Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
When that wascially wabbit, 3, declared that Team 13 had to have their own series, some folks were curious as to who exactly Team 13 WAS, so I figured a guide to the characters would be helpful.
The basic gist of the team is that writer Brian Azzarello (along with his amazing artist, Cliff Chiang) put together a group of characters from the Golden, Silver and Bronze Age who, more or less, do not have a place in the current DC Universe, either because they are too silly or because DC no longer publishes titles in their genre. They team up with Doctor Thirteen and his daughter, Traci, to try to maintain a place in the new DC Universe, by appealing to “The Architects,” which is a (slightly) veiled reference to Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison and Greg Rucka, who are “The Architects” of the post-Infinite Crisis DC Universe.
Here is a guide to the members of Team 13.
Doctor Terry Thirteen
Dr. Thirteen first showed up in 1951, and his deal was that he was a professional “mythbuster.” He would prove that ghosts, monsters, etc. were fakes. He continued on as a backup character in Phantom Stranger’s title and even as the LEAD feature in the comic Ghosts, but by then, the character had a bit of a problem – for a guy who is set in the DC Universe, how CAN he debunk ghosts?
He can’t very well debunk the existence of ghosts when he hangs out Spectre, Deadman and Phantom Stranger, now, can he?
In fact, it just makes him look dumb that he denies the obvious.
When Grant Morrison brought him back in the pages of Zatanna (right before he killed him off!), Morrison tried a different approach and had Thirteen try to explain away magic as just being sophisticated physics. It was interesting stuff, but sadly, Morrison killed him off.
Luckily, Azzarello ressurected Thirteen in the pages of Tales of the Unexpected, where Thirteen is still doing work as a professional debunker. However, that proves to be impossible with the folks he ends up meeting (who end up constituting Team 13).
Traci Thirteen – She is the daughter of Doctor Thirteen, created by Joe Kelly. She uses “street magic,” which her father forbids her to use, because, well, he doesn’t like magic, obviously (partially because her mother was killed by magic).
She was in the Super-books as a sort of “Supergirl Squad,” made up of her, Natasha Irons and Cir-el (the short-lived Supergirl).
She went by the name “Girl 13.”
She was actually quite interesting. She was living on her own at the time, but when Tales of the Unexpected started, she was back living with her father, aiding him on his quest to debunk magic.
Genius Jones – Genius Jones made his debut in the 1940s, created by Alfred Bester and Stan Kaye.
Genius Jones was a small boy who was stranded on an island with a bunch of books that he read back to front until he absorbed all the information on them, so when he was rescued, he was now, well, a genius!
He would then charge people a dime or so for him to solve mysteries.
The Haunted Tank – Jeb Stuart was in charge of a small Stuart tank during World War II. Unbenownest to Stuart’s fellow soliders, his ancestor, General J.E.B. Stuart, was given the task of protecting the tank during the war.
So that is how the Haunted Tank got started. Written by Robert Kanigher, it was DC’s second-most popular war series (behind only the great Sergeant Rock), lasting many years after debuting in the early 60s.
In Team 13, the ghost of J.E.B. Stuart helps out.
Captain Fear – This is another Kanigher-penned story, that only appeared in a handful of Adventure Comics stories in the 70s(never even on the cover), but with beautifual Alex Nino artwork, this was a classic tale of a Caribbean pirate going on, well, adventures (the title of the book WAS Adventure Comics ;)).
There are no cover shots of the character, so here is a beautiful piece Alex Nino did that you can find here in greater detail.
Infectious Lass – Drura Sehpt of Somahtur had the power to, well, infect people with various diseases. When the Legion of Superheroes turned her down for membership, she joined up with the Legion of Substitue Heroes, who secretly aided their heroes, but eventually became an official subset of the Legion (this all took place in the 60s).
Keith Giffen had some fun with them in the 80s, including this hilarious one-shot.
I…Vampire - Lord Andrew Bennett was turned into a reluctant vampire, but things went from bad to worse when he turned his lover Mary Seward into a vampire, as well. She was not as reluctant as Bennet, and became a really evil vampire, which created the main dynamic of the I…Vampire series.
It was a very good series by J.M. DeMatteis, using his writing skills to their best effect (his philosophically sensitive approach to characters), and after debuting in the House of Mystery in 1981 soon took over the series, up until the cancellation of the title.
Anthro – Howard Post came up with this idea of a comic starring the first Cro-Magnon boy in the DC Universe.
It had a short-lived series in the late 60s. It was a typical teen comic, only with the twist being that they were all, well, cavemen.
Primate Patrol – Nazi Gorillas – that’s all you need to know, right?
There you go! That’s Team 13 – the coolest new team in the DC Universe since the Psyba Rats!
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.