WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers #688 by Mark Waid, Al Ewing, Jim Zub, Kim Jacinto, Stefano Caselli, David Curiel and Cory Petit, on sale now.
When it comes to the superhero franchise with the largest roster in the Marvel Universe, it's a toss-up between the Avengers and X-Men. In fact, the two groups can almost be seen as one, as the last several years have seen their members begin to cross-populate, with the Avengers Unity Squad being the most recent example of the two teams working together.
This is a good thing for the people of Earth, as the Avengers need all the help they can get to save the planet from the Grandmaster and Challenger's cosmic game in Marvel's "No Surrender" weekly event. As things stand now, our world is on the brink of destruction, unless the Avengers can assemble a group of the world's strongest heroes to save the day. Thankfully, one of these heroes just so happens to be the strongest X-Man in the Marvel Universe.
Test Of Strength
When longtime fans think of the strongest X-Men, the names Colossus, Juggernaut, Rogue and Strong Guy come to mind. However, of these listed characters, only Rogue is a part of "No Surrender," having led the Unity Squad in Uncanny Avengers. Her team has been off the board after an encounter with the Lethal Legion and Black Order, and the remaining Avengers are left to contend with the Challenger, who has decided to take matters in his own hands by unleashing an assault on Earth in person.
That leaves the world-engine unattended in the Grandmaster's Cosmic Game Room. The machine was being used to keep Earth at its correct temperature and rotation, but once it's damaged the Earth will spin out of control. The Avengers could turn to the newly-resurrected Immortal Hulk to stall the engine's turning wheel, but he's busy smashing the Challenger. Of course, Hercules is also known as the Prince of Power and intends to help, but this situation needs more than a god -- it needs a Hulk stand-in!
I'll Be Your Hulk For The Evening
Roberto da Costa may have debuted as a New Mutant learning how to use his special powers, but the last few years have been spent raising his profile in various Avengers titles like Avengers World, Avengers, New Avengers and U.S.Avengers. Sunspot has proven he's a capable leader, but according to him, he's also the strongest mutant on Earth.
For anyone familiar with Roberto da Costa, seeing this type of narcissistic declaration isn't out of character for him. The word "humble" isn't exactly in his vocabulary. In fact, when Sunspot is at his absolute strongest, he could very well back up his words with the ability to absorb solar energy and convert it into raw strength.
The only problem is, Sunspot can no longer control his powers, having recently been shot in the head by an A.I.M. traitor. If not for Toni Ho creating a regulator headband, Roberto's powers would run wild and kill him. But if Sunspot is going to stand alongside a god and claim to be the strongest mutant on the planet, then there's no time for excuses.
Sunspot has been an Avenger long enough where newer readers will associate him with that team over the X-Men. Also, being a living battery powered by the sun allows Sunspot an unlimited reservoir of energy. Compare that to his muscle-bound brethren in the X-Men, and the only reason people underestimate him is that he doesn't look the part. We'll cross our fingers that Sunspot can use his strength long enough to stall the wheel before he's forced to sacrifice his life like Quicksilver and the Human Torch.