One thing I love about DC Comics is that their heroes and villains are spread out all over the United States. You’ve got the Flash in Kansas, Green Arrow in Oregon/Washington, the Titans in San Fran. Heck, some sources pin Gotham City in New Jersey and Metropolis in Delaware.
That’s really pretty neat, and I really wish Marvel Comics did the same with their version of the United States, In fact, they kind of are with the 50 State Initiative, where government-sanctioned superteams are stationed in every state.
But suppose from the the get-go that the Marvel heroes were spread all over the U.S. (they’re pretty good with their world population), where would you put some of their heroes and key titles?
In the following weeks, I’m going to do just that, state-by-state, I’m going to place Marvel’s big shots — and their little shots — all over the map, until I’ve got at least one hero in every state.
Today, we’ll start by having fun in the sun with Florida …
CAPE CANAVERAL (Nova)
Thanks to his otherworldly origins, Nova, gets shifted out of NYC and plunked down at Cape Canaveral, America’s prime hub for spaceflight. This used to be the playground of Ms. Marvel, but she’s now in Houston, for the NASA connection there. With the two tied so closely to the space program, they’re a natural for fairly regular team-ups. From there, Nova is often tapped by the scientific elite for help on their space-bound missions. You need samples from a comet? Nova can get them. Got a satellite out of whack? Nova can realign it.
Notes: Nova is one of those many characters that was literally crammed into New York City with dozens, if not hundreds, of other relatively interesting superheroes. By being stuck there, he never had a chance to shine. Now, imagine if his original series, and everything that followed about him, placed him in Cape Canaveral. There, he’s got breathing room. He can get some much-needed press. He can save a Space Shuttle for breakfast and battle aliens at noon. And with no one else around to assist, he gets all the publicity.
That’s the basic idea of this series. Giving each hero his own space. Why put Nova in Florida? Well, with his “galactic” ties, why not tie him to America’s space agency?
ORLANDO (New Warriors including Night Thrasher, Blackwing, Decibel, Phaser, Ripcord, Skybolt, Tempest and Wondra)
Taking root in Orlando are the team of youngsters known as the New Warriors, where they’re being marketed like the latest boy band. Taking a nod from their Reality TV past, they too are stars all thanks to the media, and just one more tourist attraction to a city based on tourism. And while they are based in Orlando, they jaunt all over in search of camera-ready adventure. Of course, over-time the members grow weary of the spotlight and yearn for a more fulfilling roles in the superhuman community. They wouldn’t be birthed with celeb-TV in mind, but their activities and accessiblity eventually bring the two ideas together. Members of the team are almost exclusively based in Orlando though, having been urged to trim back their old associations to strengthen the New Warriors brand. For some, this means homecomings are a huge ocassion. For other New Warriors, they aren’t well loved ‘back home,’ as they are viewed as having abandoned their hometown.
Notes: I got this idea by extrapolating from the “pre-packaged” excitement Orlando already offers: Theme parks. Why not go one step further with a pre-packaged superteam? And I’m not dissing the New Warriors here. I have just about every series they ever starred in. They’re a fun group, shifting them out of NYC to the fun and sun of Orlando works for me.
MIAMI (Tigra, Blade, Crystal and Quicksilver)
Tigra soaks up the sun as Miami’s most well-known street-level hero, where she’s respected by the massive Latino community, who assume she’s one of them. But as much as Tigra professes to be the protector of the people, she is completely enamored with the glitz of the town. She may be a hero, but she’s a half-hearted hero at best.
Picking up some of Tigra’s slack is Blade, the vampire hunter. He too is enamored with the night-life, but only because it’s the perfect hiding place for his prey. Like many heroes, he may be based in Miami, but he’ll follow his quarry anywhere. Still, he finds a lot to do in Fla., and comes into conflict with Tigra quite a bit as she tries to protect her some of her friends who are secretly vampires.
Miami is also the home of Crystal and Quicksilver (married or otherwise). The two are there only fleetingly, often splitting their time between the Avengers, Fantastic Four and the Inhumans moonbase and their clan’s efforts in Indianapolis. Only recent transplants to Miami, they’re more aloof of the dangers and problems the city faces, and only seem to respond to obvious threats posed to the city, as opposed to the day-in-and-day-out problems that pop up.
Notes: Once again, I’m extrapolating what I know of Miami to the Marvel Universe. Miami is all about decadence and self worship. That fits each of these heroes for their own specific reasons. Among superheroes, Tigra is one of the laziest. She just wants to feel good and look good. Blade follows the vampires attracted to Miami’s decadent ways. Crystal and Quicksilver find the city caters to them as they were catered to as Inhuman royalty.
FLORIDA EVERGLADES (Man-Thing)
The Florida Everglades hold Earth-616’s resident swamp monster, Man-Thing. As previously, he sticks by the Nexus of Realities to ward of intruders into the area. The problem is in this revamp, the Nexus is the only “in/out door” on Earth, which makes it a busy place. For example, when Doctor Strange has to skip across dimensions, he has to go through there. That makes Man-Thing a very angry beast.
Notes: Man-Thing was always in the Everglades, so there’s no reason to move him anywhere else. I did specifically tie extra-dimensional travel here though. This means that some big names wind up here. Doctor Strange is mentioned above, but also Mr. Fantastic and the F.F. would find that transportation to the Negative Zone would be easiest here. Whenever Ant-Man or the Micronauts spring from the Microverse, they pop up back here. Like I said: It’s a busy place.
JACKSONVILLE (Photon, Scorpion, Ghost Rider Danny Ketch, Aegis, Number Nine)
Photon, who has also been known as Captain Marvel and Legacy, spent much of his time on Earth in and around the Jacksonville area. During that time, his activities were mostly ignored by the media and most of America’s heroes. When he joined the Thunde
rbolts, he never
appeared in the area again.
One of the mysterious new heroes in Jacksonville is the Scorpion, a young woman with equally mysterious abilities. As the Scorpion, she’s seen frequently fighting agents associated with AIM. Whether they are there specifically to battle her or if she’s exposing an AIM cell in the city is unknown.
Danny Ketch, the second skull-blazing Ghost Rider, gets shuffled off to Jacksonville, Fla. There, he races around the streets as a spirit of vengeance, mixing it up with the local populace. Like any good biker, Ketch is often on the road, cruising up and down the FLA coastline, as he also been seen in Daytona Beach, especially during its bike week and during headline events at the motorway. Naturally, his appearance here has attacted the attention of Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider, who normally rides in Sacramento, Calif.
Aegis, a short-timer with the New Warriors, moved on from the group shortly after joining it. He went back to his (new) hometown, Jacksonville, where he found that the afterglow from the New Warriors spotlight continued to shine. While only a part-time hero, Aegis tends to be seen on weekends and afternoons, prompting many to believe the force-field projector is still in school.
While far below the national media radar, Number Nine is a local celebrity in Jacksonville, often attending fund-raisers, ribbon cuttings and other menial functions. She does this because, quite frankly, all she knows is about being in the public and doing good things. Of course, she also fights crime in and around Jacksonville.
Notes: I was surprised to see that Jacksonville is one of America’s most populace cities. It wouldn’t even be one of the places I’d think of when you rattle off cities, but it’s true. With that in my head, I figured it must be one of the “newest” big-population cities, so I populated it with newer heroes. It’s a happening place. You’ve got space warriors, spirits of vengeance, magic-artifact wielders and genetic powerhouses. It’s a neat mix, and one that you could start a whole comic-book company, if you so chose. I also thought it was a good idea to stick the two Ghost Riders on opposite coasts, and the younger one, Danny Ketch, works perfectly in Florida. Finally, you’ll note that even right off the bat I’m digging up some really obscure heroes. Number Nine, for example, first appeared in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil run, and you can read about her in Marvel Universe A-Z No. 8.
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