2012 seemed like the golden era for the Avengers. Their first feature film teaming-up dominated the box office on its way to becoming one of the most successful films in history. Iron Man and Captain America Halloween costumes were ubiquitous. And new fans of the movie or the popular Avengers animated series could look to the comic books to find their favorite character’s four-color counterparts kicking ass as a team, just like on the big and small screen. Truly, at that moment, the Avengers were Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
So whatever happened to that iconic Avengers line-up in the comic book world? Camelot doesn’t last forever, of course, and neither did that Avengers’ Golden Age.
If you still fondly regard the movies and want to catch up on where the original movie line-up are today in the comic books, we have some surprises in store for you as we ask, ‘Marvel’s The Avengers: Where Are They Now?’
Captain America: In the films, Steve Rogers is the de facto leader of the Avengers, and even though he gave up his shield at the end of Captain America: Civil War, he’s likely to very much be a presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward.
If you’re a Cap fan coming to comic books, we have good news for you… sort of. There are actually two Captains Americas currently operating in the Marvel Universe. There’s Sam Wilson, who moviegoers know as the Falcon and who took over as Cap while Steve Rogers was temporarily out of commission, and then there’s the genuine article himself, the recently recuperated Rogers.
Here’s the catch: because of the machinations of his arch-enemy, the Red Skull, Steve’s history was cosmically rewritten so he’s now secretly an agent of Hydra.
That’s right. Remember how awesome The Winter Soldier was and how Cap took down Hydra? Yup, he’s one of them now.
My god, what would Peggy say?
Now Tony Stark isn’t a 15-year-old black girl and Doctor Doom (although would that be any weirder than Captain America being an agent of Hydra?)… no, Stark is just ceding the armor and title to a young protégé, M.I.T. prodigy Riri Williams, who will star in the Invincible Iron Man … and Doctor Doom, who will star the aptly-titled Infamous Iron Man.
It’s a long story, but Doom is a sort of good-looking, good guy now who is no longer hell-bent on ruling the Earth and destroying the Fantastic Four (that’s an even longer story).
But hey, at least he’s not a blogger.
Thor: So this one is pretty simple. Thor’s a girl.
No, no, nothing like that. Rather than the actual biological son of Odin, the current protector of Asgard is a Goddess of Thunder who picked up mighty Mjolnir when the original Thor became unworthy to lift it after learning a still unrevealed secret… a secret Marvel hasn’t deemed readers worthy of knowing two years after the fact.
And yes, Thor is his actual name and isn’t a job title, but Marvel already had the trademark, so you just have to roll with that one please…
The good news is Thor is none other than Jane Foster, played winningly by that sprite of an actress Natalie Portman. The bad news is the comic book Jane Foster is dying of terminal cancer, but gets better when she becomes imbued with Asgardian magic.
But people who still prefer their Thor to have a y chromosome, the original God of Thunder now goes by the very literal name “Odinson” and will return later this year as The Unworthy Thor, though despite what the title implies, he won’t be taking back his birth name.
The Asgardian Post Office must be in chaos.
The Hulk: No opposite sex or supervillain replacement or continuity alternation to turn him into the opposite of everything he stands for here. Nope. Bruce Banner was replaced by an Asian teenage boy genius and he was murdered.
This week in fact. Yes, the guy who couldn’t kill himself by shooting a bullet into his mouth in the movies (crap, The Avengers was a family film?) just got murdered. Well, sort of.
More on that later.
As to the new Hulk, after an accident forced him to take on Bruce Banner’s gamma-radiation, Banner’s former sidekick Amadeus Cho has become the Hulk – though his Hulked-out self is decidedly more rambunctious, self-aware and quite frankly happy about it.
A happy Hulk … maybe we need to take back the thing about not turning him into the opposite of everything he stands for?
Hawkeye: If you’re starting to see a pattern in Marvel replacing iconic heroes with teenage and/or opposite sex counterparts, good for you. Because there’s a female teenage Hawkeye named Kate Bishop running around now, who will receive her own Hawkeye ongoing series in the coming months.
Yes, Clint Barton is still a Hawkeye too, but his life will be a little more complicated having just yes, that's right ... murdered the Hulk, and no, he wasn't possessed by Loki at the time. As far as we currently know, he was of sound mind and body.
Now bear in mind Hawkeye killed Banner at Banner’s own request – to prevent him from becoming the Hulk. Clint underwent a trial in Civil War II #3, the same story in which the murder took place, though the verdict has yet to be returned.
Odds are, however he won’t be doing any significant hard time, as he’ll star in a new upcoming ongoing series called Occupy Avengers, about which little beyond the title is yet known, other than it looks like it'll tap into the populist movement gaining political traction everywhere.
Sorry, no Donald Trump jokes here...
Black Widow: If there’s a silver lining for fans seeking recognizable versions of their favorite movie Avengers in comic books, it’s Natasha Romanoff. She’s still the Black Widow (and currently the only one) and headlining her own ongoing series by the acclaimed creative team of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee.
And despite another wave of status quo changes headed for the publisher in “Marvel NOW!,” Black Widow looks to be continuing relatively unscathed once numerous other titles relaunch and change hands. But no doubt Marvel is thinking up some replacement or status quo-shattering development for her.
A teenage Black Widower, anyone?
Honorable mentions: Most of the second-tier movie Avengers are still pretty easy to find. Scarlet Witch has been headlining her own series exploring the nature of magic in the Marvel Universe, while the Vision is about to wrap his own title in which he built himself a family. No, not found a family, literally built one.
As already detailed, the former Falcon is one of the current Captains Americas, and Scott Lang is still Ant-Man. As to War Machine, who just lost the use of his legs in the Captain America: Civil War, his comic book counterpart just got killed.
Man, it sucks to be Rhodey.
But in a surprising reversal of dynamics, Quicksilver, whose big screen counterpart heroically died in Avengers: Age of Ultron, lives on in comic book as a member of the Uncanny Avengers. Although he should probably keep one eye open at all times.
As for Spider-Man, who was sort of an Avenger in Captain America: Civil War, he’s purchased the Fantastic Four's Baxter Building headquarters, has taken over Tony Stark’s role as the Marvel Universe’s leading captain of industry, and he might be reconciled with his ex-wife Mary Jane Watson (who’s hanging with Tony Stark lately) and may even be reunited with his long lost and long-forgotten daughter May in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows series part of "Marvel NOW!".
And that’s the longest story of them all...