Nowadays, The Avengers is the hottest comic property around and every time they go through an event or status change, the ripples are felt throughout the rest of the Marvel Universe titles. In the late 80s and through most of the 90s, it was the Uncanny X-Men. So when Inferno, an epic crossover years in the building and featuring the demonization of most of New York City, hit: it affected the rest of the New York based Marvel Comics characters in a big way: some ways still affecting the Marvel Universe to this day.
This story introduced the second Hobogoblin into his demonic half that turned him into a major player in the Marvel Universe as opposed to just a second-tier Spider-Man villain, heading up against occult-themed heroes like Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider.
This story squared Daredevil off against the literal Marvel Universe incarnation of the devil, Mephisto, introducing an epic segment into the Catholic heroes ongoing mythos.
As this story, in issue #300 of the Avengers, introduced a new lineup after the team disassembled, to help fight the trouble created by Inferno.
I’ve spoken before this month about lame pairings of Avengers or lame ways of getting together, and despite the great premise, this is one of those. The idea of the Avengers coming together specifically to fight a mystical foe and perhaps taking the team membership on a mystical bent doesn’t happen. If they had gone this way, I would have enjoyed that slight change in direction. Can you imagine the Avengers as a pre-Midnight Sons mystical team, if only for a little while?
Instead we get possibly the lamest grouping of Avengers ever, composed of Captain America and Thor (naturally) along with Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, and The Forgotten One. It kind of defeats what was — again, remember — the original conceit of the series: a team up book based on the most popular single-book stars. Really in all it’s long run, the Avengers didn’t have that from the original team all the way up through the New Avengers, electing to keep the membership to nobodies like “The Forgotten One” or original characters like The Vision and Wonder Man. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this, just that it defeats the original premise of the series.