Time to pull back for a bit from “Dark Reign” and examine some fundamental issues regarding team line-ups. Back when the New Avengers reorganized coming out of “Civil War”, some fans were critical of the “street-level” nature of the team. That is, where you previously had cosmic-level or hugely powerful characters like Thor and Iron Man, you now had characters more associated with battling day-to-day crime or lower level super-criminals in an urban environment, among them Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
Now, with the advent of Siege, it’s apparent that the classic Power Trio of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor are set to return. We’re not sure of what kind of team might be built around them. However, if that team becomes the front-line, powerhouse team, I would suggest that there’s still room for a “street-level” team of Avengers.
Why?: Glad you asked. Basically, if you have a mainline Avengers team to take on the biggest of the bads, there should still be someone to take care of business if, say, the Wrecker gets out of hand. You wouldn’t necessarily need the biggest guns for that, but there should be response and organization. Also, heroes should look out for the little guy and the smaller crimes that happen every day.
Who?: Honestly, there are a variety of candidates for the job. Several of them were members of “Marvel Knights”, while others have been members of the Avengers for years. With no prior knowledge of what the new line-ups might be, here are a few suggestions.
Luke Cage and Iron Fist: Clearly, this is their beat. As the Heroes for Hire, they’ve been kicking ass on the streets of NYC for years. While they could certainly hold their own against larger threats, one imagines that they would perhaps be happier making it count on the ground.
Spider-Man: He’s probably the most “New York” super-hero that there is.
Daredevil: Except for maybe this guy.
Cloak and Dagger: I know that they’ve been annexed by the X-Men. However, they were two of the few super-heroes actually concerned specifically with drug crimes and crimes against young people.
Shang-Chi: Though frequently associated with international adventure, his ties to the intelligence community could be helpful in fending off threats related to organized crime and terrorism.
Moon Knight: Another long-time city hero, Moon Knight has the skills, the experience, and the weaponry. When he’s not going crazy.
The Punisher: Okay, so I wouldn’t suggest outright that the Punisher join the Avengers. I’m sure that there are more than a few team members that would have some trouble with that. But I could see Frank Castle being a presence in a book of that type. Once he gets himself together. Yes, that was terrible.
Black Cat: If Felicia stays out the straight-and-narrow long enough, she could work there.
Tarantula (Maria Vasquez): Black Cat’s Heroes for Hire teammate has been, to my awareness, in character limbo.
What?: While “clean up the streets” might be a general mission statement, it would allow for a variety of stories within the larger framework of the MU.
When you consider it, Marvel’s “street-level” characters actually compose a significant chunk of their output, whether they’ve been grouped under a banner like “Marvel Knights” or not. The idea of Marvel heroism, “real” characters with “real” problems, comes into sharper focus when you apply those emotionally realistic characters to problems actually faced by society.
Though we started out talking about the Avengers, and the feasibility of a street-level Avengers team existing simultaneously alongside a more “cosmic” group of Earth’s Mightiest, it should be apparent that Marvel’s NYC environs are just as packed with characters that we should be examining and exploring on a regular basis.
Therefore, expect further coverage of this corner of the Marvel Universe in the near future. As they say in the business "Stay Tuned...".
But before we go, what do you think of the post-Siege Avengers assemblage? How many teams? What kind of mandate? And what about that Realm of Kings teaser with the “Evil Assembled” tagline? Let’s talk.