We don’t know about you folks, but when Marvel unveiled the promotional artwork for the upcoming Heroic Age last week, our first thought was “those are the new Avengers?!?” … then we actually read the article, realized that it was representative of the Marvel Universe as a whole and felt like fools. But for a brief moment, we thrilled at this brand-new lineup. Bucky-Cap alongside Iron Man and Thor. The Black Widow, Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Beast. The Thing and… Gorilla Man? Like many Avengers lineups of the past, it was a nice blend of classic and off-the-wall. For every Cap/Thor/Iron Man combo, there’s a Dr. Druid, Quasar or Wonder Man. Some characters are added because a writer likes them, others because editorial wants to promote them.
Of course, this got us thinking… what will the Avengers lineup be when the Heroic Age arrives and dries up the Dark Reign? Marvel has already announced plans to cancel all of the ongoing Avengers books in time for a post-Siege relaunch. Logic (and past experience) tells us that Marvel is more than willing to milk a cash cow until it is nothing more than a dried up, crusty old ruin of a bovine so there will likely be more than one Avengers book on the stands. But who will the team(s) be comprised of?
Naturally, that’s what this week’s Comicscape is all about.
Well, the whole point of the Heroic Age is a return to good, old-fashioned stories with heroes being heroes: a return to the brighter days of yesteryear. And after all the craziness that’s led us to this point, it goes without saying that Captain America, Thor and Iron Man will be on the team. To not include them would defeat the whole purpose. And it’s probably a safe bet that Hawkeye, Hank Pym, Vision and Black Widow will be on the team – they’ve been prominent players lately and Black Widow is in Iron Man 2, so it’s time to up her profile. Will Janet Van Dyne return from the dead? We wouldn’t be surprised.
Of course, there’s Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man and… wow, this team is getting pretty big isn’t it? If everybody’s favorites make the cut, there won’t be any choice but to create two Avengers books.
But we’re not here to talk about the favorites or the big guns. We’re here to talk about the second stringers. Not a team full of ‘em, but… well you know. There’s always one Avenger that makes you scratch your head. What’s that guy doing on the team? Those are the guys we want to talk about today. Hopefully the majority of the team will be the heavy-hitters – we tend to think a book like the Avengers works better that way. But as we said earlier, there’s gotta be a Gilgamesh or a Triathlon. And at one point in time, even Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch seemed like odd choices for Avengers. So here are our odd choices. Hopefully they’re a whole lot cooler than Dr. Druid. Shouldn’t be too hard.
Remember when Beast was an Avenger? We don’t either; it was like, 1975 and we weren’t even born yet. But he eventually gained full membership and we were eventually born and at some point in time, we read a Marvel Handbook that told us Beast was an Avenger once. And like you, we thought it was weird as hell. Hank McCoy was an X-Man! He’d always been an X-Man! How could he ever be an Avenger? But sure enough, he was and frankly, we wouldn’t mind seeing him back on the team. We wouldn’t mind seeing him back in his “big blue gorilla” form either, but we’re not holding our breath for either one to actually happen.
But Marvel has been dropping a lot of hints that Jean Grey is on her way back to the land of the living. We don’t know about you, but we’re sick to death of the sexual tension between her and Scott and we don’t feel like dealing with another love-triangle storyline. If the Phoenix rises from the ashes, she will once again be one of the most powerful entities in the Marvel Universe. So why not put her on the most powerful team in the Marvel Universe? Not only does she have the power level, she’s got the experience and the respect. She’d actually make a pretty good fit, and the team needs a few ladies to fill out the roster.
For that matter what about Storm? She’s married to the Black Panther now and he hangs around Avengers mansion a lot. Why not put ‘em both on the team? She’s another major player who has the skills, the longevity and the respect to be on the A-team. These are two characters who are so firmly associated with the X-books that seeing them on the Avengers would be a total shock to the system (but in the good way). We like shake-ups but we’ve never exactly been comfortable with Wolverine as an Avenger. Phoenix and Storm on the other hand… yeah, that might work.
Iron Fist has been an Avenger already and since he’s always been a favorite of ours, we’d like to see him graduate to the new team as well, as long as they follow our most important rule: he’s gotta be side-by-side with Luke Cage. They’re awesome on their own, but any Heroes-For-Hire fan will tell you that they’re that much cooler as a team. Like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, these guys are simply at their best when they’re kicking villain ass together.
How about Nova? Sure, he’s doing pretty well in his own book, but come on: we all know that it won’t last. Don’t get us wrong; we like Nova! We like the Guardians of the Galaxy and we like all the cosmic debris that goes along with ‘em. But sooner or later those books always go belly-up and when they do… well, Nova has been bumped up quite a bit in recent years, both in power level, profile and respectability. We think ol’ Rich Rider could do pretty well as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
And since we can’t just end this thing without being at least a wee bit controversial: Speedball. No, not Penance - Speedball.
Think about it. It’s the dawn of a brand new era. Sunny days sweepin’ the clouds away and all that. What better way to usher in this new heroic era by returning Robbie Baldwin’s bubbly powers and personality? It’s not like the New Warriors are going to reunite any time soon and by moving him up to the grownups table and restoring his old powers, Speedball could be a symbol of a shining new era.
Or maybe not. Those are our picks for a new Avengers team, Maniacs. Post your picks in the comments below...