Popular comics and entertainment news site The Wall Street Journal offered the exclusive confirmation this morning on the new post-Secret Wars Avengers roster and creative team, already outlined but not formally confirmed by one of the Marvel Free Comic Book Day offerings earlier this year. As expected, the book will be written by Mark Waid with art by Mahmud Asrar, with the addition of artist Adam Kubert on alternating arcs. The team members are exactly as outlined in the FCBD comic, with no surprises; Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Spider-Man, Ms Marvel and Nova.

That's a marked departure from the sprawling 'Avengers World' set-up of the Jonathan Hickman Avengers era, which focused more on the scale of events than on the personalities of its heroes. Waid's seven-person squad is about the right size to allow readers to really get to know the characters.

Reading between the lines, the new team might also offer a departure from the era of multiple Avengers teams --- Secret, Uncanny, Young, Mighty, Dark, and Lemon Meringue --- as this is a team in its foundational stage. Waid told the WSJ; "We get to do something that hasn’t been done since the beginning of the series back in 1963, which is we get to tell an origin story for the Avengers as the team rebuilds from the ground up." Series editor Tom Brevoort also noted that the team won't have limitless funding or institutional backing from SHIELD.

It's not entirely clear why a team with Tony Stark on its roster wouldn't have limitless funding, of course, but there are plenty of mysteries about this team still to be answered, including why the Avengers is recruiting school kids in a way that it never has before --- beyond the real world reason that these younger, more diverse characters provide an easy way to draw new readers to the book.

But that is indeed Tony Stark inside the Iron Man armor. Brevoort confirms it, and notes that he's the only white male on the team. Statistically, a six person team in the US (discounting Vision) would typically only have two straight white dudes, so on our Harvey/Renee scorecard (which tracks the over- or under-representation of straight white men) this team would score +1 Renee. That may make this the first core Avengers team to have an 'extra' Renee (women, LGBTQ people, and people of color), whereas many rosters have had extra Harveys (straight white men).

The Renees on this team are Captain America (Sam Wilson), an African-American man; Thor (Jane Foster; the cat's officially out of the bag on that one), a white American woman; Spider-Man (Miles Morales), a Latino African-American man; Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan), a Pakistani-American Muslim woman; and Nova (Sam Alexnader), a Latino American man.

The team could certainly use at least one or two more women, and it would be great to see a serving LGBTQ Avenger, or more Asian representation, but this isn't a big team, and the robot was in the movie, so what can you do? This level of diversity and representation on Marvel's flagship team is certainly nothing to sniff at, and hopefully it sets a new standard rather than being an aberration in the Avengers' long history of white blond dudes named Clint or Steve or Hank or... Odinson.


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