It’s way too early to figure out what Marvel’s going to be doing with it’s “Marvel Now!” relaunch, but one thing that seems clear is that Jonathan Hickman is going to be writing a bimonthly Avengers series that will feature a roster of 18 (or more!) heroes. Eighteen sounds like a lot, but I suppose it’s understandable. Historically there were something like 70 different members of the Avengers before Bendis took over in 2004, and then he promptly added about a hillion jillion more guys. (Red Hulk? Seriously?) At this point the Avengers are like the Legion of Super-Heroes; it’s pretty difficult to pick just seven or eight people that’d please everybody.
Right now I can only guess which heroes Hickman will pick for his team–the only confirmed selection is Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. But seeing as I’m pretty picky with who ought and ought not to be an Avenger, I figured I could pass the time by making my own list of people. And I thought we could make a game of it, oh boy!
I have a fairly limited sense of who should be an Avenger. I’ve never been thrilled with Spider-Man, Daredevil, or Wolverine being on the team, simply because those characters function best as loners or outcasts or reluctant allies. As soon as those guys are on the five o’clock news attending a press conference with Captain America and Iron Man, everything that makes them unique ceases to make any sense. An Avenger can be a misfit, but only about as far as Hawkeye or Moondragon, so that they still make some sense being on a team of professional, public superheroes. (I give a pass to the Hulk, seeing as he’s a founding member. But I think that backs up my position–who needs Wolverine or Sentry or Ares to be the “badder bad boy” of the team when you have the Incredible Hulk?) In general I’ve never been a big fan of “improving” the Avengers by replacing them with something else–either by dumping the casts of other comics directly into the roster, or by insisting that they have to resemble the Justice League.
To me the best Avengers are the ones which feel like the best at what they do, who can gel well with the team, and that have or could easily serve with on the team for years. They should be professionals willing to endure public exposure–reclusive vigilantes and overly angsty trainwrecks need not apply. I also prefer characters who don’t make me feel like I picked up the wrong comic book by mistake–one of the Eternals hanging around is fine, but half of the Defenders is pushing it.
With all that in mind, here are the 18 characters I’d use if I was writing Avengers in 2012:
- Captain America
- Iron Man
- The Black Widow
- The Hulk
- The Vision
- The Scarlet Witch
- The Black Panther
- The Wasp
- The Black Knight
- Excalibur (Faiza Hussain)
- Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)
- Living Lightning
- Amadeus Cho
Wow, that was harder than I thought–several of my favorites got left out. But I think it’s a good mix of icons, underutilized mainstays, and a couple of newer faces.
Anyway, I know you think you can do better, so post your dream team of Avengers in the comments. Pick anybody you want (as long as Marvel owns them) and as many as you want, up to 18. In about a week or so I’ll do a follow-up post listing the 18 characters who got the most votes. Obviously that list will be THE UNIDSPUTED RIGHT ANSWER, and we can send it in to Marvel and get paid for figuring it out for them.