No Right Explanation

Best Superhero Team Ever


Last week the guys debated which was the best superhero team ever. Now they bring that debate to you and you alone. Don’t tell anyone.


Chris: Okay, we’re in a very exciting new week here as my team, The Avengers, has proved that they kick exactly all of the butts. If you haven’t gone out and seen why I was irrefutably right regarding the best superhero team, then I just don’t know how you manage to live with yourself. Bob already approved it and thus far hasn’t found it to interfere with the upcoming 2012 election, so you’re in the clear to enjoy The Avengers! Me, however, I need to write up what Kyle should have said against my choice and in affirmation of his own.

Please do not misinterpret me saying that I like the Avengers more as me saying that the Justice League must therefore suck. I can get into the many misadventures of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Martian Manhunter just as much as anything the House of Marvel can throw my way, specifically when they’re written with a bit more care. A few examples of excellent Justice League stories that Kyle omitted to challenge The Civil War would include Identity Crisis, Justice, and even to some extent Final Crisis.

For me, the DC Crisis events are an extremely hard sell, but I acknowledge that they’re great in terms of what they intend to accomplish, as well as how beloved they are for fans. While Marvel’s events are good fun, they just don’t hit DC’s events’ level of scope. Marvel has the Avengers fighting one another. DC has the Justice League fighting the end of the known universe (or universes).

Plus, I’m being rather unfair when I say that the Justice League has nothing to offer outside of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman as the other big characters all have strong followings and again, when written correctly, are fantastic together. It’s also a bit surprising that Kyle didn’t refute my “Batman is never interesting outside of Gotham City” argument with the events leading up to Infinite Crisis, namely Batman creating a giant spy satellite that watched over every single super on the planet. It’s just a shame that my DC-slander isn’t shut down throughout the video where all I have to do is point at The Avengers and chuckle to myself, knowing my team is secure in $ucce$$.

When you get right down to it, the argument is extremely nebulous as neither the Avengers nor the Justice League really have a set “team” any given issue. There are certainly runs of issues that keep the same core, but as a whole, pitting JLA against the original Avengers may have had an entirely different outcome.

Doesn’t matter, my team has a giant green rage monster and a guy dressed in an American flag. You can’t beat that! USA! USA!


Kyle: Okay, The Avengers won this round …

… And they totally won at the box office this week. But there still were several big arguments that they could have used on NRA.

Right off the bat, Chris should have jumped all over my first big comment. While The Justice League has a semblance of exclusivity that made them more of a team, Chris could have argued that the Avengers’ open-enrollment is much more heroic. After all, with a revolving line-up the Avengers have a greater chance of resolving a situation with the appropriate skill-set.

How many instances would call for Aquaman? Very few. But any number of situations could be solved by whichever random, C-grade hero got the latest internship at the Avengers mansion.

And if there’s one thing I messed up on, it’s this idea that a group of living gods plus Batman are a better team than an endless horde of extraordinary mortals with personal demons and issues. If there’s one thing that Greek myth has taught us, it’s that all-powerful folks with mommy issues and sexual dysfunction make for some crappy teamwork. Does that sounds like the same crap that would happen with Spider-Man or Wolverine present? No? How about Superman or Green Lantern?

Oh, that’s right. That’s how Parallax happened.

And one thing that we didn’t even mention: Would you rather live as a citizen under the protection of the Avengers, or the Justice League? I’d rather have some semblance of protection from a highly organized group of sometimes-government-funded geniuses and good-hearted warriors rather than a lofty amalgamation of alien immigrants, power-crazy space cops, and regal muckety-mucks that see us as mere ants in a tube that must be tended to whenever they are bored.

Also the Avengers have a large group of world-threatening villains that have no personal stake in the heroes but a more global-scale threat. The DC universe is largely populated by petty villains that just want revenge or a balance of misfortune for the hero that gets their goat (like the Joker, or Lex Luthor). In the Marvel world, we have serious villains with serious plans and means to vaporize the whole planet, thus necessitating an big team-up (such as Thanos, or Galactus, or the Skrulls).

In the end, the Avengers are the heroes we really would need, but the Justice League is probably closer to what we would end up with, which might be the reason why people find them less fun.


Dan: In case you guys didn’t see the big ol’ ad on the Escapist homepage, or the billboard we got up on I-84 in Portland, Oregon … we extended the deadline for submitting to the Ur Right Answer contest one week. So for all you who had finals, or were too busy watching The Avengers 10 times in a row, you have until 9pm pacific time on the 17th to email your submission to us. So do it. Now. Why are you still reading this?

Well if you are still reading this, it must be because you wanted to know my reasoning for the judging of points this last week. By far this was the hardest episode to judge, because I had strong feelings on what made a good team and both guys were pulling no punches.

First point went to Chris for the argument that the Avengers is a better team due to the lax admission requirements. When I heard this, I realized that flexibility is pretty important when addressing threats that require superheroes. If you need to fight something, you want to pick the right fighters. The Avengers have the capability of pulling from a crazy large roster of players, and often tailor their current team to the threat at hand.

Then Kyle throws a huge comeback that Chris actually helped agree with. The Justice League, as Chris chimed in, only admits the finest, richest, strongest superheroes to their roster. Color me stupid, but isn’t that exactly what you want when you need saving? It’s almost as if the Avengers are the team best suited for fighting and the JL are the team you want saving you.

Tied so far. On a side note, it seems to me that Marvel heroes are defined by their personal demons and flaws, while DC heroes are defined by the villains and disasters they have to fight. Anyone agree with that?

Kyle snags another point right away with the argument that every member of the Justice League is a cultural icon. Each member could save the world and universe themselves and with that kind of cultural notoriety and power they still manage to work together as a team. Without going into who could win in a fistfight, the Justice League tends to have more raw power behind them. With more power comes more tendency to not need a team, yet there they are.

Many of you were confused at the next point given to Chris. Why did he get a point for the argument that the Avengers fights each other more? Well, as a married man, I can tell you that if you don’t fight ever, the relationship is in trouble. I mean, you also don’t want to fight every day over every thing, but a certain level of grievance airing is needed to keep things healthy. The fact that the Avengers are willing to blow off some steam here and there to keep their team functioning is a point towards them being a better team. Justice League, I am free for group counseling when you feel ready.

Normally I don’t award points simply because of an objective truth, but Chris just wanted it more. Robert Downey Jr. is better than Christian Bale. There’s no way to debate around that. Done deal. But don’t worry, worse things have happened, I think we’re going to be just fine.

Due to various scheduling issues, I won’t be able to allow the Avengers to pass through my “Mark I eyeballs” until Wednesday. So until then, I am a virgin in what is obviously the best movie since a theater mishap led to Batman Begins, Avatar and Cheerleader Teens in Heat being spliced together into one movie. That was a good day.

About the author

Daniel Epstein
Father, filmmaker, and writer. Once he won an Emmy, but it wasn't for being a father or writing.