After decades of epic storytelling, the list of comic book characters in the Marvel universe is longer than the wait between the end of a Marvel film and that tantalizing end-credits scene. And the mighty Avengers are often named as some of the favorites in the Marvel comics.
So who would you choose if you had to narrow your list down to the most popular Avengers characters?
While this question may seem harder than Tony Stark’s decision to use the Infinity Gauntlet, or deciding what the top ten Marvel movies of all time are, our team of Marvel-loving superheroes at CultureFly is here to help. All you need to do is grab your Captain America shield, Wanda Maximoff red leather jacket, or Bruce Banner’s Hulk hands and read on.
In the words of Captain America, “Avengers, assemble!”1
#1 Iron Man
Played by Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man consistently ranks as one of the most popular characters, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—and for a good reason.
Not only does he possess an intelligence that makes physicists at MIT feel like they’re back in grade school, Tony Stark has the charm, confidence, and charisma to make fellow superheroes follow his lead and villains wish they never landed on the wrong side of “neutral evil.”
That said, Tony Stark is alluring not just because he possesses admirable qualities, but also because he possesses less-than-stellar qualities that make him seem fully human. In fact, one could argue that it’s precisely Tony’s complexity, like the drinking problem that landed on the strongest Marvel villains list, that gives Iron Man his enduring legacy.
Tony’s complexity manifests in the following ways:2
Tony’s complexity is the reason why he resonates with us and why we have so much love for the high-tech (and high-maintenance) superhero. If you love Tony’s swagger as much as we do, celebrate your fandom with a Marvel Avengers Collectors Box that comes with an Iron Man LED light and other official Marvel Avengers accessories.
If you find yourself pining over the mighty Thor, you’re in good company. We, too, find the brawny God of Thunder mesmerizing. From the physical strength that almost landed him the top spot of strongest Marvel heroes, to his love-hate relationship with his adopted brother Loki, there’s something about Thor that hits harder than Mjølnir.
Thor is the quintessential super hero. He’s strong and fearless, radiating positive energy that screams, “Oh, yeah, bad guy? Come and take it!” He’s also quite funny—especially when he first arrives on Earth as clueless as an Asgardian fish out of water. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Thor is played by Ur-Man Chris Hemsworth. With his long locks and sensitive machismo, Hemsworth could make pouring coffee look cool.
There are so many moments in Thor’s character arc that make him a favorite in our books:
- His obliviousness when it comes to social cues
- His Dad-Bod videogame nerd phase
Even so, the lightning-wielding superhero does more than elicit sparks from the sky; he also conjures sparks in our hearts.
One of the hallmarks of contemporary superhero universes is the erasure of clear,
“good-bad” distinctions. Sure, some enemies are eviler than others, but the idea that a character can be wholly good or purely bad is an outdated, binary way of seeing the world. This is why Loki, the ultimate anti-hero, is one of the most compelling Marvel comics characters.
The son of the ruler of the Frost Giants in Jotunheim, Loki initially opposes Thor and the Avengers, going so far as to open up a portal above New York City for the Chitauri invasion in The Avengers. However, after much screen-time (and much brotherly pestering between Thor and Loki), Loki eventually allies with the Avengers until Thanos breaks his neck (RIP, God of Mischief, see you on DisneyPlus).
Loki’s combination of good and bad qualities is precisely why we love him. In other words, we adore Loki because, in many ways, Loki is us (albeit a Frost Giant version of us who manages to look cool even in the deepest recesses of space).
Loki’s good qualities include:3
- His sense of humor (the theater production scene in Thor: Ragnarok, anyone?)
- His emotional intelligence
- His ability to come back to life (is he ever really dead?)
- His love for his mother, Frigga
However, with the good comes the bad, and Loki has a ton of bad. These bad qualities include:
- His impulsivity
- His villainous streak
- His insecurities
- His tendency to betray
Like everyone’s favorite little brother, Loki can make you laugh, scream, and cry within a few minutes.
#4 Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of King T’Challa of Wakanda did more than secure the film an Oscar nomination—it also secured Black Panther’s place in the pantheon of the best Marvel studios characters.
Black Panther’s allure stems from the fact that, in addition to his immense intelligence and courage, he’s an exceptionally benevolent ruler in a world that prides itself on strong men rather than strong virtues. Like the vibranium he’s sworn to protect, he’s powerful and respected. Yet he’s also peaceful and pragmatic, representing the pacifist side to Killmonger’s “take no prisoners” approach.
In many ways, Black Panther embodies Machiavellian traits without being Machiavellian. He’s a gifted, gentle ruler who’s more inclined to use the pen over the vibranium spear. That said, he’s not afraid to don a seriously-sleek nanotech suit and put the hurt on some baddies should the need arise.
If you can’t get enough of Black Panther, relish in the glories of Wakanda by checking out the Black Panthers Collectors Box from CultureFly. In addition to a ceramic mug and wristband pouch, the box comes with a snapback hat that screams “Wakanda forever!”
#5 Scarlet Witch
Like Loki, the Scarlet Witch is a complex Marvel character to place on the good-evil spectrum. Is she a devoted wife and mother thrown into action by forces outside her control? Yes. Is she capable of truly heinous destruction while following the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? Also yes.
In short, the Scarlet Witch’s complexity makes her blaze hotter than her sapphire leather jackets and corsets. (Transylvania meets Paris Fashion Week, anyone?).
Besides her fabulous wardrobe, the Scarlet Witch (aka Wanda Maximoff) dazzles us for the following reasons:
Whether embodying the quintessential suburban mother or the ultra-powerful witch, Wanda Maximoff casts a spell over us.
Known as the Mad Titan and Lord of a Thousand Hilarious Memes (at least to us), Thanos’ popularity is only eclipsed by his gargantuan proportions. He’s strong and strategic, cunning and sensitive. He’s also one of the most complex villains in Marvel’s Avengers universe.
Thanos’ intrigue stems from his life’s mission to cut the universe’s population in half by acquiring the Infinity Stones. However, though he has genocidal tendencies, he also manifests a selfless pragmatism that makes him the ultimate “anti-hero’s anti-hero.” In other words, if the utilitarians had their own deity, it would most likely be Thanos.
This is why the Mad Titan is so hard to root for or against. In a world where many are driven by power, Thanos is driven by purpose—however misguided it may seem.
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Whether you're drawn towards Iron Man’s wit, the Scarlet Witch’s debonair vibe, Black Panther’s swagger, or Thanos’s insatiable drive, we have the collectibles to make you shine.
As the legendary Stan Lee once wrote for Nick Fury, “I still believe in heroes.”1 At CultureFly, we do too.
- Sideshow. The Very Best Avengers Quotes from the MCU. https://www.sideshow.com/blog/top-10-avengers-quotes-in-mcu/
- Screenrant. MCU: Iron Man's 5 Best Traits (& His 5 Worst). https://screenrant.com/mcu-iron-man-best-worst-traits/
- Screenrant. MCU: Loki’s 5 Best Traits (& His 5 Worst Ones). https://screenrant.com/marvel-cinematic-universe-loki-best-worst-character-traits/