Spoilers ahead . . .
One of the most frequent topics of conversation that we have when it comes to “big team books” would be that of the line-up. We’ve done it with the JLA, we’ve done it here a couple of times . . . hell, we’d probably do it for the Legion of Substitute Heroes if the time were right. But as I’ve been reading the books leading up to SIEGE, they’ve made me really consider a few things about the broader Avengers line-up, namely the core book.
I think that fandom in general sort of accepts the name “New Avengers” with a bit of a wink and nod. The original iteration of the team frequently changed line-ups; technically, you could have “New Avengers” every few months. When the current book was launched, the question was raised as to a title change after the book had been around a while. Clearly, there have already been a few turnovers in membership, more or less keeping the appellation somewhat justifiable. My sense is that, of course, the old order will changeth again after SIEGE.
Part of this comes from the scene at the end of SIEGE: The Cabal, wherein Loki is casting that meaningful glance at Norman Osborn and the portrait behind him. That picture depicts Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch. It’s a transition picture: “Cap’s Kooky Quarter” plus the other members of the Power Trio. It wouldn’t be a bad odds-on bet for a Post-SIEGE team line-up, particularly if one of the other books is taken in our previously discussed “Street Avengers” direction.
On the other hand, it would seem that elements like the end of the “Dark Avengers” annual indicate that, at the very least, other characters will be involved with the broader brand. It certainly seems by the end of that particular book that Noh-Varr (Marvel Boy) has been groomed to become a new Captain Marvel. That issue also concludes with New Cap and Steve Rogers watching from afar, positing that a Noh-Varr that opposes Norman would indeed be on their side.
My colleague J. Caleb Mozzocco occasionally discusses the notion on Blog@ and his sublime “Every Day is Like Wednesday” blog of a “free market Justice League”; that is, who would be on the JLA if you took the top seven DC solo stars for the line-up? It’s an eye-opening exercise, one that frequently posits a VERY Bat-heavy JLA. I decided to apply (steal) that idea here, and see what Marvel’s numbers yielded in return. If you look at the sales through the prism of ICv2’s Top 300 list for November, then Marvel’s top seven solo acts are: Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Dark Wolverine (interesting!), and Deadpool. While that line-up would no doubt be hilarious for a couple of reasons, I don’t really believe that Dark Wolverine or Deadpool would get there. The next two, then, are Daredevil and Wolverine. For the record, the highest charting solo ladies, which fall after these books, are Spider-Woman, Black Widow (mini), and Psylocke (in her own mini), all of whom come before Ms. Marvel.
If Marvel really, truly wanted to apply a “biggest of the big guns” philosophy to the New Avengers, then Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Spidey and Wolverine make a hell of a lot of sense. The most recognizable characters from Marvel, they’re all in one book, ready-made for a movie audience in the waiting. Certainly, they (and we, as readers) would want female characters on the team; Spider-Woman’s the obvious choice, and frankly, Ms. Marvel probably fits better, given her history and her current place in other media (Super-Hero Squad, etc.). It would also free up some solid characters with followings like Hawkeye and the aforementioned Black Widow to perhaps find a home in one of the other books. (Actually, now that I’ve mentioned it, I think I really like the idea of a BIG GUN New Avengers, a “Street Avengers” Mighty Avengers, and an Avengers Initiative made up of vets and rookies led by Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Black Widow.)
One sidenote: I’d also allow that Black Widow will have the highest profile of all Marvel females for summer of 2010 when she appears in Iron Man 2, so perhaps there could be room for all of them if it didn’t bother editorial too much that there would be three heroes on that roster that would be spider-themed.
My suspicion is that we’ll definitely get the Power Trio in the book, maybe accompanied by Noh-Varr and Ms. Marvel, among others. I’d wonder a bit about the two Marvels on one team, but it might make sense if the Powers That Be at Marvel wanted to finally get the Avengers involved in the cosmic franchise for one of their mini-events. A Kree uprising, etc. could be the catalyst that makes those characters, and really, Marvel’s biggest franchise these days, get involved briefly with their smaller cousin.
What say you, readers? Do you like “all big guns, all the time”? Do you prefer the mix? Do you have a profound hope for SIEGE or for what comes after? Here’s your space; let’s talk.