The Avengers were introduced in 1963 and have been a force of nature in the world of comics ever since. Naturally, between the Avengers' debut date and today, there've been countless Avengers rip-offs to hit the comic stands. Competing companies have attempted to recapture the magic of Marvel's all-star team of superheroes to varying success. Heck, even Marvel itself has mimicked the original idea of the Avengers, trying to create a group as popular as their premiere superteam. With the abundance of rip-offs out there, we've decided to take a look at ten of them that are more powerful than the Avengers, as well as ten that are weaker.
While the Avengers may not have been the first team to feature a gathering of independent heroes uniting a shared universe, they're arguably the most successful. In an attempt to replicate Marvel's success, many smaller publishing companies have taken a stab at creating a memorable superteam. Some of the rip-offs are more blatant than others, with team members being knockoffs of classic Avengers. However, while their popularity often pales in comparison to the Avengers, many of these imitation teams exhibit impressive power levels. Justice Machine, for example, was a team of veteran superheroes that executed their missions with military precision -- giving us reason to think that they could take out the Avengers. We needn't even look outside of Marvel to find an Avengers rip-off capable of dismantling the team. Squadron Supreme, led by the ultra-powerful Hyperion, could do that any day. Here are ten Avengers rip-offs more powerful than them and ten that are weaker.
20 MORE POWERFUL: SQUADRON SUPREME
The Squadron Supreme was introduced in Avengers (Vol. 1) #85 as an alternate reality's premier team of superheroes. Over the decades, the team has included some of the most formidable heroes to ever appear in the MU. Chief among them is Hyperion, an Eternal possessing power on par with the Sentry.
Other notable members of the Squadron Supreme include Power Princess (a telepath with other superhuman traits), Redstone (a man said capable of lifting up to 75 tons), and Thermite (a hero who could generate both intense heat and cold). The Squadron Supreme have fought with the Avengers in the past, consistently giving their Earth-616 counterparts a run for their money.
19 WEAKER: B-SIDES
The B-Sides were a trio of heroes that made their debut in 2002's Craptacular B-Sides (Vol. 1) #1. The series followed the fledgling heroes as they attempted to become the next New Warriors in their hometown of Raven's Perch, New Jersey.
The B-Sides consisted of Mize (who could increase the entropy in various systems), Jughandle (who could escape into parallel time-streams), and Fateball (who possessed an omniscient magic eight-ball). The group of friends teamed up to face Doctor Dark in their three issue limited series. Despite their unique and refreshing set of powers, the B-Sides haven't been seen since then.
18 MORE POWERFUL: JUSTICE MACHINE
The Justice Machine was a team of superheroes that jumped from a number of small publishers throughout the '80s and '90s. The Justice Machine was a group exiled to Earth by the fascist alien government that they used to serve.
The team's roster was made up of Challenger (an aged Captain America-like character), Titan (capable of growing to a monstrous size), Demon (a drug-addicted expert martial artist), Blazer (who could generate fire), Talisman (a mutant with good karma on his side), Diviner (who could tap into a range of paranormal abilities), and Chain (who was equipped with a psionic chainsaw). The Justice Machine was a highly cohesive unit likely capable of dismantling the Avengers.
17 WEAKER: NEW WAVE
The New Wave was a team of superheroes appearing in a comic published by Eclipse Comics. The squad of heroes consisted of Impulse (a telekinetic), Megabyte (a robot), Tachyon, (a blue-skinned Superman rip-off), Polestar (a master combatant), Dot (who could shrink), and Avalon (a witch).
The team was short-lived, their ongoing series only lasting 13 issues before getting the ax. Looking back, that doesn't seem like much of a surprise. The New Wave's collective abilities were derivative, offering little in the direction of novelty. Plus, we don't think they'd stand a chance against the superteams and superheroes they were copied from.
16 MORE POWERFUL: S.M.A.S.H.
S.M.A.S.H., which is an acronym for the Society of Modern American Science Heroes, was a team of superheroes that appeared in comics published by America's Best Comics. The team debuted in Tom Strong and was later featured more heavily in Terra Obscura. The line-up for the team included many heroes that originated during the Golden Age, like the Black Terror, Miss Masque, Tom Strange, Pyroman, Liberator, Fighting Yank, and Cavalier.
These Golden Age icons united during the Modern Age to take on an alien menace. Given the combined experience that the members of S.M.A.S.H. have, we think the Avengers would have a hard time beating the team of legends.
15 WEAKER: GREAT LAKES AVENGERS
Nobody would expect the Great Lakes Avengers to be capable of out-matching the real Avengers. It's no secret that the GLA is a parody of the Avengers. The original team consisted of C-list (tops) heroes that ranged from pathetic to clownish.
Among them were Mr. Immortal (a man who couldn't perish no matter how hard he tried), Doorman (a mutant with the ability to transform into an interdimensional door), and Big Bertha (a model who could mutate her body to Blob-like proportions). The group of novices has also had their fair share of legal trouble since their debut. It turns out, the Great Lakes Avengers have no right to be calling themselves 'Avengers'.
14 MORE POWERFUL: THE CREW
The second iteration of the Crew came into being during the' 'All-New All-Different' era and featured a gathering of Marvel's most formidable characters. The team consisted of Black Panther, Storm, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, and Manifold -- a mutant capable of teleporting across the universe.
Together, the Crew helped to combat injustices in the Harlem area and later helped prevent anarchy from breaking out in Wakanda. Usually, unlike the Avengers the Crew is only assembled for a one-and-done mission. They're brought together for a purpose and when that purpose is fulfilled, they go their separate ways. Only time will tell when the Crew will assemble again.
13 WEAKER: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were like an all-star team of fictional characters. Captain Nemo (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) teamed up with Dr. Jekyll (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), the Invisible Man (The Invisible Man), Allan Quartermain (King Soloman's Mines), and several other famous characters.
As intriguing as a concept as this is -- and as capable the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were in their universe -- it would take a miracle for them to beat Marvel's mightiest heroes. The League can stick to thwarting Sherlock Holmes' nemesis, Professor Moriarty, while the Avengers challenge the likes of Thanos.
12 MORE POWERFUL: DNAGENTS
Eclipse Comics received their premier superhero squad when The DNAgents hit shelves in 1983. As their team name suggests, the DNAgents consisted of genetically engineered superheroes. The team worked as enforcers for the Matrix Corporation, the company that was also responsible for the birth of the team.
The DNAgents was made up of Tank (a heavily armored strongman), Sham (a shapeshifter), Surge (who could generate electricity), Rainbow (a telepath), and Amber (another psionically-powered character). Although the team's collection of abilities is no doubt generic, we think they could hang with the Avengers. Tank, for one, may have what it takes to knock out the Hulk.
11 WEAKER: MIGHTY CRUSADERS
Archie Comics' answer to Marvel's Avengers was the Mighty Crusaders. The Mighty Crusaders first appeared in 1965 in a series with the same name and featured an assortment of Golden and Silver Age superheroes. The short-lived team consisted of the Fly (who shared many abilities in common with Ant-Man), Black Hood (your typical super-vigilante), the Comet (a master of the skies), Flygirl, and the Shield (a patriotic hero that predated Captain America).
Together, they formed the decidedly mediocre Mighty Crusaders, a team that consistently failed to win over a large enough audience for continued publication. Were they to battle the Avengers, they wouldn't stand a chance.
10 MORE POWERFUL: STRANGERS
Malibu Comics published The Strangers, a comic that focused on a team of superhumans that received their powers after a freak cable car accident. The roster of Strangers was made up of Atom Bob (who could manipulate matter), Lady Killer (an expert marksman), Yrial (a sorceress), Zip-Zap (a speedster), Grenade (who could fire concussive blasts), Electrocute (an electricity-generating android), and Spectral (who could access an assortment of powers).
The team worked together to bring down several serious threats, including a team of supervillains known as TNTNT. Although the Strangers may not have the most original powers, we think they could hold their own against the Avengers.
9 WEAKER: ULTRAFORCE
Ultraforce was the foremost superhero team of Malibu's Ultrauniverse. Fans of Malibu Comics may recall the following names from the original roster: Prime (a Superman-like Ultra), Contrary (who could manipulate the pain and pleasure centers in the brains of others), Prototype (an Iron Man rip-off), and Pixx (a master technician).
Malibu Comics was eventually bought out by Marvel, and Ultraforce was briefly featured in the Marvel Universe. Taking over the team was the former Avenger Black Knight, who recruited a couple more heroes for Ultraforce's short run in the MU. Although many of the characters seem like little more than blatant rip-offs of other Marvel properties, when assembled together, Ultraforce was more than capable of taking on the Avengers.
8 MORE POWERFUL: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Although the Guardians of the Galaxy have only exploded in popularity in the past few years, the team has been around since the end of the '60s. Debuting in Marvel Super-Heroes (Vol. 1) #18, the original roster included the psychically-powered Vance Astro, the master hunter Yondu, the combat specialist Charlie-27, and silicon-based Martinix.
It was only a decade ago that the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them came to be. With core members such as Gamora and Drax the Destroyer and part-timers like Iron Man and Venom, we think it's entirely possible for the Guardians of the Galaxy to take the W over their Earth-bound counterparts.
7 WEAKER: NEW WARRIORS
The original New Warriors were introduced in Thor (Vol. 1) #411 and featured mostly C-list heroes, several of them appearing for the first time ever. Characters like Nova and Marvel Boy joined the team as already established heroes, while heroes like Speedball and Namorita had something to prove.
The New Warriors were a mixed bag from the beginning -- occasionally showing their might against big-time villains like Juggernaut, but most of the time just foiling the plots of no-names. Despite their relative success in the team's early years, they're still having trouble recovering from the events of Civil War (Vol. 1) #1 in which the team's carelessness led to a terrible tragedy.
6 MORE POWERFUL: DARK AVENGERS
Norman Osborn's team of villains masquerading as heroes gave the real Avengers plenty of trouble during their heyday. The team consisted of some of Marvel's most threatening villains. Led by Osborn, who donned the Iron Patriot armor, the rest of the team included Dark Wolverine (Daken), Dark Hawkeye (Bullseye), Ares, Dark Captain Marvel (Noh-Varr), Dark Spider-Man (Venom), Dark Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), and Sentry.
Sentry alone is enough of a reason for us to have the Dark Avengers beating out their heroic counterparts. Had Osborn not pushed his luck during "Seige", who knows how long the original Dark Avengers could've reigned over the MU.
5 WEAKER: THE ATOMICS
The Atomics is a team of superheroes that have appeared in comics published by AAA Pop, Image Comics, and Dark Horse Comics. The team features Madman -- an undead man who possesses a supernatural learning ability and precognition -- and his group of superhuman friends, which includes Black Crystal, the Lazer, Lava Lass, Mr. Gum, Zap Man, It Girl, the Slug, and Adam Balm.
The Atomics operate in an entirely different universe than the Avengers--in more ways than one. Their adventures are wacky and the enemies they face are often more strange than evil. They've been a fresh take for a superhero team for sure, but we doubt they'd be able to come close to hanging with the Avengers in a battle.
4 MORE POWERFUL: FORCE WORKS
After the West Coast Avengers disbanded in the mid-'90s, Iron Man decided it was the opportune time to found a superhero team based on a radically different philosophy than that of the Avengers. Thus, Force Works was formed, a team aimed to prevent crimes before they happened thanks to their supercomputer's predictive capacity.
Iron Man was joined by Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, U.S. Agent, and Wonder Man (though very briefly; he appeared to perish in the first issue). Force Works didn't last long, but there's no denying their level of power. Having Scarlet Witch on their team is enough of an argument for why Force Works would've been able to stand up to the Avengers.
3 WEAKER: WARHEADS
The Warheads were a group of supermercenaries that appeared in comics featured by Marvel UK. The Warheads worked for a mysterious organization that had them seek out magical artifacts and cutting-edge technology across time, space, and various dimensions. The squad of mercenaries was led by Colonel Tigon Liger, a battle-hardened veteran that carried a facial scar left by Wolverine.
Most of the members of the Warheads were without superpowers and had to rely on their advanced technology and tactical skills to get the job done. They went up against the X-Men on several occasions, showing themselves to be a capable enough to challenge Professor X's toughest mutants.
2 MORE POWERFUL: CHAMPIONS
Marvel's original Champions were introduced in 1975. The new superteam became Marvel's first West Coast-based squad of heroes. The Champions were led by Black Widow and featured Angel, Iceman, Ghost Rider, and Hercules on the roster. The team took no time in proving themselves as equals to the Avengers.
They were brought together to take down the Greek god Pluto and proceeded to pick up victories against Titanium Man, Rampage, the Crimson Dynamo, and Doctor Doom. Had the Champions needed to take out the Avengers at the time, we think they could've. With former Avengers, founding X-Men, and a Greek god on their roster, the Champions more than lived up to their name.
1 WEAKER: WILDCATS
The superhero team known as the Wildcats was Wildstorm's version of the Avengers. The team featured all of Wildstorm's biggest names -- including Spartan (a virtually immortal cyborg), Maul (who could choose to increase his mass at the cost of his intelligence), Void (who could teleport to anywhere on Earth), Grifter ( a master tactician), Warblade (who could mutate parts of his bodies into weapons), and many other impressive combatants.
The Wildcats went through several drastic shakeups in their roster, but we don't think any of their line-ups would be enough to take out the Avengers. The Avengers just have too many cosmic-level characters in their ranks these days.