This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics
By now, you’ve seen Avengers: Age of Ultron (You have seen Age of Ultron, right? If not, you might want to just bookmark this for later, as this entire post could be considered a spoiler.), so you know that movie introduced us to a new (Improved? TBD.) Avengers lineup. Some of these newbies are familiar to us from previous movies, others are still relatively unknown in the MCU. But, all have rich histories in Marvel comics, spanning all the way back to the 1960s. This post will give you a quick overview of each character and a recommended reading list for getting to know them before they all show up in Avengers 3: Captain America: Civil War.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce your new Avengers. Not the New Avengers. That’s different.
Name: Samuel Wilson
Power(s): Machine-powered flight, an ability to telepathically communicate with and control birds. Which makes my skin crawl only slightly less than the ability to communicate with and control ants. I saw that Hitchcock movie.
Other Affiliations: Defenders, Secret Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D.
First introduced: Captain America #117 (1969) Sam, with the help of his pet falcon Redwing, saves Captain America from the attacking Exiles of Exile Island, where he’s been teleported by the Red Skull. With whom he has swapped bodies. Like you do.
Fun Fact: Redwing appeared on his own superhero team in 2009’s Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. For real.
For more information: Avengers: Falcon by Various, All-New Captain America, Vol. 1: Hydra Ascendant by Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen (July 2015). You can also catch Sam in the All-New, All-Different Avengers debuting this summer.
Name: Wanda Maximoff
Power(s): Chaos Magic? Only Stan Lee and Jack Kirby really understand what this means so writers have interpreted the power of chaos magic differently over time. Most prominently, the Scarlet Witch is able to alter reality. Other powers include hexes, telekinesis, and, in the MCU, mind manipulation.
Other Affiliations: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Secret Defenders
First Introduced: X-Men #4 (1964) Wanda and her brother Pietro have joined Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants out of a sense of obligation to him for saving Wanda from an angry mob.
Fun Fact: Wanda and Pietro were delivered by Bova the Midwife, a sentient cow. No, really.
Bonus Fact, as I Believe (okay, Hope) It Will Become Relevant in the MCU: In the comics, Wanda and the Vision get married and have twin sons who may or may not be real, but go on to form the Young Avengers anyway. You don’t actually need to understand how this works to enjoy Young Avengers.
For more information: Avengers Assemble, Vol. 1 by Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid, Avengers Disassembled by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade by Allan Heinberg and Olivier Coipel.
Name: Just “The Vision.” You’d think he’d at least drop the article. I mean, even Prince is just Prince.
Power(s): Super intelligence, super strength, flight, laser beams shot from his forehead. And those are just the greatest hits.
Other Affiliations: This guy’s always been some kind of Avenger. He must get a good longevity bonus.
First Introduced: Avengers #57 (1968) The Vision was created by the robot supervillain Ultron to destroy the Avengers. Something about them changes his mind and he turns on his creator, working with the Avengers to defeat Ultron.
Fun Fact: The original Vision’s mind was created based on the brain patterns of Wonder Man Simon Williams; his body was that of the android Human Torch.
For more information: Avengers Epic Collection: Behold… The Vision by Various, Avengers: Vision and the Scarlet Witchby Steve Englehart and Bill Mantlo, Avengers West Coast: Vision Quest by John Byrne.
Name: James Rhodes
Power(s): None. The War Machine armor, on the other hand, gives him super strength, flight, and guns. Lots of guns.
Other Affiliations: Secret Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D.
First Introduced: Iron Man #118 (1979) James Rhodes works as an aircraft mechanic for Stark Industries.
Fun Fact: Rhodes appeared as Iron Man almost twenty years before first appearing as War Machine in 1992.
For more information: Iron Man: War Machine by Len Kaminski and Kevin Hopgood, War Machine Vol.1: Iron Heart by Greg Pak and Leonardo Manco, War Machine Vol. 2: Dark Reign by Greg Pak and Carlos Magno.
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