Long before they were New, Dark, or Disassembled, the Avengers were far from Marvel’s biggest characters. While people liked Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, etc., they weren’t as popular as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, or the Hulk. For whatever reason, the Avengers just weren’t striking any chords with the comic book audience as a whole. There were fans, sure, otherwise the title would have been cancelled, but it was never a top seller, and just didn’t garner all that much attention. So it was a bit of a surprise when Roger Stern and John Buscema started a story that has become known as “Avengers: Under Siege”, and all of a sudden everyone was talking about the Avengers.
The line-ups for the Avengers have always been in a constant state of change. Each era has its stand-by’s, though. In the 60’s it was mostly Captain America. In the 70’s it was the Vision and/or Hank Pym. By the 80’s it was more B-list characters that usually grabbed the spotlight, like Hercules, the Black Knight, Crystal, or Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau). The roster when this story opens is Wasp (team leader), Captain America, Black Knight, Hercules, Namor, and Captain Marvel. Also worth noting is the presence of the Avengers mansion’s butler, Edwin Jarvis. Before the Siege, Namor is forced to return to Atlantis to deal with some personal issues, and Hercules, pissed that the Wasp is in charge of him, goes off to get drunk.