Icons and Teams
If you were to ask yourself, who are The Avengers you could answer as easily that they are a group of actors in a movie that this writer would characterize as the ultimate movie rather than them being mere comic book heroes. Quite honestly, Avengers revolutionized how teams work in a full length feature film made for the silver screen and that could be one reason for seeing them as suck instead of characters from a comic book. I can say that because they are iconic in nature when you stand them up alongside movie teams of the past, they overshadow the competition. Lets use as an example, The Magnificent Seven, The Expendables, The Dirty Dozen, and let's throw in The Watchmen as well. Three of these movies were a mix of big-name movie legends of the past and you could call them icons, and the fourth movie, like The Avengers, is about a group of super heroes.
- Your Big Guide To DC's 'Justice League' Movie: News, Rumors, Spoilers, Trailers & All You Need To Know
To begin an answer of the question of what the difference is between the five movies it is that the main characters from one of the five movies literally jump off the screen at you while the others are entertaining and give you something of a warm and fuzzy feel. The Avengers themselves rank as super heavyweights in terms of pure power on the screen and to deliver their power to the screen requires a very large and expensive amount of special effects the other four movies do not match. You also get a much stronger sense of unity and personality from The Avengers. In essence The Avengers give you that feeling that they are a close knit family that plays together and then crushes the enemies of the human race, together.
The measure of a great and successful team is where they are when the stakes require an “all in” approach. With The Dirty Dozen you got every man for himself for the most part and sense of “what's in it for me”. The Magnificent Seven were just a tad above the Dirty Dozen but went all in because they shared a sense of fair play in the end. The Watchmen were too dysfunctional to be a team and go all in, and the Expendables, well, all in means wheel chairs and playing bingo unless there is nobody else to take the call for help, then they grab some Geritol, hop in the station wagon and try to save the day. All in all, these four teams of legend were good when its a matter of saving the town, ending a war, but when it gets down to a team standing between all of mankind and total destruction The Avengers make the rest look like Girl Scouts selling cookies.
So, what we have in terms of making a team movie work now, as opposed to say a movie like the Dirty Dozen is appeal to a particular audience and making that audience slaves to the material. People want to see a movie based on characters who had no hope of ever making it onto the big screen in a time when Dirty Dozen opened at drive-ins, but you had a willing audience buying comic books and imagining what it would be like to see a man fly, bend steel in his bare hands, out run a speeding bullet and leap tall buildings and television did provide that but doing the same thing on the silver screen wasn't possible unless the audience was ready to accept spaceships dangling from wires and moving through a warehouse suspended from the ceiling to simulate space flight. The effects, the quality and appeal of the actors and a story of super powered beings saving the entire planet from god-like beings and extraterrestrials is why Avengers drew such a huge crowd to the box office, that and a love of something that enjoyed a left out status for decades while the more common westerns and war movies thrived.
The comic book Avengers debuted in 1963, forty-nine years before the movie crushed box office records, not only for its particular genre, but movies as a whole. The lineup back then was Iron man, The Hulk, Thor, Ant Man and the Wasp. Four issues later Captain America was discovered frozen in ice, a left over from World War II and you had Marvel Comic's answer to the meshed team-up the competition had. What made the Avengers was the dynamics of the extreme personalities of the characters. Start with the mindless rampaging beast, the Hulk. Here is a character who's very name is synonymous with destruction and collateral damage. This guy belongs in a team setting about as well as a giraffe fits in a Volkswagon. With this guy you have the beginning of chaos and a lot of broken bones.
Thor is a true champion who stands between danger and innocence, but in his godliness he is arrogant and believes himself superior and that anyone less should follow him, not try and lead him. Then you have Iron Man, who is actually a man with a handicap trapped inside a metal shell he needs to keep him alive while he indulges in playing hero. Captain America is a throwback to a more primitive time and it is Ant man and the Wasp who actually give the team a semblance of normalcy. Without [Ant-Man](movie:9048) and the Wasp they are a group of four misfits thrown together to form something that functions like a fruit salad. The end result is something incredible that has a lot of room to grow and characters that can grow as people and function together as one while there is nothing alike or in common about them.
The results of building a team with blocks that don't match up can be both interesting and extremely successful. During the 80's I experimented with the idea, on stage with a heavy metal band I formed and a softball team I organized and managed for two years. The personalities were extreme and clashed but the results were well worth the time and effort. The problem is the clash of personalities all to often consumes the project and sends it crashing earthward in flames. The thing about Avengers is it was sustainable by adding new members and phasing out others, such as the Hulk, to avoid burn out.
Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Hawkeye and [Black Panther](movie:9047) made interesting additions and further diversified the teams abilities. The team evolved from within as well with Ant-Man becoming Giant Man, then Goliath, Yellow Jacket after that and finally just plain ordinary old Dr. Pym. Others came and went as well, characters such as the demi-god, Hercules. Marvel started a run in 1963 with a small lineup of solo acts meshed together where their personalities should have signaled failure and they were great and the run is still going because of the ever changing members of the current team. If you can say one thing about Marvel Comics,they were masters of managing the characters that have made up The Mighty Avengers for fifty-one years, and that is one hell of a run. The ability to manage the same characters and make them work together on the big screen has obviously carried over and as far as making movies in a long succession and working with the characters they have as solo and a team project has led to the consideration that the people at Marvel are true geniuses.
The Justice League
Three years before Marvel Comics launched its super team, in 1960. DC Comics own team made its debut appearance in issue 28 of The Brave and The Bold. The Justice League of America it was called and it consisted of Wonder Woman, [The Flash](movie:15273), Green Lantern, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, and DC's two super heavy weights, Superman and Batman. The personalities probably were not as extreme as the powers they had but they were still unique and diverse in their origins. Unlike the Avengers, two members of the JLA came from somewhere else in the universe, from as near as Mars and as far away as Krypton, and two were of a god-like royalty where they came from, The King, Aquaman, and the princess, Wonder Woman. Two were orphans and two were ordinary people who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the right time.
DC Comics saw success early on the television screen with Batman appearing in a series that debuted in 1943, just five years after Bob Kane created the character. Batman was played then by Lewis Wilson and Doug Croft portrayed the first boy wonder. In 1948 Kirk Alyn was cast to play the man of steel in the first Superman series and from that early beginning what DC Comics has called its World's Finest Team has seen considerable success that continues even now and we will actually see the first joint venture of the two super icons on the big screen together in 2016. One must ask the question now, why have we and are we waiting so long for DC Comics to catch up on the big screen when history shows that DC Comics has always been ahead of Marvel. It was DC, after all, that struck first with Batman and Superman, and it was DC Comics that was first out of the gate with a team-up of the companies greatest stars.
Okay, so one company has played the role of risk taker while the other has been conspicuously conservative and cautious in approaching the management of the company's properties. Actually, I'll go as far as to say DC Comics has been cowardly in giving fans what they want because they seem predisposed to fail where Marvel doesn't even seem to think about failing and just does it. DC has had some success with Batman and Superman as long as they have kept away from stories involving Richard Pryor and Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are comic books, and there are funny books and it was a huge mistake to play funny with both properties while trying to capture the “camp” of the 60's Batman television series on the big screen. Neither were meant to do stand up comedy and failure then gave DC cause to be afraid of making movies with their characters.
It remains to be seen what a team of characters from DC Comics can do on the big screen, but what can already be measured is the fact that the [Justice League](movie:401267) is a team with powers that are on a cosmic level while the Avengers are a team that excels at “less is more' thinking. Ask yourself, what on Earth could be more powerful than Superman and then consider that Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter are just a very short, minor step down from that kind of power and then there is Green Lantern with a ring that can create and do anything its wearer can imagine. Personally I can imagine having a device that can turn time backwards to the very creation of all things and end it right there. I'm betting that ring has that kind of power.
By measured standards it has always been a given that the Flash is faster than Quicksilver, while Hawkeye and Green Arrow are like mirror images. In truth one would have to be in serious denial not to notice that Marvel has characters that have been Avengers that were conspicuously similar to members of DC's Justice League. Am I saying that Marvel copied Green Arrow, Black Canary or The Flash, certainly not, and it is mere coincidence that Thor and Superman bear striking resemblance to each other when you look at color coordination in their costumes. The fact is both companies borrowed from each other, not just one from the other.
So now, there is the obvious question that people,have been asking for decades, In A Fair Fight, Who Would Win?
In This Corner, a Third Party
How in the world is it possible to decide what would happen if the Avengers were sitting in their favorite shawarma restaurant getting a bite to eat and the Justice League called them out? It is more a battle of opinions than an actual possibility. In 1996 the two companies got together and did a three issue crossover, Marvel vs DC and it was interesting. There were five battles in which the readers voted on the outcome and from a fan perspective Marvel won. It was the will of the majority, but those were none of the six major battles that took place in the three issues.
In the first one of those main battles, and I actually read the issue this one took place in, [Aquaman](movie:264237) used one power Prince Namor, The Submariner couldn't match, and that was his ability to communicate with marine life. So Aquaman summoned a blue whale that came up beghind Namor and caught him unawares and laid him out. As one would hope, and expect, Quicksilver and The Flash went at it, as did Electra and Catwoman, and there was Robin vs Jubilee, the [Silver Surfer](movie:589196) vs Green Lantern, and the big one, Batman against Captain America.
What I saw of one of the issues had Wolverine and [Gambit](movie:612399) threatening Batman and then stealing his car to escape the confrontation and Thor and Wonder Woman squaring off. In the end of that fight Thor was resting peacefully on the ground and Wonder Woman had the hammer. Does that mean that Wonder Woman could drag Thor outside and beat the hell out of him Monday through Friday with weekends off? I don't know and now that I've described the event as happening once already who can answer that question, anybody? There have been websites dedicated to providing a solution the the question of who would win and what I saw on one of them actually makes sense. It would be easy to just pair them up: Hawkeye would fight Green Arrow, Quicksilver and the Flash would go at it, and maybe the Hulk would battle Superman and on down the line until its an even one on one fight night through ten rounds, and who then would win?
What I read on this one particular website about ten years ago was this; you would go for mismatches and take out the weaker members of the other team first to increase the odds of a win. From the DC perspective, have Superman put Hawkeye or Quicksilver down, use Green Lantern to eliminate The Black Panther and the Wasp. Then start working double teams, and for just a moment consider that it is anger that provides a Hulk and the Martian Manhunter has powers of the mind and what would happen if he used mind control to put the Hulk in a relaxed state of sleepiness? Then too we already know that once upon a time Wonder Woman bested the thunder god and picked up a hammer that no one save Thor can pick up.
Fan boys will want to go off of what they have seen on screen thus far only and ignore anything that has transpired in a comic book ever, and that probably gives the edge to the Avengers. You can see what they can do, and of the Justice League, you have only two members that have ever even been in a movie and television appearances are not quite going to pass muster on this argument. But, oh wait, there was Green Lantern up their on the screen too, but in spite of the ring and its powers the movie was a box office failure by most opinions so GL doesn't count. My response to the fan boys is “horse hockey”. Based on live action performance on ANY sized screen, I'm going to take Henry Cavill's Superman, Christian Bale's Batman. Ryan Reynold's Green Lantern, the John Wesley Shipp TV version of the Flash and the untested Gal Gadot version of Wonder Woman and perhaps Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and say that the Avengers would have their hands full in any kind of fight, fair or otherwise against the Justice League.
Actually, it is now time to run the train off the tracks and say that I am not an advocate of either team as being better than the other and instead, would like to argue that a third team that has never appeared in a comic book, television series or movie is actually every bit as good. This third team is called The Regulators and is the subject of a set of books written by me titled The Regulators: Hell On Earth, Part One and Part Two. Now anyone with an opinion is going to say that I must have lost my mind since I sat down here and started writing because I just suggested that an unknown team of super powered vigilantes who have appeared only once in a two part novel, a mere 800 plus pages, is as good or better than the long standing and established teams from Marvel and DC Comics. Well yes, I did just suggest that, no, I just stated very succinctly that The Regulators, based on limited reader reaction after a month and a half in publication are just as good and could make a good fight against either of the two old timers.
The Regulators are a team of nine, and unlike the teams from the dynamic duo of Marvel and DC, this unknown team has more female members than male, by one and of the three heavy hitters on said team, two are women. And like DC and Marvel, it may look like I borrowed a time or two from the other guys, though there are extreme differences in any character that could be considered a copy-cat, and I will boldly state that the two characters who would come into question are called Silver Streak and Warhawk. Honestly, I don't know how Marvel and DC have avoided the copyright issues between them over the years and as a published author that is the first thing that slaps you in the face when you start writing and a characters name jumps off the page at you after a search of the Internet to see if an idea is conflicting with someone's rights to a name. It is actually damn hard to write a few pages without finding some little tweak in a name or a costume or a characters powers that is going to send you into a state of wall punching fury, and no I didn't do that, but over one character I did eat several plate loads of disappointment because I was in love with the name and was sure it was too good to possibly have been thought of before and I was wrong, and while that other character was a demon and evil while mine is human and a very nice lady, that is the rules and how the game is played.
The Regulators are: Silver Bison, Madame Orage, Thunderbolt, The Sentinel, Warhawk, Spectra, Lady Pyra, Lady Mysteria, Silver Streak. The difference between them and the teams from Marvel and DC are they are all based on the personalities of real people and the only real creative addition to them are the powers they are given in the first story written. In a manner of speaking that is not so different from The Avengers movie in that the personalities of the actors come through on screen and make them real, and if DC is any kind of smart they will work that with their own team as it grows on screen. As for the Regulators, they are not actors, they are real people living everyday lives, but like the Avengers, they are a group of extreme personalities and yeah, the way it turns out in words on paper, The Regulators are very real.
For an in depth look at who the Regulators are, I will direct you to www.mccaeg.com where you may uncover all there is to know about them, and for the more basic, brief intro, lets meet the Regulators.
Silver Bison: When he makes the transformation from Darren Bennigan, bartender and part time professional wrestler he becomes a brutish half man, half beast possessed of super strength, invulnerability and can break the sound barrier when he is in a hurry.
Madame Orage: The daughter of an Italian wine maker, Zoe Renshe is a weather witch with minor elemental control. She can call a bizarre mix of extreme weather but more often than not will solve the problem with mega voltage bolts of lightning when she is seriously pissed off, its side to side web lightning because the bad guys have earned it.
Thunderbolt: Heather Marie Manners found an alien in her grandfather's apple orchard. He was dead when she came across him. The bracers he wore seemed interesting enough and he had a device with him that was a lot like an iPad and since he wasn't using them anymore she took them. When she treated the alien writing on the tablet as a puzzle in the newspaper she discovered that saying the words while she wore the bracers called thunder strong enough to shatter the glass in everything within a nine city block area. She then had the the power to project plasma energy from her clenched fists as well as possessing super strength, invulnerability and the ability to fly.
The Sentinel: The very ordinary Lawrence Peterson inherited a security research company and with a hate of violent criminals who prey on children, he armed himself with the best high-tech devices and equipment his company could create and hunts the evil that preys upon helpless children.
Silver Streak: Thomas Maxwell was a research scientist at a pharmaceutical company that was involved in the development of a very illegal chemical super-steroid and was given an overdose when it was discovered that he had uncovered what was going on at the facility and left for dead in a wooded area where his body would never be discovered. The opposite happened and he was better than before, the fastest man alive, and he could bring time to a screeching halt when he needed to.
Lady Pyra: At a very early age Alexandria Jean Dimplemeier was trapped beneath a truck hauling nuclear waste and was exposed to the leaking radioactive waste material for hours before she was rescued. She remained hospitalized for a year with no expectation that she would live but sometimes God changes the rules and she became a master of controlling flame, something she used as a nightclub entertainer on stage as half of the Duo of Ladies Of The Night. Pyra can also fly.
Lady Mysteria: The other half of the Ladies of The Night, Sadie Van Essen was given a gift by a patient she shared a room with while a patient herself after he died as a thank you for her kindness to him. The ancient book when read gave her a mastery over the arcane arts, which makes her a very interesting entertainer on stage and a formidable vigilante on the streets in a fight.
Warhawk: Tommy Kavan had a world of celebrity ahead of him as a collegiate athlete when the Army offered to pay for his education in exchange for participation in a special project that involved missions that other operatives weren't good enough for. His prowess as an athlete made him a prime candidate and it was like second nature to him that he was a master of weaponry and hand to hand combat. He is now a walking arsenal who is deadly from a distance, or up close and personal.
Spectra: The daughter of archeologists, Natasha Faith Dill was blessed with the gift of world travel in the company of her parents. On an expedition to the mountainous area of Tibet, the family became trapped in a cave and only Natasha survived, while breathing air and drinking water that had a glow to it the color of green and a mutating properties. After a week of wandering underground in the toxic environment she finally found a way out. Monks found her and cared for her within the walls of the monastery for years where she learned several foreign languages and the basics of math and the arts, particularly the art of unarmed combat using empty hands and her feet. The monks also taught her how to control a terrible power she brought with her from beneath the earth, the power of control over light and its conversion within her body to laser energy.
A description of basic abilities doesn't provide much of a basis for casting a vote for a team of unknowns in a fight against teams with proven histories, true enough, and only by reading the first ever story can anyone find a reason to vote for such a team. But what I am leading up to is this. Can a team with its only exposure being that in one novel compete in a world with teams that have been around for decades in comic books, animated shows and compete on the silver screen? I can only say that Harry Potter found a similar beginning, and it led to as many movies as there are books. Can a team be counted without movie exposure? So, dear readers, please leave your opinions in the comments below, and feel free to cast votes for the victors in this winner take all discussion.