Ever since the Avengers first assembled back in 1963, they have repeatedly earned the title of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They are Marvel’s premiere super team and have protected the Earth through thick and thin. Come what may, the Avengers are always there to stand guard and defend their home. Protecting the planet from interstellar threats like Thanos and genocidal androids like Ultron requires the best of the best.
In the comics the Avengers are the stuff of legend, and in the MCU, their prowess has reached the stars. While the heroes in the MCU might not be quite as powerful as their comic book counterparts, they have proven more than up to the challenge when it comes to saving the day. The heroes who make up the fabled team in Marvel’s cinematic universe are the best at what they do. Marvel Comics has incredible characters to choose from, heroes who might pop into the MCU at any given moment. On the flipside, there are atrocious heroes who were Avengers, especially during the ‘90s, who definitely won’t be making any appearances on the big screen. Today at CBR we’re taking a look at 15 lame Avengers from the ‘90s that’ll definitely never be a part of the MCU.
In both the MCU and the comics, you don’t find many heroes on par with Thor when it comes to raw power. In the ‘90s, readers got Thunderstrike who was a B-Grade spin-off to a far superior character and really shouldn’t have ever have existed.
During the tumultuous ’90s, beloved comic characters were getting replaced by the truckload. Eric Masterson had a brief tenure as Thor before getting demoted to the less powerful Thunderstrike. While he had a similar power set, nobody seemed to like him and his Goodwill clothing didn’t help matters any. His joining the Avengers didn’t boost the character’s popularity either. Nothing did. Following his death, Thunderstrike disappeared into relative obscurity; the only memorable thing about him was his silly outfit. With one Thor in the MCU, it’s likely people don’t want a Pepsi version of the thunder god.
14 TEEN IRON MAN
Iron Man is a great character. The MCU has done a good job at depicting the character, making him accessible to large audiences. Yet however much Iron Man is the glue that holds the current MCU together, everything would be ruined at the drop of a hat with the inclusion of Teen Tony.
For whatever reason, there was a bizarre fascination with turning superheroes into teenage versions of themselves in the ‘90s.
And who better to turn into an angst-driven youngling than Tony Stark? Due to time travel hijinks, Kang the Conqueror, and parallel worlds, Tony became a teenager; so that became the new status quo for Iron Man. In theory it’s a unique concept, and that’s being generous. This Tony was too young and inexperienced to be a character anyone respected. It was horrible; nobody asked for it and nobody has asked for it since.
The Avengers have endured numerous iterations, but their early ‘90s team was of the extreme and kooky variety. If anyone wondered what it would be like if the Scarlet Witch was moodier and liked wearing leather jackets, Sersi was the answer. Though an incredibly powerful magic user, it’s totally okay if you don’t remember her -- she hasn’t been seen in years. Back when she was a part of the Avengers, her powers were unmatched, but weirdly, despite her amazing abilities, she vanished into murkiness.
One of the younger Eternals, Sersi was immortal; she possessed telekinesis, telepathy, and could shoot frighteningly powerful blasts of cosmic energy. What made her especially dangerous was her matter transmutation. With the wave of a hand, Sirsi could literally change anything or anyone into whatever she desired (not that she did this too often0. Though powerful, the MCU already has plenty of well-adjusted magic users.
There are a ton of excellent superheroes and Avengers out there, but D-Man is not one of them. Known for being lame and stinking so bad his own teammates actively tried to avoid him, D-Man struggled to make it to the D-list. Dennis Dunphy, better known as Demolition Man, was a former pro wrestler that primarily spent his time homeless and living on the streets.
He did have a big heart and tried his best to help out his fellow superheroes whenever a crisis arose.
This lead to the Avengers giving D-Man a chance, looking beyond his terrifying odor and sketchy past, and giving him a place on the team. His time on the Avengers was as short-lived as you might imagine and he sacrificed himself to defeat Flag-Smasher; he later returned. Rest assured, Disney isn’t looking to make a toy line out of hobo-wrestler superheroes.
11 BLACK KNIGHT
The Black Knight has been on the Avengers multiple times, and every instance, people ask “why”? Do Earth’s Mightiest Heroes really need a guy who looks like he escaped from a Medieval Renaissance festival? The answer, as you might expect, is no. Nearly anything the Black Knight can do, the Avengers, even the Avengers in the MCU, can do.
That’s not to say that Dane Whitman is totally useless in battle. Wielding the mystical Ebony Blade, the Black Knight used his world-class sword fighting skills to battle anyone who threatened the Avengers. Yet without the blade, Whitman is just a man in armor. It also deserves mentioning that the Ebony Blade is cursed. So it’s dubious whether the MCU Avengers require an armored guy with an evil sword.
In a world of costumed superheroes and spandex, odds are not every outfit design is going to be a winner. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the awful Avenger Gilgamesh and his even more atrocious costume. The Marvel hero Gilgamesh is also known as the Forgotten One.
Terribly proud, he counts himself among the ranks of the ageless Eternals.
Effectively immortal, he’s bore witness to the crumbling of civilizations, the reshaping of continents and overall, he’s definitely old enough to know one bad fashion choice from a good one. Back when there was almost no one on the Avengers roster, Gilgamesh joined the team. On the one hand, Gilgamesh’s strength, wisdom, and immortality were handy on the field of battle, but the hero was a poor man’s Hercules. Hardly interesting, the Forgotten One will likely stay forgotten and never join the MCU.
9 SILVER CLAW
How many feline-themed Avengers can you have; apparently a gaggle, according to Marvel Comics in the ‘90s. Since Tigra wasn’t enough, readers were introduced to Silver Claw. One day Jarvis, the butler of the Avengers, donated some money to sponsor Lupe Santiago through an orphan sponsorship program. He thought he was doing a good deed, and he was, but Jarvis wasn’t expecting to have a shapeshifting superhero show up at the Avengers Mansion.
That’s exactly what Santiago did. Taking the name “Silverclaw,” Santiago served as an honorary member of the Avengers, using her ability to shapeshift into various animals to fight bad guys. Though Marvel tried their hardest to make her cool, she was quickly thrown to the wayside in place of literally anyone else. Does the MCU need a boring and uninteresting shapeshifter? The answer is no, it does not.
The Avengers are made up of living gods, super humans who can lift buildings, and generally have the best of the best on their team. Yet every so often a hero like Triathlon comes around, someone with a rather unimpressive power i.e. being thrice as good at everything. An Olympic track star, Delroy Garrett was granted the powers of the 3-D Man.
This made him three times faster, stronger, and so on from his regular athletic levels.
There was an attempt to push Triathlon as a heavy hitter, but really? His power set equated to being okay at stuff. Garrett joined the Avengers and accused the team of including him as a token minority. It made things rather awkward. His time on the team was short lived and it’s a wonder if anyone knows where he is now.
Teenage superheroes, or at least young and spirited heroes, are a dime a dozen. It can be difficult to come up with a character that doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man rip-off, but that’s exactly the kind of vibe the character Justice put out. Justice was pretty much the bargain basement equivalent of every teenage superhero who had come before him. With a holier than thou personality, he was generic and even kind of dull. That’s not to say he doesn’t have fans, because he does, it’s just there are many superior characters one should look to before focusing on Justice.
Originally going by the name Marvel Boy, college student Vance Astrovik used his mutant telekinetic powers to fight bad guys. Astrovik would eventually change his name to Justice and joined the Avengers. While there, he struggled with feelings of inferiority. Presumably, fighting alongside your idols can be stressful.
6 LIVING LIGHTNING
With an outfit that indicated nobody told him how to properly wear clothes, Living Lightning was a hot mess from the very beginning. Miguel Santos, who would become the Living Lightning, got turned into a being of electric energy thanks to one of his terrorist’ father’s illegal experiments.
Initially, Miguel kicked off his superpowered career in villainy, but then quickly changed sides and joined the Avengers.
This lasted for a short while, but then Miguel quit the team so he could go to college. While in college, he’d become part of the Rangers, another team nobody knows about, and he too would be lost to living memory for decades. There have already been multiple lightning and/or electricity based heroes and villains in superhero movies over the past few years. With someone like Thor on your team, the literal God of Thunder, what use would Living Lightning really serve?
One of the most despised Avengers in the entire history of the team; Deathcry was created when the motif of the day was clearly animal-themed women. She’s a character that could have fit into Teen Titans or Youngblood, but mysteriously wound up over at Marvel. Her origin, for whatever it’s worth, was that she’s a Shi'ar warrior who was commanded by the Empress to join and protect the Avengers. The Avengers politely refused her help, realizing they were better off without her.
She didn’t take no for an answer however and forced her way onto the team. Her tenure on the team was short-lived and Deathcry was later vaporized by her ally Captain Cosmic. If your own allies want to kill you, then clearly something is wrong. Deathcry was brought back during "Chaos War" but has once again returned to the great beyond.
If Black Knight and his evil enchanted sword wasn’t enough to earn him permanent recognition, you can bet a regular dude with a regular sword isn’t going to be remembered in the history books either. The original Swordsman was Jacques DuQuesne and began his life of crime in the circus. Swordsman constantly struggled to decide what side of the law he wanted to be on.
He’d change allegiances and ultimately be more recognized as an Avenger rather than a bad guy.
Then in the ‘90s there was also the Swordsman in the "Heroes Reborn" event, courtesy of Rob Liefeld. Inexplicably, everyone on the Avengers team took him seriously, with the only thing he had going for him was lugging around a ridiculous amount of swords. It only made him look more idiotic, but he must have seemed like a champ to the eyes of a nine-year old child.
The teenage superhero craze was as unrelenting and dour as the characters it produced in the ‘90s. Everything was extreme this and extreme that, needlessly so. When it came to Darkhawk, it was Marvel’s attempt to reinvent Spider-Man, but with an edgier persona and story. The basic premise was the teenager Christopher Powell stumbled across a supernatural gem.
The amulet allowed him to switch places with a super powerful android body, sporting mechanical razor wings the ability to shoot laser blasts from his chest, and everything that a pre-teen boy in the early ‘90s might think was gnarly. And of course, to no one’s surprise, the armor made him go crazy. Darkhawk was barely in the Avengers; rather he was a reserve West Coast Avenger, which is about as humiliating as it sounds.
Teenagers have every right to join the Avengers and heroes like Marvel, Nova, and even Spider-Man have gone out of their way to prove just that. It’s easy to understand the opposing argument if only because of teenagers’ hot-headedness and general lack of self-control. Back in the ‘90s, the hero Rage made the Avengers reconsider their anti-teenage policy. He was only 13, when he was exposed to some toxic waste. Elvin Haliday then acquired the body of a full-grown man.
With superhuman strength and toughness, he seemed a perfect fit for the Avengers. Unfortunately, his attitude and lack of maturity stuck out like a sore thumb.
Trouble came when he got caught concealing his age. Captain America kicked him off the team when he learned Rage was barely in middle school. The MCU is already dealing with one teen superhero, i.e. Spider-Man, and likely doesn’t have a spot for another.
Quasar was effectively Marvel’s version of DC Comics’ Green Lantern. The fact that he was such a blatant rip-off did nothing to earn the character any respect. Raised in Wisconsin, Wendell Elvis Vaughn, after becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. found himself coming across a set of Power-Bands. Following that, Wendall became Quasar and was designated as the Protector of the Universe. Though not inherently a bad character, there wasn’t much originality to him.
His adventures were weird and only got weirder and more bizarre as time wore on. His time with the Avengers lasted quite a while, but he never seemed to utilize the power of someone who supposedly had enough power to safeguard the entire universe. The MCU currently has the Guardians of the Galaxy for all their cosmic adventure needs, so we probably won’t be seeing Quasar anytime soon.