<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>In <a href=http://blog.newsarama.com/2012/10/05/hickman-reveals-first-marvel-now-new-avengers-details/>discussing plans for his upcoming Marvel NOW! <b>Avengers</b> ongoing series</a> with members of the comics press Friday, writer Jonathan Hickman revealed the roster of the team will eventually reach "about 24 characters." And by the time the roster reaches 22 characters, 12 of those characters will be either female or minority. <p>"We feel like we've accomplished what we've set out to do, which is a book that looks like the world," added the writer. <p>With Sunspot (Brazilian), The Falcon (African-American) and Eden Fesi/Manifold (Australian Aboriginal) revealed to be on the team, Hickman's eventual roster will likely need the addition of some more diverse and minority characters (evidently both new and established) to reflect the global/cultural melting pot he seems to be aiming for. <p>We've already <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/10-female-avengers-marvel-now.html>made suggestions for 10 female characters for the eventual roster</a>, so here's a new countdown of 10 more characters we think can help Hickman and Marvel meet their diversity goal. <p>For the purposes of this exercise we're going to assume Hickman meant <i>this</i> "world" and not the Marvel world, so Gods, aliens, androids and the like don't factor in. <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>
This genius Korean-American teenager absolutely has what it takes to rock on a large Avengers roster. He has an intellect to rival Reed Richards and Tony Stark, he's hung with powerhouses like the Hulk and Hercules, he's been a member of an Avengers team before, and even <i>led</i> an army of <i>gods</i>. <p>Cho would probably be a bit intimidating for a team of young heroes like the <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-now-frank-cho-savage-teaser.html>"amateurs" Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are working on</a>, but with a squad of powerhouses and geniuses, he'd be right at home.
One of comics' few physically disabled heroes, this former New Warrior already served briefly under Captain America on his <i>Civil War</i>-era Secret Avengers team, and doesn't let her partial paralysis from a gunshot wound keep her on the superhero sidelines. <p>She even has specially designed leg braces and crutches with a variety of enhancements to aid in her crime-stopping career.
Faiza Hussain is a British citizen of Pakistani descent. As a medical doctor who works alongside superheroes, she would already be immensely useful to the Avengers. Then she manifested her powers, near complete control of living organisms. The other fun twist to Faiza is that she is the current chosen wielder of Excalibur, a traditionally Christian weapon, while herself being Muslim. Of course, her former team MI-13 and its predecessor Excalibur are also notable as being teams that fully integrated human and mutant heroes long before Captain America decided it was the hot new thing to do. <p>So she's a trained physician who is familiar with and comfortable with super-physiology, a natural leader, has powers that can be used for both healing and offense, and she has Excalibur... why exactly is she not on an active super team <i>right now</i>?
Cloak might be the most well-connected man in the Marvel Universe. He's worked with the X-Men, the Avengers, the Runaways, and his partner Dagger has also worked with the New Warriors. <p>Teleporters are always useful to have on a team, and those connections, along with their relative youth, certainly make this pair a boon to the Avengers. Since they're something of a package deal, if the Avengers asked Cloak into the fold, Dagger would be sure to come along, adding her daggers of light, limited healing abilities, and positive attitude to the mix.
A bit of a yin to Daredevil's Yang, Echo is a deaf Native American woman who started out as a super<i>villain</i>, working for Kingpin against Daredevil. Her deafness didn't hold her back much, as her photographic reflexes, the same power seen in Taskmaster and Finesse of <i>Avengers Academy</i> allow her to see an action once and memorize it perfectly. After run-ins with Matt Murdock, she went good, working with and even joining the Avengers both as herself and as "Ronin" for a time. <p>Echo was apparently killed in the recent <i>Moon Knight</i> series, but that doesn't really stop anyone in comics not named "Uncle Ben."
This one might be a little bit of a cheat: In the initial Marvel NOW! announcement that ran in <a href=http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/07/03/marvel-now-jean-grey-exclusive/>Entertainment Weekly</a> way back in July, it was reported that Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, was a lock for the <b>Avengers</b> team. <p>Since then, though, Shang-Chi hasn't been seen in any of the early <b>Avengers</b> promotional material or covers, and he hasn't really come up in any of the early press regarding the series. So while all of that may not be specifically meaningful, it's at least worth noting that the character remains a solid pick, and a more-than-likely candidate for membership he's been a part of Marvel for more than 40 years, recently served along with the <i>Secret Avengers</i>, and formed a recent bond with confirmed Avenger Spider-Man as they developed new fighting technique "Spider Fu."
Always a fan-favorite character of hardcore Avengers fans, Monica has already served the team in distinguished fashion, even acting as their chairperson for an extended period. <p>Last seen in earnest in Warren Ellis' cult series <i>Nextwave</i>, Avengers fans would likely welcome back the former Captain Marvel/Photon under any circumstances. That she'd help diversify the roster would strictly be an added bonus.
Wiccan and Hulkling joining the Marvel NOW! <b>Avengers</b> would represent a degree of symmetry: In 1997, a new <b>Avengers</b> volume in the "Heroes Return" era welcomed Justice and Firestar to the team, an established couple and two first-time members who previously were mainstays of a "young hero" team, the New Warriors. <p>It was a clear infusion of something new into the Avengers, and Marvel could do something very similar in a distinctly progressive manner by adding Wiccan and Hulkling to the roster also a couple, also new to Earth's Mightiest Heroes and also former members of a young hero squad, in their case the Young Avengers. <p>It should be noted that at least Wiccan appears to be a part of the new Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie project Marvel NOW! series, which may make this move unlikely at this point, but still at least possible down the road.
The Thing (one of Marvel's Jewish characters along with Kitty Pryde, Doc Samson and others) had been a part of the <i>New Avengers</i> lineup recently, and though it doesn't look like he's in the plans for the new iteration of that series, there's seemingly no reason he can't make the jump to <b>Avengers</b> proper. <p>The fact that Jonathan Hickman is finishing up one of the most revered <i>Fantastic Four</i> runs of all time, and this would mean he'd keep writing the character for the near future (like with Mr. Fantastic in <b>New Avengers</b>), is certainly an added bonus.
Hickman says he wants the team to look like the world. While Black Panther's membership in Hickman's <i>New Avengers</i> wouldn't preclude him from serving double-duty (Captain America is apparently all over the damn place), Storm would be just as strong a candidate to represent the African continent. <p>She's recently had a brief flirtation with Avengers membership and with the lines between the X-Men and Avengers teams obviously blurring, maybe she can fulfill the membership term that <i>Avengers vs. X-Men</i> seemingly prematurely scuttled.