Previously on New Avengers

After his corporate takeover of the villainous organization A.I.M. and their island (which he renamed Avengers Island) base in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, mutant billionaire Roberto "Sunspot" Da Costa has decided to use their resources and personnel to form his own Avengers team.

Those New Avengers are:
– Melissa "Songbird" Gold – former Thunderbolts member, able to make solid objects out of sound; team leader.
– Teddy "Hulkling" Altman – Kree-Skrull hybrid, former Young Avenger.
– Billy "Wiccan" Kaplan – his boyfriend and fellow former Young Avenger, Scarlet Witch’s spiritual son (long story) and reality warper.
– Ava "White Tiger" Ayala – former Mighty Avenger, wearer of the amulet of the Tiger God that grants her strength and reflexes beyond human capabilities; in the Mighty Avengers, she managed to defeat the Tiger God in a battle of wills and forced him to obey her.
– Victor "Power Man" Alvarez – her ex and fellow former Mighty Avenger, able to use the chi of his surroundings to increase his strength.
– Doreen "Squirrel Girl" Green – unofficially the most powerful superhero in the Marvel universe (suck it, Sentry), with proportional strength of a squirrel, an ability to speak squirrel languages and a squirrel tail; beat up Thanos once and Doctor Doom twice; joined A.I.M. with her squirrel buddy Tippy-Toe.

Other major members of Sunspot’s team are the engineering genius Toni Ho, Blue Marvel’s super-scientist son Max Brashear, and POD. POD is a character introduced on Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, one of the creations of Ex Nihilus – a robotic planetary operating defense system capable of smashing a Hulk. POD is bonded with a Finnish girl Aikku Jokkinen. Sunspot himself is unable to join them in battle, as his powers are diminished due to an especially nasty reaction to the Terrigen Mist that’s been creating new Inhumans in the Marvel universe and sterilizing mutants.

Understandably, a former X-Men member and an ex-Avenger gaining control over the entirety of a mad scientist organization, a planetary defense system and creating his own superhero squad makes governments and other entities nervous. That goes double for SHIELD, so they install a plant in the team – a super-secret traitor. That’s Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye – a veteran Avenger and a master archer. Clint joins Da Costa’s team openly as a SHIELD plant during its inspection overseen by Dum Dum Dugan.

The team first mission took them to Paris, where they fought humans converted by the Life Minus formula, created by the Maker. Maker is an evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe, (and alongside Miles Morales the only known survivor of this universe post-Secret Wars) and, it seems, the only one who remembers it. He is the leader of W.H.I.S.P.E.R. – a mad scientist organization that started filling the niche left by A.I.M. after Sunspot’s takeover. He created Life Minus by excavating ghosts (comics, my friends). He used those ghosts to triangulate other ghosts, with the aim of discovering if there were other universes before the current one. There were (as I’ve already mentioned in Ultimates #6 review, this is the eighth universe), and he accidentally brought back a being from the fifth cosmos – a Cthulhu-like wizard Moridun.

Moridun made his move very soon, taking over M’Ryn the Magus – a leader and prophet of the Knights of the Infinite – Kree-Skrull hybrids aiming to unify and protect their fallen parents. Moridun sent them to Earth to kidnap Hulkling (taking Billy along the way), to undergo a test that would determine whether or not he is their prophesied future king. The New Avengers followed them in Avenger Three – a spaceship built by A.I.M. and hidden in an artificial mountain on Avengers Island. Meanwhile Teddy did pass the test and become the king of space. Following that he, Billy, their fellow New Avengers and the Knights of the Infinite fought and seemingly defeated Moridun, who unbeknownst to them managed to infect Billy with his consciousness.

In the far future of the year 20XX, Moridun managed to entirely take over Billy and become Demiurge – an evil potential version of Billy, using his reality warping powers with abandon. The only remaining opposition was the Avengers, led by an older Teddy (now King Hulk) and Danielle Cage (Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter and this team’s Captain America). Unable to defeat him, they went back in time to the year 2016, when Moridun only just infected Billy. Teaming up with the New Avengers (after a traditional opening tussle) they managed to contain Moridun and Billy himself managed to defeat him in his mindscape.

That’s when Maker made his first move. He freed the former White Tiger, Angela Del Toro, who died and was brought back evil by the Hand (an evil ninja organization). He gave her the Ultimate Universe version of the tiger amulet (that was never claimed after her Ultimate counterpart’s death) and sent her after Ava Ayala. During their fight Ava’s Tiger God found a way from under her control and merged with Angela’s Tiger God, becoming one, twice as powerful. Satisfied, Del Toro left Angela powerless and returned to W.H.I.S.P.E.R., where she joined Maker’s new villain team – the New Revengers.

And that’s when the Avengers: Standoff event changed everything. In the first issue of Nick Spencer’s Captain America: Sam Wilson, it was revealed that SHIELD had a Kobik project, where they planned to use Cosmic Cube shards to change reality in any way they saw fit. The revelation came from Whisperer, a mysterious hacker vigilante later revealed to be Rick Jones. SHIELD Director Maria Hill claimed that the project was shelved, but in reality it was still going in a different manner, changing supervillains in mind and body into regular people and trapping them in a town called Pleasant Hill.

Rick Jones released that information and was later captured by Phil Coulson’s SHIELD team. But that information reached Sunspot’s team and after a vote they decided to make a move on SHIELD. The only team members who voted against that decision (Squirrel Girl, Billy and Teddy) were transported to a remote location and informed that they are the only remaining official New Avengers, and the rest of the team kicked themselves off it. During the assault on a helicarrier transporting Jones, they managed to free him and Songbird secretly revealed to Daisy “Quake” Johnson that she is an agent of SHIELD and the other plant on New Avengers.

Following the helicarrier assault the US military sent their newest super-soldier, the American Kaiju – a man able to transform into a Godzilla-like kaiju. During the joined army-SHIELD attack on the Avengers Island the Sunspot, White Tiger, Power Man, POD, Max Brashear and Toni Ho fought him using Avenger Five – a giant robot similar in design to Pacific Rim’s Jaegers (using a shared consciousness of its pilots to operate). Meanwhile, Hawkeye and Songbird were tasked with making sure everyone evacuates safely off the island, but the arrival of SHIELD forced Melissa to show her true colors. Hawkeye managed to get everyone to a teleporter to the secondary base, but allowed himself to get caught so that Rick Jones might get a shot at an escape.

The Avenger Five defeated the American Kaiju and its crew followed the rest of A.I.M. personnel to the secondary base using teleporters installed in the mech. Said base is in Savage Lands, where Sunspot’s best friend, Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, and the Zebra People (characters created by Jonathan Hickman on his Avengers, other creations of Ex Nihilus) awaited them. Thus begun Operation Secret Avengers.

And that’s the state of affairs by the end of New Avengers #10. The only official remaining New Avengers are Squirrel Girl, Hulkling and Wiccan. Hawkeye was arrested by SHIELD, and Songbird is now revealed as its agent. The rest of the team, now calling themselves Secret Avengers, is in hiding in Savage Lands.

Next up, the review of New Avengers #11!

Dominik Zine is a nerdy lad from northeastern Poland and is generally found in a comfy chair with a book in hand.