Greetings from the Odinson,
I have a bone to pick with Wonder Man. In the triumphant aftermath of Siege, the world of Marvel climbed out of the shadow of the Dark Reign and entered the Heroic Age. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were assembled in full strength and unity for the first time since Avengers Disassembled. All the world’s greatest heroes standing shoulder-to-shoulder to usher in a better, brighter future and stand against the dark forces that would threaten mankind, all save one - Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man.
Empowered with ionic-energy, Simon’s body is nearly impervious to harm, his super human strength rivals even the mighty Thor’s, and the energy within him slows his aging making him nearly immortal. Originally, Simon was recruited by Baron Heinrich Zemo’s Masters of Evil to help them destroy the Avengers. But Simon decided to become a hero instead and joined the Avengers in their never-ending battle against the forces of evil (see Avengers #9).
For years, Wonder Man fought alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He even died, twice, as a hero defending justice (first in Avengers #9 and second in Force Works #1). The Scarlet Witch’s chaos magic brought Simon back to life during the Avengers’ campaign against Morgan Le Fey. But something has seemed off about him ever since his return. In Avengers #2, Wonder Man refuses Steve Roger’s offer to rejoin the team. He gives his former field commander a word of warning that there will be consequences if the Avengers reassemble. Since that ominous warning Simon has not been heard from – until now.
In New Avengers Annual #1, Wonder Man has returned, and he is not alone. Simon has assembled a hit squad of super human agents and he plans to take out the Avengers once and for all. What could have possibly turned this one time hero against his friends? It seems that he has convinced himself that the top five worst things to happen to the world are the Avengers’ fault.
Ultron – Ultron was created by Hank Pym, a founding member of the team, and has grown to become one of the biggest threats ever to mankind. Thousands of lives have been lost to this mechanical monstrosity that can never seem to truly be defeated, only delayed, and with every new incarnation Ultron grows stronger, and smarter.
Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff’s affinity for chaos magic over the years slowly drove her insane, right under the noses of her teammates and friends. Three times she has given in to her dark side (Nights of Wundagore, Acts of Vengeance, and Avengers Disassembled), until finally, she crossed the line and brought mutantkind to the brink of extinction in House of M. This one probably cuts especially deep with Simon because of his past love affair with the Scarlet Witch.
Civil War – This battle tore the super hero community in two and pitted friend against friend, even family against family. Good people died during this conflict and now Simon believes that it was all for nothing.
The Hulk – Simon doesn’t understand why the Avengers haven’t done anything about the Hulk. All the damage, death and destruction the Hulk has wrought, Simon blames on the Avengers, because as the world’s premiere super human strike force the responsibility of stopping such a threat falls to them.
The Dark Avengers – In the wake of Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn usurped control of SHIELD from Iron Man and assembled a team of super villains to enforce his will during his Dark Reign. During this dark time, the Avengers actually became fugitives, hiding in back alleys and safe houses, running from the law and branded as outlaws. The world had turned upside down.
All right, Simon has some points, but the Odinson does not agree with all of them.
Ultron is akin to the discovery of nuclear power. Is it the fault of James Chadwick, Otto Hahn , and all the other scientists whose research led to the discovery of this new energy source that one day someone would use it to make weapons of mass destruction? Ultron is a major threat to be sure, but he was born out of a benevolent intent. Ultron’s AI twisted its original programming and it is now a huge problem that Avengers do take responsibility for. Every time this mechanical monster shows up, Earth’s mightiest Heroes assemble to take him down.
The Scarlet Witch just went nuts. Her brother is the manipulating Quicksilver and her father, Magneto, is one of the most notorious terrorists to ever walk the earth. She was born a mutant, hated and feared by others for being different. And when she was a teenager, Magneto forced her and her brother to join his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It was the Avengers that gave her a chance at a new life, a better life, one of courage and conviction. Captain America attempted to mold her into a force for justice. The Avengers helped Wanda find the right path, and for a long time she walked it, even at one point becoming the leader of the team. But it was not meant to be. The disturbing circumstances of her youth, her unfortunate lineage, a failed marriage, and the loss of her children broke down all her mental defenses and left Wanda’s mind susceptible to the influences of chaos. I really don’t see how the Scarlet Witch losing her mind is the Avengers’ fault.
Now he has a point with the Civil War. This mishap reeked of two great men just unwilling to back down from a fight. I understood the argument both sides brought to the table, but it never should have escalated to the point where heroes were battling heroes in the streets of New York City. John Foster, a.k.a. Goliath lost his life, and Captain America was ultimately assassinated. The Civil War also left the planet in disarray and vulnerable to the Skrull Secret Invasion. And don’t even get me started on the ill-advised machinations of the so called Illuminati.
That brings me to the Hulk. I am so sick of the way people in the 616 view the Hulk. Everyone just concentrates on the fact that he is a monster. All he ever wanted was to be left alone. Did anyone ever consider that maybe if they did that, the Hulk might just be content to live in some remote sector of the New Mexico desert? Here’s what gets me riled up when it comes to the Jade Giant. It seems that everyone has just completely forgotten all the times that the Incredible Hulk has saved the planet. Whether on his own or alongside the other heroes of Earth, the Hulk has saved the world just as many times, if not more, than any other hero alive. Plus, Simon mentions that the Hulk has killed people. I don’t remember reading those stories (other than alternate realities, unrealized futures, and What Ifs?). The Illuminati did try to take care of the “Hulk problem” by blasting him into space (see Planet Hulk). Just check out World War Hulk to see the results of that brilliant plan. If the Hulk ever gets too out of control, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will always be there to corral him (see Incredible Hulk #300, 316, and 321-322). The Hulk has done way more good than bad. The Marvel Universe just hasn’t found the right way to interact with him yet. Besides, Simon is probably just trying to avoid that final confrontation with the Hulk in the pages of The Last Avengers Story.
And finally, how in the world is Simon going to blame the Avengers for the Dark Avengers? Norman Osborn is a brilliant man, insane, but brilliant none the less. He manipulated a situation and took power. It didn’t hurt either that he had the power of the Sentry and Ares the God of War at his back to help enforce his rule.
Wonder Man has had his say and now the Odinson has had his. In the end, Simon can point fingers all day long, and from street level crime to a tsunami in Asia to drought in Africa, Wonder Man can blame all the world’s woes on the Avengers. That does not make what he has decided to do right. Wonder Man has made it his mission to take down the Avengers. He has assembled a team and his first strike took place in the pages of New Avengers Annual #1. His quest to dismantle the Avengers continues in Avengers Annual #1.
I can’t help but think that there is more at work here than meets the eye. How could a hero like Wonder Man have such a strong change in character? Is he being manipulated by an outside force? After witnessing the events of New Avengers Annual #1, Wonder Man, a former Avenger, may accomplish what Doctor Doom, Count Nefaria, and the Masters of Evil could not – the total annihilation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell