In the year 3016 on the technologically advanced alternate world known as Other Earth, 16-year-old robotics student Nathaniel Richards was rescued by his future self, the megalomaniacal time-traveler known as Kang The Conqueror, from a near-fatal attack. Kang outfitted young Nathaniel with a suit of psychokinetic armor that responded to his thoughts and gave him a glimpse of his future as a conqueror. Horrified at the death and destruction caused by his future self, young Nathaniel rejected the help of Kang and used his armor to escape to modern-day Earth-616, hoping to find the Avengers so that they could help him defeat Kang.
Calling himself Iron Lad, young Nathaniel arrived at his destination, only to find that the Avengers had disbanded and that a glitch in his armor prevented him from traveling further back in time. After failed attempts to contact individual Avengers, Iron Lad broke into Stark Industries where he uploaded the central processing unit of the Vision, the synthezoid former member of the Avengers who was destroyed just prior to the team's disbandment, into his armor. Iron Lad found a failsafe program within the Vision's CPU which was designed to pinpoint the exact locations of the next wave of young Avengers (super-powered youths with either some significance to the Avengers themselves or to Avengers history) if anything were to happen to the original Avengers.
Iron Lad used this data to recruit three "Young Avengers" who resided in New York City: Patriot (Elijah Bradley), the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the sole survivor of an early American Super-Soldier program that experimented on African-Americans in the 1940s, who received super-powers of his own after receiving a blood transfusion from this grandfather; Asgardian (William "Billy" Kaplan), a boy with the ability to project waves of energy; and Hulkling (Teddy Altman), who was able to shape-shift into a green-skinned powerhouse with a healing factor. Iron Lad led the quartet of young heroes on several missions in an attempt to train them for their impending showdown with Kang. But when Captain America and Iron Man learned of the team’s existence, they set out to end the young heroes’ exploits before they got hurt.
Meanwhile, Cassandra Lang, the daughter of Ant-Man (Scott Lang), a former Avenger who had recently been killed, set out to join the Young Avengers and continue her father's heroic legacy. Cassie had been stealing the Pym Particles responsible for her father's size-changing abilities for years in an attempt to gain super-powers of her own and, as a result, found that she could increase her own size. She was joined by Kate Bishop, the athletic daughter of wealthy Manhattan publishing mogul Derek Bishop, who previously assisted the Young Avengers in stopping gunmen at her sister's wedding. But by the time the two girls finally tracked down the Young Avengers at the remnants of Avengers Mansion, the team had already been located by Captain America, Iron Man, and Jessica Jones. The adult heroes were about to send the teenagers home to their parents when the adult Kang the Conqueror appeared before them and convinced them to hand over Iron Lad to him or risk destroying the timeline.
After the Kang debacle, the Young Avengers thought it would be best to confess their identities to their parents if they wish to continue their activities. Captain America visited Patriot's grandparents to inform them of their grandson's extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, the Young Avengers take on Mister Hyde, who had been dealing MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone). During the fight, Wiccan found out that Patriot's powers didn't come from a blood transfusion, but that he is in fact an MGH addict. Ashamed, Elijah confessed that the Vision originally didn't come to recruit him but his uncle. He fooled the Vision into thinking he had powers too. After the Young Avengers' victory over Mr. Hyde, Patriot left the team. Even without his powers Eli returned to the team to help fight when Hulking was kidnapped by the Super-Skrull.
The Super Skrull K'Lrt had kidnapped Teddy and killed his mother before telling him of his real origin, as the son of the Kree hero Mar-Vell and the Skrull princess Anelle. Soon Kree and Skrull combat forces arrived and fought each other until teddy realizing his importance to both races called cease fire. The Avengers intervened to prevent another war from happening when a Kree warrior fired at Captain America, Patriot intercepting the blast and was horribly wounded. Hulkling and K'Lrt ended the fighting by secretly shape-shifting into each other's forms, Captain America stating that Teddy would spend one Earth year on each planet. Though secretly he remained on earth. Patriot was taken to the Hospital were he received a blood transfusion from his grandfather,thus receiving all of the super soldier powers. Kate argued that the problems they faced would have never happened if the Avengers had trained them. Kate then received Hawkeye's bow and quiver from Captain America who stated that the only person on the Avengers who had truly stood up to him was Hawkeye. Captain America then named Kate "Hawkeye", stating that she was following in the tradition of a great hero. Later after seemingly abandoning the team, Tommy arrived in the costume Kate had designed for him and decided to use the codename she had thought up--"Speed".
Days after the Skrull/Kree incident the Young Avengers were captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. for not registering. They were rescued by Captain America and Falcon and escaped by Wiccan using his powers to teleport them to a secret base. The team soon decided to join the Resistance movement. During the Skrull invasion, the team combined forces with the Runaways as two of their number were being hunted by the invaders. Once the war was won, leaving Norman Osborn in charge of the nation's defenses, the Young Avengers found themselves in opposition of a group of upstarts using the same name. In an attempt to integrate both teams into one try-outs were held, but it was quickly determined the youths in question were not of the same caliber as the existing Young Avengers, so the idea was nixed. The two teams violently parted ways, and a comment made to the Young Avengers may have prompted the impostors to change their name to the Young Masters.
At a time when Henry Pym, now using the name Wasp, formed a new team of Avengers, Stature and Vision chose to divide their time between the two groups. However, their alliance wasn't as successful as initially intended, and Pym's team dissolved. Osborn would reunite the Avengers, in all incarnations, in his mad scheme to rid the world of the Asgardians. The Young Avengers, whether fighting separately or together, did what they could to help the people of Asgard in their time of need - including Wiccan courageously standing alone against the Wrecking Crew.