Avengers Assemble #1
This one-shot is an OHOTMU-style handbook published to coincide with Avengers-oriented events in the Marvel Universe, notably the end of Siege and the beginning of the Heroic Age story lines. Published just at the tail end of the incredible run of A-Z Hardcovers and during its subsequent A-Z Update miniseries, many entries are brand new or update recent developments to mainstream characters. Marrina, who served as a honorary Avenger, has a two page entry and appears on the cover.
What is notable about this entry is that unlike all of the other members of Alpha Flight, and some Beta Flight members, Marrina had not had an entry in the modern-era (2004 and newer) handbooks. She did have previous entries in the original OHOTMU series in 1983, the Deluxe Edition in 1986, the Master Edition in 1992 and the X-Men Encyclopedia in 2003, so it was expected that she’d have her own entry in the modern versions, but she hadn’t. Of course, not much was happening on the Marrina front since a single panel cameo in 1998 (Avengers v3 #47), so it’s somewhat understandable.
The main illustration is the same classic Marrina pose first seen in the first OHOTMU entry from 1983 and re-used again in the Deluxe Edition and X-Men Encyclopedia. You’d think we could get a new image every 27 years or so! But, while Gus Vasquez has been busy drawing lots of new images for this and other recent handbooks, such as Manbot’s recent entry, this image is so complete that no new illustration was warranted. Note that the costume is incorrectly colored blue in the image, but correctly shown as green everywhere else.
Other illustrations are the same as seen in the 1986 Deluxe Edition with one additional image of her floating in the Master’s tank from Avengers v3 #47 (2001) and two additional images of her in Leviathan form, one from Avengers #293 (1988) and the other from Dark X-Men: The List #1 (2009).
This entry does have some new information, notably the location of her hatching pinned down to Lady Cove, Random Island, Newfoundland. Where this came from is a mystery to Alpha Flight Collector, but it makes sense and fits in with her origin as told by Mac in Alpha Flight #2. Also, her stats have been corrected: previous entries mentioned an erroneous top speed of 51 knots while it ought to have been 900 knots.
Strange omissions from this entry are her encounters with the Collector in Marvel Team-Up Annual #7, which was mentioned in her OHOTMU: Deluxe Edition entry, its quick sequel in Power Pack #’s 9 and 10 and the troubling encounter with the Dire Wraiths in ROM #56-58. Seeing as how Marrina really hasn’t appeared in that many issues, dropping these 6 issues is rather noticeable. None are critical to her entry but could have easily fit in the space. Also, there is an unfortunate error in the text quoting Llan as uttering the soporific “sleeping a false sleep under the waves” which should be the hope-inspiring “sleeping a false death under the waves.”
For those of you who keep track of these sorts of things, her stats have changed since Marvel Encyclopedia Vol. 2: X-Men: Intelligence (2) is now (3), Speed (2) is now (4), and Fighting Skills (2) is now (3). So, between 2003 and 2010 she got smarter, faster, and mad skillz. Her Leviathan form stats are also included, bringing her Intelligence from 3 to 1, Speed and Strength to 7, Durability from 3 to 6 and the eye blasts increase her Energy Projection from 1 to 5.
The cover art by Mike McKone and Morry Hollowell shows Marrina wearing her spirally arm costume. This costume, a more demure version of her sporty one-piece, debuted in Alpha Flight #14, and didn’t last long, turning out to be rather impractical. Also seen is the decorative choker she wore to replace the Alpha-signal necklace. You can tell they did their research on this one, and it’s a nice touch that they picked the classier version of her costume for the cover art.