Comics
Published April 10, 2020

Meet the Avengers of "Final Host"

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Avengers, meet the Final Host.

Whether you’ve read long boxes full of comics, or not a single one, AVENGERS (2018) marks one of the best jumping-on points for those who want to curl up to popcorn Avengers action from the comfort of your couch.

Avengers (2018) #1

Avengers (2018) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In issues #1-6, now free in Marvel Unlimited, acclaimed THOR writer Jason Aaron took the helm with artists Ed McGuinness, Paco Medina, David Curiel, Mark Morales, and more, to steer the Big 3 – Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor –into a cataclysmic age starring 2,000-foot-tall space gods and the heroes who oppose them.

The first issue is a reunion of sorts, a return to a status quo that was shaken by SECRET EMPIRE. That event cornered Earth’s Mightiest into an underground resistance cell against Hydra Supreme, the carbon copy Cap that was built from Kobik, a sentient fragment of the Cosmic Cube. You can read all about that here, plus read the event in full, but all you need know is that come AVENGERS #1, the gang gets back together and it feels so good.

Tony Stark Avengers

Well, sort of. Tony Stark had to throw down a convincing argument to remind a disgraced Cap and an unworthy Thor that in spite of recent hardships, the world still needs its Avengers.

And their timing couldn’t be better. Half a world away, Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange and Black Panther, legendary king of Wakanda, uncovered an extraterrestrial disturbance burrowed in Earth’s crust—green, gooey, egg pods that are now threatening to hatch.

Extraterrestrial disturbance

And, at nearly the exact same time, Alpha Flight, Captain Marvel’s planetary defense agency, reported a black hole breach of dozens of dead space gods, now hurtling towards Earth at alarming speed.

Celestial

The sky rained millennia-old Celestials, chucked through portals from a prehistoric past. And Earth’s core was being devoured from within.

The stage was now set for one of the Avengers’ most cosmically-epic arcs, a story that spans the Avengers of prehistory to a foretold future engineered by Dark Celestials and their still-unknown architect.

Now, meet the Avengers who were at the right place at the wrong time. In addition to Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, here’s the crew that assembled in the wake of the Final Host.

DOCTOR STRANGE

Doctor Strange

AKA the Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme.

Empowered by the Vishanti, ancient wizards Agamotto, Oshtur, and Hoggoth, Doctor Stephen Strange can call on his arcane knowledge of the Mystic Arts like pulling a rabbit from a hat. And actually, yes, he is that kind of doctor. A trained surgeon, it was the loss of the use of his hands that led Strange down the path of becoming one of magic’s most adept practitioners and conjurers. His main residence is the carefully-shielded Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City’s Greenwich Village, a home base that is part-relics gallery, part-mystical reservoir.

In the “Final Host” arc, it’s Black Panther who drew him into the fold. Before joining up with the larger team, Strange and T’Challa stood alone against the Horde, a species of insectoid aliens that were created to infect the Celestials.

You’ll see Doctor Strange summon his Shield of the Seraphim quite often in these issues, a spell that casts an impenetrable barrier against physical and even psychic threats. Other favorite spells include invocations to the Eye of Agamotto, an amulet that allows its wielder to see past illusions and magical mistruths.

BLACK PANTHER

Black Panther

AKA the King of Wakanda.

Descending from a long lineage of Black Panthers, T’Challa is this West African nation’s ruler and defender. Those entrusted with the mantle of the Black Panther are granted superhuman strength and agility by Panther God Bast, patron deity of the Wakandan people.

Notably, Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation in the Marvel Universe, at least on Earth. It is home to vast deposits of vibranium, its most precious natural resource.

Members of the current Royal Family include T’Challa’s sister, former Black Panther and current  Aja-Adanna Shuri, and Queen Mother Ramonda. Each royal is protected by Wakanda’s elite military force, the Dora Milaje, loosely based on a real-life military corps from present-day Benin.

Black Panther shared important history with Captain Marvel as a member of the ULTIMATES, an interdimensional super team tasked with protecting the Omniverse from Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. His experience with space-level adventure definitely comes in handy here.

There’s also that Illuminati connection with former member Doctor Strange. Black Panther’s run as their leader was covered in writer Jonathan Hickman’s NEW AVENGERS (2013).

Outside the cutting-edge tech of Kimoyo beads and a vibranium-reinforced suit, T’Challa is a formidable fighter on his own. After alerting Doctor Strange to the Horde’s presence in South Africa, he’s pulled into a standoff that goes far beyond Wakanda, crossing dimensions and time itself.

CAPTAIN MARVEL

Captain Marvel

AKA the Cosmic Avenger.

Carol Danvers is a natural choice in this lineup, given her familiarity with alien encounters and galactic policing.

In her first few decades, the “Captain” was a “Ms.,” gaining her Kree powers following an errant blast in CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #18. Her first appearance was actually MARVEL SUPER-HEROES (1967) #13 though, when she encountered the original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, while working as Head of Security at an Air Force base.

Carol’s Air Force history dictates her high-flying moves as both an Avenger and solo hero—whether she’s sonically blasting through space or a pilot in the cockpit, her nerves of steel are a defining trait.

Don’t miss her 2014 series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez. You can read the first arc for free, plus it’s a great intro to her larger role on the frontlines on the final frontier.

In her 2016 series, the Captain established her space program, Alpha Flight, featured in “Final Host.” As leader and commander, Captain Marvel and her squad are the first line of defense from alien invaders.

GHOST RIDER: ROBBIE REYES

 

Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes

AKA the Spirt of Vengeance.

The Avengers’ youngest member, Roberto “Robbie” Reyes is a native Los Angeleno. He’s also the living embodiment of a demon with close ties to Mephisto.

In his origin series ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER (2014), teen mechanic Robbie is introduced as a bright kid with way too much on his plate, caring for a special needs brother while working alone to make ends meet. Robbie’s natural knack for cars was what forged his new life. Lured into a criminal street race, a spray of bullets claimed Robbie’s life—but destiny had other plans.

SECRET WARS tie-in series GHOST RACERS (2015) delivered the high-speed hijinks that define this adrenaline junkie. GHOST RIDER (2016) also has more chain-flinging drag races from literal Hell.

In “Final Host,” Robbie uncovered a world-shaking connection between him, the dead Celestials, and the ancient band of Prehistoric Avengers. He’s asked to step up to the plate in surprising ways too, breaking out as an MVP.

SHE-HULK

She-Hulk

AKA the irradiated Jade Giant.

The team wild card, She-Hulk has history with both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, but in recent years has preferred going solo.

Her human ego is Jennifer Walters, and she’s actually the Hulk’s cousin. It was a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner that gave her the She-Hulk ego, giving her the ability to transform into a lean, green, obliterating machine.

Unlike Banner, Walters has significantly more control over her “Hulk-outs,” although that started to wane in HULK (2016) when she re-emerged into a very different form following her coma in CIVIL WAR II. (You can find out how that happened by reading the event in full!) SHE-HULK (2017) also expands on the mental dissection between her “Gray” and “rage-fueled” persona.

But if you’re wanting to read She-Hulk at her quippy, fabulous best, check out SHE-HULK (2005) and SHE-HULK (2014). Both series follow her superhuman exploits as a lawyer for the super-powered.

In “Final Host,” Walters was still a loose cannon. But when her violent impulse is channeled in the right direction (and at the right target), she became the team’s heaviest hitter by a mile.

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