O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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