Avengers Get Fantasy Redesigns
On April 21 of this year (2015) Malaysian artist Daniel Kamarudin finished his series of Avengers art in response to the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie releasing May 1st. In 2012 he completed a series of Avengers art (in response to the corresponding movie) redesigned as if they were in a fantasy RPG setting. They were incredible. Check out his gallery on DeviantArt here.
The upcoming film's redesigns are even better. Each one brings their own unique powers to bear as a cohesive team we lovingly refer to as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes". In fact, I would venture to say that his renderings are the coolest and most innovative versions of these heroes that I've ever seen. And I hope he continues to craft their looks further with each subsequent film.
Since his work is designed with the fantasy genre in mind, I thought it would be interesting to go through each image and define the hero's RPG class and give a rationale as to why they are receiving said class. This may be the most nerdy post you will read all day. If it feels like this is somewhat redundant or unimportant think of this as a way to further deepen our understanding of the characters' personas. They are, afterall, extremely deep nuanced characters who deserve to have their motivations and psyches picked apart.
The Avenger: Age of Ultron (Fantasy Character Classes)
Iron Man as the Mage/Wizard
The "Sorcerer Supreme" himself has nothing on this spell slinging Iron Man variant. Here the Wizard Stark becomes the Mage class type wearing filigreed light arcane armor plating and flowing red robes with gold embroidery.
In modern day Tony Stark is considered an engineer, but Sir Tony Stark of medieval times is a powerful mage who uses his wizard powers to channel his futuristic creations. When Stark was a younger man an arrow pierced his chest in battle and when he removed the broadhead a fragment remained within him. Using his magic he could sense it's death threat and using his knowledge of alchemy was able to craft a glowing chest piece that would prevent the shrapnel from reaching his heart and killing him. Now, he has modified the lifesaving device to channel his inner magic into a suit of armor he crafted which amplifies his ability tenfold.
I would concede that in reality Iron Man would probably be more of a tinkerer or gadgeteer (maybe even an artificer) but Kamarudin's depiction is more mage than mad scientist. This is mainly due to the runic circles surrounding his hands and body. He'd be a heavily armed mage but modern RPGs are giving the player more class flexibility and this doesn't stray far from that framework.
This is definitely one of the coolest redesigns here. Not my personal favorite and not much is done to be incredibly original. But the overall look is incredible and an excellent variant to the original.
Captain America as the Knight/Crusader
Sir Stephen Rogers is a genius tactician on and off the battlefield. Using his iconic vibranium shield he defends his allies and damages his enemies.
I love the armor added to his shoulders, arms, and chest and the helm is very eagle-like (which is probably why quite a few will think he looks like an Assassin's Creed character). Cap being equipped with gauntlets would really be a boon to him in combat since he relies heavily on hand-to-hand fighting.
I initially labelled him as a Paladin, which would make sense regarding his attitude on America and being a warrior with a cause. However, Paladins generally have a magic element drawn from a deity. Cap has no such thing. So, based on this depiction I feel he is more of a Knight or a Crusader, both of which are warriors fighting for a cause.
Thor as the Battle Mage/Magic Knight
Thor Odinson, God of Thunder, comes careening to the Earth like cannon-shot wielding hammer and lightning. With the ability to command the sky and godlike powers to boot, Thor is a roaring forced to be reckoned and not to be taken lightly.
Ah Thor, my favorite of all the Avengers. Being Scandinavian by ancestry and Swedish by ethnicity Thor holds a significant place in my love of Superheroes. And this, oh my, this depiction of Thor is the greatest version of Thor I've ever seen.
I love a lot of things about this rendering of the future king of Asgard, so I will have to make this a list:
- The wings coming up from his jaw to his head are the perfect integration of the classic Thor and the new helmetless variant.
- There appears to be a kind of ethereal pair of extra wings floating around his head, kind of like a halo. This really pronounces his godhood, or at least heavenly quality.
- Probably one of the best Thor beards I've ever seen.
- The glowing eyes make him look more godlike (which some would call scary).
- I love that this is more akin to the movie or classic Thor costumes but the chest bosses glow with electricity like the Ultimate Thor costume. It kind of combines the best of both versions.
- The mail armor plating looks more fierce and jagged than the usual depiction, which, again, aids his fearsome demeanor in this image.
- Mjolnir isn't just a hammer here, it is a conduit of lightning. You can see the electricity crackling from the surface making the Ur in the metal glow with energy. I think this makes the Battle Mage look complete.
- Lastly, I really like the inclusion of the Nordic knot in the cape design.
I chose Battle Mage and Magic Knight for Thor because he is the epitome of those classes, in these variants and within the cannon. Yes he's a god, and that's what throws most people off, but his powers are both might and magic. He is the most physically strong Avenger, matched only to the Hulk (in certain circumstances), and he commands one of the most powerful energies in the known world: Lightning (and wind on some occasions). Like a Battle Mage Thor attacks with an enchanted weapon, is incredibly strong, and uses a form of elemental magic in combat. Can you see why we all love Thor so much??
Hulk as the Barbarian/Berserker
He wades into the tide of enemies with reckless abandon, flinging foes far left and right. Hulk smashes the offenders of Earth, battle cry bellowing from his giant green mass.
The barbarian was a no brainer on this one, although berserker would be even more accurate really.
I honestly am not a huge Hulk fan, I've always felt that he works well within the confines of the Avengers but it's hard to like a superhero who is without self control. However, this piece initiates a real interest in the Hulk in me. It's almost reminiscent of Planet Hulk Hulk without armor, and the Planet Hulk Hulk is the best Hulk (Hulk, Hulk, Hulk... *ahem* sorry).
And the BEARD!!!!! Hulk with a beard is now the only way I think Hulk should ever be depicted. Seriously, the beard is a real selling point for me.
Lastly, the blood is done really well here. His hands are soaked in it and there are smatterings of stringy blood all over his body, which if the Hulk really ever got a hold of someone I bet he'd be covered in blood after.
He has a pattern of runic circles, similar to the ones Iron Man was producing, tattooed or even cut into his chest. The blood accents all of this nicely without being gruesome or over the top.
Black Widow as the Assassin/Night Blade
Natasha Romanov becomes the deadly Assassin when taken back to medieval days. With her static blades she slices and efficient swath through the enemy ranks as she moves like a swift shadow.
Again, I iterate, this is an improvement to the existing depiction. Black Widow is a deadly "fisticuffs" agent in modern days but I really feel that this is the effect of the family friendly goal. I mean think of it, what if Black Widow used knives in addition to her gadgets. She'd be unstoppable.
The artist stated that the knives were inspired by the electric batons she brandishes in the Age of Ultron trailer, and I can definitely see that. The skull on her shoulder is a foreshadowing for her enemies and I really like the blood red accenting underneath the leathers on her torso. Also, this is one of the better depictions of her face and hair. Short hair is more practical for Widow and the artist really captures her beauty and brutality with the slight scarring under her eye. In truth, it actually looks remarkably like Scarlett Johansson herself.
I added the Night Blade to her possible classes because of all the gadgets she normally wields. To me, this might translate to some magic ability in a fantasy setting where she uses it to augment her movement and/or visibility. Ergo, Night Blade.
Hawkeye as the Archer/Reaper
Hawkeye is death. Reaping at a distance, Clint Barton is the doom of his enemies and those of his allies. Woe to the unwary for the end reigns when the Hawk's arrows are loosed.
[I don't think I really need to describe why he's the "Archer" class]
Finally, we bring the purple back. While I love Jeremy Renner's take on Hawkeye I'm not a fan of his costuming. Putting him in all black separated the movie Hawkeye from the comic book Hawkeye too much (it made it feel like he wasn't really Hawkeye). This shows that the purple theme can be implemented into Barton's costume without it being outrageous. Here it's subtle and a part of a commonly used cloth piece like a hood.
Another thing I love about this depiction is the plague mask. During time of plague physicians would wear immense black robes and a beaked mask to ward away the plague. Here Hawkeye is eerily reminiscent to a "plague doctor"; kind of a juxtaposition to this depiction where the Hawk is a bringer of death rather than a savior from one. One could also ascertain him as the systematic eliminator of evil, a form of plague inherently, making him a twisted form of a "plague doctor".
In any case, this is easily one of the coolest medieval variants by Kamarudin. Also, is his bow magic?!? Yes, yes it is.
Vision as the Spellcaster or Paragon (see spoiler below)
Vision is the ultimate mindbender. An autonomous creation of the Wizard Stark in response to the corruption of Ultron, Vision is the voice of disembodied reason and empathy for the Avengers.
I had a hard time naming Vision's class. I chose Spellcaster for two reasons: it suggests that his magic is derived from him (or at least channeled by him) and it is vague enough to apply to many "schools" of magic. In reality you could name him a solarmancer but that's not really an RPG class.
Also, those runic circles return but this time they seem to be focussed around his mind.
I added Paragon after, but I felt it even more applicable to Vision and this variant especially. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a Paragon as "a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality". Vision was made to combat Ultron's imperfection, his shortcomings. Vision does a lot more than just contain a lot of information. He can change his density at will to levitate (fly), absorb and manipulate sunlight into explosive energy, and initiate super strength and speed to adapt at need. In a way he is both a magician and a warrior and with the emphasis on AI perfection he is best classified as a Paragon.
Scarlet Witch as the Sorceress
Scarlet Witch is a chaotic force to be avoided at all cost. Her "hexes" can be devastating to the experienced and the uninitiated alike. Even Earth's Mightiest heroes will struggle with the reality-altering mutant, Wanda Maximoff.
I love this rendering of her. It combines the classic costume with the new look. The headdress and the scarlet robes represent the classic variant and the more dishevelled hair and leather straps do well to integrate the new style.
The power radiating from her hands seems to be bending reality around it already (notice the runic circles again). I chose the Sorceress class primarily because of the ambiguity of the term. However, like most magician classification, it comes down to where is the power coming from. With Vision, it's mostly coming from within the android himself. Iron Man may have crafted the suit but, at least in this depiction, he is manipulating the change.
Now, while Wanda is still initiating the magic herself two things set her apart from other Wizards or Casters:
1. Her "hexes" alter reality around the target, therefore it is the altered reality that is causing the effect even though she changed reality to do so.
2. In many cases Sorcerers are akin to Summoners where the magic has the potential to take over the caster. Those who are familiar with the Scarlet Witch know this to be an issue for her, and in this depiction she appears to be losing control of her powers. Sorcerers play with dangerous magic. In the same way, Wanda's powers will eventually be her ruin (and the ruin of many of the Avengers). Scarlet Witch is dangerous and Sorcerers are dangers, that's all I'm trying to say.
This is a little tedious I know, but feel free to comment below if you disagree or would like to add clarification.
Quicksilver as the Thief
Roguish in appearance and silvery of tongue, Pietro Maximoff, or Quicksilver, is our speedster Thief in this Avengers variant. Quicksilver moves at faster than light speeds and only his wit is quick enough to keep up with him.
I chose the Thief for obvious reasons; Pietro has the demeanor and skill set of a master thief. Think of it: a Thief with the power of Superspeed. No door would ever be closed to him, no lock could keep him out.
The artist listed him as a "Wraith" which is obvious from the blue smokey tendrils surrounding him in the image. He looks kind of dead as well.
I like the overall look of this Quicksilver a lot better than from what I've seen of the movie version. Frankly, I could see this look, or something similar, being used in the future of the Avengers films.
Ultron as the Necromancer
Ultron the Stringless (author's title) is a puppet master of the doomed. A failed experiment from the Wizard Stark, Ultron uses dark magics to reanimate the dead and command an army similar zombie-like drones to drown the Avengers in a sea of decay.
It's ironic that Ultron becomes what he is, being an AI and commanding/creating thousands of other AIs. In this circumstance, Ultron is a kind of twisted Necromancer, one who is reminiscent of Frankenstein's Monster. Only this time the monster learns the masters tricks and uses it against him to eradicate the human race.
This Ultron is really creepy and really awesome. I love the kind of super-zombie feel to him, which would fit perfectly into a fantasy RPG setting as the main villain. The artist really captured the automatic hatred and potential devastation Ultron brings, giving him a new spin that's even creepier than the original.
[Just had a movie or video game idea that would be awesome but super campy: Robots vs. Zombies!!]