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This might seem like a trollish thread, but it's a genuine question at a time where it feels topical.

I've got...oooh, about 25 years of on-off Marvel fandom under my belt, during which time I've fallen in love with plenty of Avengers characters and plenty of Avengers storylines.

But what I've never really got is any sense of what they represent or what they stand for as a group. What's the Big Idea with them?

The three Great Houses that form the Silver Age foundations of Marvel are the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. And two of those have got really strong central concepts; the Fantastic Four are about family and exploration, the X-Men are about the alienation of adolescence played out through fabulously overwrought soap opera and wonky analogies to marginalised groups. You could sum up what the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are about in a snappy sentence or you could write a thesis about it, there's something meaningful to be said either way.

But what are the Avengers in this light? What do they represent? Are they just 'The Vanilla Team'?
Drago_the_Blackrose's avatar

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I think the Avengers are like the Well Blended Version of X-Men and Fantastic Four. But more than that..

They Defend the World.

Fantastic Four defends I guess from STrange things.

X-Men handle Mutant Problems.

Avengers Handle Everything else and Everything in between. lol. They are symbolic of working with the Government.
The basic idea was that they fight threats that are too big for any one hero. Keeping in mind that this was before certain members (*coughhulkthorcough*) got insane power boosts, of course.
Heres Gobby's avatar

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What's the point of the Avengers? Man, if you find out, tell me. The way I see it, Tony Stark got bored earning billions of dollars everyday so he decided to form a group like-minded boring people in costumes. But that's just my take on it. It's not like I know what really goes through the mind of a billionaire tech genius that puts on a costume to fly around and do awesome stuff...
Heres Gobby
What's the point of the Avengers? Man, if you find out, tell me. The way I see it, Tony Stark got bored earning billions of dollars everyday so he decided to form a group like-minded boring people in costumes. But that's just my take on it. It's not like I know what really goes through the mind of a billionaire tech genius that puts on a costume to fly around and do awesome stuff...

great words of wisdom.
The point isn't to read about superheroes being assholes to each other in close quarters?
Wally_West
The point isn't to read about superheroes being assholes to each other in close quarters?

also true
Wally_West
The point isn't to read about superheroes being assholes to each other in close quarters?


Well...arguably that's the whole drama engine of Silver Age Marvel.

The FF are assholes to each other in close quarters with the complication, contextualisation and mitigation of them being family.

The X-Men are assholes to each other in close quarters with the complication, contextualisation and mitigation of them being a teenage peer group in a world that isn't ready for them, man.

The Avengers... are just assholes to each other.
The Last Axeman
The basic idea was that they fight threats that are too big for any one hero. Keeping in mind that this was before certain members (*coughhulkthorcough*) got insane power boosts, of course.


Gah... that's one of those answers that assumes they're needed to fight actual threats,

But, of course, the way fiction works is that you invent Spider-Man first, and then you invent Doctor Octopus to fight him.

We don't actually need the Avengers to save us from anything. We need the Avengers to tell us something. And it's easy to have an opinion on what Superman, or Spider-Man, or Batman, or the X-Men exist to tell us... but I don't think anyone has any idea what the Avengers are here to tell us.
Drago_the_Blackrose
They are symbolic of working with the Government.


I think this is the most interesting thing anyone's said so far.

Mark Millar built his career on expy versions of the Avengers as establishment stooges when he wrote them as villains in The Authority and then heroes in The Ulitmates before colliding the two in Civil War.

So from where we are now, that certainly seems like a Big Avengers Thing. And from what I've read of 80's Avengers too.

Is that what they're about then? Are they the Marvel equivalent of DKR Superman?
TCIX's avatar

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I have the original Avengers comic. They came together entirely by fluke because of Loki. he was trapped in Asgard serving a punishment for his latest crimes and he wanted to lure Thor into a trap. he knew something needed to happen on earth to make Donald Blake become Thor so he scanned the planet and found Hulk near a train track. Loki projected an image of a bomb on the track and when Hulk went to grab it, he broke the track and a train was speeding towards him. he lifted it up and held it in place so the train could pass safely but the people still reported that Hulk tried to kill them because of their hatred for him.

the call was going to be broadcast widely but Loki wanted only Thor to hear it, so he diverted the signal to the radio frequency Blake was listening to. the problem was, Tony Stark, Henry Pym, and a group of teenagers also got the call (cant remember what the kids were called but they worked with the Fantastic Four). they tried to message the FF for help but Richards said they were busy, although according to his scanners, someone else picked up the signal.

Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, and the Wasp all appeared at the same time at the teenagers base of operations and worked together to try and contain the Hulk. when Thor discovered it was Loki's doing, he traveled to Asgard, sprung the trap, and brought Loki back to earth where Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, Wasp, and Hulk together faught Loki. he tried to make himself go radio active but Thor through him into a bomb diffuser/waste container thing that would hold the radiation until Loki was too exhausted to continue.

they all agreed that they worked together marvelously and Hulk said "Id rather be with you then against you". from there it became a sort of Musketeers idea, they all worked to help each other
Miss-dark8607's avatar

Dangerous Visionary

I remember reading or listening to Stan Lee in one of his "golden moments" and basically weren't the Avengers always just Marvel's answer to JLA? Now granted it came form Stan Lee but still. It actually sounds pretty reasonable.
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The X-men oppose mutant hate crimes and crimes purported by mutants and others. Recently, they have kind of expanded into the Government with certain characters and stories...but then again that's why we have X-Force and X-Factor.

The Fantastic Four handled matters of the strange and supernatural, often exploring beyond what science couldn't comprehend.

The Defenders are a team that take on the supernatural.

SHIELD is more or less, the world's police. They're government.

The Avengers are a superhero team comprised of Earth's mightiest heroes. The founding members Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk started the team to defend against threats towards Earth or concerning the world. Along that line they've crossed paths with the Fantastic Four and X-men, but it's usually on matters that concern both teams. They're above the world's police, though they do work with SHIELD. Not technically bound by the government, as they can go to Doom's palace and bang on his door for a fight.
As far as a general underlying thesis with the Avengers, the best I can think of is just being a team at work. Sounds simple, plain, and boring, but that's all there is to it, and at the same time, there's so much to that.

All the Avengers have lives outside of their costumes, and they have lives outside of being on the job, but it's them coming together for work that really makes them them. Like in the workforce, you see your boss or coworkers really only when you're at work, and you have to develop a healthy working relationship with them when you're working with them, otherwise the work doesn't get done. All that goes into the Avengers idea as well.
I've always hated the Avengers.
Their whole being seemed pointless.
I mean, you've got SHIELD already up and running, why not just stay under them?
There's no point in creating a new entity. lol

Am I the only one incredibly pissed off about the movie, though?
Like where the ******** is Wasp?
I mean, I understand Spiderman's movie rights were sold, but god damnit, he was supposed to be in there with them. crying

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