Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If DC ever created their own FF – The Smarter than Batman Edition (Now with extra IQ Points!)

I’ve written two of these posts, here  and here. Without further ado, here’s my third DC FF proposal:

1] Doctor Light

No, not him. Her. Kimiyo Hoshi. Light powers and an advance understanding of Physics are both extremely useful. Also, she’ll stop this team from becoming a “Sausage fest” (Can’t believe I just typed that :)

2] Mister Terrific

Michael Holt is listed as the 3rd smartest guy on the planet. He possesses significant martial arts skills and uses loads of techno-gadgets. Mr. Terrific also wields an uber-cool power of being invisible to technology.

3] Mister Miracle

Yes, this is a repeat of the original post. My reasons given in my previous DC Fantastic Four post still hold. Inventive genius and all that...

Semi-unrelated rant:

Although Ragman isn’t on this team, I still haven’t given up on Mr. Miracle and Ragman potential BFFdom (that’s Best-Friends-Forever-dom...You know, like fandom but with best friends and it has nothing to do with dominance which seems to be a recurring theme with Scott Free on this blog :). Call me a sucker for hero bromance, but where are the NEW hero friendships these days? There is a long tradition in the DCU* of great friendships: Supes and Bats; Hal and Barry and Ollie; Blue and Gold; Arthur and Katar; J’onn and Captain Marvel; and even Kyle and Wally (and Conner) to a degree. When did heroes stop needing fellowship or camaraderie with other heroes? It’s not like they can log on to a hero blogosphere and talk about their heroic lives...And their civilian wives/husbands or girlfriends/boyfriends can’t really fill that void.

*There is a relative absence of such strong friendships in the Marvel Universe. I can only thing of 2 or 3 comparable friendship pairings off the top of my head and none reach the mutual admiration of the Supes-Bats dyad or the intensity of the Hal-Barry-Ollie threesome. There are actually more examples of the Hawkman-Green Arrow constant disagreement dynamic. It’s actually quite weird.

4] The Atom

Ray Palmer is the perfect guy to be on this team. He’s a physicist and general sub-atomic tinkerer and, believe me, this team is all about tinkering.

5] Steel
I know this is supposed to be a four-hero team, but I felt the team might be a little light on muscle. In addition, John Henry Irons is a great mix of brains and brawn.

Okay, so what are they about?

At first, I didn’t have a name or specific mission/purpose for the team, but after looking at the assembled team (beyond just their intelligence), I may have come up with both.

Basically, we have heroes who can get in just about anywhere unseen (Mr. Terrific and Atom), a guy who’s impossible to trap/contain (Mr. Miracle), a scientist who has control over light (Dr. Light), an armoured butt-kicker-inventor with a big hammer (Steel), and a guy who can examine machines without taking them apart (The Atom). All of them are super-smart.

Team name: Omega Annex

To build me a star ship and then serve as my crew.

No, seriously, here’s their true Mission/Purpose:
To commandeer and protect or disable potentially dangerous (or classified as Omega-level) technology from super-powered threats.

Their first (team-up) storyline:

It begins with each hero receiving a letter informing them of the death of the justice league villain, the Weapons Master, as well as the names of the recipients of the other letters. Huh? Some of them had never met the Weapons Master. So, why are they receiving these letters? The letters request them to see his lawyer (or executor of his will) for more detail. Scientists and inventors are nothing if not curious, so after a few conference calls, they decide to see what’s what.

Once there, his lawyer shows them a video from the Weapons Master – it looks a few years old. WM tells them that although he was a villain, he was basically just in it for himself and not super evil. Bottom line, the Weapons Master bequeathed “keys” to his dimensional armoury, because they were the only ones he trusts. They’re heroes and scientists. Begrudgingly, they accept their inheritance, because as the WM asked in the video recording, “What if it were to fall into the wrong hands?”

On their first or second visit to the armoury, they discover dossiers (including histories, enemies, and psych profiles) on several bad guys and worse guys who are in possession of extremely destructive (planet-killing) weapons plus their intended targets. Of course, the heroes decide to disarm the bad guys and take possession of these weapons for global safe-keeping. Fast-forward to just after their last and most dangerous mission, when the Weapons Master shows up very much alive and “ejects and locks” the newly formed Omega Annex out of his dimensional armoury. Yeah, WM can do that. “Thanks for procuring these weapons. I felt it was too dangerous to risk my own life for them...They’ll make great additions to my collection.”

Of course, it doesn’t end there. These are five super-smart heroes, after all.

Fun facts about Omega Annex:

1] During their free time, they watch a continuous loop of Big Bang Theory re-runs and Discovery Channel documentaries.

2] They have free time, because they built two dedicated computer systems to handle tedious chores like monitor duty (complete with monitor duty banter settings for the team's amusement in case they ever run out of Big Bang Theory re-runs).

Other insights from this fanboy exercise:

I’ve also considered calling them “The thinkers” or “Brains Trust” or “Think Tank” or “Mindworks” or “Heroes Who Think”, but that may have been somewhat insulting to the rest of the DCU.

It was pretty hard to compile this team once I went the Science and Technology hero route. It seems that DC Comics is the universe of detectives (Batman, The Question, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, and several others) while Marvel is the universe of scientists (Reed Richards, Professor X, Beast, Hank Pym, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and others).

In the DCU, even those not prone to investigate as heroes have investigative civilian careers such as reporters (Clark Kent) and social workers (Guy Gardner). This is perhaps understandable since the DC in the name DC Comics refers to Detective Comics (the company’s first most popular title). So, DC Comics is really Detective Comics Comics.

In the Marvel U, it’s hard to lob a rock into a bush without hitting a hero with a scientific background. Heck, even Peter Parker was an inventive and scientific genius in high school! It’s also not uncommon for Marvel’s (on average seven or eight member) teams to have three scientist or inventor heroes. It must’ve been the influence of the space race. So, Marvel Comics is really Scientific Marvel Comics.

All of this should make parents happy, because both universes promote asking questions (DC through detection and Marvel through Science) and that is some of the best life advice you can give kids. Superhero comics as life skills tools...Believe it.

Of course, this is off-set by several larger-than-life heroes who are former career-military or law enforcement types who never really question orders until it’s too late (Captain America, Hal Jordan, Hawkman). Hey, no educational material is ever perfect...


  1. Dr. Light...I can't believe you just typed that, either. Oy. Luckily no one caught saw my facial expression at work.

    I hope they're all watching episodes of Mythbusters, too.

    "but where are the NEW hero friendships these days?"
    Amen. I was on a GL forum the other day and saw a banner campaign to in someone's signature to "end bromances." I mean, why? Does it make some people uncomfortable? Does it make heroes look weak? I don't get the bromance hate. I love seeing friendships in comics. I've got to start a blog entry about that.

    Sounds like a nice idea to have a science-based team. I'm all for the Atom showing up anywhere.

    All that detective and investigation is why I gravitate towards DC. Not that I'm down on science, but I love a good mystery.

  2. I added the sausage line in later, after seeing the line-up.

    I too am more DC than Marvel, partly because of the detective aspect. Marvel's Scientists are placed more front and centre than DC's. Marvel's universe seems more chaotic to me - I wouldn't want to live there...

    I love a mystery that has some science in it, actually.