BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Wonder Man is getting his own MCU series, but does his arrival signal something bigger is coming together?
In the timeless words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” The same can be said for Marvel Studios. The company cranks out big announcements like an assembly line. It was only a week ago that the Thunderbolts movie broke the internet. Before the dust had time to settle, the studio made waves with yet another round.
The flavor of the week is Wonder Man, who will star in his own Disney+ streaming series. This is an announcement five years in the making. Originally, famed sci-fi actor Nathan Fillion was cast as fictional movie star Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Director James Gunn had said that the plan was to film scenes with Fillion’s face on movie posters that would hang in the background of at least one scene. Sadly, it didn’t come to fruition, and the scene in question as cut from the final product.
The immediate speculation is that Fillion will officially be cast as Wonder Man for the upcoming show, but there could be more to his arrival than simply another by-the-books Marvel sitcom.
THE WEST COAST AVENGERS
The WCA speculation began with WandaVision. After learning that the original Vision was actually dead and what we saw in Westview was part of Wanda’s magic, it was revealed that S.W.O.R.D. had created a Vision clone. A sinister White Vision emerged and fought with the original Vision. The battle ended with the rather confusing “Ship of Theseus” thought experiment.
What does that have to do with the WCA? Plenty. In the comics, Vision wanted to expand the Avengers. He recruited a handful of superheroes and moved to California where he founded the West Coast Avengers. White Vision happened to debut in WCA #45. Since traditional West Coast Avenger Hawkeye has been in the MCU since Phase One, adding White Vision was the first clue that the new team was taking shape.
Later in 2021, Marvel gave the biggest nod to the WCA in Hawkeye. As Clint Barton and Kate Bishop were fleeing the Tracksuit Mafia, they took refuge at the home of Kate’s aunt, Moira. During the first WCA comics run, she was a wealthy former movie star who essentially gave the team their first headquarters.
The most recent indicator was part of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which introduced the dimension-punching America Chavez. She and Kate were teammates on both the Young Avengers and, along with Clint, the 2018 West Coast Avengers.
How does Wonder Man fit in? As a WCA founding member, he was a staple of the team throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. If the new team happens to feature White Vision, Simon, Clint, Kate, and America, it would be a combination of West Coast Avengers eras, which would be fitting with the MCU’s agenda to bridge age gaps.
THE KEY ISSUES
All the Wonder Man and West Coast Avengers news should cause a new wave of speculation for Simon Williams’ key issues. While he is mostly associated with the WCA, don’t forget that he has starred on other teams as well. Take a look.
The first order of business in light of the Wonder Man news is to get your hands on his first appearance in Avengers #9. The running joke with Wonder Man, besides being Marvel’s blatant attempt to beat DC to the punch with the name, is that he arrived and died all in the same issue. After that, he would be mostly forgotten until his full return with the Legion of the Unliving in 1975’s Avengers #131.
Here’s where Wonder Man’s connection to Vision truly begins, and it could be an issue worth adding to your collections. Four years after Simon died, it was revealed that his brainwaves had been copied, and Ultron used them in the creation of Vision. That was used to explain the android’s love for Scarlet Witch, for whom Simon secretly pined.
WEST COAST AVENGERS LIMITED SERIES #1
With all the clues already pointing toward the West Coast Avengers, adding Wonder Man to the mix will only perpetuate more theories (kind of like this one). After all, Simon Williams was a founding member along with Hawkeye, James “Rhodey” Rhodes posing as Iron Man, Tigra, and Mockingbird. This could very well be where it’s all heading, and that will be twice as certain if Tigra or Mockingbird are introduced along the way. For that matter, there’s already theories that Hawkeye’s wife, who was revealed to be a retired S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, is actually Mockingbird from the comics. That could mean that she will join the superteam alongside her husband and Wonder Man.
FORCE WORKS #1
Wonder Man is most closely associated with the Avengers and West Coast Avengers, but he has been part of some pretty lame teams. At the top of that list is Force Works, a group of very ‘90s superheroes. From the ashes of the WCA, Iron Man formed a new team in 1994. The first lineup featured Wonder Man, Spider-Woman Julia Carpenter, U.S. Agent John Walker, and Scarlet Witch. As Wonder Man is prone to doing, he was thought dead and was soon replaced by the alien Century. The team would not last long, but a new version was founded in 2020, only this time minus Wonder Man.
NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #1
Another possibility is that instead of the West Coast Avengers, Wonder Man could introduce a rather obscure team, the Revengers. Debuting in 2011, Simon joined Anti-Venom and a slew of B-list characters, which is much of why the Revengers are forgotten. The first lineup included Devil-Slayer, yet another Goliath, Atlas, D-Man, Ethan Edwards, Captain Ultra, and Century. These guys are so obscure that even the most hardcore Marvel fans would be hard pressed to describe their origins.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.