Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re looking thirty years into the future of the Marvel Universe to the year 20XX – the time of the A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. Initiative!
How’s It Different?
Like most possible futures, this one is a For Want of a Nail story. Interestingly, the point of divergence had not yet been published when it first appeared – I don’t know if Al Ewing knew something fans didn’t when he conceived it or if he just saw an opportunity & rolled with it.
Speaking of Ewing, Avengers from this future have shown up in the pages of three different Avengers series he’s written (debuted in the Ultron Forever mini-series before appearing in New Avengers and U.S. Avengers) via interdimenionsal travel, so we’re examining the world itself rather than a particular story set in it.
What’s the Point of Divergence?
In the mainstream Marvel U, the return of Thanos to Earth claimed the life of War Machine and kicked off the second superhero Civil War. In the past of 20XX, it killed half of Earth’s superheroes. Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow, rallied the remaining heroes to kill the Mad Titan and form the A.V.E.N.G.E.R.S. Initiative (think The Avengers mixed with SHIELD) to better protect the world.
The current line-up consists of Madame Natasha, Captain America (Danielle Cage), King Hulk (Teddy Altman), Thor Odinson, The Vision, Marvel Woman (Marlene Brashear), Namorina (Dorma Mackenzie), Iron Mariner (Jako Krangsen), and Collapsar (Manu Chauhan).
Best of Differences
- In this future, New York City is flooded. As such, the Avengers having not one but two Atlantean members (the standard Sub-Mariner-like Namorina and the merman in Iron Man armor Iron Mariner) actually makes sense.
- Danielle Cage is a pretty boss Captain America. The original shield was destroyed by Thanos, so she uses a considerably more destructible version that doubles as a glider. She makes up for this by being the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, therefore serving as the shield herself.
- Collapsar is a member of the Nova Micro-Corps, Novas with the power to shrink. Long after he debuted, Ant-Man briefly joined the Nova Corps in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy. Either Gerry Duggan is an Al Ewing fan or that’s the greatest coincidence of all time.
- It took a century, but Black Widow finally got old. Thor and The Vision are still effectively immortal, though.
- The Golden Skull is the only villain shown from this future, and he is a doozy. He’s a pirate who wears a gold skull helmet and whose shtick is convincing the desperate to work for him. They do the dirty work, he profits from the goods and tech they steal, and he cuts them loose when they get uppity. The flaw in his methods becomes apparent in U.S. Avengers, when he steals Arcade’s technology and uses it to build a suit of power armor…from solid gold. It’s very heavy and, as metals go, very soft, making for very ineffective armor. He’s got the resources without knowing how to use them effectively.
Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!