The Avengers

ant-man.jpgcaptain america.gifhulk.pngiron man.jpgthor.jpgwasp.pngFounding Members
The Avengers is a team of superheroes, often called "Earth's Mightiest Heroes." The Avengers originally consisted of Iron Man (Tony Stark), Ant-Man (Dr. Henry Pym), Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Thor, and the Hulk (Bruce Banner). The original Captain America was soon discovered by the team, trapped in ice, and he joined the group when they revived him. The rotating roster has become a hallmark of the team, although their mission remains consistent: the Avengers fight "the foes no single superhero can withstand". The team, famous for its battle cry of "Avengers Assemble!", has featured humans, mutants, robots, gods, aliens, supernatural beings, and even former villains.

The Avengers have traditionally been headquartered in a New York City building called Avengers Mansion, provided courtesy of Tony Stark (Iron Man's real identity), 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. At other times it has used other facilities (such as a mansion in Los Angeles for the West Coast Avengers).

The Avengers’ first adventure involved the Asgardian god Loki. Loki sought revenge against his brother Thor. Using an illusion, Loki tricked the Hulk into destroying a railroad track. He then diverted a radio call by Rick Jones for help to Thor, whom Loki hoped would battle the Hulk. Unknown to Loki, Ant-Man, the Wasp, and Iron Man also answered the radio call. After an initial misunderstanding, the heroes united and defeated Loki. Ant-Man stated that the five work well together and suggested they form a combined team; the Wasp named the group "the Avengers" because it sounded "dramatic".

The roster began changing almost immediately. Ant-Man became Giant-Man. The Hulk left after he realized everyone feared his unstable personality. The Avengers then added Captain America after rescuing him from the Arctic. The Avengers went on to fight foes such as Captain America's wartime enemy Baron Zemo (who formed the Masters of Evil), Kang the Conqueror, Wonder Man, and Count Nefaria.

The next milestone came when every member but Captain America resigned and were replaced by three former villains: Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Although lacking the raw power of the original team, they proved their worth by fighting and defeating the Swordsman, the original Power Man and Doctor Doom. Soon Henry Pym (who changed his name again to Goliath) rejoined the Avengers along with the Wasp, Hercules, the Black Knight, and the Black Widow. Later the Black Panther and Vision joined the team.

The Avengers became embroiled in epic battles, such as the Kree-Skrull War, The Bride of Ultron, the Nefaria Saga, and The Korvac Saga. The Vision and the Scarlet Witch fell in love. New members joined, such as Beast, a resurrected Wonder Man, Captain America’s former partner the Falcon, and Ms. Marvel.

At this point Henry Pym begins to have a breakdown. He frequently changes his costume and name (which is 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. Pym is later freed and reconciles with the Wasp, but they decide to remain apart. Pym also retires from superheroics, but returns some years later.

The Avengers weather other big events, such as Vision controlling the world’s computers, the formation of the West Coast Avengers, and "Avengers Under Siege", which involved the second Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil taking over the mansion and severely injuring Jarvis and Hercules. There was also the "War on Olympus" in which Hercules' father Zeus blamed the Avengers for his son's injuries and brought them to Olympus for trial. New members during this time included an African American Captain Marvel named Monica Rambeau (who became the team's new leader), She-Hulk, Tigra, Namor, Starfox and Hawkeye's wife, Mockingbird.

The Avengers decide to have “active” and “reserve” members at this point. The group then realizes that the children of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision are actually illusions. The loss of the Scarlet Witch's children and the Vision (who is disassembled by government agents in retaliation for controlling the world’s computers) drives her insane, although she eventually recovers and rejoins the team. The group learned that the Scarlet Witch's powers include wide-range reality manipulation.

The Avengers survived a plot by Loki to destroy the team in which he assembled many arch-villains (with his inner circle consisting of Doctor Doom, Magneto, Kingpin, Mandarin, Wizard, and Red Skull). This lead to "Operation: Galactic Storm", an epic conflict between the Kree and the Shi'ar Empire. The team split when Iron Man and several dissidents executed the Supreme Intelligence against the wishes of Captain America. After a vote disbanding the West Coast Avengers, Iron Man formed a proactive and aggressive team called Force Works. During the team's first mission Wonder Man was apparently killed again (his atoms are actually only temporarily scattered). Force Works later disbanded after it is revealed that Iron Man has become a murderer via the manipulations of the villain Kang.

At this point the Avengers were granted international authority by the United Nations. Members joining during this period included Jack of Hearts, the second Ant-Man, and Captain Britain. Not long after, the Scarlet Witch, who went insane after agonizing over the memory of her lost children and who subsequently lost control of her reality-altering powers, killed several Avengers and destroyed Avengers Mansion. The surviving members agreed to disband.

A new Avengers team briefly formed following the events of House of M, coming together as the result of a massive jailbreak at The Raft prison facility. This New Avengers lineup was composed of Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, Wolverine, Ronin, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Sentry. This did not last long, however, as the Superhero Civil War began.

Heroes were split over compliance with the U.S. government's new Superhuman Registration Act requiring all superpowered persons to register their true identifies with the federal government and become agents of same. The New Avengers disbanded, with a rebel underground opposed to the act forms. Luke Cage led this underground Avengers team. The team consisted of himself, Echo, Ronin, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Wolverine, Iron Fist, and Doctor Strange. During the long-term infiltration of Earth by the shape-shifting alien race the Skrulls, it is revealed that Drew had been abducted and replaced by the Skrull queen Veranke. After the Skrulls' defeat, Drew, among other abducted and replaced heroes, was rescued. Next Echo and Iron Fist left the team and the Avengers replace them with Ms. Marvel, Captain America (Bucky Barnes), and Mockingbird.

The New Avengers became an officially recognized team given independence from Stark's more traditional Avengers by Captain Steve Rogers, primarily due to Cage's distrust of a government backed superhero group. Captain America left the team to solely serve the main Avengers, Iron Fist rejoined the team, and Power Woman and Thing were also added to the roster. Steve Rogers had an occasional presence and Victoria Hand was added with his backing, causing controversy among the other members due to her previous ties to Norman Osborn.

Meanwhile, in response to the Civil War, Iron Man reformed the official team under the aegis of the government's Fifty State Initiative program, taking up residency in New York City with the roster of Ares, the Black Widow, Iron Man, the Sentry, the Wasp, Wonder Man, and leader Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers).

All but Ares and the Sentry left this team (except for the Wasp, who died in the Secret Invasion) as it was taken over by Norman Osborn. The new team gains the nickname “The Dark Avengers.” In response to this, Hank Pym, assuming the Wasp identity of his fallen ex-wife, leads a new team of Avengers, claiming the name for his team as he is the only founding Avenger on any of the three active Avengers rosters. His team operated under a multi-national umbrella group called the Global Reaction Agency for Mysterious Paranormal Activity (GRAMPA). This team featured the roster of Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Stature, the Vision, Jocasta, U.S. Agent, Quicksilver, and Hank Pym. Scarlet Witch (who was actually Loki in disguise) was a recurring member. Iron Man and Hulk were briefly with them during their battle with Chthon.

After the events of "Secret Invasion", Norman Osborn assumed control of the formerly S.H.I.E.L.D.-sponsored Avengers, now under the auspices of his own agency, H.A.M.M.E.R. He retained Ares and Sentry from the previous team, and recruited Marvel Boy to pose as Captain Marvel and Daken to pose as his father, Wolverine, and brings Moonstone, Bullseye, and Venom from his previous Thunderbolts team to impersonate Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, and Spider-Man, respectively. After the Siege event, the team disbands – as do all other Avengers teams.

Captain America resurrects the Avengers once Osborn is deposed. The new team includes Thor, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Woman, and Iron Man. He later recruits Captain Britain, Noh-Varr, and the Red Hulk.

The New Avengers re-forms as well, with a roster including Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Thing, Wolverine and later Daredevil.

Captain America also forms a team of Secret Avengers which he leads alongside Hawkeye. This team includes Agent 13, Ant-Man, Beast, Black Widow, Captain Britain, Giant-Man, Human Torch, Valkyrie, Venom, and War Machine.

The Age of X Avengers in the year 2020 are comprised of Captain America, Ghost Rider, Invisible Woman, Redback (Spider Woman), Steel Corpse (Iron Man), and the Hulk. In this time period they are the champions of the human resistance and are trying to cause conflict with the two mutant nations that comprise what used to be the United States.