Avengers (comics)

From Academic Kids

Template:Superteambox The Avengers are a Marvel Comics superhero team, comprised of many of the Marvel Universe's most popular and powerful heroes and the Marvel Comics counterpart to DC Comics' Justice League of America. The title was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, and has had many of the comic industry's finest writers and artists work on it over the years. The Avengers #1 debuted in September 1963 (the same month as the debut of the X-Men) and has continued, virtually uninterrupted, to the present day, with stories often exploring the meaning of what it means to be human or superhuman, and the role and responsibilities of superheroes. The title has just been relaunched in its fourth incarnation, as the New Avengers. Two companion titles were published in the 1980s; The West Coast Avengers (later re-titled Avengers West Coast), Volume 1 being a four-issue limited series, with #1 debuting September 1984, and Volume 2, 102 issues, #1 published October 1985, #102 in January 1994; and Solo Avengers (later Avengers Spotlight), which ran 40 issues from 1987 to 1989.


Contents

Overview

Marvel Comics' original answer to the Justice League was to create the Fantastic Four, a team of original heroes, not ones that already had their own series. The Avengers were truer to the concept of the all-star superhero team.

Unlike most other superhero teams in the Marvel Universe, the Avengers team received official recognition from the government almost from its beginnings and its authority was recognized internationally throughout most of its history, although the extent of that recognition has waxed and waned. As stated in the preamble that graced the top of the first page of the comic throughout the 1970s, its purpose is to "fight the foes no single super hero could withstand." To that end, the roster of "Earth's Mightest Heroes" has featured humans, nonhumans, mechanical heroes, former villains and supernatural beings. Despite their many differences (which often erupted into infighting), they have managed to unite into a cohesive team to combat extraordinary threats to the world, coming together to their rallying cry, "Avengers Assemble!"

History

Origins

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Avengers #4 (March 1964), the return of Captain America. Art by Jack Kirby.

Trapped on the Isle of Silence, Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief, plotted revenge against his half-brother Thor. Hoping to lure Thor into the open, he focused his mind on the Hulk, tricking him into destroying a railroad trestle. The Hulk went on the run, being pursued by the Army. Rick Jones, the Hulk's sidekick, decided to contact the Fantastic Four, but Loki diverted the radio signal so that it was received instead by Thor's alter ego Dr Donald Blake, who transformed into his heroic self. The diverted signal was also received by Ant Man, the Wasp and Iron Man. The four gathered together and were briefed by Jones. Suspecting Loki's involvement, Thor went to the Isle of Silence while the other three hunted down the Hulk, trying to reason with him. The fight between the Hulk and the others continued until Thor brought Loki to Earth and revealed the evil god's scheme. After defeating Loki, Ant-Man pointed out that they worked well together and suggested they work as a combined force. The Wasp named the group, and the Avengers were born.

The team's line-up changed almost immediately. Ant-Man became Giant-Man, and the Hulk's unstable personality proved incapable of control. By the end of the second issue, the Hulk left the team after realizing how much the others feared him. Trying to contain the Hulk led the Avengers to combat Namor the Sub-Mariner, and that in turn led to the first major milestone in the Avengers' history - the return of Captain America in Avengers #4 (March 1964). The 1940s patriotic hero was discovered frozen in suspended animation since the end of World War II, and needed a place where he could adjust to being a man decades out of time. Captain America joined the Avengers, beginning an almost indelible association with the team. His tactical experience was instantly apparent, and his combat awareness made him able coordinate the myriad powers and abilities of his fellow members into a formidable attack force. Even when the chairmanship of the team was held by others, Captain America has always been the de facto commander of the team in the field, and few hesitate in carrying out his orders in battle.

The original members who put their names to the Avengers Charter are known as the "founding members", 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. When the Hulk left and made known in no uncertain terms he wanted nothing to do with the team, Captain America was given "founding member" status in his place.

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Avengers #57 (October 1968), the debut of the Vision. Art by John Buscema.

Together, the Avengers fought foes such as Captain America's wartime enemy Baron Zemo, who formed the Masters of Evil, the time-travelling villainy of Kang the Conquerer, Count Nefaria, and the Lava Men. The next milestone was Avengers #16, which saw the resignation of all the members of the team except for Captain America. They were replaced by Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, all former criminals. Don Heck also took over the art chores from Jack Kirby. With less raw power than the team that preceded them, "Cap's Kooky Quartet" (as they were known) were not expected to be able to hold their own, but they proved their worth by fighting and defeating the Swordsman, the original Power Man, Doctor Doom and Kang once again. They were soon rejoined by Henry Pym (who changed his name yet again to Goliath) and the Wasp. The team began to grow once more, with the Greek demigod Hercules, the Black Knight and the Black Widow also joining. The constant changing of the roster, with heroes joining, leaving and returning, became a hallmark of the series, with "the old order changeth" becoming a catch phrase.

Under the tenure of Roy Thomas as writer, the stories began to focus more intently on characterization. Thomas created the android hero the Vision in Avengers #57 (October 1968), who was loosely based on another 1940s hero of the same name. The Vision was a synthezoid - an android with artificial human organs - the creation of the homicidal android Ultron (who in turn had been built by Goliath). The Vision's body had been encoded with the mind patterns of the then-deceased Wonder Man, and rebelled against Ultron's directives to aid the Avengers in defeating Ultron for the second time. The Avengers then voted the Vision onto the roster. The Vision was a tragic hero due to the extent to which he stood apart from his human (or nearly-human) companions, his assimilation into human society was akin to that of Mr. Spock from Star Trek. John Buscema was the primary artist on the book during Thomas' 1960s run. Another highlight came in #60 (January 1969) when Goliath (who had become Yellowjacket) finally married Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp.

Thomas also established that the Avengers were headquartered in a New York City building named Avengers Mansion, which was provided by Tony Stark, the secret identity of Iron Man. Stark not only provided the mansion and Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers' faithful butler, but also furnished the mansion with state of the art technology and defense systems, including the Avengers' primary mode of transport, the five-engined quinjets. Tony Stark also funded the Avengers through the Maria Stark Foundation, a non-profit organization.

The 1970s

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Avengers #137 (July 1975), in which Beast joins the team. Art by John Romita.

Thomas continued his run in the early 1970s, introducing a pastiche of the Justice League called the Squadron Supreme in #85 (February 1970). Buscema left the title later that year, and the run up to #100 (June 1972) included the Kree-Skrull War, an epic interstellar conflict between the Kree and Skrull alien races, involving the Kree hero Captain Marvel, with Earth caught in the crossfire. The war was resolved when the Kree Supreme Intelligence unlocked the latent mental powers of Rick Jones, which paralyzed the warring fleets long enough for an uneasy truce to be called. The Kree-Skrull War also featured early work by artists Neal Adams and Barry Windsor-Smith, and marked the beginning of a period where the Avengers' adventures steadily grew more cosmic in scope. The Vision's love for the Scarlet Witch became more and more apparent, but although she returned his feelings, he held back because he believed himself to be inhuman and unworthy of her.

Steve Englehart continued this trend, introducing Mantis in #113 (August 1973), who joined 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 Conquerer and the mysterious Immortus, who were revealed to be past and future versions of each other. Mantis turned out to be the Celestial Madonna, who was destined to give birth to a being that would save the universe. The Celestial Madonna saga also revealed that the Vision's body had just been appropriated by Ultron, and that it originally belonged to the 1940s Human Torch. With his origins now clear to him, the Vision finally summoned up the courage to propose to the Scarlet Witch. The Celestial Madonna saga ended with the wedding.

Englehart's tenure coincided with the debut of George Pérez on the book in #141 (August 1975). A newcomer to comics, Pérez's early work was strongly reminiscent of Kirby's, and he would go on to become one of the most popular comic book artists of the next 15 years.

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Avengers #176 (October 1978), the Avengers confront Korvac. Art by John Romita, Jr.

After Englehart's departure, Jim Shooter took over the writing chores. Shooter conceived and wrote the Korvac Saga, a multi-issue storyline which involved Michael Korvac, a villain from the 30th Century who acquired the powers of a god from an alien device belonging to Galactus. He planned to remake the universe in his own image, but his plans were interrupted by the Avengers. In an explosive confrontation in #177 (November 1978), nearly all the Avengers died. However, betrayed by the woman he loved and therefore losing the will to live, the dying Korvac used the last of his godlike powers to restore the heroes to life. The saga examined the tension between Korvac's claimed goals of universal order and questioned whether the Avengers were right to oppose him. Although the original ending was ambiguous as to the answer, when the Korvac Saga was reprinted years later in a collected edition an additional epilogue was added to make it clear that Korvac was in the wrong.

David Michelinie and John Byrne also contributed stories and art to the book in the 1970s. New members added during this time include the Beast, a resurrected Wonder Man, Captain America's former partner the Falcon, and Ms. Marvel. The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver took a leave of absence from the team to seek out the truth of their parentage. It was also during this time that steps were taken to pare down the size of the team, which had gathered over a dozen active and supporting members.

During the Korvac Saga, Shooter introduced the character of Henry Peter Gyrich, the Avenger's liaison to the National Security Council. Gyrich was prejudiced against superhumans, and acted 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 was 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 was particularly resented by Hawkeye, who because of the seven-member limit, had lost his slot to the Falcon. The Falcon, in turn, was none too pleased to be a beneficiary of what he perceived to be tokenism. The Falcon decided in the end to resign from the team, and Hawkeye rejoined.

The 1980s

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Avengers #277 (March 1987), the climax of the "Siege of Avengers Mansion". Art by John Buscema and Tom Palmer.

Shooter returned with #211 (September 1981), his biggest contribution during this period being 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. Jealous of his wife's fortune and frustrated by the failure of his own research, Pym eventually lost his temper with Janet and struck her. His personality growing more and more unstable, he recklessly lashed out in combat against an enemy that Captain America was trying to reason with, turning the negotiation into a fiasco. Put before an Avengers court martial for this action, Yellowjacket tried to "redeem" himself by having a robot that he constructed attack the Avengers so that he could heroically save the day. Unfortunately, it was the Wasp who deactivated the robot, revealing Pym's ruse. Yellowjacket was expelled from the Avengers in disgrace. At his lowest ebb, Pym was contacted by his old enemy Egghead, and blackmailed into stealing top secret government information. Pym was caught, but with no evidence to prove his innocence, was sent to jail pending trial. Janet also filed for divorce.

After a few fill-in issues by other writers, Roger Stern took over, writing the book for the next 6 years, primarily illustrated by Al Milgrom, Joe Sinnott, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer. Stern introduced a new Captain Marvel to the Avengers, an African American woman named Monica Rambeau (she later changed her name to Photon). He also picked up the threads of Pym's shattered life, leading to Pym finally defeating Egghead's latest incarnation of the Masters of Evil single-handed and proving his innocence. Pym made his peace with the Wasp, but they decided to remain apart. Pym also decided to retire from superheroics, but returned to it some years later.

Stern's era saw several major storylines, including the "Ultimate Vision" storyline, when the Vision, who had merged with the Titanian Eternal computer ISAAC and was under the influence of a control crystal, decided that the Avengers should take over the world for its own good. The Vision began to manipulate the team towards this goal. Under ISAAC's mental influence, Gyrich stepped down as NSC liaison, to be replaced by the milder Raymond Sikorski, who removed most of the strictures Gyrich had imposed. The Vision expanded the team's roster, created a new branch of the Avengers in California led by Hawkeye. Eventually the other Avengers discovered the Vision's plan and stopped him, the Vision removing the control crystal and coming to his senses. The Avengers decided to retain the West Coast Avengers team, which graduated into their own title that lasted for about 10 years. Captain America also decided to retain the member limit Gyrich imposed, and pared it down further to six members per branch to prevent the team from becoming too unweildy.

Another significant storyline was the "Siege of Avengers Mansion". The second Baron Zemo had reformed the Masters of Evil in its most powerful incarnation yet, and performed a coordinated attack on the Avengers in an attempt to break Captain America's spirit. The Masters trapped several members within the Mansion and kept the others outside. Jarvis was nearly killed by Mr. Hyde, Captain America's keepsakes were destroyed and Hercules beaten into a coma. Captain America, however, refused to break, and with the Wasp coordinating efforts from the outside, eventually the Avengers triumphed once more.

New Avengers during the 1980s included She-Hulk, Tigra, Namor and Hawkeye's wife Mockingbird. Henry Pym emerged from retirement to join the West Coast Avengers. Stern's run was also notable for its strong female characters, like Monica Rambeau, who even chaired the Avengers for a time. Also in the chairman's seat at one point was the Wasp, whose previously flighty exterior concealed a strong leader. Stern left the title abruptly in 1988, in the middle of a storyline after a disagreement with editor Mark Gruenwald over the removal of Captain Marvel as Avengers chairman. Stern did not see how this would work without looking racist or sexist, and after voicing his misgivings, was dismissed from the title. Stern then went over to DC Comics. [1] (http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe/msg/2e239a0caccaa323) After a few fill-in story arcs by Walt Simonson and Ralph Macchio, the writing was taken over by John Byrne, who was also doing the Avengers West Coast title at the time.

A storyline which had repercussions for both the Avengers and Avengers West Coast titles was a plot by several world governments to abduct and dismantle the Vision for his near takeover of the world. The Vision was reassembled, but his personality was largely a blank, emotionless state. Wonder Man, who as the Vision's "twin" also harbored feelings for the Scarlet Witch, refused to serve as a template for his brother's thoughts again.

The 1990s

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Avengers (vol. 1), #347 (May 1992), the end of "Operation: Galactic Storm". Art by Steve Epting and Tom Palmer.

The 1990s were a turbulent time for the Avengers, as Marvel Comics was aggressively trying to expand its business by greatly increasing the number of comics it published. This coincided with the speculators' boom in the industry as a whole. Marvel then fell on hard times in the ensuing industry-wide slump, and filed for bankruptcy in 1997. After a period of creative turbulence for the title, Bob Harras and Steve Epting took over the title, and reintroduced a stable lineup, with ongoing storylines and character-development largely focused around the Black Knight, Sersi, Crystal, Quicksilver, Hercules and the Vision. During this period, the team found themselves facing increasingly murderous enemies, and were forced to question their rule against killing.

Things came to a head in the epic "Operation: Galactic Storm", a 19-part storyline that was told across seven related titles, Captain America, Avengers West Coast, Quasar, Wonder Man, Iron Man, Thor and of course Avengers. A sequel of sorts to the Kree-Skrull War, this time the conflict was between the Kree and the Shi'ar Empire. The Supreme Intelligence, knowing that the Kree had reached an evolutionary dead end, tried to jump start the race's evolution by manipulating the various factions involved into detonating a nega-bomb over the Kree homeworld. The Avengers tried to stop this but they were too late, and the explosion decimated the Kree Empire, killing a large percentage of its population but succeeding in restoring the evolutionary potential of the race. Faced with the scale of destruction and the entity that had orchestrated such genocide, a schism developed between those that wanted to execute the arguably inhuman Supreme Intelligence for its crimes and those that felt that they did not have the right to do so. Eventually, Iron Man led the group that apparently killed the Supreme Intelligence. This led to a deeper split and ultimately to the disbanding of the West Coast team. Iron Man used the opportunity to recruit a number of ex-Avengers into a more proactive and aggressive team named Force Works.

When Wonder Man was killed again and Force Works split up, Iron Man attempted a reconciliation with the Avengers and rejoined the ranks. However, it was revealed soon after that a traitor was among the Avengers, and it turned out to be none other than Iron Man himself. It appeared that Kang the Conqueror had been manipulating Stark for years, using him as a sleeper agent and causing him to push aside his friends and unconsciously serve Kang. Stark, fully in Kang's thrall, killed Marilla (the nanny of Crystal and Quicksilver's daughter Luna) as well as Rita DeMara, the female Yellowjacket, then an ally of the Avengers. (It was revealed later that everything had really been the machinations of a disguised Immortus, not Kang, and the mental control had only gone back for a few months.)

Needing help to defeat both Stark and Kang, the team travelled back in time and recruited a teenaged Tony Stark to assist them. The sight of his younger self shocked the older Stark enough for him to regain momentary control of his actions, and he sacrificed his life to stop Kang. "Teen Tony" then later built his own suit to became the "new" Iron Man, remaining in the present. Another change occurring at this time was the transformation of the Wasp into an insect-human hybrid.

"Teen Tony" was part of the Avengers team that went up against the gestalt psychic entity Onslaught, and died together with the rest of the heroes. It was revealed later that Franklin Richards had preserved these heroes in the "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe, but this was not known to the world at large. In the heroes' absence, the Black Widow disbanded the Avengers, with only Jarvis remaining to look after the Mansion. The first series of Avengers ended in September 1996, after 402 issues, 23 Annuals and 5 Giant-Sized specials.

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Avengers (vol. 3), #1 (February 1998), the Heroes Return. Art by George Pérez.

That year, Marvel contracted out several books to Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld, two of the founding creators of Image Comics. These books were set in this pocket universe where the previous continuity of the Marvel Universe was thrown aside as the heroes were "reborn" in this new setting. The Avengers was reborn briefly as a new series, starting with Vol. 2, #1 (November 1996) by Rob Liefeld. The "Heroes Reborn" line ended after only a year, and the Avengers and the other heroes were returned to their own world, with Iron Man restored to adulthood and the Wasp to her old self.

Marvel then relaunched many of their main titles in a line of comics called "Heroes Return", and Avengers (vol. 3) began with another #1 (February 1998), written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Pérez. A rash of attacks by Asgardian creatures on every person who had ever been an Avenger caused the majority of them to gather back together at the Mansion. The attacks were traced to the magics of Morgan le Fay, who had kidnapped the Scarlet Witch and was using her to shape reality into le Fay's own image. Defeating le Fay and reversing her spell, the founding members culled the team down to a manageable number and announced the reforming of the Avengers. They regained their priority status from the government, and a new liaison in Duane Freeman, who unlike Gyrich admired the Avengers and did his best to help them.

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Avengers (vol. 3), #20 (September 1999), part two of "Ultron Unlimited". Art by George Pérez.

Busiek's run harkened back to the heyday of the Avengers in the 1970s and 1980s, and both restored Wonder Man to life and added new members to the team, including Justice, Firestar and Triathlon, who had a connection with the slightly sinister Triune Understanding organization and the 1950s hero the 3-D Man. Busiek's run was known for its attention to continuity and the bringing back of elements from the series' past. "Live Kree or Die", for example, dealt with the consequences of "Operation: Galactic Storm" and saw the return of the Supreme Intelligence.

Simultaneously, Busiek wrote a limited series, Avengers Forever, illustrated by Carlos Pacheco, a time travel story involving Rick Jones, the Supreme Intelligence, Immortus and Kang that explored the history of the Avengers and several continuity loose ends. There, the mystery of the Vision's origins were finally cleared up. Immortus, who had been manipulating the Avengers' history for years, had created a temporal duplicate of the original Human Torch's body which Ultron utilized to create the Vision while the other body had been secreted away to be discovered years later.

Another major storyline during Busiek's tenure was "Ultron Unlimited", which featured Ultron on a scale never seen before, with hundreds of Ultron drones laying waste to an entire country and stretching the team's resources to the breaking point. Because of this, the Avengers decided to become more proactive, keeping firmer tabs on potential threats around the world. The end of Avengers Forever would also dovetail with other storylines and culminate in the Maximum Security crossover miniseries where the Supreme Intelligence, using the Forever Crystal obtained at the end of Avengers Forever, evolved the Kree into the Ruul, a species that could change their evolutionary stages at will.

1998 also saw the launch of A-Next, a series about a "next generation" Avengers, set in the same alternative future of Spider-Girl. However, this series only lasted 12 issues, although the characters continue to occasionally appear in the pages of Spider-Girl.

The 2000s

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Avengers (vol. 3), #49: Kang versus the world. Art by Kieron Dwyer.

Pérez eventually left the title, being succeeded by first Alan Davis and then Kieron Dwyer. Busiek wrapped up his run with the epic "Kang War", which saw the destruction of several major cities, including Washington, D.C.. Busiek wrote Kang as a master strategist, who was only defeated when he was betrayed by his son Marcus, the Scarlet Centurion. Busiek was succeeded as writer on the main Avengers book with Vol. 3, #57 (October 2002) by Geoff Johns, which dealt with the aftermath of the war as the Avengers were given international authority by the United Nations to help rebuild a war-torn Earth. Members joining during this period included Jack of Hearts and Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. Freeman had died when Washington D.C. was destroyed, and his replacement as liaison to the UN was none other than Gyrich, who surprisingly now took his job to back up the Avengers seriously.

Johns left the book after signing an exclusive agreement with DC and was followed by Chuck Austen, who introduced the new Invaders team and a new Captain Britain to the team. Finally, the writing reins fell to Brian Michael Bendis. Bendis planned to reboot the title, and with the blessings of Marvel editorial wrote the Avengers Disassembled storyline, which disposed of several regulars through violent means and demolished the Mansion. Avengers Disassembled ran through several titles, with the climactic chapters in Avengers (vol. 3), #85-88 (October-December 2004), renumbered #500-503 for the occasion.

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New Avengers #7. Art by David Finch. From left to right: Sentry, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, Captain America, Wolverine, and Ronin.

Appropriately titled "Chaos", it began with Ant-Man being killed when the reanimated corpse of Jack of Hearts blew up on the Mansion grounds. Almost immediately after, the Vision crashed a quinjet into what was left of the building and then was ripped apart by the She-Hulk in a sudden fit of rage. An illusory army of Ultrons and a Kree armada attacked, claiming Hawkeye's life in the battle when the archer flew a Kree rocket pack into the underbelly of an attack ship. Tony Stark launched a seemingly drunken tirade at the Latverian ambassador at the United Nations, causing the organization to distance themselves from the Avengers and forcing Stark to resign as the United States Secretary of Defense.

All this senseless mayhem turned out to have been caused by the Scarlet Witch. She had gone insane once more over the memory of her lost children, using her reality-altering powers to create havoc. Eventually, Doctor Strange placed the Witch into a coma, and she was taken away by her father, Magneto. With the team in disarray and the Mansion a wreck, She-Hulk, Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Warbird expressed their desire to leave in the Avengers Finale one-shot (January 2005). Faced with this as well as the loss of both funding by Tony Stark and the authority of the United Nations, the team agreed to disband.

However, this only lasted until the New Avengers #1 (February 2005), written by Bendis and pencilled by David Finch, where Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and the Sentry joined forces to quell a supervillain prison riot at the Raft, the Maximum-Maximum Security Facility at the Ryker's Island prison. The group decided to remain together as the Avengers, with Tony Stark headquartering them in the new Avengers Tower.

Notable issues

  • Vol. 1, #4: "Captain America Lives Again!"
  • Vol. 1, #8: First encounter with Kang the Conqueror
  • Vol. 1, #16: "The Old Order Changeth!" Old Avengers leave, new Avengers replace them for the first time.
  • Vol. 1, #56, Annual #2: The Avengers discover that their time travel has created a universe where the Scarlet Centurion used them to conquer the world.
  • Vol. 1, #57-58: Introduction of the Vision.
  • Vol. 1, #88-97: The Kree-Skrull War, a cosmic epic partly illustrated by Neal Adams.
  • Vol. 1: Notable issues in the Vision/Scarlet Witch romance: #106-108, #113. They married at the end of the Celestial Madonna saga, in Giant-Size #4.
  • Vol. 1, #129-135: The Celestial Madonna saga.
  • Vol. 1, #167-177: The Korvac Saga.
  • Vol. 1, #185-187: The Yesterday Quest: Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch get the first clues to their real parentage.
  • Vol. 1, #200: "The Child is Father To...?" Ms. Marvel gives birth after a few weeks of pregnancy, and the child himself is aging as quickly.
  • Vol. 1, #212-230: The decline, fall, and redemption of Henry Pym.
  • Vol. 1, #243-252: "Ultimate Vision": The Vision takes over the Avengers, and nearly the world.
  • Vol. 1, #273-277: "Siege of Avengers Mansion": The fourth incarnation of the Masters of Evil take over the Avengers' Mansion.
  • Vol. 1, #291-297: The team is torn apart by the manipulations of Terminatrix and her pawn, Doctor Druid, and the Avengers briefly disband.
  • Vol. 1, #345-347: "Operation: Galactic Storm": The Avengers decide the fate of the genocidal Supreme Intelligence.
  • Vol. 1: Notable issues in the "Proctor and the Gatherers Saga": #343-344, 348-349, 355-357, 359-364, 372-375.
  • Vol. 1, #390-395: "The Crossing": Iron Man betrays the Avengers.
  • Vol. 1, #401-402: "Onslaught": The Avengers apparently die battling Onslaught.
  • Vol. 2, #1: "Heroes Reborn": The Avengers are reborn in the pocket universe.
  • Vol. 3, #1-4: "Morganworld": The Avengers reform after their return from the pocket universe to face Morgan le Fay.
  • Vol. 3, #19-22: "Ultron Unlimited": Ultron slaughters a small country and launches his most devastating plan yet - to use the brain patterns of Avengers to breed an army of Ultrons.
  • Vol. 3, #40-55: "Kang War": The Avengers' time-travelling adversary declares war on Earth, actually conquering it for several months.
  • Vol. 3, #85-88 (aka #500-503) and Avengers Finale: "Chaos": Part of the Avengers Disassembled event, the Avengers face their "worst day ever", as a series of disastrous events lead to death, betrayal, and the end of the team's current incarnation, paving the way for the "New Avengers"

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