The new volume of Avengers launched this week, and not only is writer Mark Waid bringing the team back to its roots with a classic line-up and a classic threat, he's offering readers a glimpse into the future of Earth's Mightiest Heroes with a throwback look at things to come.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers #1.
Avengers #1 kicks off with Hercules being offered membership on the team after fighting an Asgardian monster. The now-assembled team of Captain America, Thor, Hercules, and Wasp head over to Parker Inudstries, where Peter Parker offers to bankroll the team in Tony Stark's absence. While deliberating, a disturbance is detected and they all head to find the Vision fighting the time-traveling villain Kang and his younger self, the Scarlet Centurion.
It's discovered that the Vision stole Kang from his crib as a baby, hiding him away, leading Kang and Scarlet Centurion to nearly destroy him looking for the baby's location. After the Avengers fight them off, Kang and Scarlet Centurion decide to go back in time and kidnap the Avengers as children.
In the book's final page, we're given a glimpse into the future of Avengers in a series of panels depicting an advanced version of the Vision at the end of time, Dr. Doom as the Infamous Iron Man descending on the team and announcing "From this day forward, you work for me!", a pair of red, Vision-like hands bursting out of a grave marked "Here lies Avenger X - Bravest of us all," and finally, a clash between the Avengers and the Champions, their younger counterparts.
Some of these scenes are easy to figure out. Doom could be the Iron Man seen on upcoming covers previously solicited for this new Avengers title, and the idea that the Champions and the Avengers may fight doesn't seem far-fetched considering the rift between the two teams as a result of Civil War II.
But who or what is Avenger X? Could the X mean a connection to the X-Men? Or is it simply to denote an unknown identity? Why is a strange version of the Vision guarding the end of time? Does he have a deeper connection with Kang than previously thought?