The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a wonderful gift from our cinematic overlords. Its tales of super heroism and triumph inspire wonder and encourage our imaginations tenfold. At the peak of the universe is The Avengers, Marvel’s mainstay team of heroes that defend the world against all of the terrible evil out there. This team includes Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, War Machine and soon to be many, many more.
But this team of assembled heroes isn’t the greatest ever. And while it may be the best live-action team to grace the screen, the Marvel comic book universe has plenty more to offer when it comes to Avengers rosters. And, to be honest, some of them make the Avengers MCU team look a little lame. How can you call yourself a super team if you don’t have Sentry, Hercules or Moon Knight on your main team? This list takes a look at 15 of the biggest and best Avengers rosters from the comics, each better than the one we’ve got in the MCU. But hey, ask us again in five years when Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp officially join the main squad.
15. NEW AVENGERS (POST-SECRET WARS)
The New Avengers to come out of the Secret Wars event were led by Roberto da Costa, otherwise known as Sunspot, after his acquisition of Advanced Idea Mechanics. His re-branding of A.I.M. allowed it to become part of a government-sanctioned Avengers initiative and his squad of heroes was more than unconventional, but fun, powerful crew that brings together plenty of fan-favorites.
This team included Wiccan, Hulkling, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, White Tiger and Power Man, and would later accrue a few more members in the transition to becoming the U.S. Avengers (also led by Roberto Da Costa) and the revelation that Steve Rogers is Hydra. The team, written mostly by Al Ewing, were a comedic bunch that played a major part in events like “Secret Empire”.
14. SECRET AVENGERS
As part of Marvel’s Heroic Age initiative, the Secret Avengers were a group of heroes that operated secretly under the leadership of Steve Rogers. The team was made up of a combination of street level superheroes, as well as cosmic level capes. The main team included Beast, Moon Knight, Nova, Black Widow, Valkyrie, War Machine, Sharon Carter and Ant-Man.
As the series continued and other writers took over the series from Ed Brubaker, heroes like Captain Britain, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Agent Venom and more joined the team, which focused on black ops missions and darker tasks that the main Avengers teams could not handle. Think Suicide Squad, but with more heroes you actually like. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want to see any number of these heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe joining Cap and co.
13. AVENGERS (MARVEL NOW! 2.0)
This team, the latest in a long line of flagship Avengers teams, mostly grew out of the team seen in the All-New, All-Different Marvel initiative. But after young heroes Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man and Nova quit the team, leader Sam Wilson (as Captain America) decided to fill the gaps. The new team includes holdovers Captain America, Thor, Vision and The Wasp (Nadia Pym), but adds Hercules and the Peter Parker Spider-Man) to the mix.
While still featuring some of the mantles of the main Marvel Cinematic Universe films, this team is powerful, diverse and seemingly more well-rounded than the live-action squad, with characters like Peter Parker and Hercules adding layers of strength combined with comedic relief. Plus, we really just want to see Hercules in the movie.
12. DARK AVENGERS
Norman Osborn’s crew of not-so-nice Avengers shook up the Marvel Universe in the years following “Civil War” in stories like “Dark Reign” and “Siege”. The team, led by Osborn donning the Iron Patriot armor, included Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Bullseye as Hawkeye and Venom as Spider-Man. Also on the team were Ares, Sentry, Daken as Wolverine and Noh-Varr, repping Captain Marvel.
Of course, this is a team filled with mostly villains, or at least those with a murky moral aptitude. But to compare them to the current MCU slate of Avengers would be difficult, so we’re going to do it anyway. The intensity of the Dark Avengers would be a welcome shakeup to the MCU, and its squad of heavy hitters could go toe-to-toe with the likes of Tony Stark and Captain America any day.
11. ALL-NEW, ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS
One of the most surprising additions to the Avengers lineup was in the form of Marvel’s All-New, All-Different initiative following the end of “Secret Wars”. This new team took a page from the Young Avengers book and brought some young blood onto the team in the form of Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Spider-Man (Miles Morales) and Nova (Sam Alexander). The team would later feature Nadia Pym as the new Wasp.
Aside from the younger team members, the ANAD crew also included Captain America (Sam Wilson), The Vision, Thor (Jane Foster) and Iron Man (Tony Stark). The team’s universe-spanning adventures were actually pretty grand until, well, the events of “Civil War II” happened and all went to nought. Honestly? We just really want to see Ms. Marvel and Miles Morales on a big screen team.
10. AVENGERS UNITY SQUAD
The Avengers Unity Division, following the end of “Secret War”, ended up being a pretty stellar flagship title, despite its rocky start. Spider-Man left the team early — for one main reason: Deadpool was on the team. Aside from the Merc with a Mouth, the team also included Rogue, Synapse, Quicksilver and Doctor Voodoo, all led by the now-super old Steve Rogers.
Of course, the team would go through a few trials and tribulations as Steve became de-aged and broke up the squad, but the idea of a team that focuses on teamwork between humans, mutants and Inhumans is kind of incredible, and we’d be more than happy to see a team this loaded make their way to the silver screen. Now, If only we could get those pesky film rights in order.
9. MIGHTY AVENGERS
The Mighty Avengers were a team of heroes that were built from The Initiative following the events of the Superhuman Civil War. The original team was a mix of founding members and those that came to prominence during the war, including Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, The Wasp, Black Widow, Sentry, Ares and Spider-Woman.
The team would eventually grow to include heroes like Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Jocasta, Power Man, White Tiger, Falcon, U.S. Agent, Stature, Luke Cage, Ronin, Blue Marvel and many, many more. Much like The Avengers World initiative, this allowed lesser-known heroes to become heavy hitters and take on the tasks of a main Avengers team that was reeling in the wake of “Civil War” and the tragic death of Captain America.
8. FOUNDING AVENGERS
OK, so we basically have this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe already in some form, but we have to give an ample shoutout to how great the founding crew of The Avengers really were. The original team included Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and Hulk. Later, Hulk was retroactively replaced by Captain America, so we can go ahead and count the two of them in the original team.
But, this team is different than the first MCU Avengers team we saw in the films, and we can’t help but imagine how great it would have been to see Ant-Man (or Giant-Man) and Wasp go head to head with the Chitauri invasion in the first Avengers film. But hey, with the Ant-Man sequel shaping up, this team-up might not be very far off.
7. NEW AVENGERS (HEROIC AGE)
The New Avengers of Marvel’s Heroic Age initiative were a welcome shake-up at the team for what was considered a traditional Avengers team. While the original New Avengers had a cast that included Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Luke Cage, this new team doubled down on more street level heroes, carrying over Luke Cage, Wolverine and Spider-Man but adding plenty more.
In its second volume, the new team included Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Victoria Hand and The Thing, all heroes from different parts of the Marvel lineup with something to add to the team. They might not seem as exciting as heroes like Cap and Thor, but this team set the status quo for everything from the Mighty Avengers to The Defenders on Netflix.
First introduced during the events of “Secret Wars” as part of the event’s Battleworld initiative, the Avengers of A-Force are a hard-hitting squad of powerful female heroes led by She-Hulk. The rest of the team includes Dazzler, Captain Marvel, Medusa, Singularity, Nico Minoru and Thor. The team’s Earth-616 adventures were a spiritual continuation of the Secret Wars book, but unfortunately the series itself would end before things could really get started.
But the idea of having some of these heroes as part of the main Marvel Cinematic Universe team is exciting, and while Captain Marvel will be making her debut in 2019’s live-action film starring Brie Larson, we may still be years away from She-Hulk or Singularity in a main film. Plus, Medusa is in Inhumans and Nico will be in the upcoming Runaways series on Hulu.
5. AVENGERS WORLD/MACHINE
OK, so this one might be cheating a little bit, but the Avengers initiative established in the early pages of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers runs brought together some of the best and brightest heroes in the Marvel Universe and made them official members of the team. While it may have been confusing at first, it allowed new or legacy characters to shine, as mainstays like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man took on the big bads.
So, this led to an insane roster of heroes, including (but not limited to) Captain Marvel, Falcon, Hyperion, Wolverine, Shang-Chi, Starbrand, Nightmask, Spider-Woman, Sunspot, Smasher and Cannonball. As the universe drifted ever closer to “Secret Wars”, these new Avengers were the make or break for millions of lives and countless tales of triumph. Take that, MCU.
4. THE ULTIMATES (POST-SECRET WARS)
This newly-formed team of Ultimates, inspired by the famed Mark Millar team, ended up being a far cry from the team that seemed to inspire the Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers lineup. This crew ranged from super-genius to cosmic-level power in the form of Captain Marvel, America Chavez, Black Panther, Spectrum and Blue Marvel.
Looking for a team that has no problem moving between the fabric of reality? How about a team that recruits Galactus to bring life to the Marvel Universe instead of destroying and eating planets? Yeah, Hawkeye and War Machine aren’t looking so great, anymore. Al Ewing’s team has been nothing short of unbeatable, and with all of the humor and passion of its members, we’d be happy to see these guys on the big screen.
3. UNCANNY AVENGERS (POST-AVX)
The heroes that made up the Uncanny Avengers squad following Professor X’s death at the end of Avengers vs. X-Men was more than stocked with heavy hitters. But more importantly than that, the team laid the groundwork for future Uncanny teams and the Avengers Unity Squads, initiatives of the Marvel Universe that did a lot to bridge human-mutant relations following the conflict’s end. Plus, they went on a Red Skull lackey hunting spree, and that’s pretty great in itself.
This core team was led by Captain America and rounded out with Thor, Rogue, Scarlet Witch and Havok, each with their own particular set of skills. Recruits like Quicksilver, Vision and Sabretooth would later join. Sure, parts of this team are around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnation of the Avengers, but without the X-Men you’ve got a pretty barebones squad compared to this crew.
2. WEST COAST AVENGERS
The Original West Coast Avengers were surely not a crew you wanted to mess with. Led by Hawkeye, the team also included Scarlet Witch, Machine Man, Wonder Man, Mockingbird, Living Lightning, Quicksilver, Spider-Woman, U.S. Agent and Iron Man. This team set the precedent for offshoot Avengers teams after their debut in 1984, challenging plenty of views as to what and who would make up the perfect Avengers team.
The relationships between characters like Mockingbird and Hawkeye would define the characters for years, and set the tone for stories for years. Fortunately, some of these heroes already exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so would it be too much to bring some Wonder Man or Spider-Woman into the fray? This seemingly more-grounded team would be a welcome change to the one-man show that is the MCU’s Tony Stark.
1. YOUNG AVENGERS
The Young Avengers team, to this day, remains one of the most cohesive squads in superhero comic books. That’s a bold claim, but the themes and development in these twin series still stand to this day, and its heroes are all over the place in Marvel’s current publishing line. The team, over its run, included heroes like America Chavez, Kate Bishop, Noh-Varr, Hulking, Wiccan, Iron Lad, Patriot, Stature, Vision, Speed and Prodigy.
The fact that you may not have heard many of those names could bode well for a live-action adaptation of the team, with plenty of history and lore to play off of, each more nuanced than the current Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers lineup. Oh, and Kid Loki joins the fray later on and is absolutely mystical with the team.
Which of these teams would you like to see on the big screen? Let us know in the comments section!
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