Comics
Published November 29, 2022

What You Need to Know for 'Avengers Assemble'

Here's everything you need to know about 'Avengers Assemble,' which kicks off in Jason Aaron and Bryan Hitch's 'Avengers Assemble Alpha' #1.

There are few villains in the Marvel Universe as tricky and deadly as Mephisto, the ruler of Hell. In the decades since his first appearance, the Prince of Darkness has tried some pretty incredible schemes in his attempt to corrupt the universe—but his machinations in AVENGERS (2018) may be his most devious yet. With Jason Aaron, Bryan Hitch, Javier Garrón, and Aaron Kuder’s crossover AVENGERS ASSEMBLE bringing Mephisto’s plans into their endgame, here’s what you need to know about the story so far.

The Avengers

When the current run on AVENGERS (2018) kicked off, Mephisto was imprisoned at the Hotel Inferno as a result of DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION (2018). Early on in the run, Moon Knight and Khonshu discovered that the demon—while imprisoned in Las Vegas—had formed a plan that could threaten reality as they knew it. In response, they took down the Avengers and used their powers to usher in the Age of Khonshu, killing the imprisoned Mephisto and various versions of him from across the Multiverse in the process. By the end of the storyline, Moon Knight came to recognize Khonshu’s tyranny and turned on his patron, helping the Avengers end the Age of Khonshu. However, Mephisto’s plans were only just beginning.

Around that time, Mephisto also revived Phil Coulson, who had died during the events of SECRET EMPIRE (2017), and gave him the Pandemonium Cube. Coulson used the Cube to rewrite reality, creating a version of Earth on which the Avengers never existed; in their place, the Squadron Supreme became the world’s main Super Hero team. Fortunately, though, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were again able to restore their reality. The event—known as HEROES REBORN (2021)—served a secret purpose for Mephisto: it allowed him to demonstrate to versions of himself from across the Multiverse just how effective they could be if they banded together to change reality. 

These Mephistos formed the Council of Red, which proceeded to recruit the deadliest villains from across the Multiverse to make a new iteration of the Masters of Evil. Led by Doom Supreme, these Masters of Evil consisted of the Dark Phoenix, Ghost Goblin, Young Thanos, King Killmonger, Black Skull, and Berserker. The Council of Red directed them to work their way through the Multiverse, and so they did, leaving dead Avengers in their wake. The villains also launched an attack on the Avengers of Earth-616, during which they proved themselves to be a fair match for the heroes. Although the Masters of Evil have been effective, Mephisto believes Doom Supreme will eventually turn on him too.

Recently, Mephisto has begun messing with the timeline to get back to the Genesis Point of Earth-616’s history—the very catalyst for the Age of Heroes. As a result, the Avengers have traveled backwards in time in pursuit. Currently, the team consists of Steve Rogers’ Captain America, Jane Foster’s Valkyrie, Tony Stark’s Iron Man, Thor Odinson, Maya Lopez’s Echo as the Phoenix, Namor, Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, Kyle Richmond’s Nighthawk, and Brandy Selby, a new Starbrand who rapidly ages when she uses her powers.

The Avengers of 1,000,000 BC

Mephisto’s main target is the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, a team first introduced in MARVEL LEGACY (2017) #1. The original version of the group consisted of Firehair’s Phoenix, Mosi’s Black Panther, Fan Fei’s Iron Fist, Vnn’s Starbrand, Ghost’s Ghost Rider, Odin Borson, and Agamotto, the world’s first Sorcerer Supreme. Together, the group has taken on several major threats, including a fallen Celestial named Zgreb the Sorrower. 

There have been a few changes to the team’s lineup since its introduction. Black Panther died during a battle with the children of Laufey. Odin had a particularly callous reaction to his mortal comrade’s death, straining his relationship with the rest of the team. Matters got even worse when Odin attempted to hold a surprise wedding for himself and the Phoenix, with whom he’d been romantically involved. Phoenix fled, and the group officially broke up, though they temporarily reunited to protect Thor from Laufey when the future God of Thunder was born. 

Thanks to Agamotto, the group has once again assembled, this time with the aim of stopping Mephisto. The new version of the team consists of all the original members save for Phoenix, who is somewhere in space, and a representative from the Panther Tribe. This team also has an early version of Moon Knight, the avatar of Khonshu.

Avengers Forever

Those two Avengers teams won’t be alone when they take on the Council of Red and the Multiversal Masters of Evil. In AVENGERS (2018), a mysterious character known as the Avenger Prime sent multiple Deathloks out to protect the timeline from Mephisto’s machinations. This resulted in Robbie Reyes, AKA Ghost Rider, heading out into the Multiverse to recruit Avengers for the coming fight.    

At the start of his journey, Reyes and a lone Deathlok arrived on Earth-818, where they helped that world’s Tony Stark—who was operating as Ant-Man—take down Black Skull and assemble that world’s last remaining heroes. From there, Reyes, Stark, and the Deathlok recruited, among many others, T’Challa, AKA Star Panther, an incredibly powerful version of Black Panther; the Carol Corps, which is made up of different versions of Captain Marvel; and an all-Steve Rogers iteration of the Howling Commandos. This version of the Avengers, known as the Omni-Avengers, has been gathering at Avengers Tower in the God Quarry. 

Reyes, for his part, took on the mantle of the All-Rider, a particularly powerful version of Ghost Rider that can turn pretty much anything into a vehicle. In this form, Reyes attempted to take on the Multiversal Masters of Evil directly, despite knowing that victory would require him to forfeit his life. Before Reyes could defeat Doom Supreme, Ant-Man and the Deathlok intervened and saved the hero. In the process, the Deathlok died, though he made clear that the All-Rider would remain key to stopping Mephisto’s plans.

While the Avengers have certainly assembled an impressive lineup to take on the Council of Red and the Multiversal Masters of Evil, don’t count the villains out just yet. The first meeting between the two sides in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE ALPHA (2022) #1 proves just how deadly the villains really are, as well as the problems that arise when very different versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes come together. 

To find out how the battle starts, pick up AVENGERS ASSEMBLE (2022) #1, on sale Wednesday, November 30! The storyline will continue in AVENGERS (2018) #63 and AVENGERS FOREVER (2021) #12 on December 7 and December 21, respectively.

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