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A different kind of Avengers

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So I was thinking about the Avengers, recently, like many folks have been, since they had a small movie come out this summer. All kidding aside, I was not as excited about the Avengers film as everyone else who I have spoken to about the movie. But after seeing it, about a month after it premiered, I had to admit that it was a whole lot of fun, and that it was even a good movie, which I was most skeptical about, years before it even came out.

But I’m not really here to talk about the Avengers right now. I want to talk about what would happen if a movie like the Avengers was to happen. What do I mean? I doubt I have to explain this to anyone, but I will. The Avengers was the story of four superheroes who had their own movies then coming together in a team-up movie to learn to work together and save the world. Then you threw in some characters like Nick Fury, Black Widow and Hawkeye, who had no movies of their own, but were important nonetheless. So what got me to thinking was…what if we had a movie that followed that basic formula, but used NON-COMIC BOOK superheroes. This is to say, they cannot have originated in a comic book. Some of these guys may have showed up in comics after they first originated in cinema, but that doesn’t count.

Another way of looking at this is that it is like a modern-day version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (either the movie or the comics, the concept is essentially the same, either way). In fact, the LoEG might be a more accurate analogy, since the stories featuring characters like Mina Murray, Alan Quartermain and Mr Hyde were written with no intention of later putting them all together on a team. Likewise, all of the films and characters who I will be using in this article-type-thing debuted in movies where they were never meant to later work in a team with each other. But when I was putting this team together, I kept the Avengers in mind, and I tried to have each member of this team fill the role that one of the Avengers filled. We’ll see how that works.

First up is Buckaroo Banzai, played by Peter Weller in the film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the Eighth Dimension. As far as which movies came out first, Banzai is the oldest member of my team, and so I’ve imagined him as the guy who gets the team together, much like Nick Fury did in the Avengers. In his own film, he was filthy rich and had a vast network of allies across the planet to help him in emergencies. And since he is a scientist, I wouldn’t put it past him to have knowledge of some of these other extraordinary individuals, in case they might turn out to be dangerous or helpful. In the same way that Nick Fury was responsible for the team’s formation and that he wasn’t really a field-combat guy, I have imagined that the extent of Buckaroo’s involvement with this team almost entirely consists of lab-work and acting as a mentor. Since he was pushing middle age in 1984, it’s not that hard to imagine him retiring from the physical aspects of crime fighting, and maybe that is what pushed him to put together this team. So that he knows the world is in capable hands.

My next pick is David Dunn from the 2000 film Unbreakable. Dunn took an entire film to discover that he is basically indestructible (except he’s way vulnerable to water), and he also took the entire film to finally realize that he needed to use his abilities to become a hero. When compared to everyone else on this list, Dunn is almost non-powered, but that’s ok. He did seem to have some kind of psychic abilities in Unbreakable, and it’s possible that after some 12 years of fighting bad guys, that he has invaluable experience doing this, and that’s why he’s on the team. And since Dunn was so hard to kill, I’ve extrapolated, for the purposes of this article, that he’s also immortal, and probably hasn’t aged 12 years like Bruce Willis has in real life. As for which Avenger Dunn is analogous to, I picked Tony Stark. When you watch Unbreakable, Dunn is not an especially easy guy to be around. He has marital troubles, and his one friend goes through a lot of crap to convince Dunn that maybe he needs to quit messing around. And when he finally does start using his abilities to save others, he doesn’t tell his wife, implying, to me, that he prefers for this to be his fight only. In that regard, he’s not a team player, and I can only imagine that after finding out that his mentor/friend was a psychotic supervillain, that would only encourage him to recede into himself even more. He’s not an egomaniac like Stark, but they both share this kind of quality where you wouldn’t expect them to work well on a team, but in the end, they do.

Filling in for the Black Widow, we have Selene the vampire, from the Underworld films. There really is very little I can say about this one. She’s the girl of the team, but she kicks lots of butt, just like the Black Widow. Where the Black Widow hinted that she had something of a sordid past that she was ashamed of, I don’t know if Selene is quite there. She certainly has a past that she would be hesitant to discuss with her teammates, but maybe because she doesn’t want them to treat her like a GGMILTK (Great Grand-Mother I’d Like To Kiss). Not to mention, killing werewolves is basically the only thing that she’s done, from what I can think of, and I doubt she’d feel any shame over that. But where the Black Widow was more or less part of SHIELD’s black ops group before the Avengers formed, I can see Selene acting as a solo agent who works for Banzai. She doesn’t work with the rest of the team as much, because she can only do stuff at night. And that suits her just fine, since she probably is just as much a solo fighter as Dunn.

Does anyone remember Darkman? It was a 1990 Sam Raimi film starring Liam Neeson as a scarred vigilante with rage problems. He’s always on the run, not because he’s a criminal or anything like that, but because he doesn’t believe that he truly “belongs” with humanity any more. Darkman, ladies and gentlemen, is our own Incredible Hulk. They’re both scientists, they survived through an awful accident that left them stronger, the rage problems, heck, it’s like Darkman is an unofficial Hulk story, if he dressed as the Shadow. And like the Hulk, I imagine that Darkman does indeed have a heart of gold (this is basically canon if you take the two Arnold Vosloo sequels into account, where he inexplicably lost all of his rage), but he is probably more rude to his teammates than the timid Banner. Darkman also comes in as the second oldest, if we are just looking at when these movies came out. But this can be BSd pretty easily. I mean, somehow, after losing his face, the doctors in a hospital gave him super strength for no real reason, so we can say that it slowed his aging. Or, maybe he’s just older than he was when his movie first came out.

Up next is Hancock, from the 2008 movie of the same name. I’ve placed Hancock in the Thor spot on this team. Both men were arrogant and hardly what you’d call “heroes,” before they had to go through some humbling lessons. By the end of the Thor movie and the end of the Hancock movie, both men were willing to die for the cause of right. It is another one that just seems natural. And while Thor wasn’t as involved with the Avengers as Captain America or Iron Man was, I just kinda extrapolated that it was because he, too, felt like he didn’t really “belong” with these mortals. I’m sure that had something to do with me reading the Serpent Crown story not long after seeing the Avengers. Hancock would probably be one of the characters most interested in working with the rest of the team, since he ended his own movie thinking that he was one of the last of his kind, and that whenever he was near the other last of their kind, he’d lose his abilities slowly over time. So maybe he sees this as an opportunity to find others like him, if they exist? Buckaroo Banzai would certainly have the resources to help him.

David Rice, from the 2008 supervillain film Jumper, is probably the most sketchy from my lineup. I’ve got him in the role of Hawkeye, but less because it’s a natural fit, and more because he’s one of the only spaces left. If we are allowed to reference Hawkeye’s comic book history, then we could have David be the former criminal who is now a hero, though that’s about the best connection to Hawkeye I can come up with. David would be interesting, because he’s likely still being pursued by the paladins from Jumper. Does he join forces with this team in hopes of shaking off the Paladins from his trail, or does he even tell his teammates, and thus endanger their lives by not telling them what’s up? I can kinda see this guy doing that, but maybe he’s gone through an arc of some kind since we’ve seen him. Also, I would recast David, because Hayden Christensen cannot act.

So who is our Captain America for this team? The answer may shock you. It’s Dominick Cobb of the 2011 super-hit Inception. Physically, he has as little to offer the team as Buckaroo Banzai. Maybe less. But mentally, he’s a giant among insects. I imagine Buckaroo has this guy on the team because it gives him an opportunity to study a science he’s never even heard of before. But Cobb does have a purpose. He’s the idealist of sorts who is hesitant to be involved with this group, but as things move forward, we find out along with him that he very much belongs, and is naturally the guy to be leading them. After all, if you are able to retain your sanity (or does he?) after going through the minds of people where you can die and just weird stuff in general happens, then he clearly has the mental fortitude to deal with less mental problems. And it’d be interesting, I think, to see him ordering around people who could literally punch a hole through him, when he can do nothing to stop what they are trying to stop.

So what do you think? Admittedly, some of these guys wouldn’t work extremely well on the same team, but I think that is the beauty of a thing like this. You wouldn’t think of Mina Murray and Mr Hyde working together, or the Hulk working with the Black Widow, but those alliances did happen. Now…if only this team would actually happen. But in all seriousness, I’d love to hear what you guys think, so feel free to comment, and if you have your own team, you can leave that in the comments as well.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 22 September 2012 13:55 )  
Author Profile: RJD

RJD has written fan letters, reviews, and examinations of various qualities, mostly on the Tavern.

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+1 #1 Vicki Locey 2012-08-16 09:34
That is a different kind of Avengers! I would have never thought of putting that group together. Nicely done.
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