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Al Ewing and Greg Land Assemble Marvel’s “Mighty Avengers”

After a week of dropping breadcrumbs in the form of teasers, Marvel unveiled its newest title on a Friday morning conference call to a select group of journalists, a newly relaunched version of Mighty Avengers, written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Greg Land. Launching in the wake of Marvel’s forthcoming Infinity event, the book is already turning heads, partially due to the fact that it’s comprised primarily of females and persons of color. Led by Luke Cage, the supergroup is anchored by Falcon, Blue Marvel, White Tiger, She-Hulk, Superior Spider-Man, Monica Rambeau (now known as Spectrum), a new Ronin, and, in an interesting twist, the new Power Man as members.

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These may not be the so-called “A-List” heroes you’re used to seeing in an Avengers book, but that doesn’t mean you should write them off just yet. Ewing was quick to defend the cast, explaining, “I’ve never been a big fan of A-lists and B-lists and C-lists. If your house is on fire, you don’t say to the first firefighter who comes along, ‘Ugh, you’re a C-list firefighter. Oh, dear.’ That’s not how it should be.” If you’re a fan of underappreciated characters like the Blue Marvel, Ewing feels your pain. “I know what it’s like to have a favorite character who doesn’t turn up very much,” he told us. “Every character is somebody’s absolute favorite.”

While executive editor Tom Brevoort has gone on record in the past saying that the idea of an all Avengers team comprised entirely or of mostly black characters would be “contrived,” he now acknowledges that while teams like these can feel artificial to some, “people who are interested in these characters and want to see heroes that reflect them have a genuine point.” Rather than try to make an “all-black Avengers” or an “all-Latino Avengers,” the M.O. was more along the lines of writing the “Dwayne McDuffie Avengers… at least 50% non-white male.”

Brevoort explained that this was in reference to the fact that the book started its conceptualization in February, which happens to have been both Black History Month and the anniversary of the late, great McDuffie’s birthday. It also helps matters that, irrespective of skin color, this is a pretty awesome lineup of heroes.

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Marvel’s Infinity will find most of its heroes leaving Earth to combat a universe-threatening evil known as “The Builders” in the deeps of space. With most of Earth’s superpowered stalwart protectors gone, Thanos will seize the opportunity to try to to wreak havoc. Enter the Mighty Avengers: Under Cage’s leadership, the team, comprised of the heroes left on Earth, will primarily be combating Thanos and his lieutenants.

With a team full of strong, strident personalities, heads will inevitably butt up against one another. Brevoort and Ewing noted in particular the dynamic between Luke Cage and the Falcon, the former being a somewhat anti-authoritarian unorthodox leadership figure and the latter being a by-the-books kind of guy. Oh, and plus there’s Otto Octavius as Superior Spider-Man in the mix, a figure Ewing lovingly referred to as “a complete #!%$” (use your imagination), but an interesting addition to the lineup. “He’s almost crashing the party,” Ewing explained. “He forced his way in and nobody likes him. His POV is, how dare you people try to protect the streets I’m protecting. Who do you think you are?”

I asked Ewing which pairing was most unexpectedly enjoyable to write and he answered without hesitation: “Blue Marvel and Spectrum… thinking about how they might come together is interesting.” With a wink and a nod to fandom, he added, “Not to start any shipping happening on Tumblr.” Adding a bit of Pawnee flair to the Marvel Universe, he also described Luke Cage and She-Hulk as the Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope of the Mighty Avengers, given their managerial roles on the team, respective leadership styles and, presumably, the degree to which they love waffles. Does that make Star-Lord the Andy Dwyer of the Marvel Universe too?

Oh, and did we mention they’re going to fight the Plunderer? Get excited.

Mighty Avengers #1 hits stands in September. What do you think of the lineup? Let us know in the comments below.

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