Avengers: No Surrender heads to its world-changing conclusion this April, and Marvel has used the solicitation unveiled today dropped massive hints towards the villain behind the stolen Earth and games being played with the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe.
With so many cosmic players potentially responsible for the planet heist, this seemingly new player represents a shift in the power balance, but there's a chance he could be someone we already know behind the chaos.
Deal Me In
The card motif on the cover seems very telling and could point towards one potential culprit with a major grudge against The Avengers, someone who has never had a chance to settle his scores: Jack of Hearts. Jack was among the Avengers killed in the attack on Avengers Mansion during "Avengers Disassembled," but while most of the victims of that day have had resolution for their personal tragedies, Jack has seemingly been forgotten by many. He was actually already dead prior to "Avengers Disassembled" but the Scarlet Witch brought him back to life just to use his atomic powers to destroy the mansion, taking the life of Ant-Man in the process.
While it went under the radar for many, Jack of Hearts was actually resurrected in Marvel Zombies: Supreme, but hasn't been since. Now, the Scarlet Witch is back among the Avengers roster, and while the likes of The Vision, Ant-Man and Rogue have had their own resolutions with Wanda Maximoff, Jack has not. He has every reason to hate The Avengers as an institution, but doesn't quite have the cosmic powers to achieve the grand heist of the Earth. If he's involved, he's obviously working with someone -- and the text of the solicitation presents a big clue as to who that may be.
To Dream An Impossible Dream
The solicitation text for Avengers #689 reads:
One last battle against an impossible opponent. One last game with astronomical stakes. With the fate of the Earth on the line, a cry goes out across the Marvel Universe: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!"
The two key words to focus on in that solicitation text are "impossible" and "game" which point to one of the most of powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, if not one of the least likely to take on The Avengers: the Impossible Man.
The Impossible Man is traditionally a Fantastic Four villain who is more about mischief than outright supervillainy. That said, the FF are currently missing, so it's not out of the realm of possibility (pardon the pun) for him to have set his sights on Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Mark Waid is one of the three writers on the weekly Avengers series, and he has a history with weekly superhero comics. As one of the four writers behind 52, Mark Waid managed to take the fun and goofy Captain Marvel villain Mr. Mind and turned him into a terrifying time-devouring cosmic moth. If Waid can do that with Mr. Mind, whose to say that he can't turn one of the goofiest villains in the Marvel Universe into a genuine threat. The Impossible Man loves to play games with the heroes of Earth, and with the FF currently off the table, he could potentially have stepped up in a big way to threaten the Avengers.