My Avengers Team

Over the summer, Marvel Studios gave a breakdown of their upcoming releases for their cinematic universe. One title, which caught many people’s eye was Avengers: Secret Wars. Now without going into the full breakdown of what Secret Wars may or may not mean to comic readers, one of the ideas (since this is all a part of the multiverse) is that we might see different versions of the Avengers come to help stop the big bad. And this got me to start thinking about the Avengers comics and how they are constantly changing their line-ups, giving different characters a chance to have a bit of the spotlight here and there. This might be hard to believe if you’ve only seen the movies and their somewhat core group plus the trio of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor seemingly always needing to be there.

But in the comics, that isn’t the case. In fact, one of my favorite runs (West Coast Avengers) only had Iron Man of that trio, and later he wasn’t even there at all.

Regardless, I thought it might be fun to give it a go. Now, these would be the comic book versions of the characters, as some have not appeared on screen as of yet.

Hawkeye (Team Leader)

Probably my favorite avenger due to his run as the leader in West Coast Avengers, but it was as I learned about his past that he became my favorite. You see, he started his career wanting to be a good guy, but happened to fall under the spell of the Black Widow, who used him as a pawn against Iron Man. They tangled quite a few times, but when the Avengers experienced their first big roster change waaaay back in Avengers 16, it was a cocky archer who broke into their mansion as a way to show them he was worthy of membership.

Scarlet Witch (Magic)

Another first-timer from that same Avengers 16, it wasn’t until John Byrne began working on the West Coast title, that I understood the character’s importance, not only to the Marvel Universe but to the Avengers themselves. While the Fantastic Four are definitely Marvel’s First Family, the connections within the Avengers for many of the characters are such that they are the bringing together of many different characters. Her husband is the Vision, her brother-in-law is Wonder Man, her brother is Quicksilver, not to mention that gives them direct links to three of the bigger villains: Ultron, Grim Reaper, and Magneto.

And even though, she’s hit upon some hard times due to the fallout from “No More Mutants”, I love a redemption story.

Songbird (Sonics)

In the comic, Avengers Forever, a mismatched team of Avengers from various time periods are brought together to defeat a greater enemy. Some are from the past, some from the present, but two are from some point on the future timeline: Captain Marvel and Songbird. The thing is, when that comic came out, she was still appearing in another comic, Thunderbolts, which showed you who she really was: a member of the Masters of Evil – the big bad guy group. So here we had someone who was struggling with her place in the world. Who had been a villain forever, but because of the ploy the T-bolts were running, she was becoming addicted to being a good guy… a hero.

And then we see that maybe, just maybe, she will be able to redeem herself and join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and she can bond with Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch as they all have been on the wrong side of the law).

Nova (Cosmic)

I had never heard of Nova before the comic book New Warriors came out. He had his run in comics back in the 70s and early 80s but had mostly been forgotten until the early 90s. I loved that he was someone who had lost their powers, lost their way, and suddenly found a new purpose with a team of teenage heroes. He doubted himself, was angry at times and fell for one of his teammates. That comic was everything you’d want in a comic book.

Then it ended, and he sorta disappeared again. While a couple of his running crew joined the Avengers (Firestar and Justice) he never got his due… until the Annihilation Wave storyline began and he found himself fighting alongside and against some of the biggest baddies the Universe had ever seen. If there was ever any doubt that he was deserving of being an Avenger, his run through those space epics changed all of that.


An odd choice, as the entirety of my experience, reading about her is directly from the Exiles, a comic about a group of (mostly) mutants who jump from parallel world to parallel world trying to set right what once went wrong. Her was a character I got to see grow from an unsure hero into the leader of this squad, forced to make extremely difficult decisions about the fate of multiple worlds. I also like the idea of adding another character from the X-Men side of the universe. Sometimes things can get too insular, and you miss out on the oddites of weird and new combinations of characters who have never had the chance to interact before.


While we might (we’d definitely) add another character or two at some point, I like the idea of a somewhat small team to start. And the thing is there are multiple ties between characters, former villains, dealing with cosmic threats, and a couple of mutants mixed in. And perhaps, they are brought together by someone who has a sense that bigger things are at play across the multiverse… that perhaps Kang (and Immortus) are beginning to make their latest play for power.


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

My Top 5 – The Avengers

I was reading Avengers before it was cool to read Avengers.

When everyone else was buying X-Men and hoping to get multiple copies of what was sure to be the next comic worth $100 plus, I was a devoted fanboy of not only Avengers but also West Coast Avengers (ok, I have some copies of X-Men #1 from that time as well). While everyone else was busy watching the X-Men cartoon, I was sticking it out with the lesser heroes; you know the guys and gals I’m talking about: Captain America and Iron Man and Black Widow and Hawkeye and…

I was holding the flag for a group of characters that the company itself didn’t know what to do with. It got so bad that when the opportunity arose to have some of the Image Comic guys come back and work on the characters, they wouldn’t dare give them Spiderman or the X-Men, so instead they got the characters not as many people cared about (apparently) – so the Avengers and Fantastic Four were shunted off into another universe where their stories could be told.

Given that the biggest movie in the world (or at least for the year) is opening at the end of the month, it is hard to rationalize those early and not so early days of reading the Avengers. Once Iron Man became a hit and the ball got rolling into the first Avengers movie, Marvel seized on the idea and suddenly where there might have been TWO Avengers titles, there were like 50 titles (and I’m only exaggerating a little bit on that number). For someone who has a copy of issue 9 and a complete run from around issue 140, it became a bit much to try to keep up with.

But two of the first comics I ever bought with my own money were Avengers and West Coast Avengers. Along with Spiderman, these were my windows into the world of comic books. They were the ones whose stories I looked forward to the most every month.


Yes, because of the Spiderman and his Amazing Friends cartoon.

But also because when I saw another book on the stands: New Warriors, she was one of the original members. I’d never read her before, but I was struck by how she was someone trying to find her place in the world. Then later, during Busiek’s run on Avengers she got called up to the big leagues. Something about that idea really caught me. Another mutant that the Avengers somehow got a hold of, she (and Justice) sorta acted as the reader’s eyes while they fought alongside the Big Three (Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man).

Scarlet Witch

I think it is partially because when I started reading they (Scarlet Witch and Vision) weren’t a part of any Avengers team, so it felt like a big deal when they did join back up. Wanda has always been a cool character because she has feet in both the X-Men world (what with her father being Magneto) and in the Avengers world. Back in the 90s when it seemed like if the X-Men sunk their claws into you, then your character might never show up in any other book, the fact that she always remained on the Avengers side meant something to this reader.

Even before Bendis had her destroy the Avengers team in Disassembled, even before she wiped out the mutants at the end of House of M, she was this woman who was trying to balance having a family and saving the world and having powers that were probably too much for anyone to handle. She seemed to offer opportunities for storytelling in a way that so many other characters cannot.

Wonder Man

The oldest comic I own is Avengers 9 which features Wonder Man’s origin. He joins the team in that issue, but it turns out that he’s an infiltrator for Baron Zemo to take down the Avengers from the inside. Of course, at the last minute, he has second thoughts and turns on the villains only to perish…

And that might have been the end of it. But in comics, death is not something that lasts. And sure enough, nearly 140 issues later, he “wakes up”.

He’s one of those characters who is tied to so many cool plots and storylines. His brother is the Grim Reaper, an Avengers baddie. His brain patterns were used to bring the Vision to life, making them defacto brothers… which gives him a tie to Ultron. He was “created” by Baron Zemo.

Moon Knight

Yes, Marvel’s “Batman”. He’s one of those guys who is flat out insane.

No, really, he’s legit crazy pants. He has voices in his head talking to him. He develops alternate personalities under the guise of trying to infiltrate the criminal underground and ends up with a fractured psyche. He talks to an ancient Egyptian god: Khonshu, for whom he acts as his hand of vengeance.

I had hopes that he might be the next Marvel character used by Netflix for a new show, but with them pulling their properties back in house (I’m guessing), I’m wondering if that is now more or less likely to actually happen.


Yes, the Bow and Arrow guy from the movies. When I started reading, Hawkeye was the leader of the West Coast Avengers, and in stark comparison to someone like Captain America or Mr. Fantastic, he led in a very off the cuff sort of way. He was definitely the type of person who leaps, doesn’t worry about where he might land, and somehow makes the best of the fall. And unlike the East Coast squad, he both understood that they might be the “B Team” but he wasn’t going to treat them as such.

Plus, I loved that he had been a villain to start out (one of Iron Man’s villains in fact) that realized he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing, then launched an attack on the Avengers in their mansion, all to prove to them that he deserved a chance on the team.


While I obviously dig the Captain Americas and Thors and Iron Mans of the Avengers, the above are the types of characters that, as a reader, you can “claim” as your character. There is something special about that.


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at