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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on July 13th, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I thought there was one other vote for Jack of Hearts besides mine… not that it affects the final tally much :-(

But I would really like to see the team-up of slots #19-36! Maybe some story where the Top 18 Avengers are all kidnapped by the Collector or something, and so the Alternates (can’t really call them a B-Squad, doesn’t seem fair) have to go rescue them.

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Thomas Wilde said on July 13th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone call Dr. Druid “cool.”

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Kid Kyoto said on July 13th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Interesting commentary but I’d like to hear more about what makes the Avengers unique. The other teams you mentioned have a commonality (we’re mutants, we’re redeeming ourselves, we’re a family) but the Avengers either they can be the Best of the Best or just a team with a shared history.

Both are straightjackets in a way. The first means there’s no room for rookies and new characters, which IMHO is essential for a book like that so the writer has someone to play with. The other makes it harder to gorw the team and encourages insularity.

So what do you think makes for a good Avenger and a good Avenger team?

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SilverHammerMan said on July 13th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Tagak the Leopard Lord is a definite wow from me too.
What I really take away from this though is that you had to have actually read my comment at some point, thus validating my existence forever and allowing me to die happy.
And also no one but me read and enjoyed the age of the Sentry miniseries.

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Jason Barnett said on July 13th, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Looks like Kurt Busiek had close to the perfect Avengers roster.

And Songbird rejecting Avengers membership was based solely on that storyline. Before that one of the keys that made her growth as a heroine so fun to follow was us seeing the finished product in Avengers Forever. Since that happened keeping her off of the Avengers just seems to be derailing her character arc

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“This notion that everybody should either be in the Avengers or trying to get in leads to things like, for example, somebody choosing all of the Young Avengers to be in the regular Avengers.”

Now, come on, let’s be fair here, I only said use half of them.

And it’s not so much that I’m a big fan of the team, it’s more that you’ve got The Avengers, and you’ve got Avengers Academy, and in the middle you’ve got this group of teenagers who – correct me if I’m wrong here – were either pre-selected by the Vision to be the next generation of Avengers or joined up because they thought someone had to do the job and they were willing and able to give it a go.

If we’re putting together a big old roster of people who should be Avengers, a fair number of those kids deserve a shot. And storywise, they’re all cool characters with a lot of potential. Wiccan gives you a combination of Scarlet Witch and (young) Dr Strange, Hulking is a shape-shifting alien prince of two rival space-empires, Patriot is the star-spangled reflection of a modern America, and Speed combines speedster cool with being an arrogant prick – and the Avengers always need an arrogant prick in the mix.

Plus, two of them are sweetly gay for each other, and one is the grandson of the original Black Captain America. Kind of a different feel to the Old School Mainstream Avengers, no?

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Black Rabbit said on July 13th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Dammit, I knew there was something I meant to do. I like the top picks, except I’d drop out the Hulk, Black Panther and Scarlet Witch, and put in Songbird, Black Knight and especially Sandman. I loved him as an Avenger and wish he’d had a longer shot.

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Black Rabbit said on July 13th, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hell, make it so the founders vote and recruit them, for drama. Oh and as a wildcard pick: The Molten Man. Yeah, you heard me.

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Darkblade said on July 13th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I am going to stand by my Avengers Unlimited idea. I don’t see it as homogenizing all of the heroes in the universe so much as creating a more diverse potential for story lines.

Naturally you’ll have heroes like the Runaways (they don’t trust adults enough to go in for something like this and every time they meet the Avengers something goes wrong), Punisher (not a team player, mentally unstable and a ruthless murderer with no concept non-lethal combat), Deadpool (need I even explain him?), etc who for their various reasons would not be part of this.

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Hey, I read Age of Sentry and liked it, its just whenever Sentry wasn’t in that book, he completely sucked. And you can’t just pick up what he was in that book and transplant into a different book.

I feel like it should be mentioned that the Tagak the Tiger Lord guy got his list from hitting Random on the Marvel wiki.

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My thoughts …

I’m not sure how much the picks prove ANYTHING. A lot of us picked Shang Chi just because we knew he was already confirmed. Likewise, a lot of my picks were people I want to see Hickman write as Avengers rather than characters I’d want in the Avengers. Picking, say, Black Widow was more about the movies and my love of the cloak and dagger conspiracy stuff from Secret Warriors than it was about preferring her over another character who didn’t make my list.

Also I totally cheated by voting for ALL the Ant-Men in the same slot but I still think it’d make for great stories.

Having said that …

I think we’ve proven that the Avengers aren’t the Avengers without Captain America (first three issues be damned).

Carol Danvers came in fourth? Really?

Cool, people remember Phyla-Vell! It’s a shame she isn’t the current Captain Marvel.

When Bendis took over people complained a lot about how Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Luke Cage aren’t really Avengers. Luke had a surprisingly good showing and it looks like he won a lot of people over. Spider-Man had a decent showing but it was still pretty underwhelming considering he’s the company’s flagship character. People STILL really hate the idea of Wolverine in the Avengers; there are X-Men who have never even been Avengers who got more votes than he did.

Rick Jones tied with Wolverine and lost to Moon Knight? Really?

I don’t think EVERYONE should be a reserve Avenger (the Punisher certainly shouldn’t) but I like the idea that the team has enough people on-call to get either a small army or one specialist on short notice. I’m fine with having a Marvel where it’s just assumed that Stingray is a reservist unless the story says otherwise and I’m also fine with giving Spider-Man the ability to deputize Rocket Racer or whichever one of his buddies happens to be around when the Masters of Evil attack. Also, “Avengers Unlimited” was basically the premise of the Initiative.

Woo-Hoo! A thousand style points for picking Dr Druid (Jr)!

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Brian T. said on July 14th, 2012 at 3:14 am

I like the cut of your jib, Mr. Smith.

Most of the time, I have no use for characters who are kind of similar to another, more popular character. But I didn’t have a succinct reason I could use to explain why the idea of some unused character’s grandson suddenly becoming a superhero rarely works for me. So, thank you for coming up with something good I could steal.

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Cespinarve said on July 14th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

“Characters like Captain America were created in a time when superheroes tended to be white/male/straight and fandom was more unified behind such characters (…) Northstar, for example, was never designed to be liked by everyone or to be an iconic superhero–by the time he was developed, characters tended to be more human and appeal to a narrower, deeper audience”

At the risk of being a pedant with a a liberal arts education (but I went to a technical college first!), I have to point out that the (what I am assuming is the unintended) implication of these statements is that the ‘white/male/straight’ is the mold that ‘liked by everone’ characters’ come from, and thus any deviation from that comes with the “understanding” that they are no longer of universal appeal.

I take issue with that philosophy, and yet from the rest your text it does not feel like a viewpoint you knowingly meant to endorse.

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sgt pepper said on July 14th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Based on the top 18 I think we can conclusively say that comics fans want their Avengers to be boring.

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My favorite part of this is that Wolverine couldn’t even make it to the runners up list.

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American Hawkman said on July 15th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

For the record? I didn’t nominate any of them, but I’d be pleased with Dr. Druid, Stingray, or Gilgamesh ALL being on any Avengers roster. :) Not commercial, but they are awesome characters.

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HonestObserver said on July 15th, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Way to take out the Asian heroes. Fuck this list.

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My votes:

1. Captain America
2. Iron Man
3. Quasar
4. Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)
5. Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau)
6. Captain Marvel (Billy B…okay, not really.
6. Black Panther
7. The Wasp
8. Vision
9. Scarlet Witch
10. Hercules
11. Justice
12. Firestar
13. Ultra Girl
14. Damn, eighteen is a lot. Fuck it, I’m done.

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I think the problem with cases like Songbird is the simple fact that Marvel is unwilling to support characters/teams that don’t fall under the ‘A list’ franchises. Which there’s no better proof of than a certain name change from Thunderbolts to, oh yeah, Dark Avengers. Who’s betting they’ll get to show up occasionally in events now they’ve got the Avengers tag?

As such, if you’re stuck between a) Characters gets put on the Avengers, even if they don’t really fit, or b) Character gets ignored by Marvel, I think a lot of people are going to pick a), simply because it at least gives the character a chance. Because Marvel simply seems to have stopped giving those chances to other titles these days.

Same thing with people wanting someone like Nova – I’m sure most people actually want him as the leading man in a well written Cosmic universe. But that’s not going to happen, so at least him being an Avengers means he’s around and being used.

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There’s nothing wrong with liking Captain America. He just so happens to be blonde and white – created by a couple of Jews who have him busting Adolph Hitler in the chops on the cover of his first comic back in the 1940’s. There ain’t nothing wrong with Captain America, if you think so, something must be wrong with you.

Cap fan-boyism aside, I think MGK makes a salient point about LGBT and gay characters. I remember getting one of the original OHOTMU comics with Northstar in it. I think I was, what, 7 or 8 at the time, and I remember seeing Northstar, and thinking ‘Man, he looks pretty cool’, but he was in Alpha Flight, and I never read Alpha Flight, so he was just sort of abstractly cool.

Later, when I would actually get the chance to read AF comics, Northstar was a bit of dick, so that sort of turned me off to him. When they came out that he was gay, I was old enough to where it didn’t matter. “Okay… so?” Dude is gay. But still a dick. Kind of unreadable.

I say all this to say this – Northstar has become less interesting the more I got to know him. And that’s not my fault, that’s the writers. When he finally came out, Marvel starting using him as the ‘token gay’, and in a way, like with Luke Cage, said ‘This is our gay super hero’. But he’s an asshole. Making him gay didn’t make him any more likeable. Maybe to a LGBT kid or fan, but not to me.

Wiccan, kind of a wimp, could use some more ‘Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth’-style magic, but whatever. Hulking? Not sure what he is, but he’s got a cool visual look and there was some pathos going on in the Captain Marvel limited series during Secret Invasion, but by and large, not very interesting.

Can comic companies make LGBT characters that aren’t, you know, kind of lame? Or suddenly saying ‘Hey, you like Alan Scott? Well here’s Alan Scott and he’s GAY!’. Well, no, Alan Scott always looked like a dork to me, never read him. So now that he’s gay I’m supposed to care?

Whether Spider-man is fucking Black Cat or Mary Jane or JJJ, how does any of that diminish or enhance how essentially cool Spider-man is? I mean, the core concept – outcase teen in cool costume goes out and beats up supervillains, has problems; is pretty timeless. I don’t see LGBT characters built in such a manner where it is character first, sexuality always is an ‘issue’. If you define yourself by your sexuality, you’re a pretty one-note person, and therefore, boring. Are you spending your days banging some dude/chick/whatever? Cool! What else are you doing?

That’s my main criticism of LBGT (I can’t even spell the acronym consistently) characters in comics. Okay, they are gay. If you read a comic where the main draw to a character is who they date, you are… a pretty weird person, I think (i.e. Spider-man shippers, who quit reading… heh heh… because he stopped being married. Besides, we all know he should be with Black Cat, duh.). You should be reading romance novels. What about him shooting ray beams or being able to bench press elephants or fighting vast international conspiracies… no, this guy’s thing is that he’s gay. That’s where I think comics and comic fans have got it wrong, approaching the character at the wrong end. Build the character first, being gay or straight should be incidental in a superhero comic.

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On Songbird: It’s sort of hard too see her refusal to join the Avengers as a reason not to put her on the team when they had her refuse to join the Avengers as an explanation for Marvel not putting her on the team. Its like DC forcing Barbara Gordon down our throats and justifying it by saying that she’s the most recognizable Batgirl; she’s the only one they use anymore so OF COURSE she’s the most recognizable Batgirl.

On LGBT characters: The vote is split because there are a bunch of different ways to approach the issue and none of them are very good.

You could take Marvel’s highest profile gay character and make him an Avenger. Of course, there really aren’t that many differences between Northstar and Quicksilver so people will just wonder why you didn’t use the Avengers mainstay.

You could make a straight character gay but having Hawkeye come out of the closet isn’t going to go over any better than the Alan Scott thing.

You could take a low-profile gay character and “promote” them … but – as much as I like her – Phyla-Vell isn’t going to sell a bunch of comics so low-profile is out.

You could just use an existing gay Avenger but there are just enough of them to split the vote. Living Lightning, Moondragon, Flatman, ect don’t have big enough followings that there’d be a clear winner. Plus there’s the whole low-profile problem.

You could also ignore the lack of diversity and leave that stuff to the X-Men editors.

We know which route Marvel took.

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if there was anyone that should be an Avenger, it’s Spider-man, imo. He definitely steps up and becomes a hero, but they always got to revert him back to a loser, back to unemployed, back to girl troubles, etc etc.

Dude fights real threats. and it elevates the best of his rogue’s gallery. OF COURSE the sinister six are avengers-level threats. when he joined, i was like, ‘about DAMN TIME!’

but that’s me. :)

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The Unstoppable Gravy Express said on July 17th, 2012 at 11:24 am

That’s where I think comics and comic fans have got it wrong, approaching the character at the wrong end.

It’s not “wrong”, Sam, they were BORN that way! Sheesh! :-)

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Not a bad team. Very classic. I’d definitely read it, though I’d complain every time page space was wasted with Luke Cage. Still it makes me happy that only one Bendis-era Avenger made the cut (even if it was the wrong one).

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Fly- the thing about SPider-man is a lot of people just don’t see him wanting to be an Avenger.

For one thing Spidey is a hero because of his conscience. Making yourself answerable to others can make it hard to act on that, even for the simple reason you have responsibilities to them

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Early in his career Spider-Man tried to join …

…the Fantastic Four but they refused.
…the NYPD but Captain Stacy shot him down.
…the Avengers but there was a Hulk-related misunderstanding.

Oh, and he created his own team later one. People tend to forget about the Outlaws. Actually he’s been the leader of a couple temporary teams in things like Maximum Carnage and Round Robin.

He wants to be a joiner but various things have gotten in his way until recently.

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The Stark said on July 19th, 2012 at 12:08 am

@The Unstoppable Gravy Express

The already did that storyline back in the 70’s, it was the first comic book I ever bought with my own money.

After they defeated The Collector, they immediately had to deal with Korvac and then realized there were close to 25 Avengers active.

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Bwah hah, 2 votes for Sentry. Still got massive respect for the jack of Hearts vote.

I’m surprised Beast beat out Wonder Man, they’re such a good unit I thought a vote for one would be a vite for the other. He’s certainly the omission that surprises me the most from that main list.

Well done to Monica for slipping in there (though I wonder if she’s the definitive Marvel ‘black female hero’), but the Hulk? For shame, founding member or no.

And Spiderman makes an *awful* Avenger.

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Oh sorry about the Swordsman thing..I had no idea there was more than one..thus I meant Jaques. Carol got a lot of votes..that’s very cool. Dr Druid is cool? In a creepy kind of a way, sure.

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