Avengers Disassembled

"Avengers Disassembled"

Promotional art for Avengers #503.
Art by David Finch.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date August 2004 – January 2005
Main character(s) Avengers
Creative team
Avengers Disassembled HC ISBN 0-7851-2294-X
Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America ISBN 0785138846

"Avengers Disassembled", is a crossover event involving the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor. "Avengers Disassembled" saw the beginning of Brian Michael Bendis's Avengers run, with the destruction of the existing "traditional" roster and exile of several key members of the team. The other crossover stories intersect (or in the case of the Spectacular Spider-Man and Thor crossover issues) or take place prior or after to the main Avengers storyline. In particular, the tie-ins saw other changes to the status quo: Iron Man once again closeting his secret identity, Spider-Man developing organic webshooters (like the Sony Spider-Man movies), and the death of Thor and Asgard in one final Ragnarok.

The main story ("Chaos") ran in Avengers #500-503 and a special epilogue ("Avengers Finale") and drew considerable controversy due to its overt continuity errors related to its main plot and deaths and vilification of classic Avengers members. These continuity errors and fan backlash would lead to retconning of the events in "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" and "AXIS", as well as the "Marquis of Death" storyline from Mark Millar's Fantastic Four run and the Kurt Busiek and George Perez' "Avengers/JLA" mini-series and "J. Michael Straczynski's "Amazing Spider-Man" run.

The series would also see to a massive relaunch of the Avengers family of titles, with new ongoing series launched for the Thunderbolts, Captain America, Iron Man; as well as the launching of Young Avengers and Thor going on a three-year hiatus.


Avengers Disassembled came following a period of turmoil for the Avengers franchise. Following the departure of Kurt Busiek, Marvel convinced Geoff Johns to write the series. While Geoff John's run was popular, Johns left the Avengers series due to editorial interference; in particular, due to editor wanting lengthy, heavily decompressed multi-part stories that could be sold in TPBs as stand-alone stories. Johns' tenure on the book also saw clashes with Brian Michael Bendis. While editorial had assigned Johns ownership of the character Scott Lang, the second Ant Man, Bendis had been allowed to use him as well in the pages of "Alias". As a love interest for Jessica Jones. When Bendis sought to kill Scott Lang off, Geoff Johns did not know of this until after the issue showing Scott's death was published. As Geoff Johns was using Scott in a lengthy storyline involving his custody fight with his ex-wife for his daughter, he objected to the death of the character in "Alias". Johns won the fight, forcing Bendis to hastily rewrite the scene where his body is discovered as a hallucination created by the Purple Man.

Before leaving, Johns wrote a four-part storyline that saw Hawkeye return to the Avengers roster following the retooling of Thunderbolts, into a series revolving an underground fight club of super-powered villains. Hawkeye was also spun off into his own ongoing series, which was ultimately canceled after twelve issues.

Johns was replaced with Chuck Austen; while John's run was well received, Austen's run was widely reviled due to a lengthy storyline involving Wasp seducing Hawkeye and wrecking the friendship between Hawkeye and Hank Pym, by making additional claims of abuse she allegedly suffered at Hank's hand. The run also saw the introduction of a new female Captain Britain and the addition of her children to the supporting cast of the series.

In the pages of "Captain America and Falcon", Christopher Priest had begun a romance storyline between Scarlet Witch and Captain America. Meanwhile, following the cancelation of the retooled Thunderbolts series, a six issue mini-series "Avengers/Thunderbolts" was released to bridge the transition between the disappearance of the original team following Thunderbolts #75, and a relaunched Thunderbolts book "New Thunderbolts".

With sales and fan interest collapsing, Marvel hired Brian Michael Bendis to write the series. Bendis however, would only take the job if he was allowed to kill Scott Lang off and replace the roster with A-List characters. The later was something Bendis had championed, alongside Mark Millar, after Millar had criticized editor Tom Brevoort and Joe Quesada, for not modeling the Avengers along the ines of DC Comics' Justice League, by embargoing popular characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man from the roster. Bendis also requested a rebooting of the series with a new #1 and rebranding the book "New Avengers", in order to rebrand the title with the new direction he was planning.

Bendis' idea was approved, though as the Avengers book was nearing its 500th issue, it was decided to have him start his run with a brief four issue run with the original numbering (#500-503) and a giant size "finale" to lay the original incarnation of the Avengers to rest. Bendis, who was also writing "Secret War" at the time and saw it as a stealth beginning for his series, opted to kill off most of the Avengers roster in order to clear out the dead wood for his "Justice League" reenvisioning of the series.

Anticipating the series to see a revival in sales, it was also decided to relaunch the titles for Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor to go along with the relaunch of the Thunderbols and "Young Avengers"; a title Joe Quesada had spearheaded the creation of, as a response to the success DC Comics was having at the time with its revived Teen Titans book.

Ed Brubaker was tapped to write Captain America, based upon his pitch to resurrect Bucky, Captain America's long dead sidekick as a brainwashed black ops soldier for Communist Russia. This left Christopher Priest, whose "Captain America and Falcon" series had been set up as the main Captain America book, to be canceled in spite of long term plans Priest had set up for the series (including the introduction of a new evil Captain America and romance between Captain America and Scarlet Witch). Priest had been offered Captain America due to his dislike for being stereotyped as a "black only" writer and desire to retire rather than be only offered black characters to write. When informed that Brubaker was going to be given "Captain America" to write and that his book would be replaced with a Falcon solo book, Priest angrily resigned from the book following the completion of his tie-in issues and would go into retirement from the industry.

Warren Ellis meanwhile was tapped to write Iron Man, with a pitch that would see Iron Man gaining super-powers that allowed him to psychically control machinery following exposure to a viral infection called "Extremis". Due to lateness from artist Adi Gradnov, an additional mini-series by Joe Casey was published (Iron Man: the Inevitable) which continued plot threads from the Avengers Disassembled storyline that ran in Iron Man. Thor however, was placed on a two-year hiatus following a "Ragnarok" storyline that saw the extermination of the entire Asgardian pantheon of Gods.

For Spider-Man, Marvel used the storyline to revisit the Spider-Totem storyline with the introduction of the "Spider Queen", who's quest to turn the world into a realm of spider-creatures results in a physical mutation in Spider-Man, causing him to gain organic webshooters similar to the ones Spider-Man had in the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man films.

Plot summary



In the distant future, Doctor Doom will be confronted by one of the men who trained him in road to villainy; The Marquis of Death. The Marquis will punish Doom, who he sees as a servant and not a villain in his own right, by sending him back in time to the stone age. Doom eventually escapes with help from a lost team of Thunderbolts, to several years before his confrontation with the Marquis when he was exiled to hell by Mr Fantastic.

Seeking to find an ally to eliminate the Marquis, Doom confronts Scarlet Witch, who has recently begun a romantic relationship with Captain America, though Captain America refuses to officially declare the two a couple to their friends. Other recent events also plague Wanda, leaving her vulnerable to Doom's scheme. Wanda's father, Magneto, recently launched an attack on New York City, leaving it in ruins and causing thousands of deaths. Wanda discovered that the mutant Polaris was also her half-sister, along with spending several months in a concentration camp run by Kang during his take-over of Earth. Her lover Wonder Man rejects her and her desire for marriage when she learns he refuses to have children with her. During an incursion event, as part of a battle between Krona and Grandmaster, Scarlet Witch fell into the DC Universe along with her fellow Avengers and began using that universe's chaos magic to stop the Justice League of Avengers from obtaining objects which would ensure Krona could destroy all of existence; this played havoc with her mind due to the DC Universe's chaos magic being corruptive to the mind and soul. Finally, Wanda has had a falling out with Wasp, over Wasp's affair with Hawkeye, built upon her slandering Hank Pym with false accusations of being a spousal abuser beyond what Hank actually engaged in with her. When Wasp has a pregnancy scare, she tells Wanda of her intention to abort any children she might have with Clint from their affair, without telling him. Wanda confronts her and is rebuked by Wasp making disparraging remarks about Wanda's own failed tenure as a parent to twins conceived through demonic life force stolen from Mephisto, crafted into the form of human infants by Wanda's imagination and mutant hex powers.

Doctor Doom reveals that he can restore her children to life, on the condition that Wanda becomes host for a mysterious cosmic horror creature that Doom refers to as "The Life Force Entity". Doom intends to have Wanda merge with the energy creature, so he can then marry her and use her as a pawn to kill the Marquis of Doom when he reaches the moment in time in which he was cast backwards into the past.

The merger works and using Wanda's powers, the creature restores her children Thomas and William to life, granted in the form of teenage boys. Before Wanda can be reunited with them however, Wanda is consumed by the entity causing her to fall into a state of amnesia, having lost all memory of what has happened after the initial loss of her children and the temporary mindwipe used against her by mentor Agatha Harkness.

With the Life Force entity in control, Doom directs her to Agatha Harker and Wanda murders her while demanding to know where her children were (in truth, Doom had sent the children to homes of childless families in New York City, collectively altering their memories to make Thomas and William think they were always raised by their new parents). Doom then sets the Life Force entity possessed Wanda upon the Avengers in order to eliminate them for past defeats they had inflicted upon him. Using her powers, Wanda transform the deceased Jack Of Hearts to use as a suicide bomb against the Avengers for Doom. Wanda also used her power to ensnare Vision as a pawn to use in Doom's campaign against the Avengers.

Meanwhile, Nick Fury and SHIELD have discovered evidence that Latveria's new democratically elected government that has taken over in the wake of Doom's exile to hell, has funded their new government by selling weapons and technology to America's super-villain community. Nick Fury gathered Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, and other heroes to form a covert Avengers squad to attack the new government, which failed and led to Nick Fury wiping the group's memory of the incident. When the Latverian government launch reprisal attacks on the heroes, Fury must gather them together to stop the corrupt government. Though they succeed, Fury is ordered to turn himself in for orchestrating the unauthorized coup de'tat and the Avengers find themselves in deep trouble with the United Nations when they then discovered that the Nick Fury has gone into hiding since the failed coup and has been represented with a series of life model decoys ever since.

Finally, during a Dark Dimension invasion of New York, the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Cyclops aided Doctor Strange in fighting off the invading horde. Failing to stop the horde from conquering Manhattan as a beachhead for their invasion of Earth, Doctor Strange sends Spider-Man's spirit back in time to relive moments in his life so that he can reach the moment of the invasion and use his knowledge of Earth's heroes defeat to change the outcome of the battle. Unfortunately, the spirit of Baron Mordo, witnesses Doctor Strange cast the spell and after the Dark Dimension forces are forced to retreat, Mordo's specter uses exactly the same spell on Doctor Strange. As a result, Strange is forced to relive his life countless times in an endless loop until he changes history, never going down the path of splitting himself into three fragments during the climax of the war between the Midnight Sons and Lilith. As a result, Doctor Strange is never forced to learn of and wield chaos magic magic, to stop the sorceress Salome, triggering the events leading to the death of Mordo being reversed and the villain's life restored.


Sending Jack Of Hearts to the Avengers mansion, the zombified hero explodes, damaging the mansion. Ant Man, who approached his former teammate, is seemingly killed in the blast but in truth is teleported away by future versions of his daughter Cassie Lang and her teammates the Young Avengers. With Ant Man presumed dead, Doom orders Wanda to send Vision (piloting an Avengers Quinjet) to crash into the partially damaged Avengers Mansion, causing more damage.

Elsewhere, the mind controlled Wanda arrives at the United Nations, where she has a conversation with Captain America, who announces that he is ending their fledging relationship. Furious, Wanda uses her power to cause Iron Man to suddenly become drunk and belligerent at an important meeting where the Avengers will have their UN security clearance revoked following the events of Secret War. Attempting to pick a fight with the Latverian ambassador, the Avengers UN charter is revoked, as Iron Man leaves Hank Pym in the lurch to respond to the "Code White" from the Avengers mansion.

Leaving the Avengers Quinjet he crashed, Vision warns the Avengers of Doom's plan to destroy the team and then vomits up a series of eggs that spawn Ultron drones that attack the Avengers. With Doom and the mind controlled Wanda watching from the shadows, She-Hulk is hexed by Wanda and becomes consumed with bloodlust, tearing Vision in half and then brutally assaulting Wasp and Captain Britain.

Ultimately She-Hulk is subdued by Iron Man and Captain America, as Hank Pym joins them and rushes Wasp to the hospital. Returning, Hank reveals to Cap and the team Iron Man's drunken outburst at the UN and their decision to revoke their charter. As the super-hero community gather at the mansion, the Avengers do not know that several of the members are constructs created by the possessed Wanda on behalf of Doctor Doom, to spy on the Avengers

As the Avengers fear that Ultron may be behind the attack, Doom orders Wanda to summon an armada of Kree soldiers to attack Manhattan. In the ensuing battle, Hawkeye is killed when his arrows are hit, triggering their explosives to go off; in his dying moments, Hawkeye takes out a Kree battleship in the blast after taking flight with a commandeered Kree jetpack.

In the wake of Hawkeye's death, Doctor Strange suddenly appears for the first time since the Dark Dimension invasion several months prior. His memories altered due to Baron Mordo's meddling, he immediately suspects Scarlet Witch of being responsible and accuses her of having turned against the Avengers in a fit of madness over the loss of her children, triggered by Wasp's comment about aborting her and Hawkeye's would-be children. Strange, no longer familiar with chaos magic due to Mordo, also assumes that Wanda's ability to launch such a complex scheme indicates that she's a high level reality warper and that she must be taken down ASAP before she threatens the world in her current mental state.

The Avengers visit Agatha Harkness's home, where the Life Force possessed Wanda has been left alone by Doom to eliminate the Avengers. Summoning an army of constructs, including a version of Rogue and Red Skull and a group of SS troops, the Life Force entity attempts to destroy the Avengers before Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to put Wanda into a coma. However, by this point, Professor X sends Magneto to retrieve Wanda from the Avengers, much to Captain America's dismay and horror. Reluctantly he allows Magneto to take his daughter with him after he vows to help her. The story ends with a flashback to Avengers #16, as Wanda, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver are inducted into the Avengers roster as Iron Man, Wasp, Giant Man, and Thor leave the team.

Iron Man

After rescuing Force from the corrupt senators who have been trying to kill Tony Stark since he became Secretary of Defense, Iron Man finds himself targeted by an Iron Man impostor who murders his longtime love interest Rumiko Fujikawa. Iron Man eventually defeats his impersonator and bring down the ring of corrupt senators who were behind the murder and Force being blackmailed. Realizing that his loved ones are being targeted by his enemies, Stark gives a press conference where he announces that he is resigning as Secretary of Defense and will no longer actively be Iron Man, in favor of returning to "subordinates" filling the role for him.


A mystic force that is the living embodiment of Ragnarok has begun slaying the Asgardian Gods, in rapid succession. Investigating the genocide of his people, Thor discovers that the universe itself is seeking to eliminate the Asgardians for cheating death by surviving countless previous attempts by the universe to fulfill Ragnarok and wipe out the Asgardians. Ultimately Thor allows himself to be destroyed, as all known Asgardians are destroyed.

Captain America and Falcon

Prior to the UN Meeting to determine if the Avengers will retain their UN Charter, Captain America discusses his past, most notably his abusive childhood at the hands of his alcoholic father with Scarlet Witch. Captain America ultimately decides to end his relationship with Wanda, citing that he feels that he can not give her the normal life she desires due to his own emotional issues.

Spectacular Spider-Man

Peter and his wife MJ go to a friend's wedding, not knowing that the bride is an ancient evil known as the Spider-Queen, who has married MJ's friend so that her new father-in-law would give her a spider statue that she uses to turn everyone at the wedding into spider-creatures. MJ and Peter barely escape being turned, which allows Peter to stop her but not before she bites him, causing a partial transformation which he is able to regress after MJ destroys the statue. However, as a side-effect, Peter now finds himself able to produce organic spider-webbing from his wrists.

Fantastic Four

While the Avengers face the destruction of their mansion and the invading Kree armada, Wizard and the Frightful Four launch a surprise attack on the Fantastic Four, defeating the heroes and seizing control over the Baxter Building. The Fantastic Four regroup and beat the villains.

Captain America

Following the events of Red Skull conspires with the Serpent Society and a LMD of Diamondback to destroy Captain America, on


In the wake of "Avengers Disassembled", two new Avengers series were created. The New Avengers title replaced the Avengers title (with a new No. 1 in December 2004) which ended with issue No. 503 and Avengers Finale (November 2004). This new title continued with the creative team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Finch. The other title, premiering February 2005, was Young Avengers, which featured teenage heroes, each of whom (excepting Hawkeye) related in some way to the legacy of the Avengers. This series was written by Allan Heinberg, a writer for The OC, with art by Jim Cheung. The group was revived by its creators in July 2010 with the bimonthly series Avengers: The Children's Crusade which is a follow-up to Disassembled and House of M.

The Scarlet Witch's storyline continued in the pages of Excalibur, where Magneto and Professor X tried helping her, to no avail. This in turn led into the House of M mini-series and crossover, also written by Bendis.

The event is now considered by Marvel editors as the first part of a long series of events, which includes House of M, Decimation, Planet Hulk, Civil War, The Initiative, Endangered Species, World War Hulk, Messiah Complex, Divided We Stand, Secret Invasion, Manifest Destiny, Dark Reign, Messiah War, Utopia, Nation X and Necrosha . All these grim events lead up to Siege written by Brian Michael Bendis in 2010, which ushers in a new Heroic Age for Marvel, and X-Men: Second Coming by Christopher Yost and Craig Kyle, which sees the slow rebirth of Earth's Mutant population.

As for the Avengers killed during Disassembled saga, they have all returned to life in separate events. Ant Man was rescued by the time-traveling Young Avengers during The Children's Crusade, as Stature brings him away from the range of Jack of Hearts' explosion. Ant-Man is thus brought to the present along with the Young Avengers. The Vision is successfully rebuilt by Tony Stark after Fear Itself, and Jack of Hearts is restored by a team of scientists of Project Pegasus: during an assault of a pack of zombified clones of Squadron Supreme, a source of zero-point energy aggregates taking the corporeal form of Jack Hart. Hawkeye was brought back to life during the events of House of M

List of crossover issues

Although not bannered as a part of the crossover, the events of Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill are a direct sequel to the story in Thor.

Later references to the storyline

New Avengers Disassembled

Although not directly connected with the previous storyline, Bendis's 5th arc on New Avengers is titled "New Avengers: Disassembled", a reference to "Avengers: Disassembled". It deals with the events of the Civil War (in which superheroes were forced to register with the government or be arrested) on the Avengers, and how the team's varying opinions have caused them to break apart. The first three issues featured Captain America, Jessica Drew and Luke Cage's opinions on the matter, all who have heavily weighed against the registration. The next two featured the Sentry and Iron Man, both of whom were for registration.

Avengers: The Initiative Disassembled

Like the 5th arc of Bendis's New Avengers, the storyline of Avengers: The Initiative also references Avengers: Disassembled, complete with a banner reminiscent of the original. Issue No. 21, the first in the Dark Reign event, centers on the aftermath of the failed Skrull invasion, and the revelation that the shape-shifting aliens had infiltrated and corrupted the Fifty-State Initiative and Camp Hammond, where the registered heroes were trained. Most disturbingly, Camp Hammond and the Initiative were largely under the supervision of the legendary Avenger Henry Pym, but Pym had in fact been replaced by a Skrull years earlier. This is an opportunity for "top cop" Norman Osborn, the newly appointed director of H.A.M.M.E.R. (formerly S.H.I.E.L.D.) to radically redefine how the Initiative will fit into the new order—to his own advantage. Thus, the whole structure (and much of the cast) of Avengers: The Initiative is disassembled.

Avengers/New Avengers: End Times

Bendis's last Avengers and New Avengers storylines used a red smashed Avengers symbol and a black text box with white text in same font as the Disassembled logo on the front covers of each issue of thouse stories.

Ultimates Disassembled

The 6th story arc of the 4th series of The Ultimate Comics series The Ultimates used the Disassembled name complete with the black box white text logo.

Other versions

What If?

On November 1, 2006, Marvel released a "What If?" special showing a different outcome to the storyline. In this alternate reality, the Beast, sensing something wrong, investigates afterward. He and Warbird go to see Dr. Strange who claims to have no knowledge of what occurred. Strange uses his abilities to see the event, claiming that is not really him ("Of course there's chaos magic...I would never use the Eye that way."). They deduce that Wanda used her magics to make everyone believe Strange had defeated her and Magneto then took her away. The Beast eventually figures out that Captain America, his mind suffering long-term damage from his years in ice, had pushed Wanda to do this, using the deaths to power her. They remake Genosha into a mutant paradise and Magneto fights to defend his daughter from the Avengers and the X-Men, who all end up dead as the Scarlet Witch's spell is interrupted by Rogue. In the end, Wanda and Cap allow themselves to be taken to oblivion to stop any more harm being done. Only Rogue, Ms. Marvel, Beast, Falcon, Cyclops, Iron Man and Doctor Strange are left – they were the ones who were directly confronting Cap and Wanda – and a guilt-ridden Beast, learning from Uatu that Cap would have recovered from his illness and abandoned his manipulative relationship with the Witch as he became leader of a new team of Avengers if Beast had done nothing, realizes that he should have left everything alone.


In an alternate world, the Avengers were never disassembled, but were subsequently captured by an alien race called the Trellions when the Vision detected the arrival of their agent Titannus, a brainwashed Skrull super-soldier, accompanying him on a mission to rescue his dying lover only to learn that he had been brainwashed with a fake story to lure the Avengers into a trap. The Wasp was quickly killed, Hank Pym - apparently another Hulk in this reality - was announced missing in action, and Captain America was executed to break their spirit, the reserve Avengers taking five years to rescue them and another five to beat back the Trellions sufficiently to stop them trying to re-conquer Earth. At some point, Reed Richards apparently attempted to conquer the world, Iron Man taking on a Doctor-Doom-like apparel to oppose him, killing the Human Torch before Richards sent him to Earth-616 prior to Titannus's arrival on that Earth. This Iron Man has since become the villain Iron Maniac, being kept in stasis in a Helicarrier, while the Titannus of Earth-616 was defeated by a team assembled by Doctor Strange when he detected Titannus's arrival only after Titannus had destroyed most of Tokyo in a rampage, his violent approach leaving the heroes less inclined to trust him than they had been in this world.


Great Lakes Avengers: Misassembled

The GLA miniseries, GLA: Misassembled (2005), written by Dan Slott and pencilled by Paul Pelletier, provided a tongue-in-cheek reference to Avengers Disassembled. In a move which satirized the comic book deaths in that book, it was announced that a character would die in each GLA issue. Surely enough, Dinah Soar, the newcomer Grasshopper, the squirrel Monkey Joe, and Doorman are all killed, and Mr. Immortal commits suicide. However, Doorman was resurrected almost immediately acquiring the powers of Deathurge, Monkey Joe was replaced with an identical squirrel called Tippy Toe and Mr. Immortal stayed dead for only a few seconds. Three other Grasshoppers appeared in later issues of GLA, and were all killed in the space of few pages, continuing the parody.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All

A Bongo Comics Free-For-All (Free Comic Book Day Special) has Comic Book Guy reading, Archie Disassembled. The following quotes:

Cable & Deadpool #12

Collected editions

The stories have been collected into a number of volumes:

External links

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