No one can be perfect, not even a superhero. Nor should we expect anyone to be perfect. Not only is that an unfairly high standard to hold anyone to, but from a narrative standpoint, it’s just plain boring. That being said, not all imperfections should be tolerated. There is a world of difference between occasionally stealing your teammate’s clearly marked leftovers out of the community fridge and, say, brainwashing your teammate into helping you conquer a planet.
Any team as large and as long-lasting as the Avengers is bound to attract a few bad apples from time to time. To help you figure out which of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are most deserving of your rage, we’ve assembled a list of fifteen of the biggest creeps to ever join the Avengers. And if you see one of your favorite heroes on this list, don’t fret! The constant retcons and reboots that characterize superhero comics make it easy to ignore a character’s sordid past if you want to. But ignoring is not the same as forgetting, and there are some things that need to be brought up once in a while, if only to remind ourselves of why no comic should ever, ever mention them again.
As soon as he joins the Avengers, Hawkeye becomes infatuated with the Scarlet Witch. At no point does she give even the slightest indication that she’s interested in him. Does that stop Hawkeye from pursuing her? Nope! He continues to crudely hit on her and even forcibly kisses her, despite knowing she doesn’t like him that way.
But Scarlet Witch isn’t the only Avenger with cause to file a restraining order against our obnoxious archer. He and the Black Widow dated for a while but ultimately broke it off. When Hawkeye learns she’s been hanging out with Daredevil in California, he heads out west to talk to her. She isn’t home, so Hawkeye makes like a stalker and climbs a nearby tree to wait for her to return. We’re still hoping for a comic where Black Widow and Scarlet Witch to team up to kick Hawkeye’s tail feathers.
Starfox’s main power is making people fall in love, either with him or with a person of his choice. So no one should have been surprised when he was eventually charged with assault. Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) defends him, but the more time she spends with him, the more infatuated she becomes with her boyfriend, John Jameson. The couple even runs off to Vegas to marry, much to the horror of their friends and family.
To be fair, Starfox isn’t entirely responsible for his actions here. His brother Thanos is also fond of mind games and manipulated Starfox into manipulating Jennifer and John. Starfox even agrees to give up his powers rather than risk hurting anyone else. That doesn’t mean Starfox doesn’t deserve a spot on this list, though. Hell, one of his former teammates, Pulsar, refuses to testify in his defense because he creeped her out.
Moondragon didn’t stay with the Avengers long, because she viewed humans as hopelessly beneath her. Even this snobbery could have been tolerable if she hadn’t tried playing god with the planet Ba-bani, which was in the midst of a catastrophic civil war. Moondragon takes over the minds of everyone on the planet, ending the war and making herself a de facto dictator.
There are, of course, people who object to Moondragon’s enforced peace, chief among them the Avengers and her own father, Drax the Destroyer. She doesn’t hesitate to take control of Drax’s mind, forcing him over to her side and ultimately killing him. To deal with the Avengers, Moondragon seduces Thor, forcing him to sleep with her to cement his devotion to her. You can’t get much creepier than that.
Hank Pym is at least as well-known for abusing Janet van Dyne as he is for his superheroics. He’s slapped her at least three times over the years. The first incident was unequivocally an accident, caused by Hank not noticing Jan was behind him. The third and most infamous incident has been debated for years, with some fans saying it was another accident and others saying he knew exactly what he was doing. But the second incident cannot possibly be explained in any way that makes Hank look good.
In Avengers #90, Yellowjacket and Wasp investigate a jungle that’s appeared in the Arctic. As they approach the jungle, Yellowjacket suspects something bad is about to happen. Rather than retreating and explaining his suspicions like a decent person, he smacks Wasp, knocking her out, and sends her away on the back of a giant insect before forging ahead by himself.
In Avengers #59, a chemical accident causes Hank Pym to forget who he is and become the villainous Yellowjacket. He goes so far as to build himself an evil hideout and kidnap Jan. Fortunately, he comes to his senses enough to release her, but Jan gets an idea. Hank had previously expressed doubts about marrying her, so Jan decides to arrange a wedding as quickly as possible. That way, they can wed before Hank recalls his true identity and all his old doubts. That’s totally legal and ethical, right?
This isn’t even the last time Jan was emotionally abusive toward the man she claims to love. More than once, Hank has had doubts about staying with the Avengers. But when he dares voice his misgivings in front of Jan, she all but threatens to divorce him if he doesn’t do what she wants.
10. MR. FANTASTIC
While more famous as a member of the Fantastic Four, Reed and Sue Richards joined the Avengers starting in Avengers #300. Despite the brevity of their time with the team, Reed has been a creep enough times over the years to more than earn him a place on this list. It’s hard to know where to begin listing his slimy moments, to be honest. Do we start with how he spent most of the ’60s telling Sue things like “wives should be kissed — and not heard?”
Or maybe the multiple times he nearly killed his own mutant son to save the world while appearing just barely conflicted about his actions? Or how about his actions during “Civil War”, when he became so obsessed with attacking and jailing his friends that his wife left him in disgust? There’s just so much ickiness to choose from…
9. RICK JONES
Honorary Avenger Rick Jones served as a helper to multiple superheroes, including Captain America. But while Cap does provide Rick with some training and encourages him to tag along on Avengers missions, his grief over losing his previous sidekick, Bucky Barnes, prevents him from making Rick his official sidekick. Rick cares not for his mentor’s trauma and tries to force the issue.
One day, for absolutely no good reason, Rick decides to snoop around in Captain America’s closet. There, he finds the old Bucky costume and, also for absolutely no good reason, puts it on. Because that’s what a good sidekick does, right? Go through the hero’s stuff and put on their dead friend’s clothes without permission? Needless to say, Cap does not react well.
Mantis, an empath and martial arts expert from Vietnam, first encounters the Avengers when her paramour, former Avengers foe the Swordsman, joins the team. Swordsman is utterly devoted to her, thanks to the fact that she pulled him out of his depression and alcoholism. But while Mantis at first seems equally in love with Swordsman, she soon proves to be rather more fickle than her devoted beau.
The trouble starts when Mantis meets the Vision. Fascinated by Scarlet Witch’s synthezoid boyfriend, Mantis quickly loses interest in the Swordsman. She determinedly pursues the Vision, uncaring of the fact that he’s already involved with someone else. As the icing on the cake, when Mantis finally gets around to dumping the Swordsman, she does so as callously as possible, calling him weak and generally treating him like something nasty she found in the shower drain.
Eric O’Grady was the perfect choice to take over as Ant-Man, if the goal was to continue the tradition of Ant-Man being a scuzzball. To start with, he acquires his super-suit by stealing it from Hank Pym, who he and his friend Chris McCarthy were supposed to be protecting. Chris gets to the Ant-Man suit first and dies in it, thanks to a sudden Hydra attack. It isn’t until Eric peels the suit off his dead friend’s body that he becomes the new Ant-Man.
But Eric’s skeevy behavior doesn’t end there. Just 12 days after Chris’ death, Eric makes out with Chris’ girlfriend, Veronica, right on top of his grave. Veronica ultimately realizes the wrongness of their actions and leaves, but Eric never quite seems to get it. That’s Ant-Man for you — nothing but class.
Beast is a founding member of the X-Men, but he also had a long and successful stint as an Avenger. He was still with the team in Avengers #200, wherein Ms. Marvel mysteriously becomes pregnant. When he first learns of the pregnancy, rather than comforting his teammate or trying to find the monster who did this to her, Beast gets super excited about the prospect of having a kid around.
When the magical spawn is born after only three days, Beast gushes about how the baby will be a great football player one day. The next time we see him, he’s toting all manner of sports equipment. Now granted, none of the Avengers will be winning any sensitivity awards for their reactions to Ms. Marvel’s situation, but Beast’s oblivious enthusiasm and complete lack of empathy for his clearly distraught teammate are more than enough to put him on this list.
5. IRON MAN
The Avengers may not always get along, but they are still good friends who can count on each other no matter what. At least, that’s the theory. That pretty much went out the window by “Civil War”, when a Thor clone appears in the middle of a battle with deadly results. Where did this clone come from, and who made him?
According to Yellowjacket, the clone was built by resident science geniuses Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man. The genetic material to create the clone came courtesy of Iron Man, who had apparently pilfered one of Thor’s stray hairs almost immediately after joining the team, just in case he needed it someday. Good luck trying to enjoy vintage Avengers comics while knowing that Iron Man was plotting ways to take down his teammates from day one.
In a particularly infamous retcon, it was revealed that the Falcon (aka Sam Wilson) did not become a hero of his own accord. Rather, he was hypnotized into it by Red Skull himself, who wanted to plant someone close enough to Captain America to kill him. This isn’t a bad plan, except for the fact that Red Skull waited six years to reveal that Falcon is under his control.
But Falcon is not on this list because he’s a victim of brainwashing; it’s because the reveal of Red Skull’s assassination plot also revealed Sam’s true origin story. Specifically, he was formerly known as “Snap” Wilson, a mobster who was far more interested in making as much money as he could, however he could, than in doing anything even remotely heroic.
Different cultures have different family values. In the small Baltic country where the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (aka Wanda and Pietro Maximoff) hail from, it is customary for sisters to always obey their brothers without question. Pietro apparently takes this tradition much more seriously than does Wanda, to the point where he views her falling in love against his wishes as an unforgivable offense.
Despite having suffered discrimination his entire life due to his being a mutant, Pietro harbors a seething hatred for the Vision because he’s a synthezoid. When Wanda announces her intention to marry Vision, Pietro loses it. He tells Wanda that she is no longer his sister and refuses to speak to her again unless and until she leaves her beloved. He even “forgets” to invite the Avengers to his own wedding.
One of Jessica Drew’s powers is the ability to secrete pheromones that make her irresistible to everyone in the vicinity. While she does use this power to fight crime, she tends to lose control of it when nervous or overly stressed. This is not her fault. The fact that she keeps this extremely relevant bit of information from her teammates, however, is.
When Spider-Woman does finally explain her powers to her fellow Avengers, it becomes clear just how much her inadvertent pheromone releases affected her teammates. Luke Cage had been questioning his sanity, while Spider-Man believed he was this close to cheating on his wife. Wolverine makes sure to tell her off for hiding such important information. Surprisingly, he’s more polite about it than we would have been.
Namor didn’t join the Avengers until 1985, but he’d been a world-class sleaze for decades before then. In Fantastic Four #4, Namor learns that atomic testing has destroyed Atlantis and resolves to obliterate mankind in retaliation. The Fantastic Four confront him, to no avail. But the moment Namor lays eyes on Sue Storm (then known as the Invisible Girl), his entire attitude changes, though not necessarily for the better.
The very first thing he says to her boils down to, “I think you’re hot. Wanna get married?” Who could resist such a stirring proposal? Sue does agree to the match, but not because she likes him. Rather, she hopes marrying the crazy jerkweed will stop him from destroying New York. Fortunately, the Human Torch sends Namor packing before any wedding bells can be rung.
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