20 Avengers: Who Are Weaker Than Fans Thought? And Who Are Even Stronger?
The Avengers aren’t called Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for nothing. While the roster is an ever-spinning revolving door, the basic concept of teaming some of the Marvel universe’s best and brightest remains a solid one and shows that when heroes get on the same page, there are very few threats they can’t overcome.
Marvel fans are currently enjoying an embarrassment of riches. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most profitable movie series of all time, and it seems warnings of “superhero fatigue” aren’t ringing true as of yet with Avengers: Infinity War recently becoming the fastest movie to reach the coveted billion dollar mark at the box office.
Even outside of the money-gobbling movies, there are the numerous TV shows, that have fleshed out some of the less-famous superheroes and made them household names.
With so many characters, there’s always a temptation to see how they stack up against each other. Comic books have been doing this for years, with hero vs. hero stories often adding more fuel to the fire when it comes to who would best who in a fight.
On a related note, we decided to go back through the comics and look for printed evidence when it came to the power rankings, making note of any specific strengths and weaknesses when they came up.
This yielded some surprising (and not so surprising) results and we figured we’d list them.
Here are the 10 Avengers Who Are Weaker Than Fans Thought (And 10 Who Are Even Stronger).
20. WEAKER: LUKE CAGE
On the surface, it’s hard to imagine much that could trouble Luke Cage. The dude is incredibly strong (capable of lifting anywhere up to fifty tons) and has unbreakable skin.
While not near the same level as healers like Wolverine and Deadpool, Cage does have a healing factor too, stated to be around one third of the average human’s level of rehabilitation.
This mix of powers and abilities have proven to be a potent combination and have served him very well over the decades, basically turning him into a walking tank of a man.
Luke Cage may be thought of as practically indestructible, but that isn’t the case.
While bullets and conventional bladed weapons pose no danger to him, Luke is still vulnerable to explosions and hits from some of the Marvel universe’s strongest villains.
Fans of the Netflix series will no doubt be familiar with Cage’s biggest weakness. If Luke is seriously hurt and suffers internal injuries, regular medical science can’t help him.
The average hospital doesn’t have access to Vibranium needles or superpowered lasers, so doctors struggle to operate on him as their standard array of surgical tools simply break on contact with his skin.
In The Pulse #6, Luke and Jessica Jones’ apartment is blown up and the blast puts Cage into a coma and the medical staff can’t do anything to help. Cage would eventually recover, but it’s a reminder that the Hero of Harlem isn’t quite as invulnerable as his reputation suggests.
19. STRONGER: BLACK WIDOW
Most people would tell you that Black Widow doesn’t have superpowers. This is true to a certain extent, but it ignores the knock-off Soviet Super-Soldier Serum she was given as part of her super-spy training.
According to Red Room scientist Dr. Lyudmila Kudrin in Black Widow Vol. 3 #5, the Soviets significantly boosted baby Natasha’s immune and cell repair capabilities, meaning that not only can she heal four to five times as fast as the normal human rate.
In terms of sheer strength, it has to be said that Romanova is left in the dust by the majority of her Avengers teammates, but she’s no slouch.
The serum and her training have given her peak human strength, speed, agility and stamina, with her abilities outstripping the finest Olympic athletes.
If you want some old-school proof that Black Widow is the business, we need only look at Marvel Two-In-One #10, where Widow lays a one-woman siege on an enemy base, taking out an army of hundred men with a combination of stealth, precision strikes and plenty of good old-fashioned butt-kicking.
Natasha is also a very tough opponent to put down. In Black Widow Vol. 4 #3, she manages to fight dangerous assassin Elektra to a stalemate.
This is an already impressive feat, made all the more remarkable by the fact that she did it having undergone major surgery mere days before their encounter. Sure, she can’t lift a truck over her head, but she’s a valuable asset to any Avengers squad.
18. WEAKER: IRON MAN
Tony Stark’s genius intellect, near-limitless resources and gift for invention enabled him to hang with The Avengers’s heaviest hitters.
As Iron Man, he’s constantly re-inventing and updating his suits. If something comes along that trumps his current tech, you can bet that he’ll return to the drawing board to figure out a solution.
As he adapts to fix any figurative and literal chinks in his armor, you could be forgiven for thinking that given enough time, he can overcome pretty much any challenge thrown his way. This is true, but the biggest thing standing in Tony’s way is Tony himself.
Stark has well-documented personality defects that have seriously hindered his superheroics. The most obvious one is his alcoholism, which was highlighted in the famous Demon in a Bottle arc starting in Iron Man #120.
Like with most addiction issues, Tony is constantly in recovery, but has fallen off the wagon many times, usually under times of exceptional stress.
As Iron Man writer Matt Fraction once said, “He has a big gaping hole in his chest that he has to keep shoving things into. You don’t need a road map and a flashlight to figure out the symbolism there.”
Be it his battle with the bottle, his need to fuel his ego or his womanizing, Stark has a void that he’s trying to fill. He’s a powerful ally to have in a fight, but his persistent personal issues stop him from being a completely reliable presence.
17. STRONGER: IRON FIST
No matter your feelings on the notoriously divisive Netflix series, it probably wouldn’t be too controversial to say that perhaps the show didn’t showcase the best of Danny Rand aka the Immortal Iron Fist.
Even The Defenders series sidelined Rand and if you’re a more casual fan, you may walk away with the impression that there’s nothing particularly special about the protector of K’un-Lun.
However, let’s not forget that Danny had to beat a straight-up dragon to become Iron Fist in the first place. When he started in the comics, his strength was considered to be at the peak of human ability, but after he absorbed the chi of the previous Iron Fist, Orson Randall, his powers were amped to superhuman levels.
He was also given a book containing the wisdom and techniques of previous Iron Fists, which Danny studied, learning many secrets to help him on his heroic path.
Even without harnessing his chi, Danny is no joke, as he’s a master martial artist, capable of dipping into any number of fighting styles at a moment’s notice.
With his chi, it’s a different story altogether. He’s beaten ridiculously tough characters like Colossus and gone toe-to-toe with The Hulk.
In New Avengers #59, Danny destroys a helicarrier with a single charged punch. Outside of shows of sheer power, Rand can also absorb energy to augment his own strength, catch bullets out of the air and even hypnotize people.
16. WEAKER: CAPTAIN AMERICA
The Super-Soldier Serum that was given to Steve Rogers has had a massive impact on the Marvel universe.
Not only did it turn Steve into Captain America, but there have been many scientists and chemists who have tried to synthesize their own versions of the formula, with very mixed results.
As strong as Captain America is, he’s not as strong as you may think, with fellow Avengers like Black Panther, Spider-Man and even ostensible knock-off US Agent boasting superior levels of strength.
He’s described as being the peak human specimen, but this falls short of true superhuman abilities.
Over the years, one of Cap’s more glaring weaknesses is his susceptibility to mind control.
He’s been brainwashed many times and this usually results in him abandoning all his core values and fighting for some morally bankrupt causes.
While he has accelerated healing, he can’t simply shrug off serious damage without significant recuperation.
Though his hand-to-hand combat skills take some beating and he has plenty of attributes to level the playing field (including mastery in the use of his shield), Steve is still human underneath it all and it makes him far more vulnerable than some of the true superhumans on the team.
15. STRONGER: MONICA RAMBEAU/SPECTRUM
There will be a few of you who may not know who Monica Rambeau is. She’s gone by many aliases in the past, most famously as one of the many Captain Marvels way before Carol Danvers ever assumed the role.
She’s also been known as Pulsar, Photon, Sun Goddess, Daystar, but her current incarnation is that of Spectrum.
As the name would suggest, Spectrum can transform herself into any form of energy along the electromagnetic spectrum. This means that she can turn into a being of pure light, microwaves, gamma radiation and electricity amongst others, making her a very powerful and varied hero.
In terms of sheer muscle power, she is lacking, but more than makes up for it with her incredible quickness, as she is able to push herself to anywhere from the speed of sound to lightspeed.
Over her career, Monica has managed to outrun and blitz legendary speedsters like Quicksilver and Hermes. She can also fly, make herself invisible and fire energy blasts from her hands.
Despite villainess Moonstone’s superior strength, Rambeau has beaten her soundly on several occasions. Then there’s also her big fight with the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern in JLA/Avengers #2.
While Rayner initially gets the upper hand, it doesn’t take long for Rambeau to figure out how to overcome his powers and drain them, making herself stronger in the process.
14. WEAKER: WONDER MAN
Simon Williams aka Wonder Man is arguably one of the strongest heroes the Avengers have ever had in their line-up.
The limits of his strength haven’t been tested, but he’s classified as being above the Class 100 bracket. He’s also incredibly durable, crazy fast and immortal.
So why is he weaker than you may expect? Well, he has a ton of potential, but his biggest weakness is his own mind.
Williams has struggled with mental health problems and he’s suffered full-on mental breakdowns. During these periods, he’s even attacked his Avengers teammates, believing them to be the cause of all the negativity in his life.
Mental health, even in fictional terms, shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, but it’d be fair to say that it has prevented him from becoming the hero he’s capable of being.
Having a superpowered brute who’s practically invulnerable on your side is a boon for any superhero squad, but due to his condition, it can’t be guaranteed that he’ll continue to fight the good fight and won’t turn on his allies.
Then there’s also his decision in Uncanny Avengers. After a particularly nasty breakdown, Williams becomes a complete pacifist, shunning his past and refusing to fight, even if his life depends on it.
He may have unexplored potential when it comes to his raw strength, but if he isn’t willing to suit up and fight, it makes all his powers kind of pointless.
13. STRONGER: THOR
Fans only familiar with the MCU may have been surprised when Thor got a significant power boost in Thor: Ragnarok. However, for comic fans, it’s been a long time coming.
Thor Odinson is one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel universe period and it’s nice to see Chris Hemsworth’s Thor start to align with his printed counterpart.
However, movie Thor has still got a way to go.
Thor is the product of two different kinds of awesome meeting. On one side he’s half Asgardian, a powerful god-like race with superhuman attributes. On the other side, he’s half Elder God, which pushes his power far beyond the reach of the Asgardians.
In terms of sheer feats of strength, Thor has a truckload to choose from. He lifted the Midgard Serpent, an ancient space snake that is big and strong enough to wrap the Earth in its coils and crush it.
He’s battled the Hulk to a stalemate for an hour, as seen in Journey into Mystery #112. If that wasn’t enough, in Mighty Thor Vol. 2 #7 he punched the Viking Hulk Bodolf through the center of the Earth.
A conversation about Thor’s power isn’t complete without at least a passing mention of one of his most impressive feats – resisting the vast gravitational pull of a neutron star in Thor #281.
12. WEAKER: WOLVERINE
Wolverine is an asset to any team he’s on. His regenerative healing makes him able to withstand unbelievable levels of punishment and still keep fighting.
He’s an expert combatant and normally attacks his enemies with a level of ferocity unmatched by his teammates.
However, while his adamantium skeleton and claws have granted him durability almost beyond compare, that doesn’t mean that he’s the strongest by a long shot.
Logan has superhuman levels of strength, but he’s outmatched by Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Beast to name a few.
Then there’s also the laundry list of weaknesses that he has. His superpowered senses are normally a huge advantage in tracking and avoiding enemies, but they can be overloaded.
In Incredible Hulk #340, Hulk’s thunder claps nearly have very serious and permanent consequences as the deafening sound nearly puts him down for good.
Wolverine also had a very specific weakness in the past known as the Muramasa Blade. The mystical sword could withstand strikes from his claws and even “slice” Cyclops’ eye beams.
In Wolverine: Origins #4, Logan receives a minor nick from the blade. Minor cuts are nothing to Wolverine, but this was different. The injury persisted and suppressed his healing factor considerably, taking days to finally heal.
The one surefire way of taking Wolverine out of the picture for good seems to be drowning. The key is to cut off his brain’s oxygen supply, something which his healing abilities, as strong as they are, can’t overcome.
11. STRONGER: KAMALA KHAN/MS. MARVEL
Kamala Khan hasn’t been around nearly as long as many Marvel heroes, so she hasn’t enjoyed nearly as much notoriety as her other Avenger cohorts.
For those of you unfamiliar with the current Ms. Marvel, she’s basically Ant-Man and Mister Fantastic rolled into one.
She can stretch and deform her body to practically any size or shape, even able to change her appearance and mimic other characters. All of these abilities mean that she’s extremely handy in a fight.
Her strength depends on her size, but when she “embiggens” herself, she can throw down with the best of them.
In Champions #1, she saves multiple train cars from toppling by catching it in one giant hand and she’s been shown to be particularly effective against giant city-destroying robots, even headbutting one to pieces in Ms. Marvel #8.
One of her best moments came in Secret Warriors #1, when she stops a Hydra convoy with the help of Quake and Moon Girl (and Devil Dinosaur, obviously), lobbing and stomping on armored trucks like they were nothing before storming an Inhuman prison camp.
In her giant form, Kamala simply slaps about 10 soldiers skywards with one mighty swing of her arm.
Oh, and she’s also wrestled a kaiju in All-New All-Different Avengers #1. That’s a big tick in the strong column right there.
10. WEAKER: SCARLET WITCH
As Wanda Maximoff has reality altering powers, she should be right up there with some of the Marvel universe’s phenomenally powerful beings right? Well, yes and no.
While she can alter reality to her whim, as seen in the House of M event, with all that power there must come responsibility and accountability, things which Wanda tends to lack.
The thing with Scarlet Witch is that she’s at the mercy of her own mind.
She’s displayed mental instability, bouts of depression and even full-blown breakdowns, all of which makes her a potentially dangerous and uncontrollable force. The personal losses and trauma she’s faced in her life would be enough to drive anyone to breaking point, but her chaos magic wears away at her sanity too.
She’s been possessed by an evil force on more than one occasion and her fragile mental state can leave her open to manipulation by people like her father Magneto.
One of the most dramatic instances of this in action is in The Avengers #503 where she loses all grip on reality and is convinced that the Avengers are trying to take her children away from her.
In a burst of reality-altering power, she erased Vision, Scott Lang and Hawkeye, basically dissembling the Avengers in one fell swoop.
She fights her remaining friends before Dr. Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to show her the truth. Her mind can’t take it and she collapses into a coma.
9. STRONGER: SCOTT LANG/ANT-MAN
Scott Lang is mostly seen as a punchline in the comics. That’s not to say he’s not very good, it’s just that writers tend to portray him as the butt of the joke thanks to his attitude and quipping.
As we should all know by now, Scott Lang inherited the Ant-Man mantle from Henry “Hank” Pym, after Scott broke into his house and stole the suit.
Pym was impressed with Lang’s showing and told Scott he could keep the suit, provided he used it for lawful purposes only.
As Ant-Man, Scott uses Pym Particles to grow and shrink, giving him an adaptability that’s hard to beat. As Giant-Man, his strength is more than doubled, making him a true heavy-hitter.
In terms of feats, we couldn’t go much further without referencing his victory over Doctor Doom, especially as he’s fond of bringing it up. WHile Doom had admittedly been weakened and been beaten on by other heroes, it’s Lang that gets his own epic moment in FF #16.
Scott systematically dismantles Doom’s armor piece by piece before throwing him around like a ragdoll. Scott embarrasses Doom, even going as far as to drag him around by the foot, berating him before slamming him into another tunnel wall.
8. WEAKER: THADDEUS ROSS/ RED HULK
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross initially became the Red Hulk as part of a revenge scheme against his nemesis er… actual Hulk. After many twists and turns, he ended up fighting for good and became part of the Avengers.
Considering he’s basically the OG Hulk with red coloring, he became one of the strongest in the Marvel universe. However, there are some crucial differences between him and Bruce Banner.
Firstly, instead of rage making him bigger and stronger, it’s radiation. Red Hulk constantly gives off gamma radiation, sometimes to such extreme levels it can appear that he’s on fire and he can even give off a devastating explosion with serious destructive power.
He isn’t quite as impervious as the Banner Hulk though, especially when it comes to bladed weapons. Even the Punisher managed to cut him and he struggled against Wolverine’s constant barrage of claw strikes.
He’s also weak to mental attacks from psychics and especially susceptible to mind control.
It’s great to have a Hulk on your side, but considering he can be turned against you by psychics, it makes him a big, red, glowing target to mess with and turn the fight against his Avengers squadmates.
Of course, that one time where he combined the forces of Ghost Rider and Venom in the Circle of Four arc made him significantly more powerful and was awesome, despite not making much sense.
7. STRONGER: MANTIS
In the MCU, Mantis is portrayed as a powerful telepath and empath, able to quieten down even the most disturbed and uneasy of minds. She’s like this in the comics too, but she’s got way more to offer.
She’s a highly trained warrior that has mastered many forms of martial arts as well as having complete control over her body, spirit and mind.
Even though her physical strength isn’t particularly noteworthy, she doesn’t need brute force in order to be effective.
She’s managed to win fights against much stronger and tougher opponents using her speed and utilizing nerve strikes.
She even managed to knock out Thor with a precise blows to pressure points. To be fair, the God of Thunder was distracted, but it’s a feat in its own right.
Not only that, but Mantis can astrally project herself, has precognition, can control plants and has pyrokinesis.
Those last two may not seem like the best, but she used a combination of these powers to devastating effect against Groot, changing his sap to be flammable and then…well, you can guess the rest.
She’s a loveable goofball in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers:Infinity War, but we’re hoping she really gets to show what she can do in future instalments.
6. WEAKER: HAWKEYE
Despite not having superpowers, Clint Barton has been an Avengers regular for decades. That’s something, but it has to be said that based on the comic book evidence, Hawkeye comes up short against Black Widow, his nearest competition on the Avengers side.
He’s a near-perfect marksman, an expert acrobat and a cunning fighter, but he does have one weakness that you might not expect if you’re only familiar with the movies.
Clint has spent a lot of his time with impaired hearing. He was 80% deaf until he was reborn with restored hearing thanks to Franklin Richards.
He was deafened again in Hawkeye Vol. 4 #15 by creepy villain The Clown, who used Barton’s own arrows to cause lasting damage to his ears. Four issues later, Clint reveals that his abusive father left him with partial deafness and that he’s managed ever since.
He’s eventually helped out by Tony Stark, but you can imagine how a limited range of hearing could be a problem for someone who has all the weaknesses of an average human and who gets into fights and dangerous situations as part of their job.
Hawkeye did have a brief brush with superpowerdom thanks to Pym Particles, but this didn’t last very long.
5. STRONGER: BEAST
Although Beast is better known as a founding member of the X-Men, he’s also been part of the Avengers, the Defenders and the X Factor.
Beast has brains and brawn on his side as Dr. McCoy is considered one of the eighth smartest people on the planet. His mutation has granted him all sorts of powers, including incredible strength (capable of lifting up to ten tons) and superhuman levels of agility, dexterity and durability.
Beast can throw cars and uproot trees without breaking a sweat and can even cause minor earthquakes by striking the ground.
He’s also the king of multi-tasking, able to balance complex tasks by using his hands on one task and his feet on another. His claws have also proved especially helpful, able to rip and tear metal as well as enabling him to scale sheer walls and cliffs.
One of his most notable fights is against Kraven the Hunter in X-Men: The Hidden Years #17. In the story Hunter & Hunted, we flashback to a pre-fur Beast facing off against Kraven in the jungle. Kraven’s traps prove to be ineffective and it soon boils down to a slugfest.
While Kraven gets some decent hits in, it’s all Beast as he mercilessly beats down Kravinoff. McCoy actually loses his cool and has to be stopped by Cyclops before he does any lasting damage to the infamous hunter.
4. WEAKER: HULK
Okay, we know that the Hulk is one of the strongest beings in the Marvel universe. As Bruce Banner’s condition allows him to get bigger and stronger the angrier he gets, Hulk has a near limitless capacity for pure power.
However, as the Hulk is one of the strongest, comic writers have had to find ways to limit his strength. After all, a superhero with incredible strength that never loses or even appears like they’re going to lose would be a boring prospect.
There have been numerous ways that Hulk has had his powers nerfed and they’ve stacked up over the decades of stories.
In earlier comics, Hulk was weak to powerful energy manipulators and high doses of gamma radiation. In Incredible Hulk #276, Banner faces off against the returning U-Foes. One of the U-Foes, X-Ray, hits the Hulk with a full blast of gamma rays, turning Hulk into puny Banner again.
In The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, Spidey fights Hulk as part of a test to get into the Avengers and he manages to transform Hulk back into Banner after the Hulk smashes the wall of a gamma radiation containment unit and is doused into its rays.
Toxic gases and toxins in general have also stopped the Hulk in his tracks, but he’s never out for very long.
The biggest weakness Hulk has is rage nullification, with the calming presence of Betty Ross being the prime example of this.
3. STRONGER: SPIDER-MAN
When Peter Parker was bitten by that fateful spider, he was imbued with, among other powers, the “proportional strength of a spider.”
In real terms, this shakes out to be more than ten tons in sheer lifting strength, although he’s capable of much more given the right circumstances. One of the key tenets of Spider-Man’s personality is the super famous mantra “with great power, there must also come great responsibility.”
Spidey is ridiculously powerful, but it’s implied that he’ll never test the full limits of his true strength because he feels that that would be crossing the line.
The easiest example of Peter’s actual strength is weirdly when Otto Octavius body-swaps with him during the Superior Spider-Man arc. At Otto has none of the morality that Peter had, he finds that he’s way stronger than he anticipated, breaking the Scorpion’s jaw with a single punch.
Then there’s also the time he beat the X-Men on his own in Secret Wars. Peter has also stalemated expert combatants like Captain America, Iron Fist, and Shang-Chi in the past too
. You could make the argument that Spider-Man’s unwillingness to push himself to the limit is a weakness, but he’s managed to defeat many huge threats without having to resort to digging down deep and unleashing his true potential.
2. WEAKER: THE SENTRY
Again, considering Sentry is about on par with the Hulk in terms of strength and power, putting him in the weaker pile may seem odd.
However, as is a running theme on this list, Sentry’s gifts are also his curse. Robert Reynolds was once an addict who broke into a laboratory looking for things to sell for his next fix.
He discovered a glowing serum and drank it, which gave him the power of “ a million exploding suns.” Reynolds became a Class 100+ being and things worked out for a short while.
Then came the Void. The Void is a shadowy corruptive and powerful force capable of destroying life and planets.
It turned out that the Void was actually a manifestation of Reynolds’ own repressed side and is powered by the same energy that the Sentry was created with. From that point on, Reynolds has had to fight a constant inner battle to keep the Void at bay.
Robert’s psyche is not the healthiest around, so he’s open to mental manipulation.
Not only that, but he’s not particularly good at fighting either, normally relying on his sheer strength and other powers to defeat his enemies.
When Hercules (himself an excellent fighter) squares off against the Dark Avengers in Incredible Hercules #128, he continually embarrasses Sentry, grabbing him by the cape and whipping him around.
Hercules uses Reynolds’ combat inexperience to his advantage, almost swatting him away, despite Sentry being stronger.
1. STRONGER: DOCTOR STRANGE
Scarlet Witch may have a reputation for magical mastery and reality-bending powers, but Doctor Stephen Strange pretty much has her beaten.
The key differences seem to be not only better control over his own mind, but that fact that Strange has mastered all kinds of magic, not just witchcraft.
Strange’s bag of tricks seems endless and he usually has a magical solution for any problem. He can conjure objects, fly, create magical shields, manipulate time itself, hypnotize people, banish evil to other dimensions and that isn’t even half of it.
One of the good doctor’s most impressive feats is facing off against an Infinity Gauntlet wielding Adam Warlock in Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #36. Warlock has gone mad with power and when Strange meets him in space, he’s literally juggling the solar system.
Adam attacks, but Strange conjures several of his artifacts to help in the fight. He has an answer for each Infinity Gem in turn before bringing the fight to a stalemate.
Strange pushes his advantage and uses the Eye of Agamotto to link with the Soul Gem and projects a possible future into Adam’s very soul. This convinces Warlock to give up and he even ends up apologizing to Strange. Now that’s power.