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The Inferior Five are the progeny and heirs of the Freedom Brigade, a team of costumed adventurers of another alternate earth, Earth-Twelve, from before the Crisis on Infinite Earths. After the Brigade retired, they pressed their children into following their legacy using their gifts and powers, a task they only followed halfheartedly.

History

After the Freedom Brigade is summoned to stop Dr. Gruesome, the Patriot and Lady Liberty take the opportunity to contact their former teammates to encourage their children to follow in the superhero business.[1] The new team quickly learned that many of their skills clash and leaves them incredibly ineffective. In spite of this, they often were victorious, usually out of sheer luck.

Only a few of their adventures were documented involving the old foes of their parents, a visit to Asgard to meet the Norse Gods, where they befriended Thor,[2] and even a trip back in time where they met Merryman's ancestor, the Crimson Chrysanthemum. [3] Often times, they stumbled upon criminals involuntarily while either searching for possible base locations or living their day-to-day lives.

During the Crisis, they were away from their native timeline and apparently survived it. When the Anti-Monitor's Shadow Demons attacked, the Inferior Five were seen behind Lois Lane reporting on the events, just before Dove was slain.[4] It's possible that the extent of the Crisis was never explained to them, as they encounter Captain Carrot of the Zoo Crew, asking if they can get to Earth-12 from there.[5]

Dumb Bunny was later reunited with her half-sister, Angel O'Day, a detective of the Angel and the Ape detective agency on Earth, after which she and Merryman began a romantic relationship.[6]

However, because Earth-Twelve was erased during the Crisis, the Inferior Five and all of their exploits were forgotten, and they ended up in Comic Book Limbo, a land of forgotten heroes, villains, and other characters. Here, they met Animal Man. Merryman explained that it was a land of characters waiting to be written back into continuity. They helped him escape, but remained trapped there.[7]

During Final Crisis, Superman, Ultraman, and Captain Marvel crash along with the Ultima Thule in Limbo, where they encounter Merryman, having named himself the King of Limbo (despite it being meaningless). He leads them to the Library of Limbo which contains only one story, written by the monkey from the time Animal Man was in Limbo.[8] As Limbo is attacked by the Dark Monitor's shadow demons, Merryman rallies the people of Limbo to fight, asking Superman to remember them.[9]

The members of the Inferior Five are Merryman (Brilliant Mind, Weaklings Body), Blimp (Can fly when propelled by tailwind), Dumb Bunny (Super Strong, Low IQ), White Feather (Perfectionist Archer, Afraid of people looking at him), and Akwardman (Perfect in water, clumsy on land). What makes the Inferior Five so special is that they need to be in a team to fight crime. Other teams, such as the Justice League, Justice Society of America (New Earth), and Green Lantern Corps have powerful members that could stop the crime from happening on their own, whereas the Inferior Five have so stupid members with awesome powers and major setbacks (such as fear, clumsiness, or IQ) that make them have to fight crime together.

Paraphernalia

Equipment: The Lukewarm Line is their main mode of communication.
Transportation: * The Inferi-Car is a non-outfitted vehicle used by the group.

  • The Inferiplane is a non-outfitted, orange biplane used to travel longer distances, even though it only has two seats.

Notes

  • "They're always polite!" the Inferior Five are quintessential 60s characters of the Humor comic book genre. Their series had a quirky slightly campy charm and the comedy is well very much of its time which means some of its references are rather dated and haven't aged well.
  • While the team debuted in Showcase #62 and they would have two more appearances in that anthology before graduating to their own solo series for a 10 issue bimonthly run by the time the tenth and final issue was published interest in oddball humorous titles had faded away the original inspiration for the team was to be a direct parody of the Fantastic Four this was conceived by the editor Jack Miller who also provided the team its name. Jack Miller then assigned the writing to Nelson Bridwell who had previously written for Mad Magazine. Bridwell changed the concept to focus on a team of incompetent children of retired superheroes. It is here that the Inferior Five achieve a few levels of meta-textuality. The Inferior Five, along with Infinity, Inc., are the only teams composed exclusively of children of former superheroes. The Inferior Five debuted first, and as such, they have a technical trivial significance.


Trivia

  • The parents of the Inferior Five were all retired superheroes who previously fought crime as the Freedom Brigade. These retired heroes are all gentle parodies of Golden Age DC characters. The Freedom Brigade may be an indirect reference to the Justice League of America which was a successful contemporary reboot of the Golden Age team the Justice Society of America. They are are basically versions of other known DC characters: The Patriot/Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty/Miss America, Captain Swift/The Flash, Bowman/Green Arrow, Princess Power/Wonder Woman, Mister Might/Superman and the Mermaid/Aquaman.
  • Merry Man, or a similar person, was recently encountered by Superman as the ruler in Limbo.[10]
  • The team appeared briefly behind Lois Lane in Crisis On Infinite Earths #12 as she was doing a report on Dove performing a rescue when he was killed by a Shadow Demon.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes


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