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How Marvel's New Avengers Team Aligns The Team With The MCU

The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn't exist without the stories preceding them in Marvel Comics, with its stories directly adapted and heavily borrowed from its original medium. However, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe changing the film industry in major ways, the stories in the comics have started to draw from the live-action world.

While comics will always be the MCU's main source material and primary inspiration, original characters such as Darcy Lewis have made their way from the MCU to the pages of Marvel Comics — with the most notable MCU to comics transition being Phil Coulson, who appeared in "The Avengers" before officially making his comic debut. Jason Aaron's soon-to-be-concluded "Avengers" run has tackled the Multiverse on a scale being teased in the movies.

Meanwhile, film adaptations of Eternals (who starred in the recent "A.X.E." event), Guardians of the Galaxy (who have consistently had an ongoing series since "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1"), and Shang-Chi (who has starred in two self-titled series since "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" was revealed) have all elevated the characters for Marvel Comics, with the previously underused heroes and villains getting bigger platforms than ever before.

While Marvel has done it before to varying degrees of success, in the case of the upcoming run on the "Avengers" from Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa, the book is aligning itself with the main heroes readers know from the current Avengers MCU lineup. The team is even likely about to take on Kang the Conqueror, the current main villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, the book will seemingly do a fine balancing act, as it's also forging something new and exciting for the Avengers.

Where the Avengers stand in the MCU and comics

Following the conclusion of the "Infinity Saga," the Avengers as audiences know it is about to get a considerable shake-up. Heroes like She-Hulk, Shang-Chi, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight appear destined to join the next iteration of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, while Captain Marvel and Sam Wilson's Captain America are primed to be leaders of the new team.

With their new "Avengers" run in the comics, Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa are bringing the team back to basics. With hundreds of Avengers featured in Jason Aaron's long-spanning run on the book, including a final main team starring the likes of Nighthawk, Starbrand, and Maya Lopez wielding the Phoenix Force, the ever-changing roster felt like a collection of some smaller names besides Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.

MacKay and Villa are keeping things much more contained as the teased team features Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Black Panther, Vision, and Thor. Not only does the team consist of heavy hitters, but more than half the team are instantly recognizable heroes who are expected to play huge roles on the next Avengers team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It might not seem like a big deal at first glance, but the new "Avengers" run is smartly positioning itself so that both longtime Marvel Comics readers who want to see a collection of some of the greatest characters the publisher has to offer in a single book, and MCU fans, will both recognize the team — as the synergy is extremely important. It will be fascinating to see how the team evolves and whether more members, such as Moon Knight or Doctor Strange (who MacKay is currently writing in ongoing series), further solidify the symbiotic wave between comics and film. The comics can continue to add rising heroes as members of the Avengers, as they grow.

Who are the Avengers fighting?

The new "Avengers" run, much like 2025's "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty," will almost certainly pit the team against the time-traveling villain. While the MCU is slowly building toward Kang, with Jonathan Majors playing the villain and his variants in both "Loki" and "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," writer Jed MacKay has already planted seeds for the upcoming conflict in the comics.

In the "Timeless" one-shot preceding the new run on the Avengers, Kang desperately sought the Missing Moment, a moment in time he couldn't access, leading to his greatest prize ever. For Kang, a villain who has traveled across all space and time, discovering the Missing Moment has become his ultimate quest. It's the one piece of information he can't access, making it his biggest desire. However, it's been explained only heroes can reach the Missing Moment — with the new Avengers team entering the mix as they learn about Tribulation Events, a series of disasters with world-destroying repercussions.

Kang appears to be long-game for MacKay and C.F. Villa's "Avengers" as they will first face off against Terminus, with another familiar unnamed threat soon emerging. But, given the events of "Timeless" and Kang himself hinting he would assemble his own team of heroes in the one-shot, it's only a matter of time before the Avengers and the supervillain cross paths.

The comics remain incredibly important to the MCU

Ultimately, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the comic books are setting up a confrontation with the heroes and Kang the Conqueror featuring a team who are household names and have all made notable contributions in the live-action universe. It's hard to deny they aren't connected, even if it's two different versions of Marvel heroes and stories. But, with the added element of the Missing Moment and Kang needing his own team of heroes, the comics may be doing something unique. What seems just as possible as the usual fight between good and evil is Kang could attempt to get the Avengers on his side — representing a considerable twist on both the Avengers and Kang's usual dynamic.

Once again, the comics appear to be trailblazing new stories while the movies follow their lead. They will always be the foundation of the MCU and continue to inspire what's coming next in the films. So seeing echoes of similar storylines or the ultimate big bad villain being the same isn't much of a surprise, albeit a welcome development. But, with the MCU leaning so heavily on the comics, it's time for them to be treated with more importance — especially with the page adapting itself to closely resemble the billion-dollar live-action franchises. Even with more synergy than ever before, the comics will always be more important to the overall storytelling of every Marvel story they inspire.

"Avengers" #1 by Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa from Marvel Comics arrives in comic book stores on May 17, 2023.