Prince N'Jobu's Treachery and Klaue's Vibranium Smuggling
In the late '80s and early '90s, Wakanda's King T'Chaka began sending his agents out into the world to carefully monitor potential threats. One of these agents was his brother, Prince N'Jobu, but T'Chaka had failed to reckon on N'Jobu's passionate nature. The prince fell in love with an African American woman, and the two had a secret child. Increasingly invested in the outside world, N'Jobu watched with fury as the planet's social system seemed to conspire against black people. He believed Wakanda had a responsibility to intervene, and concluded that Vibranium weapons could be used to arm black insurgencies across the globe.
N'Jobu conspired with the smuggler Ulysses Klaue to smuggle Vibranium out of Wakanda. Wakandan forces captured Klaue, and branded him as a thief; but they failed to appreciate the scale of the threat Klaue posed. In 1991, another near-capture led Klaue to detonate explosives, killing members of Wakanda's Border Tribe. T'Chaka began a personal investigation, and swiftly discovered his brother's treachery.
The confrontation between T'Chaka and N'Jobu turned to tragedy, with N'Jobu actually attacking the king - who killed his brother. Horrified at what he had done, T'Chaka left America, abandoning N'Jobu's son in the United States. Klaue remained Wakanda's most hated enemy, but the smuggler managed to stay under the radar for decades.
Source: Black Panther
The Fate of the Zehoberei
Meanwhile, in the depths of space, Thanos the Mad Titan visited the world of Zen-Whoberi. Thanos had concluded that population growth across the universe risked outstripping the cosmos's natural resources, and had launched an insane campaign to slaughter half the life in the universe. As part of this, he had gathered armies and acolytes to himself, and begun to raze world after world. Thanos had half the population of Zen-Whoberi killed, and claimed one surviving Zehoberei - Gamora - as his "daughter." Although Gamora remained with Thanos for over 20 years, in truth she hated Thanos for what he had done, and would ultimately betray him.
In the wake of Thanos's horrific slaughter, the survivors of the massacre grouped together. Over time, they formed what Thanos viewed as a paradise, a world without want or need. He would cite it as an example of his philosophy, a proof that he was doing the right thing.
Source: Avengers: Infinity War
There's a sense in which the '90s was the decade of the origin story. In the United States, the young Tony Stark inherited his parents' wealth and connections. This was held in trust until he turned 21 in 1992, when Stark became CEO of Stark Industries. He worked closely with his parents' old friend, Obadiah Stane, unaware that Stane was more than willing to do illegal deals with terrorist groups like the Ten Rings. Only a year later, the young Natasha Romanoff was inducted into the Red Room program, which had outlived the fall of the Soviet Union. She remained active as an agent of the Red Room for several years, until she was brought in by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clint Barton. Barton persuaded Romanoff to join S.H.I.E.L.D., and she continued to operate under the codename "Black Widow."
In Hell's Kitchen, nine-year-old Matt Murdock was involved in a toxic waste accident that left him blinded. He was orphaned not long later and wound up at Saint Agnes' Orphanage. There, Matt came to the attention of Stick, a member of the Chaste. Stick swiftly realized that Matt had somehow gained advanced senses, and attempted to train him to become a weapon against the Hand. In the end, Stick realized that Matt was simply too loving to take on this role, and moved on. He'd always remain close to Matt Murdock, though, watching from the shadows and carefully manipulating his life.
In 1998 the young Jessica Jones and her family were involved in a car accident. Dr. Karl Malus used experimental genetic editing to save both Jessica and her mother. The effects on Alisa Jones left her out of control, and she was kept for observation and monitoring. Jessica was sent back to Metro General Hospital, believing herself to be an orphan. She was adopted by the Walker family, and it didn't take Jessica long to learn that she'd somehow gained superhuman strength.
Finally, sometime around this time young Ava Starr was exposed to a burst of quantum energy when one of her father's experiments went catastrophically wrong. Rendered intangible, Ava was approached by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Bill Foster, who took her under his wing. S.H.I.E.L.D. created technology to help Ava control her powers, and trained her as a Combat and Espionage Specialist.
Sources: Ant-Man & the Wasp, Daredevil season 1, Jessica Jones season 2, Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios: The First 10 Years
The Pride Are Formed
In the mid-'80s, the mysterious and charismatic being named Jonah had founded the Cult of the Gibborim. He'd remained heavily involved with the cult through the decades, even becoming the lover of cult leader Leslie Dean. But it wasn't until the late '90s and early 2000s that Jonah advanced his plans. He gathered together a group of allies, who he called his "Pride." These included ex-con Geoffrey Wilder, who became owner of a strange house with secret passageways and chambers.
The Pride didn't gather until 2002, when Jonah manipulated them into conducting a ritual to kill another in order to rejuvenate himself. Most of the Pride were unwilling participants in this murder, not realizing what would happen, but it had been secretly filmed; the footage was used to blackmail them into remaining involved for over a decade of similar ceremonies.
Jonah began manipulating events so members of the Pride gained positions of power and prominence in Los Angeles. His goal was to drill some sort of tunnel into the ground, seeking an unknown mineral. When the Hernandez family discovered unusual properties in geological samples from the dig, Jonah had them killed; he didn't know it, but exposure to the samples had granted their daughter Molly superhuman strength.
Matters would become increasingly tense for the Pride over the next decade, as each family had children of their own to care for. Unknown to her husband Frank, Leslie's daughter Karolina had actually been sired by Jonah, and would grow to share his powers.
Source: Runaways season 1
The Creation of the Hulk
In 2005, the military's continued focus on the super-soldier program led to the creation of the Hulk. General Thaddeus Ross placed immense pressure on his chief scientist, Bruce Banner, who was eager to gain Ross's approval due to his love for his daughter, Betty. Bruce unwisely exposed himself to high levels of Gamma radiation and transformed into the Hulk. Betty was one of the people hospitalized by the Hulk's first rampage.
To Banner's horror, Ross saw the Hulk as a potential weapon. He fled across the Canadian border, becoming one of the world's most wanted men. A year after fleeing the country, Banner made an attempt to reach out to Betty; the message was intercepted by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Seeking to get a read on this mysterious new "enhanced" individual, Nick Fury personally arranged a meeting with Banner, carefully manipulating circumstances so as to trigger a Hulk incident. Fury was less than impressed, concluding that the Hulk was too volatile to become an asset.
Sources: The Incredible Hulk - The Big Picture, The Incredible Hulk: The Fury Files; Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The Incredible Hulk
Page 7: The Age of Heroes
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019