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Top Five Solo Avengers

Top Five Month continues (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) apace with a look at the top five Avengers who have never had their own ongoing title that could carry one!

Enjoy!

Black Widow and Beast both had ongoing features in comics, I say that counts (as would Hawkeye’s ongoing feature in Solo Avengers would count, even if he had not later on also gotten an ongoing series), so they’re both disqualified.

5. Wasp

It is a sad statement that I don’t even have a Wasp cover to go with her entry!

The maturation of Wasp was a great point in Roger Stern’s run on Avengers, but once she got mature, writers seemed to think she was no longer interesting, as we’ve seen little done with her since then (unless you count Bendis’ “she’s a drunken bitch!” character bit in the latest Mighty Avengers).

A lot of material comes with her – Avengers leader, married (and divorced) an Avenger, fashion designer – a lot of good stuff.

4. Scarlet Witch

Once you de-crazy-fy her, Scarlet Witch has a lot of interesting character points to build a series around.

1. She’s a mutant

2. She’s the daughter of Magneto

3. She is a mutant but she also practices magic

There’s a whole lot of interesting plot points to build around there. And that’s before you get into the whole “married to an android” thing!

3. Vision

He has been one of the most prominent Avengers over the years (he had the corner box to himself for more than a few issues), and I think there is a lot of good material to be mined with a guy who is a robot and a superhero – but can he be a human?!?

Add an Alan Thicke father figure, and you’ve got yourself a concept!!

2. Black Knight

I think the recent Captain Britain series is a great demonstration on how to write Black Knight right – he’s a somewhat witty scientist who is thrust into a world of magic and superheroics. Can he balance his practical side with the fact that he has a magic sword?

1. Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau)

With the amount of power Monica possesses, you could do a great cosmic book with her. Heck, she could be doing cosmic stuff and still be able to commute back to Earth for plots back on Earth.

Such a noble, strong female character – it is sad that Reggie Hudlin is the only writer with any use for her nowadays.

Then again, it has kept her alive, so I suppose I should be grateful for that.

That’s my top five! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

51 Comments

I was going to suggest Mantis, but I couldn’t say it with a straight face.

Did Falcon ever have more than a limited series? Because lord knows he could carry one. He didn’t stick around in the Avengers long, but it still counts.

I’d be a little scared to give Starfox his own series, but it would be interesting. Ooo, and Sersi could be awesome if handled right.

And, um, Warren Ellis found a use for Monica too, you know. A use of awesomeness.

Buttler beat me to pointing it out, but Ellis did a great job of making Monica the only one of the Nextwave squad who was remotely interested in being a hero and doing hero-y things. She did led the Avengers, after all.

fourthworlder

July 6, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Somehow I never quite got Monica Rambeau.
I think it’s because she was introduced right when Lionel Ritchie was on MTV singing the so-very-despised “All Night Long” like eighty times every day, and maybe their hair styles or something were just too similar.

Thank God Bendis never got to anything with Monica…considering what he did to the Wasp and Scarlet Witch. It’s not just Bendis, though, when it comes to Janet. Too many writers see her as nothing more than a punching bag for Hank, which is just sad.

Stern really wrote strong women during his Avengers run, didn’t he?

How about a series for Sersi and Starfox as 2 jet-setting, club hopping socialites who fight crime on the side? “We need to take down the Grey Gargoyle now, Starfox, we can’t be late for Versace party!” Just lay off or retcon the whole Starfox-rapes-women-angle, though…

Wasp covers?

Not solo covers, but there ARE some covers from other places which featuring her most prominently.

Her 1st appearance: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9f/Talestoastonish.jpg

A weird Wasp variant: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v697/cronb01/1571_4_394.jpg

More from the Avengers: http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/avengers/264-11.jpg

Does Monica hold the record for “Most Superhero Names Without Ever Getting A Series,” also?

I believe she’s only had 2 names, Captain Marvel and Photon. Kitty Pryde has had more (Ariel, Sprite, and Shadowcat), though she has also had more limited series and one-shots, I believe.

How about a series for Sersi and Starfox as 2 jet-setting, club hopping socialites who fight crime on the side? “We need to take down the Grey Gargoyle now, Starfox, we can’t be late for Versace party!”

Whatever floats your boat, i don’t mind. That does sound like a giant turd though, imho.

And yeah, Brian, how clould you forget Monica in Nextwave? They were in your room touching your stuff!

Buttler has a point, Falcon could definitely carry a title, especially the way he’s being written in Brubaker’s Cap.

That Sersi and Starfox pitch is basically THE THIN MAN with superpowers, right?

Bernard the Poet

July 7, 2008 at 2:57 am

Yet again, your unconditional love for Captain Marvel leaves me bemused. Her powers are ill-defined, her personality is non-existent and her costume is terrible ( -hate that cape thing hanging off her arms). She is the most blah avenger ever created. Still, it is kind of sweet, that you come out to bat for her at every opportunity.

The Swordsman would make a fine solo avenger – best moustache in comics.

You don’t have to be such a rude prick about it, J to the AAP.

Big up the Wasp call. Probably my favourite female character at Marvel and the one who even sidelined to the pages of the Avengers has shown the most growth and development.

Can believe no one had choosen to do at least a mini-series bouncing out of her origin. Her father is killed by aliens, she turns to an older father figure to find comfort. The father figure just happens to be a scientist who looks to her as a replacement for her dead wife. Manipulates her body and feed her drugs to give her superpowers.

Great stuff to play with there.

The whole Jan Van Dyke as mature respected hero (when writers choose to play it that way) who still flirts with the celebraty circuit hasn’t really been used either.

So much untapped potential.

Van Dyne, Colin. Van Dyne.

No, no I’m talking about Jan Van Dyke, daughter of ‘The Sweep’, soot covered dancing hero with a terrible Cockney accent. Why did you think I meant someone else… ahem …

Actually, I believe the first guy to write an independent, stronger Wasp was Jim Shooter, as part of the very same run where the infamous marital abuse happened. She became Avengers leader right after Hank was expelled.

Bernard the Poet, forgive me for asking, but you started reading comics in the 1970s, correct? I mean, almost every post I’ve seen of yours, you criticize something in the 1980s, and praise something from the 1970s or earlier.

I suppose all comic book fans are the same. I’m in the habit of praising stuff from the 1980s, and criticizing stuff from the 1990s, because I started as a fan in the 1980s.

Wait, Alan Thicke? Was that a Not Quite Human joke?

Well done, sir.

Yeah yeah Avengers, whatever. I just need to know: was the Alan Thicke reference to Growing Pains or J-Pod?

I cared about Monica for the first time in NextWave. Now I want her to have her own series.

Regarding Falcon: since Cap’s solo book was renamed “Captain America and the Falcon” for a while, I’d assume he’s disqualified from the list, as he technically had his own ongoing series. (If Beast and Black Widow get disqualified for their ongoing features, I’d say having his name in the title of an ongoing book would disqualify Falcon…)

Janet and Hank are two of Marvel´s oldest characters, but it looks like no writer ever loved them.

I haven’t read the Avengers in approximately forever, but The Vision and Scarlet Witch were definitely favorites. I was bummed that in the “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” game, The Vision is in the game a bunch but he’s not playable.

I think that Beast could hold his own in a series. Personally, I’ve always thought that Black Knight and Captain Marvel were fairly boring characters, though.

Sorry, when I said “nowadays,” I meant, literally, NOWadays, as in the last year or so.

Nextwave has been sadly gone for over a year now, and besides background appearances in Civil War, Hudlin’s been the only writer to find any use for Monica.

So Bendis fucked up Wasp too, huh?

Is there any female character besides Spider-Woman that he actually bothers to write well?

Yet again, your unconditional love for Captain Marvel leaves me bemused.

Hehe…it is true that there are few bigger Monica Rambeau fans than I. :)

Wow…. I almost thought this was a joke post. The Wasp and the Witch are always literary speed bumps in the stories in which they appear, but none can compare with the sheer lameness of the “character created so we don’t lose our trademark” version of Captain Marvel.

I can’t imagine buying a regular series of any of these characters, and I’m usually a sucker for the overlooked B-listers.

SanctumSanctorumComix

July 7, 2008 at 10:18 am

wwk5d & Reid,

Monica had 3 names:
- Captain Marvel
- Photon
- Pulsar,

She was also referred to as:
- Daystar
- Sceptre
- Lady of Light
(but don’t ask me WHERE. I saw THESE three on wiki)

—————————

Black Knight sorta HAD a series.
Not a solo series, mind you.
In the 1970′s he shared a series (he was the supporting character) in a Captain Britain series in a U.K. title called “HULK COMIC”.
The two of them doing lots of old “sword and sorcery” type of adventuring.

He was also the a member of the 2nd “Heroes for Hire” team/title.
But, never had more than a mini-series or two (and a few one-shots) to his name.

Sad, since he’s a fave of mine.

—————-

~P~
PTOR

Great picks, Brian. I think your Monica choice is extremely inspired. I just finished reading the Avengers: Under Siege storyline by Stern, and it’s absolutely perplexing why Monica is barely used at all nowadays. Her powers alone are brilliant. She essentially can be anywhere she wants to be in practically the entire universe, and then she can be back at home in New Orleans in her own bed when it’s time to go to sleep. On top of it, she has a classic fish-out-of-water “still learning to be a hero” personality type that makes for solid character material (which, of course, can always be evolved to a more stoic hero personality if that’s not your thing). Hell, Ms. Marvel has been around for decades but Brian Reed makes the “still learning to be a hero” thing work for her. The fact that Monica Rambeau has been overlooked as a serious Marvel hero is a crime, if you ask me!

Scarlet Witch and Vision have always been pretty “meh” for me. Scarlet Witch works fine in a team setting but I don’t think I’d enjoy a solo series. Vision has always bored me to tears; maybe in this day and age I’m just too familiar with the “robot who yearns to be human” trope. Though I did enjoy when he tried to takeover the world for its own good (a familiar trope with which I’m not yet bored, apparently).

However, I would easily and eagerly buy a Wasp, Black Knight or Captain Marvel series. I love all three of those characters, probably due to my love of Stern’s Avengers. I particularly enjoy your take on Black Knight (a man of science with a magic sword) and where some are turned off by Monica’s powers, the sheer scope and relative uniqueness of them appeal to me. I like the idea of having her skirt back and forth from outer space and Earth-bound adventures. Wasp has so much potential, it’s such a shame to see her be wasted in Mighty Avengers. I do like the resurgence Ms. Marvel has received of late, but after Stern’s run, I have a hard time with any Avengers team that doesn’t feature a competent, respected Wasp who is right in the thick of things.

Shadow Burglar

July 7, 2008 at 11:14 am

I agree with Monica being the most wasted Avenger, but giving her another solo mini, you’d have to write her like Ellis did. She was angry and I don’t blame her. Black woman leading the Avengers? Nonsense.

I loved Monica since I was first introduced to her in Secret Wars. I thought that she really came into her own when she was leader of the Avengers. And, I never understood why she was so quickly and definitively sidelined to B status.

And, I completely lost interest in the Avengers when Black Knight left the team to lead Ultraforce. I’ve tried reading a story arc here or there, but something about the way he was written out bothered me for years. It was as if they were taking a popular B character and going to put him with some C characters purchased from another company in order to try and make a title out of the combination, and then never did anything with it.

Theno

Where is Hudlin using Monica these days? I stopped reading Black Panther during the New FF storyline for economic reasons. But I’d pick it up again if “Pulsar” became a regular. What issue did she start appearing in?

Why does Byrne so often not sign his work?

You don’t have to be such a rude prick about it, J to the AAP.

You’re right, that was uncalled for. Guess I was in a bad mood, sorry wwk5d!

I agree. Monica has so much untapped potential, and yet she’s been horribly used over the years. I still shudder at the ignominous way she was dispatched back in the original series (while fighting the giant sea monster that had been Marrina, if I remember correctly). She was always kind of cool, and only Ellis has done anything to bring her back into any -real- prominence.

I’d buy a series starring her if someone like Priest wrote it. :)

Hawkeye’s still my primary choice for ongoing (and movie, for that matter) but anyway….

For what it’s worth, I always hated Mantis with a passion. Until they revamped her in Starlord and the new GoTG. Now she’s pretty cool.

I was going to suggest Tigra until I remembered she actually had an early series of her own as the Cat. Even so, under the right writer, she could be quite interesting. Ditto Firebird, another female character who’s always been C-list at best, but with plenty of potential. (Especially these days! A female Hispanic with a devout Roman Catholic streak, who works as a social worker? Who may be immortal? There’s gold in these hills, if you ask me.) It’s a shame that no one’s ever really taken her under their wing, so to speak.

Okay, my top choice for Avenger in need of an ongoing is Firebird. Just to be difficult.

I realize that you couldn’t be choosy as the number of solo cover images might not have been exactly abundant, but I’d just like to point out that that is probably the single ugliest image of the Scarlet Witch that I have ever seen.
I also consider Avengers lineups that include characters like Sersi and Starfox to represent a low point, and, yes, our “golden age” of youthful comics reading has a lot to do with our perceptions of such things, but, come on this was also the era of _Gilgamesh_ and _Dr. Druid_! Bleh.
Also, that classic Hank & Jan abuse story from way back when? Not, in fact, a classic.

She’s not a regular character, David. She is just guest-starring in the current arc.

I realize that you couldn’t be choosy as the number of solo cover images might not have been exactly abundant, but I’d just like to point out that that is probably the single ugliest image of the Scarlet Witch that I have ever seen.

I wasn’t going for solo image covers, or else I’d have a LOT better covers to choose from than that one! :)

I was posting covers of solo mini-series/one-shots featuring these characters. Sadly, that is the only solo mini that Wanda ever got. Even sadder is that the Wasp has NEVER had her own mini-series. Never even had her own one-shot!!

Brian when did that current arc begin?

‘Black Knight sorta HAD a series.
Not a solo series, mind you.
In the 1970’s he shared a series (he was the supporting character) in a Captain Britain series in a U.K. title called “HULK COMIC”.’

The series was actually called ‘The Black Knight’ with Captain Britain as the supporting character- he was sent back to Earth by Merlin and wasn’t seen for nearly two years til the classic Moore/Davis run (although Dave Thorpe was the initial author)

Have the UK produced material from Hulk Comic ever been reprinted in the US? Nightraven, especially, would be a collection I would look for..

I would definitely read a series featuring either the Wasp, Captain Pulsar or the Black Knight. Escpecially if the writer comes at it in a unique way. I just can’t get into the Vision and Scarlet Witch outside fo the team. I did like that Geoff Johns Limited Series though. I’d love to see a Tigra ongoing and would love a really good Hawkeye series but I think he works best in a Marvel Team Up or Marvel Two In One sense.

Black Panther #35 (it is up to #37).

Bernard the Poet

July 7, 2008 at 4:02 pm

No one has seconded my vote for an on-going series of the Swordsman. Madness.

Think of it, Wolverine meets Raffles meets Magnum pi. It would run and run.

Rene, I was about thirteen when Monica Rambeau debuted in Amazing Spiderman. Which was old enough to recognise that she was uber-blah.

Beast.

“Hehe…it is true that there are few bigger Monica Rambeau fans than I.”

I would be one of them, but I can’t believe I forgot about her using Pulsar! Guess I lose a few points for that. For anyone who wants to see what the fuss is about with regards to Monica, or at least one reason why I love the character, check out Avengers Vol. I # 279. A good showcase for why I always thought Monica was a great character (yeah, this is around the time Dr. Druid joined the team, so it’s not perfect, but the scenes with Monica were great), and why it makes what came after even sadder…

http://en.marveldatabase.com/Avengers_279

Seems like there are lots of candidates for Avengers solo titles. Maybe Marvel should re-introduce Solo Avengers or Avengers Spotlight as an anthology title, with a different character each arc, as a way to test the waters so to speak…

Another character with lots of potential and was uderused: Spider-woman II, or whatever she’s called now…

The Wasp has a big strike against her. She shrinks. No shrinking hero has had a successful ongoing solo title since Doll Man folded in the early 50′s.

Scarlet Witch suffers from ill defined powers that do whatever the writer wants them to do. It’s a reason for the limited runs of many sorcerous characters. House of M/Decimation put her power levels to godlike.

The Vision has suffered from writers’ image of him/it as a Pinocchio character. The thing about Pinocchio is that the story ends when he becomes a real boy. With the Vision, that’s time to hit the reset button. The whole “can he be human” angle was answered in the two Vision and Scarlet Witch minis. If a character only has one story arc, then a solo ongoing title isn’t suited for him/it.

Black Knight is interesting with the whole one foot in each world angle, but it seems writers are usually uncomfortable blending those worlds and favor one side over the other (remember when he was using a light saber?). I’d like to see the blade’s curse defined better because its consequences have changed a few times.

I have no real opinion on Captain Marvel/Photon/Pulsar except she needs at least one story where she gets to kick Genis Vel’s ass.

Maybe they could reveal that Monica isn’t just French decended, but is in fact secretly French, and she joins MI-13 in an exchange program type thing.

SanctumSanctorumComix

July 8, 2008 at 11:54 am

slakker43,

Thanks for the correction.

I have all those issues, but hadn’t read them in nearly 20 years, so I was just going by memory (which, has, on occasion, failed me).

;-)

Anyway, in honor of this (and MI-13) I’m going to pull then from the shelf and give them a re-read.

~P~
PTOR

The Scarlet Witch has always been a favorite of mine. What Marvel has done to her during the past few years is character assassination.

Monica Rambeau — by whatever name — is another terrific character who just needs to get a great creative team in her corner. I’d buy a well-thought-out series with her as the headliner.

This one loves him some Mantis, too.

That reminds me: happy as I am that Mantis has been appearing again lately, with her appearances in the new Guardians of the Galaxy (and that miniseries that led into it), I really wish that she still referred to herself as “this one.”

I’d really like to see The Vision with his own series, and I know everyone just thinks he’s a robot who wants to be human but Busiek did a great job with him on Avengers, reminding us that he is quite basically a robotic clone of Wonder Man (Ultron used his brain patterns to create Vision.). Add The Visions quest to find a separate identity from Simon to his anxiety that he is to all extents and purposes Ultrons child and has the ultron imperative written in him and you get a weirdly conflicted robot hero with cool powers and almost 40 years of nostalgia to draw on- Now I’d buy that and I’d buy two copies if they played up The Vision’s love of jazz and gave him a ‘Bleeding Gums’ Murphy jazzman-esque sidekick.

I remain confused about one thing with regards to Hank and Jan: didn’t he only hit Jan all of ONE time? And wasn’t he pretty far from his right mind when it happened?

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