As part of Marvel‘s The End series the comic details Wolverine’s last adventure. The story, written by Paul Jenkins, depicts Wolverine as an old man living in the Canadian wilderness facing his own mortality. Events depicted within Wolverine: The End have been contradicted in other works, which leaves the work’s status within continuity and a future canon uncertain.
Tales of Suspense, Issue #39 (March 1963) introduced the superhero Iron Man, created by editor and plotter Lee, scripter Lieber, and artists Heck and Jack Kirby. He starred in generally 13-page but occasionally 18-page adventures, with the rest of Tales of Suspense devoted to the anthological science fiction and fantasy stories the comic normally ran.
After debuting with bulky gray armor, Iron Man was redesigned with similar but golden armor in his second story (issue #40, April 1963). The first iteration of the modern, sleek red-and-golden armor appeared in #48 (Dec. 1963), drawn by Ditko (though whether he or Kirby, singly or in collaboration, designed it, is uncertain). From #53-58 (May-Oct. 1964), the cover logo was “Tales of Suspense featuring The Power of Iron Man”. Two months before the debut of the sorcerer-hero Doctor Strange, Lee, Kirby and scripter Robert Bernstein, under the pseudonym “R. Berns”, introduced a same-name criminal scientist and Ph.D., Carl Strange. Making his sole appearance in the Iron Man story “The Stronghold of Dr. Strange” in Tales of Suspense #41 (May 1963), the character gained mental powers in a freak lightning strike. The Mandarin debuted in issue #50 (Feb. 1964) and would become one of Iron Man’s major enemies. The Black Widow first appeared in #52 (April 1964) and Hawkeye followed five issues later.
The Earth has been STOLEN! The sky burns while mysterious cosmic objects crash down from above, wreaking havoc across the world – and the Avengers are the last line of defense between Earth and the mysterious forces threatening to tear it apart. It’s time to ASSEMBLE almost everyone who has ever been an Avenger! All of the Avengers you know and love come together to face threats beyond any they’ve faced before – including the Black Order and the Lethal Legion. These two teams of powerful villains bent on destroying each other have arrived on Earth, and they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. And when the mysterious Challenger faces off against the Grandmaster, can the Earth survive the destruction they unleash? The Avengers are engaged in a game of cosmic proportions, but they don’t know the rules…and not everyone will survive! Plus: Who is Voyager? Valerie Vector, the forgotten founding Avenger, is revealed. And fan-favorite Avenger, Hulk, returns to the fold as the stakes in the battle for Earth become clear! Tension is high and peril is imminent, but there’s no option to surrender for the relentless Avengers!
Following Mark Gruenwald’s departure from the series, Mark Waid took over and resurrected Sharon Carter as Cap’s love interest. The title was then relaunched under Rob Liefeld as Cap became part of the Heroes Reborn universe for 13 issues before another relaunch restored Waid to the title in an arc that saw Cap lose his shield for a time using an energy based shield as a temporary replacement.
Writer Mike Friedrich and artist Jim Starlin‘s brief collaboration on the Iron Man series introduced Mentor, Starfox, and Thanos in issue #55 (Feb. 1973). Friedrich scripted a metafictional story in which Iron Man visited the San Diego Comic Convention and met several Marvel Comics writers and artists. He then wrote the multi-issue “War of the Super-Villains” storyline which ran through 1975.
Writer David Michelinie, co-plotter/inker Bob Layton, and penciler John Romita Jr. became the creative team on the series with Iron Man #116 (Nov. 1978). Micheline and Layton established Tony Stark’s alcoholism with the story “Demon in a Bottle“, and introduced several supporting characters, including Stark’s bodyguard girlfriend Bethany Cabe;Stark’s personal pilot and confidant James Rhodes, who later became the superhero War Machine; and rival industrialist Justin Hammer, who was revealed to be the employer of numerous high-tech armed enemies Iron Man fought over the years. The duo also introduced the concept of Stark’s specialized armors as he acquired a dangerous vendetta with Doctor Doom. The team worked together through #154 (Jan. 1982), with Michelinie writing three issues without Layton.
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.
In X-23: “Innocence Lost”, a top-secret program is tasked to replicate the original Weapon X experiment that bonded adamantium to the skeleton of Wolverine. The project is taken in a new direction: Dr. Martin Sutter recruits renowned mutant geneticist Doctor Sarah Kinney to develop a clone of Wolverine. Also on the team is Sutter’s protege, Dr. Zander Rice, who was raised by Sutter after his father was killed by the original Weapon X.
Since the only genetic sample from Weapon X is damaged, Kinney is unable to salvage the Y chromosome. Kinney proposes the creation of a female genetic twin. Her request is denied; Rice is opposed to the idea. After 22 failed attempts at reconstituting the DNA using a duplicate X chromosome, the 23rd sample yields a viable sample to combine with an embryo. Although Kinney is allowed to proceed, Rice exacts revenge for her insubordination by forcing her to act as the surrogate mother of the specimen. For nine months, Kinney’s every move is monitored. Finally, she gives birth to “X-23”
The Fantastic Four debuted in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. 1961), which helped to usher in a new level of realism in the medium. The Fantastic Four was the first superhero team created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, who developed a collaborative approach to creating comics with this title that they would use from then on. As the first superhero team title produced by Marvel Comics, it formed a cornerstone of the company’s 1960s rise from a small division of a publishing company to a pop culture conglomerate.
A new team composed of Red Hulk, Deadpool, Elektra, Agent Venom, and Punisher debuted as a part of Marvel NOW! major relaunch. Written by Daniel Way with drawings by Steve Dillon. This incarnation is not a government-sponsored team.
Red Hulk assembles his incarnation of the Thunderbolts to be a strike team that is close to “Code Red.” He has gathered Deadpool, Elektra, Punisher, and Agent Venom because “their conditions cannot be cured.” Red Hulk has his Thunderbolts do things that are similar to X-Force. Red Hulk has obtained Samuel Sterns’ body and hooks it up to a machine that emits Red Gamma Radiation onto Samuel Sterns. Deadpool later finds Samuel Sterns’ as a Red Leader with no apparent powers as he expresses his view that the Punisher won’t be pleased. Punisher finds Red Leader’s body and shoots him between the eyes disrupting whatever plans Red Hulk has for Red Leader.
After Claremont’s run, the X-Men were divided into two color-coded squads, with a Blue team headlining the adjectiveless X-Men title, while the Gold team, consisting of Archangel, Colossus, Jean Grey, Iceman and Storm, appeared in Uncanny. This roster was later joined by Bishop, another refugee from the future. After Claremont’s departure, Jim Lee continued as plotter, while John Byrne scripted from #281 to #286. Byrne was replaced as scripter from #286 by Scott Lobdell, who was fully credited as writer from #289. The “X-Cutioner’s Song” crossover was released in the fall of 1992 and resulted in the outbreak of the Legacy virus, a mutant-specific plague which continued as a story element in X-Men comics until 2001.