Are the New Avengers coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
It seemed that way at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Many of the Avengers were off on their own adventures, and Captain America famously ended that film by (almost) calling his new team of Avengers to assemble. With Cap and Black Widow leading the group, it looked as if War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Falcon. However, the movie that we’ve been buzzing about all month at Blastoff Comics reintroduces original Avengers that we’d counted out, brings in even more heroes, and seems to fracture the team that was put in place at the end of Ultron. Everything we’ve seen suggests that the ever-changing face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will undergo its biggest shift yet after Civil War, and the question on everyone’s mind is exactly who will Assemble once the smoke clears?
First, let’s just take a look back at what New Avengers was doing during the time when it was the centerpiece of the Marvel Comics universe. The classic Avengers title came to an end with the devastating Avengers Disassembled arc, when Scarlet Witch’s descent into insanity causes rifts in reality, leading to multiple Avengers dying and the team disbanding. Brian Michael Bendis went on to relaunch Marvel’s flagship title as New Avengers, offering a more street-level take on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The first roster of Bendis’s New Avengers consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Wolverine, Sentry, and Ronin. New Avengers was the backbone of the Marvel Universe, uniting its characters and setting up events that had been foreshadowed for almost the entirety of the run. New Avengers took us through Civil War, the long-planned Secret Invasion, Siege, Fear Itself, and the event that would mark the end of Bendis’s run on the various Avengers titles, Avengers vs. X-Men. Throughout this, the team was constantly changing. New Avengers would go on to include Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Bucky (as Captain America), Captain Marvel, Jessica Jones, Mockingbird, Thing, and Daredevil.
What’s interesting about New Avengers was that, even as it acted as the glue that held Marvel’s publishing slate together, it rarely felt like a big, sprawling epic. Sure, it planted the seeds for big, sprawling epic events and even participated in them, but the entirety of the title felt very much like “a day in the life of the Avengers.” There is an entire issue where Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are looking for a babysitter. An entire issue! In that way, New Avengers seems more like the direction that Marvel Studios’ TV branch is going, and indeed many of the characters that made Bendis’ New Avengers work as something unique and fun was the inclusion of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist specifically. So while the Netflix shows plan to assemble those characters in Defenders, where does that leave the MCU’s Avengers?
We all know it is going to go down in Civil War. I couldn’t be more excited for it, but I’m going in knowing that what we’re going to see might have the same end result as Avengers Disassembled… a group of broken and scattered heroes who end up gathering together amidst all of this loss, because they have lives to avenge and hope to instill. I remember that sense of awe that rippled through the theater when the Avengers first assembled on the silver screen in 2012… and I can’t wait to see it happen again with a new set of heroes. With the Winter Soldier, Vision, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Falcon, Agent 13, and Scarlet Witch in play, only time will tell who the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will be once Thanos touches down for Infinity War, but if we can judge by what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be spectacular.
Probably not that guy, though.
PAT SHAND writes comics (Vampire Emmy, Robyn Hood, Hellchild), novels (Charmed for HarperCollins), and pop culture journalism (Sad Girls Guide, Blastoff Comics). You can find him on Twitter @PatShand, but only after he has seen Captain America: Civil War. Gotta avoid those spoilers.