The latest issue of Invincible set up one of my favorite underdog cliches for the next issue, and it struck me that this would make for a good top five list. So here are the top five superhero comic cliches involving underdogs.
5. The improbable one on one match-up
This is a fun one when a hero is matched up improbably against someone who seems much more powerful than him/her, but he/she manages to pull it off, or at least represent him/herself surprisingly well.
An interesting one is Cannonball against Gladiator, where (for a moment) Cannonball hung in there against one of the most powerful beings in the universe…
The drawback of this cliche (making it rank so low) is the time when the victory really makes no sense, with the most prominent example being Spider-Man beating up Firelord.
Kinda silly, eh?
4. The deus ex machina victory
The deus ex machina victory is fun, but it would be a lot more fun if there wasn’t a deus ex machina involved.
To wit, when the underdog Justice League America managed to defeat Despero…
by Martian Manhunter using some cheesy power that he had never mentioned before.
Or when Amazo was beating up on the JLA, and they defeated him because, since Amazo has “all the powers of the JLA,” they disbanded the JLA, leaving him powerless.
3. The cavalry shows up for the victory
This one is a step up from the deus ex machina, because it makes more sense.
TWO good examples took place during the Eclipso crossover.
First, scientists and various heroes were disappearing during the crossover, and in the last issue, we learn WHY…
They were secretly planning to defeat Eclipso, so they show up to save the day (the heroes taken all had light powers).
Earlier in the crossover, there is a great moment where an Eclipsed Superman was kicking the asses of a bunch of heroes, and about to kill Ice when suddenly, Guy Gardner shows up to save the day!
I love that issue.
2. The weak(er) member(s) of the team has a victory when separated from the rest of the team
This is a nice one to highlight the least powerful members of the team, who don’t always get attention.
A classic example is when Elongated Man, Atom and Aquaman got a JLA spotlight…
And, of course, the famous time when Kitty Pryde fought a demon when the rest of the team were celebrating the holidays.
Amusingly enough, Blue Beetle was involved in one of these during the Eclipso crossover!
1. A ragtag group of heroes gets the victory
I loves me some ragtag group of heroes team up to save the day!
Avengers Forever did ragtag through time…
JSA did ragtag folks who were not controlled by the evil Thunderbolt…
And there are tons of other examples. Why? Because it is AWESOME!
Agree with the top five? Disagree? Let me know!