10 Storylines That Changed The Avengers (In The Comics)
The Avengers are the Marvel Universe’s first and last line of defense against some of the greatest threats. Consisting of some of the most powerful heroes around, the Avengers have a simple mandate: protect the Earth from the evilest villains. The team’s adventures have been some of the most exciting in all of comics, as they battled dangerous threats and saved the day.
Some of these adventures had a profound effect on the team, changing them and redefining them. From roster shake-ups to betrayals and even attacks by powerful villains, the Avengers have been through a lot over the years with all of these events making the team stronger than before.
In Avengers #16, The Old Order Changeth For The First Time
In the first sixteen issues of their book, the Avengers went through a lot of firsts — losing their first member when Hulk quit, fighting the Masters of Evil for the first time, and gaining their first new member in Captain America. Avengers #16 represented a huge first for the team as it was the first roster change up — Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Wasp left the team and Cap recruited new members.
Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Hawkeye joined the team and this issue introduced what would become two venerable Avengers traditions; taking in reformed villains and roster shake-ups. Over the years, the Avengers have been through a lot of roster changes, all following in the footsteps of this one.
Heroes Reborn Changed The Avengers Quite Literally
As hard as it is to believe today, there was a time when the Avengers were not the most popular group of superheroes around. In the mid-’90s, the X-Men, Spider-Man, and Image Comics ruled the roost with the Avengers feeling like an also-ran, at best. Marvel, trying to recapture some spark, got two of the Image founders, Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee, to take over the books and work their magic.
Spinning out of the “deaths” of the heroes in the Onslaught storyline, Heroes Reborn would see the Avengers and Fantastic Four completely rebooted on a whole new Earth. Fan reception was mixed at best, but for a year, the Avengers were a completely different team.
Civil War Pit The Team’s Two Most Important Members Against Each Other
Civil War was the biggest Marvel story of the ’00s. There were better stories but few of them had the seismic impact of this one. After a superhero-supervillain fight cost the lives of hundreds of children, the government decided to crack down on the heroes, with Iron Man siding with them and Captain America rebelling.
The heroes of the Marvel Universe would choose sides and battle it out, with Iron Man building a secret Negative Zone prison to imprison those who didn’t agree with him and utilizing villains in his battles. Iron Man and his side would win and the repercussions would resonate through the Marvel Universe for years to come.
Dark Avengers: Assemble Saw A New Order Take Control Of The Avengers
After the Skrull invasion of Secret Invasion and Iron Man’s complete failure to anticipate and stop it, the government decided to put someone new in charge of the Superhero Initiative: Norman Osborn, the man who killed the Skrull queen Vernake. Osborn would make it his mission to hunt down the heroes who bedeviled him for years and brought in his own team of Avengers.
Consisting of villains from the Thunderbolts in the guises of Avengers, with Osborn repurposing Iron Man armor to become the Iron Patriot, his team of Dark Avengers would battle any threat he couldn’t control and work to consolidate his power before biting off more than they could chew in the Siege of Asgard.
New Avengers: Breakout Saw The Debut Of The New Avengers
After the events of Avengers Disassembled, the Avengers were off the scene but a breakout at the supervillain prison the Raft would cause a new team to come together. Consisting of stalwarts like Cap and Iron Man, B-listers like Luke Cage, the Sentry, and Spider-Woman, and megastars like Spider-Man and Wolverine, the New Avengers would take the place of the old team.
This story also set the seeds for lots of things that would affect the Marvel Universe and the Avengers over the next few years, paying off in multiple stories. It introduced a new approach to the team, as members who had never been on the team were inducted instead of the same old Avengers always leaving and coming back.
House Of M Changed The Relationship Between The X-Men & The Avengers Forever
House Of M was a rather big deal in the Marvel Universe for a lot of reasons. While it mostly had a huge effect on the X-Men, it also changed a lot for the Avengers as well. The biggest change is the way it affected the relationship between the Avengers and the X-Men. Scarlet Witch was responsible for the de-powering of the mutant, and her status as a long-time Avenger changed the way mutants saw the team.
Many X-Men no longer trusted the Avengers and the repercussions of this would lead to Avengers Vs X-Men, as it was easy for the X-Men to believe that the Avengers didn’t have their best interests in mind.
Avengers Disassembled Was The Catalyst Behind All Of The Changes Of The ’00s
Avengers Disassembled is easily one of the biggest Avengers stories of the last three decades. Highlighting the worst day in the team’s existence, it saw Scarlet Witch lose her mind and lash out at the team. Avengers lived, Avengers died, and the team wouldn’t be the same for years to come.
Avengers Disassembled was a harbinger of things to come. It ended the old team, destroyed Avengers Mansion, and put the Avengers on a new course, one that would bring them back to the forefront of the Marvel Universe and usher in the event-heavy era of the ’00s, which would change both the team and the comic industry.
Avengers #55 Saw The Debut Of The Team’s Deadliest Villain
On the surface, Avengers #55 seemed like a run-of-the-mill Avengers comic of its era, with the team battling the newest iteration of the Masters of Evil, led by the Crimson Cowl. However, it would also be a herald of things to come as the Crimson Cowl would be revealed to be none other than Ultron, the Avengers’ greatest foe, in his first appearance.
The repercussions of this one comic would affect the Avengers for the rest of its existence; there are few villains more important to the Avengers’ mythos than Ultron and his hatred of both humanity and the team became the stuff of legends.
Avengers: Under Siege Saw The Team Experience Of One Of Their Greatest Losses & Most Impressive Victories
The Avengers has lost before, but never as bad as they did in Avengers: Under Siege. Attacked by a new Masters of Evil led by Baron Zemo and consisting of some of the most powerful members of the villainous group, the Avengers were outsmarted and defeated at every turn. Pushed out of their headquarters and badly beaten, the Avengers were able to overcome the odds and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Avengers: Under Siege showed the team that they weren’t the unbeatable force they thought they were. It changed the way they looked at themselves and their foes, leading to them becoming a better team.
Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War Saw The Team Get Involved In Cosmic Shenanigans For The First Time
The Avengers have always been the Earth’s most stalwart defenders but they were also usually pretty Earthbound; they battled the biggest threats but stayed on the planet. That all changed in Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War, as the team got embroiled in the conflict between the two alien races.
One of the most important Avengers stories of all time, it saw the team take an even bigger place in the Marvel Universe as a whole. They would deal not only with Earthbound threats but also get involved in the cosmic side of things, taking their mandate to defend the Earth into space.