By X35 24 Comments
Continuing on with my week of Avengers-themed blogs, this time I'll be listing my Top 5 new recruits to the Avengers following the controversial Disassembled storyline. And, no, Storm won't be on this list so don't bother complaining about it, fanboys.
Since Disassembled the Avengers have recruited over 25 new members, have awarded 6 honorary memberships and have branched out into multiple teams! What follows are my 5 favorite additions to the Avengers in that time...
Stature was a Young Avenger who was drafted into the Avengers during Dark Reign. Unlike her fellow Young Avengers, Stature was the only character who existed prior to the first Young Avengers series and had links to the team through her father, the second Ant-Man. Stature joining the Avengers added something the Avengers had been lacking since the debut of New Avengers; youth and innocence. Stature was pretty much just a sweet, goofy girl among heroes. However, the Avengers had been going through some thematic dark, moody and depressing stuff so Stature was a breath of fresh air interjecting a cute voice into the mix whether it was gasping at her peers' swearing or calling "Jinx" when both "uncle Hank" and Norman Osborn yelled "Avengers Assemble!".
The new Hulk is a pretty hard character for a lot of folks to accept. Almost entirely down to the silly introductory stories by Jeph Loeb which had the character pretty much beat every damn character up regardless of their power. The character has been pretty sharply improved under the talented pen of Jeff Parker over in Hulk and around that time he was also added to the Heroic Age Avengers relaunch. It's pretty jarring that a guy who was once a terrorist who attacked the White House is now rubbing shoulders with Captain America and Thor but the thing is the new Hulk is actually turning out to be a pretty good Avenger. In fact, one of the better moments so far in Avengers vs. X-Men featured the new Hulk motivating and leading the Avengers into the battle on Utopia. Although I don't think anyone was too thrilled with his addition to the roster, it's beginning to feel like he's got potential as an Avenger.
The Avengers have had a habit of recruiting former villains with the likes of Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Swordsman, and even a clone of Madame Masque at one point, so slotting another villain among the ranks doesn't cause too much of a double take from the readers. Ares was by no means a great Avenger or even a great character, but one thing he sure was was fun. Whether it was arrogantly fighting Doctor Doom, single-handedly demolishing an army of Iron Man armors or, in his best moment, knocking out Wonder Man so he could attempt to destroy Hercules instead of arrest him. Ares tenure with the Avengers felt a bit too short thanks to decompression and random event tie-ins taking up half the issues when he was a member. It's a shame because it feels we didn't get enough of Ares as an Avenger.
Maybe Bendis' finest moment was the Spider-Woman sub-plot in New Avengers. Bendis had polished off a character who had fallen into disuse and made her a super-sexy spy with unclear allegiances. So it was utterly devastating when his best contribution to the franchise was then revealed to actually have been an alien this whole time robbing us of one of the few well developed characters he's written. Alien Spider-Woman was soon killed off and replaced with the real Spider-Woman who has stuck around for almost 4 years now and in that time has failed to do anything half as interesting as her shapeshifting alien counterpart. All she's done since her return is engage in one of the worst inter-Avenger relationships in a long time with Hawkeye.
Valkyrie was another character who had been M.I.A. for a while before she was added to the Avengers. Although adding her to the Secret Avengers instead of the regular team seems odd (maybe the Avengers mixed up Spider-Woman and Valkyrie's I.D. cards and couldn't be bothered to rectify the mistake), but since she joined with the team she's been given some pretty cool moments. Although, most notably and recently she's become something of a breakout star particularly with regards to Fear Itself. The former Defender Valkyrie seems to be earning her place among Earth's Mightiest Heroes and if we continue to see her being as prominent as she was in a series like The Fearless, then I can't see many people disagreeing with her place at #1.