Avengers Fridays

Avengers Fridays: The Old Order Changeth #3

Find out what it takes to make even an android cry

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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!

 

"Cap's Kooky Quartet" enjoyed their place in the sun while it lasted, but differences of opinion ultimately drew them apart. The glory days of Captain America, Thor and Iron Man in regular attendance had yet to materialize again, but what came next, from AVENGERS #50 to #92,

 
represents an interim roster that produced some of the most unique heroes ever to grace the team.

With the three "Big Guns" only occasionally checking in, Hawkeye, The Wasp and Goliath-former Ant-Man/Giant Man, Hank Pym-made their own way until The Black Panther hit the scene. Recommended for membership by Captain America himself, the King of the Wakandans wowed the Avengers with his stalwart solo struggle against The Grim Reaper in AVENGERS #52 and won his spurs. Though non-super powered, T'Challa would soon prove his worth and eventually become the team's acting chairman in AVENGERS #63.

The Panther held his spot as the newest Avenger for only a few issues before the team's strangest and spookiest member ghosted through a wall and into Avengers history. "It's some sort of unearthly, inhuman vision-!" screamed The Wasp in AVENGERS #57, and the android Vision secured his name and his place in the hearts of Marvel mavens everywhere. Dispatched by Ultron to infiltrate the team, the "synthozoid" rebelled against his maker and soon found himself offered Avengers membership, fighting at their sides for years to come. The Vision also discovered he possessed true emotions-and the ability to weep tears of

 
joy.

Next came the mysterious Yellowjacket, a hero who raised the hackles of many a male Avenger yet seemingly won the heart of Janet Van Dyne, The Wasp, in an instant. With Goliath, her supposed true love, seemingly gone, in his place Yellowjacket walked The Wasp to the altar in AVENGERS #60. Shock piled on top of shock when after a brutal battle with The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, the stinging super hero stood revealed as none other than Hank Pym himself, victim of a nervous breakdown and a submergence of his true self. Regardless, Pym finally married his longtime sweetheart and chose to maintain his Yellowjacket persona for the duration.

In another incredible switcheroo, Hawkeye, ordered to stay behind during an Avengers mission to save his lover The Black Widow, took on the guise and gigantic stature of Goliath in AVENGERS #63. Once thought to be a criminal, the modern-day Black Knight also joined the fun in AVENGERS #71 and eventually mutant siblings Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch returned to bolster the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Amazing guest stars ran rampant through this period, a grouping that boasted such luminaries as the X-Men, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Nick Fury-disguised as the villainous Scorpio-and Marvel's first Native American super hero, Red Wolf. And, of course, where there's heroism

 
there must also exist villainy. This exciting time hailed attacks by Magneto, Man-Ape, Egghead, the Squadron Sinister, the Sons of the Serpent, Arkon, Psyklop and not one but two Ultrons, the fifth and sixth versions of the rambunctious robot respectively.

To raise the roof even further, AVENGERS #66 introduced not just a new hero or villain, but a sensational substance that became one of the most famous words in the Marvel Universe: adamantium. Created by Myron McClain and unable to be damaged by even Thor's hammer, the miraculous metal's pedigree would one day be boosted by the X-Men's Wolverine.

The virtuous Valkyrie made her debut in AVENGERS #83, but in an early villainous version. Roping The Black Widow, The Wasp, The Scarlet Witch and Medusa into her so-called "Lady Liberators," the malicious maiden presented a sort of anti-Avengers in feminist fashions; she'd soon be exposed as an illusion of the evil Enchantress.

The final days of these interim Avengers arrived in the form of the sprawling Kree-Skrull War, a high-water mark for Avengers action and

 
adventure. It began in AVENGERS #89 but Goliath, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and The Vision soon realized that what they needed most amounted to more firepower.

Enter Captain America, Iron Man and the mighty Thor-who then promptly disbanded the team...

 

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