It’s been over 50 years since Marvel’s Mightiest Heroes first assembled in the pages of Avengers (Vol. 1) #1. The issue featured the fortuitous coming together of Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man to take on Loki. Several issues later, Captain America was uncovered from his state of cryogenesis, and the final piece was added to the original Avengers. In the decades that followed, the Avengers evolved and expanded to keep pace with the ever-growing Marvel Universe. As more and more heroes joined the ranks of the Avengers, other branches for the program were formed. By now, there’ve been countless Avengers squads consisting of an expansive variety of characters, so we decided now is the best time to rank the top 25 Avengers rosters in terms of power.
Just in the past decade alone, the main Avengers team has generated numerous offshoots. Teams like the Avengers Unity Division, A-Force, and the Astonishing Avengers have all invited new, and sometimes surprising recruits into the Avengers family. Who would’ve thought that circumstances would align to allow Deadpool or Magneto onto Marvel’s premier squad of heroes? The main Avengers team has also gone through repeated shakeups, welcoming fresh faces like Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, while the Avengers’ black ops division received help from anti-heroes like Venom and Moon Knight. Nowadays, it seems like each Avengers team is more stacked than the last one. But which group of heroes really deserves the title of ‘World’s Mightiest Heroes’? Here’s our ranking for the top 25 most powerful Avengers line-ups.
25. GREAT LAKES AVENGERS
The parodic cousin of the main Avengers, the West Coast Avengers, was introduced in West Coast Avengers (Vol. 2) #46. The original line-up consisted of a crew of C-list oddballs. Taking the lead was Mr. Immortal, a man who couldn’t be ended — no matter how hard he tried.
He was joined by Doorman (who could transform into an interdimensional door), Big Bertha (a Blob-like mutant), Leather Boy (who was without powers), and Flatman (a two-dimensional parody of Mr. Fantastic). Seeing as how the group was a living joke, they aren’t even in the same league as other Avengers teams.
24. AVENGERS: 1959
New Avengers (Vol. 2) #10 revealed that Nick Fury had formed a team of Avengers before Iron Man and company assembled during the early ’60s. This secretive Avengers team consisted of the unlikely gathering of Sabretooth, Silver Sable, Kraven, Dum-Dum Dugan, Namora, Ulysses Bloodstone, and Dominic Fortune.
Unlike the superpowered Avengers that would follow, the squad was little more than a special black ops squad. The team was only together for a brief period to preclude the Red Skull from forming a Fourth Reich.
23. AVENGERS ACADEMY
The Avengers Academy first appeared in Avengers Academy (Vol. 1) #1 as a team of superpowered youngsters trained by veterans to become the next wave of superheroes — or at least, to prevent them from becoming the next wave of supervillains.
The first class featured Striker, Reptil, Veil, Hazmat, and Finesse. Considering how inexperienced they were, the team didn’t do half-bad in their early missions. They proved themselves during the chaotic events of Fear Itself and later held their own against the likes of Arcade and Sebastian Shaw.
22. AVENGERS UNDERCOVER
During Avengers Arena, a group of young heroes was transported to Murderworld to compete in Arcades’s reality-show tournament. The surviving members of the event star in Avengers Undercover as they attempt to infiltrate Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil.
Hazmat, Chase, Nico, Cammi, Cullen Bloodstone, Anachronism, and Death Locket end up going toe-to-toe with some of Marvel’s classic villains, including Constrictor and A.I.M. Despite their youth, the team is successful in putting a stop to Baron Zemo’s latest plot.
21. CAP’S KOOKY QUARTET
The second generation of Avengers was introduced in Avengers (Vol. 1) #16. Captain America stayed to lead the new recruits, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch, while the rest of the original members took time off.
Cap had his hands full with the new recruits who’d all previously played the villain role. The team disparagingly referred to as “Cap’s kooky quartet” looked as if they had no business calling themselves the Avengers. However, the team put all doubts aside as they racked up wins against Kang the Conqueror and Doctor Doom.
20. AVENGERS A.I.
The Avengers Artificial Intelligence Squad first came together in Avengers A.I. (Vol. 1) #1. As the team name indicates, the squad was made of androids, formed to challenge an evil A.I. known as Dimitrios.
The team was comprised of Victor Mancha, Hank Pym, Vision, Protector, and Doombot, and only fought together for a short time before disbanding in Avengers A.I. (Vol. 1) #12. While together, they overcame formidable forces such as the aforementioned Dimitrios, M.O.D.O.C. Squad, and the Kilgor Sentinel.
19. FORCE WORKS
After the original West Coast Avengers disbanded, Iron Man formed Force Works. He recruited U.S. Agent, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, and Wonder Man — who ended up being a casualty during the team’s first mission. What set the team apart from other Avengers squads was Iron Man’s controversial approach toward fighting crime.
Iron Man used a cutting-edge computer equipped with Scarlet Witch’s premonitory power to predict crime so the team could stop would-be criminals. The team experienced near-constant internal conflict when it was together, mainly due to Iron Man’s strange behavior at the time.
18. SECRET AVENGERS
In the aftermath of Siege, Steve Rogers formed a black-ops branch of Avengers to do the work that S.H.I.E.L.D. was previously responsible for. The team’s first roster was comprised of Steve Rogers, Moon Knight, War Machine, Nova, Sharon Carter, Black Widow, Valkyrie, Ant-Man, and Beast.
In their early covert operations, the Secret Avengers combated a mysterious group known as the Shadow Council and had a battle with the Hulk and his Gamma irradiated allies. The team faced their greatest challenge during Fear Itself when they assembled to defend Earth from Sin, the Serpent, and the Worthy.
17. WEST COAST AVENGERS
In preparation for a coming alien threat, Vision established a second branch of Avengers that operated from the west coast. Hawkeye, Tigra, Mockingbird, Iron Man (Jim Rhodes), and Wonder Man assembled in West Coast Avengers (Vol. 1) #1 to take on Graviton.
The team was soon joined by Hank Pym, who’d ditched superhero costumes and aliases altogether, and Scarlet Witch. The team may have had a more laid-back approach than the main Avengers, but when it came to taking on serious threats, they were just as effective.
16. MIGHTY AVENGERS
Following Secret Invasion, the Mighty Avengers line-up consisted of Wasp (Hank Pym), Hulk, Stature, Vision, US Agent, Jocasta, Amadeus Cho, and Hercules. Like the original Avengers, the catalyst for the team’s formation was Loki — although, this time around Loki planned the formation of the team in an effort to take down Norman Osborn.
The team’s first mission involved a battle with the demon Chthon, who’d been masquerading as the Scarlet Witch. Later missions tied in more directly with Dark Reign as the group continued to run into Osborn and his forces.
15. NEW AVENGERS WEST COAST
Over two decades after the original West Coast Avengers disbanded, Kate Bishop (the second Hawkeye) reformed the team in West Coast Avengers (Vol. 3) #1. Besides Clint Barton, the team is composed entirely of up-and-coming heroes. Joining the two Hawkeyes are Kid Omega, Miss America, Gwenpool, and Fuse.
But they aren’t alone on their missions. The team needed funding so they agreed to star in a reality TV show, entailing that a camera crew tags along on their adventures. The new West Coast Avengers are still fresh, having just recently hit shelves. Only time will tell where they rank among other Avengers teams in the long run.
14. U.S. AVENGERS
After Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) was taken over by S.H.I.E.L.D. and renamed American Intelligence Mechanics, the new A.I.M. went forward with their own Avengers program. The result was the short-lived U.S. Avengers, comprised of Red Hulk, Iron Patriot, Squirrel Girl, Citizen V, Enigma, and Cannonball.
During the brief existence, the U.S. Avengers became involved in a cosmic dispute between the Challenger and the Grandmaster, which threw Earth and all of its inhabitants into jeopardy. Exhausted by the event’s end, team leader Citizen V opted to dissolve the team.
13. DARK AVENGERS
After Norman Osborn was deemed a savior in the public eye, he formed his own squad of Avengers. The team consisted of primarily supervillains disguising themselves as superheroes. Osborn took on the role of Iron Patriot and led Sentry, Wolverine (Daken), Ares, Spider-Man (Venom/Mac Gargan), Hawkeye (Bullseye), and Ms. Marvel (Moonstone).
Though the Dark Avengers were the opposite of everything the true Avengers stood for, their collective power level was no joke. Before dissolving during “Siege”, the group of clashed with everybody from the X-Men to Morgan le Fay’s demon hordes.
12. ORIGINAL AVENGERS
In 1963’s Avengers (Vol. 1) #1, Iron Man, Wasp, Ant-Man, Thor, and Hulk first joined forces to battle Loki. With the addition of Captain America in Avengers (Vol. 1) #4, Marvel established the core Avengers that would forever be associated with the name of the team.
Though the original team was only together for a surprisingly short time, they became legends in the eyes of the public. The team overcame the most menacing villains of ’60s Marvel, including Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil, Mole Man, and Kang the Conqueror.
Marvel’s all-female Avengers team first officially assembled in A-Force (Vol. 2) #4. The team’s debut line-up was comprised of some of Marvel’s heaviest hitters and included She-Hulk, Singularity, Dazzler, Captain Marvel, Nico Minoru, and Medusa.
The team came together to help the benign cosmic entity known as Singularity against her evil counterpart, Anti-Matter. A-Force made quick work of their cosmic-tier enemy and went on to battle a new villain going by the name of Countess before disbanding in A-Force (Vol. 2) #10.
10. ALL-NEW ALL-DIFFERENT AVENGERS
An almost entirely new generation of Avengers debuted in All-New, All-Different Avengers (Vol. 1) #1. The “All-New, All-Different” team was comprised of several rookies — Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Nova (Sam Alexander), Thor (Jane Foster), and Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan) — along with veterans Iron Man, Vision, and Captain America (Sam Wilson).
The new powerhouse team’s future looked bright after they picked up a win against the classic Avengers baddie Kang the Conqueror. Unfortunately, Civil War II sent a rift through the team, motivating its younger members to leave and form the Champions.
9. YOUNG AVENGERS
Marvel introduced a new generation of heroes in Young Avengers (Vol. 1) #1. Iron Lad (who’d soon become Vision) traveled back from the future to assemble a team to stop Kang the Conqueror in his latest attempt at world domination. Iron Lad recruited Wiccan, Hulkling, Patriot, the new Hawkeye, and Ant-Man’s daughter, Cassie Lang.
Even with their collective lack of experience, the young heroes had enough chemistry to scrape away with a victory over one of Marvel’s most notorious villains. Since their debut, several of the Young Avengers — notably, Wiccan — have gone onto display tremendous abilities.
8. SECOND GENERATION SECRET AVENGERS
Once Steve Rogers returned to his role as Captain America, Hawkeye took lead over the Secret Avengers and practically reformed the team from bottom-up. Hawkeye’s squad debuted in Secret Avengers (Vol. 1) #22 and featured Beast, Black Widow, Captain Britain, Valkyrie, Agent Venom, and the android Human Torch.
The team wasted no time confronting some of the biggest threats in the MU. The new team’s primary targets were the Descendants, an army of androids deadset on supplanting humankind. After a lengthy conflict, the Secret Avengers succeeded in fending off the global attack.
7. HYDRA AVENGERS
Secret Empire (Vol. 1) #1 saw the debut of a vastly different team of Avengers. After Hydra took over the United States, they formed their own Avengers as a group dedicated to fighting off Hydra’s enemies. The sinister new Avengers consisted of Black Ant, Deadpool, Taskmaster, Superior Octopus, a mind-controlled Vision, a possessed Scarlet Witch, and the unworthy Thor.
After loyally serving Hydra for the first half of Secret Empire, the cracks in the new Avengers team started to show. Thor betrayed the team, Vision and Scarlet Witch broke free of their respective controlling forces.
The Ultimates was the Ultimate MU’s version of the Avengers. The team consisted of Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Quicksilver, and Giant-Man, and was considerably darker than their 616 counterparts.
The members of the team were far from perfect, often crossing moral boundaries we wouldn’t expect from superheroes. Regardless, the Ultimates were incredibly effective against foes they faced. In their day, they stopped alien invasions and opposing teams of superhumans. The original team of Ultimates was devastated by the cataclysmic events of Ultimatum, leading to new line-up.
5. AVENGERS UNITY DIVISION
After the catastrophic events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Captain America resolved to bridge the gap between mutantkind and humankind. His solution was the creation of the Avengers Unity Division — an Avengers team comprised of non-mutants and mutants alike.
During the “All-New, All-Different” era, the roster for the team included Cable, Deadpool, Rogue, Quicksilver, Human Torch, Spider-Man, Synapse, and Doctor Voodoo. While together, they stepped up to some of the toughest challenges imaginable, taking on the Squadron Supreme, the Super-Adaptoid, and a powerful inhuman known as the Shredded Man.
4. ASTONISHING AVENGERS
The aptly named Astonishing Avengers debuted in Avengers & X-Men: Axis (Vol. 1) #2. The supervillain-filled roster of Avengers came together after Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom cast an inversion spell that accidentally included many of Marvel’s heroes and villains.
Thus, those Marvel’s good guys became bad and vice versa. Magneto led the group of inverted villains, which included Carnage, Doctor Doom, Mystique, Enchantress, Sabretooth, and Jack’O Lantern. By the end of the event, the inversion spell was reversed, and all was returned back to normal.
3. ULTIMATES (616)
The main MU’s team of Ultimates came to be in response to Captain Marvel’s desire to proactively stop cosmic threats before they reached Earth. Ultimates (Vol. 2) #1 saw Captain Marvel and her recruits — Black Panther, Miss America, Spectrum, and Blue Marvel — in action together for the first time.
First on the Ultimates’ agenda was Galactus, who’d inevitably attempt to devour Earth. Miraculously, the team discovered a way to alter Galactus’ nature, and the devourer of planets became committed to restoring life to planets.
2. NEW AVENGERS
2005’s New Avengers (Vol. 1) #1 ushered in a new era for the Avengers. The New Avengers had no government affiliation, no funding, and featured several big-name Marvel characters officially joining the Avengers family. The New Avengers were comprised of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Sentry, Iron Man, Spider-Woman (who turned out to be a Skrull), and Captain America.
The team first assembled by chance in response to a huge supervillain breakout and then proceeded onto official missions against the Hand, Hydra, and a highly dangerous entity known as the Collective.
1. ‘HEROES RETURN’ AVENGERS
After a brief time apart, the Avengers reformed bigger and better than ever in Avengers (Vol. 3) #1. For the first arc of the series, the Avengers were a small army comprised of over thirty-five superheroes. Here’s just a sample of team’s monster line-up: Iron Man, Binary, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Namor, Quasar, Spectrum, Captain America, etc.
Marvel’s heroes banded together to take on Morgan le Fay and her reality-warping abilities. Understandably, the Avengers roster was drastically reduced once Morgan le Fey had been defeated.
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