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Over the last decade, Marvel Studios has become one of the biggest driving forces at the box office. A cinematic year is not complete without at least two major Marvel blockbusters destroying all of the competition. In 2012, The Avengers became the third highest grossing film of all time and the highest grossing Disney produced film ever. Now, the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron stands to beat its predecessor’s records with a predicted $217 million opening weekend.

But before you head off to the movie theater to watch the magic unfold on the big screen, take a look at some of these characters' defining moments in their original origin stories: the comic books.

Captain America Picks up Thor’s Hammer

Captain America has picked up Thor’s Hammer on more than one occasion, which, considering how heavy Mjolnir is, says a considerable amount about the man in the red, white, and blue. Steve Rogers is a mere mortal and yet he possess the powers of a god. It'll be interesting to see if he actually manages to lift the mighty Mjolnir at some point in Age of Ultron. After all, there has to be some pay off that scene in the trailer where Thor sweats when Cap nudges the hammer during a party.  

 

Thor is Unworthy

It is so easy to assume that Thor will always be worthy of his hammer. After all, this is a weapon made for him. But one time, Nick Fury whispered something in Thor’s ear, and the hammer dropped from his hand. He hasn’t been able to lift it since. It was after the loss of his precious hammer that Thor proved himself a true hero. Instead of giving up, he has continued to fight the good fight. He has hunted down the new female Thor and told her that she is more worthy of the hammer than he. Now he fights evil under the moniker Odinson as he struggles, to once again, make himself worthy.  

 

Iron Man Assembles the Illuminati

Leave it to Tony Stark to create a secret society to run the world. After a war between the Kree and the Skrull rocked the Marvel Universe, Tony determined that if the greatest minds of the world got together, they would be able to avert such tragedies in the future. Gathering together Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, Namor and Professor X, was the easy task. Keeping the machinations of the group a secret, that is the challenge. With the ground breaking deal between Sony and Marvel to share Spider-Man, it may only be a matter of time before Fox follows suite and we see these six puppet masters at work.      

 

Hulk Goes Gray

When he was first introduced, the Hulk was gray, but due to some problems with the printing press and colors, he ended up green. After years of green, the Hulk was eventually turned gray again, but his color wasn't the only thing that changed. Hulk became much smarter and able to communicate on a higher level. He maintained all of the brain power of Bruce Banner. We have already seen Bruce gain more control over the Hulk over the course of two films. It may just be a matter of time before he gains full mental capacity...and nothing is more terrifying than an intelligent Hulk.   

 

Hawkeye Starts His Own Avengers Team

Why are all of the heroes in New York? Doesn’t anyone protect the West Coast? Hawkeye answered the call when he gathered a small group of heroes to become the West Coast Avengers. After all, poor Clint Barton is often given the short end of the stick when it comes to being part of a team. He has no super strength, magic hammer or reality warping abilities—but that doesn’t mean he has nothing to offer. It turns out that Hawkeye has amazing leadership skills. If Cap ever falls in battle, he has a solid second in command. 

 

Black Widow Ages Really Well

Natasha Romanov is great at keeping secrets. Very little is known about Black Widow’s past, but it seems that she is much older than she appears. According to Marvel continuity, she has been working as an agent for the Russian government since her childhood…during World War II. You have to wonder...how many things has she had a hand in over the past seven decades?

 

Scarlet Witch Destroys Mutant Kind

After decades of being manipulated by her brother and father, Wanda Maximoff has a mental breakdown. She keeps attempting to use her world altering powers to create a reality in which happiness reigns. Unfortunately, the world is not always a happy place. The X-Men and the Avengers are eventually forced to have a discussion in which they determine it may very well be necessary to kill Scarlet Witch. When they go to confront her, she spirals out of control and whispers the words, “No more mutants.” Though her power does not completely eliminate mutants from the planet, it reduces their numbers from millions to hundreds, completely shifting the balance of power in the Marvel Universe.

 

Quicksilver Explains Why He is a Jerk

One of the questions that had plagued Marvel readers for years was, why is Quicksilver such a jerk? As Peter David pointed out in the pages of X-Factor, it is all about the way he perceives time. The world moves so slowly to him that it is as though everything is at a crawl. There is only so much frustration and irritation a person can take before snapping and that point was about ten seconds after Pietro Maximoff’s powers kicked in.

 

Vision Cries

It is so easy to dismiss Vision as a simple machine. If he gets and arm ripped off in battle it’s no big deal. The arm can be replaced with little trouble. After being a huge help to the Avengers in battle, Vision was officially added to the team. He accepted this new appointment with an expected robotic matter of fact attitude—then took his leave. It was only after he was by himself that readers were given a concept of how advanced his AI is: Vision sheds a single tear of joy for being accepted as one of the team.