Greetings from the Odinson,
“And there came a day unlike any other, when earth’s mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day the Avengers were born! – To fight the foes no single hero could withstand!”
55 years ago, in 1963, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby assembled the first team of Avengers. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and the Wasp united to stop the evil machinations of Loki the God of Evil. From that day forth, whenever a threat would arise that was too much for one hero to handle, the call would ring out –AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
This week, the Odinson is going to list the Top 10 biggest gatherings of Avengers to date. One caveat before we begin though.
- Only actual members of the team will be counted. Guest-stars and allies like Captain Marvel and Warlock will not be included in the tally. Nor will huge gatherings of heroes like Contest of Champions, Secret Wars, and Infinity Gauntlet, because though some of those heroes may eventually have become Avengers, they were not actually members of the team at the time of that story.
With the stipulation out of the way, let’s assemble our heroes!
The Top 10 Biggest Avengers Assembles in History
10 – Rampaging Hulk – The Threat: Once upon a time, Bruce Banner was actually physically separated from the Hulk (see Incredible Hulk #315-316). Without Banner’s influence to keep him in check, the mighty Hulk’s rage erupted out of control. At this time, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were separated into two teams – The East Coast Avengers and the West Coast Avengers. It took everything they had to bring down the rampaging beast. This marked the first time the two teams would come together as a whole. Much like the tradition of the old JLA/JSA Crossovers, the Avengers started a tradition that would carry on in great stories like Emperor Doom as well as two other entries on this very list.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 12
9 – The Korvac Saga – The Threat: When the time-traveling villain Michael Korvac arrived in the present day empowered with unparalleled cosmic might, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assembled in mass. Alongside the original Guardians of the Galaxy, the Avengers hit the super charged villain with everything they had. They were found wanting. It’s actually one of the most shocking moments in Avengers History as Korva’s cosmic powers prove too much for the heroes, whom he slaughters at will in a shocking sequence that sees him murder 95% of the team with ease. Just check out the aftermath of the slaughter on the cover of Avengers #177.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 14 (Not including the Guardians of the Galaxy)
8 – The Contest – The Threat: The Silver Surfer races across the galaxy to warn the Avengers of a plot to destroy them. What happens next is unbelievable as the East and West Coast Avengers, along with the Silver Surfer, travel to the realm of the dead to battle a legion of dead heroes and villains, including Michael Korvac, Hyperion, and Dracula, for the fate of the cosmos!
Number of Heroes Assembled: 15 (not including the guest-starring Silver Surfer)
7 – Betrayal – The Threat: The East and West CoastAvengers have come together for their annual get together and are suddenly attacked by the government sponsored mutant hit squad, Freedom Force! After the scuffle, the Avengers are charged as traitors and arrested. After escaping from the super human prison known as The Vault, the Avengers immediately set out to find out who is responsible for this betrayal. They call in all current reserve members (circa 1986) and it is not long before they uncover a conspiracy involving the super villains known as the Zodiac. Our heroes are horrified to learn that it is one of their own that orchestrated the entire betrayal!
Number of Heroes Assembled: 16
6 – Operation: Galactic Storm – The Threat: When two galactic empires, the Shi’ar and the Kree, decide to go to war, planet Earth gets caught right in the middle of it. This campaign proves even bigger than the Kree/Skrull War, so the largest team of Avengers to date (circa 1992) is assembled to put a stop to the war before Earth gets destroyed in the crossfire. Check out What If…? #55-56 to see just what would have happened if the Avengers had failed.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 25
5 – No Surrender –The Threat: In the tradition of Contest of Champions,two cosmic beings decide to play a game with the heroes of Earth as their game piecesand the fate of the world hanging in the balance. With most of the world’s population stuck insuspended animation, Rogue leads a squad of mix match heroes on a crusadeagainst the Black Order andthe Lethal Legion. This particular campaign proves evenmore difficult as the roster of heroes constantly changes because when one herogets freed from stasis, another must go into hibernation. Plus, things get really complicated when acertain Jade Giant returnsto the battlefield, and in the aftermath of CivilWar II and SecretEmpire, he is not in the best of moods. NOTE:For a unique look at the events of this storyline checkout Quicksilver:No Surrender.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 28
4 – Infinity – The Threat: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must fight a battle on two fronts! CaptainAmerica leads a powerful team of brave heroes to the other side of the universe to face down an unstoppable force that is destroying whole worlds in its path. Meanwhile, the Mad Titan arrives on Earth for a full scale invasion. The sheer scope of this storyline is huge!
Number of Heroes Assembled: 33
3 – Avengers vs. X-Men – The Threat: The Phoenix Force, a cosmic entity capable of destroying the world, is returning to Earth, but when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Children of the Atom refuse to see eye-to-eye on how to handle the situation, a full scale war breaks out. This story is told in that classic tradition of hero vs. hero battles where the two opposing forces collide but ultimately team up to stop the true threat.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 38 (not including the X-Men)
2 – The Morgan Conquest – The Threat: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have only just returned from the Heroes Reborn Universe when the entire world comes under the mystical thrall of the witch Morgan Le Fey! Captain America calls to arms every active and reserve member of the team to deal with the threat. And as if that wasn’t enough? Scarlet Witch uses her chaos magic to call a hero back from the dead to join what would be the biggest Avengers Assemble in history if it was not for the last entry on this list.
Number of Heroes Assembled: 40
1 – JLA/Avengers – The Threat: When the DCU’s cosmic villain Krona clashes swords with the Marvel U’s villainous master of time, Kang, worlds collide, and die. In an adventure in scale and on par with Crisis on Infinite Earths itself, the Avengers and Justice League battle each other and ultimately team up to save all reality! This is an adventure so big that it features every single hero, villain, and ally past, present, and future that has ever heeded the call Avengers Assemble!
Number of Heroes Assembled: 50+ (not including the members of the Justice League)
Those are some truly magnificent gatherings of heroes!
Thank you, Kurt, George, Jonathan, Steve, Mark and the rest of you that brought these amazing stories to life.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell