In the Marvel Universe, when a supervillain 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 that their rotating roster has become a trademark of the team. But not all Avengers are created equal. 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 filled with the elite of the superhero world.
So who is the greatest Avengers character? From Iron Man to Captain Britain, here is our list of 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 20 years before he’d become a core member of the team. In fact, he appears in close to 100 issues during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Plus, Whitman serves as the primary focus of a 32-issue arc that centers around his relationship with the Eternal Sersi and other-dimensional baddie Proctor.
Unlike his uncle — the former Black Knight and enemy of the Avengers — Whitman remains 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. Especially considering Kit Harrington will play him in the upcoming Eternals movie.
Matt Murdock made his debut in Daredevil #1. However, Murdock didn’t truly earn mainstream respect and popularity until starring 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 he did join the Avengers for a brief time. After accepting an invitation from Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, Daredevil joins the New Avengers. He stays with the team 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, Danny Rand is a master of martial arts. Entrusted with the mystical force known as the Iron Fist, Rand can focus and channel his chi to use as a weapon.
Following the aftermath of Civil War, Iron Fist joined the New Avengers at the request of his long-time friend, Luke Cage. Iron Fist eventually left the team for personal reasons but remained on-call when ready. During Secret Invasion, Iron Fist once again joined the Avengers in their fight against the Skrulls.
47. Human Torch
As a founding member of the Fantastic Four, Johnny Storm received his powers after being bombarded by cosmic rays. These rays allowed Johnny to cover his entire body in flames. Although Johnny usually sticks with the Fantastic Four, he has joined the Avengers on multiple occasions.
During the events of Secret Invasion, Johnny and his sister Sue Storm join forces with the Secret Avengers, a black-ops version of the Avengers led by Steve Rogers. In 2015, Johnny joins Captain America’s newly formed Avengers Unity Squad. Their exploits are depicted in the Uncanny Avengers series.
Inspired by a Greek god of the same name, Ares was initially introduced as an antagonist in Thor #129. However, in 2006, Ares became more of an anti-hero, which inevitably led to him joining forces with the Avengers.
Following the events of Civil War, Ares joins the Mighty Avengers. In addition to playing a pivotal role in Ultron’s defeat, Ares is largely responsible for bringing down Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. Unfortunately, that leads to his death.
In 1973, Mantis made her first appearance back in The Avengers #112. However, she didn’t become a household name until she was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Over the years, Mantis has been a member of both the Avengers and West Coast Avengers.
Making her debut in The Avenger #83, Valkyrie found her way as a member of the Defenders.
In 2010, Valkyrie became a founding member of the Secret Avengers. While she is nowhere near as powerful as Thor, Valkyrie is without a doubt one of the most dangerous warriors to ever join the Avengers.
43. Captain Britain
Making his debut in Captain Britain #1, 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 leader of the Captain Britain Corps, Braddock eventually embraced his new responsibilities.
After attending a meeting with Steve Rogers and MI13, Captain Britain joined the Avengers. Years later, Braddock would join the Secret Avengers. However, like the first time around, Captain Britain had to leave to fight off the Descendants, a race of human-like robots.
While Storm may be known for long tenure on the X-Men, she joined the Avengers on one occasion.
During a period when the Avengers were shorthanded and looking for some recruits, Black Panther recommended Storm. She officially joined the team in Avengers Vol. 4 #19.
Storm took part in various missions before leaving the team during Avengers vs. X Men. 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. This led to the two getting a divorce after Avenger vs. X-Men.
41. Invisible Woman
Sue Storm made her debut in Fantastic Four #1. While 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.
Initially introduced in Uncanny X-Men #54, Havok is most commonly associated with the X-Men and X-Force. But during the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Havok surprisingly sides 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, Havok accepted the position. He would lead 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. Sentry is Marvel’s blonde-haired version of Superman, only with a lot more emotional baggage. First appearing in The Sentry #1, 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 for the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. since his creation. They fear that under the wrong circumstances, Sentry could unleash a level of destruction similar to that of Scarlet Witch.
Often referred to as the “Master of Kung Fu”,Shang-Chi is one of the greatest martial artists on the planet. In addition to being an elite martial artist, Shang-Chi happens to be an expert with various weapons from the nunchaku to the Jian. On top of all that, Shang-Chi gains the ability to replicate into countless versions of himself after being exposed to cosmic radiation.
Following the successful takedown of his father with the help of Captain America, Shang-Chi vows to assist the Avengers whenever needed. Over the years, Shang-Chi joins the Avengers on countless missions because he feels it will only make him stronger.
37. U.S. Agent
First introduced as the super bad Super-Patriot in Captain America #323, John Walker was initially intended to be a rival of Captain America. However, in issue 333, Walker was 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. He was given a much darker design and a new name in U.S. Agent. Soon after, Walker was added to the West Coast Avengers. However, 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 as a highly trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and sidekick of Ka-Zar. However, it wasn’t until her involvement in the Marvel Team-Up series that Morse began using the Mockingbird alias. While Morse has no real superpowers, 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. Unfortunately, she would leave 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, Jones went from being a private investigator to joining the New Avengers.
While a member of the New Avengers, Jessica and Luke Cage had a child together. Although she was forced to take a leave of absence, Jones remained a core member of the series.
While Sunspot is most commonly associated with the X-Men and X-Force, he was a prominent 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 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. To save him, Reed and his wife teamed up with the Avengers. The union was short-lived as the couple left after only a few missions. 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.
However, Namor’s primary loyalty is to Atlantis. That’s why he currently opposes the Avengers with the Defenders of the Deep.
31. Moon Knight
Much like Batman, Moon Knight tends to be overly violent and prefers to work alone. This makes his allegiance to the Avengers slightly surprising. However, given the sheer power of his abilities, expensive gadgets, and extensive training, Moon Knight is an ideal candidate for the Avengers.
At the request of Captain America, Moon Knight joined the Secret Avengers. This team consisted 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. Although he started as an enemy, Captain America felt there was still good in him and requested that he join the Avengers. Interestingly enough, General Ross didn’t become the Red Hulk until 2008.
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 Banner, when General Ross transforms, he maintains his brilliant mind. Thus, making him the perfect combination of brains and brawn.
Monica Rambeau has gone by various aliases over the years. First, as Captain Marvel when she made her debut in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16. She later appeared under the code names Photon in Avengers Unplugged #5 and Pulsar in New Thunderbolts #9. For this list, we’re highlighting Rambeau’s current alias as Spectrum.
Spectrum gained her abilities after being exposed to extra-dimensional energy. This allowed her to manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum. She joined the Avengers to better understand her abilities and even replaced Wasp as the team leader.
28. Quasar (Wendell Vaughn)
Introduced in Incredible Hulk #234, Wendell Vaughn was once a run-of-the-mill S.H.I.E.L.D. agent before putting on the Quantum Bands. However, he would be appointed Protector of the Universe by Eon, a cosmic entity and creator of the Quantum Bands.
With the ability to tap into the Quantum Zone, Quasar is capable of controlling all forms of energy. Similar to DC’s Green Lantern, he can use energy to create force fields, armor, and weapons. The bands also allow Vaughn to fly, teleport into the Quantum Zone, and communicate via radio waves.
As a long time fan of the Avengers, Quasar was honored when Captain America personally invited him to join. As part of the team, he would go onto fight with them in the Kree/Shi’ar War. Unfortunately, Quasar’s duties as the Protector of the Universe would limit his involvement thereafter.
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 Avengers vs. X-Men and as a member of Luke Cage’s New Avengers.
During The Thing’s time as an Avenger, he and Edwin Jarvis regularly held poker games. These were often attended by the likes of Wolverine, Doctor Strange, Beast and Nick Fury.
26. Agent Venom
Agent 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 trusted member of the 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
Doctor Strange made his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 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. Not only did the Ancient One heal Stange but chose him to become the next Sorcerer Supreme of Earth.
In the early days, Doctor Strange acted as a special adviser to Avengers. He would as fight alongside them from time-to-time, much like in the MCU.
After the end of Civil War, Strange joined the New Avengers. He would remain 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.
24. Wonder Man (Simon Williams)
Wonder Man might be a controversial pick. But as a founding member of the West Coast Avengers, he was more than worthy of inclusion.
Simon Williams made his debut as an antagonist of Tony Stark. However, after being reborn, Wonder Man swapped sides and joined the Avengers. He also became quite good friends with both Beast and Vision.
Wonder Man got a major upgrade thanks to Baron Zemo turning 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. Plus, 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 being forced to attack the team by the Enchantress. After Hawkeye successfully snapped him out of the trance, Hercules joined the team and the rest is history.
22. Luke Cage
Well known for his affiliation with the Defenders, Luke Cage has been a pivotal member of the New Avengers since his addition in 2005. Since then, Cage has been featured in numerous Avengers storylines.
Luke Cage also spearheaded the Thunderbolts, a team consisting primarily of reformed bad guys that filled in for the Avengers following the devastating events of the Onslaught crossover.
21. Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes)
First introduced as Captain America’s sidekick in Captain America Comics #1, Bucky Barnes has spent time both leading and opposing the Avengers.
Following Steve Rogers’ departure from the Avengers, Bucky took over the mantle of Captain America. When Rogers returned years later, Bucky went back to being the Winter Soldier. Although he would leave from time-to-time, Bucky remained a valuable and trusted member of the Avengers.
20. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew)
Although she was only created to avoid someone else trademarking the Spider-Woman name, Jessica Drew has become so much more than that. First appearing in Marvel Spotlight #32, 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 Secret Invasion, it was discovered that Skrull Queen Veranke had been impersonating Jessica from her first day with the New Avengers.
19. War Machine
While James Rhodes made his debut in Iron Man #118, it wasn’t until 1983 that he would get his day in the sun. With Tony Stark struggling with alcoholism, Rhodes temporarily became Iron Man. Rhodes did such an outstanding job that he was granted membership with the Avengers.
After the apparent death of Tony Stark, Rhodes inherited Stark Enterprises. This 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.
Making their first appearance in X-Men #4, Quicksilver and twin sister Scarlet Witch were initially intended to be antagonists. However, 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. However, Pietro was difficult to work with, often rebelling and leaving the Avengers from time-to-time.
Born in Harlem, Samuel Thomas Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, made his first appearance in Captain America #117. 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 the newest Captain America.
After the events of Secret Empire, Wilson would relinquish the title of Captain America to a revitalized Steve Rogers. As a result, taking up the wings of Falcon once again.
A cousin of Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk made her first appearance in Savage She-Hulk #1. After receiving a life-saving blood transfusion from Bruce, the gamma radiation flowing through his blood permanently alters Jennifer’s DNA. Thus, transforming her into She-Hulk. Unlike Bruce, Jennifer retains her mind when she transforms and can even control her emotional state.
She-Hulk officially became a member of the Avengers in 1982. While she isn’t as strong as Hulk, she has extensive combat training from both Gamora and Captain America, making her one of the most skilled members of the Avengers.
While commonly associated with the X-Men, Beast has 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.
Believe it or not, Beast was initially added to the Avengers because writers enjoyed the character so much. They felt his 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 and Quicksilver join the Avengers to help put an end to Magento’s terror.
Given the events of Avengers Disassembled, adding Scarlet Witch to the roster was a big gamble in hindsight. Despite that, 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 from the dead.
Hulk made his first appearance in The Incredible Hulk #1 back in 1962. A year later, he would become 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 would later rejoin the Avengers at the request of Captain America in the lead-up to Avengers vs. X-Men.
Interestingly 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.
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. Although her affiliation with the Avengers was off and on in the comics, the 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 biotechnologically enhanced, making her immune to the effects of aging or disease.
In addition to his affiliation with the X-Men, Wolverine’s connection to the Avengers is well known. He serves as a central member of the team from 2005 to his death in 2014.
Wolverine also plays a pivotal role in Avengers vs. X-Men. He decides to turn his back on Cyclops and the X-Men. Thus, siding with the Avengers’ plan to detain Hope Summers to prevent the Pheonix Force from making her its host.
Initially, Wolverine joining the Avengers caused quite the stir among fans. Many believed the overexposure would tarnish the character. After over a decade on the team, it’s safe to say Marvel made the right call.
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 nation of Wakanda. In addition to being one of the richest people in the Marvel Universe, T’Challa is a hero of incredible power, morality, and integrity.
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.
Once 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 several transformations since being a founding member of the Avengers — both physically and mentally. Despite his habit of constantly changing costumes and dispositions, Hank is an integral part of the team.
Not only has he been with the team since its inception, but he also married Wasp and even created one of the Avengers’ most powerful and enduring villains in Ultron.
7. Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel
First introduced as an Air Force fighter pilot, Carol Danvers received incredible powers after an explosion fused Kree DNA with her own. As Ms. Marvel, and later Captain Marvel, Danvers has a plethora of abilities. For starters, she can fly and has superhuman strength, stamina, and durability. If that wasn’t enough, she can also fire explosive blasts from her fingertips, survive naked in space, and is immune to all poisons and toxins.
Ya, she’s about as mighty as an Avenger can get.
6. Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)
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. 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.
Writers at Marvel Comics have said that if the Avengers were to rank themselves, they’d likely place Wasp at number one.
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 well. But, most importantly, Hawkeye‘s reputation as a “regular guy” helps keep the Avengers grounded in reality. He reminds them 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, Vision was originally conceived to destroy the Avengers. However, he quickly changed sides and is now one of their most respected members.
Like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Vision is aware that he’s an artificial being. As such, he often struggles with his human identity. Since his android brain is based on the brain of Wonder Man, he questions his uniqueness and often wonders if he was truly an individual or just a copy of someone else.
Since he was one of Ultron’s creations, The Vision dealt with a lot of skeptics in the Avengers. As a result, he had an uphill battle when it came to earning the trust of his teammates.
After proving himself time and again, Vision eventually became the team’s anchor. He even won the heart of Scarlet Witch, a relationship that remains a defining point in Avengers history.
3. Iron Man
If anyone’s essential to the Avengers, it’s Tony Stark. He’s a founding member and his enormous wealth funds the team. Aside from his financial resources, Iron Man is a technical genius and heavy hitter on the battlefield.
Sure, Tony is a billionaire playboy that seems to have or make everything he wants. But, he’s 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. Plus, his unwavering moral compass has led him to take more hard stands on tough issues than any other hero.
Even though Cap‘s powers were manufactured, 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 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.
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 can even travel through time, space, and between dimensions. He can control the 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. However, if something does manage to hurt him, he can 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.