As probably evident if you follow the blog from week to week is that so many obscure (that’s if you would even classify my choices as obscure) characters who I profile tend to be in one form or another imitations of other characters. It isn’t always the case as I have covered the likes of Yondu or Bibbo Bibowski, But increasingly as I trawl the longboxes or plough the internet for idea’s it seems my choices are mirror versions of existing characters … Steel Spider, Silver Sorceress hell even Nubia are basically playing the same riffs as more established characters.
I honestly can’t say why dopplegangers show up so much but it is after all a trope and one that has been rinsed and repeated time and time again, Hell even as I write this we have a dark version of the Justice League tearing up the DC Universe but those are hardly obscure by any stretch of the imagination. I mean it doesn’t seem that long ago that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely re-imagined the Crime Syndicate in the Justice League Earth 2 trade and since then they have been featured fairly frequently. Which brings me to this weeks subject similarly drawn by Quitely but written by Mark Millar and these characters unlike the Crime Syndicate are very unlikely to appear in a DC anytime soon for different reasons yet are in many ways… OK not many ways, they are just The Avenger’s but evil, I am of course talking of The Americans.
Week 12: The Americans, No assembly required
Who were they?: The Americans were a team of villains who first featured in The Authority in issues 13-16, Which is in itself another take on Justice League or more specifically Superman and Batman, As I am sure you will already be aware of. However just I am just recapping that point as I think the idea of a darker Justice League facing a darker Avenger’s is an interesting premise. Depending on how familiar you are with The Authority you will either be very familiar with them or like me (until I read the issues) not overly familiar with The Americans. There were stand-ins for all the main players of the original Avenger’s team Commander, Storm-God and Tank Man filling in the roles of the big three (the names give them away) but there were also homages to the Hulk, Wasp and Giant Man.
In their arc “The nativity” they were tasked with acquiring the infant Jenny Quantum by Dr. Krigstein whose raison d’être was creating super powered beings, So acquiring the all powerful embodiment of the 2000’s would grant pretty much absolute power to those who influence the child. The Americans attacked the hospital with the militaristic Commander attacking (and implied to have sexually attacked) the staff and Tank Man (accompanied by Hornet) committing infanticide it is safe to safe their mission wasn’t tactful.
After murdering all the children in the hospital it becomes aware that Jenny was spirited away from the hospital by The Doctor (as in The Authority member and not you know an actual Doctor) who is stopped in the streets by The Americans member Titan in a stunning splash page. The following issue The Americans strike at The Doctor when their giant member **cue giggles** Titan smashes a plane into The Doctor at which point Jenny’s powers make themselves known as she re-establishes the link between The Doctor and The Authority as his powers were previously blocked and protects them both. With the link re-established the Authority are alerted and immediately strike at The Americans, With Apollo flying through Titan’s head… This created interesting visuals of a giants corpse that could be argued to appear later in other Mark Millar titles like Civil War and Old Man Logan, Coincidence?
But the defeat of Titan is short lived, As Jenny is eventually captured and taken to Krigstein and as the battle goes back and forth with Tank Man being killed almost immediately and later in the issue by the Hulk like creature and if it seemed a one sided battle; Apollo’s powers are blocked by Storm-God ionising the local atmosphere. Storm-God and Commander take advantage of this by brutally assaulting Apollo. It is revealed that Krigstein also produced vast numbers of other powered soldiers and this leads to further parodies with just about every major Marvel character showing up for a panel or two over the last 2 issues showing up in some form or another, But ever the strategists The Authority defeat these fighters on all fronts and tracking down Krigsteins hiding base. Retribution in sought by Apollo and Midnighter with the remaining American’s on the run Apollo kill’s Storm-God with a huge solar blast which leaves Commander to a presumably messy fate at the hands of Midnighter [pictured below]. As The Nativity story line winds up the infant Jenny Quantum is recovered when The Authority offers the ultimatum of face defeat or join us to Krigstein, he accepts the wiser option.
What have they done recently?: Well… For once I don’t actually know what to write here. They (like many Wildstorm characters) haven’t been around much. I have voiced elsewhere before that I think DC’s handling of Wildstorm has been pretty ineffective just look at Team 7, Gifter, Voodoo and Stormwatch. So it isn’t like that should be a surprise and they served their function in the story which and allowed question of who would win out of a darker Avengers vs a darker Justice League to be posed and It is also often discussed as well in spite of being 13 years old because of how it was posed. As Millar’s first Authority story it did however seem to creep into his later work in some form or another, Everything from Nemesis to Civil War to even Kick Ass 2 are foreshadowed in the writing of The Nativity.
What can we expect next?: Even with their deaths in their original and only arc now seemingly be retconned. I honestly can’t see The Americans appearing again for many reasons. The growth of Avenger’s into worldwide icons, DC’s merger with Wildstorm, the tone and direction of Stormwatch in new 52 being much lighter and the characters carrying the marmite propensity of Mark Millar’s writing in depicting them as rapist baby killers which has been pointed out by other bloggers in more depth and clarity of thought … so in other words I’m just gonna ever so slightly sidestep that one. It does make the chance of them popping up in the Stormwatch book or even any other DC book seem extremely unlikely.
So that’s all I got this week, If you like comics with a satirical slant then definitely pickup the “The Nativity arc” as I am sure with art so good you will not be disappointed, If you already have it then what is stopping you reading it again and as usual hit me up if there are any characters you think people should find out about. Oh and I will try to keep doppelgangers to a minimum in future installments.