I found it curious that Kurt Busiek never brought Rita back when he sorted out The Crossing in Avengers Forever. Seems to me she would have been a good candidate for the Thunderbolts at that time.
According to AF, Immortus was only intending to distract the Avengers (with a terrible storyline, lol) and didn't want to kill them.
So it would have made sense for him to have Space Phantom versions of not just Mantis, but Gilgamesh and Rita as well. They were, after all,
three past Avengers that the current Avengers didn't have regular
contact with (Gilgamesh went back to the Eternals, Mantis was in space,
and Rita was in the distant future). So it's not like the Avengers
would be able to immediately confirm that they were doppelgangers (and since the whole thing was meant to be a diversion, it didn't matter if
the Avengers later found out they weren't the real deal).
Since Immortus is a time-traveler himself, he could have known Rita was
coming back through time and "bumped" her trip-- making her arrive a couple of years later than she intended (like around the time AF was going on). Then the Rita from The Crossing would have been revealed to be a doppelganger just like Mantis.
> I found it curious that Kurt Busiek never brought Rita back when he sorted out The Crossing in Avengers Forever. Seems to me she would have been a good candidate for the Thunderbolts at that time.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember Screaming Mimi/Songbird being a second choice to Yellowjacket II. I can't remember, though, why Kurt either didn't get or decided against Rita...