DC And Marvel Stole Each Others’ Teams

By Zack Zagranis | Published

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If you’re a comic book fan, then chances are you’ve asked the ultimate question all comic book geeks ask at one point or another: who would win in a fight, the Justice League or The Avengers? Believe it or not, the writers at DC and Marvel wonder that sometimes, too. Since they can’t just have the two teams throw down, the writers do the next best thing: they invent fake versions of each other’s heroes–enter Squadron Supreme and The Retaliators.

Which Came First?

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It’s almost impossible to figure out which publisher—DC or Marvel—decided to parody the other first because both teams were created around the same time in 1971. It’s a weird coincidence and yet somehow appropriate that both fake teams would appear around the same time. If only one company were to mess with the other, it would come off as slightly mean-spirited, but if they’re both doing it, the idea comes off as more good-natured teasing.

Squadron Supreme

Roy Thomas and John Buscema originally created the Squadron Supreme as a team of superpowered dictators who sought to create a utopia by controlling the world rather than just saving it. The members were all analogs of their respective JLA counterparts. Amphibian, Doctor Spectrum, Skrullian Skymaster, and the unfortunately named Whizzer were stand-ins for Aquaman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and The Flash.

DC’s holy trinity—Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman—got the Marvel names Nighthawk, Hyperion, and the incredibly bland and unoriginal Power Princess. Given the tone and characterization of the Squadron Supreme, one could pretty much draw a direct line between Marvel’s authoritarian version of the JLA and DC’s own Injustice universe. Hyperion walked so that evil dictator Superman could fly.

The Retaliators

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On the flip side, the DC version of Marvel’s premiere super team hails from Earth-8 and functions in exactly the same fashion as the real Avengers. The major difference is The Retaliators eventually got fed up with all of the threats to Earth-8 from the rest of the multiverse and made a deal with Darkseid to isolate their homeworld from the rest of DC’s other Earths.

The Retaliators team consists of American Crusader (Captain America), Behemoth (Hulk), Deadeye (Hawkeye), Ladybug (Spider-Man), Kite (Falcon), Machinehead (Iron-Man), Major Max (Captain Marvel), Wundajin (Thor), Purple Rain (Scarlet Witch), and Red Dragon (Black Widow).

Of course, a deal with Darkseid is no different than a deal with the devil, and the evil tyrant allowed the DC version of Thanos—Tartarus—to conquer Earth-8. What’s crazy is Thanos is already an almost carbon copy of Darkseid, so DC having a copy of Marvel’s copy is just, well, we don’t know what it is, but it’s something.

Avengers Vs. Justice League

Unfortunately, neither team of superbeings really answers the original question of who would win between the Justice League and The Avengers. Naturally, both of the respective copycat teams get owned when they go up against each publisher’s original characters. So who would win?

While this question is debated back and forth all the time, there is a definitive answer: the Justice League. DC trounces Marvel, hands down. Superman alone could probably solo the Avengers. Superman with the Flash, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter would be unstoppable. The rest of the League would have to try and find something else to do while the fight was going on.

The Retaliators Vs. Squadron Supreme

In terms of which fake team would win? We’d have to go with the Squadron Supreme simply because they’re based on the stronger team to begin with.

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