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Comic Book / Great Ten

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Like Chinese Justice League.

The Great Ten, (Shi Hao Xia/十豪侠) are a team of Chinese comic book superheroes in the The DCU, who are sponsored by the government of the People's Republic of China. The team was introduced in 52 #6 (June 2006), and were created by Grant Morrison, J. G. Jones, and Joe Bennett. Several of the characters have a basis in Chinese Mythology. Unlike conventional superhero monikers, their names are close to literal translations from the Chinese language.

Great Ten is also the title of a nine issue mini-series focusing on the team published in 2010, it was originally planned to be a ten issue title but was cut short due to low sales.

Great Ten features examples of the following tropes:

  • Arc Number: I wonder what it could possibly be in a work titled Great Ten with ten intended issues published in 2010 featuring a team with ten members.
  • Blood Knight: While he keeps it under wraps, Seven Deadly Brothers (each of his personalities), loves to fight.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": The Chinese character for the number "7" is for the Seven Deadly Brothers.
  • The Cape: Thundermind fulfills this archetype despite lacking a cape. As a result, he's the only member of the Great Ten deemed capable of being a media darling.
  • Captain Ethnic: The comics would probably be Banned in China, and they are supposed to be. Its members are heavily tied into Chinese Mythology and tradition and modern Chinese Communism, or at least the Western view of said. One of them is the Mother of Champions, whose whole superpower is based on rapidly producing litters of super-strong expendable children. The team was created not to be offensive per se, but the creator commentary for their reveal in 52 says that they were intended to be self-caricatures in a way. The writers were not trying to be offensive, but were deliberately making a team based on foreign perceptions of a culture and outside viewpoints. Maybe a Take That! against the comic industry as a whole? Of course, considering the Japanese teams also created by Morrison...
  • Captain Patriotic: Socialist Red Guardsman. While August General in Iron and Immortal Man in Darkness are also true patriots, Socialist Red Guardsman is the only member of the team to actually have Das Kapital and The Little Red Book committed to memory. Socialist Red Guardsman believes he is the revolution, and has frequently broken his back to ensure that his teammates toe the party line with his endless rants and lectures. He even attempted to quit the team in disgust at his country's growing commercialism.
  • Cast from Lifespan: Piloting the Dragonwing takes at least a year of the lifespan of Immortal Man in Darkness, so when one of them dies, the next one in the squadron takes the title and duties.
  • Chrome Champion: August General in Iron had his skin turned into living armor (which looks like rusted iron) as a side-effect of a cure for an alien infection. He also has an extremely stunted sense of touch.
  • Cool Plane: The Immortal Man (Men?) in Darkness flies one of these, the Dragonwing, which is based on alien technology and is phenomenally powerful. The current Immortal Man in Darkness isn't ashamed to admit that he's in love with the old girl.
  • Emergency Transformation: In order to save his life from a Durlan bacterial infection that had killed the rest of his squadron, August General in Iron received all sorts of experimental treatments until one of them cured him. The rusted plates take make up his skin are the result.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Thundermind is a Buddhist who gains Superman-level powers by reciting a mantra.
  • Explosive Breeder: Mother of Champions is a human example. Her power is to conceive a litter of 25 children each time she has sex, who complete gestation in 3 days, after which she gives birth. These metahuman offspring are superhumanly strong, but age ten years for each day they're alive, so they are used as expendable cannon fodder by the Chinese government — she has no contact with them once they are born. She has apparently given birth to thousands of these offspring, sports a perpetual pregnant belly, and relies on a robotic chair with six insectile legs to carry her around, as she gets too large to walk on her own.
  • Express Delivery: Mother of Champions' entire superpower is her ability to go from conception to birth in three days. She also gives birth to litters of kids with Super-Strength and who age ten years for every day they're alive. If she mates with one of her teammates, the offspring have other superpowers as well — though in the case of the radioactive Socialist Red Guardsman's children, the birth was painful unlike any she'd had before.
  • Ghost Memory: This is how the legacy of the Accomplished Perfect Physician works. Each new holder of the title inherits the collective memories of their predecessors; the current one is the seventeenth, giving him sixteen lifetimes of experience to draw on.
  • The Heart: Thundermind considers himself the conscience of his team, and will not hesitate to go against orders if he feels it is the right thing for him to do.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The "Chinese Gods", or what remains of them. After Celestial Archer introduces them to his patron goddess, who tell them that they're simply altered humans, Gong Gong, Lei Zi, Kuan Ti, Lei Kung, and Chu Jung decide that they will fight alongside the Great Ten.
  • Legacy Character:
    • Immortal Man in Darkness is not actually immortal; the technology that gives him his powers will eventually kill him, and they simply keep replacing him. The "Immortal" name is a publicity thing. When one dies, there's a whole set of guys waiting in the wings to replace him. "You are immortal now!" And yes, pilots line up for the privilege to fly the Dragonwing even after being informed that it will be the death of them; the latest describes the first time he saw the craft as "love at first sight".
    • The Accomplished Perfect Physician is the seventeenth to bear the title and wield the powers of the greatest medical mind on the planet. Played with in that he's not the guy who was supposed to succeed the title; he was a soldier sent to beat back Tibetan dissidents and inadvertently killed the actual successor before being strongarmed into taking his place.
  • Lost Technology: Shaolin Robot is an automaton built by the brilliant engineer going by the name of Lao Yuqi for the First Emperor of China, giving it a semblance of free will.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Thundermind has this in his secret identity (him being the only member of the team to really have one). In a shameless (and hilarious) riff on the Silver Age Superman, Thundermind is also the nebbish, bespectacled schoolteacher Zou Kang. His affections for attractive coworker Ms. Wu are ignored because she only has eyes for Thundermind.
  • Me's a Crowd: Seven Deadly Brothers is one guy who can split into seven copies, and each copy retains a certain skill set from the original.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Immortal Man in Darkness couldn't be a less accurate name if it tried because the technology of the plane he flies drains his life as he pilots it; there have been about seven Immortal Men in Darkness since the team was founded. The name is a publicity thing. Similarly, the Seven Deadly Brothers. "I am seven. I am deadly. But I am a brother to no one." This is because the Seven Deadly Brothers are actually one man, an only child at that, who splits into seven people with different personalities due to a curse.
  • No-Sell: Because of his metallic skin, August General in Iron is immune to Ghost Fox Killer's poisonous touch. Mother of Champions is immune to the radiation exuded by Socialist Red Guardsman.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Mother of Champions lives this trope. Then again, her metahuman power is the ability to conceive, safely carry and deliver inhumanly large litters of children (up to 25 babies in one pregnancy), and a secondary power is that gestation, from conception to birth, takes only three days.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Unsurprisingly, because the superpowered children who Mother of Champions gives birth to have incredibly short lifespans, this is what always happens.
  • Power Degeneration: Immortal Man-In-Darkness is a pilot bonded to the Dragonwing, an extremely advanced living fighter plane. Each flight of the Dragonwing takes a year off of the pilot's life. The government doesn't have a problem finding willing pilots — piloting the Dragonwing is considered a great honor and there are plenty of pilots waiting in reserve eager for their chance even though they know the price.
  • Powers via Weapon: Celestial Archer possesses the Celestial Bow of Yi, which grants him the godlike archery abilities of the mythological Chinese archer Hou Yi.
  • Pregnant Badass: Mother of Champions is perpetually pregnant, and perpetually a badass, too.
  • Rotating Protagonist: Every issue focuses on a different member of the titular team. Since the series was cut short due to weak sales, Mother of Champions and Socialist Red Guardsman share the last one.
  • Sacred Bow and Arrows: Xu Tao a.k.a. Celestial Archer wields the Celestial Bow, which once belonged to the mythological archer Hou Yi. Xu discovered the bow in an old temple below Mount Tai while hiding from gangsters. He touched the bow and was bestowed with Hou Yi's divine archery skills.
  • Self-Duplication: Yang Kei-Ying/Seven Deadly Brothers can split himself into seven clones. Each of the seven is the master of a particular form of wushu (or kung fu) such as the Crane style and the Tiger style.
  • Sentient Vehicle: The Dragonwing piloted by Immortal Man in Darkness is a living aircraft built by reverse engineering Durlan technology.
  • Shout-Out: In the third issue, Thundermind (a bald telepath) knocks off the helmet of a god of war and reads his mind while he screams at Thundermind to "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" Like so much X-Men...
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Celestial Archer, who was probably intended to fill the traditional superteam role established by Green Arrow and Hawkeye.
  • Super Team: The Great Ten are China's officially endorsed and government-run super team.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Accomplished Perfect Physician and August General in Iron don't like each other at all.
  • Translation Convention: Mandarin Chinese is the assumed default, so the dialogue of tourists is enclosed in the brackets to show they're not talking in Mandarin.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Ghost Fox Killer and Mother of Champions are the only women among the Great Ten.
  • Weaponized Offspring: Wu Meixing/Mother of Champions can birth 25 short-lived, superpowered warriors every few days.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Seven Deadly Brothers' powers are derived from a curse placed upon him, that he would have seven lifetimes of mastery in the martial arts. This gave him the ability to split into seven bodies that are each unparalleled grandmasters of a different style, but he is fated to live out all seven of those lifetimes. When he is one person, his mind is a jumble, housing so many different personae that all want different things; only when split and in combat does he know peace. He's been living with this for over 300 years, and he's got a lot more mileage in him yet. He admits, however, that he feels he deserves it. Contrast Immortal Man in Darkness, who will eventually be killed by the technology of the Dragonwing and replaced by another pilot. There are dozens of men waiting desperately in the wings for the chance.
  • Younger Than They Look: The children of Mother of Champions age 10 years every day. Between this, the fact that they all have Super-Strength, and the fact that Mother can produce a new batch every three days, they are considered cannon fodder of the finest kind.