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Comic Book / The Avengers (2023)

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Celebrating 60 years of Avenging.

"We call ourselves the Avengers. It's a warning. Not for our enemies, but for ourselves. Because to avenge something, you have to lose it."
Carol Danvers, Avengers #1

Avengers is a 2023 comic book series from Marvel Comics, a relaunch of the titular superhero team, written by Jed MacKay and art by C.F. Villa. It is also part of the Avengers' 60th anniversary celebration.

In the aftermath of Avengers Assemble (2022), Captain Marvel is the new leader of the Avengers, and she's recruiting a new team: Captain America (Sam Wilson), Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.

The new team will have its work cut out, as the events of Mackay's Timeless (2022) #1 will pit them against the grave threats posed by classic Cosmic Marvel villain Terminus, the powerful Myrddin and his Twilight Court, and the mysterious Tribulation Events.

Avengers (2023) provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Bedivere explains to Bercilak that there's a chain of unrequited feelings among the Twilight Court. It goes from Galahaut to Lancelot to Artur to Parsifal.
  • All There in the Manual: Much like Marvel Legacy was for Jason Aaron's preceding Avengers run, the 2022 Timeless one-shot serves as the prelude to this run. It introduced Myrddin and his Twilight Court, the concept of the Missing Moment, and Kang's role in this whole shindig. Issue #2 partially functions as a recap for anyone who'd missed it back in December 2022.
  • Apocalypse How: Each Tribulation Event has the potential to be on this scale, ranging from killing cities to destroying the entire world, and its up to the Avengers to stop them.
  • Animal Eye Spy: In the first issue, Sam's birds are able to detect an electromagnetic flux.
    Iron Man: And here I've been throwing away money on satellites.
  • Avengers Assemble: The first issue cuts back and forth between the new team's first battle and Captain Marvel's recruitment drive. In turn, each Avenger plays a key role in the battle - and when they do, the story briefly jumps back to the day that Carol recruited them, establishing who they are and why they were chosen.
    • Iron Man is Carol's first pick right off the bat, wanting Tony to be her second-in-command in a desire to finally put all the times they were on opposing sides behind them.
    • Carol then recruits Thor Odinson as her second pick, specifically serve as her team's dedicated powerhouse.
    • Carol's third pick is Black Panther, who is currently in exile after the events of his 2021 solo series stripped him of both his crown and his Wakandan citizenship. Even after he betrayed the trust of his allies in a Tower of Babel-esque disaster, Carol still wants T'Challa on her team because she sees his shrewdness as an asset worth having and extends her invitation as an opportunity for T'Challa to atone.
    • When needing to decide which Captain America to recruit for her team, Carol chooses Sam Wilson over Steve Rogers. She justifies that in a team already stacked with extraordinary individuals, Carol needs a relatively normal person like Sam around to provide a grounded perspective that can keep them all honest, which Steve lacks by virtue of being a Fish out of Temporal Water Living Legend.
    • Carol recruits Vision while the latter is in the middle of having another existential crisis over not receiving a judgement during the events of Judgment Day (Marvel Comics). Carol reaffirms that the reason why she wants him on her team isn't so he can prove himself all over again. It's because he already did when he took a stand against his own creator.
    • The Scarlet Witch is Carol's final pick, needing someone who specializes in doing the impossible. Wanda accepts the offer before Carol even has the chance to ask, citing how the Avengers have been the one point of stability in her entire chaotic life, so if the Avengers call, she'll always answer.
  • Bad Future: Issue 7 opens with the Avengers being subjected to a vision of a nightmarish possible future in which the superheroes all die in a desperate Last Stand against the Children of Anti-All amidst the ruins of a dead Earth.
  • The Bus Came Back: From an internal Avengers historical publication perspective, the 2023 relaunch marks the return of T'Challa, Wanda, Vision, and Sam Wilson to the flagship team's book/roster after absences ranging from between a year to nearly two decades.
    • T'Challa hasn't been on the team since 2022 (exiting due to events in John Ridley's run).
    • The Vision and Sam Wilson have not been on the team since the conclusion of the Mark Waid era (though Vision did briefly rejoin an Avengers team during Avengers: No Road Home).
    • Kang the Conqueror also returns to the pages of Avengers for the first time since the Waid era (as he was absent from the Jason Aaron era).
    • Wanda has the longest hiatus of all, having not been an official full-time member since the start of the Brian Bendis era back in 2004 (with her presence there largely book-ending the beginning and ending of the Bendis years — and with Wanda later serving on the Unity Squad in the interim).
    • In a meta example, the logo used for this run was last seen in back in 1988 with The Avengers Vol. 1 #299
    • Jarvis makes his return in #11, after he had been mostly absent from the previous run.
    • 3D-Man, formerly Triathalon, returns in #12 after last being seen in Secret Invasion (2008).
  • Call-Back:
    • When Carol first finds T'Challa in issue #1, she refers to the end of the Black Panther (2021) series, where his sleeper agents and contingency plans were used by an rogue agent trying to take over the world. The revelations led to T'Challa being exiled from Wakanda and alienated many of his allies, including the Avengers.
    • When Carol first meets Vision in issue #1, he's wondering about the events of Judgment Day. The Progenitor, a flawed alien god, didn't seem to judge him, unlike many other heroes, and Vision wonders if that means he's not truly alive. Carol reminds him that he's already faced his own creator - the Omnicidal Maniac Ultron - and told him to go to hell, so he has nothing left to prove.
    • Carol is frosty towards Kang, mostly for the usual reasons but also probably because It's Personal as one of Kang/Immortus's children, Marcus, was romantically obsessed with her and once brainwashed and raped her.
    • Nightmare says he's going after the Avengers because he wants to regain the respect he lost after being beaten by Jean Grey and General Strange.
  • Cards of Power: Mordred uses tarot cards to channel her magic.
  • Clown-Car Base: Meridian Diadem has a tesseract space in her torso that contains her entire army.
  • Continuity Overlap: Like every Avengers run before it, Mackay's run is likewise running alongside the then-current Marvel Universe (2023-Present) and acknowledges and/or is affected by developments in other books:
    • Black Panther (2023): T'Challa is still on the outs with Wakanda and the Avengers over the events of the preceding John Ridley run (which ironically Carol uses as part of her catalyst to recruit him). Beginning with issue #3, T'Challa switches over to the current Ewing-era costume.
    • Captain America: Symbol of Truth: Sam Wilson has again retired his Falcon identity and is again sharing the Captain America mantle with Steve Rogers.
    • Invincible Iron Man (2022): Tony is initially sporting Juan Frigeri's current Iron Man armor design. Beginning with issue #3, Tony switches over to the current Fall of X-era stealth suit design.
    • Scarlet Witch (2023): Wanda is sporting Russell Dauterman's current redesign (and her current healthier mental state and outlook aligns with Steve Orlando's run).
    • Thor (2020): This run launched during the final months of the Donny Cates era of Thor (or technically during Torunn Grønbekk's fill-in run). Regardless, the Odison is still sporting his Nick Klein redesign from Cates' run for the first two issues.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Black Presbyter that the Avengers are shown battling in a Bad Future at the start of issue 7 is stated to be one of the "children of Anti-All", the Draconic Abomination from Defenders (2021) that was established as the progenitor of primordial darkness entities.
    • 3D-Man's supposed Face–Heel Turn is because of him being bitter about getting expelled from the Avengers for murdering Crusader way back in Avengers: The Initiative.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When liberating the mutants being detained at one of Orchis' detention centers, Carol raises an eyebrow over how quickly T'Challa was able to seize full control over Orchis' computer systems, leading to T'Challa reveal that he had already planted viruses to compromise the organization's cybersecurity months in advance without telling her.
    Captain Marvel: That was quick.
    Black Panther: Hardly. My viruses have been at work for months.
    Captain Marvel: You didn't tell me that, T'Challa.
    Black Panther: There are many things I don't tell you, Carol.
  • Cruel Mercy: Avengers #10. Myrddin leaves Kang alive, deciding it's amusing and a worthwhile challenge to have a fellow chrononaut competing to reach the Missing Moment first. But the price for leaving Kang alive is to handicap him after a fashion. The Wizard erases all his memories and knowledge of the quest and the Tribulations to come he's accumulated since Timeless — thus depriving Kang and the Avengers of the tactical advantage they were enjoying up to this point.
  • Crystal Prison: After the Avengers defeat the Ashen Combine, the Impossible City puts them into orange crystals, where they were originally imprisoned.
  • Depending on the Artist: Starting with Captain America: Symbol of Truth, Sam Wilson has been featured throughout multiple comics, cover art, and promotional materials with a distinct goatee likely meant to evoke the look of his MCU actor Anthony Mackie. But the internal art of this run by C.F. Villa and Ivor Fiorelli still portrays him as clean shaven akin to his original Cap appearance in Captain America: Sam Wilson under Nick Spencer. While this might've initially have been an oversight, it gets particularly erroneous since the cover art throughout this entire run still features Wilson rocking the goatee.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A variation with T'Challa, or rather his costume. The pre-release promo artwork revealed that the Black Panther costume would be redesigned for Eve Ewing's then-upcoming Black Panther (2023) series — something the promotion for that comic hadn't revealed at the time.
  • Emotion Eater: Nightmare's status as this gets called out by Wanda and Thor in a second confrontation, saying that for all his grandstanding about respect to his position he's not much more than a junkie gorging himself on the fears of humanity.
  • Enemy Mine: Issue #2 sees Carol and Kang grudgingly working together to prepare for Myrddin, the Twilight Court, and the Tribulations.
  • Energy Absorption: Lord Ennui absorbs all energy around him, to the point that he can even disintegrate objects by absorbing the atomic forces holding them together.
  • The Everyman: Carol recruits Sam Wilson because of this reason. Being a social worker, he has the most grounded perspective of the Avengers and can relate to the common man much more than they.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Ashen Combine each serve as one to the Avenger they are pitted against. Citysmith is a twisted builder and engineer fighting gadgeteer Iron Man. Idol Alabaster is a false idol fighting Thor, a real god. The Dead is a necromancer fighting the benevolent magician Scarlet Witch. Meridian Diadem is an evil gynoid fighting android superhero Vision. And Lord Ennui is a nihilistic being of pure listlessness with energy absorption powers fighting the idealistic and always active Captain Marvel who projects energy as a weapon.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Issue #10 reveals that Nightmare's attack on the Avengers wasn't an alliance with Myrddin, it was a genuine attempt to warn the heroes via Dreaming of Things to Come, but delivered in the only way Nightmare's nature allows. Someone is going to murder the universe, and only the Avengers can stop them. And without the universe and its mortals, Nightmare will have no more dreams to feed on.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In issue #12, we’re reintroduced to 3D-Man, who has joined Orchis. It’s revealed that he’s become The Resenter after murdering the Skrull known as Crusader, suggesting he’s taken a Never My Fault attitude over it and thinks they were ungrateful. Ultimately subverted in issue #13, as it's revealed he was planted as an undercover agent by the Black Panther, with his memory altered so as to sell him as an "embittered ex-Avenger".
  • False Prophet: Idol Alabaster's gimmick is being this, a psychic entity that uses it's powers to force mortals to worship her instead of gods, channeling that worship into power.
  • Foreshadowing: In Issue #2, Kang gives Captain Marvel foreknowledge of the Tribulation Events. In particular, he mentions the Impossible City, the Death Moon, the Cannibal Culture, the King of Magic, and the Endless Night, while also teasing others besides them.
  • Force and Finesse: Mordred contrasts her and Wanda this way as magic users. While Wanda has more raw power, Mordred's ability to unravel magic gives her an advantage.
  • For the Evulz: The Ashen Combine travel from world to world destroying entire civilizations, in the mobile sentient city they mentally enslaved but left aware enough to despair at its predicament, purely for the sadistic pleasure of it.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Idol Alabaster uses her psychic powers to command worship, then turns that worship into power. Every worshipper makes her stronger, and she can also convert the adoration into energy blasts.
  • Good News, Bad News: In the first issue, T'Challa asks if Carol wants the good news or the bad news. Then he tells her that the Black Panther never has good news.
    Black Panther: Either Terminus isn't as intelligent as he believes himself to be...or he is desperate. His attack has damaged the reactor's containment flask. The black hole will be released upon the world.
    • Carol does a more straightforward version of this trope later on. The bad news is that Iron Man and Vision are able to keep Terminus busy for only so long; the good news is Thor's awake.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While the Avengers battle the Tribulation Events, Myrddin and his Twilight Court lurk in the background manipulating events to their own ends and have initiated the whole situation to begin with. The closing panel of Timeless also plays this up, implying Myrrdin intends to bump off other villains that are rivals to claiming the Missing Moment to cement himself as THE main antagonist.
  • The Heart: Both Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson are using the Captain America moniker. However, Carol recruits Sam for her Avengers roster because Sam, being a social worker has a more grounded perspective than the Living Legend that is Steve Rogers.
  • Honor Before Reason: Invoked with Parsifal the Icon's engineered powers. He can grant victory to any side he is fighting on as long as his cause just, which means his powers are useless if he is fighting on a seven-man team against two opponents. The other Avengers awakening to come to their comrades' rescue allows him to enter the battle.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Iron Man pretends to be trapped and disabled in a cube of concrete that Citysmith forms around him, only to reveal that he's recently integrated Ghost's phasing technology into his armor — and thus Citysmith's attacks are totally ineffective against him — by suddenly lunging from the cube.
  • Immediate Sequel: A variation at the end of the first issue when a wounded Kang shanghais Carol into Null-Time. Due to its temporal nature, Kang's appearance is essentially picking up directly where the cliffhanger ending of Timeless left off at the end of 2022.
  • The Lancer: T'Challa serves this role to Carol, as exemplified in issue #3 where he questions her tactics in wake of the Ashen Combine's attacks.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Rather than killing Kang, Myrddin decides to remove his knowledge of the Missing Moment and Tribulation Events, claiming that their rivalry is amusing but Kang needs a handicap. This also brings an end to Kang's fragile alliance with the Avengers.
  • The Leader: At the very start of the series, Carol Danvers is elected as the leader of the new Avengers.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In issue #2, Carol thinks this is what Kang's trying to do when he tells her about Myrddin and the Twilight Court. She initially thinks they may actually be another team of heroes and Kang's trying to use the Avengers as his Unwitting Pawn to deal with his enemies up the timestream.
  • Logical Weakness: Thor's fight with Idol Alabaster ends when Thor realises the weakness of her need for active worship; he renders her immediate worshippers unconscious, thus depriving her of the power she needs to overpower him.
  • Mad Artist: The narration of issue #2 describes The Citysmith as an artist who sees both people and the makeup of cities as tools for his "art". A panel of him with a Slasher Smile is shown as he tears Toronto apart.
  • Necromancer: The Dead shows how they got their name by resurrecting corpses from a cemetery in Sydney, Australia.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: 3D-Man has apparently signed up as Orchis's Avengers expert specifically because no one's forgiven him for killing Crusader in Avengers: The Initiative and he's still unrepentant about it.
  • One-Steve Limit: Carol, Sam and Steve jokingly refer to one another as "Cap" in the flashback were Carol comes to recruit Sam.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Carol defeats Lord Ennui by going binary and feeding him so much energy that it overtaxes his absorption powers and nearly kills him. As he passes out, Ennui notes that this is the first time he's felt anything in centuries and thanks Carol for it.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Nightmare wants to help the Avengers against an oncoming threat because if the world is destroyed, he'll have no mortal emotions to feed on.
  • Pretender Diss:
    • In the Timeless prologue, Kang is not impressed by 'Myrrdin' (having met the actual Merlin during one of his earlier conquests).
    • Thor mocks Idol Alabaster's god act since it brainwashes people into worshiping it. He claims actual gods court followers, whether through gifts or threats.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: During Blood Hunt, with the main team incapacitated by the main vampire attack, Captain America/Steve Rogers issues an emergency alert and assembles a new group based on those Avengers who answered his distress call; Hercules, Hawkeye/Kate Bishop, Quicksilver and Hazmat, none of whom have worked together before on a team.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Myrddin is the name of a legendary Welsh figure who was the prototypical version of Merlin. The Twilight Court's members are also all named after figures from Arthurian Legend.
  • Relocating the Explosion: In the first issue, after Terminus damages the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. black-hole reactor, Carol flies it into space so that the Scarlet Witch can contain the blast without the project's magnetic fields interfering with her magic. However, that means Carol's also at ground zero when it explodes...
  • Shadow Archetype: Myrddin's Twilight Court is a counterpart to the Avengers by their title: the Star (Carol/Lancelot), the Icon (Sam/Parsifal), the Witch (Wanda/Mordred), the Construct (Vision/Bercilak), the God (Thor/Galehaut), the Engineer (Tony/Bedivere) and the King (T'Challa/Artur). This is invoked in their first fight: All the counterparts battle each other and the fight goes on. Then Carol gets the idea for her team members to attack someone else: Wanda fights Galehaut, Vision fights Artur, Falcon fights Bercilak, etc. It culminates in the Twilight Court being taken by surprise, and conceding defeat.
  • Smug Snake: The Ashen Combine have destroyed countless civilizations before and defeated even more champions that tried to stop them, so they're supremely confident in their ability to defeat the Avengers.
  • Soft Reboot: Played with in regards to the post-Jason Aaron roster. Every incoming Avengers creative team always resets their predecessor's roster and rebuilds the team in their own image to tell their own stories. MacKay has removed a majority of the Avengers Assemble-era lineup (Namor, Nighthawk, Jane Foster, Steve Rogers, Blade, and Echo). However, he has also kept a good bit of Aaron's previous roster (Carol, Tony, Thor, and T'Challa) intact (in addition to keeping a Captain America on the team in the form of Sam).
  • Speech Bubbles:
    • Idol Alabaster speaks only in lower case.
    • Meridian Diadem speaks in italics, using speech bubbles with jagged tails and a few small spikes in otherwise oval borders. It's similar to the Vision's speech bubbles, reflecting their shared nature as synthetic beings.
  • Straw Nihilist: Lord Ennui of the Ashen Combine is named such for being a supremely listless and depressed entity who sees no point to life to an extent that he kills and destroys just for the sake of trying to feel anything meaningful again.
  • Super Cop: Defied. When Captain Marvel is officially voted in to be the new leader of the Avengers and Tony snidely asks her if she's ready to police the world again, Carol responds with a Blunt "No" since she's all too familiar with how that ideology essentially shattered and divided the superhero community in the past—a mistake that she is not looking to repeat yet again with her Avengers roster.
    Captain Marvel: The Avengers aren't cops. Or, at least, we shouldn't be. That doesn't work, that just gets us into Civil Wars. The Avengers are firefighters. We're the ones who fly into the blaze, whatever that is. Because we're the ones who can, so we're the ones who have to. We save lives. That's it. That's our whole mission statement.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: The Avengers are this for the X-Men, as the team is initially not involved in the concurrent events of Fall of X. This is because Tony, as Carol's appointed XO, has been advising her to keep the team out of the Mutant-Orchis war for the immediate moment. As he's closely tied into the conflict over in his book, Tony knows the stakes and that the Avengers will be needed to help the Mutants stop Orchis. But with all the coordination between the disparate Mutant teams and the forces and resources arrayed against them, Tony's carefully building to that and has to wait until conditions are right. Thus, Carol very reluctantly agrees to keep the team out of the conflict for just a little while longer. In Issue #12, Tony finally gives the Avengers the greenlight to attack Orchis on all fronts, Subverting this trope in spectacular fashion.
    Iron Man: So. You know how Orchis crushed Krakoa and scattered all the mutants? You know how they cozied up to Earth's governments and made themselves the good guys? You know how I asked you all, I begged you all, to let me take point on this, to stay your hand, to let me work with the mutants and get all of our ducks in a row? How they took my technology and built Sentinels with it. You know how I asked you to wait for the word, to wait until I said "Go" before the Avengers punch back. Well. The ducks are in a row. And I'm saying it now so we can all hear it: "Go."
  • Synchronization: Idol Alabaster forces her victims to worship her, then turns that adoration into power. Any attempt to harm her while she's connected to her worshippers hurts them as well.
  • Teeth Clenched Team Work: While this always happens to some degree with each Avengers roster, Sam and T'Challa in particular aren't having an easy time currently working together (due to them beating the crap out of each other during Captain America: Symbol of Truth).
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Kang forms a tenuous alliance with the Avengers against Myrrdin, mostly benefiting from the deal more than them. When Myrrdin exploits a distraction to confront and steal information from Kang's mind, he is so outraged that the Avengers "failed" him he breaks off the alliance and threatens to be their enemy again.

Alternative Title(s): Avengers 2023