By Jim Beard
"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born-to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand!"
As the Heroic Age dawns on the Marvel Universe and we prepare for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, each Friday Marvel.com will present a different column focusing on the one and only Avengers. From line-ups to costumes to villains to classic stories and beyond, we've got you covered on the history of Marvel's most prolific team of heroes!
So let the call go out: Avengers Assemble!
|MIGHTY AVENGERS #1 cover by Frank Cho|
In 2007's MIGHTY AVENGERS #1-6, writer Brian Michael-along with artist Frank Cho-introduced new wrinkles to the ongoing Avengers saga that he continues to explore today. At its core still stands Tony Stark, a man who at the time sat on top of the world but whose eventual fall reverberated throughout the Marvel Universe. That fall began here.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #1 detailed Iron Man's assembling of heroes. He installed Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel, as team leader yet it soon became clear that he'd still be holding her leash-or trying at least. She then observed as Tony brought in his team: The Wasp, Wonder Man, The Sentry, Black Widow, and the very grouchy god of war, Ares. As Avengers lineups go, it certainly ranked as eclectic, and by the end of their first adventure they'd only begun to click as a unit.
It's interesting to note Bendis' introduction here of Sentry and Ares as Avengers, two characters he'd bring to superstar status in the pages of DARK AVENGERS two years later. In MIGHTY AVENGERS, The Sentry feels unsure of himself and Stark talks him into membership much the way Norman Osborn later swayed the Golden
|MIGHTY AVENGERS #2 cover by Frank Cho|
By MIGHTY AVENGERS #2, the team's first real challenge became apparent. They fought The Mole Man and his monsters initially, but when the diabolical Ultron took Iron Man and literally formed a new construct for himself out of Stark's own body and armor combined, well, the Avengers really stepped in it. This Ultron-taking the form of Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp-proved to be resilient to all bombardments, even from The Sentry. In MIGHTY AVENGERS #3, Ultron took down the man who held "the power of a thousand exploding suns."
Though Iron Man does not exist in the normal sense for much of the six-issue story, Bendis made sure his presence floated over the entire scene. In MIGHTY AVENGERS #4, as Ultron moved to dispose of all biological organisms on Earth, the Starktech 9 joined the fun. Visually, it appeared as Tony's original grey suit of armor, but it announced itself as an artificial intelligence activated upon its maker's demise. In conjunction with newly-arrived Hank Pym, the former Ant-Man, the Starktech aided in the first small victory against Ultron. In retaliation, Ultron murdered The Sentry's wife, Lindy.
The Mighty Avengers then faced off against a horde of Ultron-controlled Iron Man armors, evoking more memories of Tony, while Pym raced against the clock to devise the technological terror's ultimate defeat. MIGHTY AVENGERS #5 unveiled both a rematch between the grief-stricken
|MIGHTY AVENGERS #6 cover by Frank Cho|
Ultron detected Ares as a virus in MIGHTY AVENGERS #6 and took steps to squash him like the insect he now resembled. The Sentry's new attack on the android proved more effective and Ultron began to lose her/its borrowed form. After planting Pym's life-saving device in Ultron's insides, Ares' rescue came from an unlikely source: The Wasp. Final victory at hand, the evil automaton surrendered Tony Stark's biological and technological matter and the danger ended with a big, cataclysmic bang.
The Mighty Avengers' first day on the job hardly resembled previous teams', but then again, there never existed an Avengers team quite like this. Bendis' take on Earth's Mightiest squabbled and chafed and thought wickedly delicious thoughts but conquered their foe regardless. This storyline, shocking and startling, would set the tone for many to come.
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