Avengers Fridays

The Old Order Changeth #17

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes enter a glorious new era with their largest line-up ever!

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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!”

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!

After the ordeals of Onslaught and the alternate reality known as Heroes Reborn, the Avengers landed back in their own world, ready to reform and regroup, but what awaited them in this new era challenged the team like never before. In AVENGERS #1-3, by the creative duo of Kurt Busiek and George Perez, the Avengers faced off against not only one of their most powerful foes, but…themselves!

In the opening pages of AVENGERS #1, all across the globe, dozens of heroes found themselves attacked; the only common denominator among the victims rested in their connection to the Avengers. That’s right: if you’d been an Avenger in any capacity— regular, honorary or probationary member—you ended up on the bad side of an attack by mythological creatures; and not just any mythological creatures, but Asgardian mythological creatures. And for seemingly little reason.

The core group of Avengers convened—Captain America, Iron Man, The Wasp and Giant-Man—and struggled to dope it all out. In the end, they called a meeting of their fellows, and everyone who’d ever been an Avenger showed up. Then Thor burst in. Missing since the Onslaught event, the God of Thunder told the tale of a destroyed Asgard, a shattered Rainbow Bridge and the missing Twilight Sword and Norn Stones. It looked bad but dozens of Earth’s heroes confirmed their willingness to see it through and together they rushed out to investigate.

In Tintagel Head, off the coast of Cornwall, Cap, Hercules, Quasar, Crystal, D-Man and The Scarlet Witch discovered the perpetrators behind the evil deeds: Morgan Le Fay and her son, Mordred the Evil. For their pains in uncovering this fact, they and the rest of the Avengers lost their entire reality once again.

What once stood as their Earth now existed in AVENGERS #2 as a pseudo-medieval world wherein Morgan ruled with an iron hand and relished the protection of the “Queen’s Vengeance”—the former Avengers! Remade into the evil sorceress’ own vision, the remolded, renamed heroes knew nothing of their old world, only devout service to their dark mistress. Where once walked Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Giant-Man, She-Hulk and Quasar, now trod Donar the Mighty, Yeoman America, Iron Knight, Gigantus, Jade Giantess and Star-Knight and all the rest.

But Yeoman America quickly realized the wrongness of his situation and regained his true mind and personality. Reaching out to others, he soon formed a small band of Avengers with one thing on their minds: stop Morgan Le Fay!

Alas, those among the Queen’s Vengeance resistant to the truth remained under the Le Fay’s thumb and fought their former allies tooth and nail. Cap’s merry band retreated to fight another day, unsure of what they could do in a world gone mad. And underneath it all, The Scarlet Witch suffered Morgan’s worst torture as a mystical conduit between the evil woman’s Celtic magicks and the Asgardian energies of the Sword and the Stones.

In AVENGERS #3, the sorceress grew more concerned about losing the unique world she’d crafted and sent her Queen’s Vengeance to track down the “traitors” in their ranks. Finally, The Scarlet Witch stepped forward and challenged Morgan’s authority and attacker with her mutant hex powers and a thought-deceased champion at her side: Wonder Man. Resurrected by a combination of his ionic energies and Wanda’s abilities, Simon Williams rushed in to face off against Morgan, surprising the villain and allowing the Avengers to feed their own will into The Scarlet Witch.

The resulting surge of energy broke Morgan Le Fay’s hold on the universe and returned reality to its proper form. Once the dust cleared only one burning question remained, perfectly and eloquently vocalized by Beast:

“What are we gonna do with 39 Avengers?!”

The answer? Have a membership drive, of course!

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