Avengers in Other
by Sean McQuaid
The Avengers are Earth's foremost team of super-heroes, but they certainly aren't the only such group. In fact, most of the Avengers have belonged to other super-teams at some point in their careers. The following is a list of those other teams, their Avengers ties and other pertinent information. This is what comes of having my laptop with me when I'm waiting for my wife to pick me up at work...
Short-lived 1940s postwar super-team that was essentially a peacetime reorganization of the wartime Invaders and Liberty Legion groups. AWS members who later became Avengers include Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch and the Whizzer.
Principal Appearances: All-Winners Comics, What If, various reprints and flashbacks.
Canadian-based super-team that has disbanded and reunited more than once, sometimes independently and sometimes under the auspices of the Canadian government; the group was recently revived again as a government agency. They have teamed with the Avengers on several occasions. AF member Marrina went on to become an honorary Avenger before dying in action.
Short-lived, Los Angeles-based super-team that billed itself as "heroes for the common man" or "storefront super-heroes", striving for positive interactive relations with the media, the authorities and the general public. The group was funded and founded by Warren Worthington III, AKA The Angel. The team ultimately disbanded due to the personal incompatibility of its members. Black Widow (team leader) and Hercules were Avengers members both before and after their Champions membership. Other Avengers members and associates such as Hawkeye, Two-Gun Kid, Black Goliath, Beast and Iron Man worked with the Champions on occasion, but they did not join the group.
Sometimes malevolent US government agency that, among other things, manages various government case files on superhumans. Avengers members USAgent and Spider-Woman II were both employed by the Commission in the past, though Spider-Woman ultimately resigned from the group; USAgent, on the other hand, continued freelancing for them even after joining the Avengers.
Short-lived team of aquatic adventurers whose members included Avengers members Namor the Sub-Mariner and Stingray.
Arguably the most diverse and formidable super-team in history apart from the Avengers themselves, the Defenders were a "non-team" that did not officially exist, consisting rather of an informal alliance of adventurers who agreed to band together in time of need. The group thrived for many years and took on many members, becoming a group much like the Avengers only without formal organizational structure. The Avengers and Defenders worked together on many occasions, and many Avengers were members of the Defenders at one time or another. Avengers who also served as Defenders included Sub-Mariner, Hulk, Hawkeye, Yellowjacket (Hank Pym), Hellcat, Beast and Moondragon. Many other Avengers also participated in the informal Defenders team at one time or another, albeit without seeking or holding membership per se. The core members of the Defenders disbanded when they were hoaxed into believing that their alliance threatened the future of Earth, and a more official subsequent reorganization of the group soon disbanded after the seeming death of most of its members in battle with the Dragon of the Moon. Some of the original Defenders have reunited on occasion since then (having long since learned there was no need for their initial disbanding), but their members have been too scattered of late to maintain the group on an ongoing basis as they once did.
Note: Avengers members and associates Hercules, Black Goliath (Bill Foster), Stingray, Falcon and Marvel Man (AKA Quasar) held Defenders membership for a single afternoon during a membership drive, but none of them decided to stay with the team.
Superhuman adventurers and explorers, the FF were the first of the modern-day super-teams. Though successful and respected, they have never opened their membership up to the same extent that the Avengers and Defenders did, preferring to restrict the group to their tight-knit founding membership apart from occasional substitutes or temporary replacement members. The Fantastic Four are staunch friends and allies of the Avengers, and the two teams have worked together on numerous occasions; three of the FF's founding members--Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman and the Thing--have even served as members of the Avengers during some of their inevitably brief leaves of absence from the FF. Avengers members She-Hulk and Crystal have also served with the FF as temporary replacements for absent FF founding members, with She-Hulk logging an especially lengthy stint as the Thing's replacement while he was estranged from the FF for a time.
Short-lived team of adventurers and explorers formed in imitation of the Fantastic Four and consisting principally of heroes from or affiliated with the Fantastic Four. Avengers members She-Hulk and Black Panther were both briefly affiliated with this group.
Short-lived team of adventurers formed by disgruntled members of the Avengers' west coast division after Avengers West was disbanded; this new group was meant to replace the Avengers West as America's foremost western super-heroes and do so in a proactive fashion though the use of a "chaos computer" that predicted disasters before they happened. Western-based Avengers who resigned to found this new group included Iron Man (founder and financier), Scarlet Witch (team leader), Spider-Woman II, USAgent and Wonder Man. A pale imitation of the Avengers at best, this team soon failed miserably. Wonder Man seemingly died on their first mission, and Force Works soon disbanded after Iron Man seemingly died as well. Scarlet Witch rejoined the Avengers, and the team's other survivors dispersed. Iron Man and Wonder Man have both since returned from their apparent deaths, but Force Works remains defunct.
Super-team formed, financed and controlled by the US government, and composed primarily of costumed criminals who served on the team in exchange for not serving their jail time. Mystique and her Brotherhood of Evil Mutants were the founding members of Freedom Force, but they were soon joined by the villainess Spiral, the heroine Spider-Woman II and the vigilantes Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super-Sabre. Spider-Woman quickly became disillusioned with the unscrupulous group, who were little more than government thugs; she went AWOL after freeing the unjustly imprisoned Avengers (who'd been framed for treason and forcibly arrested by Freedom Force at the time), later joining the Avengers West. Freedom Force continued without her but eventually disbanded after most of its members were killed or otherwise lost.
Short-lived 31st century super-team formed as an expansion of the Guardians of the Galaxy and consisting of past members and allies of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Galactic Guardians' founder and leader was Martinex, who had been an honorary member of the Avengers during his time with the Guardians of the Galaxy. He later returned to the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Great Lakes Avengers:
Milwaukee-based team of adventurers who fancy themselves the Midwestern branch of the Avengers but are nothing more than novice allies of the actual Avengers trading on the senior team's name. Avengers members Hawkeye and Mockingbird acted as mentors to the GLA for a time, and the group has served as an emergency backup of sorts to the real Avengers on occasion. When the Avengers were wrongly presumed dead after Onslaught, the GLA moved to the west coast and rechristened themselves the Lightning Rods in emulation of the Thunderbolts, a then-celebrated team of costumed adventurers.
Guardians of the Galaxy:
Team of 31st century freedom fighters turned spacefaring adventurers. The Guardians have visited the 20th century several times and have worked alongside Captain America, The Thing, the Defenders, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Thor, Moondragon and the entire Avengers team. During one extended visit to the 30th century, the Guardians were awarded honorary Avengers membership by their hosts, the Avengers. The Guardians' members then included Charlie-27, Martinex, Vance Astro, Yondu, Starhawk, Nikki and Aleta. During a later visit to the 20th century, the Guardians defended Avengers Mansion from an assault by the Masters of Evil and picked up a new recruit, sometime super-criminal and one-time honorary Avenger Yellowjacket II. She later left the group and returned to the 20th century.
Heroes for Hire:
Formerly a two-man mercenary partnership consisting of super-heroes Luke Cage (AKA Power Man) and Iron Fist, this team is now a larger, corporate-sponsored, charitable organization of heroes for hire. The group's staff and operatives have included past Avengers members Black Knight III, Hercules (since resigned), She-Hulk and Jim Hammond (formerly the original Human Torch). Avengers associate Ant-Man II (Scott Lang) has also joined the team.
Group dedicated to the capture or destruction of the monstrous Hulk. One incarnation of the group was led by Bruce Banner (AKA The Hulk) himself during a period in which he and his Hulk personality were physically separated into two different bodies. Unable to exist in this state indefinitely, the Hulk and Banner later merged into one being again.
Team of spacefaring adventurers who served as the wielders and guardians of the vastly powerful Infinity Gems. The gems have since fallen into other hands and the group has dissolved. Sometime Avengers member Moondragon was a member of the Watch as the guardian of the Mind Gem until injuries forced her to retire from the group.
Inhuman Royal Family:
The Royal Family of the hidden race known as the Inhumans have been friends and allies to the Avengers for years, both in their capacity as rulers and their occasional state as nomadic adventurers. Longtime Avengers member Quicksilver married into the Royal Family of the Inhumans when he wed Crystal, and Crystal later joined the Avengers as well.
Mercenary team affiliated with Silver Sable. Its members include one-time Avengers member Sandman and Avengers associate Paladin.
1940s super-team dedicated to battling the Axis powers during World War II; most of this group's members remained together as the All-Winners Squad after the war. Future Avengers who belonged to the Invaders included Captain America, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Human Torch and the Whizzer.
One-time emergency alliance of all the past and present authorized users of the Iron Man armor, including Tony Stark, Happy Hogan, Michael O'Brien, Eddie March, Jim Rhodes, Clay Wilson and Bethany Cabe. Stark, the original Iron Man, first teamed with his many alternates en masse to face the threat of the gigantic robot Ultimo. Stark and Rhodes have both served with the Avengers as Iron Man. Rhodes also served with the Avengers as War Machine.
Short-lived radical feminist super-team composed primarily of female Avengers members and associates, including Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Wasp; the group dissolved after its leader, the Valkyrie, was revealed as the villainous Enchantress in disguise.
1940s super-team that served as the homefront or domestic equivalent to the Invaders, whom the Liberty Legion was founded to battle during a period in which the Invaders were controlled by the Red Skull; the Liberty Legion came to be considered a sister group of sorts to the Invaders, and several Legion members also served with the Invaders. One such member was the Whizzer, later an honorary member of the Avengers.
Animals super-evolved into intelligent humanoids by the High Evolutionary. Avengers member Quicksilver has recently become the leader of a contingent of New Men.
New York-based super-team composed primarily of younger costumed adventurers in their teens and early twenties; they are regarded by some as a more youthful version of the Avengers. NW founder Vance (Justice) Astrovik applied unsuccessfully for Avengers membership before joining the Warriors. Rage got his start as a member of the Avengers, but was later dismissed for reckless conduct and for hiding the fact that he was a minor; he went on to join the New Warriors. Darkhawk was a reservist with both the New Warriors and Avengers West. There is speculation that New Warriors members Justice and Firestar may soon be joining the Avengers.
Exotically equipped and specially empowered mercenary team sometimes employed by Silver Sable. One-time Avengers member Sandman and sometime Avengers associate Paladin have both served as members of the Outlaws.
Project: Pegasus staff:
The energy research facility Project Pegasus has often employed superhumans, among them Avengers members and associates Quasar, Thing, Giant-Man II (Bill Foster) and Guardsman II (Michael O'Brien).
Physically and emotionally unstable youthful adventurers given powers through scientific experiments; frequent adversaries of the New Warriors, two of whom--Night Thrasher and the former Avengers member Rage--later acted as mentors to Psionex.
Short-lived, southwestern-based super-team whose founders included Firebird, who later joined the Avengers, and Avengers ally Red Wolf. The Rangers once battled the Avengers West while in the thrall of a demon but parted with the Avengers on good terms.
Informal, totally unstructured alliance of super-heroes that consisted first of Doctor Strange and his random allies (doubtless inspired by the similarly informal Defenders team Strange had co-founded years earlier); when Strange had to abandon the project, he manipulated Doctor Druid (a former Avenger) into taking his place as the central figure who sustained the Secret Defenders. Druid abdicated that role by faking his death, and the few other recurring participants in the group drifted apart afterward.
Elite covert espionage and international law-enforcement agency founded in the USA. Avengers who have worked for SHIELD in various capacities include Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, Mockingbird and Quasar. Depending on their respective goals and administration, SHIELD and the Avengers have had either friendly or adversarial relations in the past.
Super-team trained and employed by the elite espionage organization SHIELD; the Falcon and Quasar, later Avengers, were both involved with this short-lived group; it disbanded after half its members were revealed to be subversive infiltrators.
Short-lived super-team dedicated to battling supernatural or mystical threats. Led by former Avengers member Doctor Druid.
Short-lived, spacefaring super-team founded and led by former Avengers member Quasar.
Spacefaring pirate adventurers who operate out of the Shi'ar galaxy. Binary (formerly Ms. Marvel of the Avengers) was a member of their band for some time.
19th century adventurers led by former Avengers member the Two-Gun Kid.
Group of young ham radio enthusiasts formed by Rick Jones to track the Hulk's movements. They played a key role in the formation of the Avengers and assisted in several of the team's early cases.
Alliance of beings who have wielded the power of Thor, including the original Thor and one-time Thor substitute Eric Masterson (AKA Thunderstrike), both of whom have been members of the Avengers.
Team of mostly mutant motorcycle performers. The Thing (of the Avengers West and the Fantastic Four) was briefly affiliated with them.
Otherdimensional super-team that the Black Knight joined (and later led) when he was stranded in their universe for a time. He has since returned to the Avengers' universe.
Silver Sable's principal mercenary force. Avengers members and associates who have worked for or with the Wild Pack include Sandman, Paladin, Spider-Man, Hawkeye and Captain America.
Super-team founded as a reorganization of the X-Men--mutant adventurers dedicated to protecting humanity from dangerous mutants and protecting benign mutants from humanity--but posing as mutant-hunting humans to win the support of the human general populace. They later revealed their mutant nature to the world, but enjoyed continued public support thanks in part to their defeat of the Horsemen of Apocalypse. The group disbanded when its members all rejoined the X-Men, the group they had founded years earlier but been estranged from for a time. The Beast, once a member of the Avengers, was a founding member of both X-Factor and the X-Men. Shortly after X-Factor's disbanding, the group reformed as a government strike force with a completely new membership, including sometime Avengers member Quicksilver. He eventually resigned to return to the Avengers, though.
Super-team founded by Professor Charles Xavier as a group through which to train mutants in the responsible use of their powers while protecting humanity from dangerous mutants and other exotic threats. One of the X-Men's founding members, the Beast, was also a member of the Avengers for some time. Other Avengers, such as Quicksilver, have been affiliated with the X-Men on an informal basis in the past.
Team of exotically skilled and sometimes superhuman mercenaries periodically organized by the costumed soldier of fortune Batroc. The original Swordsman was briefly a member of Batroc's Brigade during his criminal career, but later reformed and rejoined the Avengers, whom he'd previously infiltrated on behalf of the Mandarin.
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Team of mutant terrorists founded and led by Magneto; his children Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were extremely reluctant founding members of the Brotherhood, often rebelling against Magneto's more ruthless plans. They soon left the Brotherhood and joined the Avengers, becoming mainstays of that celebrated heroic team, though Magneto twice manipulated them into briefly rejoining him. Years after Magneto's group disbanded, the Avengers battled a new Brotherhood founded and led by Mystique. This group soon became the government-sanctioned Freedom Force, and briefly counted future Avengers member Spider-Woman II among its ranks.
Team of super-criminals formed in imitation of and opposition to the Fantastic Four. The Frightful Four's founding members included career criminal the Sandman, who eventually reformed and briefly joined the Avengers.
Team of adventurers from alternate timelines, most of them members of the Avengers in their respective realities. They were founded and led by Proctor (an alternate reality counterpart of the Avengers' Black Knight), who was obsessed with destroying Sersi and her fellow Avengers in all universes because of his failed romance with the Sersi of his own universe. His Gatherers were mostly deceived into believing that Sersi posed a threat to the Earth, when in fact it was Proctor's own efforts to destroy Sersi that sparked the end of many alternate Earths, including some of the ones that produced the members of the Gatherers. Two members of the Gatherers, Swordsman II and Magdalene, eventually realized the extent of Proctor's evil and defected to the Avengers, becoming honorary members of that team. Sersi eventually slew Proctor in battle and most of the remaining Gatherers disappeared, though a few have since threatened the Avengers individually.
Short-lived alliance of artificial life forms pitted against the Avengers by Heavy Metal's leader, the Super-Adaptoid. The robotic Machine Man was briefly a member of Heavy Metal before turning against them to aid the Avengers instead, later joining the Avengers West.
Legion of the Unliving
Name given to several groups of undead warriors pitted against the Avengers, usually consisting of reanimations or facsimiles of the Avengers' deceased allies and adversaries. Kang, Grandmaster, Immortus and Grim Reaper have all conjured Legions of the Unliving to battle the Avengers in the past. Kang's Legion included Avengers foe Baron Zemo and Avengers allies Human Torch and Wonder Man, both of whom later truly returned to life. Grandmaster's Legion included facsimiles of many late Avengers friends and foes, as well as deceased Avengers members Swordsman and Captain Mar-Vell; it also briefly included most of the then-current Avengers when they died battling the Legion, but they were restored to life after Hawkeye challenged Grandmaster to a game of chance for their fate and won. Immortus's Legion included various Avengers friends and foes, such as past Avengers member the Swordsman. Grim Reaper's Legion, perhaps the least formidable to date, consisted of decayed zombie-like beings who seemed to be the reanimated corpses of deceased Avengers foes. All four Legions disappeared upon being defeated.
Criminal super-team dedicated to the destruction of the Avengers. The original Lethal Legion, founded and led by the Grim Reaper, counted the original Swordsman among its founding members--but he later reformed and rejoined the Avengers, whom he'd previously infiltrated on behalf of the Mandarin. The Reaper's version of the Lethal Legion disbanded for good when he died fleeing a battle with the Avengers. Other versions of the Lethal Legion founded by Count Nefaria and Hangman II have battled the Avengers as well, but the Swordsman had already reformed and died in action with the Avengers by the time those groups appeared.
Short-lived team of super-criminal minions formed and employed by the Mandarin in one of his many bids for world conquest and defeated by the Avengers. Most of Mandarin's Minions were past Avengers foes, including the original Swordsman, who had infiltrated the Avengers on the Mandarin's behalf earlier but came to admire the heroic team and found himself unwilling to destroy them through treachery. He even later reformed and rejoined the Avengers, eventually dying in action with them.
Masters of Evil
Arguably the world's first major ongoing alliance of super-criminals, the Masters of Evil have always had two goals: the pursuit of criminal gain, and the assurance of their success through the destruction of the Avengers. The original Masters were formed by Baron Heinrich Zemo in response to Zemo's arch foe Captain America joining the Avengers; Zemo's Masters battled the Avengers repeatedly but eventually disbanded after Zemo's death in battle with Captain America. A second Masters of Evil founded by Ultron then nearly destroyed the Avengers, but this new Masters group was infiltrated and subverted by the heroic Black Knight (Dane Whitman), who later joined the Avengers. A third Masters founded by Egghead disbanded when Egghead was accidentally killed by Hawkeye. A fourth Masters founded by Baron Helmut Zemo (the late Heinrich's son) went so far as to invade and occupy Avengers Mansion, but they were eventually defeated and disbanded; one of their more reluctant members was the small-time super-criminal Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), who later served as a one-time honorary member of the Avengers in a crisis situation. The fifth Masters, led by Doctor Octopus, also invaded Avengers Mansion but was defeated though the combined efforts of the Avengers' staff (AKA the Avengers Crew) and the visiting Guardians of the Galaxy, with some help from Yellowjacket (DeMara), who had joined the fifth Masters to betray it from within. She went on to join the Guardians but was later murdered. A sixth Masters, founded by the new Crimson Cowl, has yet to encounter the Avengers. For a time, Helmut Zemo's Masters regrouped under the guise of the super-heroic Thunderbolts team, but their true identities were eventually exposed and Zemo fled the group when it turned against him.
The Pacific Overlords were a criminal cabal operating out of various locations around the Pacific Rim in Asia, Australia and North America. Their founder and leader, Doctor Demonicus, succeeded in creating his own Pacific island nation of Demonica despite the interference of the Avengers West, but Demonica later sank and seemingly took the Overlords with it. Living Lightning was briefly a reluctant member of the Pacific Overlords, but he turned against them to aid the Avengers and joined Avengers West instead.
An alliance of super-criminals motivated by their common enmity with the masked hero Spider-Man, the Sinister Six originally included Sandman among its ranks but he has since reformed and was a member of the Avengers for a time. Doctor Octopus did briefly coerce Sandman into rejoining the Six once, though.
(groups significant to but having no members in common with the Avengers)
The Thunderbolts were a reorganization of the super-criminal Masters of Evil group, posing as celebrated super-heroes so that they could accumulate public trust and resources until such time as they were ready to strike. When their leader, Baron Helmut Zemo, finally put his world conquest plan into action and exposed the group's true nature, most of the Thunderbolts refused to go back to crime and turned against him, thwarting his plans and going off on their own. As the Masters of Evil, they were bitter recurring foes to the Avengers; as the Thunderbolts, they have been uneasy allies to the Avengers. Baron Zemo and Techno, the only Thunderbolt who remained loyal to Zemo, are still at large.
A team of super-heroic adventurers from an alternate Earth, the Squadron Supreme are their world's answer to the Avengers. They have met various members of the Avengers as friends or foes on several occasions over the years, and more recently found themselves stranded on the Avengers' Earth for an extended period. During this time, they became good friends with Avengers member Quasar and resided at Project Pegasus.