By TJ Dietsch
“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born—to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!”
As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we’ve got you covered on the history of Marvel’s most prolific team of heroes!
So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!
Mike Carey might not be a name generally associated with the Avengers thanks to his longtime gig as an X-Men writer on titles like X-MEN, X-MEN LEGACY and the upcoming Age of X event, but that doesn't mean he's not a fan. But you're not here to read us talk about Mike's love of the Avengers, so let's turn the mic over to the man himself. Take it away Mike…
Five favorite Avengers? Piece of cake, you think. Then you start working through the line-ups, counting them off on your fingers, and you realize that everybody—but everybody—in the Marvel Universe who’s got any pretensions to cool has been an Avenger at some stage.
I made life easier for myself by ruling out characters like Wolverine and Doctor Strange who have become so vividly associated with other super-teams that calling them your favorite Avenger would seem like missing the point; likewise, I skipped right over Spider-Man, because I see him as a loner first and foremost and an Avenger only after that.
Still wasn’t easy, though. I tried to go for characters that had some of their coolest moments, or their coolest incarnations, in Avengers line-ups. I bet if you asked me next year I’d name five different people.
Oh, and some of these guys are real old, because I grew up in the Silver Age.
5. Two-Gun Kid
He was a time-traveling cowboy! That made so much sense to me, as a kid. I thought every super-team should have a time-traveling cowboy. “Cyclops?” “Yes, Quick-Draw?” “Ah c’n see them thar evil mutant varmints…”
She lights up every line-up she’s in, and she’s got the perfect mind-set: never over-awed by anything she sees, always rolling with the cosmic punches.
3. Black Knight
See Two-Gun Kid, above. He was a time-traveling knight! Well, not time-traveling, exactly, but he had all that medieval curse stuff going on, and…yeah. You know. He typified the thrilling sense you got back then that anything could happen in these books – high fantasy, sci-fi, horror, the works.
2. Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch
I loved how they always had their own little team dynamic going on within the larger team dynamic: they were faithful to each other first, and the Avengers—along with the rest of the world—were a not-very-close second. Again, that points to something very special about the Avengers: unlike the Fantastic Four, it was never a family, never that cohesive or uniform. Every line-up was a mixed bag, with tensions and frictions and some people who just never did get with the program.
Yeah, I know, breaks the rule I was talking about earlier. But Beast always made sense to me as an Avenger, just as much as he did when he was an X-Man. He could hold down both jobs. And I loved that moment, early in the Claremont X-Men run, when Beast was at the monitors in Avengers Mansion and caught incoming news about an attack on the Xavier Academy—and just took off to save his old team-mates! Without leaving a note, or turning the lights out! I was going to say Beast and Wonder Man, and try to argue another case of two-for-the-price-of-one, but I don’t want to start an inflationary spiral or anything.