Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson’s Top 10 Teen Super Teams
10 – New Warriors
First, introduced in 1889 in the pages of Thor #411-412, the New Warriors burst onto the scene and helped a depowered thunder god take on the unstoppable Juggernaut! In their very first adventure as an official team, the New Warriors took on and defeated another Big Bad in the form of the former Herald of Galactus – Terrax the Tamer.
The team included Speedball, a super teen that was introduced in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 (I like Spider-Man). Firestar, the dazzling super hero that first made her debut in the Saturday morning cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and her comic book debut in Uncanny X-Men #193 (I like Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and X-Men). Namorita, the teenage cousin of the Savage Sub-Mariner (I like the Sub-Mariner). As well as new character Night Thrasher, an angsty prototypical dark edged hero for the 90s, and Vance Astro, a neophyte teen hero destined to become a legend (in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy).
But, the cherry on top for the Odinson was the addition of Richard Ryder! Nova was one of my favorite comics as a child, but his series, like Firefly, was prematurely cancelled. So, as a teen at that time, one of my favorite super heroes was making a triumphant come back in a new book alongside a bunch of exciting teen heroes with ties to some of my other favorite things in comics.
This fun comic series from the early 90s was a result of a lot of great ingredients coming together at the right time.
It’s easy to dismiss these teen heroes as just water down versions of their adult counterparts, but for the Odinson, the reason why the YOUNG super teams of Marvel and DC worked was because these characters, for the most part, weren’t just rebellious sidekicks or retread ideas. A lot of them have very unique ties to their adult counterparts that make them stand out.
Speed and Wiccan are the children of…, well, that is a convoluted tale involving Scarlet Witch and Vision, Mephisto and Franklin Richards, and many other moving parts that the Odinson will elaborate on at a later date.
* NOTE: Don’t even get me started on the convoluted history of Kang.
When the space witch Rita Repulsa escapes from her centuries long exile and threatens planet Earth with her armies of savage Putty Men, mutants, and Kaiju, the wise Zordon and his robot ally Alpha recruit a team of teenagers with attitude. Empowered with super human abilities, weapons, and mighty machines called Zords, these teens became the Power Rangers!
Rita and her evil cohorts would always amp up the ante, but even if super human kung fu, laser strikes, or robotic dinosaurs can’t save the day, the Rangers always have an Ace up their sleeve. They can combine their Zords to form the Megazord and call down the Power Sword which no monster, no matter how terrible, can resist.
NOTE: Basically Voltron, but with teens.
7 – The Wonder Twins
Zan and Jayna are two super powered siblings from the far off world of Exxor. Along with their space monkey, Gleek, they have come to Earth to intern with the World’s Greatest Super Heroes – the Super Friends. When the Wonder Twins come into physical contact with each other they can Activate their extraordinary powers. Zan is an elemental and can transform into anything made of ice and water, and Jayna is a shape-shifter that can transform into any kind of animal, terrestrial or alien.
These super powered siblings have proven themselves time and again as they assist the Justice League in keeping the world safe from evil.
6 – New Mutants
When the X-Men were once again thought out of the picture (see Uncanny X-men #162-167), Professor X was left with the task of recruiting a class of new mutants to carry on his dream. From around the globe he drew a very unique bunch of young heroes with very diverse and strange powers.
Chris Claremont really captured a young Odinson’s imagination with the early adventures of the New Mutants including their first encounter with Sentinels, their run in with Viper and the Silver Samurai, their discovery of the lost civilization Nova Roma, and their vicious showdown with their evil counterparts, the Hellfire Club’s Hellions. Even their very first meeting with the X-Men (see Uncanny X-Men #167) is a volatile Must Read. Some of their original adventures, like The Asgardian Wars and The Demon Bear Saga, have even gone on to become true Marvel Classics.
In the 31st Century, three extraordinary teenage super heroes – Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl – are inspired by the 21st century exploits (20th Century in Pre-Crisis continuity) of Superman. So, they gather together a Legion of teen super heroes from all across the galaxy and form the largest, most dynamic and diverse super team in the History of Comics!
Now, because of so much time-traveling tampering and snafus, as well as multiple Crises, a Flashpoint, and a Convergence the Legion has one of the most convoluted continuities in the History of Comics. Originally, it was Superboy that interacted with the Legion, but as continuities have been rebooted over the years this has changed to Supergirl, and sometimes, it’s Superman. Also, the Legion’s stamp on DC History played a big role in the origin of Booster Gold.
Needless to say, it’s a complicated continuity that requires far more space and time at a later date to discuss fully.
The evil Zoltar and Spectra, a devious army made up of soldiers armed with alien tech and cybernetically-enhanced Kaiju, threaten planet Earth. Five teens are genetically enhanced to become super ninjas, a super human strike force determined to defend planet Earth from these dark forces from beyond the stars. They are equipped with amazing tools, weapons, and vehicles, but G-Force’s greatest asset is the Phoenix, a space ship armed with super weapons and the ability to transform into the Fiery Phoenix, an unstoppable energy force that can destroy any monster it crashes into.
Way before these Heroes in a Half-Shell became pop culture royalty, before all the movies and cartoons and toys, even before the original animated series that made them a household name, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a super cool comic book born from the imagination of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. They were inspired by and paid great homage to Frank Miller’s seminal run on Marvel’s Daredevil.
What really made them pop in the imagination of a young Odinson was the fact that Eastman and Laird tied the origin of the Turtles in with the origin of the Man without Fear. The same radioactive chemicals that blinded a young Matt Murdock and gave him his super powers is the very same radioactive chemicals that mutated four turtles into a lean, green, ninja team!
Professor Charles Xavier seeks to find a way for humans and mutants to coexist peacefully and part of that plan is to gather unto him young mutants in order to teach them to properly control their extraordinary gifts so they are not a threat to themselves or others.
Another part of Xavier’s design is to train these young mutants and forge them into a super human strike force to defend humans and mutants against those that would seek to harm them. This brings his X-Men into conflict with other mutants that think they should rule, and humans that think all mutants are dangerous.
This is a time-honored tradition that continues to this very day. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Ice Man, and Angel have saved the world, the galaxy, and even the multiverse more times than I can count. They were Xavier’s first class. Their legend and legacy speak for themselves.
The original Teen Titans Robin (Dick Grayson), Wonder Girl (Donna Troy), and Kid Flash (Wally West) are joined by Changeling/Beast Boy, Raven, Cyborg, and Starfire to forge one of the greatest and most enduring legends in Comics History. This entire run is just littered with drama, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, and humor. We are treated to some truly classic stories. Tales like Kidnapped, Who Killed Trident?, Who is Donna Troy?, and The Judas Contract set the bar pretty high for what can be achieved in the four color medium.
During the course of this run, Robin and Kid Flash grow up and become the adult heroes Nightwing and Flash. Fans got to meet interesting new characters like Terra and Thunder and Lightning. Plus, readers were introduced to terrible new villains like Trigon, Brother Blood, and Deathstroke the Terminator, characters that have gone on to become perennial Big Bads in the DC Universe. And, on top of it all, fans were treated to a New Teen Titans/X-Men crossover!
I have said it many times before and I will say again many times before my time on this plane is through, Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s run on New Teen Titans is among the All-Time greatest runs and best comic book reading experiences in the history of the medium, ranked right up there with Fantastic Four by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Uncanny X-Men by Chris Claremont, and JLA by Grant Morrison.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.