Well, this news over at IGN is certainly interesting.
Certainly, this isn't the end of The Avengers- I suspect that what will happen is that they'll relaunch with one main title (presumably entitled The Avengers) and a couple of periphery ones (if I were to have my druthers, one of these series would be called Avengers Assemble! and a second one would be another try with the Young Avengers). Alternatively there could be two main titles (and I would still be pulling for the second one to be called Avengers Assemble!) with two main teams- one to handle street level threats, another for the more pressing and world altering kinds of things the Avengers used to be used for.
The big question, then, is who will be doing the Avenging? It isn't, of course, a question a lowly reader like me has any sort of real answer too- but I'm going to fulfill a time honored geek tradition and attempt to handicap it.
To start, here are the lineups from the Avengers teams from the last several years (I'm leaving out the Dark Avengers, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons)
Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Iron Man, Captain America (Steve), Luke Cage, The Sentry, Wolverine.
After the events of Civil War and then again after Secret Invasion the following heroes also became members of the New Avengers:
Iron Fist, Dr. Strange, Ronin, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Captain America (Bucky).
After Iron Man left the New Avengers because of the events of Civil War, he started his official, registered Avengers team, also including: Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, Ares, The Sentry, The Wasp and Black Widow.
After the events of Secret Invasion, Henry Pym (as The Wasp), manipulated by Loki, starts up a new team of Avengers featuring: Hercules and Amadeus Cho, Quicksilver, Jocasta, Stature, Vision and US AGENT.
So, given all of that, who stays and who goes? I'm going to categorize my guesses in three ways- those who I know will be on the team, those who I guess will be on the team, and those who are longshots, but could stick around anyway:
Incidentally, there are some minor spoilers below- don't read if you aren't caught up.
Given the way that both Siege and the upcoming Heroic Age have been branded, I would put money on Captain America, Iron Man and Thor being on whatever team Marvel assembles. As the Big Three, this is basically a no-brainer. The only real question here is which Captain America will be throwing his shield into the melee and my guess is Bucky Barnes- I expect Steve will stick around in some capacity, but given what goes on in the Who Will Wield the Shield one-shot I think Buck is going to be the one wearing the Flag on a regular basis.
With that said, I'll hazard to say that Avengers mainstays Hank Pym (in who knows what costume) and Clint Barton (and, lets be honest, same deal costume wise) will also be on the team in one form or another. If, for whatever reason, Janet Van Dyne comes back to life, she's here too.
Ms. Marvel will be on the team too, if only because her solo book just ended and, given that Osborn saw fit to replace her on his team, she's clearly an important part of the Avengers mythos.
Finally, I think that Brian Michael Bendis likes Luke Cage (and, also, Jessica Jones) too much to let him fall by the wayside. I read somewhere (or maybe Jon and I talked about this, I can't really remember. Perhaps it's both.) that Bendis turned Cage into a top tier character by sheer force of will, and I think that's exactly right. The only scenarios in which I imagine Luke not staying on involve some sort of attempt at a solo book or, perhaps, some sort of Iron Fist/Power Man team-up series (if it were to be written by Brubaker or Fraction, well, I think I would die of happiness.) Even if one of those come to pass, though, I still have trouble imagining Bendis letting go of one of his favorite characters.
While the Iron Fist has said that he doesn't really fit it on the Avengers, it's hard to imagine a team that Luke Cage is on without Danny Rand far behind. This would be particularly true if Luke has some sort of leadership role/his own time.
I'm not sure what Mockingbird's story is- they seem to be teasing her death in some of the solicits, but they also just brought her back, so I imagine she'll stick around in some capacity, particularly if Clint is on the team too.
Stephen Strange is usually around too- although now that he isn't the Sorcerer Supreme, I don't really know what his deal is. Still, his presence on the team wouldn't be a surprise. At the same time, it is a distinct possibility that Jericho Drumm becomes an Avenger. I suspect it will be one or the other- there really isn't another good place for them.
Hercules and Amadeas Cho come as a package- either they're both on the team or neither of them are and it all sort of depends on the outcome of Assault on New Olympus and whatever the new status they're teasing for Herc is. If Dan Slott is writing it, the likeliness that these two are in goes up.
Who knows whats up with Wolverine? He's in the mix for no other reason than he's been around and also that he sells well.
Quicksilver, too, is sort of an unknown quantity. I'm going to hedge and put him in the middle.
Finally, what about Spider-Man? Does he stay on the Avengers? I think he might, but it's hard to know. I think it's more likely if there are two main teams, but he's been a consistent member since New Avengers started up six years ago. It's a bad idea to count him out, and I suspect it's worthwhile to count him in.
Some Dissassembly Required:
Conceivably, there are some characters who have served in the past, say Wonder Man or She-Hulk, who might be in the mix. Of the two, I imagine Simon is the more likely choice, if only because he repented for serving with the pro-registration heroes on Iron Man's team, and he still lingers in the Avenger's mythos.
Another such long shot is Beast, who has recently taken a leave of absence from the X-Men. He's taken on a starring role in SWORD, so I suspect that's where he'll stay for awhile. Still, I would welcome the big blue guy back to Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
I have no idea what the Sentry's deal is. Depends on what happens in Siege, but my guess is he goes away for awhile.
With two Caps, I think that US Agent is probably superfluous.
Finally, Stature and Vision are in this category only because I think they're going to move to a soon to be announced Young Avengers book. Remember that one of the Siege one-shots is going to be a Young Avengers one- I suspect that they're going to be part of the new status quo.
Well, that's what I've got. How about you, noble readers? Got any ideas of your own?