Meet ‘The Avengers'
In September 1963, legendary comic-book creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby unveiled "The Avengers," a team of super-heroes that included: Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp. Captain America joined the dream team in the fourth issue.
The team changed members through the years in the comic books, and with the opening today of "The Avengers" movie, the lineup consists of Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye. As always, the new Avengers are as flawed as they are powerful. They don't really like each other, and most of them like themselves even less.
In the film, they are brought together by Nick Fury and Maria Hill of the international peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. to battle the evil Loki (brother of Thor) who wants to conquer Earth.
This is going to be a big summer movie, and you shouldn't walk into the theater without knowing the players. Four of these super-heroes starred in their own movies, but you might have missed them the first time around.
IRON MAN (played by Robert Downey Jr.) – Brilliant industrialist Tony Stark is quick with a quip, but even quicker to don the special suit he designed to fight evil-doers. He has a thing for his assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow).
CAPTAIN AMERICA (Chris Evans) – The World War II super-soldier (he was a frail kid named Steve Rogers who was transformed in a lab as part of a secret scientific program) crashed in the Arctic on his last mission, and has been frozen ever since. He awakes in modern day ready to do battle against the Nazis or aliens from another planet, whichever comes first.
THOR (Chris Hemsworth) – He's not like the other members of the team. He's not a human with special powers. He's actually a god from another planet who looks on Earth as a protectorate, and feels responsible for his lazy, good-for-nothing brother who is causing all the trouble. His hammer is awesome.
BLACK WIDOW (Scarlett Johansson) – Think James Bond on steroids in a sexy, skin-tight suit. Natasha Romanoff is the world's greatest spy, and also one of its most skilled assassins. Doesn't have super-powers but usually doesn't need it to deal with mere humans. She also handles herself quite well with invading aliens.
THE HULK (Mark Ruffalo) – Poor Bruce Banner, the nice-guy scientist who was exposed to gamma radiation and now turns mean and green whenever he gets enraged. Other people just get red in the face. His strength and volatility make him both an asset and a liability to the team.
HAWKEYE (Jeremy Renner) – Another spy/assassin, Clint Barton is the greatest marksman in the world, but his weapon of choice is the bow, which he enhances with specially designed arrows that wreak havoc wherever they fly.
NICK FURY (Samuel L. Jackson) – He made cameo appearances at the end of both the "Iron Man" and "The Hulk" movies, suggesting to those super-heroes that they were part of a bigger universe. He was referring, of course, to the Marvel universe of comic super-heroes. The director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is very smart, but does not have super-powers.
MARIA HILL (Cobie Smulders) – Fury's second-in-command is a by-the-book military officer who also lacks super-powers, but can handle herself in a firefight.
LOKI (Tom Hiddleston) – Our villain is your typical underachieving younger brother who was prevented from taking over the family business by his brother Thor and now seeks revenge by breaking his brother's favorite toy – Earth.
Contact the writer: 714-796-5051, ext. 1110, or firstname.lastname@example.org