The Avengers have earned their reputation as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, battling against the greatest threats. The team has survived over six decades as Marvel’s premiere team, coming through the tribulations of the comic industry and enthralling readers with action-packed adventures. The Avengers’ popularity has fluctuated, at times acting as Marvel’s most beloved book and also falling to the bottom of the pecking order. Many of the greatest creators in Marvel history have worked on Avengers comics and some of the greatest Marvel stories ever have come from Avengers comics.

Fans love the Avengers, and there have been times when creators have done their best to make them happy. Fan service can take many forms; in manga and anime, it’s usually scantily clad women. However, superhero comics have multiple different types of fan service, all meant to keep Avengers fans happy. Often, this fan service has held back these Avengers stories, taking comics that could have been great and making them lesser.


Avengers (Vol. 8) #1-6

Creative Team

Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Paco Medina, Mark Morales, Jay Leisten, Juan Vlasco, Karl Story, David Curiel, and Cory Petit


The Avengers’ Greatest Team Didn’t Need Anyone From Marvel’s Trinity

Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor may be Marvel’s Trinity, but one superhero team didn’t need any of them to be the best Avengers lineup.

The Avengers gained massive fame because of the MCU, fame which never crossed over into comic book sales. Marvel tried to change that in 2018. They tapped writer Jason Aaron to relaunch Avengers. He filled the team with characters that had appeared in the MCU – Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange – who were joined by Ghost Rider and future MCU star She-Hulk. The team was pitted against the Celestials, with Loki and Odin making appearances. It should have been a brilliant story, but it never rose to the level of great.

A big problem with the story was the cynical nature of putting the MCU all-stars on the team. The book’s release coincided with the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and Marvel tried pulling in fans who would never buy a comic, which hurt the story. There was nothing natural about this team of Avengers, and its attempt to serve MCU fans turned off a lot of Avengers fans who would rather have a unique team of Avengers.

9 New Avengers: Breakout Was Created To Appeal To As Many Fans As Possible


New Avengers (Vol. 1) #1-6

Creative Team

Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch, Danny Miki, Frank D’Armata, and Richard Starkings, and Albert Deschesne

The Avengers went through some vast ups and downs in popularity throughout the ’90s and ’00s. New Avengers changed all of that. Marvel got superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis and popular artist David Finch to close out the last story of the old Avengers and launch this brand new Avengers run. The story begins with a group of heroes trying to stop a breakout at the supervillain prison, the Raft, and ends up in the Savage Land. What sold the book was the team itself, teaming Avengers mainstays Captain America and Iron Man with C-list characters like Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, and the Sentry, but the real big guns were Wolverine and Spider-Man.

Spider-Man made some sense – he was a reserve Avenger in the past and his status as a New York City hero would draw him to the Raft. Wolverine joining the team makes zero sense – the Avengers ran across him in the Savage Land and then Iron Man asked him to join. This flies in the face of Cap promising that Wolverine would never join the Avengers because of his proclivity for killing. Marvel created an Avengers team with its two most popular characters to sell better. The story itself is fine, but the addition of Spider-Man and Wolverine doesn’t do it any favors and keeps it from being the greatest of all time Avengers story.

8 Civil War II Is Yet Another Example Of Trying To Serve MCU Fans Who Will Never Buy Comics


Civil War II #0-8

Creative Team

Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, David Marquez, Justin Ponsor, and Clayton Cowles


10 Best Avengers Comics For Non-Avengers Fans

Anyone can enjoy these epic stories featuring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes from Marvel Comics, whether you’re a fan of the Avengers or not.

Civil War II is something of a monumental failure. The event book was released to coincide with Captain America: Civil War and was meant to pull in MCU fans who might have walked into a comic store looking for a comic with the title Civil War on the cover. That was the first strike against it. The book was about discovering an Inhuman named Ulysses, whose precognitive power would allow the heroes to stop attacks before they happened. Iron Man decided that was wrong, and Captain Marvel decided that was the way to go, beginning an all-new civil war in the superhero community.

The book did a massive disservice to Captain Marvel, making her into a villain at a time when Marvel was trying to make her a star, which was strike two. The last strike was making Iron Man, the most popular MCU character, the book’s star, and the de facto “good guy.” Iron Man would definitely not be against using Ulysses’s powers, but Marvel again tried to service MCU fans. If this story had reversed roles – with Iron Man again on the wrong side and Captain Marvel against him – this would be a much better story, but Marvel wanted that MCU fan money that never came.

7 New Avengers #14-15 Served Readers A Slab Of Cheesecake


New Avengers (Vol. 1) #14-15

Creative Team

Brian Micheal Bendis, Frank Cho, Jason Keith, Richard Starkings, and Albert Deschesne

Spider-Woman joining the New Avengers was a big break for the character and made her more popular than ever. However, most younger fans at the time knew nothing about Jessica Drew, which is where New Avengers (Vol. 1) #14-15 came in. These two issues gave readers Jessica Drew’s origin, digging into her status as a child of Hydra, the experiments that gave her powers, joining S.H.I.E.L.D. as a mole and finally deciding to work against Hydra for Nick Fury.

What holds the story back is the cheesecake art from Frank Cho. Cho is known for drawing buxom women, and these two issues put them on display. There’s no actual nudity, but titillation is the name of the game for the book. The art takes a rather serious story and makes it fodder for teenage boys. Spider-Woman has since become a star, but this book would have been light years better with art that didn’t rely so much on serving the male gaze.

6 Avengers (Vol. 3) #71 Has An Interesting Use Of Hank Pym’s Powers


Avengers (Vol. 3) #71

Creative Team

Geoff Johns, Stephen Sadowski, Andrew Currie, Chris Sotomayor, and Run Wooton

Geoff Johns became a star at DC, but the writer did work at Marvel before signing his DC exclusive contract. Johns got tapped to write Avengers (Vol. 3)in a decent short run that never really reached the level of his work at DC. And then there’s issue 71. This issue follows the long-time on-again-off-again couple Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne on a trip to Las Vegas. Readers are taken to their hotel room at one point and see a shrunken and soaking-wet Hank Pym and a very satisfied Wasp.

The early 2000s were a very edgy time, and this kind of sex joke fit the time. However, looking at it with a modern eye takes an otherwise great story and makes it a little too edgy. This was the consensus at the time, as Marvel eventually cut the scene from reprints of the Avengers. Taking it out makes the story much better, as the joke overshadows everything else in the book.

5 Mighty Avengers: The Ultron Initiative Is More Cheesecake


Mighty Avengers (Vol. 1) #1-6

Creative Team

Brian Michael Bendis, Frank Cho, Jason Keith, and Dave Lanphear

Civil War changed the Avengers for years to come. New Avengers starred a team of underground heroes battling against Iron Man and the Superhero Initiative. Mighty Avengers was launched to showcase the adventures of the Initiative-approved Avengers team – Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Black Widow, the Wasp, the Sentry, Wonder Man, and Ares. It was an interesting team, and Bendis experimented with his writing style. It also showcased a villain that Bendis had never used before – Ultron. However, Frank Cho drew the book, so this Ultron took the form of a naked Wasp, with Ultron’s AI taking over Iron Man’s armor and using Stark’s nanotech to create a body based on the superheroine.

This Wasp-Ultron was naked the entire time, with strategically placed shadows and mists obscuring her naughty bits. Eventually, her skin was covered with a metallic sheen, but she was still basically naked. It was such a strange choice – Ultron has always had an amazing design – and it was just there because Cho drew beautiful women. Ultron is meant to be the Avengers’ most frightening foe, but making the robot into a beautiful naked woman was a huge mistake that took a cool Ultron story and made it into something worse than it was.

4 Dark Avengers Completely Changes Moonstone’s Character When She Becomes Ms. Marvel


Dark Avengers (Vol. 1) #1-16

Creative Team

Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Mike Deodato, Luke Ross, Greg Horn, Rick Maygar, Mark Pennington, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit

Dark Avengers completely changed the Avengers formula. Instead of a team starring Marvel’s greatest heroes, the book brought together a team of villains under the command of Norman Osborn. Dark Avengers is a pretty good book, with the characterization playing into the strong suits of writer Brian Michael Bendis. There’s not a lot of action in the book, which is a touchstone of Bendis’ comics, but the characters make the book way better. However, not every character works and the biggest example of that is Moonstone when she becomes the new Ms. Marvel. Moonstone had changed from her days as a villain, becoming a more serious person, but Bendis went with a rather fan service-y characterization for her.

Ms. Marvel started using her sexuality pretty overtly throughout the book, which hurt nearly every scene she was in. In the book’s first story arc, she gets intimate with Bullseye and flirts with everyone. The character’s sex appeal is her main characteristic, which changed her in a way that wasn’t very flattering. This change, written as fan service because she’s a beautiful woman, hurts the book’s otherwise interesting new take on the classic characters.

3 The Ultimates Takes Edginess To The Next Level


The Ultimates (Vol. 1) #1-13

Creative Team

Mark Millar, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Paul Mounts, and Chris Eliopolous


10 Marvel Eras An Avengers Miniseries Should Revisit

While the X-Men and Spider-Man have re-explored past eras with hit mini-series, there are a few eras of The Avengers that need a second look as well.

Mark Millar is a master of the edge lord comic, and his run at Marvel was built entirely on that. The Ultimates (Vol. 1)was a massive comic when it came out, a book praised by fans and critics alike. The book was all about S.H.I.E.L.D. bringing the Ultimate Universe version of the Avengers together over its thirteen-issue run – Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man, the Wasp, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Hulk – and outlines the team’s first two battles, against the Hulk and the Chitauri.

The amount of fan service in this series is ridiculous at times. There’s the over-sexualization of women, the extremely edgy humor, and loads of over-the-top violence. In many ways, the whole thing is Fan Service: The Comic. It’s still a pretty good book, but looking at it with a modern eye, the edginess of it hurts the book so much. Fans loved the extremes it went to at the time it was being published, but those extremes take some stories that could have been great and make them a relic of a bygone time that doesn’t stand up anymore.

2 Avengers: The Children’s Crusade Gets Scarlet Witch Off The Hook


Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #1-9

Creative Team

Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor, and Cory Petit

Scarlet Witch became one of Marvel’s signature villains in the ’00s. Scarlet Witch’s depowering of the mutant race was an act of genocide and made the character a poisoned chalice for any creator who wanted to use her as anything but a villain. That was never going to fly with a character who is so important to the Avengers, and that’s where Avengers: The Children’s Crusade comes in. The book is about the Avengers and the Young Avengers trying to find Scarlet Witch, and it reveals the truth about why she snapped back in Avengers Disassembled and House Of M – it was all Doctor Doom’s fault, who used her to tap into the power of the Life Force.

The book existed both for creators to use her as a hero again—because it made sure that her worst actions weren’t her fault—and also to soothe the many fans who hated the direction she was taking. It would have been much better to have her still be responsible and have to work her way back up rather than giving her a get-out-of-jail-free card. This could have been a much better story if it didn’t handwave away her responsibility for what she did.

1 Avengers Vs. X-Men Existed To Make The Avengers Look Good And The X-Men Look Bad


Earth’s Mightiest Spoilers- The Return of Earth’s Mightiest Butler

Jed MacKay talks to CBR about Avengers #11, in which Edwin Jarvis returns to show just how invaluable he is to the legacy of Marvel’s superhero team.


Avengers Vs. X-Men #1-12

Creative Team

Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, John Romita Jr., Olivier Coipel, Adam Kubert, Scott Hanna, Mark Morales, John Dell, Laura Martin, Larry Molinar, and Chris Eliopolous

2012 was a huge year for the Avengers. The Avengers made their big-screen debut and became a cultural phenomenon. Marvel wanted to capitalize on this, and that’s where Avengers vs. X-Men came in. The story pits the two teams against each other in a battle over the Phoenix Force, one that goes horribly wrong when five X-Men split the power between themselves. This worsens the war, as the Avengers have to battle against a group that could destroy the Earth without even trying.

The comic made it so the Avengers were the good guys, but they made everything worse. The X-Men’s original plan would have worked out perfectly, but the Avengers getting involved messed everything up. Avengers Vs. X-Men changed the Marvel Universe, ending with the repowering of the mutant race. Still, it was an event made to appeal to Avengers fans, but reading it critically reveals a story that could have been better if it was more even-handed.

The Avengers

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Marvel’s Avengers first appeared in 1963. While Marvel Comics premier superhero team has boasted a rotating cast of heroes, and even spinoff franchises like the West Coast Avengers, heroes like The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, The Wasp, and Thor are mainstays of this potent franchise that has helped defined Marvel Comics and the MCU.

“}]] Comic events like Civil War II and The Children’s Crusade existed primarily to appease fans instead of focusing on telling good Avengers stories.  Read More