The Marvel Universe can be a dangerous place and Earth's Mightiest Heroes need all the help they can get to protect it. Over the years, the storied name has extended far beyond the original team of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Wasp and Ant-Man, with well over 100 of Marvel's finest answering the call to become an Avenger.
While there have been a ton of variations on the classic Avengers team since its inception in "Avengers" #1 by writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby and Stan Goldberg, there have also been several offshoots, rebrandings and alternate reality versions of the team introduced over the years. Today, we're taking a (chronological) look at 15 of the other Avengers teams Marvel has assembled.
15 WEST COAST AVENGERS
The first of many offshoots of the original Avengers team, the West Coast Avengers, debuted in "West Coast Avengers" #1, by writer Roger Stern and artists Bob Hall and Julianna Ferriter. During the events of "Secret Wars," the majority of the Avengers were kidnapped, leaving the world defenseless against the threat of the soon to be invading Dire Wraiths. Vision, after declaring himself chairman of the Avengers in Wasp's absence, senses the threat and convinces the government to allow him to establish a new branch of the Avengers.
Veteran Avenger Hawkeye was chosen to lead the new West Coast team along with his wife Mockingbird and fellow members Tigra, Wonder Man and James "Rhodey" Rhodes acting as Iron Man (though originally his teammates thought he was Tony). The team offered Hank Pym the sixth slot on the team, but he declined, choosing instead to be the team's scientist and tech support. Though he and Moon Knight would later fill out the original roster after the team's first major mission.
14 GREAT LAKES AVENGERS
The "Great Lakes Avengers," are a band of goofball superheroes originally from Milwaukee that made their first appearance on the pages of "West Coast Avengers" #46 by writer/artist John Byrne and artist Bob Sharen. When Craig Hollis learns he can't die after being shot and left for dead, he became the superhero Mr. Immortal and began fighting crime. Deciding things would be easier if he had a team, he put out an ad looking for other heroes and after meeting founding members Big Bertha, Dinah Soar, Doorman and Flatman at the local YMCA the Great Lakes Avengers were born.
After drawing the attention of Hawkeye and Mockingbird from the West Coast Avengers, the heroes arrived and offered to train the fledgling team. Shortly after beginning their training, the team assisted Captain America and She-Hulk rescue fellow Avengers Scarlet Witch and Vision. Impressed by their ability, Cap gave them the permission to use the Avengers name. Though the team would (hilariously) choose or be forced to change their name several times over the years, founding members Flatman, Big Bertha and Doorman recently reassembled the team in "Great Lakes Avengers" #1 by writer Zac Gorman and artists Will Robson and Tamra Bonvillain.
13 AVENGERS 2099
Beginning in 1992, "Marvel 2099" was an imprint that explored one of several possible futures for Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel Universe. Eventually dubbed Earth-928, in this timeline North America has become a dystopian police state run by evil corporations, chief among them being Alchemax. The imprint originally launched with the timeline's first new superheroes since the present-day "Age of Heroes": Doom 2099, Punisher 2099 and Spider-Man 2099, which all starred futuristic versions of their namesake characters. Eventually, Ravage 2099 was introduced as a brand-new hero.
After editorial issues caused key talent behind the books to be fired or quit, the 2099 line began to plummet in sales and all of the books were cancelled in favor of a single book "2099: World of Tomorrow." Low sales led to the series ending after eight issues, and the book receiving an official send-off in the one-shot, "2099: Manifest Destiny" by writer Len Kaminski and artists Mike McKone and Jason Wright. In it, Alchemax found Steve Rogers frozen again; after he was thawed, Steve was given Thor's Hammer by Miguel O'Hara, 2099's Spider-Man, and formed a brand new Avengers team made up of future heroes.
"What If?" Vol 2 #105, by writer Tom Defalco and artists Ron Fren and Matt Webb, introduced Earth-982, aka the MC2 Universe, another possible future for Earth-616. MC2 was set in a modern day Marvel Universe where the familiar Marvel heroes origins happened over 15 years earlier and existed to create stories that were more accessible to new readers. The universe's original Avengers team disbanded after a mission to protect Earth-982 from another universe left several members dead and others wounded physically or mentally.
The first (successful) relaunch of the team came together when Jarvis was forced to send out the Avengers signal to protect Kevin Masterson, son of the hero Thunderstrike. Only Jubilee and Jolt are left to answer the call, but Cassandra Lang, Speedball, Mainframe and J2, the heroic son of Juggernaut, also see the conflict and join in to help. Kevin manages to tap in to the power of his father's weapon to become the new Thunderstrike. After successfully winning the battle, Mainframe suggests the team continue on as a new Avengers. Jolt, Speedball and Jubilee decline full-time membership, but the remainder went on to reassemble the team as A-Next.
11 THE ULTIMATES
Marvel introduced another new-reader-friendly imprint with the introduction of the Ultimate Universe. That universe's own team of Avengers (instead called "The Ultimates") debuted as a team in issue #2 of their own self-titled series by writer Mark Millar and artists Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie. Like the rest of the Ultimate Universe, the book served as a modern, generally darker re-imagining of the Avengers.
Unlike the original Avengers, who united of their own accord to combat threats they couldn't take on alone, The Ultimates are a government-sponsored attack force organized by Nick Fury similar to the 2012 film. In fact, several aspects of the team's history have famously had a major influence on the "Avengers" films. After the original team of Captain America, Wasp, Giant-Man, and Iron Man team up with Thor to take down fellow Avenger The Hulk, the team recruited Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Black Widow to take stop a Chitauri invasion as one of their first major missions.
10 YOUNG AVENGERS
Following the events of the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, the traditional Avengers team had been disbanded after several key members were killed or exiled from the team. In their absence, new teams of Avengers rose in their place, including the Young Avengers. The team first came together in "Young Avengers" #1, by writer Alan Heinberg and artists Jim Chueng and Justin Ponsor, after the time traveler Nathaniel Richards, a.k.a Iron Lad, arrived from the future, fleeing from the villain (and his future self), Kang the Conqueror, to seek help.
After finding Avengers Mansion abandoned, Iron Lad traveled to Stark Industries, where he uploaded Vision's A.I. to his version of the Iron Man armor. The A.I. then enacted the Avengers Fail-Safe Program, a list of young recruits related to the Avengers created by Vision in the event the Avengers were ever destroyed or disbanded. Forming a team with Eli Bradley, the Patriot; Billy Kaplan, Wiccan; and Teddy Altman, Hulkling, the four became the first incarnation of the Young Avengers before soon inviting Cassie Lang and Kate Bishop to flesh out the team.
9 NEW AVENGERS
One of the other Avengers teams spawned in the aftermath of "Avengers Disassembled" was the New Avengers. Making their first appearance as a team on the pages of "The New Avengers" #3, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists David Finch and Frank D'Amata, the team came together by chance after Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Luke Cage, the Skrull Queen masquerading as Spider-Woman, Sentry and Daredevil teamed up to stop the breakout of 45 super villains being held on the super-prision, the Raft (though 42 others managed to escape).
In the aftermath, Cap convinced Iron Man to help him form a new team of Avengers without the base of operations, bankroll or government involvement. Seeking to establish a team based on the simple principle of taking on challenges no one hero could face alone, Cap asks the heroes present to join his new team and all but Daredevil (who declined for personal reasons he feared would affect the team) and Sentry (who had disappeared) accept. They soon set up shop on the top three floors of Stark Tower and the first line-up of the New Avengers was born.
8 MIGHTY AVENGERS
Following the conclusion of "Civil War," Iron Man formed the first team of Avengers under the government's 50 State Initiative. He called it the "Mighty Avengers" in #1 of the team's self-titled book, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Frank Cho and Jason Keith. The team was handpicked by Iron Man and the team's leader Carol Danvers (then still acting as Ms. Marvel). It was originally comprised of Ares, Black Widow, the Sentry, the Wasp and Wonder Man. After the Skrull invasion of Earth during the "Secret Invasion" event, Tony Stark is discredited and replaced by Norman Osborn for his failure to effectively repel the Skrulls.
After Norman takes over and creates his own team, the majority of the Mighty Avengers quit and the team would go through a few reformations. The first was as an international organization outside U.S. jurisdiction led by Hank Pym, who had taken up the mantle of Wasp in honor of his recently deceased wife, and then as a new team led by Luke Cage during Thanos' invasion of Earth in "Infinity" while the main team of Avengers were in space.
7 DARK AVENGERS
Thanks to his opportunistic save in the climax of the "Secret Invasion" event, Norman Osborn (at the time calling himself the Iron Patriot) found himself at the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and in charge of the Fifty-State Initiative, the Thunderbolts and the Avengers. After rebranding S.H.I.E.L.D. as H.A.M.M.E.R. and taking the job as its director, Osborn turned the Thunderbolts into his own personal black-ops team and finally created a new team of Avengers with him at the head in "Dark Avengers" #1 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Mike Deodato Jr. and Rain Beredo.
Creating a new team from the ashes of the previous government-sponsored one, the Mighty Avengers, Osborn began recruiting new members to replace those who quit in light of his leadership. Former Mighty Avengers Sentry and Ares stayed on and Osborn rounded out the team with former Thunderbolts members Bullseye, Moonstone, and Mac Gargan's Venom (masquerading as Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man respectively). He also recruited Wolverine's psychotic son Daken as Wolverine and the Kree invader Noh-Varr as Captain Marvel.
6 AVENGERS RESISTANCE
Following Norman Osborn's takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, he forced former members Tigra and The Gauntlet underground in "Avengers: The Initiative" #25 by writer Christos N. Gage and artists Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgato. At the time, Tigra was pregnant with a half-Skrull child and during a meeting with Osborn, he tells her that whether she had an abortion now or carried the child to term, H.A.M.M.E.R. scientists would be taking the child for study to create anti-Skrull weaponry. Later in a meeting with The Gauntlet, Osborn informs him he's to be reassigned to the military after turning over his power fist.
Tigra and Gauntlet both manage to escape and team up as fugitives, but are pursued by a team of Osborn's villains led by The Griffin. The pair escape into the New York sewers, but are caught by Griffin's team. After the New Warriors arrive and rescue them, Tigra points out that with her and New Warriors members Rage and Justice, they have enough former Avengers to lay claim to the name. United by a mutual desire to stop Osborn, the team dubs themselves Avengers Resistance.
5 SECRET AVENGERS
After the conclusion of the "Dark Reign" and "Siege" events, H.A.M.M.E.R. was disbanded and the President of the United States appointed Steve Rogers to Osborn's former position as "top cop" because of his efforts to protect the Earth during the Siege of Asgard. It was at this time that the President also abolished the Superhuman Registration Act at Steve's request. Instead of continuing H.A.M.M.E.R. or reinstating S.H.I.E.L.D., Rogers decided to entrust the world's security to sub teams of Avengers.
One of these teams was his own handpicked black ops squad, the first team to call themselves the Secret Avengers. The team was led by Rogers and created specifically to covertly identify and take out problems with precision. To reflect this goal, the original lineup consisted of experts in espionage like Sharon Carter, Black Widow, Moon Knight and Ant-Man. The team also featured Beast acting as its resident scientist and War Machine, Valkyrie and Nova acting as the group's muscle.
4 AVENGERS UNITY DIVISION
Following the all-out war between the Avengers and the X-Men in the "Avengers vs. X-Men" event, Captain America felt guilty that he and the other Avengers didn't do more to help the mutant people. In hopes of improving human-mutant relations, he founded the Avengers Unity Division, a new team made up of both human and mutant heroes, choosing Cyclops' brother Havok as the team's leader and a representative of mutantkind in the same way his brother once led the X-Men.
The team made its first unofficial appearance in their own ongoing series, "Uncanny Avengers" #1, by writer Rick Remender and artists John Cassady and Laura Martin, when Cap and Thor approached Havok to start the team. However, they wouldn't really come together until after issues #3-5, when the team filled out its roster with the addition of Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Wolverine, Wasp, Sunfire and Wonder Man before making their public debut.
3 ASTONISHING AVENGERS
In issue #2 of "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" by writer Rick Remender and artists Adam Kubert, Laura Martin and Matt Milla, Magneto assembles an unnamed group of villains (also Deadpool) including Absorbing Man, Carnage, Doctor Doom, Enchantress, Hobgoblin, Jack O'Lantern, Loki, Mystique and Sabretooth, to take on the Red Skull/Onslaught and his army of recovered Stark Sentinels from the days of "Civil War," designed specifically as an anti-superhero counter-measure. Magneto's team was able to turn the tide in battle long enough for Doom and Scarlet Witch to cast a spell, which inverted Red Skull's personality, effectively defeating him.
However, the spell not only inverted Red Skull, but the rest of the heroes and villains involved in the battle. When Steve Rogers realized something was wrong with the Avengers and X-Men, he reassembled Magneto's team to combat them alongside Nova and Spider-Man, dubbing the new team the Astonishing Avengers. During the ensuing battle, all but Sabretooth and Carnage (who sacrificed himself for the good of humanity) are returned to their normal state along with the heroes. However, before their transformation, the team left a video message taking responsibility for brainwashing the heroes, allowing the Avengers and X-Men to clear their names.
The first all-female team of Avengers, the A-Force, made their debut as a part of the 2015 "Secret Wars" event in their own series, "A-Force" #1, by writers Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson, and artists Jorge Molina, Laura Martin and Matt Milla. The team originally appeared as the protectors of the matriarchal Battleworld of Arcadia, a version of the Marvel Universe led by its female heroes with She-Hulk acting as both the team's leader and the Baroness of Aracadia. Though the team features many prominent female superheroes, the core team is She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and Singularity, a cosmic-powered hero who debuted in the book.
After the conclusion of "Secret Wars" saw Singularity brought into the main Marvel continuity, a similar cosmic entity known as Antimatter was created and sought to destroy her. Seeking aid from the 616 counterparts of her Arcadian teammates, Singularity is able to defeat Antimatter with their help and a new A-Force was born.
1 AVENGERS IDEA MECHANICS/U.S.AVENGERS
After the events of "Avengers vs. X-Men," former X-Man Bobby da Costa, aka Sunspot, joined the Avengers at Captain America's request, hoping to finally have a chance to protect people without the stigma of being an X-Man. Refusing to hunt down his friends, Bobby chose to leave the team when Steve Rogers decided to pursue the members of the Illuminati.
When the danger of Incursions from other universes became public knowledge, Bobby planned a hostile takeover of the terrorist organization Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M) and rebranded the organization "Avengers Idea Mechanics" after he forcefully ousted the organization's leadership, including the team's leader, the Scientist Supreme. Using the organization's resources and remaining talent, Bobby began investigating the Incursions and founded a new iteration of the New Avengers with some of his former teammates (who also quit after Steve's pursuit of the Illuminati) and some new recruits. The organization has since allied itself with the U.S. government, becoming American Intelligence Mechanics, causing Bobby to take up the mantle of Citizen V to lead a new team called the U.S.Avengers.
Which is your favorite team of Avengers? Let us know in the comments!