Avengers Re-Imagined

Avengers Re-Imagined: The Wild Cards

Zeroing in on the loose cannons who could blow everything open in the conclusion of HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS

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By Ben Morse Over the past four months, we've travelled back to a world that bears little resemblance to our own save for a few key similarities—in particular that wherever evil strikes, there will be heroes who rise up to avenge injustice. In HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS, writer Christos Gage and artist Mike Perkins have told the story of how Luke Cage came to form a band of rebels dedicated to protecting normal humans in a culture ruled by mutants, overcoming threats like the Brotherhood and the Kingpin to become an inspiration to the denizens of Sapien Town as the Avengers. On February 27, Cage leads his Avengers into final battle with their fearsome foes in HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS #5. Previously here on Marvel.com, we've had Gage help us stack these new versions of the heroes and villains we've come accustomed to against their more familiar counterparts. Today, we conclude by taking a look at five surprise players who could change the playing field. In a place where everything we know has changed, one thing remains the same: the world still needs Avengers.

Cloak

CLOAK IN OUR WORLD: An impoverished teenage runaway from crime-ridden South Boston, Tyrone Johnson found some light in an otherwise dark world when he befriended Tandy Bowen, a wealthy young girl who had also fled her home, on the streets of New York City. However, the young duo's lives changed forever when criminal chemist Simon Marshall kidnapped them and subjected them to experiments with drugs that unlocked latent mutant powers in both. While Tandy gained the ability to create daggers of pure light, Tyrone unlocked a connection to the Darkforce dimension through which he could teleport seamlessly and use to engulf others in darkness, exposing them to their worst fears. Tyrone and Tandy became Cloak & Dagger, vigilantes battling drug crime, initially killing those who exploited them—like Marshall—before Spider-Man set them down a more heroic path. In the years since, Cloak & Dagger have remained a fixture of New York City, working had to reduce the presence of drugs, crime and other dark elements menacing the innocent.

House of M
Cloak

CHRISTOS GAGE: "This version of Cloak got his powers the same way he did in our world—the teen runaway was used as a guinea pig by the Maggia to test experimental narcotics. "The main difference is that this Cloak has no Dagger to watch his back...but he does have Cage. Luke may not look as good in a leotard, but he has Dagger beat in the butt-kicking department! Cloak is a key part of Luke's plan for striking back at Thunderbird and his forces." RAFAEL VEGA IN OUR WORLD: For centuries, as long as the malevolent group called the Nine has existed, the Wolfpack has operated as their counterbalance. In recent years, naval veteran Mr. Mack gathered a group of five teenage boys from the South Bronx, including Rafael Vega, and prepared them independently of one another to battle the

The Wolfpack

Nine. When they reached what Mack deemed appropriate levels in their training, he brought them together as the new Wolfpack. Along with Malcolm, Sharon, Slag and Wheels, Rafael has spent his formative years battling the Nine and cleaning up New York. CHRISTOS GAGE: "Ostensibly the least powerful of the Wolfpack—which includes members of our world's New Warriors and Power Pack—Rafael has no superpowers per se, only an exotic style of martial arts. But something made him leader of these young rebels. Will he play a role in the final battle...or is he just cannon fodder?"

Trish Tilby

TRISH TILBY IN OUR WORLD: A blossoming television reporter, Trish Tilby found herself caught up in the craziness of the X-Men's world when she began dating Hank McCoy, aka Beast, during his formative X-Factor years. Their relationship would alternately sizzle and cool through the years with Beast's ongoing physical transformations and the growth of Trish's career, placing her in the heart of war-torn Genosha and the midst of the Legacy Virus controversy.

House of M
Trish Tilby

Hank and Trish split seemingly for good not long ago with his latest metamorphosis into feline form, but she has since inquired about his wellbeing. CHRISTOS GAGE: "Yes, that Trish Tilby—the one who dated the Beast in the main Marvel Universe. In the House of M world, she is a Sapien—normal human—reporter. Blessed with a position in society that few Sapiens can aspire to, will she be motivated to kiss up to the established power structure, or fight it?"

Penance

SPEEDBALL IN OUR WORLD: Interning at the Hammond Research Laboratory under the brilliant Dr. Benson, fun-loving but irresponsible high school student Robbie Baldwin stumbled into an experiment by the doctor to tap into a strange other dimension and ended up bombarded by a resultant explosion that transformed him into Speedball, a bouncing bundle of heroism able to use a field of kinetic energy to resist harm and hurtle him through the air. After limited notoriety as a solo hero, Speedball became a founding member of the New Warriors, with whom he enjoyed a lengthy stint as the only member to serve without interruption on every member of the team. Robbie matured considerably during his time with the Warriors, learning to us his powers in a more offensive capacity and even becoming the team's de facto leader at times. Unfortunately, during a period when the Warriors became reality television stars, Robbie's decision to lead the team into an impromptu battle with the villain Nitro and

House of M
Speedball

several of his colleagues led to the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut and the deaths of hundreds, including the other Warriors. Robbie survived, but with a new grim outlook on life and evolved powers triggered by pain. Shedding his former carefree guise, Speedball transformed into the unstable Penance and joined the Thunderbolts. CHRISTOS GAGE: "A member of the Wolfpack, he'll be part of the final battle. We've seen our world's Speedball become the dangerously powerful member of the Thunderbolts known as Penance, but in the House of M's reality, Robbie Baldwin is still the fun-loving jokester. With what's in store for them, is that what the Avengers really need...?"

Magneto

MAGNETO IN OUR WORLD: Ok, this one's pretty long, so we're just gonna direct you here. CHRISTOS GAGE: "That's right, we couldn't end this miniseries without the ruler of the entire House of M showing his face. His appearance is short in duration, but long on impact. What the heck does that mean? Pick up HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS #5 and find out, pilgrim!" HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS comes to our dimension on February 27, but before that you can read the original HOUSE OF M on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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