If the summer of 2012 and the arrival of The Avengers proved anything in regards to superhero cinema, it's that people love teams. For years leading up to the first grand superhero team-up film, comic book fans and superhero-movie lovers debated whether or not general audiences would warm up to a team like the Justice League or the Avengers the same way that comic book fans do. Now, we pretty much know that a love for comic book teams isn't limited to the people heading into comic shops every Wednesday.
With the Avengers being the hottest cinematic comics property out there, as well as popular teams like X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and Justice League all looking for a piece of that big-screen pie, you might be wondering what other superhero teams are worth bringing to the screen. Well, in our humble opinion, there are five teams that could likely make the transition from page to screen pretty well from both Marvel and DC. Take a look at them below!
5) The Outsiders
When Batman's relationship with the Justice League had grown strained, he decided to branch out on his own by creating a new team of ragtag secondary heroes that he appropriately dubbed "the Outsiders." While it has floated through several incarnations at DC Comics over the past 30 years, the one that may be the most easily transferrable to film came in 2007, where the Outsiders acted almost like a "black ops" superhero team, taking on the missions that were perhaps too dirty for the likes of Superman and the Justice League. If anyone knows about fighting dirty, it's the Dark Knight.
The original incarnation of the team featured characters like Metamorpho, Katana, Black Lightning, Geo-Force and Halo, all of which have only shown up in animation thus far. Another incarnation of the team also featured former Robin, Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing) as the leader of the team also including Arsenal (Green Arrow's former sidekick Roy Harper, aka Speedy), a returning Metamorpho, and cosmic character Jade. The diverse character lineup and questionable method of operation could likely make for a pretty awesome and imaginitive movie. The only question is who should lead them? Batman or Nightwing?
4) Heroes for Hire
Although there are usually a wide variety of characters and motivations to take in, superhero cinema is always packed with some pretty recognizable and predictable archetypes: the virtuous (if flawed) heroes, the dastardly (but understandable) villains, and the distressed person or place in need of defending. Some of these likely shouldn't be changed too much, but it never hurts to spice up a part of the formula now and again. One of the ways to do this may be to look at characters who engage in heroics not necessarily because it's the right thing to do, but because there's money to be made: heroes with a profit motive. On that note, enter the Heroes for Hire.
Originally consisting of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, there have been several incarnations of Heroes for Hire during the concept's existence at Marvel Comics. Now, the actual act of being Heroes for Hire doesn't include holding people up for money when they need help. Instead, the original stories decided to model the concept more after private investigation and protection than anything else. Throwing that into the mix, particularly with the two characters who started it in the original comic book stories, could make for either an interesting stand-alone movie, or a cool crossover addition to Marvel's upcoming Netflix series focusing both on Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
When the Avengers appeared destroyed after the 1996 "Onslaught" comics event, new superheroic champions needed to step up and defend the Marvel Universe from the forces of evil. When the final pages of 1997's Thunderbolts #1 revealed that the new, mysterious team was actually made up of supervillains, though, readers were shocked, and voted the big revelation as the greatest comic book moment of 1997 in a poll at Wizard magazine. When the world needed superpowered champions, a group of former villains answered the call, and the Thunderbolts were born.
The most definitive stories featuring the Thunderbolts always place timeless and endlessly interesting things at the forefront. What makes a true hero? What is the nature of heroism? How far will you go for redemption? With a checkered past as that of many supervillains, can you be redeemed? Questions like this may definitely be worth exploring in a superhero film, and the Thunderbolts may be just the team to do it.
2) The Suicide Squad
While this team is another set of protagonists made up of supervillains, for the most part the members of the Suicide Squad have no interest in redemption. Or heroism, for that matter. No, within the DC Universe, the Suicide Squad is only really interested in one thing: staying alive. The premise is as follows: the team, also known as "Task Force X," is made up of captured criminals who agree to run black-ops missions for the government as "deniable assets" in exchange for time off of their respective criminal sentences. If they somehow get the idea that they'll try to escape while running a mission, a chip in their head will explode, killing them instantly.
The Squad is administrated by a ruthless government operative named Dr. Amanda Waller, also known as "The Wall." She, in many ways, was Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury before Jackson himself was. As you can imagine, a team of many unrepentant criminals running high stakes missions for the government can create some pretty intense and high-strung situations, and it's hard not to think that audiences would be the true winners if a film adaptation of this team were to happen. With recent signs pointing to the possibility, that should get plenty of fans excited.
1) Teen Titans
Robin, Kid Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy and others all make up the most memorable version of the superhero team known as the Teen Titans. Sidekicks haven't seemed to get much love in the modern age of superhero cinema. Maybe the best way to remedy that is to give them their own adventure, where they can operate a bit freely from the constraints of their mentors.
The Teen Titans may, to some, seem like a silly concept. When you read the actual stories, though, you may be surprised to find that the team has permitted some of the best team storytelling in the entire superhero genre, particularly the definitive runs by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in the 1980s, and the early issues of Geoff Johns and Mike McKone's 2003 relaunch with a new generation of characters. While rumors have abounded over the last several years that the Titans would be getting their own film with Nightwing in the lead, we've never heard anything beyond rumor. Maybe it's time for that to change.
What comic book teams do you think deserve their own film? Are you an Alpha Flight fan? Craving futuristic superheroic action with the Legion of Superheroes? Sound off below, and be back here next week for a new edition of Comics on Film!
Chris Clow is a geek. He is a comic book expert and former retailer, and freelance contributor to GeekNation.com, The Huffington Post, and Batman-On-Film.com. You can find his weekly piece Comics on Film every Wednesday right here at Movies.com. Check out his blog, and follow along on Twitter @ChrisClow.
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