I haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet and so can’t comment on the events of the movie beyond what has been shared in reviews and other commentaries. While I don’t personally get hung up on spoilers and such, it’s still shocking how blatantly some sites have been putting significant plot details in headlines or conveying them through a mix of a vague headline and a photo that 100% answers the question being asked in that hed.
What should be common knowledge by now is that the chairs have been significantly rearranged in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s unclear where that leads with future films, though. So far Marvel Studios has begun to make it clear that Ant-Man and the Wasp happens before or during Infinity War, addressing questions as to where those characters are in the crossover and explaining it does not reflect a post-Infinity War reality. And Captain Marvel is set in the 90s, a decade or more before Tony Stark and Nick Fury introduced us to the broader world of characters.
It’s that latter movie’s setting that currently has me most intrigued. Imagine if Marvel went all in on the idea that there were heroes operating in the 90s?
The current MCU continuity makes it clear that the emergence of enhanced individuals is relatively recent development, with Stark being the first real public hero since the disappearance of Captain America at the end of WWII. While it’s unclear how out there Captain Marvel was, let’s assume for the moment she was operating at least mostly in secret, be it on Earth or in space. So any expansion of the roster would need to be a primarily clandestine group akin to the Secret Avengers.
There are a number of heroes that would fit this bill pretty well without upending anything that happens later on in a post-”I am Iron Man” world. Pulling just from the list of characters that have been on the Avengers in the comics, here’s who I would want to see:
Marc Spector’s alter-ego is the first one I think of when I think “operates in the shadows.” Called to act as the vengeful fist of an ancient Egyptian deity, Moon Knight is a street-level hero with no powers to speak of. Still, he’s always been an intriguing character that lends a good deal of mystery and mysticism to the team.
Monica Rambeau went by the Captain Marvel moniker for a while but then adopted this identity when Carol Danvers reclaimed the title. She lead the Avengers for a while in the 80s but never got what I felt was her due in terms of recognition, largely because her character was defined at that time primarily by her doubt in her own abilities. Make her the leader of the team and it sets of a great dynamic.
Another 80s/90s Avenger that has some ties to magic on his side what with his connection to King Arthur and Excalibur. Ditch the flying horse he was often seen to be riding and make him someone who’s struggling with the role of being a hero (a nod to a previous incarnation of the character who was a villain) and it sets up some tension on the team.
Look, I’m a longstanding advocate for more West Coast Avengers characters and Tigra is going to be on my list. Back in the day there was a WCA issue or two where she explained she was an unabashedly sexual person who enjoyed wearing nothing but a black bikini because she felt it empowered her. Stick with that and you have a very timely hero here.
Introduced in the first volume of The New Avengers, Maya is a deaf ninja who has infiltrated the Yakuza to exact justice. Again, she fits very well with the concept of a clandestine team that features a strong lineup of motivated, independent women.
It only makes sense that Captain America would have inspired other people over the 60+ years since his disappearance to fight for what was right. Jack Monroe’s Nomad can be just that. Like Phil Coulson, make him someone who grew up idolizing Cap and decided to become his own hero. Just lose the cape.
Your turn. Who would you want to see on a 90s Proto Avengers team?
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.