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Off My Mind: Changing Leadership in Superhero Teams

What happens when the other members aren't happy with the change?

Team dynamic in a superhero team is one of the most important factors in defeating evil. Of course you have to have team members with experience and raw power to defeat the supervillains. On most teams, the different members serve different roles. When it comes to leadership, often there are characters that are always seen as the leader.

Team relationships aren't always perfect. Shake ups always happen for different reasons. The way a team is run or lead also changes. Sometimes teams have different sub-teams and members might not have a choice where they operate. The entire direction of a team could change overnight.

If such a change occurs, what can the other team members do. Once they accept membership in a team, what options do they have if a big change happens with their team?

== TEASER ==

The obvious solution if a team member doesn't like the change is they can quit. If anyone would know this it's Hawkeye.

Hawkeye was the leader of the West Coast Avengers. When the government demanded that USAgent was to be part of the team, tension rose and he decided to quit (Hawkeye actually quit the Avengers many many times over the years).

This was a case when the change happened over the the leader's head. It was out of his control. He could have tried to make the situation work (and obviously he did return to the team) but at the moment, he gave up being with the team he worked to build up and believed in.

Heroes shouldn't quit though (and this isn't saying that Hawkeye is not a hero). Sometimes it's a matter of picking and choosing your battles. He might have quit the team but he didn't quit being a superhero. Each time he quite the Avengers, he thought to handle things on his own.

Sometimes a team leader will make decisions for the members regardless of how they feel.

With the Initiative, the recruits weren't necessarily equal team members. They were 'heroes in training' and had very little say in what happened. The leaders could even make the decision that they had to stop being a hero. Once they graduated, the idea was they would be placed on a team they felt was best for them as part of the Fifty State Initiative Program. If they made it through the program, they should be happy to be allowed to be a hero but what if they didn't want to be placed on a team with...the Texas Twister or be part of the Kentucky division, Action Pack alongside Frog-Man?

When Wolverine and Cyclops had their disagreement, the entire team was split in two. Wolverine was willing to follow Cyclops' order and had for years but it finally got to a point where he didn't agree. Wolverine never wanted to be a leader but he decided to leave and run things the way he saw fit.

The other X-Men were all given a choice. They could decide whether they wanted to stay on Utopia with Cyclops or head to the East Coast with Wolverine. Everyone had a choice...except Quentin Quire. He was tied up and taken with Wolverine to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.

In a sense, we're seeing this with even the veteran members. Cyclops gathered some members for his X-Tinction Squad. He basically told them they were on his sub-team and didn't ask for their thoughts. Because they chose to stay and follow Cyclops' command, they have to be willing to accept the orders and decisions he makes.

Teams will always go through changes. The way they're run can't stay the same. Sometimes they'll be run independently and other times the government comes in to fund or regulate things. Sometimes leaders step down for others to take charge. It's up to the individual superheroes to make any new arrangements work. Being a hero is who they are and what they love to do.

46 Comments
Posted by saoakden

It's not easy leading a team as it would seem.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

There's always going to be a change in superhero teams, whether it is a difference of opinion or revolution in leadership. I think one of the more recent "troubles in paradise" with regard to leadership was the revelation that Dinah Lance discovered regarding the Trinity's underhanded deals they had in managing the JLA. Remember this everyone?

Not that I cared much for Canary's chairwoman-ship of the JLA but still, if I had found out about something like this I'd also be beyond furious.

Edited by BatClaw89

That's why Batman is a good leader. He doesn't make decisions on the tower. he uses the Justice League as tools in his utility-belt  on the battle field. no time to argue just time for action. plus everyone is afraid of Batman and his always right. He does what needs to be done. If you don't agree he does it himself.

Posted by Deadcool

I don't like the whole leader thing, where is the teamwork in that?

Posted by girl_from_the_future

Elections are stupid. The majority is always wrong.

Super-heroes should be funded, and the person who provides the funding calls the shots on who leads the team.

Stormwatch is 1000x more logical than Legion of Super-Heroes (in more ways than one).

Posted by Grim

i like that you used that pic of Batman and leaving the JLA. theres something similar to that on the cover of the OUTSIDERS when Bruce returned from the dead.

I really liked Black Canary as leader of the JLA, because as it was brought up over and over, it was long overdue and she deserved it. In general, i think thats what you need. Someone who everyone respects in charge. If anyone wants a change up, there should be nominated elections. The same handful of people will always be chosen, with random others making from time to time. Guys like Green Arrow and Hal would never get voted in, and guys like Superman would always decline. So we would be left with guys like Barry and Hawkman taking up the role. and as guys who know what its like to be a secondary hero in the JLA, they would know when to listen to others.

Posted by RedOwl_1

Everyone who DARES leadership a superhero team have to be brave, with authority and clever.

If I were in a team and they changed the leader and he/she don't have anything of those things I'll say goodbye.

Posted by G-Man

@Grim: I used the newer one for the front page image.

Staff
Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
@G-Man: Is that Achilles in the background?
Posted by doordoor123

@Deadcool said:

I don't like the whole leader thing, where is the teamwork in that?

There is no room for teamwork in battle. No battle has been won with teamwork.

Edited by PhoenixoftheTides

There's also the problems that come up when fans are unwilling to accept the leadership change and stop buying the book because of it.

Posted by Herx

I think that's what i like about the Legion of Super-Heroes. They ellect their leader every 1 year (or thats what it was supposed to be) based on the actions made by the individual legionnaries on that one year, and the outcome of thoes ellections has been varied allowing for many of the members to take the leadership reigns. Plus it doesn't seem as forced as some leadership changes in other books.

Posted by clemj

still there are not much guys who can become leaders 

Posted by Decept-O

Any title, whether it is leader, manager, supervisor, just as in real life, requires being able to handle responsibilities and constant criticism for your actions. It isn't something most people want yet a lot of people sure enjoy putting down those who hold positions, due to envy but also because they want to test the person(s) in charge.

In comic books, the same can be said. Wolverine is constantly at the throat of Cyclops and any other leader for that matter. Look at all the things that happened with Batman and The Outsiders as shown here, or Captain America with The Avengers.

In the real world, people just can't seem to behave nor always get along and that is reflected in comics as well. When there aren't any battles going on, the team dynamics can be handled in an entertaining and fun way. Although some of it can get old fast. It seems to be up to the writer how he decides just which character is the team leader and why and that can be the fun part of it

Posted by Superkitty

Have a recall vote, of course. Good luck finding 1 million other superheroes, though. And Mickey Mouse and Hitler aren't superheroes.

Posted by pspin

Choosing a leader is easy: BATTLE ROYALE!!!

Posted by jayk

Good read, i always wanted to know/see what sacrifices a leader would have to make for the greater good. For example would they let one die to save thousands or even millions?

Posted by BigPromise

the smartest and the most clever should be leader i am a superman fanatic but i am more then happy to admit bats is better fit to lead. I love the route theyre taking with him in teh new 52 JL issues batman is a straight jerk and i love it lol

Posted by LordRequiem

The leader is the leader for a reason. Insurbordination should be dealt with unmercifully, punishment to send a firm message to the rest of the team.

Edited by BlackArmor

@BatClaw89 said:

That's why Batman is a good leader. He doesn't make decisions on the tower. he uses the Justice League as tools in his utility-belt on the battle field. no time to argue just time for action. plus everyone is afraid of Batman and his always right. He does what needs to be done. If you don't agree he does it himself.

QFT

@doordoor123 said:

@Deadcool said:

I don't like the whole leader thing, where is the teamwork in that?

There is no room for teamwork in battle. No battle has been won with teamwork.

QFT again

Posted by The Stegman

Batman leaving the JLA for the Outsiders...not that's a TRUE Schism! 

Edited by nonfiction91

change in leadership is good if only to cement the last leaders future position. if the new leader fails, makes the last the more expereinced and capable. Not to mention of they succeed they will be happy with the differences being made, just because differences are being made

also: guy gardner pressing the moon to the space station, epicly hilarious win

Posted by Archlord

A team requires a leader, otherwise it would just be a bunch of vigilantes trying to outdo each other.

Where do new super heroes get training? On their own? They need to be apart of a team to get better.

Posted by Superguy1591

I never liked the idea of Superman leading the Justice League in the DCU, he was too soft and let everyone walk all over him--especially Batman. In the 52, I think he should be leading the pact. Especially after the fight with Green Lantern and Batman, he clearly isn't the female dog he was in the DCU. I'd like to see Batman get in the 52's Superman's face. Batman wouldn't eat right for a week. Im all for Aquaman leading the league though as it seems like that's what Johns is trying to do in the book, he's the king of Atlantis, he was born to lead. I'll always hate the idea of Batman leading the league. He's a D-BAG and D-BAGS make terrible leaders.

Posted by Gordo789

@Superguy1591: I actually think D-Bags make the best leaders. Superman is in no way the best candidate for leadership in new 52 JLA. He's completely off his trolley. I think The Flash is probably the best choice considering his law enforcement / scientific backgorund. Batman would be my second choice on account of the fact that well, BATMAN.

Posted by Grim

@G-Man said:

@Grim: I used the newer one for the front page image.

yeah that one. :) i was seriously just going thru my comics last night and came cross it, and five minutes later you had an article....

Posted by WarMachineMarkV

- A changing of the guard is not really a big deal, and can be a good thing to shake up the status quo and open up new directions, but only if it done in a manner that makes sense and does not turn off the readers.

- The recent trend of shaming or forcing the leaders out due to terrible acts that are far outside their characterization is not helping. A passing of the torch from one generation to the next is one thing, lighting a characters legacy on fire to make room for the writers new pick as leader is another

Edited by Gentleman_of_the_Bedchamber

Typically leadership is contested when the team run's into problem's. A member (nearly) died, the leader (nearly) crossed the line, someone's identity is (nearly) exposed, etc. Usually when these problem's happen consistently often it's time to call in a new leader.

In the humble opinion of myself a leader need's to have some understanding of tactic's, a strict moral core and a healthy dose of charisma. When a leader lack's in one or two of these quality's it can make thing's more interesting even though they are more likely to get sacked.

Some example's of leader's under my little model.

Superman: Charisma, Moral.

Batman: Tactic's. (I know, I know, but Bat's has done some morally questionable thing's and can be a bit of a jerk.)

Captain America: All 3.

Posted by The Toon Man

@doordoor123: If a battle isn't won through teamwork then how is it won?

Posted by EugeneSaxe

Does it matter who leads the JLA? If Superman/Batman say JUMP, everyone else falls in line whether they're "in charge" or not.

In the heat of battle, who's the boss is irrelevant. "Hold up Dr. Doom, I need to check with Reed to make sure me kicking your ass is OK." Never heard it, never will.

Posted by Superguy1591

@Gordo789: Batman's actually the biggest troll under the bridge in the 52's Justice League. He's always egging GL on and he's the one who picked a fight with Superman and when Aquaman showed up that 'If you're not looking at me, you're not looking at the leader' line was sooooo D-BAGGY!

Edited by Emperormeister734

Batman shows valuable leadership though i never understood wheteher he or Superman was the leader of the team

Posted by Deadcool

@doordoor123 said:

There is no room for teamwork in battle. No battle has been won with teamwork.

How is that? you need everybody skills to win a battle and all the heroes have almost the same experience, all of them could become the leader when the situation needs, but a permanent leader is somethng that I don't like...

Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd

@girl_from_the_future: loool your like a republican megacorporationalist wet dream :D

Posted by The Impersonator

@saoakden said:

It's not easy leading a team as it would seem.

Posted by girl_from_the_future

@THEBlaqueBasterd said:

@girl_from_the_future: loool your like a republican megacorporationalist wet dream :D

Republicans are socialist, cop-loving scum.

Posted by WarMachineMarkV

- a lot of anger in this thread..

Posted by HolySerpent

All I'm going say. Superman is a better leader than batman. And also a more valuable member.

Posted by ALdragon17

Yeah, this isn't a popularity contest, it's leading a freaking team to battle. Nice BatClaw89, I agree with ya. This isn't to get rank or becoming a Governor of a state. If your a Villain, you might as well go to jail before messing with the team. If there's a way to defuse the problem, by talking then okay, this will save up the team's member energy on more important issues. Some nut will say keep battle, my butt, if member is tired; their tired you idiot .

Posted by SmoothJammin
Above you see Hawkman commending Dick on his grandeur, comparing his status to the likes of Superman

Teammates need one who can set a good example. A person they're comfortable entrusting their lives to, and honorably defending when worst comes to worst. An invaluable field leader with a more hands on approach than most and brilliant chess playing skills. Pictured, above.

Posted by jhazzroucher

@BatClaw89 said:

That's why Batman is a good leader. He doesn't make decisions on the tower. he uses the Justice League as tools in his utility-belt on the battle field. no time to argue just time for action. plus everyone is afraid of Batman and his always right. He does what needs to be done. If you don't agree he does it himself.

I don't really consider Batman a good leader. He prefers to work alone.

Posted by Eyz

I guess it is all quite natural, at the end of the day. To keep things up, give a new direction and whatnot!

Heck, in real life, presidents of countries change, CEOs at companies do too, etc..

Posted by mbembet

Batman kicks superman's ass anytime!

Posted by SupremeHyperion

I love a good shake up here and there. just like anything, change is often good.

Often it seems too that putting someone as a "Leader" in comic teams is used to try and make a character seem more important (no one really cares).

Edited by huser

@BatClaw89 said:

That's why Batman is a good leader. He doesn't make decisions on the tower. he uses the Justice League as tools in his utility-belt on the battle field. no time to argue just time for action. plus everyone is afraid of Batman and his always right. He does what needs to be done. If you don't agree he does it himself.

Ugh, no. Tower of Babel and O.M.A.C. both showed that Batman's "always right" and "if you don't agree he does it himself" being a good thing were TERRIBLY incorrect. For all that effort from his paranoia, all he did was endanger actual heroes and indirectly kill a couple others.

@mbembet said:

Batman kicks superman's ass anytime!

That is more of a post Frank Miller DKR thing. No surprise that all the teenagers that grew up reading it and thought how clever it was grew up and it became a more broadly spread trope, but it definitely was not true for even most of their histories let alone always.

Posted by huser

@girl_from_the_future said:

Elections are stupid. The majority is always wrong.

Super-heroes should be funded, and the person who provides the funding calls the shots on who leads the team.

Stormwatch is 1000x more logical than Legion of Super-Heroes (in more ways than one).

Why should supers be funded? If you mean they need money or resources, then yeah I agree, but if you mean they need a leash to their activities by way of outside funding, then I'm not sure that's true.

And the Legion does have funding. The guy is just smart enough to know that a super group with dozens of members some of whom can go toe to toe with Superman and for some reason are still dedicated to the good fight should be trusted to work out their inner dynamics on their own. If you can't trust them to do that, then why are you trusting them at all to do anything else? I consider that a whole lot more logical a group dynamic than the constantly failing Stormwatch even ignoring the patently absurd notion the majority is always wrong.