The Avengers were a team of extraordinary individuals with special abilities and the will to do good in the world. The team's purpose was to protect the planet Earth and its people from both domestic and extraterrestrial threats. They were a nonprofit organization privately funded by industrialist Tony Stark's Maria Stark Foundation. The group was recognized as a peacekeeping force by the National Security Council of the United States of America, the United Nations Security Council, and S.H.I.E.L.D.. The team functioned with the peaceful interests of the whole world rather than a specific country or organization as stated in the Avengers Charter.
- And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat! On that day, the Avengers were born, to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!
The first five founding members of the Avengers first banded together when Loki, the Asgardian God of Mischief, attempted to discredit the monstrous Hulk in order to draw his half-brother, the god of thunder Thor, into battle. Loki was trapped in Asgard due to his brother's actions but still able to manipulate Midgard. Loki tricked the Hulk into destroying a railway line. The Hulk's friend Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade radioed the Fantastic Four for help, but Loki instead relayed the information to Thor to draw him out in the open.
However, Iron Man, the Wasp, and Ant-Man also received the radio signal unbeknownst to Loki and arrived at the scene, attempting to reason with the Green Goliath. Not falling for the trick, Thor confronted Loki and exposed his scheme to the others. Defeating Loki together, the group agreed they worked well together and should formalize the team. The Wasp suggested the name "Avengers" and a legend was born.
The newly formed team assembled a short time later at the midtown Manhattan mansion of industrialist Tony Stark (in reality their fellow member Iron Man). Stark soon donated the mansion to the Avengers for their exclusive use, and set up a foundation to cover all the operation expenses of the nonprofit team under his mother's name, creating the Maria Stark Foundation. The team put down a charter and by laws to govern their operations. The Stark family's trusted butler Edwin Jarvis was kept on as the principal regular domestic employee at what became known as the Avengers Mansion. The Teen Brigade became regular allies and informants to the Avengers and were in close contact.
The Hulk soon proved to be uncontrollable and left the team after their fight against the Space Phantom and he even teamed up with Namor the Sub-Mariner against the Avengers. After the fight, the Avengers discovered the legendary World War II hero Captain America who had been in suspended animation, frozen in ice since just before the end of World War II. Needing to adjust to the world he awoke in, Captain America joined the heroes.
A born leader, the living legend was given retroactive "founding member" status in place of the Hulk, and was seen as the heart and soul of the team for decades. With Cap by their side, the Avengers faced enemies like Vuk, an alien stranded on Earth; the Lava Men the Mole Man and the Red Ghost, Count Nefaria and the Maggia, the Kallusians, as well as teaming up with the Fantastic Four against the Hulk and the Mole Man again.
The Avengers soon found themselves facing the Masters of Evil, a group of villains with grudges against certain heroes within the team. The original Masters consisted of Baron Heinrich Zemo, Black Knight, Melter, and Radioactive Man. First Executioner and Enchantress, then Wonder Man joined shortly thereafter, with the latter turning on Zemo after gaining the Avengers' trust. Zemo apparently killed him for his actions. Following several more battles with the Masters (at one time assisted by Immortus), their foes finally fell; Zemo was killed in a fatal rock-slide triggered by his own weaponry as he and Captain America were fighting;
The time traveler Kang the Conqueror fought the Avengers in between battles with the Masters, trying to take over the world with his advanced technology from the 30th century. Losing once, Kang used a Spider-Man android to fool the Avengers as Zemo had used Wonder Man to gain the team's trust and then betray them. Yet, his second plan failed as well thanks to the intervention of the real Spider-Man and Kang escaped back into the time stream.
The Kooky Quartet
After their battles with Kang and the Masters of Evil, the Wasp proposed that they take a leave of absence for a while, stating the stress of constant danger. Iron Man and Giant-Man (Pym's second identity after Ant-Man) agree, though Thor and Captain America weren't present and didn't voice their opinion. The team managed to find others to act as replacements:
- Hawkeye/Clinton Barton: Expert marksman and wielder of trick arrows, Clint Barton fought Iron Man but sought redemption.
- Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff and the Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff were children of Magneto. They had previously been coerced into joining the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants by Magneto, and wanted to change course.
Captain America returned after the new members had been found and acted as team leader, while Thor resigned along with the other founders. The new foursome became known as “Cap’s Kooky Quartet” and was considered not as powerful and less capable as their predecessors. Due to the Maximoff twins' terrorist backgrounds and Hawkeye's clash with Iron Man, public perception was also tainted. The team proved their worth by defeating the Swordsman (a recruit of the Mandarin), Power Man (created by the Enchantress), Doctor Doom and surviving another bout with Kang.
Over the years, the team continued to operate and experienced many fluctuations in membership. Former members would often return for stints as active members (with the exception of the Hulk), and many new members would also be inducted. The Swordsman was the fifth recruit to the team, but served only a several day stint before betraying the Avengers and being expelled. Hercules, the Black Widow, the Black Knight, founding X-Man Beast and others often served in an unofficial capacity for a brief period before being granted official membership. Others, such as the Black Panther, served as a replacement for another member's leave of absence, as the Panther did for Captain America. Moondragon was offered membership, but refused.
As the official ties between the Avengers and the United States government grew to the extent that the Avengers computer system had direct access to certain U.S. governmental and military information networks, the National Security Council began to take a more active interest in the Avengers' internal affairs. At one point, NSC agent Henry Peter Gyrich was appointed to be the government's liaison with the Avengers. Gyrich instituted certain policies in the name of security that restricted active membership in the group and tightened admission requirements.
Unlike the Avengers' practices to this point, Gyrich initiated a strict screening procedure for new members and even dictated Avengers membership according to government standards of equal-opportunity employment. Eventually, Gyrich was reassigned elsewhere and replaced with the more moderate Raymond Sikorski, another NSC agent. Even so, then-Avengers Chairman Captain America continued the seven-member ceiling on active membership instituted by Gyrich, later personally reducing it down to six members.
East and West
Shortly afterward, then-current Chairman, the Vision, petitioned the US government to approve the establishment of a second team of active Avengers to be based on the West Coast. Getting official clearance, the Vision appointed Hawkeye to be the new team's chairman and sent him to Los Angeles, California to set up a base of operations. The original West Coast roster consisted of Hawkeye himself, his wife Mockingbird, his original inspiration Iron Man, Wonder Man, and Tigra. Soon, the organization grew to two independently operated but fully coordinated branches of Avengers.
The East Coast branch eventually found itself in a long series of misfortunes. First, when it was learned that the Vision planned to take benevolent control of the world government, certain punitive measures were taken by the United States, despite the fact that the Vision aborted his plan before it truly endangered anyone. The government limited the Avengers' access to security-related information and invoked certain sanctions, including the privilege of launching their supersonic Quinjets from their Mansion. The Avengers were forced to lease a part of the Hydrobase, a floating island and scientific research station in the Atlantic Ocean, in order to use an airbase outside of FAA jurisdiction.
Later, the Avengers Mansion was nearly destroyed by a concentrated effort of the largest group of organized super-villains up to that time, the Masters of Evil as led by the new Baron Zemo, hellbent on revenge for his father's death. Although the Avengers finally managed to defeat the villains at great cost, the team relocated entirely to Hydrobase while the Mansion was being repaired. Through a steady series of misfortunes, most notably the subversion of their member Doctor Druid by Ravonna (then called Nebula), the Avengers' East Coast branch was ultimately left with no active members.
United Nations Charter
Captain America, at that time called simply the Captain, immediately reorganized the team with the hero Gilgamesh and the temporary members Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four. Captain America soon reassembled all known members and associates to the rebuilt Avengers Mansion, claiming that all heroes may consider themselves on reserve and ready for service, although an active team of seven members (plus two reserves) would be the primary response team. Also at this time, the Avengers negotiated with the United Nations, earning global jurisdiction by pledging to serve under a U.N. charter as it had previously the United States.
When war broke out between the alien empires of the Shi'ar and Kree (with Skrull meddling), Earth became a key point of conflict. A warp-gate in the Sol system was crucial for both sides in traveling the great interstellar distances, but was having a destabilizing effect on the sun. The Avengers sent teams to Hala and Chandilar in attempts to stabilize the diplomatic situation. After the Kree Supreme Intelligence detonated a Nega-Bomb, killing most of the Kree (in order to jump-start the survivors' evolutionary processes), the Avengers were divided on how to respond. Several Avengers led by Iron Man (Black Knight, Vision, Hercules, Sersi, and Thor) chose to execute the Intelligence for its act of genocide. This violation of the Avengers' "no-killing" rule would put these Avengers in defiance of Captain America and cause a significant rift in the team for some time.
Proctor and the Gatherers
Proctor, a mad version of the Black Knight, attempted to drive Sersi insane. He and his Gatherers battled the Avengers while attempting to frame Sersi for murders. Swordsman and Magdalene sided with the Avengers and Sersi was able to slay Proctor with his own Ebony Blade. She then exiled herself with Dane Whitman accompanying her. The Watcher Ute seemingly restored the mansion.
West Coast Disbands
After many months the East Coast branch, to review what it perceived as failures, confronted the Avengers’ West Coast branch. The East branch accused the junior West branch of fluctuating membership, cavalier behavior, and of overextending its resources that resulted in recent attacks that had left their Compound demolished. The Vision also claimed that the Avengers West Coast was a failed experiment. Amidst voices of contention, the vote resulted in the disbanding the West Coast branch. The East Coast branch resumed activities, and many of the former West Coast branch formed a new independent team, Force Works.
Feeling burned out from recent events, Tony Stark called for a party at the Mansion inviting team members past and present. Quicksilver and Crystal encountered a man named Tuc. Phillip Javert was attacked by agents of Kang while seeing a vision of what happened to his counterpart, Swordsman.
Yellowjacket returned from the future seeking to warn the Avengers of danger. She was shot and killed and the only witness to the murder, Luna's nanny, Marilla, was soon murdered as well. Gilgamesh was also found dead, with an assailant seeming to come from a mysterious 'door' in the basement. Security cameras found nothing and it seems someone with great technological savvy has tampered with them. The Mansion was evacuated with members meeting at the Wasp's home while Iron Man and Hank Pym attempted to determine the murderer and examine the door.
Hawkeye was framed for the murders and Stark was revealed to be under the influence of Kang. Wasp was wounded during a subsequent confrontation and in order to save her life, Pym placed her under treatments similar to those that originally gave her her bio-electric sting and wings. Jan emerged from a cocoon in a more insect-like form. The remnants of Force Works and War Machine assisted the Avengers in battling their foes.
The Avengers, boosted by the return of Captain America and Thor, returned to the Mansion and removed the Anachronauts. A special team traveled to another reality, returning with an alternate Iron Man. In the climactic battle Kang's plan was stopped when the elder Stark sacrificed himself.
On the anniversary of their formation, the team withstood another one of Loki's schemes when X-Man warned them about Professor X. Although skeptical, the team followed him to the Xavier Institute. They are quickly confronted by the X-Men, themselves wary of another ruse by the physic entity Onslaught.
Eventually, several heroes joined forces to battle Onslaught in Central Park. An enraged Hulk was able to crack open Onslaught's shell. However, Onslaught remained as pure psionic energy, planning to spread across the planet. Thor plunged into Onslaught, trying to contain him. The majority of Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Dr. Banner (separated from Hulk), and Dr. Doom followed. The X-Men then destroyed Onslaught. The Avengers were believed dead, but were instead saved by Franklin Richards and transported to a pocket dimension called Counter-Earth that he had created. Back on Earth-616, however, the remaining Avengers quietly disbanded the team without the guidance of their senior members.
After several months away, the missing heroes returned from Counter-Earth. The threat of Morgan Le Fey called for the team to reassemble. Firestar and Justice also joined as provisional members. Using the Scarlet Witch's power, Earth was temporarily turned into a world of Le Fay's design, with the Avengers acting as her Queen's Vengeance. Some were able to see past the illusion and hear Wanda's call for aid. After Morgan was defeated, a new roster was officially established.
Old Enemies Return
After several months of activity, the Avengers were forced to react to their archenemy, the robot Ultron, who had decimated the nation of Slorenia. Ultron was ultimately defeated, but the Avengers vowed to become more proactive to avoid such results in the future.
The team also learned that Count Nefaria was alive and planned to bombard the world with ionic energy. Teaming with the Thunderbolts, a team composed by reformed Masters of Evil formed during the superpower vacuum after the Onslaught crisis, Nefaria was stopped.
The Avengers reorganized their membership roles and communications systems and began a program to better investigate threats at large as well as follow-up on completed missions.
Several members of Avengers from various points in time were called by Rick Jones to battle Immortus, the Time-Keepers, and even other teams of Avengers for their very existence. Immortus is revealed to have been responsible for influencing Stark during the Crossing, manipulating events so the Vision could be created, and even affecting Hank Pym's episodes.
Soon after, Earth was attacked by the time-traveling villain Kang the Conqueror and his son, the Scarlet Centurion. The Avengers failed to keep Kang from destroying the United Nations building in New York City, after which Kang declared war on the Earth and offered positions of power to those who would also conquer in his name, thus creating several uprisings. The Avengers were forced to spread themselves across many fronts, calling on many of their reserve members. One squad of the Avengers confronted Kang's orbital base, Damocles, directly, aside United States' Sentinel robots. Instead, the attack failed, and Kang took control of the Sentinels and proceeded to destroy Washington D.C. The Avengers leader, the Wasp, signed the terms of the United States surrender to Kang.
Soon, many other countries would fall before Kang, and the villain interned his opponents, political dissidents and superheroes, in scattered internment camps. Two contingents of Avengers remained: one, who had captured a base belonging to the villain known as the Master of the World; the other, a group of Avengers who joined Jonathan Tremont of the Triune Understanding in confronting the threat of the Triple-Evil. Both contingents wrested control of their respective enemies' equipment, turning it against Kang and ultimately defeated him and destroyed his Damocles base.
Kang went down with the base, surviving only thanks to his suit's force-field. He fought Captain America, stating that it was an honor to be defeated by such a foe. Beaten, Kang was arrested. Knowing he would be executed for his crimes he awaited his trial, happy that his son had been returned to their time and would forge his own legacy. Wanting to return his father home, the Scarlet Centurion broke into his cell. However, during the war, he had aided Warbird, although Kang was willing to overlook his lies as long as he died with his legacy intact, as he was rescued, he told his son that he could not tolerate traitors and killed him. The Avengers then turned their attention to help rebuild the war-torn cities of the world, and the reserve members returned to stand-by status.
When the latest villain calling himself Scorpio appeared, he used a new version of the all-powerful Zodiac Key to unlock the balance between chaos and order, splitting the cosmic being known as the In-Betweener into his two diametrical halves, and throwing nearly every major capitol city on Earth into another dimension. The Avengers investigated, with one contingent of the team confronting Scorpio and the other serving in the stead of the United Nations as a global peacekeeping and judicial force.
The Avengers ultimately thwarted Scorpio's plans by forcibly reuniting the In-Betweener with timely aid from Thor. The cosmic entity thwarted Scorpio and restored the Earth's cities to their proper places. Before he returned on his way, he left the Avengers with a prophecy: that an evil as great as their good would arise, and that many would die, including one of their own.
As an extension of the Avengers' service during the crisis, the United Nations granted the team special diplomatic status as a peacekeeping force against humanity not instigated by a member nation. They also established the Avengers Mansion as a unique and separate embassy.
JLA vs. Avengers
Krona, an exiled Oan villain from another Universe who had gained the powers of entropy, began destroying entire universes in his obsession to find out how they were created. The Grandmaster, a cosmic entity who is obsessed with games, offered to give Krona the knowledge he sought but only if he could beat him in a game. The game consisted of forcing the Avengers and their heroic counterparts, the Justice League of America, from that Universe's Earth to battle each other in a race to find twelve items of incredible power that had been hidden around their worlds. With help from Metron of the other Universe, the heroes were tricked into participating. Krona was given the side of the Avengers and Grandmaster was given the side of the JLA.
When Batman and Captain America discovered this, Captain America allowed the game to end with a victory for the JLA, but Krona refused to accept this and used his powers to steal the knowledge directly from the Grandmaster's mind. In turn, the Grandmaster used the power of the twelve artifacts to merge the two universes, trapping Krona at their center. However, this resulted in a chaotic world, and Krona began to cause the universes to collapse, since he now knew that universal creation came from destruction. The Avengers and the Justice League joined forces to stop him, aided by many other members from both teams' pasts (brought together by wild changes in time).
In the end, Krona was turned into a "cosmic egg" from which a universe would be born in a trillion years. The two universes returned to normal, with everything that Krona destroyed being recreated as well (this would have consequences for the Anti-Matter Universe, as seen in a further Justice League adventure).
Despite their recent success in obtaining international trust and the highest level of security clearance, the Avengers began to experience many failures. Jack of Hearts, who joined the team shortly after the Kang War, experienced a fluctuation in his powers that ultimately consumed him. An innocent civilian, Kelsey Leigh, became a casualty in the Avengers' tussle against the Wrecking Crew, although she was reborn as Captain Britain and was asked to join the Avengers. The Wasp and Hawkeye had a dallying romance, upsetting Yellowjacket.
The Scarlet Witch however, was the highlight of the team's failures. Years of mental stress, personal tragedy, and the continuous development of her powers resulted in a mental breakdown with the Avenger losing sight on reality as well as her powers which was triggered unintentionally by her teammate the Wasp. Her machinations included luring Captain America into a strange romance, resurrecting and murdering deceased Avenger Jack of Hearts, causing teammates Iron Man and She-Hulk to behave irrationally and aggressively, nearly destroying Avengers Mansion, emotionally scarring her teammates and even creating an armada of alien Kree out of thin air. These actions ultimately led to Iron Man losing his position of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the revoke of the United Nations' relationship with the Avengers, the arrest and containment of She-Hulk, the hospitalization of Captain Britain and the Wasp, and the deaths of Ant-Man, the Vision, and Hawkeye.
Doctor Strange appeared, sensing something had gone horribly wrong. An investigation of Agatha Harkness's house on Whisper Hill brought into question if she really had been able to help Wanda. The Scarlet Witch soon appeared and attacked her allies. The Eye of Agamotto was able to subdue her, but the assembled members were still in shock as Magneto appeared to claim his daughter.
Unknown to the Avengers, Thor's absence was due to the events of Ragnarok; whether the two events were connected or not is unknown. The damaged Mansion was turned into a memorial. Stark decided that rebuilding at that point was not an option and the team disbanded.
The Avengers legacy was eventually reborn after six months through the efforts of Captain America and Iron Man creating the New Avengers due to a massive prison break. By doing so, they recruited a small number of new members and their primary purpose was to recapture numerous super-powered criminals that had escaped from the maximum security prison known as the Raft. Although the team did considerably well, they were not well received by the government as its officials found the new recruits questionable.
Also, around this time a teenage version of Kang traveled to the past to stop Kang, however, he found Avengers Mansion destroyed. But he found the remains of the Vision and uploaded it's A.I. into his armor. The A.I. contained the Avengers Fail-Safe Program listing young heroes related to the Avengers so he used it to form a team with various individuals in the list which became known as the Young Avengers. They remained together even after the young Kang left, and continued to add other members.
Government legislation itself would soon become the very cause of the Avengers' next dispersal. The passage of the Superhuman Registration Act split the superhuman community in half with one side led by Iron Man registering with the law while the other led by Captain America rebelled against the new law. Pro-registration emerged victorious and the Avengers were recreated by Iron Man who assembled a new team to abide by the law, while New Avenger Luke Cage assembled a small group of remaining rebels to operate as "outlaw" heroes in honor of Captain America after his apparent assassination.
Dark Avengers and Siege
In the wake of the Skrull's secret invasion, Iron Man was largely blamed for allowing the invasion to happen leading to his ousting as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as the organization being disbanded. Norman Osborn, formerly known as Spider-Man's enemy the Green Goblin, was made the new head of national security and created H.A.M.M.E.R. a successor organization to S.H.I.E.L.D. Norman also assembled a new team of "Avengers" consisting largely of super-villains he had served with in the Thunderbolts program posing as heroes since the majority of then current Avengers refused to follow him.
Norman's new team consisted of Venom as Spider-Man, Bullseye as Hawkeye, Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Noh-Varr as Captain Marvel, Daken Akihiro as Wolverine, with Sentry and Ares remaining from the previous Avengers team. The team was led by Osborn himself in the guise of Iron Patriot, an Iron Man suit painted to invoke the heroic imagery of Captain America.
The team tackled many threats, both those that would be expected of them as heroes such as fighting Bor Burison during his rampage in New York and the Molecule Man as well as aiding members of Osborn's Cabal such as helping Doctor Doom reclaim Latveria. Norman descent into insanity - as perpetrated by Loki - led to him launching an invasion of Asgard after being manipulated by Loki. Asgard was aided by the New, Mighty and Young Avengers as well as a resurrected Steven Rogers and Nick Fury's Secret Warriors.
What neither Loki nor Osborn counted on however was the madness of Avengers member Sentry. Osborn had manipulated him in order to use the Void as a secret weapon to control the Cabal as well as his volatile Avengers team and after being defeated by the Avengers, Osborn ordered the Void to destroy Asgard and kill everyone. Loki realized that he had gone too far in his manipulations and used the Norn Stones to empower all who fought on Asgard's side, leading to him being killed by the Void but allowing the Avengers to finally kill him. The Dark Avengers with the exception of Daken (who managed to flee) and Ares (who was killed by the Void after turning against Osborn) were all taken into custody. In the aftermath Rogers is given Osborn's job with the condition of the Registration Act being cancelled.
The Heroic Age and the War of the Serpent
In the aftermath of Norman Osborn's fall, Steve Rogers supplanted Osborn as the head of the superhuman community. The the Avengers proper were reassembled, and backed by two splinter teams, the formalized New Avengers and the covert Secret Avengers. The new line-up chosen by Commander Steve Rogers consisted of field leader Maria Hill, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, and Hawkeye.
Surprisingly, Wonder Man opposed the reformation of the Avengers, arguing they caused more harm than good. Wonder Man's attempts to dissuade Steve Rogers went to the extremes of attacking the Avengers. He would later make a second attempt, having assembled a team of Revengers.
A former member of Osborn's Avengers, Protector, later joined the Avengers while helping them build a time machine, and so did the Red Hulk, after coming to the Avengers Tower to warn them about the Hood having secured the Power and Reality Gems. The pursuit for the Hood led to Steve and the Avengers finding out about the Illuminati, a secret cabal of superhumans Iron Man was part of, and also the curators of the Infinity Gems from whom the Hood was stealing. The Avengers and the Illuminati raced the Hood to secure the remaining gems. The villain was finally stopped by Iron Man, who assembled the Infinity Gauntlet with help from his allies. Iron Man resisted the temptation to use the Infinity Gauntlet to create an utopia, arguing humanity wouldn't advance as species if that happened. He still became the very first human to make use of this object, by teleporting the Hood back to prison and the Infinity Gauntlet away, though he pretended to have destroyed the latter. In reality, the Illuminati later distributed the gems again, with Steve Rogers joining their ranks this time.
The biggest hit the Avengers took during this era came when the forgotten Asgardian god the Serpent resurfaced with the help of the Red Skull's daughter Sin. As the Serpent and his servants, the Worthy, spread chaos and fear around the world to empower their master, the Avengers Tower was destroyed, Bucky Barnes almost died (prompting Rogers to take back the mantle of Captain America), and Iron Man briefly sacrificed his sobriety. Fortunately, the heroes managed to fight back, empowered with Uru weapons manufactured by Iron Man in the furnaces of Nidavellir. The final sacrifice came from Thor, who lost his life slaying the Serpent.
Following the destruction of the Avengers Tower, the team temporarily relocated to the Avengers Mansion, base of the New Avengers, while their headquarters were being rebuilt. With Steve deciding to re-examine the Avengers following the hardship they endured, Storm became part of the team, taking up the offer her husband Black Panther rejected. The Vision also rejoined the team, having self-repaired after Iron Man spent a long time trying to rebuild him. Finally, Captain America picked S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Quake, while Spider-Man and Wolverine willingly stepped down.
After taking down the returned Norman Osborn, who had joined forces with Hydra, A.I.M. and the Hand, the Avengers' next threat was of cosmic nature. The Mad Titan Thanos arrived to Earth and outfitted a new iteration of the Zodiac to amass the vast array of cosmic-level weapons found in the planet. The Avengers, including the additions of Black Widow, the then-recently reborn Thor and the Hulk, inadvertently stumbled upon his machinations when they came into conflict with the Zodiac, eventually forcing Thanos to reveal himself. Even though the villain empowered himself with a Cosmic Cube, he was ultimately defeated by the Avengers with the aid of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Elders of the Universe.
When the Avengers learned that the all-consuming Phoenix Force was approaching the Earth, they attempted to get the X-Men to hand over one of their own, Hope Summers, who was prophesied to become the Phoenix. The X-Men's disagreement with the Avengers led to a battle between both teams and a race to find Hope, the conflict only escalated when the Phoenix Force reached the Earth and possessed five mutants, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik.
These Phoenix Five started converting the world into an utopia. Still wary of the Phoenix's ultimately destructive nature, the Avengers raided the X-Men's base and took Hope, in order to use her knowledge about the Phoenix against its five hosts. The Scarlet Witch resurfaced, and joined the Avengers' side, having discovered that the Phoenixes were weak to her Chaos Magic. Because of the Avengers' interference, Cyclops decided to declare war on them. With the X-Men on their trail, the Avengers began to train Hope with the help of K'un-Lun. The Phoenix Five eventually began to fall under the Phoenix's dark influence, turning against each other, as they could harness more power the fewer of their own there were. The Avengers teamed up with Professor X and the X-Men who didn't fall under the Phoenixes' tyrannical rule, and launched an attack against the last two remaining hosts, Cyclops and Emma Frost. Cyclops turned on Frost and defeated her, absorbing the totality of the Phoenix Force and killing Professor X before turning into the Dark Phoenix. Cyclops was finally stopped by the combined power of Hope Summers and the Scarlet Witch, with Hope briefly becoming the host of the Phoenix before extinguishing it with Wanda's power.
In the aftermath, Cyclops was incarcerated. Captain America acknowledged the Avengers should've been involved with mutantkind's struggles before. As the first step to rectify this negligence, he assembled a new splinter team of Avengers, the Avengers Unity Division, in hopes of bringing together human and mutantkind.
Iron Man and Captain America saw themselves forced to reunite the Illuminati upon the discovery of the incursions, a multiversal phenomena that caused the collision between the planets Earth of two different universes. The only way to prevent the destruction of the entirety of both realities when their Earths crashed was to destroy either of the planets. Iron Man and the other Illuminati reluctantly acknowledged the inevitability that if they didn't find a way to stop an incursion, they would eventually have to destroy an Earth that collided with their won if they wanted to save theirs, as well as their universe and whichever reality the colliding Earth would be from. When Captain America rejected this notion, the rest of the Illuminati agreed Doctor Strange wiped from his memory both his membership in the secret cabal, as well as any knowledge of incursions.
Under the pretense the Avengers needed something new, Iron Man presented Captain America with a chart to expand its roster. In reality, Stark wanted to create a team powerful enough it could handle any overt threat while he and the Illuminati worked on both solving the incursions, and designing mechanisms to destroy a planet if push came to shove. Among the Avengers' new recruits were Sunspot, Cannonball, Hyperion, Smasher, Captain Universe, Shang-Chi and Manifold. Returning members were Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Falcon. The mainstays of this team were the core unit composed of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk. Later members were recently-surfaced-villains-turned-allies Ex Nihilo and Abyss, and Star Brand and Nightmask.
Among the threats these new Avengers confronted were the appearance of the aforementioned Ex Nihilo and Abyss in Mars, who attempted to turn the Earth into a sentient being, the emergence of Star Brand as a result of a White Event, and the different creatures that resulted from Ex Nihilo's thwarted plans, including Pod. A new threat came in the form of the Builders, a powerful ancient species who set course to Earth with the objective of destroying it, and razed planets on their path. The Avengers defeated the Builders after making an alliance with other alien empires, including former enemies like the Kree and Skrulls. Due to exposure to the explosion of the Watcher's eye, which revealed deep secrets related to them to those in its blast radius, Captain America remembered the mindwipe the Illuminati submitted him to, as well as their activities regarding the possible destruction of worlds, and confronted Iron Man about it. He decided that the Illuminati's actions shouldn't be tolerated, and disposed the Avengers to hunt them down. Meanwhile, a new team called the Cabal formed by ex-Illuminati Namor had stolen the Illuminati's arsenal of Antimatter Injection Systems and set out to carry out what the Illuminati ultimately couldn't bring themselves to do, to destroy any and every alternate planet Earth that came in collision course with their own.
Captain America's hunt for the Illuminati saw the Avengers being absorbed into S.H.I.E.L.D., with numerous members leaving the team in protest for being ordered to hunt down people they considered allies. One of these members was Sunspot, who went as far as to take over A.I.M., and use their resources to tackle the incursions once the existence of this phenomena became public knowledge. With the help of Sunspot's own Avengers, the Illuminati set a trap for the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., and ultimately called a truce and started working together. Because the collapse of the entire Multiverse was only a matter of time, rather than working on a way to stop them, the Illuminati, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Future Foundation focused on creating "life rafts" that could at least ensure the survival of a few. When the final incursion began, Captain America decided to confront Iron Man for his and the Illuminati's betrayal.
In the end, the two Earths finally collided, and their universes were destroyed. The Multiverse was eventually returned to existence by Mister Fantastic using the power of the Molecule Man, with none of its inhabitants retaining memory of the temporal demise of all of reality. However, following all of their trials and tribulations, the Avengers as they formerly existed before were no more.
Months later, a group of heroes found themselves joined to fight the threat of the Chitauri warlord Warbringer, those heroes were Iron Man, the new Captain America, the new Spider-Man, Vision, the new Thor, Nova, and Ms. Marvel. After successfully forcing Warbringer through a portal he intended to use to bring an army, the heroes decided to remain together and reform the Avengers proper. One of the first threats the Avengers faced was an incarnation of Kang the Conqueror, posing as a businessman named Mister Gryphon, who had secretly reprogrammed the Vision to use him as an undercover agent, playing the heroes against each other. Gryphon was ultimately defeated and exiled to the timestream, while Iron Man managed to reboot Vision and purge Kang's programming.
Following the events of the second superhuman civil war, the younger members of the team -- Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man -- left the Avengers and set out on their own as the Champions. Their membership depleted and funding from Stark Industries having dried up, Captain America recruited the new Wasp and Hercules. Parker Industries subsequently offered to fund the team, moving their base of operations to the Baxter Building. Spider-Man also rejoined the team. Following the collapse of Parker Industries, the Baxter Building had to be sold, forcing the Avengers to move out.
All branches of the Avengers convened to respond to a global crisis caused by the Earth being turned into the battleground of a contest between the Grandmaster and the Challenger. Following the end of the game and the Avengers' victory over the rampaging Grandmaster, the different Avengers teams decided to disband for different reasons. Shortly afterwards, Steve Rogers and Thor met up with Tony Stark to convince him to reassemble the group with themselves at its core. The reunion was consolidated by the machinations of Loki, who facilitated the arrival of the world-threatening Dark Celestials as a ploy to get the Avengers back in action, resulting in the participation of Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk and Ghost Rider in the reformation of the Avengers. After the Dark Celestials were defeated, the Celestials set upright the corpse of the long-time dead Progenitor in the North Pole. The Avengers refurbished the Progenitor's corpse, transforming it into their base of operations, the Avengers Mountain. The Avengers' revamp was accompanied with the appointment of Black Panther as chairperson.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Origins
- 1.2 Captain America
- 1.3 Masters of Evil
- 1.4 Kang the Conqueror
- 1.5 The Kooky Quartet
- 1.6 Further Extensions
- 1.7 Government Woes
- 1.8 East and West
- 1.9 Under Siege
- 1.10 United Nations Charter
- 1.11 Operation Galactic Storm
- 1.12 Proctor and the Gatherers
- 1.13 West Coast Disbands
- 1.14 The Crossing
- 1.15 Onslaught
- 1.16 Heroes Return
- 1.17 Old Enemies Return
- 1.18 Avengers Forever
- 1.19 Kang's Invasion
- 1.20 Avengers Nation
- 1.21 JLA vs. Avengers
- 1.22 Avengers Disassembled
- 1.23 New, Young and Mighty
- 1.24 Dark Avengers and Siege
- 1.25 The Heroic Age and the War of the Serpent
- 1.26 Conflict Against the X-Men
- 1.27 Time Runs Out
- 1.28 All-New, All-Different Avengers
- 2 Paraphernalia
- 3 Notes
- 4 Trivia
- 5 See Also
- 6 Links and References
Each teammates' arsenal
- The first time the famous Avengers' catchphrase "Avengers Assemble" was said was in Avengers #10 by Thor and has mostly appeared in Marvel media ever since.
- In-universe, the comic-publishing company Marvel Comics made an arrangement with the Maria Stark Foundation to depict authorized adventures of the Avengers. Unlike the agreement made with the Fantastic Four, the Avengers didn't personally handle the arrangements for their series. Since the approvals and information flow were handled by Maria Stark Foundation intermediaries, Marvel's writers were given less details about the Avengers' exploits than the Fantastic Four. Because of this, Stan Lee once referred to Marvel's Avengers comics as "only 69% authorized."
- Additionally, since members of the Avengers maintained secret identities, Marvel was eventually given consent by the Maria Stark Foundation to create fictitious backstories for them. Before that, Stan Lee simply tried to focus solely on the team members in their costumed personas.
- The Avengers were parodied by DC Comics in the Superman/Batman series in the storyline "With a Vengeance!", where the Dark Knight and Man of Steel faced heroes created by Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Joker called the Maximums, who were comprised of Soldier (a patriotic hero, expy of Captain America), Viking (a nordic God, expy of Thor), Hornet (a half-human half-insect flying heroine, expy of Wasp), Skyscraper (a giant man in love with Hornet, expy of Giant-Man), Robot (a conscious robot in a bulky iron-suit, expy of Iron Man), Bowman (an archer, expy of Hawkeye), Wolfen (a bestial wolfman with tiger stripes, expy of Wolverine), Bug (a blue and red four-armed man, expy of Spider-Man) and Monster (a big creature with super-strength and ripped pants whose alter ego is weaker, expy of Hulk).
- The Avengers were created due to a delay in the production of Daredevil #1, because penciler Bill Everett was delayed. At the time, print time was booked ahead of time, and if the issue to be printed wasn't ready, the print time was still going to be charged. Because of this, Stan Lee created the Avengers, a group of already-established heroes, so it wouldn't take long to produce an issue featuring them.
- The Avengers and their comic book series share their name with the long-running British television series The Avengers which debuted in 1961, three years before the superhero team. Due to the popularity of both properties in their respective countries, their shared name has caused complications on both sides of the Atlantic ever since:
- The Marvel comic has had to be retitled Avengers Assemble on several occasions for UK publication.
- For North American publication, comics based upon the TV series have had to be retitled, usually a variant of Steed and Peel or Steed and Mrs. Peel.
- The issues over the name don't appear to have been repeated with New Avengers, a title shared by both a later series in the Marvel franchise, and a revival of the TV series that aired in the 1970s.
- 2217 appearance(s) of Avengers (Earth-616)
- 359 minor appearance(s) of Avengers (Earth-616)
- 1616 mention(s) of Avengers (Earth-616)
- 1993 image(s) of Avengers (Earth-616)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about Avengers (Earth-616)
- 112 member(s) of Avengers (Earth-616)
- 8 item(s) used/owned by Avengers (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Avengers cover gallery
- Avengers Assemble
- Avengers Chronology
- Vote for the Avenger (Main/Current) with the best superpower on the Superpower Wiki