At this writing, I’m still five days away from seeing THE AVENGERS on the big screen (possibly only two if I’m lucky), and even though I’m still trying to stay as blissfully unaware of what’s in store as possible, I do know a fair amount about what we’ll be seeing in the film. And more to the point, I know what we won’t be seeing.
With that in mind, on the cusp of AVENGERS EVE, let’s take a look at a few of my favorite facets of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that I’ll miss the most.
Sure, the SHIELD helicarrier is cool and all, and it’ll look much more impressive on-screen as a visual, but to my mind, the Avengers aren’t really the Avengers without the Mansion. Donated to the team by Tony Stark, the Stark family townhouse on 5th Avenue in Manhattan became synonymous with the team over the years, despite being blown all to hell by various writers time and time again, presumably whenever they were stuck for some drama.
What I’ve always liked about Avengers Mansion is that it kind of exemplified what set the Avengers apart from other Marvel super-teams. No one knew where the X-Men lived, and no one really wanted to. The Fantastic Four could be found in the Baxter Building, high at the top of a skyscraper, much like Reed Richards, somewhat above the concerns of your average New Yorker. But Avengers Mansion? It was plopped down right in the middle of the city on Fifth Avenue, behind a big gate with a wrought-iron “A” on top of it. Everybody knows where the Avengers live. Got a problem? Just head over there and ring the doorbell.
(By the way, one of my favorite Avengers Mansion anecdotes? Not long after the team was founded, Iron Man and Thor pushed the mansion back from Fifth Avenue about 35 feet to give the team some additional privacy. That must have played hell with the plumbing…)
If there was a single thing I didn’t like about the first IRON MAN film, it was the transition from Edwin Jarvis the butler to J.A.R.V.I.S. the computerized artificial-intelligence assistant. Not the performance; Paul Bettany’s clipped, prim and slightly snide delivery worked perfectly. It was just that what I was afraid might happen actually happened: the inclusion of this new cyber-Jarvis precluded any inclusion of the real Jarvis should we ever get lucky enough to get an actual AVENGERS movie.
As the character has developed over the years, Jarvis has evolved from a stuffy butler stereotype to the heart of the team, its major domo and operations manager, taking care of everything from meals and proper accommodations for members-in-residence to upkeep and maintenance for the team’s fleet of Quinjets. In the team’s darkest hours, he suffers (as in his terrible beating at the hands of the Masters of Evil during the Under Siege), and in its resurgences, he thrives. Jarvis lends a touch of humanity to the team, someone who cares about the Avengers as people, bringing them hot meals, tending their wounds and protecting their good name. You don’t see the Justice League in the satellite gathering around a buffet table of scrambled eggs with their masks off. Why? No Jarvis. Jarvis makes the Avengers seem more like a family.
Maybe it’s just because when I was growing up, the Vision was the cover corner-box symbol of the team, but the Avengers just don’t seem like the Avengers without the resident Synthezoid on the team.
Unlike his android counterpart the Red Tornado, who seemed to get blown to tiny pieces and go away for months at a time every few years in the pages of DC’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, the Vision was a mainstay of the team for decades. His stoic, emotionless faÃ§ade hid a deep emotional reserve, which readers saw slowly reveal itself over the course of the series. And the Vision’s long-simmering romance and eventual marriage to his teammate the Scarlet Witch was for years and years the primary romantic storyline in the series.
Even though John Byrne dismantled the poor guy in his WEST COAST AVENGERS run…
…and then Bendis did it again in AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED…
…you can’t keep a good android down, as Vizh, as his friends have been known to call him, recently returned to the team after a lengthy absence.
So yeah, part of me can’t help but be a little disappointed at not seeing the Vision in that iconic team circle I keep seeing in all the AVENGERS commercials. But who knows, maybe we’ll see him tucked away in a tube in a lab somewhere on the helicarrier…
Scott can’t believe there’s never been a Jarvis action figure. If you have questions about the Avengers or comics in general, send themhere.