SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers#646 by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Pep Larraz, David Curiel and Cory Petit, on sale now.
There’s a lot going on in Avengers: No Surrender, raising a number of questions that warrant answers. What happened to the Earth? Who invited The Black Order and The Lethal Legion to the proceedings? What’s going on with Jarvis?
However, the most pressing matter is the mystery surrounding Voyager, the woman who apparently founded the Avengers alongside Iron Man. Thor, Giant-Man and The Wasp. However, she's also a hero nobody remembers. This week’s installment of the weekly Avengers epic digs a bit into Voyager’s history, explaining where she’s been and why no one remembered her until recently. But as always with superhero mysteries, there’s a lot more going on here underneath the surface of what we’re being shown.
Following a shift in the Earth’s location and the global panic surrounding the sudden change, three teams of Avengers have come together to answer the call put out by Voyager, who is supposedly a founding Avenger that had been with the team through thick and thin for many of their classic adventures. In a charming call-back with some neat retro art, we see Voyager’s role in classic stories such as the founding of The Avengers, the roster shuffle that was once referred to as Cap’s Quirky Quartet — although now, is probably Cap’s Quirky Quintet — and the iconic “even an android can cry” line from Avengers #58 is ascribed to her, rather than the narration it was previously.
Apparently, way back in Avengers #70 when The Avengers fought the Squadron Sinister, Voyager faced off against Victory: The Electromagnetic Man, a villain whose powers interacted with her own in a strange way, causing them both to be shunted out of the timestream and removing everyone’s memory of the founding Avenger. Voyager drifted outside of reality for many years, watching the adventures of her comrades who no longer remembered her, until the Earth was stolen from its orbit and she was “jolted back into phase” just in time to put the call out to rally the Avengers.
More Than Meets The Eye
Voyager’s story seems legit at first glance, but pick at it a bit and it's quickly apparent there's a lot more to uncover, information that will likely calls her explanation's veracity into question.
When it was announced that Avengers: No Surrender would introduce a previously forgotten founding Avenger, many people pointed out the similarities to the character of Triumph, who was retroactively inserted into the Justice League of America’s founding members in the mid-nineties. Triumph was even co-created by Mark Waid, but this issue lampshades the fact somewhat with the enemy it chose to pit Voyager against in order to take her off the field.
The Squadron Sinister are evil doppelgängers of the Justice League — Hyperion is Superman, Nighthawk is Batman, etc — but the Squadron member Voyager faces is the previously unheard of “Victory.” Of course, what’s another word for Victory? Triumph, who, by the way, also had electromagnetic powers. Waid and company definitely know that people are going to draw connections between the two characters, and by acknowledging that, it lets us move past it towards the larger mystery of who Voyager is.
According to Voyager’s own story, she was forgotten following her fight with Victory and returned to the world when the Earth was stolen, but recent issues of Avengers comics have teased her arrival by including her in the iconic founding Avengers statue located in the courtyard of Avengers Mansion. It seems that someone is playing with time and space by making the Avengers remember a friend and leader they never knew, but they’re not covering their tracks very well. That might have something to do with the mysterious voices playing a game with Earth featured in the Black Order/Lethal Legion section, but there’s definitely more going on with Voyager than even she’s aware of, and only time will tell whether she remains an ally, or becomes an enemy.