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Month of Avengers/X-Men Top Fives – Top Five X-Men Villains Affected by the “Team” Effect

All month-long we’ll be featuring top five lists about either the Avengers or the X-Men. Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!

In this installment, we take a look at the top five X-Men villains affected by the “team” effect. The “team” effect is how characters always end up getting de-powered (although not literally being de-powered) when they join a team.

Enjoy!

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Banshee was never REALLY a villain but he did fight the X-Men and at the time it was all “Holy shit, this dude is as powerful as Magneto!” Then he joins the X-Men and it is all “Faith and begorrah, me powers aren’t effective at all!” Gambit once took him out in a fight just by cracking him in the jaw with a stick! Just cracked him in the jaw with a stick! Dude has a sonic scream that totally surrounds him and this other guy just waltzes up to him and cracks his jaw with a stick!

5. The Blob

The Blob is a minor example, since he is still a formidble foe, but when he debuted, he easily took on the entire X-Men team and now he’s more of a side character.

4. Sauron

Sauron is an interesting one because he has managed to take the X-Men on recently, but still, he was definitely downgraded as a threat when he ended up as just one member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Force. Especially when his team was one of the teams where TOAD was the leader. Blech!

3. Magneto

This one is tricky but I think it works. When he was a solo villain, Magneto could take on the whole world. Then he joined the X-Men and it should have been like, “Magneto and associates” but suddenly having Magneto on the team didn’t mean an automatic win (as automatic wins are boring, naturally).

2. Exodus

This guy was all primed to be the next Magneto. A solo threat that could take on everybody. Then he disappeared for a while and when he came back he was just, like, guy #4 on the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

1. Post

This is the king of this effect, though. Post debuted in X-Men #50 taking on the entire X-Men team and more than holding his own. The whole concept of the story was “Holy shit, if this guy is just the SERVANT of Onslaught, how badass must Onslaught be?” He then took on X-Factor singlehandedly during Onslaught. But then after Onslaught was over, Post was still around and there wasn’t much call for him in any of the X-Men titles, so they he showed up in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and he was just plain ol’ pathetic. Walking, talking cannon fodder. He was taken out by PYRO, for crying out loud!

24 Comments

Post? Never heard of the dude. And seriously, WTF is going on with that cover? I can’t tell which lower half is Wolverine’s and which is Post’s. God, how I hate those “extreme” 90′s comics.

Magneto was always cooler when he worked solo. Just having Toad by his side made him look less the badass he eventually became. I mean, he need to have Toad around? Really? Compare Byrne’s Magneto to any of the other versions who required lackeys to do his bidding, be it the Brotherhood, the Savage Land Mutates, or the (ugh) Mutant Force. They all paled in comparison to Mags kicking ass on his own.

I wasn’t too crazy about the Acolytes either, but by the time they showed up, Magneto had been fleshed out to the extent where you could clearly see how someone might worship the guy. So Fabian Cortez and his crew made more sense by that time.

Banshee’s de-powering was also news to me since I’ve never read his first appearance. I thought that he was a male version of DC’s Black Canary. I’m not surprised that Gambit took him down since his lack of a solid, reliable super-power eventually got him killed.

(Extra: Banshee fans run, don’t walk, to check out Uncanny Avengers #10. Looks like Sean’s status quo is changing again!)

Never heard of Post before either.

Surely there could have been a more memorable villain for the #1 spot?

Couldn’t Marvel have thought of a better name than “Post”?

It’s hard to a villain seriously when he’s named after a cereal company that makes Raisin Bran or Bjork’s second album.

Surely there could have been a more memorable villain for the #1 spot?

That’s why he GOT the #1 spot. He was introduced as a major villain and went absolutely nowhere fast.

Couldn’t Marvel have thought of a better name than “Post”?

This is not long after villains with names like Gambit and Cable were breakthrough characters, so I chalk it up to the spirit of the times. I mean, if you think about it, is Post any more nonsensical and random than Cable?

I like this list, good job!

Nitpick, and this isn’t necessarily you Brian, this is something that bothers me about many Marvel articles: It’s not the Brotherhood of EVIL Mutants, just the Brotherhood of Mutants or the Brotherhood. Stan called it the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants as hyperbole on their first cover appearance, but in-story they were just “the Brotherhood,” “the mutant Brotherhood,” etc. Because Magneto doesn’t think he’s evil, he thinks he’s just. Roy Thomas started having them refer to themselves as “Evil” in-story during periods when there was no Magneto on the team, but in recent years writers have wised up and the “Evil” is gone from their name again, including when Post (ugh) was on the team.

When Mystique formed her team…

When Toad formed his team…

Yes, more recently they’ve been just called the Brotherhood of Mutants (including, as you note, the team Post was on) but they’ve been the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants plenty of times.

I’m very surprised to see Rogue not on this list. Considering her first appearance had her take out Ms. Marvel, Captain America, and Thor by absorbing their powers, then trashing Wonder Man and the Vision, she was presented as pretty unstoppable.

Granted, later that same issue, she actually did de-power, while fighting with a team, by losing Cap and Thor’s abilities…but still, the strategy of basically “becoming” your most formidable adversaries was never really exploited again…like Magneto, it would have given the X-Men too many easy wins, I guess.

I never read any stories with Juggernaut fighting as an X-Man, but I don’t imagine they’d have portrayed him at full capacity, either…

I’m very surprised to see Rogue not on this list. Considering her first appearance had her take out Ms. Marvel, Captain America, and Thor by absorbing their powers, then trashing Wonder Man and the Vision, she was presented as pretty unstoppable.

Granted, later that same issue, she actually did de-power, while fighting with a team, by losing Cap and Thor’s abilities…but still, the strategy of basically “becoming” your most formidable adversaries was never really exploited again…like Magneto, it would have given the X-Men too many easy wins, I guess.

Rogue, though, was effectively de-powered when she joined the X-Men rather than just being treated as though she was de-powered, since once she became a good guy she was unwilling to just willy-nilly steal people’s powers.

I never read any stories with Juggernaut fighting as an X-Man, but I don’t imagine they’d have portrayed him at full capacity, either…

Juggernaut was literally de-powered when he joined the X-Men, likely with this very idea in mind (he’s too powerful to be on the X-Men, so let’s de-power him a bit first).

Awesome idea for a list. I’ve noticed this trend of depowered characters on teams but never really read of anyone else picking up on it.

Banshee, to me, was one of the most useless X-Men up until the Phalanx Convenant where he finally had to hold his own. When he joined the All-New team in the 70′s he very quickly had some kind of injury (Injured throat? Broken jaw?) that kept his powers from being utilized. As soon as he got better he’d end up getting an injury again that sidelined him. I think he had the potential to be a really cool character what with his Interpol background. But he just ended up being like Angel, a guy whose powers were kind of lame and didn’t really add anything to the team.

We were just having a similar discussion here about a month ago regarding Sabretooth. I actually hadn’t even considered the fact that he’d been on teams, and that that would naturally dilute his power. We just chalked it up to having been around forever without killing his arch-nemesis, and to having been written by a bunch of different people.

With Mastermind, you have a rare example of the reverse of this: just a schlub on a team of villains at first, then the biggest threat on another team, then easily taking on the whole team single-handedly.

I’m convinced that Brian straight-up made up Post for this, um, post as some kind of elaborate prank. Maybe April Fool’s Day comes on a six-month cycle instead of yearly now.

One thing that has always bothered me about Banshee: that his power is called “sonic scream”. As opposed to what, Edvard Munch’s “visual” Scream? If a scream emits sound, isn’t it by definition a sonic scream? If your scream doesn’t emit sound, you’re either mute or doing it wrong. I always thought they should add something to Banshee’s “sonic” qualifier, like Hypersonic scream” or something (Megasonic!). Otherwise that “sonic” qualifier is as redundant as “visual sight” or “hot heat”.

On an unrelated note, LOL at “Post”, all of him but mostly his name. Following on the proud tradition that brought us “Cable”! They really missed an opportunity when they didn’t also introduce Post’s evil teammates: “Stapler”, “Keyboard”, “Carpet” and “Window” – together, they are the Union of Nouns!

Damn, it was so easy to name characters in the 90s. They didn’t even bother with alliterative names like in the Golden Age, such as Rainbow Raider, Martian Manhunter or Weather Wizard. Just write down the first noun you think of and your work is done. Husk! Chapel! Risk! Combat! Prysm! (with an Y because that’s EXTREEEME!)

On an unrelated note, LOL at “Post”, all of him but mostly his name. Following on the proud tradition that brought us “Cable”! They really missed an opportunity when they didn’t also introduce Post’s evil teammates: “Stapler”, “Keyboard”, “Carpet” and “Window” – together, they are the Union of Nouns!

Wait, aren’t those the names of the Palin kids? That can’t be just a coincidence.

Though I think we can all agree with your point, Les Fontenelle, “Husk” actually made sense. The others were mostly nonsense, but that character pulled off her skin (like a husk) to reveal different things underneath.

I agree TJ, and even as I wrote Husk’s name I thought about how (unlike the others) it was a genuinely fitting name. After all, “Flash” and “Storm” are also nouns, and nobody has any objection to them. Appropriate nouns can work well as superhero names, it’s the goofy randomness of “Cable” and “Chapel” that practically begs for mockery. So allow me to humbly withdraw Husk’s name from that list.

I guess a case could be made in defense of Prysm’s name too, but that extreeeme “Y” seriously undermines my goodwill towards her.

To be fair, Exodus got a bit re-powered up recently in that X-Men Legacy run where he took on most everyone on his “gotta kill Cyclops and unite the mutant race” mission post Schism. It was nice to see him thrash them all a little, but they did use the ol’ “he can’t do more than one thing at one time” cop-out if I recall correctly.

Post? Post?!? Oh, wow, it has been years and years since I’ve even thought of that guy! And, yeah, what the heck is his name supposed to mean? Seriously, does anyone know?

TJCoolGuy, regarding Sabretooth, if you go by word of god, i.e. Chris Claremont, a number of occasions when we saw Sabretooth, including the various times he was a member of the Marauders, this was actually a clone created by Mr. Sinister. This is why Sabretooth seemed less powerful & dangerous than other times when he went against Wolverine or other heroes solo, which were the occasions when it was the original, genuine article. Claremont actually followed through on this years later in the pages of X-Men Forever when you had the real Sabretooth encountering his clone, and the two going at it over tooth & claw over who was the better one.

Yeah, Post is a real character. All I know him from was he was on a Brotherhood team led by Professor X (Featuring Blob, Pyro, Toad, and Mimic) after Zero Tolerance. I have no clue what his powers were, just the name, so he must’ve been extra lame in that issue. I had no clue he was the herald of Onslaught and kicked the entire team’s ass.

Good topic, and good choices – I found myself nodding at each of the top four.

I’m not positive this was intentional (as opposed to something I just came up with on my own and misremembered as fact) but I always thought the name “Post” was tied into his role as Onslaught’s “herald” in some way. Like it was short for “Signpost” or “Outpost” or “Fencepost” – the first thing you see as you approach Onslaught’s metaphorical territory.

I think that was the inspiration, and the fact that it was the 90s and any random word you could furrow your brow and grunt in a single breath and think you sounded badass (Cable, Bishop, Chapel, Random, Maggot) was considered a good name was what convinced them to go with it.

Spider-Man, by the way, is the ultimate example of the hero version of the “team effect” – when he fights groups of villains (and when he fought all the X-Men during Secret Wars) he runs circles around them; when he fights villains (or heroes) alone, they’re always evenly matched; and when he’s part of a hero team, he’s just the comic relief.

“When he was a solo villain, Magneto could take on the whole world” by the definition of Solo Villain in the equivalent page for the Avengers that would only be taking on the world one person at a time…

I believe there is a converse to the “team affect” which causes heroes to become more powerful when they singlehandly take on a team (so Spiderman or Wasp can singlehandedly be a challenge to the X-men)

It doesn’t work for the more modern age guys, but the original X-Men was a pretty weak team and just about anyone could prove a challenge for them. I mean, all Marvel heroes were more depowered than later (Hulk, Thing, Thor, etc) but look at that power grouping. Cyclops would would often be thought of as the weakest X-Man powerwise was probably the most powerful back then. Because Ice Man was basically snow man with snowballs guy, Beast was more a monkey than a super strong genius, Jean wasn’t the Phoenix, didn’t have telepathy yet, and could move medium sized things around with her head (and she was a 60′s girl, ya know), and Angel….well Angel always blew, thus the need for Archangel. And they were kids. They weren’t a very scary lineup, which probably makes them even more heroic. When Phoenix was on the team it was hard to see Erik the Red as a true threat when she could destroy planets.

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