In Anticipation of Avengers: Infinity War We Look at 20 of Marvel’s Greatest Heroes!
Over the last 10 years, The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been killing the box office with hit film after hit film. Starting in 2008 with the hit film Iron Man the MCU has broken countless records and introduced cinema’s first interconnected universe. However, it wasn’t until 2012’s Marvel’s Avengers when the floodgates of the MCU had opened. Marvel’s Avengers have become global icons!
Today we are going to look at the 20 of the greatest heroes to ever join the Avengers adventures. For this list, we are looking at the popular heroes in the Avengers franchise. We will be excluding members that are associated with other Marvel teams like the Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D., and X-Men, as well as, excluding duplicates like The Ultimate Spider-Man, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel. But will not exclude sidekicks or characters who go by another name.
In short we are ranking Marvel’s Avengers based on involvement in the MCU, tenure with the team, and overall popularity. We will also highlight key issues in the character’s history and when they join the Avengers. As well as highlighting a few lesser known Avengers that could appear in future MCU projects.
[divider]The 20 Greatest Avengers of All Time![/divider]
Valkyrie Brunnhilde best known as Valkyrie is an Asgardian warrior who made her debut in the Avengers back in 1970. However, it wasn’t until 40 years later that Valkyrie would officially join the team. In her debut, Valkyrie formed a team of female-only heroes to combat male heroes before eventually turning good. She is the leader of the Valkyrior an elite class of Asgardian warriors who protect the fabled Asgard. Valkyrie made her MCU debut in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok portrayed by Tessa Thompson.
Since his debut in May of 1974, Iron Fist had become a popular staple among Marvel’s champions. However, he wouldn’t officially join Earth’s Mightiest heroes until over 30 years after the fact. In fact, he became more popular with smaller Marvel teams like The Defenders. In 2017 Iron fist made his live-action debut in the Netflix original Marvel’s Iron Fist and The Defenders.
Not to be mistaken as an Iron Man knock-off, James Rhodes as War Machine is a dynamic character in the Marvel universe. He originally joined the West Coast Avengers in 1984 as Iron Man becoming one of its founding members. However, as War Machine, Rhodes has been an integral part of several Avengers storylines. Rhodes made his debut in the MCU in 2008’s Iron Man portrayed by Terrance Howard, before being replaced by Don Cheadle in subsequent films.
A woman of many titles, Monica Rambeau has been a powerful force in the Marvel Universe since the early 80s. A lieutenant in the New Orleans harbor patrol, Rambeau got her powers after being exposed to extra-dimensional energy. Her powers include energy absorption, generation, and manipulation. Rambeau started fighting crime under the name Captain Marvel before becoming Photon and currently as Spectrum. She is also the first Black Woman to become the leader of the Avengers. It is unknown whether or not if Monica Rambeau will appear in any future MCU properties, however, it is likely she will be mentioned in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
Janet Van Dyne, better known as the Wasp is often looked at as a second string Avenger. However, Wasp is actually the First Lady of the Avengers appearing in the team’s very first adventure together. The wife of Avenger, Dr. Hank Pym, Wasp abilities mirror that of Pym’s alter ego Ant-Man, with the ability to shrink and grow at will. The Wasp made a brief cameo in 2015’s Ant-Man and will make a full appearance in 2018’s Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Hawkeye has been a beloved fan favorite ever since his debut as an Avenger in 1965. However despite his prominence in Marvel comics, in other media, he’s been relegated to supporting roles. Prior to his appearance in the first Avengers movie, Clint Barton was often looked at as a copy of DC’s Green Arrow. However, the violet archer started gaining popularity after appearing in 2012’s Avengers flick so much so he received his own comic title in 2014. Jeremy Renner will reprise the role of Hawkeye in Infinity War.
Jessica Jones is a fairly new character in Marvel comics only debuting 16 years ago. She gained popularity with her solo series, Alias before officially joining the Avengers 6 years later. Jones, with superhuman strength, is a rather complex character seeing as she debuted as a retired superhero formerly known as Jewel. Krysten Ritter stars as the titular character in the Netflix series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones as well as the tie-in miniseries The Defenders.
Luke Cage was a former convict who gained super-strength and unbreakable skin in experiments conducted on convicts in prison. Upon escaping from prison he became a Hero for Hire, taking on street level threats for money, whereas the average hero doesn’t get paid. Luke Cage has been a cornerstone in Marvel comics since his debut and even headlining his own comic titles. He is frequently paired with the Defenders or with his sidekick Iron Fist. Mike Colter stars as the bullet-proof Cage in Netflix’s Marvel’s Luke Cage and the Defenders miniseries.
The Falcon is the first African-American superhero and the second Black hero in Marvel Comics. Falcon aka Sam Wilson is also significant as he was the first Black superhero not to have the word “black” in his superhero code-name. Wilson took the mantle of Captain America in Captain America (vol.7) #25, at the request of Steve Rogers, and eventually having his own title as the All-New Captain America. Anthony Mackie portrays the Falcon in the MCU and will appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
Doctor Strange has been Marvel’s connection between the spirit world and reality since the early 60s. However, it took almost 50 years for him to become a member of Marvel’s premier team. Doctor Strange has almost omnipotent powers and has been featured in several different Marvel titles. Recently famed actor Benedict Cumberbatch has been portraying the Sorcerer Supreme in Marvel’s Doctor Strange and will join the Avengers in Infinity War.
The robot Ultron is the creator of the Vision, a type of android he calls a “synthezoid”, for use against Ultron’s own creator, Ant-Man. However, the film version differs from this, most notably with Iron Man replacing Ant-Man in the role of the creator and the consciousness of his AI J.A.R.V.I.S. As a matter of fact, not much of his lore has changed other than the aforementioned. Additionally, Vision has played a critical role in Marvel comics as the heart of the team. Paul Bettany debut as the vision in 2015’s Age of Ultron, and will reprise the role in Avengers Infinity War.
Hank Pym aka Ant-Man has been a key member of the Avengers since their first appearance. Pym is regarded as one of Marvel’s brightest minds by creating a super suit that allows him to grow and shrink at will. However, despite his importance, he and his partner the Wasp were excluded from 2012’s Avengers film. As a matter of fact, the Ant-Man made his debut in the 2015 film of the same name. This time it is Scott Lang who wears the mask instead of Pym. Paul Rudd will reprise the role of Ant-Man in Infinity War and will star in 201’s Ant-Man and Wasp.
Originally going under the title of Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers eventually graduated to Captain Marvel. Receiving her powers after being exposed to Kree blood, Danvers, a former U.S. Airforce lieutenant, used her powers to combat evil galactic threats to earth. Upon gaining the title of Captain in her own solo series she passed down her title to a young inhuman named Kamala Khan. 2019’s Captain Marvel is set to be Marvel’s first film to be led by a woman superhero starring Brie Larson as the title role, however, rumor has it she may make a cameo in Infinity War.
Spider-Man has been an integral part of pop culture history since debuting over 50 years ago. Powered by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker went from a science nerd to a masked web-slinger protecting NYC from unsuspecting threats. Moreover, Spidey has been the subject of many properties including several cartoon shows, TV shows, and three stand-alone film franchises. Most recently Spider-Man: Homecoming starring Tom Holland who will reprise this role in Avengers: Infinity War.
The King of Wakanda has become one of the most popular characters in the Marvel franchise in recent years. T’Challa better known as Black Panther is the Warrior King of the fictitious African country Wakanda. A country that is known for possessing a rare indestructible mineral called vibranium, the same mineral that is used in T’Challa’s Black Panther suit. Additionally, Black Panther has been the subject of his own comic series most recently a fantastic run written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, as well as his own animated series airing on BET. Chadwick Boseman will reprise the role as Black Panther in 2018’s Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.
Arguably one of the most popular superheroes of all time, Bruce Banner or The Hulk has been a major staple in pop culture for over 50 years. Often compared to the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the adventures of the Hulk often left messages about balance. The Hulk has appeared in various media, most notably the 1978 series, The Incredible Hulkwhich ran for 5 seasons. Additonally, Mark Ruffalo has been playing the Hulk in the MCU, more recently coheadlining Thor: Ragnarok.
Natasha Romanoff is a former Russian spy better known as Black Widow. Originally starting off as a villain, she eventually became a good guy when she joined the Avengers in 1973. Since her debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2, Black Widow became an instant fan favorite, as a matter of fact, she even got her own comic series in 2014. Scarlet Johansen has been starring as a Black Widow since Iron Man 2 and will reprise her role in Infinity War.
Based on Norse mythology Thor, son of Odin is a far cry from the Thor we know today. As a result of appearing in Marvel comics, Thor became a household name, becoming the subject of several Marvel properties. Additionally, Odinson lost the title of Thor to his long-time love interest Jane Foster in the Original Sin story-arc. Australian actor, Chris Hemsworth has starred as Thor in the Avengers films as well as the Thor trilogy.
A founding member of the Avengers, Tony Stark is best described as a: Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist. As Iron Man, he’s an integral member of the Avengers and one of its founding members. Backed by a super suit and an endless budget, Iron Man has become one of the most recognizable heroes in comic book history. Additionally, Iron Man’s importance to the MCU is critical due to him officially launching the entire universe with a trilogy of acclaimed films. Robert Downey Jr. portrays Tony Stark in the Iron Man trilogy as well as other films.
Dubbed the first Avenger, Captain America is Marvel’s equivalent to Superman. This star-spangled hero has been the face of Marvel comics since the company’s inception. Captain America initially made his debut in 1941, and despite being the face of the Avengers, Steve Rogers didn’t join the team until the series fourth issue. He was ultimately given a retroactive “founding” member role due to his presence prior to the Avengers. Chris Evans portrays Captain America in the Marvel Captain America trilogy along with appearing in other MCU films. In conclusion Steve Rogers is the spirit behind the Avengers!
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