Long before Marvel's superteam or the British spy-fi series, the Avenger and his face-changing powers graced the pages of his very own pulp magazine. Now the CW is looking to revive the premise for television.
Deadline reports that the CW is developing a series based on The Avenger with ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit producer Neal Baer, along with Conde Nast Entertainment, which owns the rights to the pulp. The Avenger—created by Paul Ernst writing under the name Kenneth Robeson—was first published by Street and Smith in 1939 and ran until 1942, although subsequent stories have been published. Here is how Deadline describes the TV series update:
Written by Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab (Warehouse 13), it tells the story of Alice Benson, a young woman who, in the wake of her parents’ murder, discovers she possesses a superpower as a result of genetic bio-hacking which allows her to transform her appearance at will. Alice will use her face-altering talents to investigate the mystery of her parents’ deaths and uncover the origins of her strange ability.
It seems that, in addition to adding the bio-hacking element to the original story, the CW is altering it for its youth-centered demographic. In the original pulp, the Avenger was Richard Henry Benson, a professional adventurer who had retired from his globe-trotting life to become an industrial engineer and raise a family. He becomes the Avenger after his wife and daughter (whose name, incidentally, is Alice) are killed—the shock of which causes his face to become malleable. Perhaps this new version of Alice Benson is supposed to be the child of a version of Richard Henry Benson, one whose wife and child never died. It will be interesting to see if this project draws more from the original pulp than the basic concept and the name.