In the Marvel universe, when a super villain comes along that’s just too powerful for any one hero to tackle alone, it’s time to send in The Avengers. Since the 60s, The Avengers team has undergone numerous changes. So many, in fact, that their rotating roster has actually become a trademark of the franchise. But not all Avengers are created equal, and while some might have powers that make them vastly superior in a fight, it takes a lot more than muscles and energy blasts to get recognized on a team that’s the best of the best of the superhero world. So let’s break it down and take a look at who makes the cut for the 50 greatest Avengers of all-time.
50. Black Knight (Dane Whitman)
Though Dane Whitman made his debut in The Avengers #47, it took roughly twenty years before he’d become a core member of the team, appearing in close to 100 issues during the late ’80s and early ’90s. In fact, during The Gatherers storyline, Whitman was the primary focus of a 32-issue arc that centered around his relationship with the Eternal Sersi and other-dimensional villain Proctor.
Unlike his uncle — the former Black Knight and enemy of the Avengers — Whitman remained an ally and member of the Avengers until his departure for Malibu Comics as the leader of the UltraForce in 1995. Whitman has yet to rejoin the Avengers but given his history with the team, it wouldn’t surprise us if he made his return, possibly in the MCU.
Matt Murdock made his debut in Daredevil #1 (April 1964), but didn’t truly earn mainstream respect and popularity until the Devil of Hells Kitchen appeared in Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix (the less said about the 2003 Ben Affleck movie, the better).
Generally, fans of Daredevil associate him with the Defenders but after accepting an invitation from Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, Murdock joined the New Avengers, joining the series for 18 issues, which ran from the fall of 2011 to the winter of 2013.
48. Iron Fist
Making his debut in Marvel Premiere #15 (May 1974), Danny Rand is a master of martial arts and was entrusted with the mystical force known as the Iron Fist, allowing him to focus and channel his of chi.
Following the aftermath of Civil War, Iron Fist joined the New Avengers at the request his long-time friend, Luke Cage. Iron Fist eventually left the team for personal reasons but remained on-call when ready. During the Secret Invasion storyline, Iron Fist once again joined the Avengers in their fight against the Skrulls.
47. Human Torch
First appearing in 1939, the Human Torch was later reintroduced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1961 as a member of the Fantastic Four. In 2015, Johnny joined Captain America’s newly formed Avengers Unity Squad, depicted in the ongoing Uncanny Avengers series.
During the events of Secret Invasion, Johnny and his sister Sue Storm joined forces with the Secret Avengers, a black-ops version of the Avengers led by Steve Rogers.
Inspired by a Greek god of the same name, Ares was initially introduced as a villain in Thor (vol. 1) #129 (1966), appearing in countless issues of Thor and The Avengers spanning over a 30-year period. However, in 2006 Ares was rewritten as more of an anti-hero, which inevitably led to him joining forces with the Avengers for the first time.
Following the events of Civil War, Ares joined the Mighty Avengers and played a pivotal role in defeating Ultron. He was also largely responsible for bringing down Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers, which unfortunately led to his death.
Although she made her first appearance back in 1973 in The Avengers #112, Mantis really didn’t become a household name until she was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, played by Pom Klementieff. Although she was never formally named an Avenger during Infinity War, given her involvement, I think it’s safe to say she’s earned her keep.
Over the years, Mantis been a member of both the Avengers and West Coast Avengers, taking part in various missions and battles, although even we’ll admit that her storyline became a little dry.
Making her debut in The Avenger #83 (December 1970), Valkyrie found her way as a member of the Defenders. In 2010 Valkyrie became a founding member of the Secret Avengers, a black-ops version of the Avengers. While she is nowhere near as powerful as Thor, Valkyrie is without a doubt one of the most dangerous warriors the Avengers have ever had.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s portrayal Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, is excellent, we only wish she would’ve been included in Avengers: Infinity War.
43. Captain Britain
Making his debut in Captain Britain #1 (October 1976) Brian Braddock became Captain Britain after receiving the Amulet of Right from Merlyn. Although it took him time to get used to the idea of being a superhero and new leader of the Captain Britain Corps, Braddock eventually embraced his new responsibilities.
After attending a meeting with Steve Rogers and MI13, Captain Britain was asked to join the Avengers and he agreed. Years later, Braddock also joined the Secret Avengers but like the first time around, Captain Britain had to leave in order to fight off the Descendants, a race of human-like robots.
Ororo Munroe, or Storm as she’s most commonly known, was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and debuted in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 (May 1975).
During a period of time when the Avengers were shorthanded and looking for some new recruits, Black Panther recommend his wife and longtime member of the X-men, to which Storm accepted. She officially joined the team in Avengers Vol. 4 #19, taking part in various missions before leaving the team during the Avengers vs. X Men storyline, deciding to fight alongside her fellow mutants. With Storm and Black Panther now on opposite sides of the coin, their marriage began to fall apart, which led to the two getting a divorce at the end of the Avenger vs. X-Men series.
41. Invisible Woman
Sue Storm made her debut in Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961) and though she’s most commonly associated with the Fantastic Four, Sue has been a member of the Avengers on numerous occasions. When her son Franklin was captured, the Avengers helped Reed and Sue rescue him. With the Avengers short staffed and filled with gratitude, Sue and Reed remained with the team for numerous missions before once again returning to the Fantastic Four.
Though Sue is often seen as a compassionate and kind individual, when angered, she is easily the strongest member of the Fantastic Four.
Initially introduced in Uncanny X-Men No. 54 (March 1969), Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok is most commonly associated with the X-Men and X-Force, but during the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men, Havok surprisingly chose to side with the Avengers rather than his former X-Men teammates and more importantly, his brother Cyclops.
In 2012 Marvel introduced the Uncanny Avengers, a newly formed team that Captain America wanted Havok to lead. Although he had his doubts, Summers accepted the position, leading the Uncanny Avengers on countless missions, proving himself to be a worthy and valued Avenger.
After gaining the power of a million exploding suns from drinking an unknown glowing serum, Robert Reynolds was transformed into Sentry – Marvel’s blonde-haired version of Superman, only with a lot more emotional baggage. First appearing in The Sentry #1 (September 2000), Sentry eventually made a name for himself as a member of the New Avengers and later The Mighty Avengers.
Due to his unimaginable strength, Sentry has been a person of interest of Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. since his creation, fearing that under the wrong circumstances, Sentry could unleash a level of destruction similar to that of Scarlet Witch.
Making his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15, Shang-Chi is one of the greatest martial artists on the planet, often referred to as the ‘Mast of Kung Fu.’ Shang-Chi also happens to be an expert with various weapons from the nunchaku to the jian. On top of that, after being exposed to a cosmic radiation, Shang-Chi gained the ability to replicate into countless versions of himself. Following the successful takedown of his father with the help of Captain America, Shang-Chi vowed that he’d assist the team whenever needed,
Over the years Shang-Chi joined the Avengers on countless missions because he felt it would only make him a stronger version of himself.
37. U.S. Agent
First introduced as the supervillain Super-Patriot in Captain America #323 (November 1986), John Walker was initially intended to be a rival of Captain America, but issue #333 Walker had been reintroduced as the new Captain America, temporarily replacing Steve Rogers while he took a break. Though he looked similar to Rogers, Walker was a much darker individual, a quality that often led to friction among his fellow teammates.
As luck would have it, by Captain America #354 Walker underwent another overhaul, given a much edger new suit and the name, U.S. Agent. Soon after, Walker was added to the West Coast Avengers, although he was only there to keep an eye on the team and report back to the government.
Barbara Morse was first introduced in Astonishing Tales #6 (June 1971) as a highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and sidekick of Ka-Zar, although it wasn’t until her involvement in the Marvel Team Up series that Morse began using the Mockingbird alias. Morse has no real superpowers but like Hawkeye, her extensive training in both hand-to-hand combat and weaponry made her a valuable member of the Avengers.
During the formation of West Coast Avengers, several Avengers including Mockingbird left to join the new squad, but she left to join the new team because of her complicated relationship with Hawkeye.
35. Jessica Jones
Much like the other Defenders, Jessica Jones’ popularity has grown significantly since the release of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. First introduced in Alias #1 in 2001, Jones went from being a private investigator to joining the New Avengers, appearing as a regular character from start to finish.
While a member of the New Avengers, Jessica gave birth to a child, whom her and Luke Cage named Danielle. Although she was forced to take a leave of absence, Jones remained a core member of the series, a storyline Marvel would have avoided in the past.
Roberto “Bobby” da Costa a.k.a. Sunspot is most commonly associated with the X-Men and X-Force, but he was also featured as a member of the Avengers during its relaunch in 2012. Following the devastating events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Captain America asked Sunspot to join the Avengers, which he happily accepted.
After disbanding a villainous company known as the Advanced Idea Mechanics, Sunspot re-branded the organization the Avengers Idea Mechanics and hired numerous superheroes, most notably Hawkeye, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, and White Tiger.
33. Mister Fantastic
Well known as the founder of The Fantastic Four, Reed Richards made his debut in the fall of 1961 in The Fantastic Four #1. Over the years, Reed has spent time as a member of the Defenders, Illuminati Future Foundation, Avengers and of course, the Fantastic Four.
Shortly after Sue and Reed’s retirement from The Fantastic Four, their son Franklin was captured during a demonic invasion. In an effort to save him, Reed and his wife teamed up with the Avengers but the union was short-lived, with the couple leaving after only a few missions and returning to the Fantastic Four. Although Reed’s inability to follow Captain America’s lead was the primary reason for his and Sue’s departure, both sides remained friendly and often called upon each other when needed.
Considering Namor made his debut in 1939, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Sub-Mariner on our list of the greatest Avengers of all time. As one of Marvel’s oldest heroes, Namor has been associated with both the Avengers and New Avengers over the years, though his primary loyalty will always be to Atlantis.
Namor the Sub-Mariner is responsible for locating a frozen Captain America, although out of jealousy, Namor tossed him in the ocean rather than altering the Avengers. Despite that, Captain America was found and Namor was eventually asked to join the Avengers but declined, only to join later.
31. Moon Knight
Much like Batman, Moon Knight has a tendency to be overly violent and prefers to work alone, making his allegiance to the Avengers slightly surprising. Given the sheer power of his abilities, expensive gadgets, and his extensive training, Moon Knight made an ideal candidate for the Avengers.
Following the cancellation of his ten-issue maxi-series, Moon Knight was added to the Secret Avengers storyline. At the request of Captain America, Moon Knight joined the newly formed Secret Avengers, consisting of Steve Rogers, War Machine, Valkyrie, Beast, Nova, and Ant-Man.
30. Red Hulk
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, a.k.a. Red Hulk, made his debut in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962), and although he started off as an enemy, Captain America felt there was still good in him and requested that he join the Avengers, which he accepted. Interestingly enough, General Ross didn’t become the Red Hulk until 2008, and the origin of his transformation wasn’t revealed until several issues later.
It might seem strange to see the Red Hulk on a list discussing the greatest Avengers, but when you consider that he can reach greater strengths than Hulk, besting him and other Avengers on several occasions, it can’t hurt to have another superpowered ‘hulk’ on the team. Unlike Bruce, when General Ross transforms he maintains his brilliant mind, making him the perfect combination of brains and brawn.
Monica Rambeau has gone by various aliases over the years but as of 2013, Rambeau was reintroduced as Spectrum in the Mighty Avengers storyline. Rambeau gained her abilities after being exposed to extra-dimensional energy, allowing her to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum. She joined the Avengers in an effort to better understand her abilities and even replaced Wasp as the team leader.
Rambeau was originally created by Roger Stern and John Romita Jr. and made her official debut under the alias of Captain Marvel in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (1982). She later appeared under the code names Photon in Avengers Unplugged #5 (1996) and Pulsar in New Thunderbolts #9 (2005).
28. Wendell Vaughn (Quasar)
Introduced in Incredible Hulk #234, Wendell Vaughn was once a run-of-the-mill S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, but he became Quasar after putting on the Quantum Bands. He was appointed Protector of the Universe by Eon, a cosmic entity, and creator of the Quantum Bands. As a long time fan of the Avengers, when Captain America personally invited Vaughn to join the team he was honored; unfortunately, his duties as the Protector of the Universe would limit his involvement.
With the ability to tap into the Quantum Zone, Quasar is capable of controlling all forms of energy and use it to create force fields, armor and weapons, similar to DC’s Green Lantern. The bands also allow Vaughn to fly, teleport into the Quantum Zone, and communicate via radio wave.
27. The Thing
Most commonly associated as the hot-headed muscle of the Fantastic Four, The Thing has fought alongside the Avengers on numerous occasions, most notably during the Avengers vs X-Men saga and as a member of Luke Cage’s New Avengers. Benjamin Grimm made his debut in Fantastic Four #1 (November 1961).
Fun fact, during The Thing’s time as an Avenger, he and Edward Jarvis regularly held poker games, which were often attended by the likes of Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Beast and Nick Fury. Something tells me Doctor Strange would have the edge.
Venom might not have wanted to join the Avengers initially, but when faced with giving up the symbiote or joining the team, Flash Thompson did what he had to do. His addiction to the symbiote superseded all, making him one of the biggest wildcards ever granted membership to the Avengers, but Captain America felt he was redeemable.
Following the events of the Superior Spider-Man series, Venom was considered a valuable and trust member by his Avengers, although it was later discovered that Flash had been lying about his uncontrollable addiction to the symbiote’s power all along.
25. Doctor Strange
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Doctor Strange made his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 (July 1963) as a once gifted surgeon whose hands were damaged in a horrible car accident. In his search for help, Strange found a temple in which he met the Ancient One, who not only healed him but chose Strange to become the next Master of the Mystic Arts and Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.
After the end of the Civil War arc, Doctor Strange joined the New Avengers and remained with them for a few missions before leaving in fear that he had been using too much dark energy. Although, in true comic book fashion, Strange has returned to support the team on various occasions. In the early days, before the House of M and Civil War, Strange acted as a special adviser to Avengers and along with fighting alongside them from time-to-time, much like in the MCU.
24. Wonder Man (Simon Williams)
Wonder Man might be a controversial pick, but we felt as a founding member of the West Coast Avengers he was more than worthy of inclusion. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964, Simon Williams made his debut as a villain of Tony Stark, but after being reborn, Wonder Man swapped sides and joined the Avengers. He also became quite good friends with both Beast and Vision.
Wonder Man became one of the strongest superheroes in the Marvel universe after Baron Zemo turned him into a being of pure ionic energy. The transformation gave Williams a similar strength to that of Sentry, along with the ability to move and react at high speeds. In addition, as a result of his ionic body, Williams’ is incapable of fatigue and has superhuman senses.
For some, Hercules might be nothing more than the son of Zeus, but when it comes to Marvel lore, he is without question one of the strongest Avengers of all-time. Hercules was first introduced to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes after he was mesmerized and sent to attack the team by the Enchantress, but after Hawkeye successfully snapping him out of the trance, Hercules joined the team and the rest is history.
Though Hercules agreed to join the team, he returned to Olympus at the request of his father and stayed for some time before eventually returning to Earth and rejoining the Avengers in their fight against Korvac.
22. Luke Cage
Well known for his affiliation with the Defenders, Luke Cage, also known as Power Man, has been a pivotal member of the New Avengers since his addition in 2005. Since then, Cage has been featured in numerous Avengers storylines, but it’s his time with the New Avengers that solidified his spot on our list of the greatest Avengers of all-time.
Luke Cage also spearheaded the Thunderbolts, a team consisting primarily of reformed supervillains that filled in for the Avengers following the devastating events of the Onslaught crossover.
21. Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier)
First introduced as Captain America’s sidekick in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941), Bucky Barnes has spent time both leading and opposing the Avengers. Believed to be dead following World War II, it was later revealed that Barnes was captured and brainwashed by the Soviets.
Following Captain America’s departure from the Avengers, Bucky took over the mantle of Captain America. When Cap returned years later, Bucky went back to being the Winter Soldier, and although he would leave from time-to-time, Bucky remained a valuable and trusted member of the Avengers.
20. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Though she was only created to avoid someone else trademarking the name, Spider-Woman a.k.a. Jessica Drew became so much more than that. First appearing in Marvel Spotlight #32 (February 1977), Spider-Woman spent the majority of her early years being brainwashed and experimented on by H.Y.D.R.A. After being ordered to kill Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Jessica realized that she was fighting for the wrong side and fled.
Following her departure from H.Y.D.R.A. Spider-Woman became a private investigator, bounty hunter and eventually, a member of the New Avengers. In what was a surprise twist during the Secret Invasion storyline, it was discovered that Skrull Queen Veranke had been impersonating Jessica from her first day with the New Avengers.
19. War Machine
Created by David Michelinie and John Byrne, James Rhodes made his debut in Iron Man #118 (January 1979), although it wasn’t until 1983 that Rhodes would get his day in the sun. With Tony Stark struggling with alcoholism, Rhodes temporarily became Iron Man. In fact, he did such an outstanding job, Hawkeye was stunned to learn that Rhodes had taken over. As a result of his dedication, Rhodes was granted membership with the Avengers.
After the apparent death of Tony Stark, Rhodes inherited Stark Enterprises, which led to the construction of the iconic War Machine armor. When Tony returned, Rhodes lost control of the company but kept the suit, continuing to fight alongside the Avengers. Years later, Rhodes joined the Secret Avengers, led by Captain America.
Making their first appearance in X-Men #4 (March 1964), Quicksilver and twin sister Scarlet Witch were initially intended to be antagonists, but by 1965 the two had become regular members of the Avengers, taking refuge with the team following their departure from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Born Pietro Maximoff, Quicksilver’s superhuman speed and reaction time made for the perfect addition to the Avengers lineup.
Much like Hawkeye, Pietro was difficult to work with, often rebelling and leaving the Avengers from time-to-time, but Captain America eventually molded him into one of the Avengers’ greatest members.
Born in Harlem, New York City, Samuel Thomas Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, made his first appearance in Captain America #117 (1969). Although he started as somewhat of a sidekick, Sam Wilson has proven himself to be a worthy Avenger in his own right. Following Steve Rogers’ retirement, Falcon was named the new leader of the Avengers and newest Captain America. His iconic jet-powered wings were a gift from on-again-off-again Avenger, Black Panther.
Although the MCU has made no mention of it (thus far), in the comics Sam Wilson and his pet falcon Redwing are telepathically linked, after a run-in with Red Skull and the Cosmic Cube. As a result, Wilson has the capability to see through the eyes of nearby birds and even control them, although his bond with Redwing is much stronger.
A cousin of Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk was created by David Anthony Kraft and Mike Vosburg and made her first appearance in Savage She-Hulk #1 (February 1980). After receiving a life-saving blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce, the gamma radiation flowing through his blood permanently altered Jennifer’s DNA, transforming her into She-Hulk. Unlike Bruce, Walters retains her mind when she transforms and can even control her emotional state, which explains why she eventually abandoned her identity, remaining in her ‘Hulk’ form permanently.
She-Hulk officially became a member of the Avengers in 1982 and while she isn’t as strong as Hulk, she’s received extensive combat training from both Gamora and Captain America, making her one of the most skilled and powerful members the Avengers have ever had.
Most commonly associated with the X-Men, Beast a.k.a. Hank McCoy has actually spent a significant amount of time as a member of the Avengers. After graduating from Xavier Institute, McCoy spent the majority of his time fighting alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and hanging out with best friend and fellow Avenger, Wonder Man.
Believe it or not, Beast was initially added to the Avengers because writers enjoyed the character so much. They felt McCoy’s humor and down-to-earth nature complemented the strong personalities of Avengers like Thor and Captain America.
14. Scarlet Witch
After years of opposing the Avengers as members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Scarlet Witch a.k.a Wanda Maximoff and her brother Quicksilver joined the Avengers in an effort to help put an end to their father’s (Magento) terror.
While adding Wanda might be considered odd given the events of the Avengers Disassembled series, she’s a long-serving member of the team and was once married to fellow Avenger, Vision. Not to mention the time she revived Wonder Man, Quicksilver, and Hawkeye, among others, from the dead.
Hulk made his first appearance in The Incredible Hulk #1 back in 1962 and a year later became one of the founding members of the Avengers. In true Hulk fashion, he left the team after only a few issues, fearing that he’d never be trusted.
Hulk later rejoined the Avengers at the request of Captain America during the Avengers vs X-Men series.
Interesting enough, the only reason the Avengers even formed was that Hulk went on a rampage and a team of superheroes was needed just to stop him. When it was discovered that Loki was responsible, Hulk joined the Avengers and the rest is history.
12. Black Widow
Former Russian spy turned S.H.E.I.L.D. agent Natasha Romanova, a.k.a. Black Widow, made her first appearance in Tales of Suspense #52 in April 1964. Although her affiliation with the Avengers was off and on in the comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has pinned her as a key member of the Avengers, elevating her status among fans over the past decade.
Despite not having superpowers, Natasha is an Olympic-level athlete, an expert in martial arts and capable of handling any weapon. She was also bio technologically enhanced, making her immune to effects of aging or disease, which explains her abnormally long and fresh-faced lifespan.
In addition to his affiliation with the X-Men, Wolverine’s connection to the Avengers is well known, appearing as a central member of the team in the Civil War, Secret Invasion, Seige, and Age of Ultron comic series. He was also played a pivotal role in the Avengers vs X-Men series, making the decision to turn his back on Cyclops and the X-Men, and side with the Avengers’ plan to detain Hope Summers in order to prevent the Pheonix Force from making her it’s host.
Initially, Wolverine joining the Avengers caused quite the stir among fans, who believed the overexposure would tarnish the character. However, having read a majority of the series mentioned above, we’d say Marvel made the right call.
Tony Stark once said the only reason Wolverine agreed to join the team was that he was paid (handsomely), but deep down he knew the Avengers needed a member willing to do what none of the others were.
10. Black Panther
Black Panther made his mark as the first black superhero in mainstream American comics when he first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966. T’Challa, as he is known out of costume, is the king and protector of the technologically advanced (and fictional) African nation of Wakanda. In addition to being one of the richest people in the Marvel universe, he is a hero of incredible power, morality, and integrity — basically Batman with a crown instead of a corporation. However, when it comes to choosing between his duties as an Avenger and his responsibilities to the people of Wakanda, his loyalties are divided. This point is often made evident by his frequent disappearance and reappearance on the Avengers lineup.
For a long time, there seemed to be an unspoken precedent at Marvel that Spider-Man would always remain a solo hero. Although he’s temporarily teamed up with other heroes in the past, it wasn’t until 2005, that he finally found a full-time spot with The Avengers (see Brian Michael Bendis’ The New Avengers). Once he was on the squad, Spidey’s playful nature and quick wit seemed like the perfect addition to a team that’s often full of more serious-natured and less fun-loving superheroes.
8. Hank Pym
Whether you know him best as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, or Yellow-Jacket, Hank Pym has certainly undergone a number of transformations since his induction to The Avengers, both physically and mentally. But despite his habit of constantly changing costumes and dispositions, he’s an absolutely integral part of the franchise. Not only has he been with the team since its inception, he also married Wasp (a mainstay Avenger), and even created one of The Avengers most powerful and enduring villains — Ultron.
7. Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel
First introduced as an Air Force fighter pilot, Carol Danvers received incredible powers after an explosion fused alien Kree DNA with her own. As Ms. Marvel, and later Captain Marvel, Danvers has a plethora of abilities. For starters, she has flight, superhuman strength, stamina, and durability, and, as if that weren’t enough, she can also fire explosive blasts from her fingertips, survive naked in space, and has a perfectly balanced human/Kree physiology that makes her pretty much immune to all poisons and toxins. Ya, she’s about as mighty as an Avenger can get, and that’s including the likes of Thor and The Hulk.
Possessing the power to shrink down to a tiny size and fly around with her little bug wings, it’s easy to see why Wasp probably remains the most underrated Avenger ever. But make no mistake, Janet Van Dyne is the heart and soul of the Avengers. As a founding member and long-time leader, she commanded the team through some of their most difficult times and, in doing so, earned the respect of some of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe. In fact, writers at Marvel comics have said that if the Avengers were to rank themselves, they’d likely place Wasp at #1.
Now, you might ask yourself — how does a dude with no real superpowers end up as an essential member on the most superpowered team of superheroes around? Well, first of all, he can shoot arrows really, really well. But, most importantly, Hawkeye’s reputation as a “regular guy” helps keep The Avengers grounded in reality by reminding us that you don’t necessarily need to have access to special powers or secret technology to become a true hero.
4. The Vision
Designed by Ultron, The Vision was originally conceived to destroy The Avengers, but quickly changed sides and is now one of their most respected members. Like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Vision was always painfully aware that he was an artificial being, and, as such, often struggled with his human identity. Since his android brain was based on the brain of Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man), he questioned his uniqueness and often wondered if he was truly an individual, or just a copy of someone else. In addition, because he was one of Ultron’s creations, The Vision dealt with a lot of skeptics and had an uphill battle when it came to earning the trust of his teammates. But, after proving himself time and again, he eventually became the team’s anchor and even won the heart of Scarlet Witch — a relationship that remains a defining point in The Avengers history.
3. Iron Man
If anyone’s essential to The Avengers, it’s Tony Stark. He’s a founding member both in the comics and on screen, and his enormous wealth funds the team. But, aside from his financial resources, Iron Man is a technical genius and heavy hitter on the battlefield. It’s his complexity as a character that’s been at the core of some of the most acclaimed stories in the franchise. Sure, he’s a billionaire playboy that seems to have (or make) everything he wants, but he’s also deeply flawed and often struggles with personal issues like alcoholism, hubris, and the need to be in control.
2. Captain America
Although technically not a founding member, Captain America has come to symbolize everything The Avengers embody. He’s the one bona fide leader that everyone rallies behind and his unwavering moral compass has led him to take more hard stands on tough issues than any other hero. Even though he doesn’t have any real powers, other than the increased strength, endurance, and reflexes given by the Super-Soldier Serum, his mere presence seems to elevate the abilities of those who fight alongside him.
When it comes to mighty superheroes, there’s just no beating the god of thunder. Not only can he go toe-to-toe with The Hulk in a slugfest, but, thanks largely to his magical hammer, he’s a got a laundry list of powers that make him one of the most powerful characters ever conceived in any universe — let alone Marvel’s. Aside from his obvious powers of flight, super strength, stamina and durability, Thor has ultra keen senses that let him hear cries on the other side of the world or track objects moving faster than light. He has the ability travel through time and space and can even cross between dimensions. He can control weather like wind, snow, rain and, of course, lightning –which he often uses to blast his foes to oblivion. He also has immunity to diseases and is magic resistant but, even if something does manage to hurt him, which is against all odds, he has the ability to regenerate his body, including limbs and organs! But despite his godly status and authoritative nature, Thor still has a way of making everyone around him feel accepted and worthy of his companionship.