In less than one month’s time, we’ll finally get to see Marvel’s monumental superhero team up movie. In anticipation for the big day, we here at ScienceFiction.com thought that we’d give you some background information on the heroes that you’ll be seeing on the big screen. That’s why for the entire month of April we’ll be spotlighting different members of the team and sharing with you some of their shining moments on and off the screen up until this point.
For the first spotlight, we’re focusing on the team as a whole. Read on, true believer, and dive a bit deeper into the history of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers.
“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!” To this day, that is the prologue that appears in all the Avengers comic books. That basically sums up how the team came to be.
In the very first issue of ‘The Avengers’ released in 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought together Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and The Wasp in order to take down the Asgardian trickster god and brother of Thor, Loki, who tricked Hulk into destroying a railroad track.
Contrary to what some people believe, it wasn’t until issue number four that Captain America was unearthed, unfrozen, and made a member of the team. By the time 1970 rolled around, the roster of the team had changed so many times and included names such as Hawkeye, The Scarlett Witch, Quicksilver, The Black Panther, Hercules, and The Black Widow, among others. Today, the Avengers roster is so vast there are multiple active teams: The New Avengers, The Secret Avengers, Avengers Academy, and the main team, which just uses The Avengers moniker. Each team acts independently of each other, while sometimes teaming up when need be.
Shining Moment on the Page
The Avengers have had many great moments in comic book history. They’ve taken on a plethora of foes, saved the world a countless amount of times, and had their fair share of battles among themselves. It’s really hard to pick one moment to highlight, but for me, a shining moment for the team was the epic 2006-2007 crossover storyline ‘Civil War’. This story built upon the events of past crossovers, specifically ‘House of M’, ‘Avengers Disassembled’, and ‘Secret War’.
In ‘Civil War’, after a group of young heroes with a reality show botched an attempt at stopping a group of super villains by inadvertently causing the deaths of over 600 people, the US government implements the Superhuman Registration Act, championed by Tony Stark aka Iron Man. The act divided all the heroes, making them either register with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man or join the resistance lead by Captain America. In the end, the hard fought battle had many casualties, including Captain America himself, which changed the whole landscape of the Marvel Universe in the years that followed.
Never before had I seen such hero on hero battles paired with such an interesting storyline that was very much based in real life situations. Both side wanted what was best for everyone, but how could both sides be right? That struggle just drew me in because it was like nothing I had ever read in a comic book before that. This series got me back into reading comics regularly after a long hiatus. It unveiled whole new sides of some beloved characters that I never knew existed, especially in the case of Tony Stark.
Shining Moment on the Screen
May 4th will mark the first time we see the team assemble in a live action on screen setting, but we’ve seen a few animated incarnations of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes pop up on television and straight to DVD movies over the years. Aside from cameos in other Marvel cartoons such as the X-men and Spider-Man animated series from the 90s, The Avengers have had two animated series of their own to date: ‘The Avengers: United They Stand’, which featured a roster based on the ‘West Coast Avengers’ comic from the 80s, and ‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, which features the original lineup from the comics. Of the two, EMH is the superior one and should be viewed by every Avengers fan.
That does it for my brief history of The Avengers. Keep an eye out for the next installment of the series in which I spotlight some of the S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel that will be appearing on the big screen come May 4th.
And as a reminder, the moments that I’m highlighting in this series are personal picks of mine, so by no means am I saying that these are the end all be all moments. I encourage you to share your favorite moments in the comments section.