Brooklyn gets its own batch of superheroes

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Brooklyn isn’t just the borough for young indie rockers and avant-garde artists who are trying to make it big — it’s also the place where superheroes get their start.

That’s the premise behind a new Spider-Man comic in which the beloved web-slinger isn’t a world-famous superhero, he’s just a newbie in tights hanging out with a motley crew of do-gooders called the Brooklyn Avengers.

Carroll Gardens writer Stuart Moore and Flatbush artist Damion Scott say this new crop of caped crusaders really reflect the borough where they live: there’s even one with mysterious hypnotic powers named the Hypst’r.

“I liked the idea that these scruffy, outer-borough heroes had taken their cue and even their name — without permission — from the majestic Avengers, who are based in Manhattan,” said Moore, who crafted the story as a contribution to Marvel’s 50th anniversary celebration of Spider-Man, due out at the end of August.

After all, Spider-Man was himself a Queens boy.

The upcoming iterations of a familiar and beloved superhero is a chance for Moore and Scott to give Brooklyn a place in a Marvel universe — where the Fantastic Four’s digs rise high above the Manhattan skyline, where Doctor Strange prefers the bohemian pace of the Village, and where the X-Men lived in the tranquility of Westchester County.

But despite their low profile and outer-borough location, the Brooklyn Avengers, who have some less-than-formidable-sounding characters in their crew, like Paintball, Boilermaker, and Rotary, are finding that it isn’t easy being superheroes.

Someone is killing these poor Avengers.

Equally dubious in their names, the list of suspects include villains Red Hook, Facelift, and — bearing an uncanny resemblance to a certain well-known borough president — Gerry Mander. Together with Spider-Man, the Brooklyn Avengers go on the offensive, striking out across the borough to find the murderer.

“I tried to make it as authentic as possible,” Scott said. “Most of the story takes place in Brownsville. We see a few classic brownstone-lined blocks. We get a glimpse at the Gowanus. The basketball court is the one I used to play on near Fort Hamilton Parkway. There’s a key moment where the Brooklyn Avengers are at the Carroll Street Bridge in Carroll Gardens.”

And thanks to Scott’s skills as an artist — which meld comic influences with Japanese art and graffiti stylings — Brooklyn itself becomes a central character in the story, according to Moore.

“Web of Spider-Man” No. 129.1 will be available on Aug. 22, and issue No. 129.2 will be available Aug. 29, and can be found at Bergen Street Comics [470 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 230-5600]; Desert Island [540 Metropolitan Ave. near Union Street in Williamsburg, (718) 388-5087]; Galaxy Comics [429 Fifth Ave. between Eighth and Ninth streets in Park Slope, (718) 499-3222, and 6823 Fifth Ave. near 68th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 921-1236]; St. Mark’s Comics [148 Montague St. between Henry and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 935-0911].

Updated 2:30 pm, August 15, 2012
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