The Avengers Were Far Worse Than Loki in One Very Dangerous Way
John Dodge
Loki Iron Man Hawkeye
Loki Iron Man Hawkeye
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was shaken to its core over the course of Loki from Disney+, and all because of a few variants who decided to tamper with the timestream. For as much effort as the Time Variance Authority puts into hunting down those who would disrupt the flow of the Sacred Timeline in the MCU, they have played a much smaller role in the comic book universe. Although the Time-Keepers did eventually step up to reign in Earth's Mightiest Heroes, there was a long period during which the Avengers impacted the timeline more than Loki ever could.
Following one of Hawkeye's abrupt departures from the Avengers, an attempt to use Doctor Doom's time machine coupled with an unfortunate run-in with Kang the Conqueror left the hero spiraling through the timestream until he finally arrived in the 1870s instead of his original destination. Upon his abrupt arrival in Tombstone, Arizona, Hawkeye discovered that Kang had set up his own citadel there, intending to use it as his stronghold to overthrow the era. Thankfully the trio of Thor, Moondragon, and Immortus came to Clint's aid in Avengers #142, by Steve Englehart and George Perez. Not only did they help defeat the time travelling tyrant in the Wild West, but they also did so alongside heroes of the era such as the Two-Gun Kid and Lincoln Slade aka the Phantom Rider. This wouldn't be the last time that Earth's Mightiest Heroes meddled in the affairs of this particular age. It would, however, be the last time that both of those things came to pass without some serious consequences.
1987's West Coast Avengers #17 by Englehart and Al Milgrom set off one of the most shocking storylines that the titular super team would ever live through, and it left a profound impact on several of them for years to come. When the team finally decided to induct Bonita Juarez aka Firebird as their sixth member, they discovered that she was nowhere to be found, although something dark did find them out in the desert. The supervillain known as Dominus, used the same time machine Clint Barton had so many years ago to send this group of heroes hurtling through time to just a few years after when their allies had ended up over a decade prior. After the West Coast Avengers help the heroes of the Wild West fend off a group of their own enemies, the time-displaced team decided to even further back in time to the aggo e of Rama-Tut, one of Kang's most ancient monikers. Iron Man, Wonder Man, Tigra, and Hawkeye are all successful in going back further, but in a startling development Mockingbird is attacked by the Phantom Rider before she can leave.
The Avengers who went back in time flounder through one century after another before finally arriving before Rama-Tut in ancient Egypt. After a series of events, the Avengers gained the interest of Khonsu, the Egyptian Moon God who would eventually find a champion in Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight. With Clint's keen eye for weaponry, he ended up actually designing the weapons Moon Knight would use lifetimes later.
In the meantime, Mockingbird had fallen victim to the Phantom Rider's obsession over her, as well as a potion that stripped her of her memories. In a show of true heroism, Phantom Rider's former partners pursued him, and it would be the Two-Gun Kid who snapped Mockingbird free from the Rider's influence, although she would be the one to end his life without hesitation.
As confounding as these parallel stories across millennia were, even they only formed a portion of the complete story of the Avengers' affairs in meddling with time. The ways in which Earth's Mightiest Heroes impacted the past to permanently affect the future, however indirect or unintentional they may have been, added up to a concerning amount of potential for irreparable damage.
The worst part of all is that Earth's Mightest Heroes have appeared use time-travel and act without seriously considering the result of their actions. It's no wonder then that the Time-Keepers have spent so much of their time and energy trying to keep the Avengers out of the timestream.