Will Nick Spencer Give Us The Black Avengers After All?

You'd have thought Nick Spencer might have had enough of Captain America controversy for one year. Not a bit of it. And I don't mean him starting a #GiveCaptainAmericaElsaAsAGirlfriend hashtag.

In 2003, Christopher Priest wrote the short-lived superhero team book, The Crew. He wrote about its origin as something thematically similar to Three Kings and how through happenstance, it ended up having all black characters in the lead roles. And he knew how problematic this could be for the comic book market. He wrote

I briefly wanted to call this book The Black Avengers. It's a terrible idea, but, the truth is, with this cast, race will speak the loudest. Having not said a whole lot about what this book is, the feedback I've gotten thus far has only confirmed that fear. Fans don't know what THE CREW is, but they know it's, "A black book set in the ghetto." So, I figured, why not. Race is all some fans will see anyway, let's just get to it. The book has a kind of Avengers vibe, anyway, with two archetypical AV characters in our black Iron Man (WAR MACHINE) and Black Captain America (JUSTICE). Moreover, Black Avengers really just nails What This Is in a way "The Crew" really can't.

Having not read even a single page of THE CREW, many fans were predisposed to not like it simply based on (1) the race of the characters (and, perhaps, the author) and (2) the cultural subtext of the book's title. Black Avengers would have mitigated both concerns, but would have made Marvel into a kind of minstrel show. In 1972, Marvel could have gotten away with Black Avengers. In 2003, it would be seen as a kind of unfortunate in-joke.

The Crew, for me it followed right on after Priest's legendary run on Black Panther, and with Joe Bennett on art it was a sale. Sadly few others thought the same and it lasted five issues. If it had been called Black Avengers, it may have lasted longer. Mighty Avengers, albeit with a more diverse cast, also came close.

But it came to mind because of previews I ran of Marvel's upcoming Captain America: Sam Wilson #10  written by Nick Spencer which sees, on the death of Jim Rhodes, War Machine, a gathering of Marvel's major black characters – , Monica Rambeau, Luke Cage, Sam Wilson. Misty Knight, Black Panther and Brother Voodoo – with Blade giving his apologies for absence.

And something Priest said about The Crew,

But, more importantly, THE CREW is not about a street or a skin color or Huggy Bear or any of that. THE CREW is, first and most importantly, aboutfamily.

IMG_3077IMG_3078And already the comments have started.

Black Avengers? How about B-Force?

Please tell me nick spencer isn't the writer of that Sam Wilson issue. Pleeaseeee tell me he didn't write Luke calling Sam "brother"

Is it just me or does having that scene with all the black heroes just seem super racist? Or certainly at least forced and awkward. Like "hey a black dude died, so all the other black people need to show up… no whites allowed!" It's like anti-diversity! Did they have another room for all the white heroes, and one for the aliens, synthezoids, etc.? Cue the outrage on this post in 5,4,3,2…

But wait? Is there a voice of calm and reason? I mean, relatively?

Folks please calm your t-ts and d-cks. I doubt they are doing an all black Avengers team. This is just for that issue and they are there to mourn Rhodey. OKAY??

Who'd have thought it?

#NotYourAgents OfSHIELD anyone?


About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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