Avengers Inc.'s Victor Shade, Explained
Who is Victor Shade? Meet Janet Van Dyne's new partner, who wears the face of a villain and the name of an Avenger.
The Wasp just embarked on one of the strangest team-ups of her life (so far). In AVENGERS INC (2023) #1 by Al Ewing and Leonard Kirk, Janet Van Dyne went to investigate a murder mystery at the Raft—a maximum security prison for super villains—as a favor to Mayor Luke Cage. She quickly discovered that not only is one murder victim apparently back to full health, but that he has undergone a complete change in personality and now refers to himself as Victor Shade.
The Victor Shade moniker carries some weight in the Marvel Universe, as it is linked to longtime Avengers member Vision. As the Wasp forms a partnership with the new Vic Shade, his existence raises more questions than answers, including whether or not he has any connection to Vision. Let's take a look back at Vic Shade and his place in AVENGERS INC., along with the legacy of the original Victor Shade, as Earth's Mightiest Heroes move in a bold new direction that not even the Wasp saw coming.
ENTER THE NEW VICTOR SHADE
The body of the new Vic Shade belongs to one of the murder victims: specifically, the detained super villain Whirlwind. Also known by his civilian name David Cannon, Whirlwind was awaiting criminal trial at the Raft when he and five other inmates were fatally shot in the head by a mysterious assailant, who ominously claimed justice had been served. While in the morgue, Whirlwind's body came back to life, along with the five other victims. Immediately, the five resurrected victims attacked Wasp and the Raft guards.
While the other villains retained memories of their previous lives, the new personality inhabiting Whirlwind's body did not and opposed his fellow inmates. Taking on a slightly different appearance than he had in life, the villain formally known as Whirlwind displayed new super-powers as he single-handedly defeated the five inmates in a short skirmish. To Janet's surprise, her ally referred to himself as Victor Shade—a name she is very familiar with, as she long associated it with her friend and teammate Vision.
WHIRLWIND'S UNCOMFORTABLE CONNECTION TO WASP
David Cannon started menacing the Wasp and Giant-Man as the Human Top in TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #50. With an unhealthy interest in Janet, David took on the pseudonym Charles Matthews and became her chauffeur in THE AVENGERS (1963) #46. Although Janet remained unaware of her driver's true identity for a while, David eventually got caught stealing from her and was fired. Hank Pym exposed David's lengthy ruse after discovering the truth in THE AVENGERS (1963) #139.
Whirlwind maintained his obsession with the Wasp, even as he joined multiple iterations of the Masters of Evil to battle her and the rest of the Avengers. Because of his connection with Janet, Luke Cage asked her to investigate Whirlwind's murder, as the Raft faced a public relations backlash for allowing six inmates awaiting trial to die under the city's jurisdiction. Though vocally repulsed by the idea of looking into her former stalker's killer, Janet reluctantly agreed to take the case.
THE ORIGINAL VICTOR SHADE
Vision first used the name "Victor Shade" name when he attempted to live a normal human life outside of his usual super hero duties. When Vision's cognitive functions became impaired, Doctor Miles Lipton uploaded the brain patterns of his late son Alex Lipton into Vision's neurological functions to give his programming a human pattern as its base. With Vision's mind stabilized, Lipton upgraded the Avenger with a holographic projector that allowed him appear as a typical human male in AVENGERS SPOTLIGHT (1989) #40.
Under this disguise, Vision uses the pseudonym Victor Shade to further blend in with the public and appreciate his burgeoning humanity without anyone treating him differently. After his villainous doppelganger Anti-Vision transferred Vision's consciousness back into his original body in THE AVENGERS (1963) #363, he lost the holographic projector and discarded the Victor Shade persona altogether. Later, when Vision attempted to have his own synthezoid family in the suburbs in VISION (2015), he opted not to use a fake identity or appearance.
A NEW AVENGERS TEAM FORMS
After the new Vic Shade saved her through the revived body of David Cannon, the Wasp convinced the warden of the Raft to remand him into her custody for the rest of her investigation. As part of this understandably controversial decision, the Wasp agreed to provide the warden with daily reports about Vic's activities and location. Similarly, Luke Cage had to be convinced of this strategy due to any potential public outcry that could erupt from the release of a known super villain from prison, even under the warden's terms.
Working alongside Vic, the Wasp continues her investigation into who exactly murdered the Raft's inmates and why. Referring to themselves as Avengers Incorporated, the duo operates out of a lounge overseen by Edwin Jarvis, who will provide the support they need as they look into crimes targeting super-powered individuals throughout the greater New York City area. Avengers Incorporated is also here to solve any problems that require a more delicate and deductive touch than the one provided by Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
As for Vic, the Wasp's new partner has a slightly more angular face, red eyes, and a glowing red light emanating from the place where David was shot. These characteristics make Vic more than vaguely resemble Vision's physical appearance. David also exhibited Vision-like powers while saving the Wasp, including the ability to turn his corporeal form intangible. While so much about him remains shrouded in mystery, a vision from Vic's past life hints that Hank Pym—Janet's ex-husband and fellow Avenger—may be involved, though his full role in this greater scheme is still unknown.
Meet the new Victor Shade in AVENGERS INC. #1, on sale now!
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