Marvel’s ‘Avengers Disassembled’ story was an incredible tale of Earth Mightiest Heroes, and could serve as a blueprint for reviving the MCU.
Many fans criticize Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for being underwhelming and lacking focus in contrast to the previous phases that led to the epic two-part opus of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Instead of a web of interconnected feature films spanning nearly a decade, Phase 4 of the MCU mainly consisted of several relatively stand-alone, character focused TV series on Disney+. Though there were a handful of movies, nearly half of them were not critically received well, including Black Widow, The Eternals, and Thor: Love and Thunder.
The MCU is at its best when it follows a larger narrative with a through-line story that is bolstered by supporting content. In addition, an overarching villain from the comic book source material provides added focus like the Infinity Saga’s Thanos. Now, with the Avengers an established and beloved team in the MCU, the best way to breathe new life into the films is to utterly destroy them. “Avengers Disassembled” decimated the Avengers, and in doing so, made them more relevant than they have ever been.
“Avengers Disassembled” Was the Beginning of a New Era
Exploding out of the pages of Avengers #500-503 (by Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch), ‘Disassembled’ was one of the most unexpected and shocking superhero stories from the early 2000s. The story focused on the traumas endured by the Scarlet Witch who radically altered the Marvel 616 reality after remembering her lost children she shared with Vision. Wanda ultimately recreates her kids using hex magic, which results in her inability to control the spell and falling deeper and deeper into the fabricated world she’s created.
As almost a kind of magical shrapnel from the spell Wanda used, she inadvertently attacks the Avengers on multiple fronts resulting in the deaths of Scott Lang, Jack of Hearts, Hawkeye, and Vision. Captain America, Wasp, and Captain Britain are hospitalized. Elsewhere, She-Hulk goes on an uncontrollable rampage and the Avengers Mansion is leveled. Wanda’s magic is so out of control and far-reaching that it causes Tony Stark to appear intoxicated during a UN meeting, after years of sobriety. Ultimately, Wanda is stopped by Doctor Strange who nearly loses his life in the process. Suffice it to say, this heralded a massive changing of the guard for the Avengers comic book titles and fundamentally changed the team’s roster going forward.
The Consequences of “Avengers Disassembled” are Still Important
Though some aspects of the storyline were loosely touched on in WandaVision on Disney+, the crux of Wanda’s tampering with reality during the show was Vision’s death during Infinity War. This leaves the bulk of the comic’s story relatively untouched. And with so many of the pieces from the story in place within the MCU, there’s never been a better time to tell it. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness left Wanda seemingly dead but will most likely return in a future project. In addition, many frequently speculate on Vision’s eventual return since the conclusion of WandaVision. In point of fact, many of the most essential protagonists in the story are active in the current MCU.
“Avengers Disassembled” came at a time when the team was in a narratively stagnant place. Writer Brian Michael Bendis told a story about when even most powerful people let a seemingly small problem from one of their own transform into an uncontrollable situation. Scarlet Witch’s machinations led to a direct relaunch of the team in New Avengers. Her reality manipulation decimated the mutant population in House of M. One can even point to the team’s vulnerability in later events such as the the superhero Civil War, Skrull attack in Secret Invasion, and Norman Osborn’s “Dark Reign” all stemming from Wanda’s actions. If the already existing pieces within the MCU are assembled, dismantling them could be a compelling future for the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years to come.