Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket/The Wasp/Scientist SupremeReal Name: Henry Pym Species: Human (Mutate) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the team in: Avengers #1 Powers/Abilities: Shrinking/growing (as a result of Pym Particles), bio-energy projection, and being really smart in a lot of different scientific fields. Who/What Is He: Henry Pym is a brilliant scientist who – with the help of his “Pym Particles” – can shrink or grow to extremely small or large sizes, respectively. He’s known primarily for his domestic abuse escapades, having the most superhero aliases ever, and accidentally creating one of the Avengers’ greatest villains: Ultron. Why We Want Him: Besides the fact that he’s an awesomely ridiculous throwback to science-fiction tropes of the 1950s? Edgar Wright is gearing up to make a movie about him – and frankly, that’s reason enough. Whatever version of the character Wright comes up with will, no doubt, supply an excellent opportunity for more Avengers humor and science-y banter between Pym, Stark, and Banner. Now if only we could get Mr. Fantastic in there...
WaspReal Name: Janet Van Dyne Species: Human (Mutate) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team in: Avengers #1 Powers/Abilities: She can shrink down, grow wings for flying, and “sting” people with her little energy blasts (tee hee). Who/What Is She: Once just a shallow flight attendant, Janet Van Dyne became the superhero Wasp, thanks to Henry Pym’s “Pym particles” and a biochemical procedure that granted her the ability to grow wings and blast energy “stings” once miniature. She initially used her powers to fight and banish the monster who killed her father, then fought alongside Ant-Man as his girlfriend and, eventually, wife. (And much later, ex-wife.) Why We Want Her: She provides the Avengers with some much-needed assistance in the female quota department (five guys + one girl = superhero sausage fest). She’s also a potentially interesting character in the right hands – like Whedon’s Buffy Summers, Janet at first appears to be very “girly” and “shallow,” but goes on to display great courage, depth, and strength later on.
Black PantherReal Name: T’Challa Species: Human Country of Origin: Wakanda Joined the team in: Avengers #52 Powers/Abilities: Genius intellect, master of strategy, skilled fighter/hunter/tracker/gymnast, enhanced senses and physicality by way of the special “heart-shaped herb,” vibranium uniform and equipment, and retractable anti-metal claws Who/What Is He: Black Panther is the King of the super-advanced African country Wakanda – which controls the largest amount of vibranium on the planet (the extraterrestrial metal that was used, in part, to craft Cap’s shield) – and a generational superhero a la The Phantom. Why We Want Him: Because he’s awesome? Is that not reason enough? Well, okay, then there’s also the fact that he’s a master strategist on the genius level of, say, Batman and Captain America, and one of the most skilled warriors in the world. Plus, the Avengers could use a member or two (or three) who aren’t strictly Caucasian.
VisionAlias: Victor Shade Species: Android Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team In: Avengers #58 Powers/Abilities: Invulnerability/intangibility, weightlessness/extraordinary heaviness, flight, solar energy projection, IT interfacing, super-strength/intelligence/reflexes/senses inherent to an artificial being, and self-repair/regeneration. Who/What Is He: He’s a sentient robot with a heart of gold and basically the Martian Manhunter/Red Tornado of the Avengers. Why We Want Him: As a robot, Vision fills a role that has thus far gone unfilled on a team full of mutates (Cap and Hulk), extremely skilled human beings (Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye), and a super-alien/demi-god (Thor). Plus, Joss Whedon is a huge fan of robots and characters that are robot-esque – Winona Ryder in Alien Resurrection, the Buffy-Bot, Danger from Astonishing X-Men, and Echo from Dollhouse. Imagine the hilarious things he could do with Vision! Of course, Vision can’t really reach his full potential without the evil sentient robot known as Ultron – created by Henry Pym – to give him life, but perhaps we’ll see that infamous Avengers villain sometime during the sequel’s end credits.
Dr. StrangeReal Name: Dr. Stephen Strange Species: Human (Sorcerer) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the team in: New Avengers #27 Powers/Abilities: Master of magic, once-skilled surgeon, martial artist, genius intellect, longevity. Who/What Is He: He was once a brilliant neurosurgeon with a god complex, but after a car accident damaged the nerves in his hands and ended his career, he sought a cure in Tibet and sort of accidentally became the Sorcerer Supreme. Why We Want Him: As the Sorcerer Supreme, he’s one of the most powerful “superheroes” in the whole of the Marvel Universe. Like the Vision before him, Dr. Strange fills a role that no other Avenger (or prospective Avenger) can fill, i.e. he’s a freaking sorcerer. Furthermore, he opens up a whole new world of terrifying and yet-untapped villains that the Avengers can’t just punch away (see: the alien army in The Avengers). Then again, you could also argue that Strange is too powerful for the team. How many times has the guy snapped his fingers to send away some abominable force? Well, in the literal sense, probably zero times, but figuratively, too many to count. Of course, with the right creator at the helm – and hasn’t Whedon proved himself in that regard, especially with supernatural characters of Strange’s ilk? – he could do far more creative good than evil.
NamorSpecies: Half-human, half-Atlantean, all mutant Joined the Team In: Avengers #262 Powers/Abilities: Aquatic adaptation, super-strength/speed/agility/durability, flight, and longevity. Who/What Is He: Namor's the half-human, half-Atlantean Prince of Atlantis, and technically the first “mutant” to appear in the Marvel universe (not in-continuity, a la Apocalypse or Wolverine, but in the real world of comic book publishing). He’s known for a great many things, but modesty isn’t one of them. He’s vain, arrogant to the extreme – in the way that you would expect royalty to be – quick to anger and violence, and he has these little wings on his feet that allow him to fly. Somehow. (Flight, along with increased super-strength and durability, are his mutant powers.) He doesn’t trust most land-dwellers but can be extremely loyal – to Captain America, for example, whom he fought alongside during World War II as a member of the Invaders. Why We Want Him: He’s half-Atlantean! And a mutant! And these are things that none of the Avengers have going for them already! Also, who doesn’t want to see the quick-tempered Sub-Mariner cause trouble intermingling with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Just imagine the perfect storm of arrogance that could be developed between Iron Man, Thor, and Namor, and the resulting butting of heads, both figuratively and literally. This sequel practically writes itself! (FYI: Though Universal once had the movie rights to Namor: The Sub-Mariner, it was indicated in a 2010 interview with Kevin Feige that that was no longer the case.)
Luke Cage/Power ManReal Name: Carl Lucas Species: Human (Mutate) Country of Origin: USA Joined the Team In: New Avengers #1 Powers/Abilities: Bulletproof skin, superhuman strength/stamina/durability, accelerated healing factor, and skilled fighter. Who/What Is He: Luke Cage is, amongst other things, a street-level super-badass, a private detective, and a family man. As a character born in the blaxploitation era of the 1970s, his original incarnation was a bit ridiculous and somewhat stereotypical. (Basically, he was an over-the-top version of Shaft, but with super powers.) Indeed, one of the best things Brian Michael Bendis did during his run on New Avengers was bring Cage to the forefront of the Marvel Universe as a believable human being and viable A-lister (or at the very least, a really popular B-lister). He also made Cage a family man – one of the few in the Marvel universe – with a wife, Jessica Jones, and an infant daughter, Danielle. Why We Want Him: The Avengers could use Cage’s family man background, considering every other member on the team has, at most, a girlfriend. I mean, sure, it sucks when your girlfriend’s life is at stake, but it sucks tenfold when your wife and baby daughter’s LIVES are at stake. Plus, his badass attitude, street smarts, and penchant for distrusting authority could be great additions to the group dynamic.
Iron FistReal Name: Daniel “Danny” Rand-K’ai Species: Human Country of Origin: U.S.A., though he has dual-citizenship in the U.S. and K’un Lun Joined the Team In: New Avengers #27 Powers/Abillities: “The Iron Fist” (a concentration of chi in his fists that allows him to tap into the super-human energy known as Shou-Lao), healing ability, master martial artist. Who/What Is He: Iron Fist is one of the great martial artists of the Marvel Universe and has the mystical ability to harness his chi and transform his fists into deadly, superhuman weapons. Why We Want Him: While you can have Luke Cage without Iron Fist, it’s not recommended -- they’re like a 1980s buddy cop duo, having worked together for years as the “Heroes for Hire” (a misnomer, seeing as they rarely got paid). While the Avengers already has several skilled fighters -- Cap, Widow, and Hawkeye -- none matches Iron Fist in terms of sheer martial arts excellence. And like Dr. Strange, he brings a bit of supernatural mysticism to a superhero team predisposed toward science-fiction tropes. Also, his costume? The perfect example of simple and awesome.
Captain MarvelReal Name: Mar-Vell Species: Kree Planet of Origin: Kree-Lar Joined the Team In: Avengers #89 Powers/Abilities: Super-strength/speed, flight, cosmic awareness, solar energy absorption/projection, wields Nega-Bands. Who/What Is He: Captain Marvel (or Mar-Vell) was, at one point in time, the cosmic hero of the Marvel Universe. Hence his name: Marvel. As a soldier of the Kree empire, he was initially sent to Earth to spy on its people and evaluate the planet’s threat-level, but he eventually came to be a protector of both the people and planet – before dying, rather humanly, of cancer. Why We Want Him: He has an interesting story steeped in alien infiltration – which could be beneficial down the line depending on the plots of the next few Avengers films – he has a cool name and costume, and his powers are pretty great. Simple as that. On the other hand, Thor – while vaguely rooted in Norse mythology – also has super strength, long blond hair, and can fly without rocket boosters, so does the team really need two space aliens that function in essentially the same regard?
Ms. MarvelReal Name: Carol Danvers Species: Human (Mutate) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team In: Avengers #183 Powers/Abilities: Super-strength/speed, flight, cosmic awareness, solar energy absorption/projection. Who/What Is She: Carol Danvers debuted in comics as an officer in the US Air Force on a restricted military base, where she met Captain Marvel under his human alias, “Dr. Watson Lawson,” and was caught in an explosion of a Kree device. The explosion melded her genetic structure with Captain Marvel’s, thus giving her all the abilities of a Kree. Why We Want Her: Besides the fact that she’s a tough-as-nails, badass lady in the military, she provides the Avengers with a bit more diversity than, say, Mar-Vell, her male counterpart. Additionally, in the Marvel Universe, she’s one of the most recognizable female characters, partly because her name is synonymous with the company. At the moment, she’s going through a bit of a comic book redesign as Marvel attempts to make her character more popular and integral – might they be preparing her for a movie debut in the not-too-distant future?
NovaReal name: Richard Rider Species: Human Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team In: Secret Avengers #1 Powers/Abilities: Flight and super-strength/durability/speed; once he’s in possession of the Worldmind, he’s granted: energy projection/absorption and the ability to exert control over gravity and open wormholes. Who/What Is He: As a teenage human member of the Nova Corps, he’s sort of like a cross between Alex Rogan from The Last Starfighter and Green Lantern. Why We Want Him: Nova’s role on the team would be twofold – he could be a wisecracking, inexperienced teenage superhero, a la Spider-Man, and a cosmic force to be reckoned with. What, pray tell, would a teenager do with all that power? Obligatory scenes would include Nova being shown the superheroing ropes by his superhero elders, e.g. Iron Man, Captain America, and so forth, followed by a sacrificial act of bravery on Nova’s part inspired by those aforementioned elders. He’s a nice substitute, in that way, for someone like Spider-Man, whose movie rights are currently… shall we say, out of reach?
Adam WarlockOriginally Known As: Him Species: Artificially-created human Place of Origin: The Beehive, Shard Island, Atlantic Ocean Joined the Team In: Never Powers/Abilities: Super-strength/stamina/agility/endurance, flight, energy manipulation. Who/What Is He: He’s an artificially-created human with strange cosmic powers. Why We Want Him: While Warlock has never actually been a member of the Avengers, his history is pretty closely tied to the The Mad Titan, A.K.A. Thanos, A.K.A. that wrinkly-chinned guy who was pulling Loki’s strings in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (before appearing during the end credits). In fact, if Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet is involved - the gnarly-looking glove that briefly cameoed in Thor - you can pretty much guarantee that Adam Warlock won't be far behind. Frankly, I wasn't a huge Warlock fan until the Annihilation crossover and the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy series that followed, a property that Kevin Feige has spoken about as a potential movie franchise. But perhaps an appearance in Avengers 2 could pave the way for said franchise?
War MachineReal Name: James “Rhodey” Rhodes Species: Human Country of Origin: U.S.A Joined the Team In: West Coast Avengers #1 (as Iron Man) Powers/Abilities: Marine, pilot, aviation engineer, trained in armed and unarmed combat. Who/What Is He: James Rhodes (played by Terence Howard and Don Cheadle in Iron Man and Iron Man 2, respectively) is the military right-hand man of Tony Stark, A.K.A. Iron Man, and wields his own, heavily-armed suit of exoskeleton armor - as War Machine. Why We Want Him: James has a long history of keeping Tony Stark in line. He even took over for the goateed alcoholic bachelor as Iron Man on more than one occasion, usually as a result of the aforementioned alcoholism. As War Machine, he utilizes armor far more deadly and powerful -- in terms of weaponry, anyway -- than the various Iron suits, hence the name “War” Machine.
Bucky/Winter Soldier/Captain America IIReal Name: James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes Species: Human (Cyborg) Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team In: New Avengers #48 Who/What Is He: Oh, you know who Bucky is! He’s Captain America’s sidekick -- that guy who played Carter Baizen in Gossip Girl and then sort of randomly fell off a cliff and “died” (wink, wink) near the end of Captain America: The First Avenger. Everybody knows he’s coming back as the brainwashed Soviet cyborg assassin, Winter Soldier, for Captain America 2; heck, director Joe Johnston already implied as much himself. Might he be un-brainwashed by the end of Cap 2, and thus all-set to join the Avengers Initiative come Avengers 2? Why We Want Him: Bucky Barnes is one of the few comic book characters to die and then be resurrected successfully (well, not the second time, in the awful crossover Fear Itself, which was just a fake-out for the purposes of artificial drama). As Winter Soldier, he’s a darker character than Steve Rogers, having lived a messed-up life as a brainwashed assassin before being reminded of his former self. And though it’s very unlikely Cap will ever die in these Marvel movies, Bucky was incredibly well-received as the grittier, pistol-wielding Captain America II.
Wonder ManReal Name: Simon Williams Species: Human Country of Origin: U.S.A. Joined the Team In: Avengers #160 Powers/Abilities: Ionic-energy empowered, flight, longevity, and super-strength/speed/stamina/agility/reflexes/durability. Who/What Is He: Simon Williams was sent to prison - by Tony Stark, as it happens - for embezzlement, and thus held a grudge against Iron Man and the Avengers. With the help of the dastardly Baron Zemo (one of Captain America’s oldest arch-rivals), Simon was released from prison to undergo an experiment that gave him super-powers. Additionally, he was given a fake superhero identity - that of Wonder Man - and tasked by Zemo with befriending the Avengers to lure them into a trap. Thankfully, at the very last second, he repented and sacrificed himself to save the team. Years later, it turned out the guy was just in a strange coma as a result of the experiment (what a twist!) and, after waking, Wonder Man officially joined the Avengers as a superhero. Why We Want Him: I’m not fully convinced that we do. Truthfully, he’s most likable as a character you can’t really stand - his costume is terrible, his powers are generic, he’s sort of a womanizer, and besides being a villain, the most interesting thing about him was his failed attempt at an acting career. All of that could be fairly interesting in a movie, if done right, but it could also go horrifically wrong.
- Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver are the mutant twin children of Magneto, the X-Men’s most respected villain. Previously villains themselves, they joined the Avengers in issue #16 along with another ex-villain, Hawkeye. There’s much they could contribute to the cinematic version of the team in terms of powers, visuals, diversity, and so forth, but divorced from Magneto, are they really all that interesting?
- She-Hulk is, as the name suggests, a sort of female version of the Hulk. Jennifer Walters gained her ability to “hulk out” when her cousin, Bruce Banner, gave her an emergency transfusion of his gamma-irradiated blood. As She-Hulk, she’s more in control and far prettier than her gargantuan cousin, but her strength (and various other powers) are less significant.
- Hercules is, well, Hercules, the super-strong half-god son of Zeus. But because we already have one god (sort of) on the Avengers in the form of Thor, he’d probably be a redundant addition. Still, it’s worth noting that he has become one of the more fun - and funny - Marvel characters of the past few years.
- Spider-Woman is related to Spider-Man in name only, so does that mean Sony doesn’t have her movie rights? No, really, this is a serious question here.