The Avengers, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are a household name all over the planet. A team of the most powerful superheroes on Earth (and sometimes beyond). Here is our Top 5 favourite Avengers squads from the last 15 years!
5) Mighty Avengers
Roster: Luke Cage, Falcon, Blue Marvel, Spectrum, White Tiger, She-Hulk, Superior Spider-man, Ronin, Power Man
A ragtag mob of C-listers (paraphrased from Superior Spider-man); this interpretation of the Mighty Avengers began as an extension of Luke Cage's Heroes for Hire; bringing in young heroes from Avengers Academy.
Powerful mystical threats brought the whole team together, and while much of the team's time is spent dealing with the events going on in the Marvel Universe as a whole, we get a very character driven story. Falcon takes over as the leader just after the halfway point when he becomes Captain America. They changed the name to "Captain America & the Mighty Avengers" to boost sales, but sadly, the C-lister's don't always draw in £££.
Following Secret Wars, the team formed the basis for the Ultimates; who were like an avatar for the Fantastic Four, who were off world repairing the universe.
Mighty Avengers Vol 1: No Single Hero
Mighty Avengers Vol 2: Family Bonding
Mighty Avengers Vol 3: Original Sin - Not Your Father's Avengers
Captain America & the Mighty Avengers Vol 1: Open For Business
Captain Britain & the Mighty Avengers Vol 2: Last Days
4) Dark Avengers
Roster: Iron Patriot, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Ms Marvel, Ares, Sentry, Captain Marvel
Following his defeat of the Skrull Queen, Norman Osborn; leader of the Thunderbolts, became the world's most popular hero, and replaced Tony Stark as the head of SHIELD, now known as HAMMER. Finding Iron Man's armoury, he becomes the Iron Patriot and assembles a team of villains, pretending to be the World's Mightiest Heroes: Venom as Spider-man, Moonstone acting as Ms Marvel, Daken playing the role of his father, Bullseye as Hawkeye, Noh-Varr as Captain Marvel as well as Avengers Ares and The Sentry (falling for Osborn's manipulation).
The most exciting thing about this team is exploring a new world where the rules can be broken; which was always the most fun about Dark Avengers predecessor; the Thunderbolts.
A book of great dialogue between it's cast of strangely likeable villains, that explores the mental stability and consequences of even assembling such a squad, Dark Avengers is exciting and fresh. Culminating in Marvel's big event of the year, Siege, in which the insanity reaches fever pitch and the Dark Avengers invade Asgard.
Recommended reading: Dark Avengers Vol 1: Assemble Dark Avengers Vol 2: Molecule Man Siege: Dark Avengers Siege
3) Uncanny Avengers
Roster: Havok, Captain America, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Wolverine, Wasp, Sunspot, Wonder Man
Following the events of Avengers VS X-Men, and the death of Professor X, Captain America believed it was time for humans and mutants to work together and recruited Havok to lead a squad of the best X-Men and Avengers to set an example of co-operation. The first threat the team face is a returned Red Skull, who, after engaging in a spot of grave robbing, gains the powers of Charles Xavier.
The story only gets more exciting and complex from there, with the introduction of the Apocalypse twins. Picking up threads from Rick Remender's run on Uncanny X-Force, the twins are heirs to Archangel (the current Apocalypse replacement). They use Death Seeds to unleash the Four Horsemen of Death on the Uncanny Avengers. Kang the Conquerer's machinations mean Celestials get involved and we end up with classic X-Men style reality altering antics (Remender's favourite).
Volume 5 sees a brutal duel between the Red Skull and Magneto, but otherwise struggles to meet the levels of awesome the previous 4 volumes hit. It all leads into the event "Axis", in which the Red Skull becomes the Red Onslaught and inverts many of Earth's heroes and villains.
The run goes out on a whimper, with a story retconning Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's parentage, presumably pushed by Disney who did not own X-Men at that point, and wanted to gradually sabotage the Fox owned properties. The less said about the final volume, the better.
Uncanny Avengers Vol 1: The Red Shadow
Uncanny Avengers Vol 2: The Apocalypse Twins
Uncanny Avengers Vol 3: Ragnarok Now
Uncanny Avengers Vol 4: Avenge the Earth
2) New Avengers
Roster: Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Sentry, Ronin
Following Avengers Disassembled, the team was disbanded, until Electro stages a massive breakout at the super villain prison, The Raft. With no Avengers to save the day, a group of heroes come together and do just that.
Drawing the team from the wider Marvel universe like never before, we finally see the likes of Spider-man and Wolverine become official Avengers; previously exclusive to their own separate franchises. This opened the gates for later writers of Avengers books to be less fearful of who could join the team line-up.
Fresh and bold (Sentry VS Carnage... wow), with fantastic dialogue, New Avengers ran for 64 issues before going back to #1, then later becoming just plain old Avengers again. The book is at it's peak before the Secret Invasion tie-ins, but is still a fun read until it's end, staying fresh, and refreshing the team with new exciting members along the way.
New Avengers Vol 1: Breakout
New Avengers Vol 2: Sentry
New Avengers Vol 3: Secrets & Lies
New Avengers Vol 5: The Collective
New Avengers Vol 6: Civil War
New Avengers Vol 7: Revolution
New Avengers Vol 8: The Trust
1) Avengers World
Roster: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Woman, Falcon, Shang Chi, Sunspot, Cannonball, Manifold, Smasher, Captain Universe, Hyperion
Jonathan Hickman writes the most rich and rewarding stories, and his time on Avengers gave us the most exciting and largest Avengers team of all time; Avengers World.
The Avengers were taken to an interplanetary level with missions from Mars to the multiverse; the threats expanding to cosmic levels never comprehended in the Marvel Universe before. The stories encompass both "Avengers", focusing on the main team, and "New Avengers", the secret Illuminati team (Iron Man, Black Panther, Mr Fantastic, Doctor Strange, Namor, Black Bolt & Beast), tasked with a collapsing multiverse. These lead into Infinity, which sees the debut of Thanos' Black Order.
It's difficult to talk about these stories without spoiling the truly astonishing reveals. As the story approaches its end, we see the Marvel Universe drastically changed and it has to be read to fully appreciate the genius. Hickman's magnum opus is the finale; Secret Wars, a truly Marvel comics masterpiece.
Avengers Vol 1: Avengers World
Avengers Vol 2: The Last White Event
Avengers Vol 3: Prelude to Infinity
New Avengers Vol 1: Everything Dies
New Avengers Vol 2: Other Worlds
New Avengers Vol 3: A Perfect World
Avengers Vol 5: Adapt or Die
Avengers Vol 6: Infinite Avengers
Avengers Time Runs Out Vol 1
Avengers Time Runs Out Vol 2
Avengers Time Runs Out Vol 3
Avengers Time Runs Out Vol 4