The biggest mystery in Avengers: No Surrender is what has happened to the Earth, and now we know at least one of the parties responsible: The Grandmaster. Despite Marvel's claims that their Legacy initiative would scale back the plethora of events the publisher usually rolls out, things haven't changed. A number of crossovers are in the works or already ongoing, but the most high-profile is the weekly, 16-issue series No Surrender. In the real world, the book will see the various Avengers comics merged into one. Naturally, the story itself is following a similar tact by bringing all the heroes of the various teams together.
Things kicked off with heroes and villains around the world freezing by a mysterious source and the Earth disappearing right before Captain Marvel and Alpha Flight's eyes. Meanwhile, those left on Earth are dealing with the missing Moon, the absence of a cell network, and the assault of two teams of supervillains: The Black Order and Lethal Legion. Luckily, the remaining heroes were called together by founding Avengers member Voyager to work out a solution. And if that name doesn't sounds familiar, it's because Marvel rewrote Avengers history by adding her in. She's just one of many mysteries in the new series, but one piece of the puzzle has at least been revealed.
In this week's Avengers #677, the No Surrender story sees the teams split up to stop the Lethal Legion and Black Order from destroying the world as they battle each other. Sure enough, when two groups of Marvel characters are pitted against one another, the Grandmaster is involved. From a number of comic arcs (including ones referenced in last week's issue) to the mobile game Contest of Champions to Thor: Ragnarok, the Grandmaster is well-known for plucking heroes and villains from their homes and making them fight for his entertainment. And for the big new Avengers arc, not much has changed.
Of course, it's still not clear if there's a specific reason why this match is happening and with these particular players. It's also not known why the Earth was chosen (yet no players from it) other than just to prove as obstacles for the two teams. But with 13 issues to go, there's sure to be more to the plot than meets the eye.
Part of that mystery is who the Grandmaster's opponent is. Referred to simply as the challenger, it's clear the other player is far more destructive than the Grandmaster. While it could be anyone from a Beyonder to the Collector, it's safe to assume the reveal will throw everyone for a loop.
The Grandmaster not only makes sense from a story standpoint, but also because of his prominence in the MCU thanks to Jeff Goldblum playing him in Ragnarok. While Avengers: No Surrender returns to the comic-accurate Grandmaster, Marvel has still been keen to match their movies with likeminded events in the comics. In fact, the Hulk comics featured a Thor: Ragnarok joke recently, proving how much the film is still on the mind of the publisher. But far from the comedic take on the villain in the most recent Marvel movie, the Grandmaster of Avengers: No Surrender isn't playing around.