Marvel's "Fresh Start" initiative is about to reveal the greatest secrets of the Marvel Universe. Who was the first Ghost Rider? How did Agamotto become the first Sorcerer Supreme? Who was Bashenga, the first Black Panther? All these questions, and more, will be revealed in Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness’ upcoming Avengers series.
Last year's Marvel Legacy one-shot introduced readers to the first iteration of the Avengers, who assembled in the year 1,000,000BC. At the time, Tom Brevoort promised the reveal wasn't simply a history lesson: "It’s the starting gun to a bevy of mysteries, secrets, and revelations that will reverberate across the Marvel Universe in the weeks and months to come!" The concept will be revisited in the relaunched Avengers ongoing, where Jason Aaron will weave a single narrative across the past and present of the Marvel Universe. It's an approach Aaron has used before, with great success. His Thor run explored the Thors of three different time-zones at once. This time, though, Aaron will be rewriting the ancient history of the entire Marvel Universe.
But here's the twist: Speaking to CBR, Brevoort revealed the series will feature special one-off issues, each of which tells the origin story of a member of the Avengers of 1,000,000BC. "The first one will be Avengers #7," Brevoort explained, "the origin of the Mastodon-riding Ghost Rider of 1,000,000 BC, with artwork by Sara Pichelli."
That ancient Ghost Rider was visually impressive, riding the ultimate vehicle of his day - a Hellfire-blazing Woolly Mammoth! Fans were fascinated by the concept, which was beautifully realized by artist Esad Ribic in the Marvel Legacy one-shot. So this origin story is one that will leave fans thrilled.
But the promise of further origin stories is even more exciting. The Avengers of 1,000,000BC included some major figures from Marvel history. The team included Bashenga, the first Black Panther; Agamotto, first to bear the title of Sorcerer Supreme; and the very first Iron Fist. Odin the All-Father numbered among them, and - in a fascinating twist - he counted an early Phoenix Host as his lover. That means future one-shots in Aaron's Avengers series will be exploring some pretty significant events in the Marvel Universe. If these are origin stories, readers can expect to see just how Bashenga forced a group of warring tribes to unite into the nation of Wakanda; the founding of K'un Lun and the Seven Cities of Heaven, and the choosing of the Iron Fist; and perhaps even how Agamotto forged his mystical all-seeing Eye in the first place.
The last few years have seen Aaron become one of Marvel's most prominent writers. Aaron was the main writer on 2014's "Original Sin" event, launching major arcs - including Jane Faster's time as Thor, Goddess of Thunder. It seems Marvel's "Fresh Start" is giving Aaron the chance to write the Marvel Universe's ancient history, as part of a millennia-spanning narrative that promises to leave fans spellbound.
Avengers #1, by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, is released in May 2018.