SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “U.S. Avengers” #1, which is on sale now.
When “U.S. Avengers” was announced back in July, some fans found it interesting that the star-spangled team had more of an international roster. The new series from writer Al Ewing and artist Paco Medina stars heroes from Brazil, Norway and Canada as well as the U.S. of A. The debut issue of the series doesn’t sidestep the American team’s international origins; in fact, it forms the spine of the action-packed issue in the form of a number of “to-camera” interviews given by the book’s cast.
Since this new hero team has origins in the old A.I.M. terrorist organization (which has since been bought and turned around by the ex-New Mutant Sunspot), plenty of people are skeptical that it will work. The issue’s framing device is a series of to-camera pieces conceived of by A.I.M. head and team leader/backer Roberto DaCosta as a way to introduce the team to the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. and get them on board.
Sunspot goes first, with a flashback to the “exact moment” he realized he wanted to be an American.
It turns out that moment had something to do with “Magnum P.I.,” the ’80s action-drama starring Tom Selleck that was must see TV for the junior X-Men team in the pages of “New Mutants.” Really, watching that show with his diverse teammates, teammates that became his friends, taught him that they all belonged in the United States. Bobby’s speech also reveals that he has dual Brazilian and American citizenship.
The next interview comes from Dr. Toni Ho, a super scientist that debuted in Al Ewing’s “New Avengers” #1 in 2015. A first generation American, Toni is the daughter of a Chinese immigrant and Ho Yinsen, the scientist that helped Tony Stark build his original Iron Man armor.
Now Toni has taken on the mantle of Iron Patriot and wears a suit of armor that may look like a Stark design, but the insides are — as Toni says — “all mine.” She’s also the Iron Patriot on her own terms, which means ridding the armor of guns and packing it with non-lethal defenses like gas pellets, stun lasers and forcefields.
Aikku Jokinen, the relatively new hero formerly known as Pod and currently known as Enigma, is a recent transplant to America.
Hailing from Norway, Aikku is not yet an American citizen (although Bobby later states that that choice is hers to make). Aikku speaks to the promise and potential America represents; she says that while being in a very different country can be frightening at times, the person she loves — Toni — is there as well as her friends and her life as a superhero. She concludes, “I feel I am finding my life again. And perhaps I can find it here.”
In true Squirrel Girl fashion, her video to S.H.I.E.L.D. is direct, light and friendly.
It’s been established in the current “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” series that Doreen Green has dual citizenship in Canada and America; the most recent “Unbeatable” storyarc even took place in Canada.
General Robert L. Maverick also gives an address to the audience, running through his new status as the Red Hulk
Created by Al Ewing and introduced in a story in 2015’s “Avengers” #0, Maverick has been outfitted with a piece of S.H.I.E.L.D. tech called the “Hulk Plug-In” that gives him the power of half a Hulk (which is still a considerable bit of power). On top of that, the user gets to “go full Hulk” for “one hour every day and a half or so.” It turns out that Maverick, the commanding officer in charge of the American Kaiju, just so happened to be a perfect genetic match. Thus, he is the new Red Hulk.
Last up, the Kentucky-born Cannonball introduces himself by recounting his childhood and the death of his coal-mining father.
Sam Guthrie also talks about Professor Xavier’s dream of co-existence, which can extend beyond just mutant and humans to encompass all people living together in America. Sam says that “it’s all just us. And I guess I’m in the us Avengers.”
Sam gets the new series’ titular line, and he puts a spin on it; not only is the team the United States Avengers, they’re also the us Avengers, including a diverse sampling of what America has to offer. A mutant from Kentucky, an army general, a first generation American super scientist, heroes with dual citizenships and a potential American. Bobby expands on this idea, saying that the American flag is also his flag — just as it’s Sam’s, Toni’s, Doreen’s and potentially Aikku’s.
And at the conclusion of his patriotic speech, none other than Captain America — or rather a Captain America — shows up. That Captain America is Danielle Cage, the daughter of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage from an alternate future. What she has in store for the team remains to be seen.
But she’s not the only Cap that could team-up with the new Avengers squad. In the a page teasing what’s coming up in the series this year, the original Captain America makes an appearance.
It’s unknown what role Steve Rogers will play in the series. It’s also unclear if this Steve Rogers will still be the one whose past was reconstructed by the Red Skull to turn him into a HYDRA agent. When Steve Rogers crosses paths with the team, will he be friend or foe?
“U.S. Avengers” #2 arrives in stores on January 18.
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