Marvel announces a new "Avengers NOW!" initiative. Entertainment Weekly learns that the new team will now include a previously-announced female Thor, a black Captain America where Sam Falcon replaces Steve Rogers, and a Superior Iron Man where Tony Stark dons a new suit.
Dr. Strange, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man who will soon make their debuts in Marvel Cinematic Universe are also among the lineup. Other characters like Medusa, Inferno, Deathlok, and the Winter Soldier will be brought into focus as well along with new character Angela. She is being worked into Thor's mythology, but she's apparently not the new female Thor.
The female Thor will be introduced in a new comic issue in October, while the new Captain America and the upgraded Iron Man will make their debuts in November. "While Sam shares many of Steve's beliefs in a general sense, he's also a very different person with a very different background," editor Tom Brevoort said of the upcoming all-new "Captain America #1".
"He didn't grow up in the 1930s, he's a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century. For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he's seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he's got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself."
"He's also not a military man, so he's more apt to be instinctively skeptical of any situation that calls for just following orders. Sam, like Steve, will be led by his personal morality and beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong - and where his beliefs may differ in their shading from those of the previous Cap are where the interesting stories will be found."
Sam will don a specially-designed suit, incorporating the wings of the Falcon persona while still bearing the unmistakable stars and stripes of the Captain America role. "Historically, Falcon would often act as air support, flying Steve into the battle. Why not merge the two?" Brevoort explained.
"He pops the wings, and as he flies, he keeps the shield latched onto his back. He dives down onto the scene, hurls the shield, wings retract, and rolls into a kick or jump, catches the shield on the way back. He doesn't have the super soldier serum, but he has the added zing-zang-zoom of flight."
Although Steve is no longer superhero, he won't go away completely. "Steve's spirit is as willing as ever," said Brevoort, "But his body is no longer up to the task of being Captain America. So he'll instead employ his skills as the new Cap's remote strategic advisor, running missions from his headquarters in Avengers Mansion and providing Sam with technical support and field information from a distance."
Meanwhile, "Superior Iron Man #1" will send Tony Stark to San Francisco with a new outfit and a new perspective on life. "The Genius Bar costume is there for a reason," Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso told EW. "The newly-transformed Superior Iron Man has very ambitious plans for the city that some of its residents embrace, but not all." He added, "Like the Superior Spider-Man, Superior Iron Man is a character that's hard to root for."
As for "Thor #1", the change will start in the Original Sin story arc. "For reasons that will be revealed in Original Sin, Thor won't be able to pick up the hammer," said Alonso. "Someone has to pick up the hammer. And someone does. And they become Thor." The identity of the new Mjolnir owner is still kept under wraps, but Alonso teased, "There are several women in Thor's life, and one of them is going to be the new Thor. You aren't going to find out who it is for some time. This is a slowly unfolding mystery."