up.  Even the Justice League, a group that has been locked in an endless series of ‘Big Seven’ iterations since Grant Morrison crystallized the concept back in the 1990s has taken flyers on the likes of Power Ring and Captain Cold.  Sadly, the members and lineups that I like the best always end up getting mocked by internet pundits for lacking “star power”; witness the Avengers lineup featuring Justice, Firestar, She-Hulk, Wasp and Triathlon in the 90s.  It’s one of the most interesting, dramatic chunks of Kurt Busiek’s Avengers run, but the lack of Thor and such doomed it to mockery, leading us to today’s auxiliary query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) honestly believes that this is the reason why Justice League Detroit gets so little respect from the general public, asking: Would you still be interested in reading your favorite team book without the most popular headliner characters?

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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.

8 Comments

  1. With very few exceptions, yes. A team book is (or at least should be) about a team, not about an individual character who happens to have a few supporting characters with them (although an occasional focus on an individual team member for a story or short arc is more than fine). I’ve stuck with several titles after a popular character or even one of my favorite characters left many times in the years I’ve been a comic fan, and as long as there is still a good story I’ll continue to do so. Sometimes a popular character leaving a team book actually makes the team book better as it can give other characters a chance to shine or takes the story and characters in a different direction.

    The same also holds true for TV series and other ongoing or multi part stories. There are always exceptions, but for the most part I won’t give something up just because one character leaves a team or group story. I may give it up if they can’t continue creating quality stories without the character, but I won’t drop them just because a character leaves.

  2. Usually, yes. Im a big fan of big rosters in teams and prefer circulating core team. Unfortunately, that doesnt happen often anymore. I´d like pretty much every team to include at least 10 members at any given time.

  3. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt on

    I prefer teams WITHOUT big stars in them. If I want Superman or Captain America, I’ll pick up their books. My favorite runs of Avengers and JLA typically have much higher percentages of “supporting” characters.

  4. 100% My favorite incarnation of the Justice League is the International. I prefer the Defenders when it’s Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, and Dr. Strange. The Legion works just fine when Wildfire, Dawnstar, Bouncing Boy, Blok, and Tyroc are heading up the adventure.

  5. Douglas Romshe on

    The problem with only having the “stars” on a team is that you’ll never be able to gain respect and momentum for newer characters. We all know what a Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman team looks like. We’ve all seen Iron Man/Thor/Captain America Avengers. And I for one have seen enough shoehorning of Spider-Man and Wolverine into everything (even though I like them). X-Men has classically done a good job of rotating core members around classic anchor leaders. The later Justice League cartoon episodes are my favorite for adding an enormous cast and focusing on a handful of them at a time. I definitely vote for more page time for lesser known characters so we can get to know them more and develop a love for fresh faces.

    • Yes. Justice League Unlimited cartoon was pretty much best Justice League theres ever been, because it had EVERYONE.

      • I keep hoping that someday we will get another series like JLU that shifts the focus between characters or groups of characters every few episodes. I loved that even the villains got the spotlight a couple of times rather than just as part of a story featuring a hero or heroes as the main cast.

  6. I usually do. But I don’t think it is fair to call the current teams “Avengers”, when they have become more open-ended than the Defenders ever were. Nor do I see a point in calling groups such as the latest so-called Fearless Defenders and Secret Avengers by those names, either. Or, for that matter, calling the Marvel Knights “Defenders” on TV.

    That is not a lack of star power. It is canniballizing established names to sell unrelated goods.

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