The Inferior Five
+ The Freedom Brigade
Created by Jack Miller, E. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando
FIRST APPEARANCE: Showcase #62 (May/June 1966)
Summaries originally written by John Censullo
+ Index of Appearances
Showcase #62 (May/June 1966)
"The Coming of the Costumed Incompetents"
A mad scientist is on the loose in Megalopolis. The police had disbanded their mad scientist division 20 years earlier, after the Freedom Brigade ended the career of Dr. Evil. The police contact the Freedom Brigade, even though they have been retired for nearly two decades. In Cosmopolis, 97-pound weakling Myron Victor prepares to leave for a new job as a cartoonist in Megalopolis. Myron sees that his parents have donned their old costumes as the Patriot and Lady Liberty. Myron tells them that they're too old to go back into action. The Patriot agrees, but tells Myron that he can now continue the family tradition by being a new hero in Megalopolis. The Patriot shows Myron pictures of his ancestors, who have fought crime for the last 150 years. Myron points out that they all had partners, like his parents had the Freedom Brigade. The Patriot reminisces about how they captured Hitler's top agent, the Masked Swastika. He then shows Myron a portrait of the Freedom Brigade: the Patriot, Lady Liberty, Captain Swift, the Bowman, Princess Power, Mr. Might, and the Mermaid.
The Patriot tells his son that the other Brigade members have children living in Megalopolis that will aid him. The next day, in Megalopolis, Myron stops by "Heroic Costume Shop," which caters to super-heroes. Myron suggests a jester's outfit to the shopkeeper, because he is certain he will make a fool out of himself as a costumed hero. Shortly after, Myron meets the other heroes at the old building where their parents used to gather. He introduces himself as Merryman, son of the Patriot and Lady Liberty. Captain Swift's son is called the Blimp. Mr. Might and the Mermaid's son is called Awkwardman. The Bowman's son is called the White Feather. Princess Power's daughter is called the Dumb Bunny. Myron quickly realizes they are all incompetent. The heroes try to decide on a name for their new team. Awkwardman suggests the Jester's League of America. The Blimp suggests the Fantastic Farce. The White Feather suggests the Doomed Patrol. Merryman hits on the name... the Inferior Five! The Inferior Five then battle and defeat Dr. Gregory Gruesome and his henchman, Hermes.
At the time of the Crisis On Infinite Earths, it will be revealed that the adventures of the Inferior Five take place on Earth-12 (ref??), a world very similar to Earth-One, just a little sillier. The Earth-12 Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, and Luthor are mentioned.
The Freedom Brigade
The Freedom Brigade are elder heroes and the parents of the incompetent Inferior Five. Unlike their children, the Brigade were a formidable force against evil. Only bits and pieces of information about the Freedom Brigade and its members were revealed.
When the Inferior Five first appeared, the Brigade had already retired "nearly 20 years ago." Here's a look at the membership roster...
- The Bowman (Mr. King, first name unrevealed)
Nothing at all is known about the archer called the Bowman, except that he is the father of William King a.k.a. White Feather. The Bowman's costume is almost identical to the original costume worn by Green Arrow.
- Captain Swift (Mr.
Cramer, first name unrevealed)
Not much is known about Captain Swift, except that he is the father of Herman Cramer, a.k.a. the Blimp. Captain Swift's costume is almost identical to that of the Barry Allen Flash.
- The Mermaid (first name and maiden name unrevealed, later Mrs.
Although nothing is really known about the Mermaid, it is clear she was intended to be of Atlantean origins. When the Freedom Brigade retired, the Mermaid married her teammate, Mr. Might and soon gave birth to their son, Leander Brent.
- Lady Liberty (Miss Berkeley, first
name unrevealed, later Mrs. Victor)
Lady Liberty also comes from a long line of heroes. For instance, her ancestor, Sir Chauncey Berkeley, fought tyranny in late 18th century France as the hero called the Crimson Chrysanthemum. When the Freedom Brigade retired, Lady Liberty married her teammate, the Patriot, and soon gave birth to their son Myron.
- Mr. Might (Barb-Ell of the planet Neon, alias Mr. Brent, first
When the Freedom Brigade retired, Mr. Might married his teammate, the Mermaid. The Mermaid soon gave birth to Leander Brent, later called Awkwardman. He claimed that he was born Barb-Ell of the planet Neon, son of Dumb-Ell. After the citizens of Neon ignored his warnings of their planet's pending destruction, Dumb-Ell sent his son Barb-Ell in a rocket to Earth. Of course, Neon never exploded. Dumb-Ell, it turned out, was a complete crackpot!
- The Patriot (Mr. Victor, first name unrevealed)
The Patriot comes from a family of heroes who, by the 1960s, had been fighting crime for 130 years. In fact, the Patriot is the son of Reed Victor, a.k.a. Yellowjacket who, with his partner Plato, had fought crime in the 1920s. When the Freedom Brigade retired, the Patriot married his teammate, Lady Liberty, and they gave birth to a son named Myron Victor, who later became Merryman, the bumbling leader of the Inferior Five.
- Princess Power (real name
unrevealed, alias Ms. Tremor; post-Crisis: Mrs. Tremor-O'Day)
Not much was revealed about Princess Power, except than she was the mother of Dumb Bunny and wore a costume virtually identical to Wonder Woman's.
Their known enemies include:
- Dr. Evil. The Megalopolis police disbanded their mad scientist division after the Brigade ended his career.
- The Masked Swastika. Enemy of the Patriot. Hitler's top agent. The Inferior Five would later unmask the Masked Swastika, revealing that he resembles none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.
- Sparrow. Enemy of the Bowman.
- The Speed Demon. Enemy of Captain Swift.
- The Silver Sorceress. Enemy of Princess Power.
The retired heroes had become instructors at Dean Egghead's Academy for Super-Heroes. (Showcase #65)
Even at the time of its publication, these characters were not considered a part of regular DC Universe continuity. At the time of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, this was revealed as Earth-12. It's interesting to note that their number includes homages to Uncle Sam and Miss America, neither of whom had been revived yet by DC (they did not resurface until 1973 in Justice League of America #107).
Princess Power, and her daguhter Dumb Bunny were reintroduced in post-Crisis tales. These characters were linked to Angel O'Day in the 1991 Angel and the Ape mini-series.
Angel and Dumb Bunny (Athena Tremor) were now half-sisters, sharing the same father, Prof. O'Day, and being both raised by Princess Power. Princess Power was now from a lost subterranean Amazon tribe discovered by Prof. O'Day. After she retired, they married. O'Day left the Princess when he believed he couldn 'thandle living with a woman with super-powers. After she left, Athena was born and the Professor remarried and bore Angel. Angel's mother died soon after giving birth, and Princess Power returned to raise both girls. The couple soon re-married, but Princess Power is now deceased.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES: Showcase #62, 65 (1966)
» SEE ALSO: JSA Parodies
Showcase #63 (July-Aug 1966)
"Conquer Man-Mountain—Because He's There!"
Dr. Gruesome attempts a prison escape, but is injured and immediately re-captured by the guards. Elsewhere, a new criminal organization, consisting of villains who had fought the Freedom Brigade 20 years earlier, plan their revenge on the team. They are the Masked Swastika (enemy of the Patriot), the Sparrow (enemy of the Bowman), the Speed Demon (enemy of Captain Swift), and the Silver Sorceress (enemy of Princess Power). The Silver Sorceress gives her comrades a portion of her youth elixir, which returns them to a youthful vigor. The villains want revenge, but realize the Freedom Brigade is long retired, so they decide to attack their children, the Inferior Five, instead. The police contact Merryman (Myron Victor, cartoonist) on the Lukewarm Line to summon the Inferior Five. He contacts the Blimp (Herman Cramer, owner of Herman's Diner), Awkwardman (Leander Brent, beachcomber and sometime writer), the White Feather (William King, glamour photographer), and the Dumb Bunny (Athena Tremor, model). While battling the villains, the Masked Swastika's Phi Beta Kappa Bomb detonates and transforms boxer "Brute" Brainard into Man-Mountain, who aids the criminals. After a crime spree, the heroes eventually defeat their foes. The Masked Swastika is unmasked and is revealed to resemble Napoleon Bonaparte!
The Earth-12 Justice League, Doom Patrol, Teen Titans, and Superman are mentioned. This Silver Sorceress is in no way related to the one who appeared later in Justice League of America #87 (1971).
Egg's Men were clearly an X-Men parody who appeared only this once.
Showcase #65 (Nov-Dec 1966)
"Agony at the Academy" or "A Scrap'll Floor the Teacher!"
Dean Egghead's new Academy for Super-Heroes is having trouble retaining instructors, so he tries to hire heroes to teach his atavistic students (i.e., evolutionary throwbacks). This Earth's Justice League, Doom Patrol, Metamorpho, Metal Men, and Super-Hip all refuse the offer, but the Inferior Five accept. They meet his students, later called Egg's Men.
This group was mentored by (the bald) Dean Egghead:
- The Ape, Harry McElhinney (Beast)
- Basilisk, Irish Autumns (Cyclops)
- Icarus, Melvin Murgatroyd XIV (Angel)
- Levitation Lass, Penelope Pink (Marvel Girl)
- Winter Wonderlad, Billy Gander (Iceman)
The Inferior Five and the Egg's Men battled F.A.N., the Fraternity of Atavistic No-goodniks. F.A.N. consisted of Dr. Dinosaur, Frog Man, Angel Fish, Mr. Amoeba and Pterano Don Juan. The heroes ultimately defeated the villains, but not before Awkwardman developed a crush on Angel Fish. The Inferior Five realized they couldn't continue at the Academy, but they did find replacement teachers—their parents, the retired members of the Freedom Brigade!
The Inferior Five #1 (Mar-Apr 1967)
"Five Characters In Search Of A Plot!"
Myron Victor is working on his cartoon strip, Wonderfella, when he is visited by his paternal grandfather, Reed Victor. Myron receives a call from C.O.U.S.I.N. F.R.E.D. (Competent Organization Utilizing Scientific Investigation for National Fiend, Ruffian and Evildoer Defense), asking for help. Reed Victor speaks of his time as Yellowjacket in the 1920s. He fondly remembers Yellowjacket and Plato driving in their Gold Bug car circa 1925. Myron first contacts Athena Tremor and William King. He then contacts Herman Cramer, who is attempting to please his ritzy girl, Mabel. He finally calls Leander Brent, who is writing an article on Mr. Might, whom the editor is unaware is Leander's father. Leander writes that Mr. Might was born Barb-Ell of the planet Neon, son of Dumb-Ell. After the citizens of Neon ignored his warnings of their planet's pending destruction, Dumb-Ell sent his son Barb-Ell in a rocket to Earth. Of course, Neon never exploded... Dumb-Ell was a complete crackpot. The Inferior Five, along with Yellowjacket and Plato, arrive at C.O.U.S.I.N. F.R.E.D.'s secret hideout, where they meet the chief Mr. Ivanhoe, and top agents Caesar Single and Kwitcha Belliakin. They battle the crime organization H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E. (Heinous, Unscrupulous Rats and Rogues Initiating Criminal Anarchy and Nefarious Evil). H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E.'s main agents are Powerhouse, the Missing Fink, Mr. Mental, the Yellow Streak, Blackbird, "Tabby" Katz, "Nitro" Gleason, and "Crabgrass" Wilde.
The Inferior Five #2 (May-June 1967)
"The House-Hunting Heroes!"
George M. Coldham, composer of hero fight songs, attempts to write the Inferior Five a song. Merryman decides the heroes need to find a new headquarters. They build the Infericar, then head off to see about renting at the Batson Building. At that moment, at the Batson Building, scientist Rod Rickard, his wife Sophie, her brother Jerry Drizzle, and their friend Bjorn Andersen get caught in a blast from one of Rod's experiments. They become the Kookie Quartet—Mr. Manplastic, the Vanishing Queen, the Matchstick Kid, and Whatchamaycallit! At that same moment, scientist Hector Prynne transforms himself and his girlfriend Janice into the criminals called King Size and the Terrible Tsetse Fly. The Kookie Quartet compete with the Inferior Five to prove they are the better team. King Size and Tsetse Fly are eventually defeated. Plastic Man arrives and ties Mr. Manplastic in knots, angry that he has been ripping off Plas' M.O.. A few days later, the Inferior Five purchase their new headquarters.
The Earth-12 Plastic Man (son of the original hero of the same name) appears. The Earth-12 Justice League, Doom Patrol, Challengers of the Unknown, Teen Titans, Sea Devils, Legion of Super-Heroes, Metal Men, Blackhawks, and the Atom are mentioned.
The Inferior Five #3 (July-Aug 1967)
"Darwin of the Apes!"
The CIA contact the Inferior Five to help locate Dr. Livingroom, who vanished in the Congo in 1960. The famed Darwin of the Apes will be their guide. They use their new Inferiplane to fly to his home. They are surprised to find that Darwin is a refined gentlemen, now called John Claypool, Lord Gravestone. His wife Jayne helped with his return to civilized ways. When questioned about their youthful appearance, Darwin explains that he was given eternal youth by a witch-doctor, then he later picked up immortality pills for his wife and friends. Darwin and the Inferior Five finally locate and rescue Dr. Livingroom from Oompah, a lost colony of Atlantis.
The Earth-12 Batman and Robin are mentioned.
The Inferior Five #4 (Sep-Oct 1967)
Odin sends his Valkyrie to Earth to rustle up some heroes. The Inferior Five are brought to Asgard, where they meet the gods. Thor then returns with the team to Earth to become a hero. He creates the secret identity of Don R. Blitz. Thor and the Inferior Five then battle Loki and his minions.
The Inferior Five #5 (Nov-Dec 1967)
"I Was a Guillotine-Age Hero!"
The Inferior Five investigate an odd clock built by Wolfgang von Tieck, an old Swiss clockmaker. They discover that somehow it has become a time-travel device. They land in France during the French Revolution, during the Reign of Terror. Merryman recognizes Sir Chauncey Berkeley, and confronts him that he is also the hero called the Crimson Chrysanthemum. They agree to join him in the rescue of Charles Darnit, rightful Marquis St. Evréman. After the adventure concludes, the Inferior Five return to the present. Merryman reveals that his mother's maiden name is Berkeley, and that Sir Chauncey Berkeley was his ancestor.
The Inferior Five #6 (Jan-Feb 1968)
"How To Make A Bomb!"
This issue basically shows a humorous behind-the-scenes look at how DC produces the Inferior Five comic book.
The Earth-12 Justice League, Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Blackhawks, Superman, Superboy, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, Aquaman, Atom, J'onn J'onzz, Elongated Man, Deadman, Sgt. Rock, Luthor, Stanley and his monster, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, and the Fox and Crow are mentioned.
The Inferior Five #7 (Mar-Apr 1968)
The Inferior Five chase a criminal into the sewers of Megalopolis. They run into Thor, Prince Nabob the Sub-Moron, Iron Pants, the Cobweb Kid, Stanley and his monster, the Fox and Crow, the villain called the Blast, and the detective Allergy Queen. The Inferior Five battle and defeat Dr. Diabolical.
The Inferior Five #8 (May-June 1968)
"A Little Junk ... Can Go A Long Way!"
The Inferior Five battle Dr. Gruesome. Dr. Gruesome uses an ever-growing junk pile as his primary weapon.
The Inferior Five #9 (July-Aug 1968)
"Mummy's the Word!"
The Inferior Five are referred to as the Fearless Five. The Fearless Five are asked to guard the museum's new Egyptian treasures. Aliens from Asteroid 36 try to steal the jewels, which they need to charge their mind power ray-devices. They fail and are forced to return home empty-handed.
The Inferior Five #10 (Sep-Oct 1968)
"A Monster Rally!"
Merryman is angry that people are starting (!) to call them the Inferior Five (instead of the Fearless Five). When an alien invasion attacks Earth, a call goes out to all of Earth's heroes. Superman is in space on a mission, but others try to lend a hand. The Fearless Five, the Kookie Quartet, the Sub-Moron, and the Cobweb Kid all fight against the alien forces, but fail. Superman returns and easily evicts the aliens from our sector of space.
The Earth-12 Superman appears.
The Inferior Five #11 (Aug-Sep 1972)
Reprints Showcase #62.
The Inferior Five #12 (Oct-Nov 1972)
Reprints Showcase #63.
Showcase #100 (May 1978)
"There Shall Come a Gathering"
Earth is dragged out of it's orbit and is being transported through space at faster-than-light speed, causing weird temporal side-effects. The heroes of Earth meet to figure out a way to stop the menace. The Justice League head off into space, while the Teen Titans, Metal Men, and others tend to Earth. A number of time-displaced heroes, including the Inferior Five, congregate at the office of Angel O'Day and Sam Simeon. The heroes finally defeat the alien menace, and the Earth is returned safely to it's proper orbit around the Sun.
DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #22 (June 1982)
Reprints Showcase #62.
Who's Who v.1 #11 (January 1986)
Contains a biography page for the Inferior Five.
The Oz-Wonderland Wars #3 (March 1986)
"The Oz-Wonderland War Chapter VI Oz Well That Ends Well"
The Inferior Five arrive on Earth-C, the home of Captain Carrot. Merryman proclaims that they are lost and are looking for a way back to their world, Earth-12.
The home of the Inferior Five is referred to as Earth-12 for the first (and only) time. The reason they can't locate Earth-12 is because it has been destroyed in the Crisis On Infinite Earths.
Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986)
The Inferior Five appear in a crowd scene, while Earth's greatest heroes engage in their final battle with the Anti-Monitor.
Animal Man #24 (June 1990)
An 'Inferior Five' comic book appears on the cover of this issue.
Animal Man #25 (July 1990)
Animal Man enters the realm of comic book limbo. He is greeted by Merryman, who guides him through the bizarre land. Animal Man meets the Inferior Five and many other forgotten heroes, then continues on his quest.
Angel and the Ape v.2 #1 (March 1991)
"Shaking The Family Tree"
Sixteen years ago in Africa, Prof. O'Day and his daughter Angel discovered and adopted Sam, an intelligent gorilla. In the present, Athena Tremor, Angel's half-sister, comes to Angel for help. Sam Simeon is concerned and decides he will call Myron Victor later. Athena wants to ask her sister if it's okay that she ask Sam to be her boyfriend, even though she's aware that he's a gorilla. She never had a boyfriend because of her strength, but she's sure Sam could handle her. Later, Athena arrives at the office of O'Day and Simeon in order to talk to Sam, only to find them under attack. Athena knocks the attackers unconscious. Much to everyone's surprise, the attackers revert into gorillas.
First post-Crisis appearance of all these characters. This story brings new post-Crisis revelations to the relationship between Dumb Bunny (Athena Tremor) and Angel O'Day. Apparently these characters have migrated into mainstream DC universe continuity as well. Whereas in pre-Crisis continuty, the girls were not related, they now share a father (who was in Zaire during this story). Both their mothers are believed to be deceased. The Inferior Five are shown in a photograph. In this Angel and the Ape mini-series, Dumb Bunny's mother was never called "Princess Power" by name, and her costume was totally different from the original version. Also, there are no mentions of her pre-Crisis husband, Steve Tremor, or the Freedom Brigade.
Angel and the Ape v.2 #2 (April 1991)
"The Apes of Wrath!"
Angel believes they may need help against the gorilla menace. She tells Athena to call the Justice League and to send them to Sam's apartment. Athena calls JLI and Guy Gardner answers. He insults Athena and she hangs up. Athena arrives at Sam's apartment wearing her Dumb Bunny outfit, telling Angel that she called the Inferior Five instead. Dumb Bunny and Sam then talk about why Angel is so rough on her. Years ago, Prof. O'Day married Athena's mother (formerly Princess Power), believing he could handle living with a woman with super-powers, but he discovered that he couldn't and left her after his daughter, Athena, was born. Prof. O'Day supported his daughter, but needed a more normal relationship. He married another woman, but she died soon after giving birth to his second daughter, Angel. "Princess Power" then returned and took the two of them in. The couple soon re-married. Angel always resented Athena's strength growing up, and pushed herself hard because of it. Athena then changes the subject and tells Sam that she's found someone she'd like as a boyfriend. When Sam concludes that it's Myron Victor, Athena runs away crying. After talking to Angel, Sam realizes that it is him that Athena likes. Sam tells Angel that he thinks of both of them as sisters. Sam, Angel, and Dumb Bunny are then confronted by Gorilla Grodd, Sam's grandfather.
Princess Power is never refered to by that name, specifically, in this series. Also, she is shown in flashback wearing a different costume than that worn by in pre-Crisis times.
Angel and the Ape #3 (May 1991)
The Inferior Five arrive and help battle Grodd. Grodd grabs Sam and retreats. Angel tells Dumb Bunny that Sam knows that she likes him. Merryman overhears and is saddened by the news. Later, during a rescue attempt, Angel and Dumb Bunny learn that Sam likes Angel. An angry Dumb Bunny lashes out, wanting to wring Angel's neck, but Merryman stands in her way. Grodd uses the power of the Green Glob to turn the heroes into unintelligent apes.
First post-Crisis appearance of the Inferior Five. Sam Simeon is shown as having grown up with Prof. O'Day, "Princess Power," Angel and Athena.
Angel and the Ape v.2 #4 (June 1991)
"Monkey See, Monkey Doom"
The Inferior Five are transformed back from apes into humans. Grodd then breaks Dumb Bunny's neck, apparently killing her. Sam agrees to join Grodd if he uses the Green Glob to revive her. While imprisoned, Angel learns from White Feather that Merryman was in love with Dumb Bunny. Dumb Bunny is still alive however, albeit paralyzed from the neck down, and hears every word. The heroes escape, and Sam uses the Green Glob to defeat Grodd. Sam then uses the Green Glob to cure Dumb Bunny. Angel realizes that Athena's parents had the same problem that Athena and Myron have. Athena says she remembers her mother talking to her once about sex, and she mentioned that no one could force an Amazon ... that she must be 'conquered'. She never understood what that meant, but Angel believes she knows. She tells Athena to hug Myron. Amazingly, he is unhurt. Athena's mother was from a lost subterranean Amazon tribe that Prof. O'Day had discovered. Though super-strong, the women bred with normal males, but not until they were 'conquered', i.e. not until they fell in love. When an Amazon falls in love, it causes an actual chemical change in the brain which short-circuits their super-strength. This never happened to Athena before because she was never truly in love before ... until Myron Victor.
Superman and Batman: World's Funnest (2000)
"Last Imp Standing!"
This Elseworlds tale depicts Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite destroying reality after reality, including one that contains a version of the Inferior Five. The realities are all restored at the story's end.
52 #18 (September 2006)
At the funeral of Booster Gold, his casket is borne by several "lost in limbo" heroes: the Blimp of the Inferior Five, Mindgrabber Kid, Odd Man, Beefeater and blond woman??)
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1 (October 2008)
Once again, we meet Merryman in comic book limbo. When Superman takes a journey across the multiverse, he crash lands in Limbo, which is filled with forgotten characters. Merryman is their king. He guides Superman and Captain Marvel to the library of Limbo where they download the "infinite book."
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Animal Man #24, 25
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #12
- DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #22
- The Oz-Wonderland Wars #3
- Showcase #62, 63, 65
- Who's Who v.1 #11
- Superman and Batman: World's Funnest
- Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1
- The Inferior Five, 12 issues (1967-72)
- Angel and the Ape v.2, 4-issue limited series (1991)
» SEE ALSO: