OP/ED - Who Should Be An Avenger?

OP/ED - Who Should Be An Avenger?

The Old Order Changeth again, beginning with this week’s Secret Invasion #8. One way or another, the team line-ups are in for some rearranging. With more Avengers books than ever to go around (Mighty, New, Dark, Initiative, and the intermittently published Young), it seemed like a good time to take a look at the Avengers roster overall. To the point, who should be an Avenger?

For the purposes of this exercise, let’s disregard the previewed covers, previous announcements, and the notion of perhaps five books. We’re going to approach this from the standpoint of two teams. One is the straight-up, capital-A Avengers, while the other team would make sense from both a titling and practical view. Therefore, my take:

Captain America (New Cap): Let’s face it; Bucky’s got history. Like Steve Rogers, he was a member of the Invaders. He’s absolutely capable in combat, and proved he could function with the big guns in the closing stages of the Secret Invasion. The Avengers need a Cap, but does this Cap need the Avengers? A great starting point for plot tension, coupled with the ongoing notion of legacy.

Thor: Thor’s obvious disappointment in Iron Man would lead to interesting interaction. And of course, Thor is the original big gun. Also playing a crucial role in the Invasion, Thor’s actions reminded everybody of why it’s handy to have a hammer-carrying Thunder God in the pocket.

Iron Man: One reason: redemption. Even though Tony tried to rally the troops to fight the Skrulls, it didn’t work out. And part of that is because of Tony’s own actions precipitated by Stamford and the Civil War. From the team side, Tony’s the long-time tech whiz and a mainstay. He should be here.

Yellowjacket: After the Skrull dust settles, he’s going to want to do some avenging. Plus, Hank Pym needs some solid character work done on him on a consistent basis to overcome the Slap Heard Round the World. Over the years, after striking Janet one time in a nervous-breakdown fit of anger, the character of Pym has been tagged “Wife Beater”. Despite the fact that the more dire Ultimates version is out of continuity, and despite all the work done on Pym in West Coast Avengers in the day, people still use that single, rock-bottom moment to define the character. A polish and redemptive analysis need to be applied.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones: Again, this couple has one major thing to accomplish after the Invasion is over. And they can best do that on the Big Team. Additionally, it’s been a long-time since we had a married couple on the team, and it’s an interesting dynamic. Particularly with the care and humor that Bendis has applied to their interaction over time.

Vision: We all know that the Vision was built for this team. Even though he’s been kicking around with the Young Avengers, I think it makes sense for him to find his place back on the main squad. It would also make for more emotional resonance when the characters eventually encounter Wanda again.

Tigra: Even though Bendis brought her in to kick some ass during the Annual’s battle with the Hood’s gang, Tigra shouldn’t stop there. The experience with The Hood should be a motivational catalyst, boosting her up from the Initiative to the main team. It ought to be used as a touchstone to give her drive and assertiveness, particularly in situations where the group faces more sadistic villains.

Spider-Man: This is entirely because the wise-cracking Spider-Man provides a perfect amount of levity. With uber-serious New Cap and Thor present, they need some balance. It’s also high time that other vets like Luke Cage stand up for Spidey’s humor as an actual asset to the team. No Avengers story has ever irritated me more than the preachy “Giant-Size” short where Cap and Iron Man lectured Spidey while being completely oblivious to everything that he himself has lost. Spidey should be at the forefront, cracking jokes, and getting recognized as the top-level hero he is. Even if nobody can remember who the hell the guy is under the mask.

Ms. Marvel: Current leader of an Avengers squad? Check. Own title? Check. Quite possibly Marvel’s top-rank archetypal female action hero of the moment? Check. Carol’s powerful, iconic, and provides a solid contrast to the Top Three. It would be a kick to see her bossing around New Cap, Thor and Iron Man in leadership decisions. After all, she’s worked with the group more than Thor lately, everyone always seems to be pissed at Tony, and as a colonel, she outranks Cap.

So, there’s one layout for a main team. That could compose the essential Mighty Avengers title. Initiative could do its thing, and Dark Avengers can, well, be dark. What then, of Young and New? Easy. Make the Young into the New.

At this point, the Young Avengers should just graduate into the New Avengers. The post-Civil War separation of the teams has reached a logical conclusion after the Invasion, and this would be a good time to set the kids up officially. However, they should operate under the training and direction auspices of . . .

Ronin/Hawkeye and Mockingbird: Reunited, Clint and Bobbi need a place. This should be it. They pair headed a satellite Avengers team before, and their mutual focus on natural ability would make them logical trainers. They’ve also seen and experienced the cost of heroics. Put Stature, Speed, Wiccan, Hulking, Patriot, Hawkeye II (assuming they all survive) and other young or legacy heroes here. Add equal parts levity and teen angst. Shake.

This is just one possible take. What are the qualities that define An Avenger in the minds of you, the readership? What’s your roster? Should there be five Avengers titles? What’s your take? Exercise your right to assemble, and post away.

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