With the counterterrorism team S.H.I.E.L.D. having seen better days after one too many decisions gone wrong, the security of the United States within the pages of the Marvel Comics universe has been up for debate. If you can’t trust the super-secret spy organization that has always been there for you, whom can you trust?
How about A.I.M.?
The organization formerly known as the evil Advanced Idea Mechanics has been rebranded as American Intelligence Mechanics. In charge will be billionaire Brazilian mutant Roberto Da Costa, who will help introduce a super-team that the American people can trust: the U.S.Avengers.
The first issue of U.S.Avengers will debut this fall from Marvel Comics, featuring a Da Costa-approved roster of Thunderbolt Ross the Red Hulk, Cannonball, an all-new Iron Patriot, a Captain America from the future (Danielle Cage, daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones), Pod and the unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
Writer Al Ewing will be scripting this new star-spangled team with artist Paco Medina producing the visuals.
“We wanted a couple of members that’d speak to the U.S. in the title — hence super-scientist and supporting player Dr. Toni Ho stepping up to the main team as the new Iron Patriot, and General Ross waiting in the wings as the Red Hulk,” Ewing told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “And, of course, Danielle Cage, the Captain America of about thirty years in the future, who’ll be joining us for at least the first arc, as an enemy from her time comes to ours to stir up trouble.”
Ewing says the U.S.Avengers will have an office in Washington, and may have the ear of the president, depending on who the next commander-in-chief is, but he expects the flashiness of A.I.M. to play into this team’s permanent home base.
“A.I.M.’s always been a big, showy, volcano-base type of organization. We can expect Roberto to build them a flashy new HQ to match – whether that’ll be tied to any big population centers remains to be seen,” Ewing said.
Not to be overlooked is that the United States-based team is led by someone not born in America. The Brazilian-born Da Costa will use his experience in the United States to guide him.
“Here’s the thing about Roberto — he came to America in his teens, and, as both an actual and fictional minority, a South American mutant, he’s experienced the ugly side of it,” Ewing said. “But he’s seen the best of America, too. He has an absolute love for his adopted country, and he’ll fight to the end to save lives and help people.”
No stranger to being non-American born and in charge of American superheroes, Ewing, who is British, says writing U.S.Avengers is a chance to explore what he’s learned in his time in America and incorporate his favorite things about the U.S. in his story.
“I’m interested in America, in exploring the reasons I like your country and love your citizens,” Ewing said. “I don’t think patriotism should be uncritical or unthinking — we’re seeing in Britain where that leads, and it’s horrible. I’m afraid for us. But that urge to love and care for the home you’ve made, whether you were born to it or chose it or fled to it, that’s worth something. People use it as a weapon, but it’s also an engine that drives great positive change in our communities.”
The Avengers team is filled with veteran Marvel characters, some used to giving orders. But Ewing says Da Costa will establish early that he is in charge. Especially with members such as the Red Hulk
“It’s one thing [for the Red Hulk to] take orders from Steve Rogers/Captain America, it’s another to take them from Roberto Da Costa, a man decades his junior who he doesn’t know. There may be friction,” Ewing hinted.
As for Squirrel Girl, who has risen in popularity at Marvel, Ewing says it was only a matter of time before she was put on a team, and he looks forward to putting his own spin on the character.
“The absolute best introduction you can have is in her own solo title, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which is unalloyed genius, month after month,” Ewing said. “We’ll be presenting a slightly different flavor of Squirrel Girl, but I swear on a stack of nuts I will do everything in my power to maintain that awesomeness.”
The first threat heading towards the U.S.Avengers will be a foe from the future, the Golden Skull, justifying the need of the Captain America of the future to help out in the first story arc of the series. Ewing says the Golden Skill will attempt a “global kleptocracy” in his past to secure evil doings in the future.
Ewing also won’t rule out the possibility of the old A.I.M. trying to make a comeback, saying readers won’t be wrong for naturally doubting the former bad guy hub can remain on the side of good.
“Whether it’s okay to trust [A.I.M.] — well, maybe keep a few slivers of doubt in your mind just in case,” Ewing said. “You don’t reform a mad science organization without breaking a couple of bad eggs, and the old, evil A.I.M. might still be looking for revenge.”