When the Beyonder discovered Earth he sought to understand the inhabitants more, particularly the concept of desire. He abducted a large collection of superhumans and assembled them on a makeshift planet named Battleworld in a bid to have them wage war on each other and the ultimate victors received their fondest desire.
The Cosmic Champions were created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck and first appeared in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 in 1984. The name "Cosmic Champions" was the original title for the series until it was changed to Secret Wars. Although the team were never referred to by the name in the original storyline, they were dubbed so in supplementary material.
The Cosmic Champions were split into two separate groups depending on what their greatest desire was. Those with selfless desires comprised one faction which were Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the Wasp, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, The Thing, She-Hulk, Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Professor X, Magneto and Lockheed. The second, those with selfish desires, were Absorbing Man, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, the Enchantress, Galactus, Kang the Conqueror, the Lizard, Molecule Man, Ultron, and all four members of the Wrecking Crew.
Several members of both groups such as Magneto, the Enchantress, the X-Men, Galactus and the Lizard switched sides or went off on their own at points. Spider-Woman, the Venom symbiote, Titania, Volcana and Klaw all later joined one of the factions of the Cosmic Champions.
Major Story Arcs
In an alternate reality where the Cosmic Champions remained on Battleworld, most of the heroes and villains have called a truce. While several of both factions have died, the remainder have settled down to a moderately peaceful life and 25 years later have started families.
In other media
Spider-Man: The Animated Series
A version of the team appeared in the episodes based on Secret Wars in the Spider-Man cartoon. Much fewer in numbers the hero faction consisted of Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, the Thing, Storm and the Black Cat. The villains were Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Alistair Smythe and the Red Skull.