The Avengers were officially added to the Marvel Universe in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The movie version came to theaters uniting a group of heroes against a foe that they could not defeat alone. SHIELD gathered the heroes together to defend the earth in the Avengers Initiative. However, the movie version of the team is not the original team of heroes that combined forces to battle Loki in Avengers #1.
The purpose of the Avengers was to fight foes that a single hero could not defeat. Through the years there have been a number of heroes that have filed in and out of their ranks. The team is fluid and flexible allowing for many different options for character development. Nearly all of the secondary characters from the solo Marvel movies have either been members of the Avengers or fought alongside the Avengers at some point.
The original team consisted of five heroes, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Ant Man and the Wasp. Three of these characters were featured in the Avengers film and many are familiar with them. However, Ant Man and the Wasp are less familiar to the mass audience of the films.
Hank Pym has been a series of different characters through the history of the Avengers with changing abilities and equipment. He first joined the Avengers as Ant Man, with the ability to shrink and communicate with insects. Pym would be a key figure through the ongoing history of the team.
The Wasp was a founding member of the Avengers. She had the ability to shrink and project blasts of energy called stings. The Wasp would later marry Hank Pym and continue her membership with the team.
One of the most surprising absences from the original Avengers is Captain America. Captain America was not discovered frozen in ice for a few issues. Following the discovery and rescue of Captain America, he joined the team and began to fight alongside the other heroes.
The Black Widow would eventually join the ranks of the Avengers but not until much later. The Black Widow would become a regular member of the Avengers when the team was split into multiple groups to better help defend the earth.
Hawkeye would join the Avengers in issue #16. He would be a major character with an ongoing story arc through the history of the team. Hawkeye was involved in many of the team’s major conflicts. The decision was made to split the Avengers into multiple teams to help cover various crisis situations. Hawkeye would later become the leader of the West Coast Avengers.
The Avengers would become a major force in the Marvel Universe with a variety of characters as part of their ranks. The latest installment of the Avengers will be adding two more heroes to their ranks with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. As the Avengers movie story line continues to grow, so will the potential characters.