Marvel has just released details of “Avengers: No Surrender,” a 16-issue weekly series that will kick off in Avengers #675 and tie directly to the idea of “Legacy” – partially by apparently mucking around with the team’s history.
In a scene setting up the story that appeared in Marvel Legacy #1, the Avengers’ longtime butler Jarvis feels that something is amiss in Avengers Mansion – even as he fails to notice (or doesn’t see a problem with) the fact that a previously unseen figure now stands among the Founding Avengers in the iconic statue that adorns the mansion.
Likewise, that same statute – including that mysterious figure, a new character named Voyager – appeared in the first promotional art for “Avengers: No Surrender.” Voyager showed up again on a reproduction of the cover of Avengers #1 that appears on the cover of Avengers #676, the issue that will tell her origin – a mystery seemingly not lost on whoever’s hands are depicted examining the classic comic book.
Beyond these few facts, there aren't many other clues to who Voyager really is. For one thing, we know her secret identity is “Valerie Vector.” We also know she shares some spiritual DNA with “secret history” characters like The Sentry and Blue Marvel. And… That’s basically it.
Since Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort urged us to crack open our Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and dig for clues to Voyager’s true identity, we decided to do exactly that.
Combing through decades of Marvel history – and as you’ll see, we went as far back as it gets – we’ve come up with a list of suspects that could prove to be the true identity of Valerie Vector, A.K.A. Voyager.
Given that Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort just flat out told us that Kobik has nothing to do with Voyager’s identity (despite their possible visual similarities), we’re gonna call this one the longest of long shots.
The idea that Ayesha/Her could be Voyager isn’t completely wild. Ayesha currently has as high a profile as she’s ever likely to obtain thanks to her involvement in the Guardians of the Galaxy film franchise, and Voyager’s look and color scheme are easily comparable to Ayesha and her counterpart Adam Warlock.
But that may be exactly what’s making this a little more far-fetched. Though “Avengers: No Surrender” is clearly building towards something with the Infinity Stones, it seems a lot more likely that Ayesha would appear in whatever story arc that will pay off. Plus, a secret identity isn’t usually a necessity for genetically perfect cosmic beings.
We won’t be so bold as to rule out the idea that Voyager won’t be revealed as a familiar face at all – even if she does have a connection to someone we know.
The characters most easy to compare Voyager to – Sentry and Blue Marvel – were brand new characters retconned into the “secret history” of the Marvel Universe, so maybe Voyager will follow suit on some level.
Considering, however, that Brevoort mentioned digging through those old copies of The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe, we’re gonna guess Voyager will have at least some connection to Marvel’s legacy of characters.
When we start looking at characters such as recent villain Cressida/Avenger X, the chances that she’ll at least play a role in “Avengers: No Surrender” start to rise steadily. She’s a recent addition to the Avengers mythos – and she’s got secret connections to the history of the team.
On the other hand, Mark Waid did just tell a story with Cressida tying into an unseen era of the Avengers’ early years, prior to which her identity was teased for some time. Making Cressida Voyager’s secret identity could be too much like going to the same well twice – or it could be the payoff to a story that’s been building in Avengers for a while now.
What’s that? You don’t know who Sun Girl is? Well you probably don’t know who Voyager really is, either, which is what makes this theory make a little bit of sense at first blush.
Sun Girl is a Timely/Atlas/Marvel superhero who appeared in early issues of Marvel Comics, and who appeared throughout the 40s and 50s, teaming up with the Human Torch and other major characters. She even appeared in some reprint stories as recently as the 70s, but the original Sun Girl was never brought back in modern continuity - so to say she’s forgotten would be a bit of an understatement.
And that raises the question – what if Tom Brevoort’s statement that she’s “the most important character in the Marvel Universe that you don’t remember” is literal? What if Voyager is a new twist on an actually mostly forgotten Marvel character?
Then there’s the matter of Voyager’s appearance – she’s certainly a bit of a ringer for Sun Girl, whose power was that she carried a heat gun.
Of course, that in itself raises the point that there are some big downsides to this theory (like Sun Girl’s heat gun, which Voyager seems to lack). There’s the small matter of Marvel creating a new Sun Girl who didn’t exactly set the world on fire just a few years ago. And of course, there’s the matter of her secret identity. Sun Girl’s real name was Mary Mitchell – alliterative, yes, but we know Voyager’s name is “Valerie Vector.”
Still, we wouldn’t be shocked to see this come up.
When we lay out all the facts, there’s one candidate to be Voyager’s secret identity that stands head and shoulders above the rest – which is pretty ironic, considering she’s currently somewhere in the neighborhood of three feet tall.
Yeah, we’re talking about Valeria Richards.
When we last saw her – at the tail end of Marvel Legacy #1 - Valeria was dreaming of coming home to the Marvel Universe, and – it seems – developing some cosmic, reality altering powers a la her brother, Franklin Richards (maybe from one of those Infinity Stones we keep hearing about?).
Now, there are some obstacles here; for one thing, Valeria is very much a child in current continuity, and Voyager has a connection to the founding Avengers, who stopped being a team before Valeria was even born.
But on the flipside, an adult version of her brother Franklin – there he is again – did once travel back in time to lead the team Fantastic Force as “Psi-Lord,” so there’s precedent for those wacky Richards kids getting up to timestream-bending hijinks.
We’ve also already seen a few glimpses at future Valeria that don’t outwardly line up with the idea of her being Voyager, but in the wake of Secret Wars - and considering the Richards family’s present status quo – who’s to say what possible future timelines are even valid anymore? Or that “Valerie Vector” isn’t just a version of Valeria from an alternate timeline, which would be a classic Marvel twist?
And then there’s that name – “Valerie Vector.” Call us crazy, but to us that sounds a heck of a lot like “Valeria” and “Victor” – as in Valeria Richards and her godfather and sometimes-mentor Victor Von Doom. And her codename – Voyager – reflects the idea of the Richards family as explorers of time and space.
Granted, yellow and black aren’t exactly the Richards family heraldry, but in terms of physical appearance, it’s not hard to see Valeria reflected in Voyager.
The biggest thorn in the side of this theory is that the Fantastic Four’s moment seems to be coming in Marvel 2-In-One. But, if Valeria does prove to be Voyager, maybe a connection to the Avengers’ legacy wouldn’t be the worst thing for a freshly returning FF title.