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See Marvel Comics * List of Marvel Comics characters *List of Marvel Comics teams and organizations *List of Avengers members Avengers Toys

Classic Avengers fan art by fanboy1171
Classic Avengers fan art by fanboy1171

The Avengers is a name used for three organizations of superhero teams appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics.

1)The first use was for a incorporated superhero organization, original with one team that add another team on the West Coast for a time and shifted from a New York State Charter to a United Nations charter. This team, comprising existing Marvel characters variously created by writer-editor Stan Lee, artist and co-plotter Jack Kirby and others, first appeared in The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963). Tagged by the company as "Earth’s Mightiest Heroes", the Avengers originally consisted of Ant-Man, Wasp, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk. Almost from inception, however, the roster has been fluid, with the Hulk departingThe Avengers #2 (Nov 1963) Marvel Comics and Captain America joining.The Avengers #4 (Mar 1964) Marvel Comics) The rotating roster has become a hallmark of the team, although one theme remains consistent: the Avengers fight the foes no single superhero can withstand - hence their famous cry of "Avengers Assemble!" To that end, the team has featured humans, robots, gods, aliens, supernatural beings and even reformed villains. .

2) With the original Avengers organization disbanded and faced with an escape attempt from the Raft, one of the supervillian prisons, a new team formed using the Avengers name but did not resume its previous charters dispite having a three previous members being members of the original team. This version was found by Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) and Spider-Man. The majority of this team opposed the Superhuman Registration Act and used the Avengers name and were referred to as Secret Avengers during Civil War and was aided by other anti-Registration heroes.

3) Under the Fifty State Initiative, where a government sactioned team would be assigned to each state, Iron Man and Ms Marvel selected a new Avengers team, nicknamed "The Mighty Avengers", to be the premier Initiative team and assigned to New York State.

Contents

Publication history

see also Bibliography of Avengers titles

In 1963, the Avengers debuted in their own comic book series, dated September of that year. The team was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers. This series ran for 402 issues from September of 1963 through September of 1996.

In 1984, Marvel published a four-issue limited series called West Coast Avengers as a spin-off of The Avengers.

In 1985, Marvel launched an ongoing series following the success of the West Coast Avengers limited series. This series ran for a total of 102 issues under two titles from October 1985 through January 1994. The title changed to Avengers West Coast with issue #48.

In 1987, Marvel launched a second ongoing spin-off titled Solo Avengers. This series ran for 40 issues, also under two titles from December 1987 through January 1991. The title changes to Avengers Spotlight with issue #21.

Between 1996 and 2004 Marvel relaunched the primary Avengers title three times.

  • In 1996, as part of the "Heroes Reborn" line, where Marvel contracted outside companies to produce four titles including Avengers. Part of the arrangement included revamping and restarting the Avengers' history.
    The series ran for 13 issues from November 1996 through November 1997 and was written by Rob Liefeld with art by Jim Valentino. The final issue features a crossover with the other "Heroes Reborn" titles, and returned the character to the main Marvel Universe.
  • In 1997, when the characters returned to its original continuity. The series ran for 84 issues from February 1998 through August 2004.
  • In 2004, to coincide with what would have been the 500th issue, Marvel changed the numbering of the issues. This series lasted four issues, from September through December 2004.
  • In 2005, Marvel began publishing a new series featuring the Avengers titled New Avengers.

Fictional biography

The 1960s

The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963). Cover art by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers.
The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963). Cover art by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers.

The first issue features the Asgardian trickster god, Loki, who seeks revenge against his adopted brother, Thor. Using an illusion, Loki tricks the Hulk into destroying a railroad track, and then diverts a radio call by Rick Jones for help to Thor, whom Loki hopes will battle the Hulk. Unknown to Loki, the radio call is also answered by Ant-Man, the Wasp and Iron Man. After an initial misunderstanding, the heroes unite and defeat Loki. Ant-Man points out that the five work well together and suggests they form a combined team — with the Wasp naming the group the Avengers. The original members are known as the "founding members," and courtesy of an Avengers Charter are responsible for the good name of the team. As a result, their wishes regarding the direction of the team are given additional weight and deference.

The roster changes almost immediately; by the beginning of the second issue, Ant-Man has become Giant-Man and, at the end of the issue, the Hulk leaves once he realizes how much the others fear his unstable personality. Feeling responsible, the Avengers try to locate and contain the Hulk (a recurring theme in the early years of the team), which subsequently leads them into combat with Namor the Sub-Mariner. This would result in the first major milestone in the Avengers' history - the revival and return of Captain America.<ref name="Av1n4"/> Captain America joins the team eventually becoming field leader. Captain America is also given "founding member" status in the Hulk's place.The Avengers vol. 3, #1 (Feb. 1998) Marvel Comics The Avengers go on to fight foes such as Captain America's wartime enemy Baron Zemo, who in turn forms the Masters of Evil; the Lava Men; Kang the Conqueror; Wonder Man; Immortus; and Count Nefaria.

The next milestone came when every member but Captain America resigns and is replaced by three former villains - Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.The Avengers #16 (May 1965) Although lacking the raw power of the original team, "Cap's Kooky Quartet" (as they were sometimes jokingly called) proved their worth by fighting and defeating the Swordsman; the original Power Man; Doctor Doom and Kang once again. They are soon rejoined by Henry Pym (who changes his name to Goliath), the Wasp, Hercules, the Black Knight and the Black Widow, although the last two do not obtain official membership status until later in the book's history.

Under the tenure of Roy Thomas as writer, the stories begin to focus more intently on characterization. The Black Panther joins the team, followed by the Vision. Thomas also established that the Avengers are headquartered in a New York City building called Avengers Mansion, provided courtesy of Tony Stark (Iron Man's alter ego), who also funds the Avengers through the Maria Stark Foundation, a non-profit organization. The mansion is serviced by Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers' faithful butler, and also furnished with state-of-the-art technology and defense systems, including the Avengers' primary mode of transport: the five-engine Quinjets.

The 1970s

The Avengers in "The Korvac Saga", from The Avengers #175 (Sept. 1978). Art by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin.
The Avengers in "The Korvac Saga", from The Avengers #175 (Sept. 1978). Art by Dave Cockrum and Terry Austin.

Thomas continued his run into the early 1970s, with highlights including a version of the Justice League called the Squadron Supreme and the Kree-Skrull War, a ten-part storyline about an epic battle between the Kree and Skrull races and guest-starring the Kree hero Captain Marvel. This storyline also features the first disbanding of the Avengers, as Skrulls impersonating Captain America, Thor and Iron Man use their authority as founders of the team to disband it. The true founding Avengers, minus the Wasp, reform the team in the 100th issue in response to complaints from Jarvis.

The Vision falls in love with the Scarlet Witch, who eventually responds with a love of her own. Their relationship, however, is tinged with sadness as the Vision believes himself to be inhuman and unworthy of her.

Writer Steve Englehart continued with the emphasis on the cosmic, introducing Mantis, who joins the team along with the reformed Swordsman. Englehart linked her origins to the very beginnings of the Kree-Skrull conflict in a time-spanning adventure involving Kang the Conqueror and the mysterious Immortus, who are revealed to be past and future versions of each other. Mantis is revealed to be the Celestial Madonna, who is destined to give birth to a being that would save the universe. This saga also reveals that the Vision's body had only been appropriated, and not created, by Ultron, and that it had originally belonged to the 1940s Human Torch. With his origins now clear to him, the Vision finally summons up the courage to propose to the Scarlet Witch. The Celestial Madonna saga ends with their wedding, presided over by Immortus, a future version of Kang.

Englehart's tenure coincided with the debut of George Pérez as artist. The Avengers #141 (Aug. 1975) After Englehart's departure, Jim Shooter began as writer and penned several long story arcs including "Bride of Ultron", the "Nefaria Trilogy" and "The Korvac Saga", featuring nearly every Avenger in the canon. New members added during this time include the Beast; a resurrected Wonder Man; Captain America's former partner the Falcon; and Ms. Marvel.

Shooter also introduced the character of Henry Peter Gyrich, the Avengers' liaison to the United States National Security Council. Gyrich is prejudiced against superhumans, and acts in a heavy-handed, obstructive manner, insisting that the Avengers follow government rules and regulations or else lose their priority status with the government. Among Gyrich's demands is that the active roster be trimmed down to only seven members, and that the Falcon, an African American, be admitted to the team to comply with affirmative action laws. This last action is particularly resented by Hawkeye, who because of the seven-member limit loses his slot to the Falcon. The Falcon, in turn, is unhappy to be the beneficiary of what he perceives to be tokenism, and decides to resign from the team, after which Hawkeye rejoins.

The 1980s

The Avengers #200 (Oct. 1980). Cover art by George Pérez Terry Austin.
The Avengers #200 (Oct. 1980). Cover art by George Pérez Terry Austin.
combination fan art cover and comic book cover by Amylynn Issue 239 was part of a special assistant editor's month that year. This particular comic featured a guest appearance by David Letterman.
combination fan art cover and comic book cover by Amylynn Issue 239 was part of a special assistant editor's month that year. This particular comic featured a guest appearance by David Letterman.

Shooter's greatest contribution during this period was a storyline that chronicled the breakdown of Henry Pym. Shooter saw Pym's frequent changes of costume and name as symptomatic of an identity problem and an inferiority complex. After abusing his wife; failing to win back the confidence of the Avengers with a ruse and being duped by the villain Egghead, Pym is jailed. The main writer during the 80's was Roger Stern, who resolved the Pym storyline by having Pym outwit Egghead and defeat the latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil single-handedly, thereby proving his innocence. Pym reconciles with the Wasp, but they decide to remain apart. Pym also retires from superheroics, but returns some years later.

Stern developed several major storylines, such as "Ultimate Vision"; the formation of the West Coast Avengers; and "Avengers Under Siege", which involves the second Baron Zemo. Zemo reforms the Masters of Evil, now a virtual army of super villains, and conducts a coordinated attack on the Avengers in an attempt to break Captain America's spirit. The plan finally failed, but not before Hercules was beaten and rendered catatonic. This immediately led into the "War on Olympus" storyline, as an enraged Zeus decides the Avengers are to blame for Hercules' injuries. New members during the 1980s included an African American Captain Marvel named Monica Rambeau (who became the team's new leader); She-Hulk; Tigra, Namor, and Hawkeye's wife, Mockingbird, while Henry Pym emerges from retirement to join the West Coast Avengers.

In 1988, Stern left the title in the middle of a storyline after a disagreement with Editor Mark Gruenwald over the removal of Captain Marvel as Avengers chairman. She was to appear incompetent and be replaced by Captain America. Gruenwald believed that Captain America's return as Avengers chairman would boost sales of the character's solo title. Stern disagreed and after expressing his views was dismissed from the title.


John Byrne eventually took over writing both titles and made several significant contributions, including a revamp of the Vision; Wonder Man harboring feelings for the Scarlet Witch and the discovery that the children of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are actually illusions. The loss of the Scarlet Witch's children and the Vision drives her insane, although she eventually recovers and rejoins the team. This, however, would have repercussions years later.

The 1990s

The 90s were a turbulent time for Marvel Comics, as the company adopted an aggressive business expansion model tied to increased publication. This coincided with a speculators' boom (which was followed by an industry-wide slump, which proved devastating for Marvel: filing for bankruptcy in 1997). Bob Harras and Steve Epting took over the title, and introduced a stable lineup with ongoing storylines and character development focused on the Black Knight, Sersi, Crystal, Quicksilver, Hercules and the Vision. During this period, the team finds themselves facing increasingly murderous enemies, and are forced to question their rule against killing.

This culminated in "Operation: Galactic Storm", a 19-part storyline that runs over all Avengers-related titles and showcases a conflict between the Kree and the Shi'ar Empire. An argument of the actions of The Supreme Intelligence, which resulted in mass genocide, splits the team. Iron Man and several dissidents execute the Supreme Intelligence against the wishes of Captain America.

After the vote disbanding the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man would form a proactive and aggressive team called Force Works. During the team's first mission Wonder Man is apparently killed again (his atoms are simply scattered and reform later). Force Works later disbands after it is revealed that Iron Man has become a murderer courtesy of the manipulations of the villain Kang.Force Works concluded its run with issue #22 (Apr 1996).

"Heroes Reborn"

The Avengers vol. 2, #11 (Sept. 1997), showing the Heroes Reborn Avengers. Cover art by Michael Ryan and Sal Regla.
The Avengers vol. 2, #11 (Sept. 1997), showing the Heroes Reborn Avengers. Cover art by Michael Ryan and Sal Regla.

Along with the Fantastic Four and others, the Avengers team-members apparently die stopping the gestalt psychic entity Onslaught, although it is later revealed that Franklin Richards preserves these heroes in the "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe. Believing the main team gone, the Black Widow disbands the Avengers, with only butler Jarvis remaining to look after the Mansion.

Marvel contracted out several titles set in the pocket universe to Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld, two of the founding creators of Image Comics. The previous continuity of the Marvel Universe was set aside as the heroes were "reborn" in this new setting. While the Avengers was relaunched as a new series, the "Heroes Reborn" line ended after a year as planned and the license reverted to Marvel. [see publication history]

"Heroes Return"

Writer Kurt Busiek and penciler George Pérez launched a new volume of the series with The Avengers vol. 3, #1 (Feb. 1998). Busiek also concurrently wrote the limited series Avengers Forever, a time-travel story that explored the history of the Avengers and resolved many outstanding questions and loose ends. New members during this run included the former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers (now Warbird); the revived Wonder Man; Justice; Firestar; Silverclaw; and Triathlon.

"Avengers Disassembled"

Pérez eventually left the title and Busiek completed his run with a story arc involving the despotic time-travel master Kang and the destruction of several cities. Successor writer Geoff Johns dealt with the aftermath, as the Avengers are granted international authority by the United Nations. Members joining during this period included Jack of Hearts and the second Ant-Man. Chuck Austen followed as writer, and added a new Captain Britain to the team. Writer Brian Michael Bendis then rebooted the title with of the storyline "Avengers Disassembled".The "Avengers Disassembled" story ran through several titles, with the final chapters featured in The Avengers #500-#503 (Sept.-Dec. 2004). Entitled "Chaos", the story featured the deaths of some members and a loss of credibility for the team. The culprit is revealed to be the Scarlet Witch, who has gone insane after agonizing over the memory of her lost children and who subsequently loses control of her reality-altering powers. Doctor Strange is forced to put the Scarlet Witch in a coma, and she is taken away by her father, Magneto.The story of the Scarlet Witch continued in the mostly biweekly limited series House of M #1-8 (Aug.-Dec. 2005) With the team in disarray and Avengers Mansion a wreck, the surviving members agree to disband.


Other versions

1950s Avengers

A short-lived team of superheroes banded together in the 1950s and called themselves the "Avengers". This team consisted of Marvel Boy; Venus; the 3-D Man; Gorilla-Man; the Human Robot; Jimmy Woo; Namora and Jann of the Jungle.What If (vol. 1) #9 (Jun 1978) Marvel Comics It was portrayed years later in Avengers Forever that these events occurred in an alternate timeline—one that was erased by Immortus using the Forever Crystal.Avengers Forever #1 - #12 (Dec 1998 - Feb 2000) Marvel Comics Recent developments confirm that a version of the group did exist in mainstream continuity, and eventually reformed in the present day.Agents of Atlas #1 - #6 (Oct 2006 - Mar 2007) Marvel Comics

New Avengers

See New Avengers

Promotional art for a variant cover of New Avengers #1 (Feb 2005)
Promotional art for a variant cover of New Avengers #1 (Feb 2005)

With the original Avengers organization disbanded and faced with an escape attempt from the Raft, one of the supervillian prisons, a new team formed using the Avengers name but did not resume its previous charters dispite having a three previous members being members of the original team. This version was found by Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) and Spider-Man. The majority of this team opposed the Superhuman Registration Act and used the Avengers name and were referred to as Secret Avengers during Civil War and was aided by other anti-Registration heroes. Is now a team of unregistered superheroes after Civil War on the run from the law while still fighting the villians.

Mighty Avengers

See Mighty Avengers

Interior art from The Mighty Avengers #07 (Jan. 2008).Pencils by Mark Bagley
Interior art from The Mighty Avengers #07 (Jan. 2008).
Pencils by Mark Bagley

The Initiatives's current Avengers team based in New York City. Their roster includes Spider-Woman, Wonder Man, Iron Man, Wasp, Ares, The Sentry, and is led by Ms. Marvel.

Avengers Next

See A-Next In the alternate future timeline known as MC2, the Avengers have disbanded and Avengers Mansion is now a museum. An emergency forces Edwin Jarvis to sound an alert, and a new generation of heroes form a new team of Avengers. Most of the new Avengers are children of established Marvel superheroes.

The Ultimates

Template:Main In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, the Avengers are named "The Ultimates", and were formed by Ultimate Nick Fury to protect America against superhuman threats. Ultimates 1 #1 - #12 (Mar 2002 - Apr 2004) Marvel Comics

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers

In 2006, Marvel Adventures (Marvel Comics' "All Ages" line) began a new Avengers series, featuring a line-up of Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man (supplanting Ant-Man), Wolverine, Storm, the Hulk and Giant-Girl (Janet van Dyne, the Wasp in regular continuity). Recent issues have referred to Storm as the co-leader of the team. The series takes place in its own continuity, as with most of the other titles in the Marvel Adventures line.

House of M: Avengers

In the altered-reality created by the Scarlet Witch, where mutants are predominant, Luke Cage bands together a rag tag team of superpowered humans to fight for human rights.

In other media

Novels

  • The Avengers Battle the Earth-Wrecker by Otto Binder was published as a mass market paperback novel by Bantam Books (F3569) in June 1967. The cover illustration depicted Captain America, Goliath, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but inside Iron Man and the Wasp were active members, with the mutant siblings briefly mentioned as past Avengers, along with Thor (the Hulk, despite having been a charter member, was not referenced at all). The team was also featured in the Pocket Books line of Marvel-based paperback novels of the late 1970s.

Animated series

Guest appearances

  • The Avengers appeared briefly in the 1966 The Marvel Superheroes Show.
  • The team also made appearances in the 1980 Spider-Man animated series ("Arsenic and Aunt May"); the 1994 Fantastic Four cartoon ("To Battle the Living Planet" and "Doomsday"), and in the X-Men animated series.

The Avengers: United They Stand

The Avengers (also known as The Avengers: United They Stand), was an animated series consisting of thirteen episodes. It originally aired from October 30, 1999 to February 26, 2000, and was produced by Avi Arad and distributed by 20th Century Fox Television. This series featured a team comprising of Ant-Man (leader); the Wasp; Wonder Man; Tigra; Hawkeye and the Scarlet Witch. The Falcon and the Vision were added to the roster in the opening episodes. Captain America and Iron Man only make one appearance each, while Thor does not appear in the series outside of the opening titles.

Animated films

Marvel released two Avengers animated, direct-to-DVD feature films, Ultimate Avengers and Ultimate Avengers 2: Rise of the Black Panther, (both loosely based on the Ultimates), the first released in February 2006, followed by its sequel in August 2006. See Ultimate Avengers DVD store listings

Video and computer games

In 1991, the Avengers were featured in the arcade and console game Captain America and the Avengers.

In 1995 a videogame called "Avengers in Galactic Storm" based on the events of the Operation: Galactic Storm was published by Data East Corporation in the arcades in Japan and USA. It is now emulated by MAME.

The Avengers feature prominently in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance videogame. See Marvel:Ultimate Alliance Store listing

Film

It was revealed in early August 2006 by a stock market report that The Avengers was listed under Marvel films in development. It was later revealed that Zak Penn, writer of the critically panned X-Men: The Last Stand, Elektra and Inspector Gadget will be writing a live-action Avengers script, though he did write the critically acclaimed " X2: X-Men United" script.

Iron Man director Jon Favreau said he would like to direct a film adaptation of The Avengers. This would be a crossover to fictional universes in other upcoming Marvel films such as The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. He also explained that Marvel has told him that "they're pretty clear on wanting to do it with the actors who’ve established the roles or to not do it at all." He continued, "I think it’s a good idea if you use the characters established in the other franchises that then come together for an event."

See also


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