Longtime collaborators Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley will pass the reigns of their current Avengers ongoing to the new creative team of Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel) and Italian artist Stefano Caselli (The Amazing Spider-Man) with Avengers Assemble #9 in November (with a recolored cover by Steve McNiven). The book's core cast will include DeConnick's new take on Captain Marvel in addition to Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk and Spider-Woman, plus appearances by Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch and others. In yesterday's live chat on Marvel.com, DeConnick compared the first arc to The Amazing Race, as The Avengers will pair off (Spider-Woman is with Hulk and Thor with Iron Man) to compete with each other on an as-yet unrevealed mission.

Notably, DeConnick is the first woman to ever write an ongoing Avengers title, which is a milestone in what's still a gender-imbalanced industry.


"I'm personally looking for any way there could be more pressure on me. I'm also the first DeConnick to write Avengers," DeConnick said in the live blog, "I'm very interested in making sure women know that wanting to work in this industry is not peculiar. There is not anything in heroism or sci fi that is exclusively masculine. The hero ideal is as important to my daughter as it is to my son. But I don't want to represent all women in comics... particularly because I blow things sometimes!"

For his part, however, editor Tom Brevoort made it plain that his hiring decision had nothing to do with gender. "It's a nice factoid, but I didn't hire a woman to write Avengers, I hired Kelly Sue to write Avengers for the same reasons I've hired and will continue to hire writers."

Avengers Assemble #8 arrives in stores and digitally in November.