You're an Avenger! You're an Avenger! Everyone's an Avenger!1 of 12
Conan the Barbarian is joining the Avengers.
Yes, you read that right. And going by Marvel history, it's a long time coming.
But Conan isn't the first surprising character to join a superteam on a regular basis (even if his presence is kinda out there).
Here are 10 of the most unlikely additions to superteam rosters!
KITTY PRYDE - S.H.I.E.L.D.2 of 12
At first glance, "Kitty Pryde: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." sounds pretty ridiculous, and the creative team of the 1997 limited series 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?
Kitty was also a brief left-field addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy following a short-lived engagement with Peter Quill (yeah, you read that right).
LUKE CAGE - FANTASTIC FOUR3 of 12
At 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 outsiders 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 later became an Avengers mainstay, but this was his first brush with a premier Marvel superhero team.
After Cage's stint, a cavalcade of substitute members - including Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Namorita, Black Panther, Storm, the Scott Lang Ant-Man, Sharon Ventura/Ms. Marvel, and even the FF's arch-foe Dr. Doom - joined the team at various points in the book's history.
CAROL DANVERS - THE X-MEN4 of 12
The X-Men have been no stranger to surprising members over the years. However, Carol Danvers (Now Captain Marvel, but Ms. Marvel at the time) earns a notable distinction as, well, she's not a mutant!
Chris Claremont simply liked the character of Carol Danvers. He used her in Avengers Annual #10 (the 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 while 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 12
Though villains becoming heroes tends to happen in the Marvel Universe fairly often (Magneto, Mystique, Sabretooth and Juggernaut have all joined the X-Men, for example), it was once a rarer occurrence in the DC Universe, where bad guys tended 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 12
When 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 the new universe, Stormwatch would also include J'onn J'onnz.
This was the start of an ever more confusing series of status quos for Martian Manhunter, whose time with the League was in question for years.
Now that DC has moved on the from New 52, J'onn is once again an important member of the League, playing a key role in Scott Snyder's current Justice League title.
HAWKEYE - THUNDERBOLTS7 of 12
Hawkeye 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 12
She'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 Duela Dent was actually Two-Face's daughter.
Things got a bit jumbled for Duela following Crisis on Infinite Earths, 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 years later, and helped them defeat the Titans East... who she was also a member of.
Duela Dent's identity got its due in the "New 52," when a different version of the character was introduced as the actual daughter of the Joker from an alternate Earth.
CYBORG - JUSTICE LEAGUE9 of 12
Most 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...
Or at least, that's the version of the founding team presented in DC's "New 52," which swapped Martian Manhunter, one of the League's original founders and longest running members, for Cyborg, whose past with the Teen Titans was subsequently erased.
This version of the League has made its way into pop culture, serving as the basis for 2017's Justice League film. But back in comics, since DC has moved on from the "New 52," but Martian Manhunter and Cyborg's classic roles have been somewhat restored (with room to keep some parts of their New 52 status quos intact).
MAGNETO - THE X-MEN10 of 12
He 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 (not so crazy now since, uh, that almost kinda happened).
Magneto was recently working alongside the X-Men again, but he came back into conflict with his on-again-off-again teammates when he became one of X-Man's horsemen - leading to the current "Age of X-Man" alternate reality where he leads a very different version of the team in a fragile mutant utopia.
SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE - NEW AVENGERS11 of 12
Spider-Man doesn't join teams. Wolverine is strictly an X-Men character.
Those were once 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. Though neither one is an Avenger right now, for almost a decade they became mainstays for the team.
Fans were skeptical at first - and some never got over that skepticism - but there's no denying the move stuck, with Spider-Man and Wolverine paving the way for an era in which characters like Luke Cage, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Storm, and many more characters who were once well outside the Avengers sphere to join the team - even in brief stints.
Perhaps the latest example of the trend is Blade, who's currently filling a rotating slot on the Avengers in Jason Aaron's ongoing run.
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