Though they frequently trade teammates and maintain individual friendships, the Avengers and X-Men have a generally uneasy relationship. At best, they ally with each other during dire moments in the Marvel universe.At worst, they resort to open warfare against each other, as demonstrated in crossover events like 1987’s The X-Men vs. The Avengers and 2012’s Avengers vs. X-Men. The crux of their tension is often an offshoot of the X-Men’s general beef with everyone else on Earth. As a group of mutants who strive to defend and serve a world that fears and hates them, the X-Men tend to keep themselves isolated, which only makes outsiders all the more suspicious of them. While they do have some camaraderie with others in the superhero profession, there always seems to be a line drawn between those who were given power and those who were born with it.
Even before their huge blow-out during AvX, grudges were festering. In Civil War, Emma Frost made it clear to an inquiring Tony Stark that the X-Men would remain neutral, pointing out the Avengers had been notably absent during too many catastrophic events in the mutant world for her to justify supporting either side. In the MCU, Fox’s ownership of characters from the X-Men comics has prevented any of this rocky relationship from appearing on-screen — with the big (and complicated) exception of non-mutant versions of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. But, this hasn’t stopped fans from replicating the rivalry between the two flagship Marvel teams in meme-form.
15. WRONG MOVIE, MAGNETO
No! Don’t cross the streams, Mags! Or maybe do. Perhaps the only time we’ll ever get Marvel Studios and Fox to stick the Avengers and X-Men in a film together is by forcing the fabric of reality between their universes to collapse in on itself, by way of the characters casually throwing out each other’s catchphrases. All we need now is for Captain America to shout, “To me my Avengers!” in the MCU and it might just work.
In fairness, it’s not like S.H.I.E.L.D or Iron Man can trademark the word “avenge,” but the use of the word — and its context — in First Class was nonetheless instantly evocative of Marvel’s other team. It’s hard to know definitively whether this was a knowing wink to the audience or just an honest coincidence.
14. WHEN QUICKSILVER IS BEST FRIENDS WITH QUICKSILVER
There are so many Marvel movies in existence (or about to be in existence) that these kinds of crossovers between Marvel movie actors are becoming more and more inevitable. But, what is unusual is two actors appearing in a film together and then going on to play the same character in different franchises. In this instance, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters have both played the speedy mutant Quicksilver — in Age of Ultron and the X-Men movies respectively.
They also both appeared in the film adaptation of Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass, which is where the screenshot in this meme comes from. If Fox and Marvel Studios ever did manage to come to some kind of character-sharing agreement it would be hard for fans to ignore the fact that the character seems to have had a non-mutant doppelganger who somehow had the same powers and the same sister.
13. AVX: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Though this might look like a fan art rendering of what high school-age Avengers and X-Men might look like if they’d all been classmates, these two images in this meme are actually two panels from Uncanny Avengers Annual #1. In the story, the devious, dimension-jumping sorcerer Mojo sends his mind-controlled Supernatural Avengers — Doctor Strange, Blade, Ghost Rider, Manphibian, Man-Thing and Satana — to send the Avengers Unity Division (made up of Avengers and X-Men) into a Mojoworld reality show.
The show had the not-so-catchy title of “Martian Transylvania Superhero Mutant Monster Hunter High School,” and Mojo divided the group into… Well, pretty much what the meme describes — jocks and outsiders. The cool kids and the cool kids. Unfortunately, Ghost Rider strayed too far out of character for Mojo’s liking, which helped break his hold on the team.
12. WHAT IF…
What would happen if the Avengers from the movies met the X-Men from the movies? Would it be a bloody and tearful Civil War kind of situation or a getting drunk and trying to lift Mjolnir in Avengers Tower kind of situation? This downright adorably drawn comic has a few ideas. After learning about Magneto’s metal-manipulating power from Wolverine, Iron Man decides he’d rather not take the risk.
Meanwhile, the MCU’s Scarlet Witch becomes understandably befuddled by seeing an alternate mutant version of her deceased brother and (less understandably) flips out — much to Vision’s distress. The funniest part comes at the end, as Loki attempts his mind-control move with the Mind Stone staff… only to be stopped by the world-class telepath that is Proff X.
11. HISTORY ALWAYS REPEATS ITSELF
While this isn’t a repetition that occurs within the context of the movies, the coincidence of two sets of Marvel acting trios being filmed forming the same composition is still pretty eerie nonetheless. The top one, featuring lifelong frenemies Magneto and Professor X with Quicksilver amusingly gawking in the background is from Days of Future Past, while the bottom one is from The Late Late Show.
In the sketch, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. reenact their Civil War beef (this time motivated by donuts, rather than politics) with Elizabeth Olsen watching on, mirroring the position her brother from another universe took. Spooky. And in case you’re new to the idea of these two pairs of quarrelsome super-bros being “ships” — welcome to the Internet!
10. FOX VS. MARVEL STUDIOS
It’s safe to say the creator of this meme is one unhappy 20th Century Fox movie customer. While the company has had both critical and commercial successes with the first two X-Men movies, Days Of Future Past, First Class, Deadpool, and Logan, it seems that its misses stick in fans’ minds far more prominently than its hits. All of its Fantastic Four movies up to 2015 have been considered passable at best, and unwatchable at worst.
The company also has a bad track record for neutering iconic Marvel villains and anti-heroes — everyone from Deadpool, Dark Pheonix, Galactus, Sebastian Shaw, Juggernaut, Doctor Doom, Apocalypse and Galactus have been poorly received by audiences. Marvel Studios isn’t perfect either in this respect, but it’s a brand name in Hollywood that has become synonymous with high quality, nonetheless.
9. I’M JUST HERE FOR SPIDER-MAN, TBH
There’s always one… It’s quite possible that the Tobey Maguire “cry face” from the first Spider-Man film is now the first thing that pops into most people’s heads when they think of that original trilogy — largely thanks to its continual use in memes like this one. (“Train face” is a close second.) In between the release of Spider-Man 3 and the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Studios and Fox capitalized on Sony’s absence.
With the dominance of the Avengers and X-Men movie series (partly thanks to the sheer amount of them), the casual fan could be forgiven for seeing Spidey as a bit of an underdog compared to the surge in popularity for characters like Captain America and Wolverine. Of course, in terms of comic sales, Spider-Man is cumulatively Marvel’s biggest hit, so dry those tears, Petey!
8. THE RESEMBLANCE IS UNCANNY
It’s no secret that there are a lot of copycat superheroes and villains floating around comic-dom. There are only really a finite number of superpowers, tragic origin stories and signature wardrobe choices to go around, after all. This meme probably wasn’t created for accusatory purposes, but more to point out the striking similarities between the Avengers and X-Men films in a fun, critical way.
At first glance, you wouldn’t think Loki and Magneto, Wolverine and Iron Man or Professor X and Thor, would have much in common, but once you start looking for points of comparison, the meme proves that they’re definitely there. And, yes, using things like “unconventional facial hair” and “snazzy headgear” is a bit of a stretch, but they’re still fun to note.
7. QUICKSILVER VS. QUICKSILVER
The “who’s faster?” debate just keeps raging among Marvel movie fans. MCU Quicksilver or X-Men‘s Quicksilver? Certainly, based on one being struck down by bullets in one universe while the other had enough time on his hands to rearrange them, there appears to be no contest as to who is the superior speedster. A professor of physics writing for WIRED determined that X-Men‘s Quicksilver can reach an impressive 9151 MPH, and maybe even “warp time.”
However, others think differently. Some have pointed out that bullets in 1973 were slower, and while DOFP‘s Quicksilver was able to catch them mid-fire, Age of Ultron‘s Quicksilver was able to move at the very second the quicker bullets of 2015 were fired. But, Quicksilver’s house evacuation in Apocalypse is thought to be five times faster than lightspeed, putting the ball back in his court. At this rate, we’ll probably never know…
6. EVERYONE IS A CRITIC
This tongue-in-cheek comic comes from artist Edward Pun. “For the record, I thought [Apocalypse] was okay,” he captions it with. “Shame it came out after Civil War ’cause it’s easy to compare with that movie.” While audiences were generally lukewarm towards X-Men: Apocalypse, the critical reception — according to the infamous tomato-based review aggregator — ranks it the second worst in the series.
Considering the epic scope the film was aiming for and Apocalypse’s reputation, even just being “passable” seems like a failure, one that only gives more strength to the argument that Marvel Studios could pump some new energy into the characters if Fox would agree to work with them. Collaboration certainly worked for Marvel and Sony, a point illustrated by Spider-Man’s soda-chugging presence in the comic next to Iron Man.
5. LANGUAGE, WOLVERINE
It’s Hugh Jackman’s favorite Wolverine cameo (a line he ad-libbed, too) combined with one of the Internet’s favorite Captain America moments, packaged in the same format as the super popular Civil War memes! Could this be Earth’s mightiest Marvel meme? It also works on a fun meta level too, as — prior to the expletive-fest that was Logan — hearing Wolverine drop an F-bomb on-screen was fun but jarring.
In the comics, Wolverine and Cap have crossed shield and claw quite a few times, sometimes in all-too-brief skirmishes and other times in full-on bloody brawls, like in Wolverine Origins #4 & 5. Usually, these instances are predicated on Wolverine’s anti-hero antics clashing with Cap’s self-righteousness, and it’s always fun to see two of Marvel’s most notorious brawlers going at it.
4. NO-ONE EVER REALLY DIES IN MARVEL MOVIES
As this meme points out, the ever-revolving door of death in Marvel’s comics seems to have followed into its movies. This isn’t a phenomenon exclusive to Marvel but given the relentless release rate of its movies, the sheer number of back-from-the-seemingly-dead characters populating the MCU and X-verse make their worlds look like the Walking Dead. No matter how thoroughly killed a character is, nothing seems to be permanent in either universe.
Granted, some of the “deaths” listed here qualify as “heavily implied” through disappearance — Loki in Thor appeared to willfully drop from the Bifrost bridge while Bucky was presumed dead after taking an icy tumble in Captain America. Neither of them actually died, of course, but this wasn’t confirmed until they made their dramatic returns.
3. X-MEN, ASSEMBLE?
For disgruntled comic readers desperate to see the X-Men inducted into the MCU, this meme might be a little too real. Could a rude rejection like the one Wolverine gives to Erik and Charles in First Class actually be painfully close to any alleged discussions Marvel and Fox may or may not be having behind closed doors? The rumor-mill still keeps us guessing.
Industry legend Stan Lee reckons that Fox’s days holding onto the mutants are finite. This is good news not only for fans but also for others in the comic book business, like long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont, who thinks the dispute over rights has only damaged the source material. “If the film rights were owned by Marvel […] the X-Men would probably still be the paramount book in the canon,” he said in an interview at 2016’s NYCC.
2. OH, YOUR TIMELINE IS LINEAR? THAT’S CUTE
Since Days of Future Past was released and threw the timeline out of whack, X-Men movie fans have been going through the same frustrations trying to work out the mutant chronology that comic book readers have been enduring for years. Despite what this funny meme implies, the movies’ complicated timeline is nothing compared to the mess of retcons and alternate futures that is the source material’s.
There are different ways you could watch the X-Men films without needing a brain like Tony Stark’s to make sense of them. Order of production is one; order of period setting is another; or — for the hardcore — order of the original timeline (First Class to DOFP) and then in order of the new timeline post-DOFP, which would include Apocalypse and Deadpool, and end with Logan.
1. WHY ARE YOU HITTING YOURSELF?
Okay, okay. Iron Man’s suit isn’t actually made of iron — it’s titanium alloy. In Iron Man, the suit is specifically described as “gold titanium alloy,” though the Mark One was made from scrap metal, or as Obadiah Stane would bellow, “TONY STARK MADE THIS IN A CAVE… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS.” Magneto may have been able to pull off this classic schoolyard bullying technique on that suit, but not the one pictured.
In fact, we know this already as the supervillain has come up against this problem in the comics. According to Jarvis in Avengers vs. X-Men, Iron Man’s suit isn’t even metal, rather, it’s made of “carbon nanotubes” (though science nerds claim this wouldn’t be enough of an anti-magnetism deterrent, IRL) That’s not to say that — putting the science aside for a second — the meme isn’t still objectively funny.
What are your favorite Avengers vs X-Men memes? Let us know in the comments!
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