From a surprise team romance to the origin of life on Earth.
Marvel’s Avengers comic series relaunched in May 2018 and in a mere 13 issues (as of this writing) has made some massive changes to the Marvel Universe. These developments concern the new Avengers team but also characters from the depths of the ocean to the land of Wakanda, not to mention some rather terrifying villains. Writer Jason Aaron is building out quite the epic Avengers saga with artists like Ed McGuinness, David Marquez, and Sara Pichelli, and he appears to be setting up some important events to come, so here’s a list of the most significant happenings thus far.
Warning: full spoilers for The Avengers ahead!
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The New Origin of Life on Earth, According to Marvel
The first Avengers story arc started off with something small: rewriting the history of mankind! When dead Celestials began to crash down to Earth from space, a new team of Avengers were brought together featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, She-Hulk, Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes. Something was killing the gigantic space gods and those responsible ended up being a group of Dark Celestials overtaken by a cosmic bug-like infection called the Horde.
As it turns out, the Horde was responsible for killing a powerful Alpha Celestial called the Progenitor four billion years in the past, and it fell to Earth where it perished from its infection, spewing its cosmic fluids all over the still-forming planet. From this rose life itself, which went on to become not only humankind but the various super-powered beings that inhabit Earth in the Marvel Universe.
In the year 1,000,000 B.C., a team of prehistoric Avengers led by Odin formed to fight a deranged Celestial that wound up being the lover of Progenitor searching for its mate — but how were they supposed to know that? You see a giant space titan, you punch it first and ask questions later. The First Host of Celestials came to Earth to see what all the fuss was about and recognized that if they let mankind live, it could one day be the cure to the Horde, and so they let humanity prosper.
Back in the present day, the newly formed Avengers team lived up to their purpose and beat the Dark Celestials, thus cementing a new age for Earth’s mightiest heroes. Naturally, Loki was pulling everyone’s strings the whole time and took credit for the victory, but he also hinted that something even worse was on the horizon (isn’t there always?) before he was taken along with the Celestials as they departed.
A New Avengers Headquarters and Leader
As a thank you gift to the heroes, the remaining Horde-free Celestials gifted them the body of the Progenitor to use as their new base of operations. Yup, you read that right: the newly christened “Avengers Mountain” is the titanic corpse of an alien god embedded in a mountain of ice. But it comes with quite a few perks. The remains of the Celestial’s heart now powers a teleportation system connected to key points around the globe, cheekily named the “Circulator.” The spinal cord is an elevator that runs up and down the massive structure. The fingertips of its outstretched hand open up to act as hangar bays for each team member. Pretty much every body part has been (morbidly) repurposed by Black Panther’s Wakandan technology and Captain Marvel’s Alpha Flight assets to make it into an ideal command center.
The circular room atop the spire held in its hand contains a meeting table with seven seats for the permanent members of the Avengers. Doctor Strange was only there to help for the initial crisis, but his eighth seat was left open so different heroes can come and go when the team needs them. Black Panther was named chairperson of the Avengers because, as Cap puts it, they need “new leadership. For a new age.”
A Thor/She-Hulk Romance
That’s right, Thor and She-Hulk are totally smashing. The two shared a passionate kiss in the heat of battle and they’ve been going steady ever since — and it’s just as awkward as you’d imagine. The rest of Avengers are just trying to get their jobs done and protect the world without being forced to imagine what goes on between the couple behind closed doors. However, not all is perfect between the duo. While Thor is comfortable punching evil alongside the gamma-powered bruiser that is She-Hulk, he acts himself a fool around her human side, Jennifer Walters.
A Rise in Anti-Avengers Squads
With the formation of a powerful new Avengers team, the rest of the world quickly responded with super squads of their own. Namor the Sub-Mariner formed the Defenders of the Deep to protect the citizens of Atlantis and wage war against land-dwellers.
Russia reformed the Winter Guard under the command of Crimson Dynamo, although a hooded and mostly-silent agent of the Red Room named Red Widow seems to be the one who is truly calling the shots.
With Captain America rather aggressively explaining to General Ross that the Avengers and he are dedicated to not just protecting the United States but the whole world, Ross responded by having Agent Phil Coulson assemble the Squadron Supreme of America to protect the county and stand against the Avengers, should the need arise. And as you can tell from taking one look at them, they’re essentially Marvel’s version of the Justice League of America.
A Vampire Civil War
We’ve been hearing rumblings of a vampire civil war brewing as a mysterious figure known as the Shadow Colonel is attempting to unseat Dracula from his throne. Naturally, the Avengers recruit Blade to help them deal with this supernatural blood-sucking threat.
The Agents of Wakanda Replace SHIELD
With a superhero arms race starting to escalate rather quickly and SHIELD no longer around, Black Panther steps up to fill the void with the Agents of Wakanda. While the Avengers are the ones who face threats head-on in the view of the public with their many amazing superpowers, this team features a lot of lower-profile characters to gather intelligence and complete covert missions. Advertised as Marvel’s new “Secret Avengers,” the team currently consists of the Dora Milaje’s Okoye as team director, Gorilla-Man, original Wasp Janet Van Dyne, former SHIELD agent Roz Solomon, the Savage Land’s resident Tarzan stand-in Ka-Zar, astronaut/Man-Wolf John Jameson (son of JJJ), brilliant little Brood scientist Broo, Morbius the Living Vampire (to help with that whole Vampire Civil War thing), mutant Doctor Nemesis, super-strong American Eagle, and Fat Cobra of Iron Fist lore.
As if that wasn’t enough, team leader Black Panther seeks counsel from Odin, who acts as an unofficial advisor in exchange for T’Challa’s help rebuilding the shattered bifrost.
More Thor as The War of the Realms Approaches
As you may know, the next big Marvel crossover event War of the Realms will be upon us in a few months, and Jason Aaron is writing it (with art by Russell Dauterman), so it’s clear to see that he’s setting up some very big things not only in the pages of Thor’s solo comic where the war has been building up over the past several years but in this Avengers series. Just look at the involvement of Loki, Odin, and Roz Solomon along with mention of the bifrost and other elements related to Thor that are being folded into Marvel’s flagship Avengers series. Expect to see even more Thor plot threads take prominence to set the stage for Malekith’s siege on Midgard.
Joshua is Senior Editor of IGN Comics. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.