While Marvel Studios upcoming Captain America: Civil War takes its name and inspiration from the classic limited series from Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, I thought it would be worth taking a look at the Marvel Universe as it stands in the current comic book continuity.
Much like the final scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Civil War will find us with a new line-up of Avengers working together as a team – Captain America and Black Widow all the stalwarts, guiding new recruits Scarlett Witch, Vision, War Machine and The Falcon. However, in the first volume of All-New, All-Different Avengers, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar, there’s no actual Avengers team to speak of. For various reasons that have yet to fully be explained (though tied to the massive Secret Wars event that took place last year), the team has imploded.But, like all great Avengers stories, a evil attack, this time in the form of the Chitauri, Warbringer, leads a diverse group of super heroes to band together. Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are there, but Tony Stark is the only original to use that handle. In the case of Cap, it’s Sam Wilson carrying the shield, while the female Thor who eventually joins up with the team, at one point sharing a humorously tender moment with Wilson.
So who make up the rest of the team – the only other former Avenger on board is Vision, who has wiped his emotions from his system and acts more the robot. Then you’ve got three teenage heroes who have made an incredible impact on the Marvel Universe as a whole – Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel; Sam Alexander, the newest Nova, and Miles Morales, the former Ultimate universe Spider-Man who managed to make his way into the Marvel U proper following the events of Secret War. All three are teenagers who have been around less than five years, but have quickly become fan favourites. Each brings a unique personality, but also a wide-eyed enthusiasm and awe that they are indeed Avengers.
While All-New, All-Different Avengers isn’t perfect (the fact that we’re dealing with time travel already following Age of Ultron mini-series and its repercussions screams of a little “too soon”), Mark Waid is clearly having a fun time with all the characters. While the handles may be familiar, we are dealing with all-new interpretations of Cap, Thor, etc. and that adds a definite freshness to the title. It also points at the possibilities for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we look toward Phase Four. Who’s to say that Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson won’t eventually become Captain America on-screen? Or that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will one day wield the power of Mjolnir? The possibilities are limitless, and in many ways, they’ve assembled in Volume One of All-New, All-Different Avengers.