Continuing my series of “Unrealistic Pitches,” these are what I would do if I were in charge of a total reboot of the Marvel Universe. (I plan to do the same for the DC Universe next, and maybe the Valiant Universe, as well. We’ll see.) In any case, next up is S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers, and the Defenders. I was debating including my idea for a New Warriors reboot, but decided it works best under the “street level” heroes, so I’m going to include it there…
S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the place of the C.I.A., Homeland Security, and any and all spy organizations of the US in the Marvel Universe. As such, all of the big events in the Marvel Universe should revolve around these titles. I would divide them into three titles: S.H.I.E.L.D., The Defenders, and The Avengers. These titles would revolve around the before, during, and aftermath, respectively, of the major events happening in the Marvel Universe.
THE INDIVIDUAL TITLES
The S.H.I.E.L.D. title would juggle multiple storylines going on at the same time, focusing on operatives that have gone undercover into various super villain, criminal, and terrorist organizations around the world. Their objective is to learn about threats posed by these organizations and, when possible, sabotage these efforts. When that isn’t possible, they’re to act as an early warning system, alerting their handlers to the upcoming threats. Multiple storylines would happen at the same time, and one of these will be the next big event to hit the Marvel Universe, though the reader should be kept guessing which one it will turn out to be. The three top agents would be Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Black Widow, and most of the stories would revolve around these three (sometimes working together, but often not). Sometimes they will succeed in sabotaging the bad guy’s mission and sometimes they’ll relay the upcoming plans back to S.H.I.E.L.D. – but sometimes they’ll fail to learn anything important in time to prevent anything, and some agents will die in the attempt. The reader should be kept wondering what the fate of each agent will be, and whether any given mission will succeed or fail.
The Defenders title will be the cornerstone of practically every major event storyline in the Marvel Universe. Other heroes could deal with the smaller threats, but the villians behind world shattering events would be dealt with by the Defenders. They are the first line of defense against every major baddie that comes down the pipe. They generally assemble whenever S.H.I.E.L.D. provides intel of an imminent attack. The team consists of Nighthawk, Doctor Strange, Namor, Valkerie, the Hulk, and a reserve cast of practically every hero in the Marvel Universe (Moondragon and Spider-man would be two of the heroes often called on – they could’ve been regular members, but prefer being reservists, even if they get called up practically every time). Doctor Strange is crucial to gathering the team together, as Valkerie is often off in Asgard and the Hulk is repeatedly escaping from whatever prison he’s been confined to this time (Doctor Strange often helps with this on the sly, as he feels responsible for the Hulk being recaptured after missions). Things become dicey when Doctor Strange is off dealing with a mystical threat to the universe, but is often able to help assemble the team, at the very least. Namor is one of only two full time members, since he no longer has a home to return to (Atlantis was destroyed in a previous – or the first – mission. As such, he’s devoted his life to insuring that such a genocide never happens again.) As a former king, he’s ideally suited to handling the finances and logistics of the team, though his temper can sometimes get in the way, especially where personality conflicts are involved. Nighthawk is the sole (hero) survivor of his dimension, and leads the Defenders to insure that this universe does not suffer the same fate as his own. If the team receives enough intel on the upcoming event, they will assemble reservists based on the threat. If there isn’t enough time, a general emergency is called, and anyone capable of answering makes up the team for such threats.
The Avengers are called in when the Defenders fail, or didn’t have enough warning to even show up. They will AVENGE, going after the Osama Bin Ladens of the Marvel Universe. They are tasked with capturing the villains alive to stand trial, whenever conceivable, or to take out the villain when this isn’t possible. Captain America leads the team, and is crucial for his reputation – he’s seen as an honorable hero by not just Americans, but by practically everyone in the world. Doors are often opened to them because of his leadership of the team. Iron Man is likewise important for the image of the team, as his company’s extensive research into non-lethal weaponry shows the world that they’re serious about trying to bring in the villain alive, whenever possible. Thor and Ms. Marvel are the powerhouses of the group, and Ant Man and the Wasp are the reconnaissance experts. Black Panther, ousted from his nation by a coup by Klaw, rounds out the group as the resident tactical genius. Whereas the Defenders will be fighting on their home turf against incoming threats, the Avengers will be tracking down the villains and fighting them on their home turf, making it both a more proactive, and more difficult task.
Kicking off things would be the S.H.I.E.L.D. Special, which would set up each of the above titles. It would start with three S.H.I.E.L.D. ops. The first would result in successful sabotage of the enemy’s plans, but requires a speedy extraction, as the villains learned of the undercover operative’s identity during the sabotage, unbeknownst to the agent. The second results in the death of the agent, who is unable to pass on the information of the imminent threat. The Avengers are called in to take down the bad guy responsible for the attack. Lastly, the third results in information being passed on the Defenders, ending with a two page spread of the Defenders facing off against the bad guys. Each of these stories would continue in the main series.
And that’s what I would do with these titles (and major story arcs set on Marvel Earth.) I think S.H.I.E.L.D. would work well, and Avengers fits the name incredibly well, but I’m not sure how well Defenders would go over. Sure, it fits the name, but I don’t know that Defenders fans would be particularly pleased with the changes (which makes it the weak link in my idea), though I, naturally, love the idea. Anyway, next up I’ll put the universe in the Marvel Universe with the Cosmic titles…