The Wizarding World Meets the MCU: A Review of “Heroes Assemble!” by Mark McDonough (as Stargon1)
Since it’s been a while since my last post, I thought I would come back with a review of one of the few fan fictions I’ve reread and never stopped enjoying. With the reopening of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” on Broadway, everyone seems to have their opinions on how The Boy Who Lived survives being The Chosen One and The Man Who Conquered. “Heroes Assemble!” gives us a different take on Harry Potter’s life after the Battle of Hogwarts.
After six years as an Auror (three in training, three in the field) and five years traveling the world, Harry finds himself in New York City. After eleven years following Voldemort’s defeat, he is in Midtown Manhattan, just in time for Tony Stark to state on nationwide television “I am Iron Man.” It’s not long before he finds an older building, not far from where Stark (later Avengers) Tower would be built, and decides to settle down at last, much to the surprise and shock of Ministry employee Hermione Granger. Using magic and his knowledge of cooking to his advantage, he creates a restaurant he calls The Marauder’s Den, the sign featuring a stag, a black dog, and a wolf in a field of lilies.
The Den quickly becomes popular, people drawn to the old-world feel Harry cultivates. Students from nearby schools claim the place as their go-to hangout, including an ambitious blonde named Gwen Stacy and a shy brown-haired boy who reminds Harry of another photographer from his school days — Peter Parker. Before anyone realizes it, Gwen is hired as a waitress and Harry asks Peter to take photos for display.
Slowly but surely, other familiar characters find themselves in Harry’s vicinity. During the first few days of the Stark Expo, Ivan Vanko confronts Tony Stark for the first time on international TV. On Culver University’s campus, a green “Sasquatch” has been caught on camera. A freak tornado is reported in New Mexico. And one night, Harry discovers a SHIELD agent on his roof, keeping watch on the perimeter of an epic battle in Harlem, armed with bow and arrows — Clint “Hawkeye” Barton.
Explicit rewrites and “fix-its” in the MCU begin here, taking hints and inspirations from various one-shots and deleted scenes as well as introducing actual characters from Marvel Comics who have not (yet) made their own appearances in the MCU. It begins after the Battle of Harlem between the Hulk and the Abomination.
Both Sterns and Blonsky are quickly sedated and taken into SHIELD custody. During a trip to a magical-animal preserve, Harry glimpses a teenage girl who seems to be able to talk to members of the squirrel family. During a visit with Hermione, Harry intervenes in a fight between Iron Man and Frederick Myers, a villain with exploding boomerangs. (Of course, Hermione attributes this to Harry’s “saving people thing”, despite how close to breaking the Secrecy Statute he comes.) A man with a sketchpad comes in The Den who feels more comfortable in the Old World surroundings than Manhattan’s glass-and-steel modernity — later identified as Steve Rogers.
And then the Chitauri arrive, and the Battle of New York begins.
Harry cannot allow innocent bystanders to be harmed, so he disguises himself and begins using magic in the open, aiding police and civilians while the newly-formed Avengers fight the invasion. Upon being seen by the Avengers, he’s reported to SHIELD as an “enhanced in the field.”
After the Battle, instead of finding the shawarma shop Stark suggests, Rogers leads the team to The Marauder’s Den, and they discover the true identity of their mysterious magical ally. Tony (being Tony) immediately begins calling Harry various nicknames based on his talents, from “Gandalf” to “Sparrowhawk”. Thor calls him “seidhr”, the Old Norse word for magic-user. Between Tony and the Internet reaction, Harry’s Avenger name becomes “Mage”.
But Harry’s problems are compounded when MACUSA’s Aurors come for him, bringing charges of breaking the Statute of Secrecy during the Battle. He needs a lawyer… enter Matt Murdoch, of Nelson and Murdoch, out of Hell’s Kitchen.
In the 128 (!) chapters of the story, more characters are slowly introduced and brought into Harry’s sphere. Doreen Green travels from California to meet the Avengers and becomes another waitress at the Den, as well as Squirrel Girl (from not only her ability to speak to squirrels, but also a large bushy tail she can hide in her street clothes). The Pack (the parents of The Runaways) instigate not only the creation of She-Hulk, but also the introduction of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Danny Rand. And Marvel characters aren’t the only ones coming to New York.
Harry is visited by Luna Lovegood, which leads to a bakery featuring goods that resemble fantastic beasts. Lavender Brown, who was horribly scarred during the Battle of Hogwarts, is offered a job. Daphne Greengrass, who chose to aid wounded during the same Battle, is tapped to be the Avengers’ official Healer. Harry’s godson, Teddy Lupin, wants to join his “uncle” on his adventures.
In my opinion, Matt had to have, if not intimate knowledge of both worlds, stellar research into the characters and situations that have been utilized in this story. Quite a few of the Marvel characters were so obscure (or at least so little used), I needed to look them up. Having the Wizarding World and the Marvel Universe occupy the same world made both richer for the knowledge each brought to the other.
Having Harry as an Avenger has made rewriting certain aspects of the MCU worth it. Matt made the first two seasons of “Agents of SHIELD” actually make sense, as well as gave Harry an unexpected love interest. (IMO, AoS didn’t utilize the Inhumans properly, which is why I gave up the first time.) Matt created a new timeline with the addition of Harry and the Wizarding World, through Ultron and Civil War, through Peter Parker’s first adventure as Spider-Man, and even the fight against Thanos gains a new twist.
Like a previous Fanfiction.net writer I’ve reviewed before, Matt has become a published author in his own right. If his original stories are anything like what he wrote for fun, he shall be quite a success.
Thank you for reading my ramblings, and I hope to hear from you. If you’d like to recommend a book for me to read and review, or even need me as an editor for your own work, please contact me here or on my Facebook page, for Just Write! Ink.
In the meantime, keep reading, keep writing, and never give up making your own magic. Be well, my dears, and stay safe.