The road to success is paved with enormous screw-ups, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes have had their share of bad luck. How bad, you may well ask? Well, let's take a gander. Beware: possible spoilers ahead, if Marvel Studios ever decides to draw on seriously the dumbest stories in its history.
Even with the clunky Captain America costume and the shoehorned Cap/Thor/Iron Man fight scene, 2012's Avengers is still better than the nightmare that was Avengers #1.
Brought together by the chicanery of Loki, the original Avengers consisted of Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and the Wasp banding together to take down the Hulk. Tony's armor looked like a gold-plated iron lung on legs. Thor, still waffling between his personas as the God of Thunder and surgeon Donald Blake, keeps his identity a secret by loudly announcing what he's doing every time he transforms into the Asgardian deity. The Hulk runs from battle at one point and, pretty immediately, disguises himself as a super-strong juggling clown robot in a traveling circus.
Then there's Ant-Man and the Wasp. Ant-Man berates Wasp for being a woman. When he and Janet arrive at their first Avengers meeting, they stand on a projector to make themselves big enough to talk to instead of just growing to person size. They try to capture Hulk by having ants dig a hole under him, and are defeated when Hulk blows a fireplace bellows at them.
Captain America didn't join the Avengers until four issues into their adventures. How did Steve Rogers get to the party? It was a little problematic. Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man were pitted against Golden Age staple Namor the Submariner. Namor escapes the tussle and makes his way to the North Sea, where he finds a group of "uncomprehending Eskimos" worshiping a petrified figure as "mighty lord of the frozen ice." Namor, having been gifted with the strength of a typhoon and intense crabbiness, breaks apart the ice and sends the frozen figure floating into warmer waters, where his frigid shell melts around him.
The frozen figure? Captain America. The Avengers pass in their submarine, and they make Captain America prove that he's Captain America by having an all-out brawl with him while still inside the submarine. Ignoring the fact that they're in a pressurized tube surrounded by tons of water, they punch, dive, and Mjolnir their way to clarity until Wasp shuts the whole thing down by standing in front of Cap and basically daring him to hit a girl.
Watch the video to learn more about what Marvel wants you to forget about the Avengers!
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A weird first outing | 0:17
Cap got his thaw on | 1:14
They fought rock and roll | 2:13
Thanos' brother | 3:05
Bummer DC fight | 3:40
Amalgam mayhem | 4:28
Ultimatum | 5:10
Looking like refrigerators | 5:54
Stupid Iron Man armors | 6:35
Ant-Man's terrible history | 7:36
Baby arms | 8:17
Every pre-MCU Avengers movie | 9:11