Hulk battled the heroes to a standstill, but Thor quickly sensed his brother’s hands in these events. Thor left the fight to confront Loki, and he returned to Earth with his brother to proclaim the Hulk’s innocence. Loki’s attempt to break free was thwarted by the assembled heroes. Before they parted ways, Ant-Man suggested that they remain together as a powerful force of good. Iron Man, Thor, and even Hulk readily agreed, while the Wasp named the team “the Avengers.”
Some Assembly Required
Unlike many Super Hero teams, the Avengers have largely embraced a highly structured dynamic, with a leader/chairperson who charts their collective path in battle and in peace. Almost all of the founding members have taken their turn as the team’s leader, with Captain America, Iron Man, and the Wasp emerging as arguably the Avengers’ most gifted commanders. When necessary, the Avengers have also held court-martials to discipline members who stepped out of line. Not even the founding members were immune, as Hank Pym/Ant-Man faced expulsion from the team he helped create.
For most of their existence, the Avengers have also operated with government oversight as the officially sanctioned heroes of the United States of America, as well as a broader mandate under S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United Nations. The primary Avengers team has largely continued to maintain those ties, while the splinter groups have tended to operate under their own authority.
Bring on the Bad Guys
The Avengers’ strength has always invited challenge by the forces of evil. During one of the team’s earliest adventures, Kang the Conqueror traveled from the far future to personally defeat the Avengers. A short time later, Kang’s future self, Immortus, arrived and presented his own challenge to the team. Both Kang and Immortus have gone on to become two of the Avengers’ most powerful foes, although the two have also waged war upon each other in their never-ending bid for dominance.
One of the Avengers’ greatest threats is Ultron, who was actually created by an Avenger. Originally a benign experimental robot built by Hank Pym, Ultron rejected his creator and rebuilt himself with a nearly indestructible android body. Ultron tries to wipe out humanity several times; and he has even massacred the entire country of Slorenia. Since Ultron was merged with Pym, he has gone on to become an even more dangerous threat.
The first Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil were another early threat to the Avengers. The second Baron Zemo keeps the family tradition alive with his own team of Masters. While the younger Baron’s plans fail, he is able to transform his Masters into the Thunderbolts, a team of villains pretending to be heroes. Even though the Thunderbolts usurp Zemo’s control, they are briefly able to supplant the Avengers’ role with the government following the Onslaught incident.
Thanos, Ronan the Accuser, the Supreme Intelligence, Korvac, and the Skrulls alll test the Avengers on a cosmic scale, but there are no shortage of villains for the team on Earth. Count Nefaria, Klaw, Grim Reaper, the Hood, and countless others have crossed paths with the Avengers. Even Doctor Doom, arguably the world’s deadliest villain, has known defeat at the Avengers’ hands.
Friends and Family
No one has been more resolute in their support of the Avengers than Edwin Jarvis. Jarvis is the Stark family butler, who served Tony Stark when he was a boy. When Stark donates his family’s mansion to house the Avengers, Jarvis remains in his role and applies his many skills to aid the Avengers in any way possible. Jarvis has even been a confidant and father-figure to the younger members. No less than Captain America has said that Jarvis should be considered an Avenger in his own right.