5 Marvel Superhero Teams We Should Be Giving Our Attention
The fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is trying to make Inhumans happen is proof that they desperately need the X-Men back. Everything about Inhumans stinks of "I Can't Believe It's Not X-Men." But it's not X-Men, Marvel, and you can't fool me with your superhero Splenda. No one is excited for this show.
Disney paid a billion dollars for Star Wars. Please, Marvel, just keep throwing money at Fox until they cry and give you what you want like Mickey Mouse did with George Lucas. Then we can have any one of these better superhero teams that include X-Men on TV:
The Lady Liberators
Originally, the Lady Liberators were a joke in a single 1970s Avengers issue. The kickass witch Enchantress got mad about being dumped by her boyfriend and disguised herself as Valkyrie to bring feminism to the Avengers. Except instead of feminism, she just tricked the female Avengers into beating up the male Avengers with her wicked feminist mind games.
It was a really fantastic way for The Avengers to assure male readers that the women's liberation movement was just a bunch of chicks who were angry because they were ugly, or on their periods, or something equally valid. "Normal" women would eventually wake up and realize that they had been hoodwinked into thinking they had opinions. They thought they deserved things like respect, but they had been truly, truly bamboozled.
The idea was resurrected in 2008 by She-Hulk as an actual superhero team that consists of Storm, Thundra, Invisible Woman, and Valkyrie. Along with appearances by Black Widow, Wasp, and I'm sorry, but I can't finish this sentence because I have to run to the post office and FedEx Marvel all of my money. I'll will donate whatever I have to see Halle Berry shooting lightning bolts while Scarlett Johannson flips around her. Does Marvel accept kidneys? You can totally have at least a whole kidney if you promise to greenlight this.
The comic itself isn't particularly special, but the cast alone makes this more interesting than Inhumans. Besides Medusa, who I thought was an X-Man with the mutant power of always being able to find a hairstylist, I couldn't have named another Inhuman before the show was announced, and I've read a good handful of the comics. They were just all so forgettable that the instant they weren't immediately in front of my face, I couldn't tell you a thing about them. I can try to remember who the guy with earthquake feet is, but I would rather save my brain space for images of all the Lady Liberators fistfighting a superpowered bear -- something that actually happens in the comic.
As cool as the X-Men are, there's another group of mutants that makes them look like a bunch of rich assholes who sit around their comfy mansion, using their superpowers to teleport lobster into their mouths. The Morlocks are crust punk X-Men who live in the sewers and abandoned subway tunnels of New York City. It's generally said they live underground because their mutations don't allow them to pass in normal human society, but some of their members actually purposely disfigure themselves in order to join the group, in what must surely be the most metal team-building exercise of all.
Morlocks have some awesome powers, other than being able to live in human feces without being riddled with pinkeye. Their leader, Callisto, is said to have enhanced physical abilities that rival Wolverine's. Plague can alter diseases to be more lethal and then spread them by touch. Masque has powers similar to Mystique, but he can use them on other people, permanently altering their physical appearance. They use him to mutilate the new recruits who are too pretty by sewer people standards.
Inhumans is centered on the Inhuman royal family, so we already know that we have at least five episodes' worth of "No, it is I WHO SHOULD SIT ON THE THRONE" to yawn through. The Morlocks have no royal family. They choose their leader via battle to the death. I guarantee you Inhumans was pitched as "Game Of Thrones meets X-Men," which isn't necessarily untrue. It's just that Inhumans is like the fourth Game Of Thrones book, which is mostly Brienne and Podrick wandering through the forest. Morlocks is the third Game Of Thrones book, and it's all Red Wedding, all the time.
The choice between Inhumans and Morlocks is a choice between whiny baby aliens and death metal mutants whose power is stabbing you with a rusty sewer knife. Personally, I pick rusty sewer knife every time! Finally, I got the chance to write that sentence.
Alpha Flight is the Canadian Avengers ripoff that you need in your life. The team includes:
Twin X-Men Northstar and Aurora
Guardian, a scientist in a super suit he designed (Not at all like Iron Man's. Guardian's has a Maple Leaf on it)
A Sasquatch named Sasquatch who is definitely not a hairy Hulk
And sometimes Canada's favorite X-Man, Wolverine, even shows up. Little-known fact: Wolverine's actual mutant power is being able to ignore his Canadian impulses and face-kick someone without apologizing.
This could make such a cute, funny TV show. I picture it as a workplace comedy with really nice Canadian superheroes. I know that sounds dangerously close to Powerless, which just got cancelled, but The Tick is out there bravely proving for the third time that superhero comedies can work. This one would have a cranky Wolverine exasperatedly dealing with fuzzy Hulk and sober Iron Man. We all like Wolverine best when he's being a dick, so this would be a great opportunity for him to enter the MCU doing what he does best: making his fellow Canadians uncomfortable.
Inhumans would have made a great comedy too, but instead they went for this joyless, grey, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. vibe. I'm not sure why they want you to take a show that stars a teleporting dog and a lady with prehensile hair seriously. But then again, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. expects us to take Ghost Rider seriously, so I don't know what I was expecting.
No, this is not a comic about the X-Men forming a boy band, although that would probably be a better show than Inhumans. X-Factor Investigations is a noir-themed X-Men spinoff that centers on Multiple Man starting a private investigation agency. And it is so damn good. As a show, it could follow in the footsteps of Legion and Preacher, using superheroes to tackle darker subjects, like the dangers of psychic leeches and whether or not we should kick God's ass.
There's a fantastic storyline wherein Multiple Man (who, if you're not up to speed on the policies of naming superheroes, is a man that can transform into multiple men) decides he needs to "get himself together" literally, and he goes around finding all of the versions of himself he sent off into the world who never returned. He even finds one who's married and started a family without him, which is a no-no according to Isaac Newton's Laws of Multiple-Manning.
Side note: Imagine how much therapy the child needed after Multiple Man reabsorbed his dad. I guess "Your dad was just a fraction of another person" is a better excuse for child abandonment than going on a cigarette run, but it's going to be hard to find a psychiatrist who will understand "Had a father once, but he got sucked up into another guy who looked like my father."
That's just one storyline for one character. X-Factor Investigations also follows Wolfsbane, whose power is just straight-up being a werewolf, Siren, the daughter of the classic X-Man Banshee, and Strong Guy, whose power you will never be able to guess, especially if you were stumped by the whole "multiple man" thing from a few paragraphs ago. They all have great stories.
The only thing Inhumans makes me think about is "What the hell is going on with Medusa's wig?" In fact, pretty much all of the lady hair in Inhumans is baffling. Is there only one hairdresser on Attilan, and if so, why are they so terrible at their job? Did the Terrigen Mist that creates Inhumans turn the hairdresser's arms into tentacles, and everyone wants to make them feel OK about it? These are the hard-hitting Inhumans questions that keep me up at night.
Mercs For Money
Mercs for Money started as a way for Deadpool to "franchise" his name to other mercenaries who could make more money by pretending to be "the famous mercenary Deadpool." Unsurprisingly, a superhero team ran by Deadpool did not go well, because a damn bake sale run by Deadpool wouldn't go well.
The team is quickly taken over by former X-Man Domino, and also includes members such as Massacre, who continues to wear a crappy handmade Deadpool costume, Hit-Monkey, a regular monkey that learned how to be a hitman, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, whom you may remember from the little-known indie comedy Deadpool, and Gorilla Man, who is a primate as well. Yes, this team has two primates, two goth girls, and two Deadpools. It's the Noah's Ark of comic book characters who will murder people for money.
Beyond just having interesting characters, it has characters with really cool powers. Deadpool has tons of fun with his healing factor, and Domino can telekinetically influence probability in her favor, which means she has Final Destination powers and will definitely kill you with a weird Rube Goldberg death machine. On the other hand, the formula for making Inhuman powers was apparently picking a body part and making it "dangerous." Earthquake feet, super whispers, and danger hair all make appearances in the trailer. I don't even want to think about what they come up with when they start adding new characters halfway through the first season. This is Marvel's greatest opportunity to introduce a character who creates psionic booty energy by twerking.
When I asked my friends if they wanted to go see the Inhumans debut, I then had to add "Yes, I'm OK, and no one is forcing me to see it." I wanted to see Inhumans because I like Marvel and I want them to succeed, but as a friend, I feel like I should also let them know that they can do better.
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There's a member of the Inhumans named Lockjaw. Like, that's this person's superhero name. Lockjaw... We're not going to bother to find out what is surely a fascinating origin story, but maybe you can read about it here and tell us the details later.
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