Did Marvel Comics just spoil their own surprise they were reserving for the pages of Mighty Avengers? It appears that's possible. In the first issue of the new Avengers spin-off series, a mysterious character stood in the shadows, speaking to Monica Rambeau. He put on a cheap color-changed Spider-Man costume, and joined the fray, without revealing his identity.
Now, it seems the identity of the character may have been revealed - not in published pages of the titles itself but by way of a script given away to aspiring artists for a portfolio review at the Mexican comic convention Festo Comic Con in November.
Earlier this month Festo Comic Con published the script to Mighty Avengers #1 written by Al Ewing. They were apparently given the script by Marvel in order for aspiring artists to draw comic book pages based on it to use as portfolio samples for a review session with Marvel Senior Vice President of Creative & Creator Development C.B. Cebulski, who is scheduled to appear at this convention. By all appearances, the script seems to be the real deal. It bears a Marvel copyright, is listed as a late revision, and is being presented in conjunction with an official Marvel appearance. But the script may have spoiled the identity of the new masked character.
Ewing and artist Greg Land unveiled 'Spider Hero', whose identity was specifically obscured as to build up interest to his identity; not unlike Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada’s Ronin figure in New Avengers. But the script published by Festo Comic Con includes notes from Ewing to Land that reveals Spider Hero is in fact, Blade. Here is the pertinent text, taken from a scene between Monica Rambeau and Spider Hero – aka Blade:
“There's a silhouette in the doorway, leaning out -- BLADE'S. The reason I want to do it this way is so as not to let the readers know who this is until further down the line. So we hide Blade's identity this way, and tell it in Monica's reaction -- he's someone she knows or has heard of, and she's a little surprised to see him here, but she knows what it means if he shows up: vampires. Blade explains that he needs her help.”
Later on in the script, Ewing once again re-affirms Spider Hero’s identity as Blade:
“Enter Blade, in the SPIDER HERO suit. This is basically a spandex, old-style spider-man costume, in a hideous combination of neon pink and neon green with SPIDER HERO written across the chest in place of the spider logo. It's incredibly cheap looking. He's going to be wearing this at least until issue #4, when probably he'll change into the Ronin outfit.”
Indeed, in the cover to Mighty Avengers #4 we see someone in the Ronin Suit smashing a symbolic glass portrait of Spider Hero. If this comes to pass, Blade would be the fourth character in the primary Marvel comics universe to take up the mantle – after Echo, Hawkeye and the Red Guardian – and the fifth if you count Moon Knight’s time under the Ronin guise in Ultimate Spider-Man.
This seemingly unplanned reveal of Spider Hero’s (and possibly Ronin’s) real identity may somewhat spoil the plans Ewing and Marvel have for the Mighty Avengers series.
Although given Marvel's guerilla marketing tactics of the past, it's can't be ruled out that apparent script/spoiler release was either intentional, or even conceivably an intentional red herring.
Writer Gerry Duggan also recently teased Blade’s return to the pages of Marvel Comics in the digital-first Deadpool Gauntlet, telling Newsarama, “You know, there are people who don’t enjoy vampires, in the Marvel Universe. We now may associate them with not enjoying paying taxes…” referring coyly to actor Wesley Snipes, who had tax trouble after playing the role of Blade in three films. The Gauntlet story deals heavily with vampires, as well, as Deadpool takes a mercenary job from Dracula himself.