WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #700 by Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert, Matthew Wilson and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
If there is one thing that Marvel isn't lacking, it's an abundance of possible alternate futures. Creators and readers alike enjoy taking a look at what is in store for their favorite superheroes, from drastic changes to established characters to bleak, grim-dark realities.
Instead of taking readers directly to the future, a storytelling technique that's been used over the years involves teasing upcoming storylines inside the pages of a monthly comic, usually with a splash page of artwork. Writer Jason Aaron has done this with two of his comics, which coincidentally both reached landmark 700th issues -- Mighty Thor #700 (art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson) and Avengers #10 aka Legacy Issue #700 (art by Adam Kubert and Wilson).
With his story ideas plotted far in advance and firsthand knowledge of what the Marvel Universe will look like six months to a year down the line, Aaron is able to provide readers with a quick look at what to expect from Earth's Mightiest Heroes without taking the mystery away. And if there is one major takeaway, it's that there are dark days ahead for the Marvel Universe.
As exciting as it was to glimpse some of the threats looming in the Marvel Universe, the biggest surprise came from who was doing the revealing. The scene takes place in the far reaches of space with Loki and the Final Host Celestials. Right as Loki is getting into his diatribe he's cut off by Wolverine, who activates the Phoenix Force to cause a distraction, allowing Loki to escape. Wolverine and the Phoenix are aware of what's coming in the future, and the image of the Phoenix Wolverine popping his claws (which we learned the Phoenix isn't responsible for Wolverine's new "hot claws") revealed ninjas, a unique take on the Punisher, Starbrands and much more.
Iron Fist vs. The Hand And A Samurai Punisher
Wolverine is no stranger to facing off against the evil Hand ninja clan, and the group looks poised to make a comeback in a major way. Kubert and Wilson's image shows Iron Fist locked in combat with The Hand, and even though Iron Fist is not a current member of the Avengers, his ancient ancestor was a founder of the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, which means it is likely the current day incarnation will find himself entangled in an upcoming plot.
The Punisher is an interesting inclusion for a number of reasons. Frank Castle has given up his signature military weaponry for a sword and armor that would typically be found in an episode of Game of Thrones. However, there is a clue found on his armor that ties directly to another character in the montage.