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Avengers Disassembled is a 2004 storyline of The Avengers, that details the dissolution of the "classic" team and sets up House of M and New Avengers.
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There came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes found themselves in sudden and unexpected crises, each one worse than the one before. Jack of Hearts, who had been dead, suddenly appears at the door of the mansion looking a little un-dead... and explodes, killing Scott Lang. Tony Stark, while giving a speech at the UN (and completely sober), suddenly becomes intoxicated and begins to insult the Latverian delegate. The Vision returns in a Quinjet, crashes it into the mansion, and releases five Ultrons from his body. She-Hulk loses control during the battle and becomes as savage as the Hulk. The UN breaks relations with the Avengers because of Stark's outburst. All of the heroes who had once been Avengers show up to help... just as the Kree launch an all-out attack. Hawkeye dies during in battle, taking out a Kree ship.

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At the climax of it all, Doctor Strange appears in his astral form, and tells them that the Scarlet Witch's chaotic powers are to blame for this — the memory of her lost children has driven her insane and taken all the checks off of her reality-warping powers. He engages Wanda in magical combat and turns the Eye of Agamotto against her, leaving her in a coma. Her father Magneto takes her away to Genosha to take care of her.

Without government support, and without financial support from Stark (who was nearly bankrupt), the Avengers had no other choice but to break up.


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Avengers Disassembled contains examples of:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: A very short time later (one month in real world time, six months in the Time Skip), Captain America put together the New Avengers.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Invoked. The Avengers capture a Kree who only talks in Kree. Since they know he can speak English, they order him to use a language they can understand.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Nick Fury get really angry when this trope comes into play. What do you mean you have no sensor readings? There is a fraggin' Kree ship out there, shooting at the city! But don't be too hard on them, they were not prepared to deal with magic.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: This storyline is the end of the Avengers as we had known them. Most of the "traditional" line-up are killed, taken out of action or quit.
  • Break the Cutie: She-Hulk is always the Life of the Party, but here she suffers a lot. She sees a friend killed for no reason, loses control like the Hulk and kills the Vision, controlled by the Scarlet Witch.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The Chaos Magic, Agatha Harkness and other things associated with Wanda's power
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Poor Tony Stark. After a long battle against the bottle, he gets drunk... without actually drinking.
  • Continuity Snarl
    • During Busiek's run, some years before, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch remembered their sons without either of them losing their sanity.
    • When closing the mansion, Stark mentions that he had stored and taken away all the fancy materials and technology. Still, when the Young Avengers fought against Kang in the abandoned mansion some months later, they had no problem finding several old weapons of the Avengers.
    • And the infamous one — Doctor Strange tells the Avengers that there's no such thing as "chaos magic," despite having used it himself in his own solo series. This was later explained by Chthon himself, who said that the Sorcerers Supreme and others had tried to limit his power by saying that there was no such thing as chaos magic.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Vision's death is probably the worst of the three. Scott and Clint at least get to go out quickly. Vis falls apart, spits out several Ultrons, and then She-Hulk tears him in half and smashes the remains. Jeez.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • For all the dramatic build-up, Wanda is defeated pretty easily by Doc Strange in the end.
    • Iron Man drops the out-of-control She-Hulk with one punch.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story itself isn't all that much darker than the average Avengers-story, Downer Ending aside, but it marked the start of Marvel taking a more openly deconstructive direction in their storytelling, with the Superhero community more consistently divided and fighting each other. After this story, there was at least one Crisis Crossover every few years, including such optimistic tales as House of M, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign. Even after a break from this pattern with the Heroic Age line of comics, Marvel soon started putting out more of these stories such as Avengers VS X-Men an Axis and Civil War II, finally culminating in Secret Empire. Simply put, this story set the early catalyst for several major heroes to try and take a more large-scale approach towards doing good, and they repeatedly bungled up and fought amongst themselves because of it.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: The string of catastrophes which hit the Avengers. It's the fact they keep happening that clues everyone in that something is up.
  • Downer Ending: The Avengers are disbanded, suffering from the psychological scars of such a horrible betrayal. Several of their closest friends and allies (Hawkeye, Scott Lang, Vision) are dead. The only 'good' thing to come of this was that Wanda was stopped, and even then it proved to only be a temporary and very Pyrrhic Victory.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Tony gets pissed at the Avengers when Hawkeye says he doesn't sound or look sober.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Hawkeye's quiver, filled with explosive arrows, takes a stray hit. Hawkeye, refusing to die in an undignified fashion as exploding, grabs a Kree solider, and uses his jet pack to fly into the motor of the main ship, and make it blow up. That is a fine way to die!
    • Stupid Sacrifice: When he was resurrected later, Hawkeye explained that he thought it was his moment of glory at the time. The others - and the audience - disagreed, since he had plenty of time to just take off his quiver. Hawkeye wound up feeling rather embarrassed by the whole affair.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Wanda, in part 1. Not ominous at all, no siree...
  • Failed a Spot Check: On seeing Jack of Hearts back, Scott tries talking to him, not finding anything wrong about the fact he's looking a little undead.
  • Fair Weather Friend: The UN, collectively. After Tony makes an ass of himself at a speech, they collectively drop the Avengers like a sack of hot turds.
  • From Bad to Worse: And then even worse. And then worse still.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: As Nick Fury notes, the Kree have all the power they needed to blow up the city from their ships, so why did they send land troops against the Avengers? This is a sign that the invaders are not the real Kree, but the Kree as imagined by the Scarlet Witch.
  • He's Back: Jack Of Hearts.
  • Idiot Ball: Writer John Rogers actually helped popularize this term in a blog post about this very storyline. Notable examples include Hawkeye having no way other than suicide to keep his trick arrows from killing everyone around him; Dr. Strange not knowing what happened to Wanda's children even though he delivered them himself; and finally the Avengers' decision to let Wanda's terrorist supervillain father take her away at the end. Though the last one could be explained by the fact that they wouldn't have had a prayer of taking him in a fight at that point.
  • Internal Homage: The last issue, before breaking up, the Avengers remember some of their greatest adventures or moments. Each flashback drawn by a different artist.
  • Jerkass: An EMT is rude to an injured Jarvis. Captain America doesn't approve.
  • Just a Machine: Said by She-Hulk when she destroys the Vision. Forgive her: she's not herself. When Vision is rebuilt later (just before Avengers vs. X-Men), he goes after She-Hulk and they have a heart-to-heart, with him forgiving her and her very depressed over what she did and, at the same time, relieved that her friend was back.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: If you didn't know that the Scarlet Witch was behind all this, where have you been the last 10 years?
  • Not Himself: Tony Stark, Vision and She-Hulk, due to the manipulation of the Scarlet Witch.
  • Nothing Is The Same Any More: Even though the Avengers returned a month later, the story was a turning point that broke most of their status quo. Before this, they were agents of the UN; after this, the New Avengers were a self-funded street-level team (until Mighty Avengers).
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Henry Pym whines about never being able to live down the creation of Ultron, that everyone will always remember him because of that, and Tony Stark had a similar problem with his old alcoholism.
    • Also during his drunk tirade, Tony yells at Pym about having a wife to beat up.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Just as Tony's about to explain to Cap, Falcon and Hawkeye what happened at the UN, an angry Yellowjacket bursts in and demands he tells them what happened, shouting over Tony as he tries to point out that's exactly what he was doing.
  • Put on a Bus: Kesley Leigh, Captain Britain, who'd only just joined the team. First she gets brutalized, then shoved out the door.
  • Reality Warper: The Scarlet Witch becomes one.
  • Red Skies Crossover: One of the most blatant on record. Plenty of Marvel's titles carried a "Disassembled" banner, but only one of them had more than a passing reference to the event, and none of these "tie-ins" enhanced the main title — the only one with a direct connection was Cap/Falcon, and even that was never mentioned in the main story. Nearly all the other were prequels (Spider-Man and Thor), sequels (Fantastic Four) or both (Iron Man had one of each).
  • Ret-Gone: Agatha Harkness is dead... but she didn't die during this story. She died several years ago, and the times we saw her, it was the Scarlet Witch making things up.
  • Series Continuity Error: After She-Hulk's rampage, Falcon complains about all those times the Avengers have had to deal with Hulk and She-Hulk going on rampages... except Hulk quit after two issues with the team, and She-Hulk's lifetime list of rampages before this storyline can be measured on one hand.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Wasp. All it took for Wanda to go insane was for Jan to offhandedly mention her sons.
  • Wham Episode
  • Wham Line: "Not like this. Not like this! Like THIS!" This one was so fondly remembered that Marvel put "Not like this...!" on the tribute plaque they gave to Brian Michael Bendis when he retired from writing the Avengers books.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Wanda. A bereaved mother gone out of her head with grief — with the power to change reality on a whim. Lampshaded by Doctor Strange when he elaborated upon how dangerous it is for a Woobie to even possess power as vast as Wanda's simply because they will inevitably become this trope.
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