When it comes to superhero teams, do you have an ideal number of characters? Is the number irrelevant, so long as the creative team can make it work (which I would define as giving all the characters a chance to do something useful, and preferably have some sort of character driven subplot)?
Or does it depend on which team we're talking about? Like, the Legion of Super-heroes is one matter, the Fantastic Four or the Justice League are another?
I know I don't like the "massive army" approach that Jonathan Hickman took with the Avengers. Where there's like 30 characters on the team. Maybe it's possible to do that and have them all get a regular chance to shine and get some character development - I have to assume Legion writers have managed it - but Hickman didn't seem capable of it. And it just doesn't feel like a "team" to me at that point. I know American football teams have more players than that, but they aren't all on the field at once, you know?
Abnett and Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy got around that - I think they had over a dozen characters in the cast a couple of times - by constantly splitting them up into different threads, or shuffling a couple characters out at a time. Maybe Adam Warlock and Gamora are off doing one thing, Drax and Phyla-Vel are somewhere else, Star-Lord's in his own shit, and Rocket's leading a small team of Mantis, Bug, Groot, and Major Victory. They only brought the whole group together twice, and one of those was to fight Adam Warlock when he turned into the Magus.
Generally though, I like having a distinct, consistent roster. I feel like 7 is considered the classic number, I'm guessing dating back to the Silver Age Justice League (plus all the stuff about 7 being a lucky number, or a number of power. Although 6 is considered a "Perfect" number if I remember right, based on its divisors adding up to it).
That's a little much for the Fantastic Four, whose suggested team size is right in the name. Although I didn't mind when Gail Simone had more than six people on the Secret Six. But a) they were kind of villains, not supposed to play by the rules, and b) they didn't seem terribly "secret" either, so it was false advertising all around. Simone also used the same tactic as Abnett and Lanning, splitting the roster up frequently. Like having most of the team chase after Catman when he went on a revenge kick, but Jeanette and Bane form a different team that actually does paying jobs.
Most of my favorite Avengers' rosters are smaller - the Kooky Quartet, the original 5-person West Coast Avengers roster, the core 5-man group Bendis had in New Avengers. I know Bendis' work fails my "let every character be useful and give them some subplots" criteria, but that's on his shit pacing. I still think Captain America/Iron Man/Spider-Woman/Luke Cage/Spider-Man was an interesting team with some varied skill sets and personalities that would have played off each other well.
But my favorite X-Men rosters run slightly larger. The group from prior to the Mutant Massacre is 6 to 8, depending on if Rachel Summers and/or Magneto are there. The Australian era is 8 (9 if you count Maddie Pryor), although I really like the brief stretch just before Storm and Colossus return where Logan's trying to lead Rogue/Psylocke/Havok/Dazzler/Longshot. The Joe Casey Uncanny X-Men roster's only about six. Same with the New Warriors. I really dig that initial six-person team, but I also like once they add Silhouette, Rage, and Darkhawk. Even if they were all on the team for just one story in the Nicieza/Bagley run, that's still 9 team members.
Which is a little weird when you figure the Avengers are the ones that are supposed to fight world-endangering threats. Not that the other teams don't occasionally, but the X-Men and New Warriors have other niches that don't necessarily involve that level of problem, while that's theoretically all the Avengers do. You'd figure bigger, more powerful roster for bigger, more powerful threats. I guess I like putting them at a disadvantage. Root for the underdog. None of my favorite Defenders' rosters have more than 2 of the Big Four (usually Hulk and/or Dr. Strange), either. I actually really do like that Nighthawk/Hulk/Hellcat/Valyrie/Moon Knight group from "Who Remembers Scorpio?"
But to the extent I care about the Justice League, my favorite rosters for them are probably at least 7 characters, if not more. They definitely do nothing but fight world-endangering threats.
So I don't know what conclusions to draw from all that. Keep the roster in single digits. Reduce the number in inverse proportion to the level of threat they typically encounter?