O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
Marvel released a preview for New Avengers Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto yesterday, which features Wonder Man and a new team he’s put together called The Revengers. Avengers readers may remember that when Steve Rogers was putting together the latest iteration of the Avengers, former Avenger Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, took issue with the team reforming and turned violent against his former teammates (Mind control?). His new attitude will apparently be addressed in the first New Avengers Annual, where he pops up leading a bunch of C- and D-grade characters, many of whom have some sort of connection to the Avengers.
“I think we are better than them,” he says in the above sequence, comparing his new crew to the Avengers. Which, yeah … it’s either mind control or he’s just gone completely off his rocker due to a power leakage, because he’s assembled quite the collection of losers to get his revenge. Let’s take a look at who he recruited …
D-Man: D-Man, short for Demolition Man, is Dennis Dunphy, a former super-powered wrestler who became Captain America’s partner back in the 1980s. There are a lot of things to like about that era of Cap stories, but D-Man wasn’t one of them. He used to wear a hideous costume that looked like Daredevil’s original costume with a Wolverine mask; luckily, it looks like artist Dell’Otto redesigned his look. I think the last time we saw D-Man he was delusional and stealing jewelry, thinking they were the Infinity Gems. As for why he’d be there, maybe he has abandonment issues against Cap?
Anti-Venom: Eddie Brock, formerly the villain Venom, who cleaned up his ways and helped out Spider-Man against Mr. Negative not too long ago in Amazing Spider-Man. He’s never been on great terms with Spider-Man even when he wasn’t trying to kill him, so I’m sure it wasn’t too hard of a sell to get him on board.
Goliath: Goliath looks a lot like Bill Foster, who went under the names Black Goliath, Giant Man and Goliath in the past. He also died during the Civil War miniseries, which means this is probably his nephew Tom, who was shown taking up the mantle circa the World War Hulk storyline. It’s no surprise he’d have a grudge against the Avengers, considering what happened to his uncle at the hands of the Thor clone.
Atlas: I’m kind of surprised to see both Atlas and Goliath here, since they have similar powers. Atlas of course is a former Thunderbolt and former villain, and sported both the names Power Man and Goliath in the past. He has a similar origin to Wonder Man, and I don’t think he’s been seen since he made an appearance in Joe Casey’s The Last Defenders miniseries.
Devil-Slayer: My guess is this is Eric Simon Payne, rather than his great-nephew who appeared in the 2008 MAX miniseries. Devil-Slayer’s a former Defender who wears a cape that lets him teleport and pull out all sorts of weapons, which he uses to slay devils, as his name indicates. His biggest connection to the current Avengers team would be Doctor Strange, but he also was a part of the whole Initiative thing.
If Bendis can make him cool, he will have earned his paycheck.
Century: So it occurs to me that I’ve never actually read a comic featuring Century, a former member of Force Works, the team that was born from the cancellation of West Coast Avengers. And up until I saw him in the above panel, I thought he either died or was revealed to be a bad guy or something.
Ethan Edwards: I looked this guy up because I had no clue who he was. Apparently he’s a skrull with Superman’s origin, having been sent to Earth to conquer it when he was a baby, but he was found by a kindly couple who taught him about great power and great responsibility. He debuted in Marvel Knights Spider-Man and went under the name Virtue for a time.
With the exception of Atlas and Anti-Venom, who have at least been active in the Marvel Universe in the last few years, the team is made up of characters ripe for development, like Edwards and Goliath, or who haven’t been in the spotlight in years (if ever), like Captain Ultra and D-Man. I enjoy these types of scenarios, where a writer like Bendis or Warren Ellis, who did it in Nextwave and Thunderbolts, hits the Marvel salvage yard and puts a new spin on a character you never thought you’d see again or never thought you’d want to see again. So bring on the Revengers … let’s see if Bendis can make them shine.