When The Losers — a testosterone-heavy action-fest based on the hit Vertigo comic — hits theaters, audiences will see a highly trained team firing on all cylinders. Betrayed by the government and believed to be dead, the Losers are a crack squad of former Special Forces tough guys in the vein of the A-Team and Sgt. Rock’s Howling Commandos. Alas, the Losers are one of the few comic-book-movie teams that actually work on the big screen. Sure, we all love the X-Men and the misfits of Hellboy‘s Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, but there are plenty of comic-book teams that should have disbanded before they caused any more damage.
The Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four
Offscreen, the Fantastic Four are one of the longest-running teams in comics. But watching Fantastic Four and 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, you’d think they’re just a bunch of random heroes thrown together by a superhero casting agency. The team has had two shots at big-screen glory (three if you count Roger Corman’s never released low-budget travesty), and never once have fans gotten the sense of the tight-knit family unit that define comic-book-team dynamics. While Losers star (and future Captain America) Chris Evans has fun as Human Torch — and Michael Chiklis gives his all as Thing — the team as a whole is mostly groan-worthy. Fingers crossed that the inevitable reboot takes a page from The Incredibles and gives us a family team to root for.
The League, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Made up of some of literature’s greatest heroes, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is one of the best concepts in comic book-dom. So how did a team including Sean Connery and La Femme Nikita‘s Peta Wilson turn out to be such an utter fail? For one thing, the movie shoehorns in a young Tom Sawyer, who was never on Alan Moore’s original team. Add to that a muddled story, terrible special effects, and a cast with zero chemistry, and you have a movie so bad that it sent James Bond into permanent retirement.
The Minutemen/The Watchmen, Watchmen
Shown entirely in flashback, the original Minutemen of the thirties and forties are a complete mess. They get their capes stuck in doors, end up in salacious scandals, and eventually get packed off to insane asylums.
When a new generation of heroes (renamed Watchmen for the movie) picks up the mantle, in the seventies, the team barely does any better, disbanding after one disastrous meeting. (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, also playing a wild man in The Losers, puts an end to the meeting as the sociopath Comedian.)
Nightstalkers, Blade: Trinity
With Blade pretty much MIA for most of the movie (Wesley Snipes reportedly didn’t get along so well with the
director), Ryan Reynolds’s sword-wielding Hannibal King and Jessica Biel’s Abigail Whistler are left to do most of the vampire slashing. While they make a pretty awesome duo, the rest of the Nightstalkers are downright useless. (Big shock: they get killed off by vampires halfway through.) Unsurprisingly, a proposed Nightstalkers spinoff has never materialized.
Team Zenith, Zoom
This is how you know that Team Zenith has problems: Tim Allen (playing titular hero Captain Zoom) was among the founding members. And after the original lineup disbanded, the government rounded up a bunch of superpowered tweens to defeat Zoom’s evil brother, Concussion. Again, the government leaves the safety of the world in the hands of a bunch of pimply prepubescents who are more interested in dating and showing off their powers than in actually fighting evil. If this bunch ever joined the X-Men, Wolverine would turn them into chop suey.