While speculating about the future of the Original Marvel Universe for my previous post, I found myself wondering what lay in store for the world’s premiere superhero team, the mighty Avengers. I was especially curious about how this veteran group would be affected by the coming of the supremely-powerful team I dubbed “The Saviors,” who basically made the Avengers redundant. It made sense that the Avengers would eventually disband, particularly as there would be fewer and fewer villains worthy of their combined might. When I realized the team’s 20th anniversary was imminent, it seemed the right point to mark the end of an era. But that begged the question, who were “The Last Avengers”? So I thought it would be fun to try and come up with a logical roster.
The final group to cry “Avengers Assemble!” consisted of:
Hulk (Bruce Banner) – Founding member in 1962, rejoined in 1977. Following the successful reintegration of Bruce Banner’s fractured psyche, and the rehabilitation of the Hulk’s reputation, the jade giant renewed his association with the team he helped found. Unbeatable on the field of battle and unsurpassed in the scientific laboratory, the Hulk quickly proved himself an invaluable asset, and within a few years became the team’s unofficial leader.
Vision (no alias) – 8th recruit (1964). A mainstay of the team since he first joined, the android Avenger remained an active member to the very end. After his mind was erased in 1975 and Wonder Man refused to lend his brain patterns again, the Vision gradually developed a unique personality of his own. The emergence of genuine emotional responses allowed him to improve his strained relationship with his ex-wife, the Scarlet Witch, and also to deal with the shocking revelation of his true origins.
Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) – 35th recruit (early 1975). Serving with the Avengers for several years brought Quasar the experience he needed to master the use of his energy-manipulating quantum bands, and as his skills increased, so did his confidence. By the end he was seen as a veteran member who worked tirelessly to protect the earth from all manner of extraterrestrial menaces.
Sersi (no alias) – 37th recruit (spring 1975). The virtually-immortal Eternal Sersi continued to serve the Avengers with her powers of molecular transmutation until the end, finding the adventures to be an engaging diversion in her millennia-spanning existence. Though she had initially joined in order to pursue a romance with Captain America, she stayed on even after Cap’s deteriorating health forced him to retire, thus demonstrating that she was a loyal and dedicated member of the team.
Living Lightning (Miguel Santos) – 42nd recruit (summer 1975). Despite his antagonistic beginnings, the Living Lightning soon proved himself a stalwart hero and remained an Avenger in good standing until the team disbanded. He served with the west-coast contingent until it was dissolved as an independent entity, and then took up residence at Avengers HQ in New York.
Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) – 43rd recruit (summer 1975). An on-again, off-again member of the Avengers due to her tumultuous personal life, Spider-Woman nevertheless became very popular with her teammates and was seen as a valuable addition to the roster. She rejoined during the team’s final year after her daughter graduated from high school.
Zephyr (no alias) – 54th recruit (1978). An immortal being from another dimension, the “wind elemental” Zephyr hooked up with the Avengers following the death of her human lover Richard Harper, during a period when she wandered the Middle East with N’Kantu, the so-called “Living Mummy.” Though recruited together, Zephyr remained with the Avengers after N’Kantu moved on, viewing her membership as a means to explore the wonders of the modern world. Though her teammates often found it difficult to relate to her, Zephyr’s abilities made her an asset in a battle, and she eventually became close friends with Sersi.
Rocket Man (Sam Guthrie) – 63rd recruit (1980). Final recruit before the team disbanded, remembered as “the last Avenger.” After severing all ties with the violent mutant taskforce led by Cable, Sam Guthrie abandoned his “Cannonball” identity, feeling it had been irredeemably tarnished. He assumed the name Rocket Man and embarked on a solo crimefighting career that immediately met with great success and popular acclaim. Having mastered his mutant powers of thermo-chemical propulsion, Rocket Man’s invitation to join the Avengers showed how far he had come from the days when he nearly flunked out of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
In 1982, roughly a year after the Saviors began to virtually eliminate the threat of super-villains, the Avengers held a meeting of all surviving members and voted to officially disband, bringing to a close their proud 20-year history. Their faithful butler Edwin Jarvis was given a generous early-retirement package, and the Avengers Headquarters Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was subsequently converted into a museum.
Next Issue: Secret Invasions!