Promotional art for Avengers #503.
Art by David Finch.
|Publication date||August 2004 – January 2005|
|Writer(s)||(core story, epilogue)
Brian Michael Bendis
(Captain America and the Falcon)
John Jackson Miller
(The Spectacular Spider-Man)
Alex Maleev, Steve Epting, Lee Weeks, Michael Gaydos, Eric Powell, Darick Robertson, Mike Mayhew, David Mack, Gary Frank, Mike Oeming, Jim Cheung, Steve McNiven, George Pérez
(Captain America and the Falcon)
Jorge Lucas, Tony Harris
(The Spectacular Spider-Man)
Michael Ryan, Humberto Ramos, Paco Medina
Andrea Di Vito
|Avengers Disassembled HC||ISBN 078512294X|
|Avengers Disassembled: Iron Man, Thor & Captain America||ISBN 0785138846|
"Avengers Disassembled", referred to in some participating series as "Disassembled", is a crossover event between several Marvel Comics series. The general idea is that the major heroes (the Avengers, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four) are assaulted, not just physically, but emotionally. Author Brian Michael Bendis said in an article in Newsarama that the one thing that separates this crossover from others is that "not everyone is coming back from this one." The "Disassembled" tag is a reference to the Avengers' rallying cry, "Avengers Assemble!".
The series centers on the Avengers, and this stems into the individual crises affecting Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. The "Disassembled" stories of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four do not tie in and are stand-alone storylines that only share the "Disassembled" title. The "Disassembled" trade paperbacks display the Avengers "A" symbol on the spines, completed when all of the "Avengers Disassembled" books are displayed in order: Avengers, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man.
The active members of the Avengers team during the events of "Chaos" (the Avengers portion of "Avengers Disassembled") were Ant-Man, Captain America, Captain Britain (Kelsey Leigh), Falcon, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision, Wasp, and Yellowjacket.
The story begins when the Avengers Mansion sensors warn the residing Avengers of an intruder, quickly identified as Jack of Hearts, who had died saving the life of Ant-Man's daughter Cassie Lang. Jack inexplicably detonates, killing Ant-Man (Scott Lang) in a blast that destroys half of the mansion. The Vision crashes a Quinjet onto the site, only to attack the survivors of the explosion, carrying a small army of Ultron robots which attack the survivors. During this attack, She-Hulk goes into a frenzy, resulting in her tearing Vision apart. In the aftermath of this first wave of attacks, most of the previous Avengers (even reserve members such as Spider-Man) and other heroes such as Daredevil arrive at the mansion. An enormous battlefleet of alien warships appear in the skies and begin wreaking havoc. Finally, a wounded Hawkeye sacrifices his life to save his friends by destroying an invading Kree warship.
In the end, it is revealed that the Scarlet Witch was behind these seemingly random attacks. She had been driven insane by the loss of her children years earlier; the children who actually had been magical constructs the Witch had subconsciously created from the essence of the demon Mephisto. Due to the use of her powers causing subtle 'reality warps' whenever she uses them to any great extent, continued use of her powers has driven her increasingly closer to insanity, until, finally, she has gone insane, believing that the Avengers 'took' her children away from her, and seek to do so again. In a final confrontation, the Avengers - aided by Doctor Strange - manage to stop Wanda, and she is subsequently taken away by her father Magneto, who acknowledges the mistakes he made in raising her.
A few months later, the Avengers team gather in the remains of the mansion. Quicksilver explains what has happened to his sister (the Scarlet Witch), and Tony Stark reveals that the Avengers cannot come back together due to a lack of necessary funds to repair such a high level of disaster. As the Avengers part company, they all discuss some of their favorite moments in Avengers history, such as when they first came together, when they discovered Captain America, the Kree-Skrull War, the marriage of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, the fight with Michael Korvac, and the Ultron Unlimited crisis. As the team splits up, they are greeted by a large crowd of civilians, all of them thanking the Avengers for what they have done over the years.
In the wake of "Avengers Disassembled", two new Avengers series were created. The New Avengers title replaced the Avengers title (with a new #1 in December 2004) which ended with issue #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. It is currently on hiatus.
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 line of events, with House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion. All this leads up to Marvel's 2010 event Siege written by Brian Michael Bendis.
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 realizes that he should have left everything alone.
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.
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's, Jessica Drew's 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.
Much 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. Beginning in issue #21 the story, the first in the Dark Reign event, centers on the aftermath of the Skrulls' failed Secret Invasion and the revelation that both the 50 State Initiative and Camp Hammond, where the registered heroes were trained were part of the Skrull plot. Given that Hank Pym was one of the heroes replaced by a Skrull impostor, and that it was his idea to create the Initiative makes it a priority of Norman Osborne now under the auspices 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. The first issue shows the return of Ragnorok, the cloned Thor from the Civil War series who killed Bill Foster, who reawakens to begin destroying Camp Hammond before being confronted by what seems to be the real Asgardian hero.
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, Grasshopper, Monkey Joe, and Doorman are all killed, and Mr. Immortal commits suicide. However, Doorman was resurrected almost immediately, and Mr. Immortal stayed dead for only a few seconds.
In the Swamp Comics owned ongoing series SupaLoopa, Dan Hertin(A.K.A. SupaLoopa) says to Big Mole " I hope someone doesn't go completely insane and decides to kill all the Proactive Society of America members now!" While vdoing this he points to Magic Girl, a Scarlet Witch like character who has just lost al 18 of her adopted children.
The stories have been collected into a number of volumes: