After seeing Iron Man 2 last night, and completely enjoying every moment of it, I find myself thinking about the Avengers as they will be constituted on-screen, and how they stack up as a typical adventuring party. It's no secret that Marvel is building their own larger movie continuity, currently including Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Incredible Hulk, with Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger to be added on prior to the release of the team-up film, The Avengers. Then you have Nick Fury and Black Widow, who will play prominently in the mix, plus the outside chance of some War Machine, and what I suspect is a likely role for General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Other members may be introduced in that film, with Hawkeye potentially at the top of that list, depending on which rumors you believe. After that, it appears that the potential Avengers roster will expanded even further, with movies for Ant Man and Hawkeye (if not already included), plus the rebooted Spider-Man which will potentially exist in this same universe.
*Whew* That's a lot of heroic goodness.
This prospect excites me to no end, but how will this mash-up work as a traditional RGP adventuring party?
I honestly find this a bit hard to classify, to tell you the truth. Many of the characters wobble between traditional roles, and some archetypes seem to be missed, entirely. Here's my take on the characters that are known to be in the film (or whose actors have claimed to be), but feel free to chime in to correct me where I've gone astray.
Steve Rogers fills a couple of roles, principally that of a Fighter, but his ranged attack broadens his scope beyond being a simple Tank. Most importantly, Cap fills the role of the Leader.
This fallen Asgardian might seem like the team's Wizard, but while there is a certain elemental "call down the thunder" aspect to this character, but he's actually more of a straight-up melee guy. He can throw a mean hammer around, but other than that, his chief role is that of a damage sponge. I'm gonna have to go with Tank for the son of Odin.
Shellhead is another tough one to figure. On one hand, he might be the only fighter on the team that is principally a ranged fighter. On the other, he has a leadership role on the team, often fighting over that position with Captain America. And, on yet another hand, he tends to soak a lot of damage as well. Ultimately I would say that if there is a Wizard on this Avengers team, it's probably the repulsor-blasting Iron Man, but he certainly has some Tank and Leader in there, as well.
If there's a Rogue in this group, it would have to be the shapely Romanov. She's a deep cover agent, skilled at pretty much every sort of deceit, and is quite bosomy (just thought I'd point that out). She's got some levels in Fighter as well, as evidenced by her performance in Iron Man 2.
Here's another character with a few possible builds. The most obvious one is basically a mirror of Captain America, a Fighter/Leader. Being a SHIELD operative as well as its Director, one would think that he would make a decent Rogue as well. Perhaps his greatest potential is actually in a role yet to be filled. While a movie like this isn't going to have a strict Healer, I'm going to go out on a limb that Fury would make a good replacement for that class as a Support character. Instead of performing "cure light wounds" over and over again, he could provide much the same effect by upgrading everyone's armor and weapons. Well, most of the cast, anyway, as Thor probably wouldn't need such assistance. In this capacity, he could even perform some basic Healer roles, as we've seen on film already.
Welcome to your ranged fighter member of this team. It's clear cut as to his role; he's a Sniper all the way, but could provide some other skills such as Fighter or Rogue, depending on how he is developed.
I've left Hulk for last because we have two separate possibilities. For one, if Ed Norton returns to the role (please please please), then Bruce Banner will be in The Avengers. Bruce could actually be the best Support and/or Healer on the team, and certainly isn't a front-lines guy.
The Hulk, himself, is apparently set to appear whether Banner does or not. He's the ultimate Tank, but that seems irrelevant as I doubt he'll appear as a straight hero character, and part of the team. If you've seen the Marvel animated movie, Ultimate Avengers, I think you've seen the role that Hulk will take in the film: a walking disaster that forces the team to galvanize and work together. Maybe I'm wrong and we see that Banner has sufficient control over Hulk to make him an actual hero, as was hinted at in the close of The Incredible Hulk. Either way, it will be awesome.
So, that's the cast as it is supposed to exist, though certainly others could come into the fold. While it is a bit heavy in the "brute force" category, I think I'd take this team for a run through some dungeons. How about you?