Getting To Know Jonathan Hickman’s New AVENGERS Recruits

While it may not be the Avengers book with “New” in the title, Marvel’s Avengers written by Jonathan Hickman is showing more new faces in the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes than any of the various Avengers titles out there. With a first arc illustrated by Jerome Opeña, the Avengers line-up has a consisting of founding and decades-old members, but also among its ranks is several newcomers to Avengers – and to creation entirely.

Featuring past new recruits, like New Mutants alums Sunspot and Cannonball, and long-time Avengers-associated characters like Shang-Chi and Falcon, Avengers also features heroes with no real connections to the Avengers franchise like Smasher, Hyperion, Manifold and Captain Universe. With recent issues, Hickman has shed light on his roster of deep cut heroes, but let’s take an even closer look at these curious new hires on The Avengers.




He’s not new to comics, but he’s new to the Avengers line-up. First introduced in 1969 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Hyperion was loosely based on DC’s Superman and came to Marvel to battle the Avengers as part of a team called Squadron Sinister. Over the years Marvel’s introduced various versions of Hyperion from different realities (as is the one Hickman and Opena introduced in Avengers), but one thing’s the same: he’s strong, tough, and a bit of a throwback to the Golden Age of iconic heroes, cape and all. So far in Avengers we’ve seen that he was pulled from another universe by A.I.M., and Hickman’s said in interviews that this Hyperion’s origin is at the center of his entire three year plan for the Avengers and New Avengers books.




All of these new recruits into Avengers have ties to older characters, but unlike the others who are taking over the name and mantle of a previous character, Eden Fesi’s ties come from his mentor, long-time X-Men ally Gateway. First appearing in Hickman’s Secret Warriors back in 2009, he shares similar powers with his mentor and was first recruited to be a hero by the original Nick Fury, but was left in a coma at that series’ end. Fesi returned, with the moniker Manifold, at the beginning of Hickman’s Avengers using his sorely-needed teleportation powers to give the team a broader scope than what a now seemingly quaint Quinjet could provide.




The Avengers have welcomed members all sorts of organizations, from The Defenders to The Champions and even the X-Men –with Bendis’ inclusion of Wolverine and Storm in his Avengers run and the full-scale melding in Uncanny Avengers–but I believe this is the first time we’ve had a member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard on the team. In this week’s Avengers #5 we got to know more about the woman behind the mask — her name is Isabel Dare and she’s an aspiring astronomer who quit school to take care of her ailing grandfather and work her family farm. After finding a scrap of armor from a previous Smasher who crash-landed on Earth, she receives the powers of the Shi’ar Smasher and is inducted into the ranks of the Shi’ar military forces. She later joins The Avengers at the behest of her grandfather who reveals a friendship with Captain America, and also reveals his first name is Dan. Putting two and two together, if his name is “Dan” and his granddaughter’ last name is “Dare,” then this is an interesting tip of the hat by Jonathan Hickman to the British sci-fi hero Dan Dare (who’s not a Marvel owned character, by the way).


Captain Universe

Captain Universe

As a long-time Marvel fan, I’ve always considered Captain Universe that ultra-unique force of nearly-immeasurable power that sits on the shelf, for some reason or another, gathering dust. Created back in the classic Micronauts series by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden, Captain Universe is a floating cosmic force that goes from person to person as needs arise on behalf of the universe-spanning space entity known as Eternity. Over the years the Captain Universe force has settled into the bodies of everyone from Spider-Man to X-23–even the Juggernaut just recently–but its never quite been a factor for big spanning events like super-hero comics are known for. But that seems to be changing, as Hickman’s brought Captain Universe front-and-center with an all new unnamed female host who non-nonchalantly put an end to the epic battle being waged again the inaugural big bad Ex Nihilo in the first Avengers arc. That’s a big deal — especially when you think about how neither Captain America, Thor, nor Iron Man were able to do it and how Marvel’s editors and publisher signed off on this. I would compare Captain Universe to be the next Sentry with her introduction, but with the bad taste he left in people’s mouth I’d hold back and instead say this could be Captain Universe living up to it’s potential for the first time. No pressure.


  1. I thought this Captain Universe was Monica Rambou?

  2. Its pretty clear Hickman is only interested in New Avengers.
    This title is like he’s spinning a wheel of characters and plot devices and painting by numbers.
    It’s not very good.

  3. Thanks for this, Chris. Maybe now some of the whiners will shut their yaps. At the very least, we now have a link to fire at them in the comments. Not enjoying a book for the story or creative team is one thing. But to have you enjoyment hampered simply by not knowing every single bullet point in a character’s history is all too revealing of the stereotypical comic book fan. What happened to a little mystery? The promise of watching it all unfold over time? When did the majority of us become hyperactive children who expect such immediate satisfaction?

    I blame the internet. No offense. 🙂

  4. I have really enjoyed this book so far.

    Yes the first arc ended with something of a thud but the spotlight issues have been good and clearly Hickman is writing for long-term story.
    Hickman has been doing a great job of taking underused (or in some cases unused) elements of classic Marvel history and weaving them into a larger story.

    Also, anything involving the Imperial Guard is awesome.

    • Totally agreed about his using forgotten or dusty elements and characters from the Marvel U and making them interesting. It was exactly that same thing about Bendis’ run on New Avengers that made me love that book so much. What he did with the Hood and the Sentry was truly awesome.

  5. Thanks for the article, Chris! I’ve been enjoying the new characters in Hickman’s Avengers – and I think he gives enough context to work with – but it’s nice to see where they fit into the history of the greater Marvel universe.

  6. So far I am on board with both books. I have faith that Hickman is in it for the long game. It takes time to introduce new characters to the audience so giving each their own issue to flesh them out is a lot better than just shoehorning them in on the fly. This is going to be a slow burn that will build to a conflagration before your very eyes.

    I do think the titles may need to be changed though. Avengers should be New Avengers and New Avengers should be Classic Avengers or Avengers Illuminati. Something like that to describe those old souls in the book.

    • So Hickman’s long game.
      Like in FF when he crafted a really interesting Council of Reeds scenario that ended in a couple of pages ?
      How did that go again- does anyone who read it even remember?
      He’s like a Jedi mind trick.
      Doom found an infinity Gauntlet – Right but did we even get to see what happened there?
      Oh right – there was a four page epilogue off panel where Doom squandered his big chance.
      And the reader just sort of got an info dump.
      And how about SHIELD or Secret Warriors- how did those go.
      Don’t get me wrong Hickman is a really interesting writer- but he gets bored and moves on to new toys
      before he puts the old ones away.

      I feel like in a few years with some perspective this will be the prevailing view but right now we’re all too interested in what he will come up with next to give it the proper critical eye as a whole.

    • Right, because that was the absolute last time we saw the Council Of Reeds, and that interaction had NO effect in future issues.

      Seriously, what?

    • It seems like there are several people who have invested a LOT of money in reading books they don’t like. I personally ONLY READ Hickman’s books at this point and have tasted enough of the other Marvel books to know I don’t like the writers. SO, my suggestion is to quit making yourself (and us) miserable by reading books you don’t like. Let us enjoy the rich story-telling, interesting plot elements and link to history. You can have your “thought balloons” handed to you on a plate in some other book.

    • The council of Reeds actually played a a pretty big role in his entire run on FF. The physical council itself might have ended in a few pages but the ramifications, and in fact characters from the council, played an important role up until pretty much the very last issue of his run.

      Secret Warriors went great actually. You clearly haven’t read it because if you had you would know that not only was it fun and interesting for its entire run, it had a great end. And any issues it might have had feeling a little condensed at the end, I personally don’t think it did but I have read this complaint elsewhere, was because Marvel canceled the book prematurely. It had nothing to do with Hickman “getting bored”, he was forced to resolve the series in, I believe, 12 issues less than he anticipated.

      SHIELD has completely fallen off the face of the Earth so I’ll agree with that one.

      It also seems like you haven’t read any of his creator owned stuff before forming your opinion on him. I would highly recommend you check out Pax Romana, Nightly News, and Red Mass for Mars. Also, all his Ultimate Universe stuff is great. All of those books are fully rendered and show no problem with “getting bored.”

      It’s clear you just don’t like Hickman, which is fine, but you seem a little uninformed about his actual work. I coule be wrong, but this feels kind of like a case of disliking a popular writer because it’s cool to do so. Bendis and Fraction get this kind of hate all the time and it often seems to stem from disliking their popularity more than their actual work. I could be wrong but this is how this feels to me.

    • Well I do like Hickman as I clearly stated that.
      I can just look objectively at the Marvel stuff without Koolaid stained teeth.
      And I didn’t include his creator owned work- bc I assumed we all understood it’s a different cloth.
      His approach to Marvel work is that he gets excited for the creation- looses steam in the middle
      and as you pointed out as well- rushes and condenses the endings.
      For me it’s not enough to present interesting new theories and ideas if you can’t flesh out the ideas and substantiate the endings in a satisfying stick the landing kind of way.
      And this is personal- but I am growing tired of him whispering the poetry of a menu and not delivering with a full meal at the end of the date.


    • I did not point out he rushes his endings. I pointed out in the specific example of Secret Warriors he rushed his ending because he had no choice based on Marvel pulling the plug on the book prematurely. Have you read Secret Warriors? I am honestly looking for an answer here.

      I, and it seems many others, believe he did a great job with the entire FF run including the ending. If you disagree that is fine but it is also not fair to make a blanket statement about all his work for Marvel based on solely that series. Also you completely ignored his Marvel Ultimate work, two mini series and an ongoing, which are also great and has none of the problems you mentioned. Have you read any of his Marvel work other than FF? Because if not it doesn’t seem fair for you to judge his entire output. Again, this feels like a case of hating a popular writer just to make yourself seem discerning. I don’t mean to be insulting here, just calling it like I see it.

    • Also, where exactly did this happen: “Well I do like Hickman as I clearly stated that.” Where did you “clearly” state this?

      You can’t be talking about this line from your first post: “Don’t get me wrong Hickman is a really interesting writer- but he gets bored and moves on to new toys before he puts the old ones away.” You can’t truly think that “clearly” states that you like Hickman as a writer. If anything it says the opposite.

    • Interesting=Interest.
      I complimented the man.
      You really seem to need things S P E L L E D out.

      And yes I read Secret Warriors- and Shield as far as it went.
      Marvel pulled the plug on Secret Warriors bc he took forever to take it anywhere it was late- and people dropped off waiting for it. Again- to my point.
      I a Not talking out of left field.
      I am not “hating a popular writer just to make yourself seem discerning. ”
      I am pointing out that the man has limitations and not everything he touches is gold and the tired excuse of his “long game” to justify everything he does is not a license to excuse everything.
      He does good- he does some bad.
      And hey- if you think Avenegers is remotely good – keep reading it-
      I think it’s a turd. Long game or not.
      I am however enjoying New Avengers so far – moderately- so take that for what it is.

      But calling it like I see it- You would think I was attacking your mother.

    • You’re just trying to have it both ways. You can’t think a writer is “good” and “interesting” while also thinking all of this works are bad. No one has said “everything he touches is gold” we have simply pointed out his work is a lot more interesting and thought provoking than you give it credit for.

      You very clearly didn’t like FF, although you seem to have read most of the run for some reason. You didn’t like SHIELD because, well you haven’t really said why but I’m guessing because of all the delays and lack of a final issue. You haven’t said outright you don’t like Secret Warriors but you certainly haven’t been praising it at all. You said Avengers is “not very good. Period.” You’re only enjoying New Avengers “moderately” so far. So what exactly of Hickman’s do you like? You seem hell bent on letting us all know you like him while doing nothing but saying how much you dislike his writing.

      So two questions:
      1) Since you have now said it, apparently multiple times, what of Hickman’s Marvel work do you like? It would seem none since you have already been negative about all the title’s he’s worked on.

      2) If Hickman’s Marvel work has continually let you down, as you’ve stated it has, why do you keep buying his books? Is it simply so you can come onto sites like this and tell us all how much you dislike it?

    • Secret Warriors was a great series, myself & quite a few others I know really enjoyed it, I think Hickman is a writer who does like the long-slow-burn of a story but fortunately for me I do love his ideas & concepts!

      I am hugely biased when it comes his writing abilities & own everything he has done & is doing, I think the only shame on this situation is that Smasher11: you may miss out on the intertwining story of Avengers & New Avengers, but hey that’s your decision.

    • Also, in what way is this accurate: “But calling it like I see it- You would think I was attacking your mother.” How is this the case? Please explain this.

      I haven’t resorted to name calling or emotional arguments in any way. I have simply been pointing out what appear to me rather gapping inconsistencies in your comments and asking how you can state one thing but offer up evidence that seems to imply the opposite. If my simply asking you questions and offering up my thoughts on this subject makes you feel the need to be defensive, perhaps it is due to a lacking in your side of the debate, not mine.

    • USPUNX: He’s a troll who’s been banned from here before. I just realized it. I wouldn’t engage him any further.

    • @comicbookchris: Thanks for the heads up, I probably should have realized what I was dealing with earlier. Maybe now that he’s been outed he’ll go back to the bridge he crawled out from under.

  7. Thanks for this article, this was really helpful to me as I was not very familiar with this characters at all. Just helps me appreciate what’s going on a bit more. Connecting some dots.

  8. I really want to read Hickman’s Avengers. I got the first two issues and loved them, but I just can’t afford what’s basically a weekly 3.99 book. I guess I’ll just trade wait it. Bummer.

    • It’s not a weekly book. Hickman has stated on the record (maybe Word Balloon?) that he’s only contracted to write 36 Avengers issues in 2013 — 24 of regular Avengers, and 12 of New Avengers.

      Unless that situation has changed, the rapid release schedule so far is just the result of the particular weeks those issues are released. I don’t think issue 6 hits for another 2-3 weeks, and then I’d expect a more regular bi-weekly schedule.

    • Sorry to double post, but I just looked at the release dates and this book has been on a double shipping schedule.

      #1 – 12/5
      #2 – 12/19
      #3 – 1/23
      #4 – 1/30
      #5 – 2/6

      So it looks like a delay on #3 pushed #4 back as well, creating the three new issues in three consecutive weeks scenario. But technically, we still got two issues in December, two in January and (as long as #6 comes on Feb 20 as scheduled) two in February.

      So all is as advertised.