I will first admit that before Brian Michael Bendis took hold of the Avengers, I was never an avid reader of their adventures. I heard small rumblings here and there. I read some of the stuff when they were intertwined with the X-Men, such as the Blood Ties and the Onslaught Storyline. Oh and Maximum Security, but that’s about it (at least I think that’s it). Anyway, so it wasn’t until I read the Disassemble story that I became an Avengers fan. This was Bendis’ first story arc with the Avengers and this was the beginning of what would be a glorious run on that had multiple consequences on the Marvel Universe. The Avengers was designed to be the flagship book of the Marvel Universe, but that reign somehow went to X-Men for many, many years. Bendis successfully brought the Avengers back to their former glory and solidifying it as the flagship book it was meant to be. I did a State of the X-Men some weeks back and I figured I would do the same for the Avengers. The two will go head to head this summer so its only fair that I profile both teams.
Wanda Maximoff AKA The Scarlet Witch, who is the daughter of the mutant terrorist Magneto have long been an beloved and outstanding member of the Avengers. She left her fathers side as a member of the Brotherhood to become a hero. The problem with her powers on the other hand, which involves chaos magic, is that there are some severe side effects. She once used her powers to give birth to twins. She was convinced that it was Vision, a sentient robot that fathered her children. The souls of the children were consumed by the demon Mephesto and Wanda was led to believe that the children did not exist. Years later her memory returned with a vengeance. Her powers went haywire and it manifested itself in strange ways that cause the destruction of the Avengers mansion and the death of Hawkeye and Ant Man. The Avengers though they were fighting a killer Robot named Ultron, and an alien race called the Kree. It was Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme that informed the Avengers that it was the powers of The Scarlet Witch that was causing such chaos. They went to confront her, only to find her with two children who she claims are hers. A battle commenced between them and was interrupted by Magneto, who took her to Genosha to be treated. The Avengers as they were known are no more.
The New Avengers
During a prison break at “The Raft” a facility that housed super villains, Luke Cage, Iron Man, Spider Woman, Captain America, and Spider-Man have to team up to get it under control. This event led them to the Savage Land to capture the remaining escapees when they meet Wolverine on a mission. They also get into a confrontation with a rogue squadron of S.H.I.E.L.D. After surviving there battles, Captain America determines that fate brought them together and from then on they would be “The New Avengers”.
House Of M
Magneto sought the help of Charles Xavier to help mend Wanda’s mind. Meanwhile the Avengers call in the X-Men to discuss the fate of Wanda. Some deem her to dangerous to live while some are against even discussing idea of killing anyone. They do however agree to Genosha to assess the situation. On their approach to Wanda they are wisp-ed away to an alternate reality were mutants are the dominant species and Magneto is the ruler of the Sovereign nation of Genosha. The Avengers and the X-Men blamed Magneto for the reality screw up and goes to confront him. During the battle, Wanda comes out to stop the fight. She Reprimands everyone for not accepting that she brought peace to the world. She whispers three words,’No More Mutants’ and the world is reverted to the way it was but with 98% less mutants, a day that mutants would call M-Day. Wanda vanishes off the face of the earth.
During a live taping of a reality show by the New Warriors, they got into an altercation with some super villains which caused an explosion in Stamford, Connecticut, which resulted in the death of 600 civilians. This caused the Superhuman Registration Act (SRA) to be passed. The act requires any person in the United States with superhuman abilities to register with the federal government as a “human weapon of mass destruction,” reveal their true identity to the authorities, and undergo proper training. The were some heroes that were for it and some against it. The two heroes that were on opposite side were Iron Man for the act and Captain America who was against it. This marks the second time since Bendis took over as writer that there was a overhaul in the Avengers team. At the end of the conflict, Captain America was arrested and later assassinated while on his way to face the courts. Tony Stark became the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D and tasked with bringing in rogue superheroes.
The is an alien species called the Skrulls that can shape shift into anyone. They have encountered the heroes on Earth on many occasion. The Fantastic Four however, had discovered a way to detect them so the Skrulls for a long time lost their advantage against the humans. After a long absence the Skrull returned with a new technique in shape shifting that was undetectable. The replaced key members of the Avengers and of the the government. The tagline for the event was, “Who do you trust?”. After discovering that Elektra was replaced by a Skrull, the teams began to doubt each others identities. The one they doubted the most was Tony stark because of his actions during the Civil War event. They thought he was the leader of the the army of Skrulls that attacked Earth. The mastermind of the Invasion turned out to be Spider Woman, who was actually the Skrull queen. Even though the Avengers became united in an effort to defeat the queen, Norman Osborn AKA The Green Goblin was the one that fired the killing shot. He was a recuperate villain who worked for the government to rally up rogue superheroes for SHIELD. This move on his part proved popular of the masses and he was quickly promoted to head of SHIELD after Tony was blamed for the invasion. Norman dismantled SHIELD and replaced it with HAMMER.
With Osborn running things, it became a dark period for a lot of heroes, including the one that were for the SRA. Norman promised to turn a blind eye to a lot of villains. He also started a group dubbed “The Cabal” which consist of himself, Dr. Doom, Namor, Emma Frost, Loki and The Hood. Tony Starks went on the run from HAMMER and became the World’s Most Wanted. Norman created a New Avengers consisting of past villains and the old Avengers now united since Civil War, went into hiding. He also forced the X-Men out of America, causing them to create their own Sovereign Nation called Utopia. After all his accomplishments, he next set his eyes on Thor’s homeworld of Asgard.
Captain America Reborn and the Seige
For most superheroes (and villains) in comics, death is never final. This was the same for Captain America who was actually stuck in time rather than six feet under. With the aid of his girlfriend Sharon Carter and Falcon, he was able to come back to our time. Meanwhile, Osborn was setting up to invade Asgard, which after some messed up magic, was now located in Oklahoma. He tried to convince the president that the Asgardians presented a clear and present danger to the country. The president however would not be swayed so Osborn went on an unsanctioned attack on Asgard. Although the Asgard was destroyed in the process, Captain America and Iron Man were able to unit the heroes and defeat Osborn and his Avengers. For his gratitude, the president promoted Captain America to America’s top cop and got rid of the SRA.
Just when the heroes thought everything was back to normal, all hell breaks loose when Sin, the daughter of Captain America’s enemy, uncovers The Serpent King. The Serpent king is the brother of Thor’s father Odin and according to Sin, is the real All-Father. The Serpent king summons 7 hammers to Earth and gives it to Coming into contact with the hammers, Juggernaut, Hulk, Titania, Thing, Sin and Attuma. They cause destruction around the world and the Avengers, as hard as they fought could not defeat them. Tony Stark then went off to the ruins of Asgard to create weapons that could tussle with The Serpent King and his Hammer Wielders. The Avengers were victorious one the weapons that mad them “The Mighty” was accessed.
The Future of the Avengers
This summer, in time for the live action release of The Avengers, Marvel will unleash a massive 12 issue event called Avengers Vs. X-Men. The Phoenix Force is heading towards Earth for a new host. The Avengers think that Hope, the fist mutant born since M-Day is potentially the new host. Their answer is to sequester her but Cyclops will go to war before he allows the Avengers to take her. This event has the potential to be the blockbuster event that Marvel needs right now. I’m exited to see Captain America and Cyclops go head to head. And will Wolverine side with the X-Men or The Avengers considering he’s on both teams. Marvel has stated that the event will change the coarse of the Marvel Universe for years to come. Let’s see how true that is after the summer.
You can read these books for the stories in more detail.
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