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Top Five Fives

Somewhere between your Fantastic Fours and your Secret Sixes, and well before you get near the Sovereign Sevens, you’ve got your Fives. Now, you can call fives, high five, take five, plead the fifth, use the five-finger discount, wear five o’clock shadow, and be five by five after the five-second rule, but you can’t pick your friends’ noses. Wait. That’s not right.

With all that in mind, however, let’s look at the Top Five fivesomes found in comics.

5. Dynamo 5

Dynamo 5

Jay Faerber’s Dynamo 5 is a superhero team consisting of five illegitimate children of the deceased superhero Captain Dynamo, each one having inherited one of his superpowers. Our own Greg Burgas says it’s one of the best superhero comics you aren’t reading, so it must be good! Then again, Burgas likes ABBA. … Aww, hell, so do I. Hurray for Dynamo 5! Buy it wherever Image Comics are sold, and support a book worth supporting.

4. Fatal Five

Fatal 5

Let’s break it down thusly. The Fatal Five is a group of super-villains from the future, consisting of a guy named Tharok, who is like Two-Face, only half of him is robot; the Persuader, who persuades you with his giant axe; Emerald Empress and her big floaty emerald eye of doom; Mano, who can disintegrate you with a handshake; and, of course, Validus, the giant baby monster creature who shoots lightning out of his exposed brain bits.  Also, they were created by a 15 year old Jim Shooter. How can you go wrong?

3. Fantastic Five

Fantastic 5

I’m expecting to be in a minority on this one, but I dig the Fantastic Five. First appearing in the pages of Spider-Girl, they eventually launched into their own short-lived series that reunited Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan! I was the only person on Earth who bought the series, and it ended after five issues. But it featured Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm, a grown-up Franklin Richards, Lyja (!) and Reed Richards’ brain in the body of HERBIE (sort of). By the time it was over, and during the follow-up mini-series the book was more like the Fantastic Ten when you threw in Kristoff, and Ben’s kids, and Johnny and Lyja’s kid, and Sue, and all that. But it was fun while it lasted, the best example of the cheeky stuff you could do with the possible future timelines and a penchant for DeFalco continuity.

2. The Five Fists of Science

5 fists of science!

Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders blinded me with SCIENCE! in their 2006 historical fiction/steampunk/adventure graphic novel. Of course, this being a Matt Fraction comic, it naturally ends in a confluence of giant robots, evil magicks, a yeti, and evil inventors. The five fists themselves are actually only three people, two of whom are Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla, the third of whom is the one-handed assistant to Tesla. It does become a fivesome by the end of the tale, with the addition of Bertha von Suttner and another surprising ally– you’ll have to scrounge up a copy to find out. It looks to be out of print; Image should put out another run of this baby, because it’s a helluva lot of fun.

1. Inferior Five

Inferior 5

This quirky quintet– a Bridwell/Orlando/Esposito gathering of complete misfits in ill-fitting spandex outfits who bumble their way through crime-fighting careers– has languished in limbo for too long, serving merely as a punchline. It’s time for the Inferior Five to get the spotlight! No more zipsville for them! I’d love to see Merryman, Awkwardman, Blimp, Dumb Bunny, and White Feather in a Showcase volume, at least. So let’s choose not to overlook our inferior friends, and instead–

Oop, lunch time. I’m outta here!

23 Comments

good list… except Dynamo 5 should be #1!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is a good list, but the Fatal Five should be higer. Would swap it with the Fantastic Five, although I do really like them. I bought that series as well, so you weren’t the only one, but I think it was just the two of us. Passed them onto my kids now. Loved Inferior Five at number one.

RE: the Five Fists — if you have three people and one of them is one-handed, that’s literally five fists.

Love the Inferior Five at number one, but where are the Five Swell Guys?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 6, 2009 at 9:34 am

Other Fatal Five members have included Flare, Caress, and Mentalla, created as replacement members after the senseless killing of Tharok; and some giant rocky guy in a few of the very last pre-ZH stories.

Five Fists of Science is absolutely awesome. One of my favorite iterations of Tesla in comics.

Other Fatal Five members have included Flare, Caress, and Mentalla, created as replacement members after the senseless killing of Tharok; and some giant rocky guy in a few of the very last pre-ZH stories.

Mordecai.

I was expecting to see the Fearsome Five on this list. And was there ever a comic-book version of the Famous Five? (Should have been, if there wasn’t.)

Wish there were a super team consisting of five men who each have the same first name.
Here come…. “The Five Guys named Moe!!!”

Where’s Brainiac-5??

I would’ve moved Dynamo 5 to #3, but I can’t argue with the top two.

aww.. no Five Swell Guys from Promethea?

I thought this list would’ve included the five members of the Invisibles cell in The Invisibles… But I guess they don’t have “Five” in their name.

The Fatal 5 should definitely be higher, but you made up for that by not finding some way to include the Jackson 5.

Brainiac 5 was a great thought, Matt.

I was also a “fan” of the Fantastic Five during it’s brief run. As much as I enjoy today’s improved storytelling, there’s just something about the mid-80′s style comics fun vibe that the Fantastic Five gave.

When I was a kid, I thought that five was the perfect number for a superhero team, because then the leader could stand front-and-center and be flanked by two teammates on each side.

I watched a lot of Power Rangers as a kid.

Nowadays, I realize that between seven and nine is the best number for storytelling options in an ensamble cast.

Incidentally, you forgot the Fearsome Five.

Let’s note that the original X-Men may be the most famous superhero team with five members.

Incidentally, you forgot the Fearsome Five.

No… No I didn’t.

On the Fantastic Five, isn’t a half metal Ben Grimm a little excessive? I’m pretty sure he’d prefer some skin grafts over that medical cure all.

Inferior Five? That’s a first. =P

BTW, is that the same Merryman who showed up in Superman Beyond? If so, kudos again to Morrison for bringing the character out of, well, comic limbo =)

Yes, R3D RJ, that’s the same guy.

What about the Civic Minded Five from The Tick? SPOOOOOON!

I purchased, loved, and still own The Fantastic Five… so there were two of us at least.

I gotta second the Civic-Minded Five. Still one of my favorite teams ever. There was a dude who wore a suit made of carpet who used built-up static electricity to shock people for God’s sake! And the suit was so hot he often was on the verge of passing out! GENIUS!

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