Reinventing the Avengers - a new line-up for a new era

Reinventing the Avengers
Reinventing the Avengers (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

While Marvel Comics is still in the midst of promoting writer Jason Aaron's crossover finale to his Avengers run 'Avengers Assemble' in the pages of Avengers and Avengers Forever, the publisher has also made it clear the franchise will be getting something of a new direction after Avengers Assemble Omega in April.

We know for sure the title will get a new creative team (and we suspect Jed MacKay is on top of the leaderboard of candidates for a new writer) and a new logo calling back to a fan-favorite era. And because this is Marvel in the year 2023, it will almost certainly get a relaunch and a new #1.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)
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But what we don't know about the new incarnation is what's always at the heart of any Avengers era - the make-up of the team roster.

Like their DC counterparts, the Justice League, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have always been defined by their line-up - from the founders and mainstays, to "Cap's Kooky Quartet," to the West Coast branch and the aforementioned "Mighty Avengers" and leather jackets eras, to the New Avengers all the more modern off-shoots.

And like the Justice League over the last decade has cemented the Wonder Woman - Superman - Batman core, Marvel has somewhat settled into a standard core line-up that has been one part a reflection of the title's origins and one part a reflection of the Avengers' status in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Despite some fluctuations, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor have been at the center of Avengers titles more than they have not for many years now.

But with Cap, Iron Man, and Thor either deceased or in Thor's case, focusing on his adopted daughter in deep space in the MCU, Marvel Comics no longer has the same synergistic rationale to keep those characters at the heart of its Avengers comic book titles.

At least not right now.

They'll always be the classic line-up, and Marvel will always eventually return to them sooner or later, but with a new era arriving soon and a new dynamic in place in the MCU, Newsarama thought it'd be the perfect time to consider what a brand new Avengers line-up could look like.

So without further ado, here's our best shot at a new line-up that tries to acknowledge the history of the team while at the same time trying to pump in a little bit of fresh air, and keeps Marvel's need for the comic books to at least partially reflect the goings-on of the MCU, all at the same time. 

The Hulk

The Hulk

The Hulk (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

We consider this a no-brainer. Not only is the Hulk a solo title star and co-founder of the Avengers (albeit in a clunky way), but in 60 years he's rarely had a genuine stint on the team as a member in good standing. 

And the timing works out perfectly because the Hulk is also simultaneously due for a reinvention in the pages of his own ongoing series.

The Hulk's history has always been about different iterations of the man-monster conflict. After a few years steeped in horror, and the past year in a sort of sci-fi psychological bent, it might be time to let the Hulk be a full-fledged superhero again for a stint, like during Peter David's well-received '90s run (that inspired Mark Ruffalo's current 'Professor Hulk' persona) in which he played nicely with the superhero team the Pantheon.

In addition to being the team's smartest and most powerful member, the Hulk's inclusion would also be the first time his place in the MCU Avengers would be reflected in the comic books as the other original 2012 movie members have been.

Sign us up for a super-smart, heroic Hulk leading the team he helped found …. finally after all these years.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man

Spider-Man (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

If Captain America is to the Avengers what Superman is to the Justice League, then Spider-Man should be its Batman.

The Avengers should always have a place for Marvel's most popular and iconic superhero, and Spidey is no more ill a fit on a team than the Dark Knight is. In fact, the fish-out-of-water element is what makes the fit fun.

After years of flirting with the team, Spider-Man finally joined in 2004's seminal New Avengers, which Newsarama has long argued paved the way for the MCU as we know it.

Sure, Spider-Man served a few years on the squad but was always low in the leadership pecking order behind the mainstays.

It's time Marvel carved out a regular role for its most popular superhero on its most popular superhero team that doesn't make him feel like a temporary interloper. 

The Wasp/Janet Van Dyne

The Wasp/Janet Van Dyne

The Wasp/Janet Van Dyne (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

We may be aging ourselves here, but there was a time this founding member had risen to the ranks of Chairperson even while Cap, Thor, and Iron Man were members and came into her own as a team member and superhero and not just the wife/sidekick of Hank Pym.

The Wasp has had only temporary flings with the team and its off-shoots since that era, but it's time for her to join fellow founding member the Hulk in the hierarchy of the Avengers.

There are not one but two Wasps in the MCU and about to get the spotlight in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, so it's time for Janet Van Dyne to again step out of Ant-Man and Hank Pym's shadows and be embraced again in the role she's earned - as one of the greatest Avengers.

Monica Rambeau/Photon

Monica Rambeau/Photon

Monica Rambeau/Photon (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The new/old Avengers logo might somewhat lend itself to the suggestion Monica is returning to the team anyway, like the Wasp she's a former popular Avengers chairperson who's been given various roles on other superhero teams like the Ultimates and Thunderbolts in more recent years.

The star of a current limited series that's harkening back to her days on the Avengers, Monica will also go full-superhero for the first time in the MCU in July's The Marvels, so it's the ideal moment to let her shine again where she's shined the brightest, as a member and a leader of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Wanda Maximoff is starring in her first-ever ongoing series, so her to return to the pages of the core Avengers title lines right up. Wanda had become more of a mainstay of the West Coast branch and more contemporary off-shoots like the Uncanny Avengers over the years, but her most infamous modern interaction with the team was its destruction that led to the formation of the New Avengers.

We've argued that for a long time, Wanda was more villain, victim, and object of a love triangle than the hero of her own story, and now she finally seems in a place to claim a role in the leadership tier of the Marvel Universe her history and her power level dictates.

It's time the Avengers and Avengers readers get a Scarlet Witch in charge of her own destiny and with full agency for the first time in their history with each other. 

Daredevil

Daredevil

Daredevil (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Yeah, he's got his hands full in writer Chip Zdarky's solo title right now, and as leader of the Fist, his mission in the pages of his solo series wouldn't be an ideal fit with a stint on the Avengers.

But like the Hulk and Spider-Man, he's one of those long-time solo stars that the Avengers is supposed to be a teaming of.

Yes, Matt Murdock had some limited runs with Avengers teams in the aughts, but lately Daredevil has come to realize he wants to save the world and not just keep the streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen safe from mobsters. Once his big showdown with the Hand and the Punisher is over, Daredevil should decide his new mission would be best served as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

And DD's recent introduction into the MCU which leads to Disney Plus' longest MCU streaming series in 2024 is just another reason to include the Man Without Fear in Marvel's highest-profile team title.

Black Panther/Shuri

Black Panther/Shuri

Black Panther/Shuri (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Shuri has recently embraced the role of Black Panther in the MCU in Wakanda Forever, so it's time Marvel Comics made room for her as Black Panther (again) in the comics. But it doesn't have to be at the expense of T'Challa's place in his solo title.

The Avengers would do well to keep relations with Wakanda in good standing as well as retain access to its resources. As Hippolyta has from time to time represented Themyscira on the Justice League as Wonder Woman, Shuri can break out of T'Challa's shadow as an Avenger not as his replacement but as a Black Panther alongside him (as many Wakandan traditions as that may shatter.)

Shuri will almost certainly play a role as Black Panther in the MCU's upcoming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and/or Secret Wars, so Marvel Comics would just be getting ahead of the game. 

Clea Strange

Clea Strange

Clea Strange (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Clea is giving up her solo comic book series and title of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme to the returning (from the dead) Doctor Stephen Strange in the next couple of months, but these Avengers could use some expertise in the realm of magic, so perhaps Clea can stick around the Earthly plane and join the squad.

We considered Doctor Strange himself but with the Hulk on the roster, it felt a little too 'Defenders.'

Clea is one of Marvel's oldest characters who nearly 60 years after her creation is just coming into her own in the comic books, and given Charlize Theron plays Clea in live action, we suspect her MCU profile will also eventually be significant, even if for the moment we don't know where or when. 

The wildcard/protégé

Avengers reinvented

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

We were going to cap our suggested Avengers roster at a nice round and manageable eight. Not too few, not too many. But we also can't overlook that the Avengers have something of a history of adding young, somewhat out-of-left-field members to mentor.

Think Living Lightning, Silver Claw, and Firebird.

For this role, we're going with Mosaic. The superhero created in 2016 got his own limited series that year and has more or less disappeared since.

The former professional basketball player is sort of DC's Deadman meets Quantum Leap meets Marvel's own Super-Adaptoid, and his unique Inhumans/Terrigen Mist-granted power set and funky visuals satisfy the wildcard criteria. 

And oh yeah…

Avengers Mansion

Avengers Mansion (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

…we'd bring back the Avengers Mansion.

DC and Marvel both like to up the ante on superhero headquarters, and the Avengers have gone from the 5th Avenue townhouse to an island, a skyscraper, a mountain, and a Celestial corpse base of operations, and back to various iterations of the mansion in-between, which always seem to get destroyed by supervillains.

But as quaint as it may be, we still like the good 'ole three-story with its cool subterranean levels illustrated in the old Marvel Handbooks best. The juxtaposition of the cool tech, labs, and meeting rooms with a house overseen by a butler will never be improved upon, with due apologies to Wayne Manor and Alfred. 

So those are our picks for a new Avengers roster, here's a look at the best Avengers members and the oddest Avengers ever. 

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.