In 1210 BC, the Sorcerer Supreme Shaushka gathered the Fist of Khonshu, the Black Panther, the Olympian Ares and the Asgardian Brunnhilde to help her combat her former vizier Atherwan, who was the leader of the Shining Herd, a group of constellation-themed villains who sought to use a special Key in order to bring the power of the constellations to Earth.
Shaushka and her group were able to overload the Key and defeat the Herd, though the cultures of North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean were nearly wiped out as a result. However, the members of the Herd survived and hid the Key away, passing down their titles throughout the ages and making sure to manipulate empires in order to keep themselves in power.
Thousands of years later, a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist named George Tarleton found strange crystals in the San Francisco Bay while looking for forms of renewable energy. Unbeknownst to him, the crystals had been brought to Earth by a massive Kree Sentry lying on the bottom of the Bay.
Tarleton named these crystals Terrigen Crystals, and began looking for investors to help him develop technology that would harness these crystals. He failed to impress the modern-day Shining Herd, though he would later find an investor in Tony Stark. Around this time, beings of superhuman capabilities began appearing on Earth extremely frequently after a long period of absence, which Tarleton saw as unnatural.
Among these superhuman beings were the costumed heroes known as the Avengers, who had banded together to defeat the evil Asgardian known as Loki. The Avengers defended the Earth from various threats, such as alien invasions, robot armies and the villainous superhuman group known as the Lethal Legion, as well as non-superhuman mercenaries such as Batroc the Leaper and Taskmaster.
The Avengers did battle with the Shining Herd, aided by the current Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange and his allies Doctor Voodoo and Wong, as well as Commander Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D. After the Avengers' conflict with the Shining Herd, Stark was inspired to begin working on teleportation technology, due to both the Shining Herd and Doctor Strange having the ability.
Tarleton and fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist Monica Rappaccini had started their own company called Advanced Idea Mechanics, or A.I.M. for short while working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Tarleton had Rappaccini reach out to former college classmate and Avenger Bruce Banner, which is how A.I.M. had landed Tony Stark as an investor.
This rekindling of their friendship led to Banner and Rappaccini striking up a romance and partnership, with both working on studying Banner's gamma radiation. While Banner hoped their work could cure him, Rappaccini hoped their work could give Banner conscious control over the Hulk, as well as create other conscious beings like the Hulk, in addition to helping regrow lost limbs. This led to Rappaccini secretly experimenting on A.I.M.'s head of security, Emil Blonsky, resulting in his transformation into the Abomination.
Stark desired to expand the Avengers membership and start a West Coast branch of their team, a desire which only became stronger after the Avengers' battle with the Shining Herd, and became shared by Captain America. Due to wanting to move from New York City to San Francisco to be with Rappaccini, Banner agreed.
In order to celebrate the grand opening of the Avengers' West Coast headquarters, as well as S.H.I.E.L.D. and A.I.M.'s Terrigen-powered Helicarrier named the Chimera, all three organizations held a festival called "A-Day", and held a fanfiction contest, where the winners would get a special place of honor at A-Day. Among these winners was 11-year old Kamala Khan.
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