Friday, February 1, 2013

If I Was In Charge... Of The Avengers! Part Two!

Last time in this blog, I established my picks for the premiere team of Avengers.  However, there's at least one other team running around with that title, because Marvel likes to milk a franchise realized that there's enough threats to the world, and they certainly have enough heroes running around.

So, this is where I put my B team.  This isn't to say they aren't as great as heroes (in fact, a couple of them are some of my favorites), but either their role was already taken on the premiere team, or I simply figured they might be more useful fighting A.I.M. or the Masters of Evil as opposed to the next time a Norse goddess of death starts making trouble.

Let's review the rules:

1) No more than twelve members.  Any more beyond that, and it's the "Be A Defender For A Day" storyline, and while I love seeing superheroes get excited about the opportunity for horseback riding, we don't need to revisit that storyline.

2) Half the team need to have been Avengers before.  Otherwise, I'm just making the new Force Works...wait, no, even that was made up of former Avengers.  ...okay, it's the new Turbine and the Right-Riders.

3) I have to stick to actual characters who I can prove existed, and it has to make sense why they'd join the team.  So unfortunately, I won't ever be able to bring a super-powered Nathan Fillion onto the team, no matter how much I plead with myself.

So, first things first, we need someone to lead this team.  Someone who can keep track of

1) Black Panther

Now, there are people who wonder what the Justice League would be like if it was run by Batman (overtly, I mean, not just the "well, we elected X as our leader, but when Batman speaks up everybody automatically clicks their heels" stuff they frequently do).  Having an Avengers team run by the Black Panther would be like that, except a bit more awesome.  T'Challa (so named after a misspelling of an African egg bread, if I remember my history correctly) is to planning what Captain America is to patriotism.  The man is a tactician of the highest order, not only managing to rule a nation that for years contained the single greatest natural resource any comic book universe ever had without having wars over it every year (up until one involving Dr. Doom, but while the end result was interesting, the path to get there was a bit sloppy), he's the man who was able to seize control of Tony Stark's entire business empire with one phone call and, well, he also had this just lying around:

My Galactus contingency plan consists of two parts: crying and blubbering.
T'Challa is someone who would know his team's strengths and weaknesses, study every villain they could possibly face, and have a plan in place for his group to win within the first few minutes of whatever attack might occur.

Next up, we need our scientist!

2)  Hank McCoy, a.k.a. The Beast

So I guess this is what he's supposed to look like now?  Okay, fine, still better than "cat face."
The only reason Hank McCoy didn't make it onto my earlier team was that I felt it needed a bit more international flavor, so I put Sasquatch on it.  The man is a consummate X-Man and Avenger, able to function on any team he's placed on, and is one of the more brilliant minds the world has in terms of technology and biology.  He's also powerful enough to hold the line in battle, and he's pretty easy to draw since any time a new artist comes along and wants to change something, "whoops, he mutated again!"

The other key reason to keep Hank on a team that probably won't be fighting interstellar invasions every other week is that he's also a key staff member of Wolverine's current school teaching young mutants how to be better, well, themselves.  I don't want to take him away from that, so he can simply commute back and forth from Avengers Mansion to Westchester.

Now, we need some brute force.

3)  The Thing

I stated once before that it makes no sense for Spider-Man to not be on an Avengers team seeing as he's teamed up with pretty much everybody from Howard the Duck to the Silver Surfer.  Now, the other person who starred in the other massive team-up book Marvel put out for years?

Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin' blue eyed Thing.  Where Spider-man's power set makes him adaptable for any situation, Ben is simply, at heart, the ultimate team player.  He'd function just as well with Power Pack as with the Guardians of the Galaxy, has the biggest heart in comics, and enough power to make most villains seriously reconsider a better job with a reliable dental plan.  He's been an Avenger as of late, and could easily split time between whatever the rest of the Fantastic Four are doing and this group.

Besides, just like how Thor makes everything he says sound regal, there's just something certain about who's going to win a fight when you hear "It's clobberin' time!"

4)  Iron Fist

 Another person who's been an Avenger in recent years, Daniel Rand is like if Bruce Lee and Bill Gates made a clone and then taught it how to punch dragons in the chest to get superpowers.  He's a great addition to any team, because not only have I locked the "close combat expert" role on the team, but I've also supplied a major source of funding for the team's exploits.  Granted, up until the Immortal Iron Fist comic a few years ago, I had always written him off as a one-gimmick horse, but that book and his Avengers appearances have shown me I was much too quick to judge this character.

5)  Vision

Not too long ago, I discussed how Hawkeye is a character who made being an Avenger his whole life.  But, I'll admit, there are times we get to see him outside of his costume, and even times he's left to try to have some semblance of a personal life.  And for him, it makes sense.   But, we do have one more character who made being an Avenger their entire reason for existence, and that's the good comic book android (don't get me started on the Red Tornado) named The Vision.

Also, we're going to revisit that whole "redemption" theme here, since the Vision was originally created by super-evil robot Ultron to destroy the Avengers, and was actually named by Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. The Wasp when he first appeared (she had a knack for that, since she's also the one who came up with the name "Avengers.")  Having rebelled against his "father," Vision has been a regular member of the team, who only flipped out and had to be taken down by his teammates once, which is more than I can say about some characters.

The Vision brings a unique power set to the team, and also makes for a great field commander, able to relay commands from the Black Panther as well as analyze and adapt to situations as they occur.  He's a valuable addition to an Avengers team, and on this one we won't have any of that "sure, Doctor Doom was controlling you, apparently, but I still don't forgive you for using me to murder people" drama currently happening in Marvel's books between him and Scarlet Witch.

6)  Hercules

 Thor, as I pointed out, allowed you to bring mythology and magic into the book with little to no effort.  Hercules does the exact same thing, which is why he was actually one of the first picks I made to be on this team.  Now, this is the "not godly might" Hercules that was last seen running around in the Marvel universe, but I actually like this version a lot.  Having him fall back on the combat skills he picked up through his long life, but adding the fact that even a weak super villain could challenge him added a nice twist.  He has a strong working knowledge of the various pantheons of the Marvel U, and has access to some pretty impressive magical devices that could serve as interesting plot points.

Plus, Incredible Hercules is one of my favorite comics of the past twenty years, so, I had to put him somewhere.

Okay, I have my established characters in place, time to wander a bit and see what strays I can pick up.

 7)  Iceman

Bobby Drake doesn't get enough respect.  He was one of the original X-Men, meaning he's been doing the whole "superhero" thing longer than most Avengers have been, and he has a power set that's almost completely unique to comic book universes.  He's a keen team player, very knowledgeable in different ways to use his powers (that's a fancy way of saying "adaptable"), and has also been one of my favorite characters in comics, so that's an automatic buy-in.

Now, he's also a regular teacher at Wolverine's school, so I figure he can commute in on a giant ice slide with Beast.

8)  Polaris

Now, I just know that somewhere out there is someone going, "Gee, Erik, we have a furry scientist, a god/demigod, and now one of Magneto's offspring on an Avengers team?  Way to copy yourself."  To that, I say nothing, because I can't hear that person and they're silly for talking to their computer.  But if I did hear them, I'd say that Polaris, while yes, she is Magneto's daughter (again, this tends to be of some debate in-continuity), has such a unique power set that any team would consider her an asset.

And besides, so often her name only comes up following "Havok and" that it'd be really nice to let the character grow on her for a bit, out of the shadow of the younger Summers brother.  I really want to see what happens when a writer gets their hands on this character and doesn't have to deal with her boyfriend moaning about working for the government, or how teams don't respect him, or how Scott always gets the spotlight.

Besides, she's also gorgeous, and this team needs something better to look at than the ever-changing Hank McCoy.

9)  Atlas

Another former Thunderbolt (gee, maybe I am making the same teams?), Atlas started out with Songbird as part of the newly-formed Masters of Evil, trying to impersonate heroes after the Avengers and Fantastic Four were both presumed dead.  He had a slightly rougher transition to being a fully-fledged hero (he still felt strong loyalty to Baron Zemo for saving his life), he did eventually become a good guy in his own right.

And then things went downhill during some weird recent Avengers storyline where he felt the Avengers were "bad" somehow.  Yeah, like I frequently tell the people on the phone trying to "reduce my credit card debt," I ain't buying it.

Besides, at least one of the two majorly public Avengers team needs someone who grows big, and I'm certainly not putting Hank Pym on these teams (I like the guy, but his appearances just ask for trouble and disturbing images).

Okay, so we've drifted somewhat through the universe, and now it's my favorite part...picking out the obscure, the bizarre, and downright brilliant choices I have to fill out the roster.  Let's start with a fun one.

10)  Black Mamba

I don't care if it means she has to wear black plastic trash bags all the time, I want her on a team book.

Black Mamba started out as a super villain (whoops, there's that theme again) who gave up the life of crime to become part of the "B.A.D. Girls," the most 90s team of female "super-powered agents for hire" you could think of.  It was Pamela Anderson's V.I.P. without the deep intellectual story lines.

However, that isn't to say there isn't a fascinating character here.  See, Black Mamba is one of the few characters in the Marvel Universe who's able to tap into the "darkforce dimension," a possibly sentient dimension of energy that might or might not be evil, which she uses to cloud the minds of her opponents, allowing limited mind control or forcing them to black out.  That's awesome.

She would easily add something special to the team (okay, besides her...physique, we'll call it), and would add that nice bit of conflict when you have one team member who doesn't quite hold the same ideals as everybody else but still wants to do the right thing...even if it means cutting a few corners.

At least, until she gets set straight and learns to be a real hero, that is.

11)  Veda

 Maintaining the theme of "diversity helps you be prepared for anything," Veda was part of the short-lived (and much under appreciated) team "The Order," which was the official superhero team of California for a short time.  Having been a former action movie star, Magdalena Neuntauben (what a great name) was picked to be given superpowers, ending up with the ability to create "golems" out of any organic material around her.  They aren't as strong as, say, Ben Grimm, but she can have enough running around at once to cover a wide area.

She's kind and generous to a fault (having spent a lot of time helping orphans before becoming a hero, and was actually seriously underplayed in her own book compared to some of the other characters despite having the one power that let her help the most people at once.  In my eyes, she deserves to be brought back and used again.

12)  Squirrel Girl

....nah, just kidding.

12)  Gorilla Man

 Comic books are awesome.

Ken Hale was a soldier of fortune who, afraid of dying, hunted and wound up killing the fabled "Gorilla Man", becoming the new version and also becoming immortal.  Because comics, that's how.

Gorilla Man is there for one reason, pure and simple.  He has the brusque "action hero" persona that would  play well against characters like Iron Fist and Atlas, he has the "trapped in a strange form" that would let him connect with Hank McCoy, he would flirt with every single woman on the team, and he'd be willing to sit down to a game of cards any day with Ben Grimm.  Simply put, he blends well with everybody on this team, and the whole "immortal" deal always comes in handy.

Now, he'd have to stop using regular guns in combat (I maintain that Avengers don't just gun down their enemies, despite what some modern writers might want me to believe), but if they can't find a gorilla-hand sized stun pistol somewhere around the mansion, I'm pretty sure one can be built.

So that's my listing for the secondary group of Avengers!  Obviously, I left out your favorite character, but remember two things:

1) I still have one more team left to build, so there's a chance they'll show up there!

2) It's my blog.  So nyah!

Feel free to leave a comment about how I need to stop breathing in the fumes from my car's exhaust pipe for fun, and indicate just how (correctly) wrong I am!

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