<i>by George Marston, Newsarama Contributor</i> <p>With Jonathan Hickman taking over the <b>Avengers</b> franchise starting in December as part of the ongoing Marvel NOW! revamp, readers will soon be introduced to a new roster of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. <p>Hickman hasn't exactly left his intentions with the team a mystery, saying that the lineup will eventually grow to around 24 members, some of which have already been revealed including big names like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and Hulk and some that are less prominent heroes and new characters. We salute that approach, as one of the hallmarks of the Avengers has always been its focus on the team dynamic, and the presence of compelling but lesser-known figures. <p>But it's important to note that sometimes, those characters are lesser known for a reason. While there are innumerable classic Avengers that could be pulled from the team's history to populate the lineup, here are 10 that, in one writer's estimation, Hickman might want to avoid either for their reputation among fans, or their actual (fictional) performance as Avengers. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>
For all the jokes about characters like Aquaman and Namor get for being useless outside of water, it's been proven time and again just how powerful they can be. <p>On the other hand, here's Stingray, a guy in a cape with all the powers of a marine biologist. Stingray started out as plain old Walter Newell, an ally of Namor who helped the Prince of Atlantis defeat far more awesome underwater guys like Tiger Shark with his knowledge of marine biology and science stuff. <p>After only a few years, he donned the Stingray suit to capture Namor, who was accused of stealing all the water from the surface world. While it's a masterpiece of ocean exploration technology, the only thing the Stingray suit gives Newell the power to do when fighting crime is shoot lightning, and glide a little. Not exactly a powerful resume on a team with the Mighty Thor. His two most notable adventures during his time with the Avengers include getting beaten up by a crazed Tony Stark during "Armor Wars," and helping the Avengers take down a team of robots called "Heavy Metal."
A lot of readers have a soft spot for Demolition Man, or as he's more commonly known, D-Man. An ally of Captain America at the height of Mark Gruenwald's legendary Cap run, D-Man quickly went down the toilet, almost literally, suffering from schizophrenia, and living among a group of subterranean hobos called the Zero People. <p>D-Man has the power of pretty strong strength, constantly being confused for Wolverine and Daredevil, and as demonstrated in the first issue of Kurt Busiek and George Perez's Avengers run smelling so awful that no one wants to get within 30 feet of him. <p>D-Man was most recently turned into the new Scourge, and shot right in his faceplate by Captain America's girlfriend. Goodnight, sweet prince.
Admitting that Triathlon is terrible is a little bit painful, considering how central he was to Busiek and Perez's aforementioned run on <b>Avengers</b>, a nearly universally beloved comic run. <p>On the other hand, Triathlon is the Neapolitan ice cream of lameness. A former Olympic athlete make that "triathlete" Delroy Garrett found himself stripped of his accolades for cheating. Down on his luck and destitute, Garrett joined up with the Triune Understanding, a cult that was based around maximizing the physical, mental, and spiritual potential of human beings through the use of Thetan Rays or alien ghost masters or something. <p>As Triathlon, Garrett was able to match Captain America in terms of physicality. Really, his lameness stems more from the circumstances surrounding his joining the team, which was forced as part of a plot in which the Triune Understanding tried to infiltrate to the Avengers, using their powers of Affirmative Action and PR bullying to convince everyone but Iron Man that they really needed to hire more ethnically diverse Avengers, and why not Triathlon? He later took up the legacy of the 3-D man, and was last seen making himself useful during <i>Secret Invasion</i>.
Rage has the dubious distinction of being the youngest Avenger ever, having joined the team at the tender age of 13, despite looking much older than his years. <p>Rage was created at a time when the formula for creating Avengers was Name > Costume > Concept > Usefulness > Relevance, and the formula for creating black superheroes was Teenager > Drugs > Skateboard > Urban > Character Development. <p>As such, Elvin Haliday was mutated into the grotesque form of a human adult after being exposed to toxic waste on his way home from playing basketball. Finding that he had gained super strength, Rage forced his way onto the team by, again, highlighting their lack of non-white members. He was literally thrown off the team by Hercules, after it was discovered that he was underage, and he stole a Quinjet.
Yet another Busiek/Perez creation, Silverclaw's story was a little better than Triathlon's, but the character was infinitely lamer. Adopted remotely by Avengers butler Jarvis, Maria de Guadalupe Santiago was the daughter of a volcano goddess, which naturally gave her the power to take on aspects of wild animals and dress like an extra from a Tarzan film. <p>After helping the Avengers save her village from the ancient sorcerer Kulan Gath, Silverclaw only stuck around a little while, attempting to balance her life as an Avenger with her life as a college exchange-student before being unceremoniously dropped from the book when Kurt Busiek ended his run.
Starfox is most notable for his reputation as a weirdo on the street, and a creep in the bed. Bearing no connection to the anthropomorphic jet-pilot fox of Nintendo fame, Starfox is really Eros, brother of Thanos, and is possessed of the power to stimulate the pleasure centers of sentient beings. <p>Starfox used this power in exactly all the ways you'd probably expect him to, by seducing women on and off of Earth, and travelling the stars in search of cosmic tail. He also once hooked up with She-Hulk, though he didn't use his powers on her. Guess she has a thing for dudes with popped collars and Quicksilver hair.
Dr. Anthony Ludgate was a psychologist who learned magic when he sought counsel with a Tibetan monk who was actually Dr. Strange's mentor, the Ancient One. Changing his name to Anthony Druid (yes), he had all the powers of a "real" druid, like telekinesis, and hypnotism, obviously. He was most notably responsible for becoming the leader of the Avengers only to betray them after being mocked by Daimon Hellstrom, presumably for looking like Rip Torn in a cloak. He was killed when Hellstrom showed up to help the Avengers defeat him, and shot him with a "breathing gun," which seriously sounds like the lamest possible way to die. <p>Before all of that, however, Doctor Druid actually originated prior to Marvel's superhero boom as Dr. Droom, a Caucasian explorer who traveled to Tibet where he found wisdom by wrestling a "gorlion," a half-gorilla/half-lion, and psychically received the powers of a Tibetan monk, a process that also inexplicably turned him Asian. Whoa.
The Sentry is the worst of the worst, and what's baffling is that there are still two characters that are even lamer. <p>Everything about the Sentry is terrible, from his origin as a "secret lost character," to his eventual descent into madness at the hands of Norman Osborn, and every "lost secret" in between. If Sentry had disappeared after his initial miniseries, no one would probably care at all. Instead, he forced his way into the lineup of the <b>New Avengers</b>, staying with the team until his death at the end of <i>Siege</i>. <p>Possessing the power of "a thousand exploding suns," the Sentry is a schizophrenic powerhouse who somehow managed to make that combination of words actually mean a whiny, self-possessed MacGuffin character whose personal lameness is only outweighed by the lameness of the conceits that are required for his existence to make any sense. The Sentry is one of the worst wastes of potential, story time, and printed ink since Tony Stark was replaced by his alternate teenage self.
Gilgamesh, the best left "Forgotten One," joined the team in the breakout anniversary collector's item hit <b>Avengers #300</b> along with most of the Fantastic Four. <p>The "Vibe" of Avengers continuity, Gilgamesh draws on the long history of mythological figures such as Thor, and Hercules as members of the Avengers. What's that you say? You aren't familiar with Gilgamesh, the ancient Sumerian hero? And why is this guy wearing a cow on his head? Let's just say there's a reason this guy is called "The Forgotten One." Maybe next time you can get Mithras, or at least Marduk.
Deathcry is a character who was somehow a member of the Avengers instead of Youngblood or the Team Titans. She's a Shi'ar warrior who was commanded by the Empress to join and protect the Avengers, to which the Avengers replied, "Nah, we're good." <p>Rather than taking no for an answer, Deathcry forced her way onto the team, where she became close friends with Hercules and the Vision, who were able to overlook her cripplingly stupid code name and ridiculous tattoos. <p>She was later vaporized by her ally Captain Cosmic when he just as sick of her nonsense as everyone had already been for decades. <p>Deathcry was brought back during <i>Chaos War</i> along with Dr. Druid, but both have returned to oblivion for now, at least.