This is a continuation of a game that has been running since the mid-1980's, real time. The current game year is 1999. The campaign is heavy on Avengers-mythos and Golden Age-mythos (translation: X-Men-lite).
Background history of the current campaign, as it varies from that of the mainstream Marvel Universe:
A small group of young heroes emerged in the area of Western New York in the mid-1980's, forming a loosely-knit team. For a while, it seemed that the area might become another hub of hero activity, like New York City and Los Angeles, but after a couple of years, things seemed to quiet down in the area and super-powered heroes and villains practically disappeared in the area. After another couple of years, masked heroes started to reappear in the area, and the region was selected as a possible franchise expansion site for the Avengers.
After the events of Secret Wars and Secret Wars II in the late 1980's, a large number of Marvel heroes who were killed were not necessarily brought back. The major examples being Professor Charles Xavier, Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp), and the Fantastic Four. The AEF met a Janet Van Dyne from an alternative time line on one of their missions who asked to accompany the team back to their Earth. She has since taken up the role of the Wasp on her new home world. Reed Richards' patent royalties continued to accumulate in a trust fund set up under the name Fantastic Four Incorporated, administered by Crystal Maximoff, to finance whatever team would eventually become the new Fantastic Four. Crystal's hand-picked team includes herself, Medusa, She Hulk, the second Ms. Marvel, Wyatt Wingfoot, and recent addition Scott Lang (the second Ant Man).
The loss of several major heroes created a marked increase in the number, and stability, of various hero groups across the country, as well as across the world. In addition to the new Fantastic Four, Inc., major super hero teams that are currently active include:
- Alpha Flight (Ontario, Canada)
- The Avengers (five teams: NYC (East), LA (West), Buffalo (North), and two Experimental Franchises: one based in Buffalo, New York, and the other being the Texas Rangers)
- An unauthorized team calling themselves the Great Lakes Avengers
- The Defenders (consisting of a mix of previous associates, this team operates out of two headquarters, one in NY and one in Colorado)
- Excalibur (UK)
- Freedom Force (a government sponsored team of reformed criminals which includes Spiral, Speed Demon, Thin Man, and Avalanche, operating out of Washington, DC)
- Heroes For Hire (a loose affiliation of mostly former solo heroes, led by Iron Fist, based out of New York state)
- New Warriors (relatively recent assortment of young heroes, at least three of which have already been tapped for Avengers membership)
- Invaders (several surviving Golden Age heroes along with several new recruits serving in legacy roles)
- Super Soldiers (Russia)
- X-Force and X-Men (based out of Xavier's School for the Gifted)