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!
AVENGERS #137-150 serves as a fascinating example of the often erratic yet energetic lineups of the team. After founding members Thor and Iron Man reassembled to lead the Avengers once more, they sought out new heroes to bolster their ranks and got a bit more than they'd bargained for in return.
It all began in AVENGERS #137, as TV screens quaked to the announcement that the Avengers were holding a recruiting drive in the wake of The Scarlet Witch and Vision's honeymoon and departures of The Black Panther, Mantis, Quicksilver, Captain America and The Black Widow. Fortunately for the team, The Wasp and hubbie Hank Pym-then adventuring as Yellowjacket-decided to return to active duty. In an all-too-common snit, Hawkeye sauntered off to the past via Doctor Doom's time machine to seek out the Black Knight in the 12th Century.
And then the Beast bounced into the Avengers' colorfully costumed lives. Oh, he'd met the team before, but on a break from the X-Men he missed super heroing alongside a group, and so he haunted the Avengers' doorstep. His trial by fire flared up immediately: fighting alongside fellow probationary Avenger Moondragon, Beast bounded into battle against The
The aforementioned Moondragon came to the team an enigma; cold, almost cruel, she and her bald pate did not suffer fools lightly-especially an amorous Iron Man in AVENGERS #139-but her powerful telekinetic abilities earned her respect among the team and by the end of this lineups' tenure she'd gained full membership.
This Avengers membership saw action through four main struggles. First came the aforementioned Toad's attack, which spun off into a whirling dervish of a skirmish between Yellowjacket and his longtime foe, Whirlwind. As they clashed, Janet Van Dyne, the winsome Wasp, lay in a hospital bed from injuries taken during the Toad/Stranger debacle. This in turn led to Hank Pym's growing out of control in AVENGERS #140 and his own subsequent brush with death.
Meanwhile, Captain America returned to the fold and with him came one of the Avengers' most thrilling challenges: the Squadron Supreme. Mighty heroes from another Earth, their rivalry with the Avengers spread over several issues and involved both the Brand and Roxxon Corporations. When the team infiltrated the Brand headquarters, former model Patsy
AVENGERS: THE SERPENT CROWN
While the battle raged at the Brand building, Hawkeye's sojourn into centuries past turned up the Avengers' own proverbial bad penny himself: Kang the Conqueror. That's right, the villain who'd fought almost every incarnation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes entered into conflict with his enemies once again, but this time with the Wild West's classic gunslingin' heroes to also oppose him. By the end of AVENGERS #143, Kang wound up destroyed and the present-day gained a new-old hero in The Two-Gun Kid.
AVENGERS #145-146 brought a brief interlude in the form of The Assassin; hired to kill the team, the mercenary turned out to be a woman and was accidentally dispatched by her own employers. Good thing, too, because her trouble-making interfered with Doctor Don Blake's attempt to save the life of Captain America.
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com
Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!
Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men", "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes", and "The Super Hero Squad Show" now on iTunes!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!