Thursday, August 6, 2015

Avengers: Present, Future, Past

(Editor: This was written after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron)

The Avengers, this is an old franchise that I've enjoyed off and on with different forms of media. My main interaction was with comics, they were like how S.H.I.E.L.D. currently is, an organization that takes down what everyone else can't stop. Groups were popular in the 80's and 90's, though this could have been due to gangs and clubs being popular during these generations, everyone wanted to feel like they belonged somewhere. Personally I liked the idea of teams, DC tried to do the same thing, though a lot of the groupings felt forced, Marvel did a pretty good job. Though the Avengers were the main catalyst for most supers (in the Marvel universe) finding their hope and desire to be of use to the community, which was inspiring to fans, writers, and artists in our reality.

Speaking of other realities, the Avengers weren't just heroes in one universe, even within the Marvel Muliverse there is at lease one mention of a team that resembles the Avengers, hell even other publishers point toward this collection of heroes. Though parodies plague the world of comedy it's always refreshing to see a new take or an amalgam (I'll review this series later) of what a team of heroes are and how they interact with each other. With the JSA (Justice Society of America 1940) and JLA (Justice League of America 1960) predating the Avengers (1963) this allowed them time to build fans and breed in the new media of animation, though only as individual stories within one show (The Marvel Super Heroes 1966), unlike the Super Friends (1973).

One of my favorite memories was the cartoon from 1999, and the many video games inspired by the comic series. I had a crush on Lenore Zann (still do, though it's more of an admiration at this point, keep up the amazing work you do within the Nova Scotia Government), she was Rogue from X-Men 1992 and Aisha Clanclan from Outlaw Star 1996 (though the series wasn't around till 2001 in America). Now these weren't the only roles that she's had (Def-Con 4, Cold Sweat, and One Night Only), but returning as a crazed cat lady (Tigra) in Avengers: United They Stand was welcomed. Though crushes aside, this was the first time for a lot of these characters to appear on other media than comics or video games.

Captain America and the Avengers 1991 is the best example of the franchise moving beyond their comfort zone, though in the 90's there were many games that had "obscure" characters in them. Spider-Man being one of the main offenders and X-Men being the other, though it wasn't till Marvel VS Capcom 1998 (before this was Marvel Super Heroes 1995, then Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter 1997) that really pushed the attention of these characters to a new media and fanbase.

The Avengers movie came out with the excitement following Iron Man, it's interesting to see a series that has become the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. Like the Animated series Iron Man 1994 opened up an avenue to the Avengers, though at this point in the comics the heroes have been together longer and have more members (in DC there's been many reboots that separated the JLA, Marvel just kept everything, mistakes and all) that make it feel like they're humans doing the right thing rather than DC's Gods, since the 90's JLA made a tighter core group. In general all these characters (Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Wasp, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, surprisingly not Hulk) during this time were relatively on their last leg. Given their fanbase kept them strong and alive, as a team, though their separate issues weren't doing great. Especially with the Civil War Saga everywhere during Iron Man's movie this was a beautiful rise in power for Marvel. So with the handful of characters they have in the spotlight at the moment and amazing directors wanting to help make these films, it's not really a shock that passion and excitement have translated through the media and to the audience. This not only helped the fanbase of the Avengers, but also the fans of the directors, writers, and actors expand and open opportunities beyond expectations.

With this new film (Age of Ultron), facing one of the most feared and interesting villains that the Avengers had. It makes me wonder about the future and the type of films that will come from this franchise. The film felt like a totally different experience than the first film, for better or worse, since there were times that didn't seem like it was the same director and other times that it felt like these compromises allowed Joss to be able to take bigger chances. Mind you, these chances that were taken were amazing, they brought a lot to this film and changed the direction of the Marvel Universe in the Cinematic reality for the better, in my opinion. A lot of internal struggles were seen and talked about that humanizes a lot of these (in some cases literal) Gods. It makes me incredibly excited to see the next films that will expand this franchise and film series.

In short, this editorial is about me and my love of a group that anyone joined, as long as they had the Marvel embargo slapped on their comic, and not a villain… all the time (Sandman, I'm looking at you). Avengers mythology is vast, long, and filled with the Marvel community. There's a lot of hope in the future of Marvel, and it all started with a series that was hastily slapped together, this shows good characters and great ideas sometimes need a chance, even if it seems like a red flag at the time. Keep dreams strong and learn what they need to become reality.

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