Around The World
T’Challa’s vision for the future of cooperation between superheroes across nations is less Illuminati in its ideals and more along the lines of S.H.I.E.L.D., while avoid the mistakes that led to that organization's downfall at the hands of Hydra. T’Challa doesn’t want to recreate S.H.I.E.L.D. by any means, but he sees the potential in mutual cooperation at a time when it feels like the world is falling apart. Aaron and McGuinness’ Avengers has taken a sharp turn towards the political since its blockbuster first arc featuring the Celestials, and the state of the world’s superheroes and how each country is utilizing them seems to be vital topic not just for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but in the superhero genre as a whole.
While the heroes of the Marvel Universe are having super-summits and trying to find a way to work together in Avengers, the heroes of the DC Universe are being pulled further and further apart in the pages of Doomsday Clock. Both books have taken care to establish that America isn’t the only country with a superhero team. As countries around the real world grow more isolationist and fearful of outsiders, was only a matter of time for that fear to creep into the pages of our superhero stories. Doomsday Clock has established this with the Supermen Theory, which posits that America's abundance of superheroes was actually a deliberate attempt to win an arms race. Meanwhile, Marvel's Avengers story is more geo-political in nature, as countries jockey for position on an uneasy world stage.
Most of the heroes T’Challa gathered to discuss the future of superheroics on a world stage agree with the Black Panther’s assessment that they should help each other wherever they can, there are plenty of causes for concern around the world. Ursa Major sends a message by attempting to attack Black Panther, America lacks a representative at the table, Atlantis is close to declaring war on the entire world now that Namor has his Defenders of the Deep and the vampires are causing trouble in Romania, possibly looking to establish a new Vampire Nation as they once attempted to in Great Britain.
The Winter Guard and The Defenders of the Deep both represent very real threats to the future of the Marvel Universe, but Aaron is making a point of making sure we know that America represents just as much a threat to the world’s safety, with the introduction of the Squadron Supreme of America. There have been many Squadron Supreme incarnations in the past, and we don’t yet know who this team is, what world they come from, or if they’re even a version we’ve seen before, but they represent just as big a threat to world security as anything else the Avengers are facing.
It’s an incredibly bold political statement for Aaron to make and for Marvel to allow him to make (especially considering Marvel chairman Isaac Perlmutter is an advisor to President Trump), but it brings to mind recent comments from the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, who said just earlier this week that the United States is part of a New Axis of Evil alongside Russia and Saudi Arabia. It’s an incendiary statement to be sure and just as likely not what Aaron is going for, but the parallels between real world events and what we see on the page are too close to deny.
Whether the Black Panther wants to call it an Illuminati or not — probably not, due to the connotations surrounding the name by now — that’s exactly what he’s formed with his super-summit of international heroes, and they don’t hold any allegiance to America nor will they tolerate any trouble America should make with its new superhero team. The Squadron Supreme of America is still a covert team hidden from the world, but with how fragile the current status quo is in the Marvel Universe, their reveal will no doubt upend the apple cart when they make their presence known.