The Avengers were the brainchild of Director Nicholas Fury from S.H.I.E.L.D., who envisioned a team of heroes that might work together as an emergency response team in the event that a threat would prove so powerful, that no one hero could face it alone. The catalysts for this plan were the appearances of beings with personal levels of power that vastly exceeded conventional military capabilities, most notably Fury's ally Carol Danvers, a part-Kree imbued with the power of the Tesseract. He named his plan the "Avengers Initiative", after Carol Danvers' callsign in the Air Force, "Avenger".
The Avengers formed gradually through circumstance and reactive planning. Fury initially considered Tony Stark for a role on the team, but discarded this idea due to Stark's unpredictable nature. The World Security Council attempted to arrange for Emil Blonsky to be assigned to the Initiative due to his military record after his transformation, intending to blame his initial rampage on the Hulk, but S.H.I.E.L.D. deliberately sabotaged the attempt to have Blonsky transferred to their custody and he remained in the hands of General Ross. Eventually the plan was scrapped altogether and Fury refocused his attention on military assets in the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead. Circumstance however, proved to be the guiding force that brought the disparate membership of the team together when Loki made a surprise appearance at a S.H.I.E.L.D. research facility, killed a number of soldiers, and escaped with Agent Barton and Professor Selvig under his control, taking the Tesseract with him.
Assembling the Avengers
The threat posed by the Tesseract in the hands of Loki forced Fury to reprise his earlier idea and activate a group of people with incredible capabilities. Fury called the time-displaced World War II hero, Captain America back into service, while Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner were brought in for their scientific expertise. When Loki made a public appearance, Stark (with his Iron Man armor) and Captain America rushed to intercept, accompanied by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. The three of them confronted and captured the Asgardian, although in the effort to bring him into custody they were in turn confronted by Loki's adoptive brother, Thor. This resulted in an altercation when Thor extracted Loki, but once the men had wasted time and effort in a fruitless clash of egos, they resumed the trip together.
Once on board the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, the clashes continued, to some extent as a result of Loki's goading. Even though their agendas were largely aligned, their egos and the growing unease surrounding Fury's actions had the group in a frequent state of tension. This persisted until Loki sprang his trap and used a surprise attack from Clinton Barton, still under control, to trigger a new round of falling out within the ranks. The attack left parts of the Helicarrier in ruin, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson dead by Loki's hand before Loki himself fled. His killing of Coulson, proved to be his undoing however, because Director Fury used the incident to motivate the remaining people into action. Captain America and Iron Man wanted justice for Coulson; Barton, who had been pulled from Loki's control, simply wanted to put him down; and Romanoff had her own debts to settle. After chasing Loki to New York City they were soon joined by Thor and Banner, both of whom had fallen from the carrier in the attack. Finally, together as a team, the group calling themselves the Avengers assembled to fight off a threat that was larger than any one of them alone.
Battle of New York
The hunt for Loki became a battle for New York when Loki opened a dimensional rift above the city to a waiting Chitauri invasion forced stationed on the other side. The Chitauri attacked without hesitation, pouring through in a vast horde of ground troops with air support. The Avengers stood fast against the assault, at first confronting the attacking warriors, and then shifting focus to other prominent target objectives. Not only was there Loki and his alien army to contend with, there were also the Chitauri's Leviathans, colossal flying beasts that were as much agents of destruction as they were a mode of transportation. The Avengers were split even further on more fronts dealing with the rift and the technology holding it open, not to mention a nuclear warhead that had also been deployed to the area at the behest of Earth's governments. They ultimately triumphed when Iron Man redirected the missile through the portal and into the ranks of even more invaders waiting beyond. Black Widow subsequently deactivated the portal so that the nuclear explosion was contained in the Chitauri realm, the destruction of their core ship deactivating the cybernetic Chitauri.
In the aftermath of the fight, the Avengers gathered for the departure of Thor, and his now-captive brother, back to Asgard where Loki and the Tesseract would be safely removed from humanity. When the Asgardians had gone, the remainder of the team said their good-byes and went their separate ways as well. Fury, musing on their dissolution, observed that some day the Avengers might again reassemble, confident that they would come back when needed because they would be needed.
Hunting the Sceptre
After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. the sceptre fell into the hands of Hydra. The threat it posed drew the Avengers back together in a desperate worldwide hunt. After many months they tracked it to a Hydra research facility in Sokovia and launched an all out assault to recover it. The Avengers also noted that they were being harassed by two "enhanced" during the operation, but together with Stark's Iron Legion the team soon overthrew the Hydra soldiers and reclaimed the sceptre. Stark appealed to Thor to have two days to study the alien device before it was relocated to Asgard, which Thor agreed to, and then the team unanimously agreed to celebrate their victory.
Back in New York, Stark began to unravel the mysteries of the sceptre. He discovered that its core held something akin to a powerful computer and deduced that Hydra had been trying to use it to create artificial intelligence. With this knowledge he had the epiphany that he might be able to provide real adaptive thought to his Iron Legion in what he called his Ultron Program. He then left J.A.R.V.I.S. to continue investigating while he rejoined his team for a night of celebration.
The party was huge and the Avengers gathered many of their friends for the night. When the revelry had died down, and most of the guests had left, the remaining men took turns trying to lift Mjolnir. This activity was interrupted by the appearance of a wrecked Iron Legion robot. It quickly became apparent that this was being operated by a rogue artificial intelligence, and the name it claimed for itself was Ultron. Ultron, and a number of other Iron Legion robots, then attacked the small group. They rallied and beat it back, but not before one of the Iron Legion made off with the sceptre during the confusion. Thor promptly turned on Stark demanding to know why he had created such a thing, to which Stark pointed out that they needed a way to deal with threats on the scale of the Chitauri.
The Avengers traced Ultron's movements to a salvage yard on the coast of Africa where Ulysses Klaue dealt in the lucrative end of black market trading. So began a three way battle between Klaue's men (after Ultron severed his arm), the Avengers, and a new generation of drone robots. Ultron also had the advantage of the pair of enhanced that the Avengers had encountered in Sokovia: the siblings Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Pietro's speed allowed him to devastate the ranks of Klaue's men, while Wanda ravaged the minds of the Avengers themselves. When she at last reached Banner, her illusions caused him to fly into a rage that he then directed towards the populace of Johannesburg, and then she Ultron and Pietro made their escape.
With most of the Avengers out of action fighting their own inner demons, Stark was left to attend to the problem of a rampaging Hulk on his own. He summoned Veronica, a modular system comprised of an orbital drop pod that could deploy numerous pieces of heavy duty Iron Man outer armor. This Hulkbuster Armor afforded him the physical power to subdue the Hulk, but the public relations damage had been done, leaving Banner in a morose state.
Clint Barton took the group to a safehouse to recover, soon revealing that it was actually his family home. There they met Nick Fury, who began reorienting their thinking and fomenting new strategic considerations within the shattered ranks. Banner and Romanoff had both been psychologically scarred by their encounter with the Maximoff girl and contemplated simply leaving. Tensions ran high between Stark and Rogers, and Thor had been given a glimpse of something very troubling and departed the group to investigate further.
Ultron's plan to use the sceptre to create a final evolutionarily pure form for himself had become clear, and the last piece of that puzzle was with Dr. Helen Cho in South Korea. They raced for Seoul, and found Ultron deep into an attempt to load his consciousness into a new android body. Their interference forced Ultron to flee, but the group managed to separate the android body from the robot before he escaped again, and Stark, and Barton, took it back to New York. Rogers on the other hand, found himself joined by the Maximoff twins on the street of Seoul after Wanda had discovered Ultron's true intent. Romanoff had not been so lucky, and having been rendered unconscious in the confrontation soon found herself imprisoned by Ultron in Sokovia.
Once they were back in New York, Stark and Banner bickered over the android body. Stark wanted to load J.A.R.V.I.S. into it, but Banner didn't trust his judgment. The dispute continued until it was interrupted by the arrival of Rogers and the Maximoff twins, whereupon Pietro ended it by simply unplugging the entire system. Then Thor made a surprise appearance and promptly bathed the android in lightning. It awoke in the surge and cast him aside. The Avengers and the Maximoff twins all moved to counter the android but halted when it stopped by a window to gaze out upon the city. It quickly became apparent that the android was no threat, especially fostering trust in Thor when it hefted Mjolnir with ease. The assembled group then compared stories, and Thor reported news of his vision that the energy core of the sceptre had actually contained the Mind Gem, an item of incredible power and one of the legendary Infinity Gems. That gem was now resting in the forehead of the android, which soon began referring to itself as the Vision.
The Avengers and their three allies turned their attention back to Ultron and Sokovia. Banner went alone to extract Romanoff from her prison, and the others faced off against Ultron. While Ultron's plan to divide and exterminate the Avengers had failed, its plans for the human race were about to be fully revealed. Devices planted within the city engaged, drawing a sizeable portion of it into the sky. The assembled heroes, with Banner and Romanoff back amongst them, fought back against the amassed ranks of Ultron's robot legion. James Rhodes, suited up as War Machine, and a recently repaired helicarrier with him, also eventually joined the battle. After clearing most of the Ultron robots from the city now risen above the cloud layer, the heroes began evacuating the trapped populace in personnel transports sent from the helicarrier. Barton was caught under the guns of the Avengers' own quinjet however, with Ultron at the controls, and only the intervention of Pietro saved him. Pietro had saved both Barton and a boy with this final act, but at the cost of his own life when the quinjet's gunfire tore through his chest.
The Vision finally confronted Ultron alone after the Hulk had flung the robot from the quinjet. Heavily damaged, Ultron was no match for the android, and fell to the Vision's power. With Ultron's defeat, the group began an inevitable dissolution. The Hulk switched off the quinjet's communications, leaving it to fly him clear of the scene. Thor and Stark each had their own agendas to pursue, with Thor needing to investigate the matter of yet another Infinity Stone coming within reach. Barton meanwhile had a new baby to attend to and left to return to the side of his wife.
Despite their losses, the Avengers were also to be born anew. Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff proceeded to a new Avengers facility in New York, and welcomed a new quartet to the fold. They were joined by the Vision, Wanda, War Machine, and Steve's recent companion, the Falcon.
Following the destruction of Sokovia, many questioned the Avengers' ability to protect the world from threats and some even considered the Avengers themselves as threats.
A few months after the battle, the new Avengers facility became the target of a heist. Falcon went to investigate who would dare break into the facility, but was surprised to find a man who had the ability to shrink down to insect size. He confronted the man, who called himself Ant-Man. Falcon made fun of the name and then asked Ant-Man to leave, but when he wouldn't, the two engaged. Ant-Man managed to disable Falcon's flying suit, although apologizing repeatedly for doing so. Ant-Man made off with a stolen invention, while Falcon told someone at the end of the comm link not to tell Captain America about it.
A House Divided
A few weeks later, Steve, Natasha, Wanda and Sam were on a mission to capture ex-S.H.I.E.L.D./Hydra agent Brock Rumlow as he attacked a research lab in Nigeria. Although they were able to stop him stealing an unspecified biological weapon, when Rumlow triggered his suicide vest, Wanda's attempt to throw him away from Captain America resulted in the destruction of a building and the death of twelve members of a Wakandan outreach program.
Seizing this opportunity, Ross, now Secretary of State, revealed the Sokovia Accords, a U.N. legislation that would bring the Avengers and other superhumans under the direct authority of the government. Although Tony Stark and James Rhodes agreed with the idea in principle, Steve Rogers objected to the idea of the Avengers being under external authority, past experience with Hydra having left him convinced that heroes like the Avengers could only operate when given a free hand to prevent the risk of corruption. Matters swiftly escalated when the Winter Soldier was accused of attacking a meeting of the U.N. about the Sokovia Accords, Captain America and the Falcon attempting to protect Barnes where Stark and Rhodes were willing to hand him over to Ross's custody. The situation escalated even further when Black Widow stated her support of the Accords and Prince T'Challa sought revenge for the Soldier's apparent role in his father's death, prompting Steve to contact Clint Barton so that he could break Wanda out of the Avengers facility while Sam tracked down Scott Lang. This culminated in a confrontation between the two Avengers' teams at Leipzig/Halle Airport, with Captain America, Barnes, the Falcon, Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Wanda facing Iron Man, War Machine, the Black Widow, the Vision, the Black Panther and new hero Spider-Man. While both sides tried to avoid killing the other, the fight concluded with Steve and Barnes escaping in a Quinjet while their teammates were captured, Rhodes sustaining serious injuries when an attack from the Vision that was aimed at Wilson struck him by accident.
The four captured Avengers were subsequently taken to the Raft, a distant prison for superhumans located in the middle of the ocean, each confined in a manner that would prevent them from using their powers. Although Steve and Barnes were able to expose the true mastermind of this plot as Colonel Zemo, seeking revenge for the deaths of his family as collateral damage during the fight with Ultron, Rogers and Stark's relationship took an even more serious knock when it was revealed that Barnes had killed Tony's parents. A final confrontation in the former Winter Soldier compound ended with Steve's victory, but Barnes's cybernetic arm was destroyed and Rogers abandoned his shield. The captured Avengers were eventually rescued by Steve Rogers, now allied with T'Challa, who offered Rogers' allies diplomatic asylum in Wakanda after he learned the full story about Zemo's plot. Barton and Lang were able to make a deal to be placed on 'house arrest' so that they could go back to their families, although the rest of Rogers' side remained 'on the run'.
Although officially reduced to just Iron Man, the Vision, and War Machine, the Avengers continued operating. Peter Parker expressed a regular interest in being 'promoted' to full Avenger status after his role in the Civil War, but after his confrontation with Adrian Toomes, Peter turned down an offer to become a full Avenger, deciding that it would be best to focus on his role as a neighborhood superhero rather than the Avengers' focus on the large scale.
War for Infinity
Some time later, the Avengers faced a new threat and a reunion with old friends when Bruce Banner returned to Earth, transported via the Bifrost to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York city, presided over by Doctor Stephen Strange and his ally Wong. After Banner had returned to his human form, he told Strange that he had just been on an Asgardian refugee ship that had been attacked by Thanos and his Black Order, who were seeking the six Infinity Stones. Learning that Thanos had already claimed the Power and Space Stones, Strange opened a portal to bring Tony Stark to the Sanctum during a date with Pepper, allowing him to tell Stark about the six Infinity Stones, as well as confirming that the Time and Mind Stone were both on Earth, with the Mind Stone part of the Vision while Strange was the guardian of the Time Stone. Tony suggested that they use their knowledge of Thanos to prepare a trap, but this plan was interrupted before it could begin when the Order attacked New York, provoking Stark and Strange into a confrontation. With the Hulk reluctant to emerge after his last beating at Thanos's hands, Stark and Strange were soon overpowered despite the assistance of Spider-Man, Strange taken prisoner by Ebony Maw and the other two only just able to follow him onto the Order's ship.
Left with a phone Rogers had given Stark to call him if his aid was needed, Banner contacted the other Avengers to warn them that the Vision was in danger. Rogers, Romanoff and Wilson were able to intercept an attack on the Vision while he was on a date with Wanda in Edinburgh, the five returning to the Avengers compound to reunite with Rhodes and Banner. Learning of the threat Thanos could pose, the Vision proposed that he be destroyed to stop Thanos assembling all six stones, but Rogers refused to sacrifice an ally if there was an alternative. Instead, the Avengers 'retreated' to Wakanda, hoping that the country's advanced science would be able to safely remove the Mind Stone from the Vision so that Wanda could then destroy it while the Vision would be able to continue existing. Explaining the situation to T'Challa, the king of Wakanda volunteered the services of his sister, Shuri, to remove the Stone from the Vision while his army- along with the now-deprogrammed Bucky- stood with the Avengers to defend Wakanda from Thanos.
Off in space, Stark and Parker were able to save Strange and kill Maw by triggering a depressurization on the ship that sucked Maw into space before Stark sealed the breach and Parker saved Strange. With no way to turn the ship around safely, Stark proposed instead that the three of them let the ship take them to rendezvous with Thanos so that they could confront him directly, officially inducting Parker into the Avengers in the process. Reaching their destination of Thanos's long-dead homeworld, the three were initially confronted by what they believed were more of Thanos' allies, but these three soon identified themselves as Thanos's enemies, in the form of half of the Guardians of the Galaxy; Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, and Mantis. After the Avengers identified themselves, the Guardians recognized the name from their earlier meeting with Thor, prompting both sides to agree to coordinate their next attack on Thanos so that they could take the Gauntlet from him. Despite Thanos's power when he finally came to Titan, now wielding four of the Infinity Stones, the six of them were almost able to take the Gauntlet off him until the arrival of Nebula, Thanos's adopted daughter, revealed that he had acquired the Soul Stone by sacrificing his other daughter and Guardian Gamora. Outraged at the death of the woman he loved, Quill attacked Thanos, interrupting Mantis' attempts to keep him unfocused and allowing him to regain the upper hand, forcing Strange to surrender the Time Stone to save the others.
Back on Earth, the Avengers came together to face the remainder of the Black Order and Thanos's assorted armies, Banner now wearing a Hulkbuster armor to compensate for the Hulk's continued reluctance to emerge. They did their best to keep the enemy focused on their part of the city, aided by the return of Thor and other Guardian members Rocket and Groot, and were even able to kill most of the Order, but when Thanos penetrated the barrier, even when Wanda was forced to kill the Vision, Thanos simply rewound time, restoring the Vision to existence so that he could tear the Mind Stone out of the Vision's head. With the Gauntlet now assembled, Thanos retreated and killed half the universe, including Wilson, Bucky, Wanda, Strange, Parker, T'Challa, Groot, Quill, Drax, and Mantis, leaving Stark and Nebula alone on Titan while the surviving Avengers were left reeling at their loss.
Tony and Nebula eventually wandered into space inboard Benatar with a shortage of supplies, trying to reach on Earth. Captain Marvel found them and brought them safely to the New Avengers Facility. Reunited with Pepper, the physically and psychologically exhausted Stark declined to participate in the Avengers' further efforts against Thanos, departing the compound shortly before the rest of the team traced Thanos to his new home. They were able to ambush him on his farm, but during interrogation, Thanos revealed that he had already destroyed the stones to ensure that what had been done could never be undone. After Nebula affirmed that, while Thanos was many things, he wasn't a liar, the outraged and grieving Thor chopped off his head with Stormbreaker.
With no way to undo the Snap, the Avengers turned their focus to making some effort to help the shattered universe rebuild after the Snap. While Stark essentially retired to have a family with Pepper, including a daughter they named Morgan, Natasha essentially became the 'leader' of the Avengers and other emergency forces, coordinating both local efforts organized by Rhodes and Okoye to the more galactic efforts of Rocket, Nebula and Danvers. Rogers organized various support meetings to try and help others move past the losses they had suffered at Thanos's hands, while Clint Barton became a more ruthless vigilante, eliminating any criminal organization he came across, often proclaiming that this was justice for the fact that these criminals had survived the snap rather than Barton's family. After spending months in isolation and meditation, Banner was able to achieve a new sense of balance with the Hulk, able to turn into his alter ego and retain his intellect. By contrast, Thor became a guilt-ridden wreck, drinking himself into an overweight slob as 'king' of the village that was all that remained of the once-proud kingdom of Asgard.
However, five years after the Snap, the Avengers found themselves faced with a new opportunity to undo Thanos's actions with the return of Scott Lang; long believed to have been a victim of the Snap, Lang had actually been trapped in the Quantum Realm when the Snap took place, unable to return as his outside contacts were all either destroyed or unaware of his location, until a rat happened to crawl over the right switch. After Lang established what had happened in the five years he was absent and made contact with his daughter Cassie, he traveled to the Avengers compound, where he explained to Rogers and Natasha that he had actually only been in the Quantum Realm for five hours from his perspective. Based on this, Lang speculated that the Quantum Realm existed beyond reality as they perceived it, which could allow it to serve as a means of time travel; if the Realm could be suitably mapped, a team could travel back in time, retrieve the Infinity Stones from a point before Thanos claimed them, assemble a new Infinity Gauntlet in the present to undo the Snap, and then return the Stones to the past at the moment they were removed from their time.
Having convinced Stark that the plan was possible, the Avengers- now consisting of Rogers, Stark, Thor, Banner, Barton, Romanoff, Rhodes, Lang, Rocket and Nebula- went over their knowledge of the Stones to determine when each could be safely retrieved with minimal consequences to history. Banner, Rogers, Thor, Rocket, and Rhodes were able to retrieve the Mind, Time, Reality, and Power Stones with relative ease by traveling to the Battle of New York, Asgard before Malekith's invasion and the planet Moroth respectively, with Thor also 'borrowing' a past version of Mjolnir at the same time after a talk with his mother helped him affirm his sense of worth. However, the Soul Stone was only retrieved by Barton after Romanoff sacrificed herself so that he could claim it, past-Loki's escape with the Space Stone forced Stark and Rogers to go back to the seventies to both retrieve another version of the Tesseract and extra samples of Pym Particles, and most terrifying of all, Nebula unintentionally alerted the Thanos of 2014 to her presence when her cybernetic components linked with the components of her past self.
When the other Avengers returned to their present, they were unaware that Nebula had been replaced by her past self, who was able to send Thanos everything he needed to follow her into the present. Fortunately, the Black Order only arrived in the present after the Avengers had used their Gauntlet to undo the Snap- this Gauntlet wielded by the Hulk as the only being strong enough to survive the strain- but the subsequent attack on the compound left only Rogers, Stark, and Thor to oppose Thanos. As Thanos proclaimed his new intention to recreate the entire universe in his image, the three Avengers fought him while their allies scrambled to escape the shattered compound, but it eventually seemed as though Rogers was the last man standing against Thanos' entire army, even with it having been confirmed that he could wield Mjolnir too.
As Rogers prepared for his last stand, he was joyfully reunited with all the heroes lost in the original Snap, including the armies of Wakanda, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Asgardians, all teleported onto the scene by Doctor Strange and the other sorcerers. Their ranks boosted even further when Nebula disabled her own past self and convinced the younger Gamora to help her, the Avengers fell on Thanos's army, but in the end their victory was only possible when Stark used the Stones himself, sacrificing his life to turn Thanos and his forces to dust.
With Thanos's army defeated and the Snap undone, the Avengers all attended Stark's funeral before splitting up once again. Barton returned to his family, Thor handed over authority of Asgard to Valkyrie while he joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Rogers, having gone back in time to return the borrowed Stones, decided to remain in the past and marry Peggy Carter at last.
As the universe began to rebuild following the Snap, Nick Fury departed on an unspecified mission with a Skrull ship, leaving a Skrull on Earth to pose as him. While the Avengers were officially disbanded at this point, Banner's injuries continued to heal, Thor joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the elderly Rogers - having 'lived' his way back to the present - officially handed the mantle and shield of Captain America on to Sam Wilson, expressing faith that he was worthy of the title.
- Although he was not an official member of the team, Nick Fury has stated that he considered Phil Coulson an Avenger, justifying his decision to resurrect Coulson after the Battle of New York with an experimental serum that Coulson believed should have been reserved for an Avenger.
- Although Pietro Maximoff was killed before he could be introduced to the public, he fought alongside the Avengers in the final battle against Ultron and sacrificed himself to save Hawkeye.
- While preparing to face his returned sister Hela to thwart her planned conquest of Asgard, Thor assembled a 'splinter group' of Avengers whom he termed 'the Revengers', which included himself, the Hulk / Bruce Banner, and Loki, along with several new allies of both parties.
- 28 appearance(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 3 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 24 minor appearance(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 57 mention(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 83 image(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 17 member(s) of Avengers (Earth-199999)
- 1 item(s) used/owned by Avengers (Earth-199999)