Over the past month, Marvel Comics has been teasing the return of Marvel NOW! The line-wide rebranding initiative first began in 2012 in the wake of “Avengers vs. X-Men” and gave birth to books like “Uncanny Avengers.” A new, shattered Marvel NOW! logo was next, followed by a series of “Divided…” teaser images, the first featuring Captain America (Steve Rogers) and new Inhuman character Mosaic. The trend continued, with the majority of images featuring one established character and one newer or less prominent character, and “Divided…” expanding to “Divided we…” as the series progressed.
After nearly two weeks of teases, the future of the Marvel Universe has become a bit more clear thanks to a Mike Deodato-illustrated teaser branded with “Divided We Stand.” With the Marvel Universe seemingly fractured in the wake of “Civil War II,” two very distinct factions have emerged. On the one side are primarily veterans, gathered behind Doctor Doom; on the other, mostly newer heroes, with 15-year-old Riri Williams standing in front.
Below, CBR delivers a who’s who of the heroes standing with Doom, from established heavyweights like Captain Marvel and Captain America to several members of Deadpool’s Mercs for Money.
14. Doctor Doom
The power mad genius Victor Von Doom once ruled the country of Latveria with a steel-gloved fist, covering his scarred face with an iconic mask. A master of both science and sorcery, Doom proved to be one of the most dangerous threats in the Marvel Universe — until the fallout from “Secret Wars.” In the final moments of that event, the currently-missing Mister Fantastic used reality-altering power to fix Doom’s face and inspire him to leave villainy behind. In the time since the Marvel Universe’s reformation, Doom has seemingly done just that; he’s left his armor and his country behind and started assisting Iron Man in the hero’s battles.
The mercenary called Solo started out as a foil and uneasy ally for Spider-Man, helping the wall-crawler take on bad guys like the Sinister Six and Taskmaster. Gifted with a deadly arsenal of weapons and a limited teleportation power, Solo has become one of the more dependable mercs in the Marvel U. That’s why when Deadpool sought to extend his “brand” worldwide, he hired Solo to be one of his Mercs for Money.
The second of three individuals that have called themselves Foolkiller, Greg Salinger recently donned his mask and armor once again to take out those he deemed foolish. Salinger became the second Foolkiller after hearing stories of the short-lived original, and his vigilante career came to an end when he was institutionalized. After years away from the merc game, Foolkiller re-entered society as a psychology student. But when Deadpool needed more mercs to impersonate him across the world, Foolkiller joined the Mercs for Money.
11. Jessica Jones
Originally a little-known crimefighter named Jewel, Jessica Jones’ life was wrecked when she became a prisoner of the mind-controlling Purple Man for eight months. Hardened from her experience, she chose to put her super strength to work as a private investigator — a career path that ultimately led her to a relationship with Luke Cage. The two were married and served on a few Avengers lineups together, but Jones has mostly remained out of the superhero spotlight since the birth of her daughter, Danielle Cage. She can currently be seen as a supporting character in “Power Man and Iron Fist,” but neither of those heroes are seen in this new image.
10. Maria Hill
The on-again/off-again Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Maria Hill has never been one to play nice. She burst onto the Marvel scene in the lead-up to the first Civil War, taking a hard stance against Iron Man’s New Avengers team. In the years since, she’s grown from an antagonist to a begrudging ally to a trusted compatriot for may of Marvel’s heroes, with her no-BS demeanor allowing her to stand up to pretty much every super-powered being in the MU. But that’s all changed since this year’s “Avengers: Standoff” event. It was revealed that Hill had created a prison in the form of a town called Pleasant Hill. There, supervillains would have their realities warped by a Cosmic Cube and become respectable members/prisoners of the town/prison. The ethical lines crossed proved to be too much for many of Marvel’s heroes, and Hill’s fate is currently at the mercy of the World Security Council tribunal. Judging by this image, it looks like she’s at least not going to prison.
9. Captain Marvel
The stalwart Avenger known as Carol Danvers possesses an array of powers: flight, super strength, energy projection and absorption — Captain Marvel can do it all. She’s recently taken her military experience and powerful abilities into Earth’s orbit where she serves as the commander of the Alpha Flight Space Program, the planet’s first line of defense against invaders. She simultaneously held down memberships with Alpha Flight and her hero team, the Ultimates. The Ultimates were formed to stop extinction-level threats before they become an issue, a mission statement that fit right in with the Inhuman Ulysses’ ability to see the future. Carol used one of Ulysses’ visions to pre-emptively strike against the conquering alien Thanos, but her boyfriend War Machine died in the process. That mission set off the second superhero civil war, an event that’s still unfolding.
8. Fin Fang Foom / American Kaiju
A classic Iron Man villain, the dragon-like nemesis known as Fin Fang Foom is actually a shape-shifting alien from the planet Kakaranthara. The massive villain can fly at high speeds and also spit a highly acidic mist from his mouth. The “dragon” is also resilient and has survived numerous battles with the Hulk and Iron Man. After a few years out of the spotlight, a feat somehow managed by a massive alien, he reemerged and threw down with the new, totally awesome Hulk Amadeus Cho. Even more recently, he attacked a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier carrying his pheromones in the pages of “All-New Wolverine” and went giant-toe to clawed-toe with the X-Man Laura Kinney.
Of course, it might be Marvel’s new giant lizard monster, American Kaiju, behind Doom and company. The Godzilla-like creature — who made its debut just a few months ago in “New Avengers” #9 — is actually US Army Corporal Todd Ziller. The subject of numerous experiments designed to re-create the super-soldier serum that birthed Captain America, Ziller was transformed into a giant, patriotic lizard-like creature, designed to protect America. Though he was transformed back into human form at the end of his first mission, it’s possible he’ll once again roar into action as American Kaiju as part of Doom’s “team.”
The assassin known as Elektra was once Daredevil’s college girlfriend, until tragedy and fate led her into a life of martial arts and moral ambiguity. While Elektra’s fought alongside the Man Without Fear, she’s also committed more than her fair share of crimes. Since the reformation of the Marvel Universe in the wake of the massive “Secret Wars” event, Elektra has appeared infrequently. Her most recent appearances came in the pages of “Daredevil,” where she was manipulated into believing that she had a daughter — and that her child was endangered by Daredevil. The hero helped Elektra uncover the truth, and she set out for revenge on the person that messed with her.
6. Thor Odinson
Following the reveal of still mysterious information about his past, the former God of Thunder found himself unworthy of holding his hammer Mjolnir and commanding the powers of his namesake. Instead, the Thor mantle, powers, hammer and superhero lifestyle went to Jane Foster, who currently serves as Thor. But Thor Odinson did not stay down; instead, he picked up his axe Jarnbjorn and continued to fight evil. But following the events of “Secret Wars,” Odinson went missing. Only recently has it been revealed that Odinson is a prisoner of a mysterious alien race, along with all of Asgard and the Mjolnir from the recently destroyed Ultimate universe.
Once a normal teen named Steven Harmon, Slapstick’s cartoon-character-like abilities emerged after he was exposed to a massive global energy surge. He learned his Slapstick moves from the Scientist Supreme of Dimension X and returned to Earth where he became a vigilante, teaming up with heroes like Speedball and Ghost Rider. But with his heyday as a hero behind him, Slapstick eventually fell on hard times and into the throes of depression. That’s the condition this character was in when Deadpool recently approached him to join his Mercs for Money squad.
4. Captain America
Steve Rogers is no longer what he seems. He’s still a World War II veteran powered by the Super-Soldier Serum and unthawed in modern era after decades spent on ice. But Steve Rogers is also a Hydra agent, and he’s always been a Hydra agent. But — spoiler alert if you’re not up to date on “Captain America: Steve Rogers” — this Cap has really been altered, seemingly irrevocably, by the supervillain Red Skull and his Cosmic Cube. As recently revealed, the Red Skull used the Cosmic Cube’s reality-altering powers to dive into Steve Rogers’ memories and remake them to fit Hydra’s will. This isn’t a Cap that’s mind controlled; this is a Cap with free will that believes, genuinely, that he’s a Hydra agent. How the rest of the Marvel heroes will take that news remains to be seen.
3. Black Panther
The nation of Wakanda has fallen on hard times after the punishment it saw at the hands of Namor, who flooded the country, and Thanos’ Cabal, who leveled the city. The reset following “Secret Wars” may have returned Wakanda’s structures, skyline and landscape, but it didn’t heal the schism that has grown among its people while T’Challa fulfilled his duties as a superhero on the global stage. Now, Black Panther is fighting to maintain control and peace in his home country, while also serving as a member of Captain Marvel’s Ultimates team.
A martial arts master raised from childhood by the evil Titan Thanos, Gamora has pushed past hardship and her “father’s” malicious influence to become a cosmic hero and member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. During a recent mission, Gamora’s considerable fighting prowess was augmented by the cosmic object called the Black Vortex; her exposure to this portal gave her great power, including flight and the ability to withstand exposure to space. But Gamora exhausted those abilities not long after acquiring them during her mad quest to find and kill her adoptive father. Her search came up empty, but it did bring Gamora back into the fold as a Guardian. Thanos, it should be noted, recently re-emerged in the pages of “The Ultimates,” where he was defeated but still managed to kill War Machine.
The gun-toting, time-traveling, cyborg, mutant messiah known as Cable has once again landed in the present day Marvel time period. After an unknown time spent in the comparatively-near future, Nathan Christopher Charles Summers has come back to the present with a new A.I. named Belle embedded in his cyborg arm. He almost immediately joined up with Rogue and Steve Rogers’ Avengers Unity Squad, the team featured in “Uncanny Avengers.” Since then he’s provided muscle and tactical support for the team, while leaving the leading to others.
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