You're an Avenger! You're an Avenger! Everyone's an Avenger!1 of 12Yes, according to the November 2014 solicitations, Marvel is going to field a new team of Avengers this fall in the series Avengers World, and that team’s leader is - Doctor Doom! Whether this is part of the “Inversion” in AXIS or merely the natural extension of Valeria’s work with Doom, trying to rehabilitate him, remains to be seen. It’s hardly the only surprise addition to the Avengers in recent years, with former enemy Ex Nihilo, a pair of “New Mutants,” and more joining during Hickman’s run.
And then there’s the Justice League, where Luthor and Captain Cold are now members, and beyond.
With this new addition to that team roster coming as a bit of a surprise, we decided to dig through the archives and take a look at ten other surprising new teammates. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as the "shock factor" trope does get used fairly often, but these are ten strong examples of when teams get shaken up.
Albert Ching contributed to an earlier version of this countdown.
KITTY PRYDE - S.H.I.E.L.D.2 of 12At first glance, "Kitty Pryde: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." sounds pretty ridiculous, and the creative team of the 1997 miniseries were likely very aware of that fact. After all, Kitty Pryde spent years as the junior member of the X-Men, much more comfortable with hanging out with alien dragons than engaging in international espionage.
Yet there is also a lot about the pairing, albeit short-lived, that made a lot of sense: Kitty happens to be a scientific genius in the applied technology field, which is what led to S.H.I.E.L.D. recruiting her in the first place. Plus, it's not hard to tell that intangibility would certainly come in handy on intelligence-gathering missions.
Still, though, she doesn't look exactly comfortable in that S.H.I.E.L.D. jumpsuit, does she?
LUKE CAGE - FANTASTIC FOUR3 of 12At its heart, the Fantastic Four is much more of a family than a super-team, so it's always a little odd to see someone else in the lineup other than the original four. Of course, it's still happened a lot.
Though Inhumans Crystal and Medusa were the first to join the FF on a temporary basis, they were still part of the book's extended supporting cast. Luke Cage then Power Man, Hero for Hire was the first truly left-field choice for team membership, hired by Mr. Fantastic to fill-in after The Thing lost his powers. (But as you can see from this cover, it didn't really go as planned.) Cage is an Avengers mainstay now, but this was his first brush with a premier Marvel superhero team.
After Cage's stint, a cavalcade of substitute members including She-Hulk, Namorita, Black Panther, Storm, the Scott Lang Ant-Man and the Sharon Ventura Ms. Marvel joined the team at various points in the book's history.
MS. MARVEL - THE X-MEN4 of 12The X-Men have had a lot of surprise members of their mutant menagerie over the years. In fact, we could probably make a list of just 10 villains who've joined the X-Men (actually, we definitely could, as we found out when getting sidetracked on this piece). However, Ms. Marvel earns the notable distinction as, well, she's not a mutant!
Chris Claremont simply liked the character of Carol Danvers. He played with her in Avengers Annual #10 (first appearance of Rogue), then brought her over to Uncanny X-Men, where she worked with the X-Men, helping them behind-the-scenes with the government and in the foreground on a brood-fighting space romp.
Perhaps her more lasting legacy with the X-Men though, was the fact that Rogue absorbed her powers, and for a time her personality, which took over the body of the Southern belle from time to time. That power set, of flight, invulnerability, and super strength, is what Rogue displayed in the popular 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series, leaving Carol's stamp on the X-Men forever.
MAJOR DISASTER - JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE5 of 12Though villains becoming heroes tends to happen in the Marvel Universe fairly often (Magneto, Mystique, Sabretooth and Juggernaut have all become X-Men), it seems to be a rarer occurrence in the DC Universe, where bad guys tend to stay bad and good guys tend to stay good. (If you overlook most of Hal Jordan's actions in the mid '90s, at least.)
Major Disaster who has the especially cool power of being able to trigger disasters through a series of simple events was a villain who plagued Green Lantern and Flash for decades, with a few flirtations with credibility on groups like the Suicide Squad. But while that team was all about villains working for the government in exchange for lighter prison sentences, in 2004 MD took a firmer step towards heroism by joining Justice League Elite, a black-ops branch of DC's No. 1 super-squad that also included Flash and Green Arrow.
Did it work out for him? Well, he died during Infinite Crisis off-panel. Maybe nice guys really do finish last.
MARTIAN MANHUNTER - STORMWATCH6 of 12When the New 52 Justice League line-up was revealed sans-Martian Manhunter, many fans cried foul immediately. Then the other shoe dropped. The team containing most of the WildStorm imports into this new universe, Stormwatch would also include J'onn J'onnz.
Of course, now that he was in the New 52... many fans cried foul immediately. How could J'onn be relegated to this second rate team? How can they ignore his contributions to the Justice League? Then the first issue of the book hit, and it acknowledged J'onn's membership on the premiere team as well.
We're sure some fans still cried foul.
HAWKEYE - THUNDERBOLTS7 of 12Hawkeye has been on a lot of teams. Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Defenders he even mentored infamous goofballs the Great Lakes Avengers for a bit.
But shortly after the post-"Heroes Reborn" return of the Avengers and Fantastic Four, Hawkeye shocked readers and his teammates by leaving his brethren in Earth's Mightiest Heroes to lead the Thunderbolts, a team of ex-villains who recently had been exposed as the former Masters of Evil.
Thing is, most of them actually liked being heroes, and Hawkeye no stranger to criminal behavior saw that in them, and wanted to give them the same chance that Captain America gave him way back in (the original) Avengers #16. And as the cover shows, he got especially, um, close, to some of the team. The experience ultimately resulted in him serving time in prison, but his heart was in the right place.
DUELA DENT - TEEN TITANS8 of 12She's Joker's Daughter. She's Riddler's Daughter. She's Catwoman's or Penguin's or Scarecrow's Daughter. This is one twisty turny character. Claiming to be the Joker's daughter, in her original continuity (when she first tried joining the Teen Titans), Dick Grayson figured out she was actually Two-Face's daughter. Post-Crisis however, things got a bit jumbled again, and her identity was once again in question. She was a full-fledged Titan during the "lost year" referenced in the line-wide "One Year Later" storyline, though, and helped them defeat the Titans East... who she was also a member of.
Duela Dent as it turns out was the Joker's daughter in recent pre-52 continuity; it was just a joker from another Earth, as readers found out when she was killed at the hands of a Monitor in Countdown. The new Duela in the New 52 seems to just be a demented individual who found the Joker's cut-off face. We doubt she'll join the side of the angels anytime soon.
CYBORG - JUSTICE LEAGUE9 of 12Most comic fans can name the core founding members of the Justice League. It's easy: Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern... and Cyborg?!
That's right, in the New 52 relaunched version of the DC Universe, Cyborg is a founder of the biggest team on Earth. He helped found the team, and has played a pivotal role in several story times. Still, including a character who has traditionally been a Teen Titan, and rarely a leader, was a surprising move that earned him a high rank on this list.
MAGNETO - THE X-MEN10 of 12He was their greatest enemy. The former best friend of their leader who turned away from friendship in favor of his own beliefs. He fought his friend and his friend's recruits at every turn. Magneto didn't just oppose the X-Men on his own, he even gathered together a Brotherhood who ironically called themselves "Evil" Mutants (such hipsters) to take down the X-Men on their way to taking their rightful place at the top of the food chain.
But evil is subjective, and Magneto, largely pushed on by finding out Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (now Avengers) were his children, suddenly wound up repenting. When Xavier was temporarily unavailable, he didn't ask Scott or Ororo or any of his other trusted allies to take over the school. No, he asked Magneto, who accepted.
Of course, as with all fragile alliances, it didn't last. Magneto was the major villain once more with the relaunch of X-Men by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont. Like any good political leader, though, he flip-flops quite frequently. He's been dead, a clone, an impostor, an ally, an enemy, a friend, an unwitting pawn, and everything in-between over the years. Still, that initial switch would've been like Doctor Doom being asked to lead the Fantastic Four.
Magneto is currently on and off the side of the angels in Uncanny X-Men, but that's more because their views have shifted to align more with his this time around.
SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE - NEW AVENGERS11 of 12Spider-Man doesn't join teams. Wolverine is strictly an X-Men character.
Those were a couple of fundamental rules about Marvel Comics that were boldly shattered with the first arc of New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch, which ran from late 2004 to early 2005. Spider-Man, long a reserve Avenger but never a full-time presence, joined the team; as did Wolverine, a character who had interacted with just about all of the Marvel Universe but never really spent much time anywhere outside of the X-Men. They're both still members of Luke Cage's New Avengers, though they're no longer currently on the main Avengers roster.
Fans were skeptical at first and, hey, some still are but there's no denying the move stuck, with Spider-Man and Wolverine both currently on not one, but two different Avengers teams. Along the way, plenty of other characters previously never associated with the Avengers – Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, Dr. Strange, The Thing – have also been added to the roster, with the Avengers titles never more numerous or successful. So it looks like it worked.
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