Created by Robert E. Wronski, Jr.
Also known as: Blackbirds, Misfits
First Appearance: Blackbirds # 1, January 1991
Zap, Master of Power II
Zap, Master of Power III
A child who was the son of Allorin Vonski and a mortal woman was captured at birth by Darkseid of Apokolips and raised by Granny Goodness. Allorin knew of his son's fate and chose to leave him there.
The boy gained powers of telethapy, telekinesis, and teleportation, and escapes to Earth, where he is taken in by Superman. The boy, named Bob Kent, tries to gain acceptance in the super-hero community but is rejected for membership from both the Justice League and Teen Titans.
Angry, the boy leaves for parts unknown.
Several years later, he returns as an adult called the Protector. He decides to create his own super-team. Visiting the Justice League, he duplicates their powers and bestows them on several people, in order to form a team called the Blackbirds. (One of those chosen was Leonard Audder, who once was Super Len.) The Protector also recruited Powerman and Zap (stealing them away from the Heroes of Earth), and Marvel, a recently new heroine.
Once his team was formed, the Protector left. The team operated out of Greenfield, and their adventures mostly had them come in conflict with Project: Franklin, a government agency devoted to the capture and study of meta-humans in the goal of creating its own super-soldiers. Another recurring adversary were the Metorans, an alien race who, though resembling humans, were truly beings of pure energy.
After a battle where the team was nearly killed by Metorans, the team was captured and held captive by the Project, where they were experimented on painfully. They escaped, and renamed the team "the Misfits".
They had recently lost Powerman and Zap as members, but gained a few new members while fugitives from the government. After Powerman found the misfits hiding in the forest, he gave Warchild (the team leader) a pep talk that inspired him to rename the team "the Champions" and stop running, but instead take the fight to the Project.
This may have fueled what was to come. A short time later, Powerman left Earth to explore the galaxy, and this was when a powerful mutant named Adam began using his psychic powers to overthrow the world's governments, and creating a society where meta-humans were the ruling class. The Champions were absorbed into a new Heroes of Earth, the honor guard of this new government.
The heroes that served Adam were under psychic domination, and were not truly loyal to Adam...except for two. When Adam was eventually defeated, we learned that Zap and Hell Child had willingly served all along.
Once Adam was defeated, all heroes and villains on Earth were stripped of their powers by Allorin Vonski. And some, like Hell Child, even were stripped of their memories.
A long time passed, but then the Universal Protectors were forced to restore their powers to fight in a great war against the New Power. Following this, the former Champions were recruited to join a new government team called the National Heroes, working alongside former members of Project: Franklin.
The members of the Champions were all based on people from my high school Civil Air Patrol squadron.
The Protector began as a series in 1989's Adventure Comics, but then returned as part of the 1991 reboot. The Blackbirds' powers duplicated the members of Justice League America from the time when Superman joined but before Doomsday.
The team took on more of an "X-Men" feel following Death of the Super Universe and during the "Survivors" series. (It's not often I would be influenced by Marvel.)
The Champions name was inspired by my hearing the song by Queen when watching the Mighty Ducks on TV. (Really.)
The period under Adam was in the 1998 mini-series "Timeline". The team currently appears in the monthly title National Heroes.