Hey, all. I’m not reviewing a comic per se, but I’m going to share a question that’s been nagging me for a while. Kay G. said I should mention it so we can share our answers with you.
Like I said before, I’ve read comics for nearly 25 years by all kinds of publishers, but I’m primarily Marvel-bred. Among my favorite teams has been the Avengers, because…really, who doesn’t enjoy a team that changes every so often? Changes in team line-ups and team leaders mean changes in character dynamics and different storylines.
I have enjoyed the many incarnations over the decades, my favorite being the Avengers Machine from Jonathan Hickman’s world-ending saga:
Even the splinter teams have had interesting stories of their own: the West Coast Avengers (which, I don’t recall having read–again, reading for years, haha); Force Works; New Avengers; Secret Avengers; and the Avengers Unity Division. And they’ve all used the cool catchphrase: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
But one thing’s been bothering me for some time:
Just who are the Avengers avenging?
If you’re reading into their name literally, the Avengers are tasked with avenging. If we took them at their name and its meaning, you’d think the Avengers would act in a manner similar to this guy:
For as long as the Avengers have existed, their shtick has been that of a group coming together to handle threats that no one hero can overcome. As such, they’ve had confronted high-level and even cosmic threats. They fight to protect.
But protection isn’t the same as avenging.
Avengers seem to react to the threats they see before them, not taking action to what was DONE to others.
Have the Avengers actually avenged anyone? I’m not certain. There may have been exceptions–Yellowjacket’s death during the 1995 storyline “The Crossing” being one, but avenge means different things to different people: kill, apprehend, punish…
Why haven’t the Avengers, after a good 50-some odd years, not reflected and questioned their own name and purpose? Why haven’t any of the writers? Will they ever?
Now that we have the All-New, All-Different iteration of Avengers…which, frankly, look so odd, especially with the Avengers’ long standing against having children in their ranks…will the creative teams really take a introspective look at what the Avengers are, and what they should be standing for?
Or are they just going to be another aimless team that just attacks threats?
Or, worse: are they just going to repeat the same kinds of stories all over again, like so many other teams and characters do?
What do you think?