‘Mighty Avengers’: A Step Forward For A Publisher, A Change In Tone From An Editor
After days of teaser images from Marvel hinting at some kind of new series, this morning the publisher finally announced a relaunch of Mighty Avengers. Written by Al Ewing with art from Greg Land, the new series features a team led by Luke Cage, with Falcon, White Tiger, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Blue Marvel, Monica Rambeau (now named Spectrum), a new Ronin, and the new Power Man as members. Notably, the team is comprised mostly of heroes who are people of color and/or women.
Mighty Avengers has been championed by Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, who in the past has gone on record as describing the idea of an Avengers team comprised of all or mostly black characters as being “contrived,” but now says, “people who are interested in these characters and want to see heroes that reflect them have a genuine point.”
The new roster will initially be brought together by a threat from Thanos, who attacks Earth while the core Avengers roster is off planet dealing with a threat known as the Builders. Ultimately the team stays together, with Luke Cage seeing this as an opportunity to do genuine community outreach in a way that other superhero teams don’t.
Brevoort and Ewing promised interesting interactions between various team members, notably The Falcon and Cage, with the former being a by-the-book, follow orders kind of hero, while the latter is more prone to question authority. It’s a dynamic that echoes the one between Icon and Rocket in the late Dwayne McDuffie’s highly-regarded Icon series under the Milestone imprint in the 1990s.
Brevoort, who acknowledged that the idea for the new title was first discussed during Black History Month, cited McDuffie as an inspiration for the series. The editor said he wanted to help create a team book that McDuffie would have made himself, with a cast comprised of at least 50% non-white and/or non-male characters. As is, this squad of Mighty Avengers exceeds that number.
McDuffie famously spoke on how some fans react to casting several persons of color in a team book, memorably referring to the phenomenon as the “Rule of Three.” With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how fans respond to this new title.
Still, Mighty Avengers is progress. Co-author of what ComicsAlliance declared was the best crossover event of last year, Ewing is an extremely capable writer, and Brevoort’s supporting the series does represent a change of heart for him as an editor, one that many in his position may not have ever come to. And that is meaningful.
Mighty Avengers #1 arrives in stores this September.