The Heroic Age takes place after the devastating events of Siege, written to bring characters into less dramatic and universe changing events, along with fewer major crossovers. It focuses more on team and character stories, fighting supervillans, and is closer to the Golden age of comics.
"Heroes will be heroes again," says Joe Quesada, Marvel Editor in Chief. Once the Siege of Asgard is complete, the heroes of the Marvel Universe will finally have time to shine in The Heroic Age. This event will bring together the Avengers trio of Iron Man, Captain America (Bucky Barnes), and Thor, but will also include the duo of Wolverine and Spider-Man, including many other heroes such as Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Spider Woman, and Noh Varr. Steve Rogers, the original Captain America will be leading a team of Secret Avengers, which includes War Machine, Beast, Black Widow, Sharon Carter, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, and Nova.
Hank Pym will be leading the Avengers Academy, a program where veteran heroes help train young people with dangerous super powers and damaged psyches to become valuable heroes. Some of the heroes that will be assisting Hank are Justice, Quicksilver, Speedball of the New Warriors, and Tigra. Luke Cage will be leading a team of Thunderbolts, which consists of Fixer, Crossbones, Ghost, Juggernaut, Mach-V, Songbird, and Moonstone. Cage will also be leading the New Avengers, whose members include Spider-Man, Wolverine, Jessica Jones, Thing, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Ms.Marvel, Iron Fist, and Victoria Hand.
The President of the United States gives Steve Rogers Norman Osborn's job as America's Top Cop, Steve accepts, but tells the President that he's going to do things his way. And with this, the Super-Human Registration Act is thrown out, Tony Stark is given back Avengers Tower and holds a large party for all of the Avengers. Thor soon arrives, telling them that if the call is sent out, he will join their ranks once more, hearing this, Steve tells Thor that's good news since he's going to need all of the Avengers for what he has planned next.
Following those events, Steve Rogers asks various heroes, and former Avengers to join his new plan. Nearly all of them enthusiastically agree, save for Wonder Man, who believes all the recent misfortunes that
happened on Marvel Earth, to be the Avengers fault. Steve disagrees, but leaves an opening for Simon to join if he wishes. He later assembles the main team of Avengers (Captain , Iron Man, Thor,Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, andWolverine) on , in order to explain the reasons for which he decided that they should be the core group, the “face of a new era”. A team comprised of strength, nobility, bravery, responsibility and selflessness. Several members of the group get to know each other better, while Iron Man voices his concern on being teammates with Steve once again. Steve explains that the Avengers would not answer to him, but to Maria Hill instead.
At that point, a time traveling Kang the Conqueror merged. Without hesitation, Thor lands a blow on him, and throws him off the building. The Avengers quickly go after Kang, who holds a mysterious device. It is a device that Iron Man conceived, but never got to actually create: a doomsday machine. Forced to do as Kang says, in fear he will activate it, the Avengers hear him out: according to Kang,Ultron would slay the Avengers at some point in the future, and rule with an iron fist, before the Avengers’ children eventually stop his reign – only to start their own empire, and threaten the entire universe. Kang asks the Avengers to build a time machine and travel to the future in order to stop their successors. He pledges that he will no longer harm them, but rather befriend the Avengers if they will do so.
The Avengers debate on if they should intervene, or not, and they decide to do so. Iron Man explains that in order to create a time traveling device without damaging pre-existing reality.
With the help of Wolverine, the team find Noh-Varr, who is now going by "The Protector." Upon being asked for his help, he joins the team and works with them to create a device which allowed them to see into multiple futures that the world could possible go. With this, they quickly learn that the time stream is in fact broken, but before they are able to act, they are attacked by Wonder Man, but he is quickly defeated. The team then prepares to build a new time device after the first one was destroyed by Wonder Man, but they soon find themselves facing off against none other than the Horsemen of Apocalypse.
A fight between the Avengers and the Horsemen of Apocalypse breaks out. During this fight both Iron Man and Wolverine realise that something's not right about this fight. Apocalypse seemed equally surprised to see the Avengers as they were to see him. All of a sudden, just as quick as Apocalypse and his Horsemen arrived, they disappear again into the timestream. The Avengers decide to split up into two teams: one team to go forth into the timestream and one team to handle time-related disturbances in the city. One of these "disturbances" is Devil Dinosaurand Killraven who are coming through the timestream.
Before the Avengers get to learn when/where Killraven's from, they are violently attacked by the Martians from the same future Killraven's from. While Thor disposes of the Martians their machines, the heroes at street level take witness to a crazy
scene of an mid-19'th century's Five Points all-out gang war. When Thor finally destroyed all of the Martians' tripods, he takes witness to an incredible scene as the gangs, dinosaurs, old planes, zeppelins, and even Galactus himself transform New York City to a war zone. Meanwhile the Avengers Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America and Noh-Varr arrive in the future in a cave in Central Park and look outside to bear witness to a gruesome all-destroying battle. But before they can get a read on the situation they are all knocked unconscious by the Avengers' children. When they wake up, they are greeted by an elderly Hulk and Iron Man from the future, who apparently need something of the Iron Man of the present.
After Norman Osborn's Dark Reign and the Avengers is reformed, Steve Rogers formed a clandestine team of Avengers that will clean what Norman Osborn had left and any others that cannot be known to the public. Their first mission is to infiltrateRoxxon Oil Company that have set-up a dig site in Mars and are apparently looking for the Serpent Crown. Steve had Nova scout the area but he had lost contact with him so he and his team go to Mars to investigate. When they got there, they find themselves attacked by the Shadow Council. The team split up into groups to find Nova, the Serpent Crown and find out what has happened in the dig-site. Steve andBeast find that the Worldmind is there but Serpent Crown is missing. They were attacked by the crown's guardian, the Archon. When Moon Knight, Black Widow, andValkyrie found Nova, he is wearing the Serpent Crown and has a group of Shadow Council soldiers digging for him in the field. Nova detected the Secret Avengers' presence and attacked them. Moon Knight and Black Widow are knocked out with Valkyrie fighting Nova in a losing battle. She contacted Steve for help and he rushed to her aid. When Steve, Beast and the Archon get to Valkyrie's position, she is incapacitated. The Archon attacked Nova but is gravely injured. War Machine andAnt-Man goes into a abandoned facility to investigate when Ant-Man gets sucked into a portal returning to Earth in a Shadow Council base. He then sees a group of Shadow Council members with Nuclear Bomb vest going to the same teleporter with the objective to destroy the facility in Mars. Going in with them, Ant-Man fires a stinger in the Shadow Council's vest and prematurely detonates it inside the teleporter, destroying it. Back in Mars the Worldmind suggested that Steve must fight Nova using his powers but warns him that absorbing that much can be dangerous but Steve goes anyway. As he Steve puts on the Worldmind, he gains Richard Rider's power and becomes the new Nova. Nova (Steve) and Richard fight with Steve winning and he took off the Serpent Crown from Richard and he becomes normal again. The Archon thanked Steve for saving the Universe and left with the Serpent Crown to be kept in a more safer location. As they are going back to earth, Sharon Carter communicates with Steve that the Shadow Council is headed by Nick Fury.
After Norman Osborn's Dark Reign had corrupted & destroyed what was left of the50 State Initiative. With no official body to school or mentor young heroes, Hank Pym decided to fill the void that his name had been falsely identified with. However, after seeing the terrible deeds & torturous methods that Osborn had inflictied upon unwitting young wannabe heroes, Pym & the other Avengers quickly decided to focus their efforts on the kids who would most likely loose control of their powers in disastrous ways, or become villains.
The Academy staff were assembled. Founding Avenger Hank Pym & veteran members Quicksilver ,Tigra, and Justice as well as former New Warrior Speedball. Additionally, Captain America, Iron Man & other Avengers members would occasionally assist with guest lectures.
Despite Justice's reassurances, Pym remained dubious about Speedball's involvement. Memories of the Stamford disaster were still fresh in people's minds & Speedball's personality had radically changed. However, Quicksilver pointed out that they had all experienced both sides of the law & that he had only joined to distance himself from his father, since Magneto had recently resurfaced in the public eye. This reminded Pym of his own violent past, so he conceded that Speedball still had a role to play in the new Academy.
The First Class
Veil was the last of the new recruits to join the team. She'd grown to control her powers after being medically violated by Baron Von Blitzschlag. However, because of the premature intervention, her powers were slowly killing her. It transpired that she wasn't the only one who had suffered because of Norman Osborn's Dark Reign.
Hazmat had been a bright & popular girl until her new powers were accelerated. Her body became poisonous. Even her breath was toxic & therefore she was forced to wear a radiation suit all the time. Meanwhile, Mettle & Reptil seemed to have adjusted to life in the Academy already & were planning on who would become the team's field leader. Meanwhile, Striker tried to assert his alpha male dominance by flirting with Veil, and the polymath Finesse was as knowledgeable as she was skilled in martial arts.
Many of the Academy staff were divided. After being raised in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Quicksilver felt that the students shouldn't be lied to, that they should be open about why these 6 students had been hand-picked. Pym disagreed, believing that psychology proved that kind of negative honesty would compound the issue & make matters worse. Surprisingly, Speedball violently agreed with Pym by lurching at Quicksilver as he ranted. Therefore, the students were being lead to believe that they were hand-picked by the Avengers because they were allegedly the finest of the heroes discovered by Norman Osborn.
However, during her first team training session Finesse was able to lip-read the passionate debate through the observation glass in the training room. She confided in the other Academy students about what she'd discovered. Together, they decided to hack into Avenger's computers that night. Using Veil's gaseous form as a cover and Striker to short-circuit any electrical equipment, Finesse was able to hack into the system and read their dossiers. Quickly the returned revealed the truth; that their teachers were afraid of them. They were not the Super-Humans with the highest potential for success, they were the Super-Humans with the highest potential for destruction. Each and every student of Avengers Academy 'failed' their psychiatric evaluations and proved to be the most at risk for corruption into villainy or progression of mental instability.
Gifted and Talented
The next morning, the students are eating breakfast in dining room #38 of the Infinite Mansion , when Reptil confesses that he has never kissed a girl before. Finesse offers to kiss him but before he gets gets the chance to do so they get attacked by Arsenal , a killer robot with super human strength. We learn that the robot was actually activated by Pietro and Jocasta to see how the students would react in a situation similar to the one they just encountered. Once the teachers leave, The kids debate over whether they should leave the Academy or not. After voting to stay, Finesse talks with Hank Pym, saying that she thinks she was adopted, and says she has a feeling she is be realted to Taskmaster, which Pym said he has a feeling about also. After watching a tape about Pietro's life, Finesse confront's Quicksilver, blackmailing him into teaching her everything he learned in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
While fighting robot drones in a training mission, Finesse gives Reptil his first kiss, which causes Hazmat to get all snippy about the situation, which provokes Mettle. Jennifer and Ken get into a minor verbal tussle which Justice quickly breaks up. They soon have a Hand-to-Hand combat class, taught by Iron Fist, who shows the class that even though Finesse can replicate his moves, without the knowledge behind them and the proper spiritual training, that they are useless. 2 days later Valkyrie, supposed to teach them some fighting skills, teaches the women students of the academy about male opression in the society of women. Off on the side Hazmat and Mettle make up for their fighting and start talking about the upcoming "Scared Straight" field trip to the Raft, a prison for super villains. Jen knows that Norman Osborn ( The cause of her super powers ) is held there, so she plans something with Mettle and Veil for when they arrive at the field trip. Once the team arrives at the Raft, they are introduced to the Thunderbolts, and meet some pretty famous villains when Jen generates an electromagnetic pulse and all the lights go out. Mettle, Veil, and Jen run from the group, and arrive at Norman's cell not long after
Mettle rips off the cell's door and is ready to kill Norman, when Norman convinces them not to hurt him. Luke Cage is yelling at Hank for not knowing where Mettle, Veil, and Hazmat were. Hank figures out where they went, so they go to Normans cell, only to find Osborn sitting there, claiming that he will get out of prison sooner or later.Meanwhile, a super villain Powderkeg breaks out of his cell and starts attacking Mettle, Veil, and Hazmat. Man-thing and Juggernaut go after Veil, while Tigra, Hank, and Robbie fight against the inmates. Juggernaut gets to Mettle, and help defeat Powderkeg. Soon after, the power comes back on, and the three students are yelled at by Luke. Hank tells Mettle and the other two that what they did was wrong but it showed a lot of courage for them to just back down. Hazmat lies about causing the blackout, because she wants to meet Osborn again.
The Avengers Academy students are having an unarmed combat session with Steve Rogers. He shows them how important unarmed combat can be and how fatal it is. Striker gives Steve and Hank an attitude about not having any publicity for being on the Avengers Academy team. Steve notices that Striker is the only person who has ever become an avenger to be a celebrity. Striker asks both Finesse and Veil if they wanted to have sex with him individually, but they both decline.
Hank and the Academy later go to the city ( Manhattan ) to see a show and are attacked by Whirlwind. After defeating him, the team go back to the mansion. Veil walks in on Justice and his girlfriend ( Ultra-Girl ) kissing and she is upset. Later Veil goes into Striker's room and wants to have sex but he doesn't want to at that moment.
In the Heroic Age Steve Rogers has decided to restart the Thunderbolts program as an opportunity to rehabilitate super-criminals. In order to do this he's asked Luke Cage to lead them since he managed to redeem himself and prove himself to be a hero when he was thought to be a dangerous criminal. They will be operating from a tower built into the Raft, the super maximum security prison for dangerous super-villains.
While the new team listened to a lecture from Luke Cage about how important the team was, outside the Raft, it seems as if Cage suffocates, while a ship appears out of the water, and Baron Zemo, the original leader of the Thunderbolts walks out trying to recruit the members into his own team of Thunderbolts. Some members try to flee, others try to fight Zemo, but the result is that it was just a trick by the Fixer, trying to see who was loyal to the team, and who needed some more help.
Luke Cage leads the team to the American Midwest, tasked with capturing Trolls escaped from the remains of the Norse Gods' fallen city of Asgard. Two of the savage creatures are brought down, but the third turns out to be a human. Crossbones tranquilizes the girl, and is given to the Raft to be imprisoned.
The teams next mission involves a squad of Shield agents investigating theTerrigen Crystals, A formation that produces mutagenic gas. When the agents go missing, the thunderbolts are called in to rescue them. The team find many dead bodies, and also many mutated Shield agents. The mutants hurt all but can't manage to hurt Crossbones, Man-Thing, and Ghost controlling Mach-V.
Man-Thing saves Moonstone from one of the mutated shield agents, while Crossbones accidentally inhales some of the crystals fumes. The team eventually regroups and Juggernaut seals off the cave. After a quick check up at the doctors at the Raft, Hank Pym and the Avengers Academy arrive to check out the Raft as a " field trip". Ten minutes after the Academy's arrival, the power shuts down in the raft and three of the students go missing. The team splits up to secure the area and find the children. Songbird goes to the women section of the Raft, and try to calm the women down, when the Troll-Girl( Gunna ) from there previous mission escapes her cell to aid Songbird.
After many fights between Luke Cage against Purple Man, John Walker ( The new warden of the Raft ) against male inmates , and Songbird and Gunna against women inmates, the students are found, and the power is restored.
A couple days later, after a phone call with his wife, Luke Cage talks to Iron Fist, but soon kills him. It turned out to be a hand ninja, posing as Iron Fist using magic. Cage soon strikes up a conversation with a man called Lacey Kimbro, who tells Cage that the Hand have taken his son, Darris. Kimbro said that Darris discovered the existence of members of the Hand that have been killed but are still living (the Underhand). Kimbro also says that Shadowland has an underground fortress where these beings live in a purgatory-like state At the raft, in the mess hall, female inmates are fascinated by Gunna, whom they call Troll. They tell Songbird that Gunna doesn’t understand English, but when they ask Songbird if the rumor that Gunna was a cannibal is true, she stops devouring her meal and says “aye”, surprising everyone. On the men’s side, an inmate antagonizes Crossbones thinking his nanites will prevent him from touching other inmates. During their meal, Crossbones grabs his hand, the back of which is discolored, presumably from the exposure to the terrigen crystals from last issue. On their way out of the mess hall, Juggernaut creates a distraction for Crossbones, who then shoves a plastic spork down the throat of the inmate who was irritating him.
The team then assembles and transports via Man-Thing to Hell’s Kitchen where they meet with Cage. He takes them to a sewer entrance and gives them their mission: find Darris Kimbro, and if there is an underground fortress, level it. Cage tells the team Fixer is the lead on the mission since Cage has other Shadowland-related business to attend to. The team, Fixer, and Songbird head through the sewers and are eventually attacked by Hand ninjas. During the battle, Fixer is stabbed through the stomach and Songbird is overtaken, leaving the team without handlers, which pleases Moonstone, who is ready to have some fun.
In the aftermath of Siege, Luke Cage complains that he doesn't want to be apart of the world according to Steve Rodgers. So Steve talks to him about making his own team thinking it would be a better idea to have more than one team of Avengers, with
Luke leading the other one. Luke agrees, and Iron Fist buys Avengers Mansion for $1 to be used as the New Avengers' base. Luke invites most of the members from the old New Avengers team as well as the Thing from the Fantastic Four. However, before the team can get settled in, they are suddenly attacked by a possessed Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstorm.