The very first “variants” of the Avengers were literally a nightmare fuel

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The Marvel Comics superhero team known as The Avengers, there are more versions of themselves than you can shake with the Infinity Gauntlet, and in one of their first appearances in the comics, the earliest “variants” of the group are revealed!

Introduced in the seventh installment of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s 1963 original Avengers issue, the story titled “Their Darkest Hour!” sees our heroes in a strange situation, as they have just suspended Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, from the team for not answering their calls for almost a week. Relatively new to this team business, the Avengers are not as trustworthy and not as knowledgeable about each other’s personal lives as the current incarnations of the team, which makes this version of them a little more susceptible to attacks directed by nefarious means.

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Recently thrown to Earth by Thor’s father, Odin, the villains of the Enchantress and the Executioner use this fact as an opportunity to further divide and distract the team, singling out Thor as the Avenger they want to pursue in the first place. Using a spell that puts Thor into a deep sleep, the Enchantress changes the mind of the Thunder God to give fans the very first “versions” of the Greatest Heroes of the Earth!

Forcing Thor to see the Avengers as an “evil, dangerous threat” so that he would attack them as soon as he saw them injuring the innocent. The team, which at the time consisted of Iron Man, Captain America, Wasp and Giant Man, their nightmarish alterations gave them a more terrifying design compared to their already iconic Avengers costumes, as small elements of their old designs were subtly altered. this made them seem more evil and sadistic than they might otherwise be presented.

Although these are not real variants originating from different time frames or parallel realities, this is the first experience of the Avengers with the “alternative, evil versions” trail, since the redesigns that the Enchantress gives to Thor are not really real people, but just nightmares. Made to look confusing in the style of “Nights on Bald Mountain”, these variants are more scary than heroic, and more creepy than cool, even leaning a little towards Thor’s Asgardian sensibility with their more goblin and huge looks. giving the tradition of the “evil version” of the Avengers a disturbing overall aesthetic, which will be the first in a long line of alternative versions of the team.

So while Thor’s “nightmarish” Avengers were ultimately a magical ploy by the Enchantress to destroy the team and keep Thor under her control, this release sets a precedent for introducing alternative versions of popular characters, whether multiverse, magical, or nightmarish means. Over the decades since the publication of this story, the Avengers have created several versions of themselves, but one of their first versions still remains one of the best.