It’s an unspoken truth of ensemble casts and superhero stories in particular: Some characters just can’t go solo.  Geo-Force of The Outsiders is a perfect example, a strong, capable hero with a unique back story who is nonetheless somehow boring as hell on his own.  Fortunately for his noteworthy ego, Prince Brion isn’t alone in this, as many prominent and admirable characters have the same problem: The Black Knight, 80% of the X-Men and Legion, Jayne from ‘Firefly…’  All wonderful characters in their element, supported by their teams, all less interesting when they’re by themselves, leading to today’s completely subjective query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) finds part of the joy of reading team books like Legion Of Super-Heroes is in seeing those characters shine in group settings anyway, asking: Which pop culture character do you love while completely admitting that they can’t go solo?


  1. November 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Colossus. I love that guy but he absolutely needs some contrasting personalities in his teammates to be interesting.

  2. Lee Goldberg
    November 16, 2016 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    Martian Manhunter. He simply works best as the “glue” of a team. Also, if given the chance to use his powers outside of a team setting (where each character tends to limit the extent of their abilities to fit the team dynamic), he’d be overpowered.

  3. DamienR
    November 16, 2016 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    The Batman.

    No, no, seriously.

    Name for me three (3) of your favorite Batman-centric stories that didn’t have a sidekick/team/Joker as a key player in the story.

  4. Robbie Warnock
    November 16, 2016 at 9:39 pm — Reply

    Speedball from the New Warriors.

  5. Toric
    November 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm — Reply

    Kermit the Frog. He’s the center of an insane galaxy of Muppets, and he fits in well with any grouping, but if you take him out of that setting and stick him in a group of humans (Hollywood Squared excepted) he comes off as kinda bland compared to the likes of Fozzie and Gonzo. He’s at his best when working the straight man role.

    • November 17, 2016 at 11:27 am — Reply

      I partially disagree. He needs others to work with, but I think he’s fine with human or Muppet alike. But if they are boring or bland humans or Muppets, that is another story altogether.

      Which brings me to my choices, which is just about any member of the Sesame Street Muppets. I realize I’m far, far outside the audience of the series, but between the kids watching and my own fascination with puppetry, I still enjoy the skill of the execution of the show. When you have someone like Elmo or Big Bird or Oscar, they NEED someone else to work with. Little scenes alone are fine, but I couldn’t see any of them headlining a completely solo project very successfully. Even the movies that centered on Big Bird and Elmo still had the group elements (Big Bird encountered many helpful people over the course of “Follow That Bird”, and the Sesame Street group searching for him were almost always together).

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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.