I Voted!

Photo from Christian.
So I guess I'm back to regular programming.
This is still my personal blog and I still have life outside of the Avengers to talk about so let's move on.

One would think since I had already made a big deal about having registered, faxing my ballot, and my candidate wining on all my social networks that I would shut up about it. Besides, I should be concentrating on NaNoWriMo! But nah - I wanna blog about it for posterity's sake. Though I realize I could've blogged about it days ago when the memory of it was still fresh and  relevant, I haven't found time to actually put my thoughts and feelings down in words.

Anyway, I participated in my very first election for the first time since I hit voting age. For those new to my world and wondering why I'm blogging about an election that took place in the US, read this.

So how did I go about it?

Well, Internet had a lot to do with it.
As most of my friends may or may not know, I am subscribed to tons of channels on YouTube mainly featuring Asian-Americans, among them the Jubilee Project and ISATV. It was their video that got me thinking "Why don't I register this year?"

Flashback to 2008. My mother pointed out that there was such a thing as absentee voting. Of course, she mentioned this way after the fact. We were already tuned in to Obama's inauguration.

Back to last September. I began googling for sites that can give me more information on absentee voting, but it was a little ad on Facebook that finally got the process of my voter registration going. The ad led me to VotefromAbroad.org, which really made the registration process much easier for me.

The only requirements I needed to qualify as a voter was a social security number, which I already have, and my parents' last known US address. Thankfully, my dad is presently based in La Habra, making me a qualified voter in Orange County!

Yet I was still afraid that I would be ineligible for one reason or another or that I would miss the registration deadline given that I had opted to send my documents via air mail. Thankfully, I did receive my ballot and instructions via email on Oct. 26 - a Friday and a local holiday, which meant the post office was closed for three days after.

The following Monday, I had filled out my ballot but was apprehensive about sending it via air mail as I wasn't confident it would get to the proper office in time. After calling the US embassy and asking if they have any program that can possibly help me and not getting any definite response, I finally decided to try more expensive parcel services like DHL the following Wednesday.

Another roadblock: The following day, Thursday, was a holiday again. The earliest departure of my documents would be on Saturday and the most optimistic ETA is projected at Wednesday, California time.

Thankfully, there was one last option, though it would void the anonymity of my ballot: By fax. The following Monday (again), the first thing I did when I got to the office was fax my ballot, long distance calling charges be damned. I immediately emailed the appropriate office to confirm reception and validity of my ballot and received confirmation mere hours later.

My vote was officially cast.

And, yes, I voted for Obama and the Democrats.


While I did my research and got caught up in the debates, I will admit that some of the major issues in this election like taxes and foreign policy were lost on me. I will do better next time, I promise.

In all honesty, my vote went to the candidate and the group I felt was more in tune with my very own principles. As I mentioned on Twitter, I voted for Obama because I believed in the Dream Act, the repulsion of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and universal healthcare, among other things. All of which were either enacted or were among the priorities of his first term and amusingly summarized in Kal Penn's speech at the Democratic National Convention.

While it may sound unfair or illogical to even have strong opinions about these issues considering I won't be affected by them anytime soon, what I realized during this whole process was that my vote really wasn't for myself but for my friends and the people in the States who stand to benefit from such programs.

I voted on behalf of some really good friends like Chan, Lora, and Dek who have expressed that they would have voted for Obama if they could.

I voted on behalf of undocumented writer Jose Antonio Vargas to whom I sent a private message on election day saying that I too found it unfair that I had a right to a passport, social security, and a vote when he did not.

Maybe I voted for my benefit as well because: a) I feel like I should not deny myself the experience; and b) I will go back to the States and maybe these matters will affect me.

Last Wednesday (Manila time), I followed the results online from my office and it was nerve-wracking to see state after state turn red on Huffington Post's page (great coverage, by the way) in the early hours.
Funny thing was that red and blue were tied by the time I went down to lunch and by the time I came back less than half an hour later, Obama had already won!

I didn't really understand why but this wave of emotion swept over me and I found myself bawling my eyes out.
Maybe because all the stress of getting my vote in paid off.
Or maybe because I just believed in "Forward" more than I thought I did.

Me on election day after the results.
I had unknowingly put on a blue shirt that morning.
That done, maybe I should check what my rights are as a "recognized Filipino citizen".
If it's not too late, I'd like to register and choose my representatives in 2013.

In the meantime, I found this really great video on how the electoral college works:


On Bendis, AvX, and Marvel NOW!

It should be a very big week for me.
My birthday is this weekend plus a couple of important Avengers issues also comes out this week (today, in fact):

Avengers Vol. 4 No. 31
It's beginning of the end for the Brian Michael Bendis era - a moment long-time Avengers fans have been waiting for. In fact: I know of some folks over at the Avengers Forever fan group who have vowed never to touch an Avengers book by Bendis, and I don't blame them.
Month after month, his issues were among the most premium-priced at P200 each and I barely get 5 minutes of enjoyment and hardly any satisfaction from them. None of his 4 to 6-issue story arcs felt like they needed to last that long. It's clear to me that he's stretching his stories with the intent of compiling them into collected editions, which is fine by me, but I wish he had given me more bang for my buck. He's already said that that's the prescribed format and some people are just better at it. Unfortunately, he's not one of them. Dan Slott and Ed Brubaker did the same during their runs on Mighty Avengers and Secret Avengers, respectively, and yet I enjoyed every issue!
To his credit, he has written some brilliant single issue stories: the FCBD 2009 Avengers, and New Avengers Vol. 2 Nos. 7 and 8. So I don't understand how he can't just restrain himself. If there was a story arc that I genuinely liked, it would be the one I started with: The Collective.

Other rants I have:
  • His complete disregard for continuity (In Avengers Assemble, they don't know who the Zodiac and Thanos are. WTF?)
  • His Avengers act like amateurs who have never faced universe-devastating crises before.
  • They have no semblance of teamwork or leadership at all (let's all hit the same foe at the same time)
  • His character management is a mess! For example: Spider-woman was a more interesting character back when she was a Skrull!
I have been burned several times yet I kept coming back for more. It's the most abusive relationship this side of Chris Brown and Rihanna. Why did I put up with it for seven years?
Because of the characters.
hich is also a problem because his work shows no respect for the characters and the fans that loved them. While I was initially incensed when I first heard about Disassembled and the New Avengers, I was curious about the new direction. I understand the need to bring in new fans, but why turn away old ones? Shake up the status quo - it's been done before - but why kill off characters or make them crazy and destroy an integral part of the Avengers mythos?
Of course, all that is moot now that most of those changes have been reversed.
Which brings me to today's second important issue:
Uncanny Avengers No. 1
When I first heard about this, I was like "NO SALE!". And I don't feel any differently NOW!

Sure, Wanda is back in action and they'll be using the Mansion as their HQ, but this is hardly my Avengers. In fact none of the Avengers titles/teams NOW! appeal to me. For crying out loud, I got into the Avengers to escape the mutants. NOW! they're all over the place! Yes, I understand that the creative teams they have assembled for all the titles are amazing, but like I previously mentioned, I'm in it for the characters and  I unfortunately don't recognize these Avengers anymore.

So yes, I don't believe I'll be supporting Marvel NOW! and its plethora of Avengers titles, including the just-announced Young Avengers. In fact: I'll hazard to say that my time of collecting new Avengers comics has come to an end. I'll just finish the current story lines of  Academy, Assemble (both fold this month), and Secret, and that's it.

A shame really. With my least liked writer finally leaving, I would've liked to see what they might turn up next but this is not what I had in mind. Sadly, I blame the movie for the Avengers' popularity and why every other Marvel NOW! title has the Avengers branding on it (Avengers Arena, SERIOUSLY?).

[UPDATE 10-14-2012: Marvel NOW! Secret Avengers relaunched with a movie-centric cast, which annoys me even more. So I'll just finish the current run of the Secret team.]

That's not to say that I'm no longer a fan. There's still 30 to 40 years worth of classic stories I have yet to discover (I'm waiting for the new Kree-Skrull War paperback to come out) and there's still the adventures of the West Coast team.
Which brings me to my last piece of thought:

Avengers vs. X-Men
When first announced, I thought this was a contrived, unnecessary event and given the way it eventually unfolded, my feelings about it haven't changed. Yes, I'm giving in to the Bendis abuse again (he did bookend the series) but being smarter about it - I only want to get the collected paperback edition (at a discounted price, if possible). After all, the event did involve many of my favorite classic Avengers, including the Black Panther, Hank Pym, the Vision, and of course Wanda, even interacting with the new Avengers. Who knows? I might even consider getting the paperbacks of the tie-ins.
And as far as Bendis and collected editions go, I'm also looking to snag copies of his Shattered Heroes stories (if only for Daredevil and Storm), which comes out before the end of the year, and of course his End Times saga, which would probably come out sometime next year. I figured I'd cut my losses since he writes for trades anyway.

But after that? Sadly I don't see myself diving back into the comics in the near future. I no longer feel like Marvel is doing anything for fans like me (I've been labeled a "purist", which is a title I proudly carry). I also used to treat each issue as special but I don't feel that way anymore because I have hundreds! With the way things are, I wouldn't be surprised if I reach thousands by next year! With the movie's sequel in development, I expect things are going to be the same way for the next couple more years at least.
I've always known that it has to end at some point, and Marvel NOW! just gave me the perfect reason to jump ship.

Of course, this bold announcement from the self-confessed biggest Pinoy fan of the Avengers couldn't have come at a better time: This weekend would've also marked my 12th anniversary as a fan (I got my first issue as a birthday gift to myself). It's the end times for my comic-collecting days but I know I will always be a fan of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.


Of Them Who Have Rewritten My Story

(November 29, 1918 – September 6, 2007)

    It was through her that I first discovered it was possible to tesseract to other worlds.
    Her book, A Wrinkle in Time, was the book I was assigned to do a book review of way back in seventh grade. I remember being immensely fascinated by it back then that every time I'm asked to do a book review of my own choosing, I would immediately grab a L'Engle book from my school's library.
    For that matter, I'm thankful for the teacher who assigned me the book (if I could just remember who it was).
    To this day, I still have the very copy of Wrinkle I reviewed all those years ago. I even re-read it and reviewed for a quick, minor literature class requirement in college. I remember enjoying it again.
    Thank you, Ms. L'Engle. From the 12-year old me.

David Eddings
(July 7, 1931 – June 2, 2009)

    Canada. I was 17 and slightly crazy. I went with my grandmother to the local library for her weekly supply of books to read. I asked if I could also borrow one and, me being me, the book would have to be of the fantasy genre. His weren't the only ones I got but his were the ones that stuck.
    I remember a road trip to Seattle and a camping trip the family took where I brought with me one of the Malloreon books I borrowed from the library. I remember being more entranced by the traveling we took and the wide open landscape because, at the same time, the characters in the book were taking a similar journey.
    It was ultimately that road trip and Eddings' books, among things, that gave my confused teenage self the focus I needed back then. The outcome of that inspiration has been an ongoing project for more than ten years now.
    Thank you, Mr. Eddings.

Robert Jordan
(October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007)

    In December of 2002, post-9/11 era, I was a college sophomore on Christmas break and The Two Towers was about to come out on local theaters. I decided then to reinvigorate my interest in fantasy books. Flashback to a few years earlier, I had considered to endeavor the same while I was still in Canada and came across one of the Sword of Truth books. The random stranger beside me saw me checking them out and told me that they were good.
    Back to 2002. I thought then that I would walk away from National Bookstore Megamall with Wizard's First Rule. That is, until I came across a series of black books with a nice, almost embossed logo on the cover. The cover alone is interesting but when I flipped through the pages, there were chapter headers, icons, three maps and a glossary at the back! Compared to that, Wizards was just plain boring.
    What I had discovered that day, of course, was The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time series. Since then, the stress of college life had been balanced with Jordan's fantastic saga about an epic struggle between good and evil.
    Salutes to you, Mr. Jordan. Thanks for letting me believe in magic at an age where I could have just as easily let go of them. I look forward to finishing the cycle with Brandon Sanderson.

    Of course, some might say that any other fantasy author could have fulfilled the role these three writers played in my life.
    That misses the point.
    If anything, fantasy has taught me that a man's destiny is as much a matter of fate as it is of choice. Maybe something just resonates well with me and their works.

    Even if all three creators have already departed the mortal plane, I don't believe their story has already closed. After all, mine is still ongoing and they remain very much a part of who I am now as much as who I was when I first discovered them.

(Originally posted on my Multiply account June 8, 2009)


Dangerous Liaisons

I suppose when you're a group of super powers with your headquarters located on a block of New York City, the world or at least the US government would have just reasons to keep you in check and make sure your interests are aligned with their interests. After all, unless your base of  operations is a roving satellite off-planet or a lighthouse on the moon, you're still operating on sovereign soil and certain laws have to be observed.

Avengers Headquarters
That's where the government liaisons come in - they're the middle men who mitigates your operations and make sure you're in the straight and narrow... at least by government standards. In addition to alerting you on new missions, they're also in charge of securing government permits and taking care of other legal affairs so you won't have to (because, you know, saving the world should be your tip-top priority)! But sometimes, they do overstep their bounds and dictate the system by which you operate.
And when you're a liaison assigned to the Avengers, you would have to be an equally colorful character to share comic panels with the likes of a billionaire industrialist in a suit of armor, an Asgardian god with a hammer that summons thunder, a super soldier out of time in a star spangled garb carrying a mighty shield, and the rest of these self-styled "Earth's Mightiest Heroes".

I only bring this up because while watching the movie, I couldn't help think that this guy:

SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson
reminds me so much of this guy:
Duane Freeman
Many who have seen the movie are quite smitten with Agent Coulson while many who have followed the comics harbor a special fondness for Mr. Freeman - the first and last liaison of the Busiek era (a personal favorite). Both men were fanboys, both were loved by the fans, and both shared a common fate.

Coulson in Battle Scars.
No fair! He's got more hair than Clark Gregg!
Yes, Mr. Freeman was a government-appointed liaison to the Avengers but Coulson is not. I think he'd make a great one though. If a tad overqualified - the guy can kick serious ass! There are certain obstacles to make that happen in the movieverse but with his emergence in the comics, that may not be a far possibility. After all, the current roster of the Avengers no longer have government liaisons. They now have SHIELD liaisons instead!

Maria Hill, Victoria Hand, and Sharon Carter from Age of Heroes No. 3
For a long while, liaisons like Mr. Freeman have served as a colorful addition to the Avengers' cast as the other civilian aside from Jarvis who is deeply involved in the Avengers' business. After Disassembled, we haven't had much in the ways of government liaisons, and after Civil War, we've pretty much established that anyone who leads SHIELD also leads the Avengers. That's pretty much absolute power right there.

'Nuff said.
This is why I found it baffling that they returned to the liaison system at the onset of the Heroic Age. The Avengers and SHIELD, both under Commander Steve Rogers' command, are at the very top of the security food chain. But I suppose that having liaisons around was a means to make sure that there is no such thing as "absolute power" in the first place - that there is still some level of accountability on both ends. Or maybe there were just too many squads running around that they cannot be left unchecked.

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
Hey, she actually worked!
The great thing about these women was that they were completely different from pencil-pushing men straight out of Washington whose background was more on politics than actually ensuring the safety of the world. Hill and Carter have both accompanied their respective teams on missions while Hand had, more often than not, found herself in the thick of things whether she wants to or not but she's proven herself more than capable of holding her own regardless. Even when confronted with the return of her former boss.

Hill from Earth's Mightiest Heroes
Both Hill and Hand are creations of my least favorite scribe and I should be morose that one of his pet characters got the big screen treatment when the Wasp, an original Avenger and a personal favorite, doesn't even get a cameo! But I digress. If anything, he made the character truly memorable and deserving of her place in the periphery of the Avengers mythos. Her love/hate attitude towards superheroes truly helped in that direction - much like another memorable character who has made a career out of his unfavorable relationship with the Avengers.
Henry Peter Gyrich
I actually like this character because his less than welcome presence adds internal conflict and drama to stories involving him! He's every bit the pencil-pushing arrogant government type I described above.
We haven't seen much of him in recent comics but then again with his past dealings with the team, it's no wonder that Commander Rogers don't have any place for him in his new world order. Although he's the least liked of all the liaisons, his is the image that pops in my head when they say "Avengers liaison". I enjoyed reading about him during Geoff Johns' run and his time at the Initiative and I hope he shows up in the comics again soon.
Maybe make it hard for the Secret Avengers to function since Agent Carter is no longer with them?

He already appeared on Earth's Mightiest Heroes!
Now that I think about it, I think he's also appeared on the other animated series but was under the name of another government liaison in the comics who wasn't as prolific as Gyrich! 
Raymond Sikorski
Of course, Raymond Sikorski was instrumental in the formation of the West Coast team and was the liaison to both squads during that era. He wasn't a fanboy or anything but he did make it easier for the team to cover both coasts. Maybe the reason they used his name for the show was because he was the most recent liaison and therefore the name that followers of the comics were familiar with at the time at the time of the show's production. But his likeness and sour demeanor towards the team was definitely Gyrich!
Just another one of the show's many absurdities I suppose.
The Gyrich-Sikorski hyrbrid from United they Stand also reminds me of Stephen Colbert!
All this is why Coulson will so work as the Avengers liaison! He's pretty much a suit just like Gyrich and an ass kicker like Hill (Hey, they're both agents!) plus he's got Duane's fanboy spirit (those who've seen the movie will know what I mean)! And he can probably manage multiple A-teams like Sikorski! Definitely a winner combo!
It's a long shot that it's gonna happen in the movie but maybe in the TV show?
There is an opportunity there since, for the time being at least, they're keeping the Avengers and SHIELD entities completely exclusive. The character hasn't appeared on the show yet but he has already appeared in the comic tie-in so there's hope of seeing more of him!

This one looks more like Clark Gregg!


And There Came A Movie Unlike Any Other

"I won't believe that this is happening until my ass is firmly planted in the cinema!"

I remember saying that when I shared the first wave of promotional images on Facebook and Google+

Well, I've already seen it twice since the movie came out here last Wednesday and I still can't believe that it happened.

Not only did they make a movie about my favorite comic book title ever but they made a great movie period. I'm not gonna go into  details as to how and why because that's what Rotten Tomatoes is for.

What I want to answer is: How does somebody whose online persona has the word "avenger" in it and who celebrated 10 years of being a fan feel about THE MOVIE?

Frankly, I was disappointed.

I didn't expect it to be brilliant.
I didn't expect it to be mindblowing.
I certainly expected a movie that only an Avengers fan would love.

None of those expectations were met. And I'm glad that they weren't because as a huge fan, I feel a sense of entitlement to this franchise. The fandom is not the loudest and not the biggest in the world, to be sure, so this is a make or break moment for us. The Spider-man, X-men, Batman, and Superman fandoms can live their bad movies down on the strength of everything else they got going for them. While the Justice League fans will always have their TV shows, us Avengers fans will only have this one shot at a blip in the radar of pop culture.

Who better to steer us towards that direction than a geek god like Joss Whedon! I remember jolting up from my early morning stupor two years ago when they formally announced at SDCC that he'll be helming the movie. Of course, that event also finalized Mark Ruffalo's replacement of Edward Norton in the role of Bruce Banner as well as the movie roster, which did not include Ant-man and the Wasp.

Did I mind Norton's departure? Not really, though I would've preferred he reprised his role if only for the additional star power to match Robert Downey, Jr.
To be honest, they could've cast a completely new set of actors because I don't really care about the individual movies or characters. I only care about the team. Same reason I didn't mind that Captain America's ears weren't exposed or that Thor didn't have his helmet on.
Regardless of casting and costume differences, everybody in the end did right by their roles including Cobie Smulders. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get Robin Scherbatsky or, worse, Robin Sparkles out of my head but she did right as Maria Hill!

As for Pym and Jan, if they couldn't get their movies out in time, it didn't really make sense for them to be included here because we'd have to spend time detailing their powers and origins instead of moving the story forward. Hawkeye and the Black Widow made sense because as SHIELD Agents, they're already right smack dab in the middle of it all and their powers don't really require much defining. Their scenes are actually the ones I looked forward to the most in the movie.

Yes, Hawkeye is from SHIELD and not from the circus, Nick Fury is black, and the Avengers were forcibly rather than coincidentally assembled. I suppose we owe much to Mark Millar and the Ultimates for paving the way to make this movie happen, but I do wonder what the treatment would've been if it was based more on the 616 timeline.

We'd probably still have Loki but would he still have been allied with that alien race? We'd probably have Skrulls instead, which I've been very vocal not liking the idea of. If not Loki, I would've preferred Ultron (with or without Pym) or Kang or both. That would be fanboy heaven for me!

Speaking of, the identity of the alien invaders and the cameo at the mid-credits were spoiled to me before I watched it. The only solace I find from that is that neither were all that surprising revelations - the former has already appeared in a previous adaptation and the latter has long been rumored.

I already miss those days of rumor-, speculation- and news-mongering. That's almost four years of my life since the first Iron Man movie. I can look forward to a sequel but if this doesn't get one, I'd be perfectly fine with it. How can we possibly top this? We have to do it right or not at all.

I feel strongly about this because as a vocal fan, this movie definitely pushed my personal branding. Everyone I know probably remembers me when they watched it so I also feel a certain level of responsibility. Case in point: My friends applauded ME when we watched the movie together! People I know have been letting me know how much they enjoyed it! I'm just glad they had a good time and that I'm somehow a part of it.

So thank you, Joss Whedon and Marvel, for this gift to the fans of Earth's Mightiest Heroes to hold over the heads of everybody else.

Damn you too for setting the standard so high!


Unofficial Ultimate Guide to the Books

This topic is brought to you by an impulse buy I made over the weekend:

Left: The Avengers Assemble
Right: The Mighty Avengers - An Origin Story
Yes, I'm talking about the Avengers on paper but beyond the comics: the books!
That seems kinda redundant considering that the source material is already in print form and we're living in the age of Wikipedia, but I like having easy access to references whenever I need to look something up.
Or whenever I just want to look or read something that isn't a comic!

Avengers: The Ultimate Guide
Somewhat of a cross between an encyclopedia and a coffee table book, this guide is an easy read and contains tons of casual information about the team and its members. It's infamous among fans for revealing the true identity of Ronin, which was yet to be revealed in comics at the time! Talk about spoilers!

Most of the information is pretty basic (with tons of typos) but where it really shines is the layout and illustrations! The Avengers are presented in the order they joined plus they have a section devoted to the alternate reality/future versions of the team like A-Next and the Ultimates.
One of my favorite things about this book that I have not found anywhere else is the 3D rendering of Avengers mansion!

I like the cover, which is actually from a page of Kieron Dwyer's art for the World Trust storyline. Though I would've preferred it if they had commissioned an artist to do an original art.

This book was also my first Avengers-related item beyond the comics. I remember I had to empty my bank account (I didn't have much yet - just started working) just to get my copy at Fully Booked Gateway.

Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game Guide to the Hulk and the Avengers
This one I picked up on a whim from Comic Odyssey's bin at a comic convention and for an unbelievably discounted price too! I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise since:
a) I'm not really a gamer;
b) I'm not happy about the cover.

For what it's worth, it's actually a much more in-depth guide than the "Ultimate Guide" is. It's got the history of earth's mightiest up to the time of its publication, hero and villain profiles, plus the schematics of Avengers mansion, a cross section of the Quinjet, and the original Avengers charter - all of which you can get from various sources online but is compiled in one easy to browse volume.

Looking around the net, I find that there's another cover of this book that I actually like more:

It has the Thunderbolts on the cover, which is actually lifted from the cover of a novel. It's easy to mistake this edition for another RPG guide book that I also want to check out:

The Avengers Roster Book
It's got original art for a cover! How refreshing!

Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide
If we take the RPG book and remove everything else but the character profiles complete with numerical statistics, we'll get this book!
What's great about it is that it was pretty updated - it had profiles for members of the Dark Avengers, the Initiative, the Young Avengers in addition to heroes, villains, and supporting characters up until Siege and the onset of the Heroic Age! Sadly, and I'm not the first person to notice this, it didn't have an entry on James Barnes either as Bucky, the Winter Soldier or Captain America!
Seriously, though: What is it with these books and their covers? Is it that expensive to do an original one?

Official Index to the Marvel Universe
I mentioned in a previous blog that I also picked this up on a whim (ie, another impulse buy).
I like it because it provides an extensive, though text-heavy, summaries of all the issues of the first three volumes of the Avengers and the first volume of the New Avengers plus annuals, one-shots, specials, and mini-series. In a way, it also served as a checklist of sorts, so I know which back issues I wanna check out. I recently ordered a bunch of special issues from Milehigh Comics based on what I gathered from this book.

I do hope they release a similar tome for the West Coast Avengers, and the other spin-offs like Mighty, Dark, Young, Initiative, etc.
Cover-wise, there's really not much to ask for in a book like this so I'm good.

That's all I have so far, but I intend to expand the collection some more and include the following books when they come out:

The Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to Earth's Mightiest Heroes!

Avengers Kit

The Art of Marvel's The Avengers
And speaking of the movie, somebody compiled the tie-in books in a neat blog. The books are mostly targeted towards much younger readers, which seems to be the trend. This makes it kinda awkward for me as a grown man to be looking for this storybook at the children's book section:

Captain America Joins The Avengers
Like "The Mighty Avengers" (see above), this book has nice illustrations and it's interesting to see how they adapted the comic to a storybook. Though I'd wager that the same text and illustrations from both storybooks are what's in the only compelling reason I'd want an iPad:

Avengers Origins: Assemble! Storybook iOS App
For a more adult flare though, there's this interesting nugget which is also available for the Kindle:
The Avengers and Philosophy: Earth's Mightiest Thinkers

Outside of these, there are also novels and I'd like to thank our friendly neighborhood Wikipedia for the complete list. Though I have yet to get into one myself, I find novelizations of comics and movies a bit odd considering they were already graphic in nature. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
But what do I know? I read Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia after the watching the movies!


A League Of Their Own

First of all, I'd like to say "thank you" to whoever you are who's been constantly "plussing" my weekly entries. For some reason, Blogger is not revealing who you are, so please identify yourself so I can acknowledge you properly.

Now on to the topic at hand.

Without a doubt, the Avengers have earned their rightful title as "earth's mightiest heroes". Not the most popular, to be sure, but heroes nonetheless. If they were more well-known, they'd be the Justice League. Heck, they'd be the X-men!

I guess that's the mystique of the Avengers for me. When I first got into them, they were just this bunch of characters, most of whom I had never even heard of before, and they were up to me to discover them! And the more I got to know them, the less these guys below evoked the Avengers for me.

This is probably why I didn't mind the line-up for "United They Stand" regardless of how bad the show turned out to be: For me, the Avengers don't necessarily have to include the big 3! After all, earth's mightiest's colorful history is built on the backs of its more obscure members - Hank Pym and the Wasp being prime examples as founders of the team! And some of the stories I enjoyed the most in recent years happened on books that didn't have any member of the big 3 with them!

The new Mighty Avengers
The new Secret Avengers
With art by David Medinnus, here now are my top 10 favorite Avengers outside of the big 3:


Multiple codenames, costumes, and personalities later, it's a wonder this character continues to fascinate me at all. He pretty much starts off with a clean slate with every new persona (and writer)! My favorite identity of his would have to be the Goliath one from the Busiek era.

The Wasp

People assume she's one of the weakest and lamest heroes but what they don't understand is that her true strength was really in her ability to lead - something she worked hard to develop. She used to be the underpowered but overly enthusiastic ray of sunshine in the original Avengers' rank. Sadly she is currently "decommissioned".

Scarlet Witch

A friend of mine has the hardest time accepting her inborn probability altering powers and for a while I've had the same question: If I had that ability in the real world, how exactly do I use it? Regardless, I've always liked her but for some reason I don't feel as strongly about her brother!


Another Avengers who wins major brownie points for personality and attitude rather than power (seeing a pattern there?). Interestingly, at the time when I first started reading and collecting the Avengers, he was hardly ever in the books because he was leading the Thunderbolts.


Ah, the one character whose story is intricately tangled with the Avengers - after all, he was the first character created specifically to be an Avenger! I'm glad they brought him back. Just picked up Avengers 24.1 and, despite Bendis' disregard for character history, it was a pretty good Vision-centric issue.

Black Panther

True to his animal namesake, he's one of the more elusive Avengers. If there was one thing I was looking forward to back in the post-Busiek of Geoff Johns, it was this guy. I'm glad they included him in the line up for "Earth's Mightiest Heroes"! It also looks like he's part of the lineup going into AvX!

Wonder Man

Once again another character that some writers don't really know what to do with. He brings major muscle to the table but he's also a super fun guy! He's like that cool dude buddy you like to hang around with! I don't like what Bendis reduced the character to in last year's annuals but then again, I treat his work as fan fiction anyway.

Miss Marvel

I like her old name better actually. "Wardbird" has a nice ring to it, but I guess having the "Marvel" name is way more iconic. The thing with her is that she never had to live in her male counterpart's shadow. Same goes for Spider-woman, which is probably why the bond so well. I can't wait to see her in "Earth's Mightiest Heroes".


For all my dislike of most of what Bendis had done with the Avengers, introducing Spider-woman is something I was on board with. Unlike her fellow New Avengers, she's someone who's not tied with any other team or franchise - not even Spider-man. So her inclusion among earth's mightiest is long overdue.

Black Widow

I've often opined that she's probably the only alpha female who's got the chops to be the Avengers' Wonder Woman - not in terms of power levels but rather in terms of stature in the team. She can lead and she kicks ass! So I'm all for her inclusion in the movie, even if it bypassed the first two lady Avengers - the Wasp and the Scarlet Witch!

These are the characters that I enjoy reading the most of, who I really love seeing together, and who really bring the Avengers to my mind! I would buy a book that had all these guys in the roster!
Notice how most of these guys were pro-registration back in the Civil War, which was why I sided with them and not with Cap.

So close! The original Mighty Avengers with Spider-woman.
What I would really like is for someone somewhere to do a story or a miniseries with my ideal roster.
Alex Ross San Diego Comic Con 2010 Exclusive