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When you name your group "The Avengers" presumably you are avenging something (or someone) right?

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    I’ll do you one better: why are the Avengers avenging?! – Paul D. Waite Jul 2 at 7:32
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I'm afraid they're not really avenging anything. At the end of the first issue the Hulk points out that the group needs a name and the Wasp suggests "Avengers" because it's "colorful and dramatic."

Avengers

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    Curiously enough, they added the line in the new movie production, uttered by Tony Stark to Loki: "If we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it!" I guess they wanted to bring closure to the question of who the Avengers were "avenging." All things being equal, I would take protecting over avenging but that's just me. – Thaddeus Howze Apr 12 '12 at 3:29
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    Who is the yellow guy, Stark? – Wikis Apr 12 '12 at 5:30
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    @Wikis, yes, that's an early Iron Man suit. It started out grey, got painted gold in the next issue, and then added the red several issues later. – cjm Apr 12 '12 at 6:52
  • @ThaddeusHowze - avenging is what's left to do when the primary job of protection is FUBARed – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 27 '16 at 2:19
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    Isn't the point in the films that they are avenging Phil Coulson? – Ummdustry Jan 16 at 22:49
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In the recent The Avengers film, they don't embrace the "Avengers" name until

Agent Coulson's death.

So, that's what they're avenging. Although Stark's line "If we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we'll avenge it," makes for a nice snippet of dialogue for trailers, the spoiler is what the plot of the film has them avenging.

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    I still find it silly. SHIELD started the Avengers project well before they had anything to avenge. – ripper234 May 13 '12 at 5:44
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    Indeed, Fury calls it the "Avengers Initiative" well before the movie. It's first mentioned in the first Iron Man movie, I think. – MPelletier May 24 '12 at 22:14
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    @Keen You had me doubt for a moment, sir, but this is the after-credits scene for the first movie: gametrailers.com/user-movie/iron-man-after-credits/212603 Quoth Fury: "I'm here to talk about the Avengers Initiative." – MPelletier Jun 19 '12 at 12:11
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    Keep in mind, this only for the MCU, not comics in general – Chipster Mar 13 at 20:12
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    Agent Coulson's last words are "It's okay, boss. This was never going to work without something for them to--" I always took this as a strong hint that the unspoken final word was "avenge." – Nathan K. Jul 1 at 19:50
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In the MCU we now have a clear reason for the name. In the 2019 movie Captain Marvel, we learn that

Nick Fury named his proposal for "The Avengers Initiative" on Carol Danvers' call sign, printed on her plane as Capt Carol "Avenger" Danvers

which he saw in a file photo of her plane when she'd been a test pilot for Pegasus. The link is very clear; the paper was titled "The Protectors Initiative" until Fury saw the photo, reconsidered, then went back and edited the document to reflect the Avengers name.

The name appears blanked out in this photo, which was available before the movie release, but the pilot's name would be printed where the white rectangle is:

Carol Danvers standing in plane cockpit

zoomed image to show name on plane; "Capt. Carol 'Avenger' Danvers"

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    I've taken the liberty of editing in an image that shows the plate on her plane – Valorum Mar 13 at 18:20
  • While this is a good answer, the question doesn't seem to be about the MCU. – Skooba Mar 13 at 20:12
  • @skooba agreed, but one of the pre-existing answers was already MCU-specific, and it was the first question that came to mind when I saw the scene in the theater. I do not see an MCU-specific version of this question (I searched "[marvel-cinematic-universe] title:Avengers") so I figured this was most likely to catch interested parties. – gowenfawr Mar 13 at 20:21
  • they only real avenging they do is actually the pointless beheading at the start of endgame. – ths Jul 2 at 15:24
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presumably you are avenging something (or someone) right?

Yeah, and that's exactly why at the beginning the group has been named Avengers. Not Prevengers. Not Defenders. Not Guardians. Not The Deterrers, too (those are actually called The Annihilators, by the way).

They are called Avengers because the exact purpose of the group is to avenge. And avenge what, you ask? Well, whatever needs to be avenged, clearly!

The Avengers are a group of distinct superheroes each one minding their own business; they were founded as a team of heroes working on-call: they are not patrolling, defending or investigating something together. To quote the old Avenger motto, they team was established

to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand

Only when there is a wrong to avenge, and it's a wrong that cannot be fought by a single hero, the Avengers assemble.

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