EARTH-Avengers: Armored Avengers
Type: Alternate (Divergent) Earth
Core Continuum Designation: Earth-776
Usual means of access: Vibrational attunement
Dominant Life Form: Humanity
Significant Inhabitants: Armored Avengers, Avengers (defunct), Giant-Man (Pym), Hulk, Iron Man (Tony Stark), Rick Jones, Space Phantom, Sub-Mariner, Thor, Wasp, some Asgardian giant creature
First Appearance: What If? I#3 (June, 1977)
(What If? I#3) - At the conclusion of the struggle with the Space Phantom, the Hulk left the team due to the other's distrust of him. Giant-Man argued that they should let him go, and Thor decided to leave the group as well. Giant-Man and the Wasp figured that without those two heavy-weights they weren't much of a team, so they also left. Iron Man went after the Hulk himself and got his butt whupped. When the Hulk formed an alliance with the Sub-Mariner (paralleling the events of Avengers I#3), Iron Man realized that even if he convinced Giant-Man and the Wasp to join him, they had no hope against their challengers. To this end, Stark constructed three additional suits of armor and recruited Giant-Man, the Wasp, and Rick Jones to wear the armor. After a brief, frustrating training session, the trio became angry with Iron Man and left him.
Desperate, Iron Man overrode the safety limiters in his armor and charged it to maximum capacity to face the Hulk and Namor at Gibraltar. Though holding his own and nearly overcoming the two, Iron Man was eventually beaten into submission by Namor. However, Rick, Giant-Man, and the Wasp, all wearing their new armors, then arrived and attacked the Hulk and Namor. The "Iron Avengers" gained a brief advantage of their foes, but Namor refreshed himself in the water and the Hulk's rage increased his strength until they turned the tide. Iron Man revived and sacrificed all of his own energy to restore Giant-Man's full power. Giant-Man stood up to the Hulk, battering him back into a cliff, but Namor managed to snag Rick and hurl/punch him towards the cliff as well. The Hulk saved Rick and then became furious at Namor for trying to kill the boy. The Hulk and Namor fought, but soon realized the pointlessness of the struggle and went their separate ways.
Rick, Hank, and Jan all bowed their heads in respect for Iron Man, who had sacrificed his life to save them. From that day, they dedicated themselves as the Armored Avengers.
(Avengers Forever#11-12) - Giant-Man was amongst the multi-dimensional Avengers summoned by Rick Jones using the Destiny Force to oppose a plot of Immortus and the Time-Keepers.
Comments: Created by Jim Shooter, Gil Kane, and Klaus Janson.
There's no reason that Namor would not have headed north and thrown the frozen Captain America into the water after the conclusion of this story, though it is certainly not definite. What would have happened after that is pure speculation.
The title "What if the Avengers had never been?" is a bit of a misnomer. The Avengers were founded, but broke up very early on, after their first battle with the Space Phantom, diverging from Avengers I#2. In addition, three of the founding members did end up getting back together. However, the titles "What if the Avengers had barely been?" or "What if only 60% of the Avengers stayed together?" are a little lackluster. "What if the early Avengers had to fight the Hulk and Sub-Mariner without Thor?" is probably most accurate.
While I always liked this story, Iron Man's sacrifice was really a waste. Clearly an alliance between the Hulk and Namor could never last too long due their inflammatory natures.
If I gave this world a numeric designation, it would be Earth-776.
Profile by Snood.
The Armored Avengers of Earth-Avengers: Armored Avengers should be distinguished from
Giant-Man / "Iron Giant"
Henry Pym. He wore a suit of armor customized to his twelve or fifteen foot (?) form, which allegedly enhanced his strength one hundred fold. This would grant him Class 100 strength, somewhere between 100 to 500 tons! He could fly and was durable enough to take punches from the Hulk, but could not change size in the armor, nor did he appear to have repulsor rays.
--What If I#3( Avengers Forever#11
Tony Stark. He designed the armor to enable the relatively weak heroes to combat the Hulk and Namor. However, the stress of working day and night on the armor, combined with the steep learning curve of the Armored Avengers pushed him over the edge of frustration and he screamed at them, driving them off. He then assaulted the Hulk and Namor himself and was beaten nearly to death. He revived as the Armored Avengers were losing the struggle, and he sacrificed his remaining power to recharge Giant-Man, the only one with the strength to oppose the Hulk. Without the pacemaker to keep his heart going, he died.
--What If I#3
Rick Jones / "Iron Rick"
Frustrated with his difficulties in using the armor, he asked Stark to give him actual powers. His armor enabled him to fly and fire repulsor rays (though they looked more like multiple, tiny darts), and it contained a molecular oscillator, enabling him to become immaterial and pass through solid objects. It also enhanced his strength and durability to an unspecified degree.
--What If I#3
Wasp / "Iron Wasp"
She was very upset that Stark had picked a color armor that clashed with her eye shadow. Her armor fit her at wasp size, and allowed her to fly and to fire drugged stinger darts. It also enhanced her strength and durability to an unspecified degree.
--What If I#3
What If I#3, p16, panel 1
p42, panel 2 (Giant Man)
p18, panel 4 (Iron Man)
p43, panel 2 (Rick)
p16, panel 4 (Wasp)
Avengers Forever#11-12 (November-December, 1999) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 07/12/05
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