Captain America (Steven "Steve" Rogers)
Hulk (Robert Bruce Banner)
Iron Man (Anthony "Tony" Stark)
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
Magneto (Max Eisenhardt)
Red Skull (Johann Shmidt)
Base of Operations: Avengers Tower and Avengers Mansion, Manhattan, New York City, New York; formerly Avengers Island, Atlantic Ocean, nine miles out from New York City
The Avengers are one of Earth's foremost major organizations of costumed superhuman adventurers dedicated to safeguarding the world from any threat beyond the power of conventional peacekeeping forces or any of them to handle alone. Founded several months after the incorporation of the hero team Fantastic Four, the Avengers became the first superhuman team to be granted official government sanctions by the National Security Council of the United States, the General Assembly of the United Nations, and later by the international intelligence/law enforcement agency SHIELD.
The first five founding members of the Avengers first banded together when Loki, the Asgardian God of Mischief, attempted to discredit the monstrous Hulk in order to draw his half-brother, the thunder god Thor, into battle. Loki was trapped in Asgard due to his brother's actions but still able to manipulate Midgard (Earth). Loki tricked the Hulk into destroying a railway line. Rick Jones, the Hulk's friend, radioed the Fantastic Four for help, but Loki instead relayed the information to Thor to draw him out in the open. However, Iron Man, the Wasp, and Ant-Man also received the radio signal unbeknownst to Loki and arrived at the scene, attempting to reason with the Green Goliath. Not falling for the trick, Thor confronted Loki and exposed his scheme to the others. Defeating Loki, the group agreed they worked well together and should formalize the team. The Wasp suggested the name "Avengers" and a legend was born.
The newly formed team assembled a short time later at the midtown Manhattan mansion of industrialist Anthony Stark (in reality their fellow member Iron Man). Stark soon donated the mansion to the Avengers for their exclusive use, and set up a foundation to cover all the operation expenses of the nonprofit team under his mother's name, creating the Maria Stark Foundation. The team put down a charter and by laws to govern their operations. The Stark family's trusted butler Edwin Jarvis was kept on as the principal regular domestic employee at what became known as the Avengers Mansion.
The Hulk soon proved to be uncontrollable and left the team after their fight against the Space Phantom and he even teamed up with Namor the Sub-Mariner against the Avengers. After the fight, the Avengers discovered the legendary Captain America who had been in suspended animation, frozen in ice since just before the end of World War II. Needing to adjust to the world he awoke in, Captain America joined the heroes.
A born leader, the living legend was given retroactive "founding member" status in place of the Hulk, and was seen as the heart and soul of the team for decades. With Cap by their side, the Avengers faced enemies like Vuk, an alien stranded on Earth; the Lava Men; the Mole Man and the Red Ghost, Count Nefaria and the Maggia, the Kallusians, as well as teaming up with the Fantastic Four against the Hulk and the Mole man.
The Avengers soon found themselves facing the Masters of Evil, a group of villains with grudges against certain heroes within the team. The original Masters consisted of Baron Heinrich Zemo, Black Knight, Melter, and Radioactive Man. First Executioner and Enchantress, then Wonder Man joined shortly thereafter, with the latter turning on Zemo after gaining the Avengers' trust. Zemo apparently killed him for his actions. Following several more battles with the Masters (at one time assisted by Immortus), their foes finally fell; Zemo was killed in a fatal rockslide triggered by his own weaponry as he and Captain America were fighting.