I’ve always been a fan of team books. Team books let you read about a whole bunch of heroes for the price of one comic. My first exposure to team books was Justice League of America #148 back in the late 70’s. This book not only featured 5 members of the JLA, but 5 members of the Justice Society and 9 members of the Legion of Super Heroes as well. Soon I found myself buying books featuring all 3 of those teams. I also enjoyed Batman and Superman team up books. Solo features just felt too expensive. After the JLA broke up, I did read solo books, most notably Wally West Flash, Green Lantern (Hal then Kyle), and Wonder Woman.
My thirst for team books led me to The New Teen Titans in 1980. I added the Avengers and West Coast Avengers. I had avoided the X-Men because everyone said their story had too much back story and it would be too hard to understand. In 1990, I started with X-Force #1 and followed quickly with X-Men #1, Uncanny X-Men, and X-Factor.
Eventually one thing or another got me to drop most of these books. But through it all, I was a card carrying reader of the Justice League. Sure this team went through its ups and downs. The Satellite era ended when Aquaman disbanded the team and rebuilt it with Vibe and Commander Steel. The JL International was a great idea that eventually diluted into 3 books where the main title seemed to feature characters named Yazz and Civet. Morrison brought us the classic 7, Waid and Kelly put their own spin on the team, but then it floundered. Meltzer and McDuffie gave us a grand team once again. But Robinson gave us a team that reminded me of Aquaman and Vibe, none of the big guns were represented. For some reason DC thought proxies would be good enough. They were wrong. I dropped the book for the first time in 30 years.
The new DC is giving me back the JLA I want to read. It has the right recipe. The big guns. A few classics. A few new members selected by the writer.
Big Guns = Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern. (These are the heroes DC identified as their 5 cornerstones.)
Classics = Aquaman, Green Arrow, Atom, Hawkman,
New Blood = Cyborg, Mera, Deadman, Element Woman
Although there are a few I have left to identify, one thing is clear. This is the type of line up I want to see in the JLA.
The other book I am excited about is the Teen Titans. The Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans of the 80’s was a fantastic book. Great characters with stories that revolevd around the members back histories. Over time, the cast changed and the stories fell in quality. Eventually the series ended. At one point the team consisted of 4 characters no one cared about and a de-aged Atom. But there was hope. A new round of young heroes. A 3rd Robin. Impulse. Superboy. Fans started a letter writing campaign asking DC to repalce the Titans of the day with this team of best selling solo teens. What we got was Young Justice, featuring not just them, but some cool female teens as well. YJ had an awesome run of 4 years or more before it was merge with the Titans to create a new Teen Titans. I’ll admit, I did not like the stories Geoff Johns wrote in the Teen Titans. I dropped the series and sold my issues. Superboy died. Kid Flash died. Robin became Red Robin and left the team. Even though both Superboy and Kid Flash came back to life, the team was not the same.
From the looks of things, the new DC version Teen Titans will put the band back together. Enough so that I am encouraged to try this book again.
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