By Steve Morris

Via that very best of methods: the Dustin Weaver giganti-cover. The covers for issues 1-3 of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers relaunch have been revealed by Marvel today, establishing that more X-Men have moved over to Cap’s Crew. While there are no surprises about which members of the Avengers movie cast made it into the series (all of them), the cover does still hold a few surprises. So! Who’re The Avengers?

Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor are all members of the Avengers – unsurprisingly – and they’re joined be fellow non-surprises Spider-Man and Wolverine. But also in amongst the shiny heroes are Sunspot and Cannonball from the New Mutants, as well as Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman and Falcon. This represents perhaps the first time that two minority characters males have been on the main Avengers at the same time, I believe, although that still feels a bit of a low ratio for what’s meant to be a world-spanning team. No sign of Redwing yet either, which is a worry.

There’s also some whizzy technology in the background, suggesting that Hickman will be basing the team in Nick Fury’s helicarrier. The most intriguing part, however, looks to be the mystery character on the far left, silhouetted by the explosion Steve Rogers is manfully walking away from. For my money, this looks like it’s meant to be Shang Chi, but.. well, it could be anybody really. Anybody else got a better guess in mind?

Hickman, artist Jerome Opena and colourist Dean White will start the series off in December. There are still several more characters yet to be revealed as team-members, so don’t lose hope yet, Jarvis fans!


  1. Sixteen heroes and heroines is as far away from the classic, two-tiered, AVENGERS setup as one could envision.


  2. hey, cool cannonball is in the Avengers, he’s one of my favorites. Maybe now he won’t be portrayed as absolutely incompetent.

  3. Pretty sure you’re incorrect about minorities on The Avengers previously. During Johns run The Falcon and Black Panther were both members. Triathlon and Firebird, Firebird and Living Lightning, etc. at various times.

  4. One of Hickman’s earliest Marvel works was a pretty cool Sunspot/Cannonball buddy story so their inclusion should be entertaining.

    Really a shame though that we’re being denied the art skills of one of the industry’s most innovative modern artists due to the demands of being a Marvel architect.

  5. >> This represents perhaps the first time that two minority characters have been on the main Avengers at the same time, I believe >>

    Oh, sure. Make a claim like this a week after I packed away my AVENGERS reference volumes.

    But I think the first time two minority characters were active on the Avengers roster was in the 1970s, when the Black Panther and Mantis were both on the team, though Mantis’s membership may not have been formalized until she left.

    By my run, at least, there was a period that Triathlon, Photon, Silverclaw, Living Lightning and Firebird were all active at once.

  6. Steve, you are definitely wrong about the minority thing. Ben Grimm (Jewish) and Luke Cage (black) were on the same Avengers team for years. And that’s just off the top of my head. You’re posting this stuff for the whole internets to see, why not do a bit of checking before making a false statement like that?

  7. When they mentioned several New Mutants would be headed to this book, I thought for sure that would include Cypher–his modern power set seems right up Hickman’s alley. (Of course, he could still pop up.)

    I like Sam and Roberto, especially with a proper amount of bromance, but as New Mutants go, they’re not ones that will get me to pick up an Avengers book.

  8. >> Sorry guys, Jews see themselves as WHITE first, religion second…>>

    Aside from the fact that you’re mistaken on that score, the claim wasn’t “non-white,” but “minority.”

  9. Really happy to see Cannonball and Sunspot on the team. The latest New Mutants series was great, and I’m sad to see it go.

  10. The Spider people and Wolverine are hanging around still? And Hickman is writing this? If I hadn’t known that I would have assumed it was the work of a previous resident.

  11. In AVENGERS #181 (1979), the members included the Falcon, the Beast (mutant), and the Vision (synthozoid).

    How large can the membership of the Avengers be before the number loses its meaning? No TV show would include a cast listing for people that appeared only once or twice per season. They’d be listed as guest stars. Only a fraction of the 16 people listed as members of Hickman’s Avengers will have meaningful roles in a given issue.


  12. While we have an authority like Kurt here, I do wonder about this: Speaking on minority whites: is Tony Stark supposed to be Italian? As a kid, I sorta assumed it (named Tony, mom named Maria, and when I was a kid he had curly hair and a mustache). It doesn’t matter for storytelling, but it’s one of those weird assumptions that sorta stuck with me.

  13. Are jewish considered a “minority” in the U.S.A. ? In the same way afroamerican are? I would think one should ask for palestinian or islamic people in a team to be fair; I don’t see jewish suffering from social injustice or racism in u.s.a. or in their country.

    But maybe it’s just my european vision of the things.

  14. Giuliano – they are a minority. Not in the exact same way that african americans are, but that doesn’t make them not a minority. Additionally, less social injustice or racism doesn’t prevent them from being a minority.

  15. Yay! The politically correct movie Avengers! Apparently Marvel doesn’t realize that every person who went to the Avengers movie doesn’t buy the Avengers comic. And those of us who do don’t expect the comic to be EXACTLY LIKE THE MOVIE. And give Cap his head-wings back, would you?

  16. All of the movie characters are represented (except the Hulk, admittedly), regardless of if they fit the story. Why is Black Widow there, except that she was in the movie? And the diversity reeks of corporate quotas rather than a desire to be inclusive. Oh, and we have to have Spider-Man and Wolverine on top of everything else. Was this group formed by computer printout or a corporate marketing squad? To me, nothing indicates that an actual “writer” chose any specific “characters” for actual “story” reasons. Could be wrong, though.

  17. Jerry, Widow has been an Avenger on-and-off since the 70s. And how do you know how any of them will fit into the story? The goddamn comic hasn’t even shipped yet.

  18. Was this group formed by computer printout or a corporate marketing squad?

    The artificiality of the Avengers/X-Men merger is what’s soured me on the whole editorial project. It’s the logical nadir of corporate groupthink—line-wide restructurings based on treating the characters as products to be marketed. The stories are just advertising vehicles.


  19. >> While we have an authority like Kurt here, I do wonder about this: Speaking on minority whites: is Tony Stark supposed to be Italian?>>

    Tony’s descended from Brits on his father’s side, Italians on his mother’s side.

    >>Are jewish considered a “minority” in the U.S.A. ?>>


    >>All of the movie characters are represented (except the Hulk, admittedly)>>

    The Hulk’s there.

    >> Jerry, Widow has been an Avenger on-and-off since the 70s.>>

    And an important character in the book even before that, as a key supporting character and/or team ally from #29-47 and off and on thereafter through #76. She first joins the team in #111.

  20. Is this what the Marvel line is now – everybody and everything is an Avengers member?? Do Marvel not have faith in any of their properties anymore, now the Avengers film made $millions?

    This whole AVX thing – has really ruined the X-Men concept. What was wrong the X-Men concept, the whole “humans hate mutants but mutants will protect them anyway while trying to integrate”? It had that great idea that any outsider could relate to : being different.

    Now they’re just another bunch of costumed heroes in the Avengers. Marvel used to be unique. All the characters and titles individual… all the characters also not knowing each other.

    Now it’s one big super club where everyone’s friends and knows each other’s identity. Yeah, hey Steve, hey Tony, here Sam (Cannonball), yeah hey Jessica (Spider-Woman).

  21. Richard –
    I’ll put the question to you – were you this pissed when Beast/Firestar/Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch joined? If this is done well, what’s to complain about? Since it’s not even out yet, why complain?

    Additionally, Marvel characters have always been buddies with each other. Daredevil was Mister Fantastic’s lawyer as far back as the early 90s. Peter Parker interned with Reed. The FF lived in Avengers mansion for a while. The Avengers discovered a comatose Jean Grey. There are countless examples.

  22. What exactly is artificial about it?

    The return of the Phoenix Force (PF) and the use of it in the storyline are artificial, since the PF isn’t being written as a character, but as a plot device and generic power source/possessing spirit.

    Generally, a dramatic story ideally places the hero in a situation that’s unique to him. Of course, placing him in a series of unique situations in a series of stories would be hard, so giving him a personal stake in the conflict and having him changed by the conflict produces a good story.

    A lesser approach, in a series, consists of bringing in a guest star who causes a dramatic situation to develop and is changed by it. That approach risks making the lead a spectator in his own series, but the story can be interesting.

    Below that is having the hero face a generic situation, such as rescuing people from a natural disaster. The situation isn’t unique to him, and the outcome is predictable.

    At the bottom are formula stories, such as having a villain try to use mind control to force the hero to do evil deeds, or a hero having to face his worst fear, or a hero facing exhaustion and having to summon his last bits of strength to defeat the villain. Any hero placed in the situation will act the same way, the story will end the same way, and the outcome is known in advance.

    The Avengers and the mutants were created to face different situations and different villains, in the context of series. Producing character-driven stories, as opposed to plot-driven or formula stories, was already hard enough without forcing mutants and Avengers onto the same teams. A rough analogy would be having firemen and cops on the same squad. They can do each other’s work, but their specialties are different. The mutants have character themes that the Avengers don’t.

    And then there’s the problem that Marvel’s events are deliberately artificial, perhaps worse than the formula stories. If I wanted a storyline such as AvX or FEAR ITSELF, designed for kids playing with action figures, I’d be playing with action figures, not reading comic books.


  23. Synsidar, I appreciate the in-depth response. While the crop of writers on AvX didn’t invent the PF, it does fit the criteria you put forth (personal stake – Namor finally has the power to rule the world and not just Atlantis, Colossus is nigh omnipotent but still can’t rid himself of Cyttorak or get the girl of his dreams, etc.)

    While I wouldn’t want to see the Avengers and the X-Men be completely inter-changeable, the X-Men can and do function as Avengers-ish superheroes all the time, in quite successful stories. How many of the original X-Men stories had them fighting the Brotherhood when they attacked a military base/political leader/etc. Hell, Whedon had one of the most beloved X-Men run in histories and that whole thing was predicated on the premise of the X-Men acting as superheroes and interacting with non-X-Men-ish (Fury/Shield/the FF) characters.

    The X-Men have some character themes that the X-Men don’t, certainly. But not every X-Men story has to hit those notes to be successful.

  24. I haven’t seen a lot of Hickman’s work but I did enjoy his Galactus/Celestials clash in the pages of Fantastic Four.

    That was enough for me to be taking a bit of a peek to see how he handles the Avengers.

    As an Aussie sci-fi writer I’ve written a solid collection of Marvel (espec Thor) fan fiction, why not check it out?

  25. While the crop of writers on AvX didn’t invent the PF, it does fit the criteria you put forth (personal stake – Namor finally has the power to rule the world and not just Atlantis, Colossus is nigh omnipotent but still can’t rid himself of Cyttorak or get the girl of his dreams, etc.)

    The major difference between the PF and some generic power source that makes its wielder like unto a god is that the PF showed up on its own and didn’t have to be found or invented. But showing up on its own is the most artificial element in the event. Much of the beginning of AvX was devoted to coming up with a way to turn the PF into a power source that the Phoenix Five could use for good, for a while, before they were corrupted by it.

    Doing a story on the theme “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” would be easy enough to do, but having the mutants corrupted by power would turn them into villains. Blaming the PF for the corruption is just a kludge that allows the mutants to avoid blame for their actions, but it also erases the point of doing the storyline. After all, coming up with a dramatic development that lasts is the artistic basis for writing the story. If a change isn’t going to last, the writer might as well do something else and not waste the reader’s time.


  26. I don’t think we’ve seen any indication that there won’t be repercussions for the P5 or that the PF is what is making them go bad. Notice that Cyclops, for example, has been acting more morally than Namor.

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