The “Dark Phoenix Saga” in 1980 led to a change in the line-up of the team, with the death of Phoenix (Jean Grey), and Cyclops leaving the team to mourn for her. Comics writers and historians Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson observed that “‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’ is to Claremont and Byrne what ‘the Galactus Trilogy‘ is to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is a landmark in Marvel history, showcasing its creators’ work at the height of their abilities.” The storyline also saw the introduction of recurring antagonists the Hellfire Club, and its Inner Circle consisting of Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, along with Mastermind, previously a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. The new teenage mutant Kitty Pryde was introduced in #129 (Jan. 1980) and joined the X-Men in #139. The Dazzler, a disco-singing, roller-skating mutant, was introduced in #130 (Feb. 1980), but did not join the team, instead headlining her own solo title.
A new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Mystique, was introduced in the “Days of Future Past” storyline (#141-#142, Jan–Feb 1981) in which a time-travelling Kitty Pryde tried to avert a dystopian future caused by the Brotherhood assassinating Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kelly. Byrne plotted the story wanting to depict the Sentinels as a genuine threat to the existence of the mutant race. He then left the series after #143, being replaced by a returning Cockrum, who in turn was succeeded by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr.
During the summer of 1973, Englehart and artists Bob Brown and Sal Buscema produced “The Avengers-Defenders Clash” storyline which crossed over between the two team titles. “The Celestial Madonna” arc linked Mantis’ origins to the very beginnings of the Kree-Skrull conflict in a time-spanning adventure involving Kang the Conqueror,and Immortus, who were past and future versions of each other.Mantis was revealed to be the Celestial Madonna,who was destined to give birth to a being that would save the universe.It was revealed that the Vision’s body had only been appropriated, and not created by Ultron, and that it originally belonged to the 1940s Human Torch. With his origins clear to him, the Vision proposed to the Scarlet Witch. The “Celestial Madonna” saga ended with their wedding, presided over by Immortus. The Beast and Moondragon joined the team soon after. George Pérez became the title’s artist with issue #141 (Nov. 1975) which saw the start of a seven-part story featuring the Squadron Supreme and the Serpent Crown. In 2010, Comics Bulletin ranked Englehart’s run on The Avengers eighth on its list of the “Top 10 1970s Marvels”.
In volume 2, Spector abandons his Moon Knight, Grant and Lockley identities after the effects of Russell’s bite (lunar cycle-based strength) fade away, and functions as an independently wealthy man opening art galleries around the world, with the help of art historian Spence. Spector’s estranged relationship with Marlene ends when she finally leaves him for her ex-husband when he becomes Moon Knight again.
The cult of Khonshu telepathically summons Spector to Egypt and supplies him with a new arsenal of moon-themed projectile weaponry, originally designed by a time-traveling Hawkeye in ancient Egypt. Khonshu himself appears to Spector and enters his body, giving him the same lunar abilities he previously had.
The series was launched with an April 1985 cover dated issue by writer Louise Simonson and penciller Greg LaRocque and featured the return of Spider-Man’s alien black costume, which attempted to rebond with Peter Parker. Peter managed to rid himself of the costume again using church bells and the alien was presumed to have died after that. The first issue featured a cover painting by artist Charles Vess.
In issue #18 (September 1986), Peter Parker is pushed in front of an oncoming train. He thinks to himself that this should not have happened, as his spider-sense would have warned him of the danger. Writer David Michelinie has said that he wrote this as the first “teaser” appearance of the characterVenom, whom he was planning to introduce at a later date. Venom is an amalgam of reporter Eddie Brock and the alien costume. The costume could nullify Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and this was the first clue of a puzzle that Michelinie was planning to weave to introduce Venom.
The franchise debuted with Marvel/Epic Comics’ The Alien Legion #1-20 (cover-dated April 1984 – June 1987). The 18-issue Alien Legion (Oct. 1987 – Aug. 1990), minus the “The”, followed, generally scripted by Chuck Dixon and penciled by Larry Stroman. Afterward came the three-issue Dixon-Stroman miniseries Alien Legion: On The Edge (Nov. 1990 – Jan. 1991); the two-issue Dixon-Stroman Alien Legion: Tenants of Hell (1991); the one-shot cover-titled Alien Legion: Grimrod and copyrighted Alien Legion: Jugger Grimrod (Aug. 1992), by Dixon and artist Mike McMahon; the single-issue Alien Legion: Binary Deep (Sept. 1993), by Dixon and Argentine artist Enrique Alcatena; and the three-issue miniseries Alien Legion: One Planet at a Time (April–July 1993), by Dixon and penciler Hoang Nguyen.
Additionally, Marvel/Epic published two spinoffs: Marvel Graphic Novel #25 (cover-titled Marvel Graphic Novel: The Alien Legion), released in 1986 and containing the story “A Grey Day To Die” by writers Potts and Zelenetz, penciler Cirocco, and the first series’ regular inker, Terry Austin; and the one-shot crossover with another series Law Dog and Grimrod: Terror at the Crossroads (1993)
Doctor Strange was canceled with #183 (Nov. 1969). Four years later, Strange Tales resumed at its old numbering with #169 (Sept. 1973), which introduced the supernatural feature Brother Voodoo by writer Len Wein and artist Gene Colan. This lasted only to issue #173 (April 1974), with Brother Voodoo continuing briefly in the black-and-white Marvel horror-comics magazine Tales of the Zombie. This was followed by two different creative teams producing three stories of The Golem in four issues (#174–177), the second of these a fill-in monster-reprint issue.
The next feature was writer-artist-colorist Jim Starlin‘s take on Adam Warlock, picking up the character from the 1972–73 series Warlock (a.k.a. The Power of Warlock) and reviving him in Strange Tales #178 (Feb. 1975). Another creative high-water mark, this feverishly imaginative feature from Starlin, who had similarly reinvigorated Captain Marvel, introduced the Marvel characters Gamora, Pip the Troll and The Magus, and helped establish the mythos Starlin would mine in his many “Infinity” sagas of the 1990s. After issue #181 (Aug. 1975), the story would continue in Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975), picking up from the old series’ numbering. Strange Tales soldiered on with Doctor Strange reprints through issue #188 (Nov. 1976).
Man-Thing’s solo title ran 22 issues (Jan. 1974 – Oct. 1975). Following Morrow, the main series’ primary pencillers were, successively, Val Mayerik, Mike Ploog, John Buscema, and Jim Mooney. A sister publication was the larger, quarterly Giant-Size Man-Thing #1-5 (August 1974 – August 1975), which featured 1950s horror-fantasy and 1960s science fiction/monster reprints as back-up stories, with a Howard the Duck feature added in the final two issues. The unintentional double entendre in the sister series’ title became a joke among comics readers.