Click to enlarge! Avengers #1, 2, 3 Covers by Dustin Weaver

The first three covers for the upcoming ‘Avengers’ series reveal part of the team’s 18 member and counting lineup. Drawn by artist Dustin Weaver, the cover reveals the not-surprising-at-all movie cast, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor and the Green Hulk, apparently tagging out the Red Hulk who is currently serving on the team. It should be noted that in comic continuity, the Hulk helped found the team in ‘Avengers’ #1 in 1963, but never again showed up to aid them, and his founder status was passed on to Captain America who didn’t show up until issue #4. So this will be his first real run as part of the team in the 616 universe.

Also not a surprise is Marvel’s new First Lady, Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers. According to the Hollywood website The Grid, Marvel’s upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie is “About a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.” Hmmm, U.S. pilot, huh?  Check! And Joss Whedon has expressed a desire to include more female characters in the next Avengers movie and Joe Quesada reportedly stated that a Carol Danvers movie was in the works. Could she bridge the gap between ‘Guardians’ and ‘Avengers 2’? Keep in mind, this is all rumor, but Carol’s been on a steady rise in prominence of late, so I’m crossing my fingers that she’ll be joining the movie lineup, so her continued presence on the comic book team bodes well for that.

Also slated for the movie universe is The Falcon. This news is considerably more substantiated than that pertaining to Captain Marvel, but Marvel still hasn’t confirmed this. However, Falcon has served several stints with the team and is one of Cap’s closest allies, so his presence isn’t a surprise.

Brian Michael Bendis added Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine to the line up in 2005 and many fans scratched their heads at the thought of including such startling choices as part of the classic team. But they’ve distinguished themselves as worthy inclusions in that time, with Wolverine even siding with the Avengers against his “family” the X-Men, recently. Plus they add a little bit of non-movie dynamic.

That leave three other figures. One looks like a Human Torch. Johnny Storm is the only member of the original Fantastic Four to never have a term as an Avenger. Is that being corrected now? Also, Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch from the 1940s served with the West Coast Avengers. Is he coming back for more? Another possibility is Sunspot, the New Mutant. (See the next entry.) I’m not 100% sure!

Also depicted is Cannonball of the New Mutants/X-Men. There’s always some odd-ball pick to throw fans for a loop. The hero has always been groomed as the next Scott Summers, so working alongside natural leaders like Captains America and Marvel should help him grow. The other figure is shadowed out, so no idea there! The discs on his chest look vaguely like Nomad’s old costume, but I would say having Falcon on the team is one Cap partner enough.

Jonathan Hickman tweeted, “Image released today is not the complete roster, we intentionally left off new characters for spoiler reasons.” and “And the roster starts at 18, grows to more.”

As the Newsarama article states, Shang Chi, the Master of Kung Fu was reported to be upcoming. Why not? We’ve already had Power Man Luke Cage and Iron Fist. While we’re reviving gritty 70s characters, can we bring in Misty Knight? Speaking of the ex-Heroes For Hire, along with Spidey, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine, Luke in particular has been a break-out star in the books in recent years. Is he simply not pictured? Or will he be taking a break to spend time with his wife and baby, whom Norman Osborn threatened to kill? If he isn’t part of the roster going forward, I at least want the Cages to have a happy life outside of the team.

Also omitted is Scarlet Witch, already revealed to be part of the Uncanny Avengers alongside Cap and Thor. The boys are doing double duty. Is Wanda taking it easy upon her return? What about other stalwarts like The Vision and Hank Pym? And hasn’t The Wasp been dead long enough? Let’s bring her back. I don’t care how!

So let the speculation begin! Who are the mystery surprise characters that were left off the covers? Who would you like them to be?  Comment below!