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I wanted to discuss the Young Avengers by Allan Heinberg, their creator. There was something that has always been on my mind ever since I read the first volume, and that’s the Avengers Fail-Safe Program. I don’t think it is something that Marvel has explained ever since the first volume, according to my own knowledge and research. Now, before I start analyzing (yes that word has anal in it), I want to let you all know that there will be SPOILERS for the Young Avengers and possibly other Marvel titles as well.
So let’s start with Iron Lad, who is a young teen version of Kang the Conquer from the year 3016. Now Iron Lad, Nathaniel Richards, comes to our time as his future adult self, Kang, urges him to become a ruler at a younger age. Iron Lad refuses and sends himself to our present time seeking the Avengers for aid. Now at this point at Marvel Comics writer, Brian Bendis, had disassembled the Avengers and they were no longer a team. So with that being said, in the comics Iron Lad in fact doesn’t find the Avengers team, only a destroyed and abandoned Avengers Mansion. While investigating, he stumbles across the dismantled remains of the Vision and uploads the Vision’s digital memories into his suit. By doing this, he finds the Avengers Fail-Safe Program, a program to locate the next generation of Avengers in case the team was ever destroyed. Next we see a few recruits gathered by Iron Lad, so let’s take a look at them.
Wiccan/William Kaplan – A young mutant who has the ability to cast spells. We later discover that he is in fact the reincarnated son of the Scarlet Witch and the original Vision.
Patriot/Elijah Bradley – The non-powered grandson of super-soldier Isaiah Bradley, the original Captain America. We learn that Iron Lad was originally looking for Josiah X, who we haven’t seen since the cancelation of The Crew by Christopher Priest. Patriot informs Iron Lad that Josiah X has been in fact missing for some time.
Hulking/Theodore Altman – Teddy is a shape-shifter and huge fan of the Incredible Hulk. We later find out that he is the son of Kree hero Captain Mar-Vell and the Skrull Princess Anelle, making him the only hybrid of two fighting cosmic empires. By being the son of Captain Mar-Vell, this also makes him a sibling to Genis-Vell and also Phyla-Vell.
Shortly after the team is formed we’re shown, Stature/Cassandra Lang, daughter to the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, who finds them and requests to join as she feels that she “is” a Young Avenger. Midway through the first volume, Hulking, is captured and Iron Lad turns on the Avengers Fail-Safe program to add another member to their team for assistance. We’re introduced to Speed/Thomas Shepard. Speed is the identical twin brother of Wiccan and also son of the Scarlet Witch and the original Vision.
Now, when Iron Lad turns on the Avengers Fail-Safe Program to find possible recruits, we’re shown a digital map of North America with location spots as well as names. Here are those names;
A few of those names are already on the team, so we know who they are. But who are all of the others? To my understanding, the AFSP (Avengers Fail-Safe Program), finds the next generation of Avengers, so kids and teenagers is safe to assume. Now all of these characters have some kind of ties to the original Avengers, before Bendis disassembled the team, in some kind of way. But why can’t they find Josiah X if Iron Lad was looking for him indicating that he was at one point on that list of recruits in North America? Why wasn’t Cassandra Lang on the list? Outside of Hulking, Wiccan, and Patriot, we have yet to see any of the other characters. If the Vision had the AFSP, why didn’t he go and find his sons? And when Captain America and Iron Man found out about the AFSP after Iron Lad told them about it, why didn’t they find these kids?
The classic Avengers roster, before New/Mighty/Dark Avengers, had 71 members. I took some time to research who else at the time would have been possible recruits and I found a few. Rachel Carpenter, daughter to Julia Carpenter, better known as the second Spider-Woman. Luna Maximoff, daughter to the Inhuman Crystal and mutant Quicksilver.
So where did the AFSP come from? Did the Vision create it? And how would he know the secret details of all of these kids? Why did he keep it a secret from his teammates?
Years have passed since the first volume of Young Avengers and a lot of new characters have been introduced. For example, Carmilla Black/Scorpion, who was highly suggested to be the daughter of Bruce Banner/Hulk and A.I.M. Scientist Supreme, Monica Rappaccini, but this has yet to be confirmed. Speaking of the Hulk, he has two sons named Skaar and Hiro-Kala who were introduced a few years ago, as well as Lyra, his daughter from the future whose mother is Thundra. With Wolverine being a member since the New Avengers formed we have other possible recruits such as his clone X-23, and his two sons Erista and Daken. All though I’m not 100% sure on Daken’s true age since he does have a healing factor. William Nelson, son of Tigra and the Skrull Criti Noll, who was posing as Hank Pym. Marvel has confirmed that William is in fact Pym’s child as Skrulls shape shift down to a genetic level. And with Luke Cage joining the New Avengers, we now have his daughter with Jessica Jones, Danielle Cage.
The AFSP hasn’t been mentioned since volume one of Young Avengers. But we have been introduced to the Caterpillar Files, a program created by Nick Fury Sr. The Caterpillar Files are a list of young individuals who have powers and have some form of a connection to villains and random characters. Almost like a reverse AFSP! Let’s take a look at Fury’s recruits for his Secret Warriors.
Quake/Daisy Johnson – Daughter of Mister Hyde who has the ability to create earthquake-like vibrations.
Druid/Sebastian Druid – Son to the once Avenger, Dr. Druid. Sebastian inherited his father’s abilities to cast spells.
Hellfire/J.T. James – Grandson to the Phantom Rider, Lincoln Slade. He has the ability to charge objects and release them.
Phobos/Alexander Aaron – Son to the god of war, Ares. Phobos has the ability to create fear in others.
Manifold/Eden Fesi – A mutant under the care of Gateway, who has similar abilities of teleportation. Eden and Gateways connection has yet to be explained but keep in mind that Gateway is the grandfather to the X-Men Bishop and Shard.
Slingshot/Yo-Yo Rodriguez – Daughter to the Griffin. Yo-Yo is a speedster who can bounce back to the point that she began running.
Stonewall/Jerry Sledge – Son to the Absorbing Man. He has the ability to increase his size as well as changing the composition of his body.
Layla Miller/Butterfly – I don’t even know what this girls powers are. She can reverse the abilities of the Scarlet Witch. Resurrect the dead. Now we don’t know who her parents are, but when Nick Fury Sr. sent out Quake to recruit the team, you can see that they are all connected to someone in the Marvel Universe.
So we have the AFSP with young characters that all have ties to the Avengers and it was created by the original Vision. And then we also have the Caterpillar Files that have young characters that have ties to villains in the Marvel Universe and it was created by Nick Fury Sr. I don’t understand why now one has made a connection between the two or have written further stories with both programs together. Like how did Fury find these children? How did he know about them? Same goes for the Vision, how did he know about the Young Avengers?
These are just a few questions I’ve asked myself while I was reading Young Avengers and Secret Warriors. I would love for someone to write about this and give us any detailed explanation rather than leaving us with all these questions. Maybe one day!
Well, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it all!