Throughout all their individual and group cinematic outings, the awesome might of the Avengers has been evident to movie-goers everywhere. As formidable as the heroes of the MCU are, how do they compare with the comic book characters upon which they are based?
After all, adapting fantastical characters to film usually reduces them in power and ability to appear more realistic to the general movie-going public, so it’s quite feasible that the comic book versions would be more than able to defeat their cinematic counterparts in battle. This list will look at who would win in battles between the comic and film versions.
10 MCU: BLACK WIDOW
Black Widow is a world-class assassin. Brainwashed from an early age in martial arts, espionage, and weaponry, Natasha Romanoff has been able to hold her own against both onscreen and comic book meta-humans like the Hulk and Captain America.
As effective a fighter as the comics version is, the MCU Black Widow would be able to defeat her. ScarJo’s iteration of the character has rarely seen a sound defeat and can maneuver herself out of almost any compromising situation, while the comics version has been soundly defeated many times over the years.
9 COMICS: SPIDER-MAN
The MCU Spider-Man is at the beginning of his career, and although he’s had a great showing in battles with various heroes and villains, he’s still pretty green at the superhero game.
Conversely, the comic book version of Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for almost sixty years in real-time and fifteen-odd years in the comics, so his experience level and proficiency at fighting everyone from the Green Goblin to Wolverine is off the charts. No offense to Tom Holland, but comics Spidey can whip the MCU one any day.
8 MCU: ANT-MAN
One of the sleeper hits of the MCU was 2015’s Ant-Man, which proved that Marvel could take C-list heroes and make them into bonafide movie stars. No small part of the success of this film was the inspired casting of Paul Rudd in the titular role. His subsequent cameos in Marvel films is an eagerly anticipated highlight.
There’s little doubt MCU Scott Lang could beat the comics version in a fight. Despite the MCU version never having “died” as the comics version “did,” the MCU version has one thing all competent warriors and military generals see as invaluable: luck!
7 COMICS: THE HULK
Every MCU fan has the indelible image of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner hulking out at the onset of the Battle of New York to single-handedly destroy a Chitauri Leviathan, but the reality is that the MCU version of the Hulk would be soundly defeated by the comics one.
The Hulk has many iterations in the comics, but most of them are powerful enough to put Ruffalo’s Hulk in his place, particularly the World Breaker, Savage, and Immortal versions. Even the Grey Hulk would be able to strategize effectively against the MCU Hulk, and no comics version of the Hulk ever chickened out of a fight with Thanos!
6 MCU: VISION
Perhaps due to some sort of technophobia, the Vision is not usually considered one of the heavy hitters of the comic book Avengers when compared to members like Thor, but a quick perusal of his powers and abilities can make a reader realize that perhaps the other members of the World’s Mightiest Team are superfluous.
Still, despite his immense power, there’s one thing the MCU version of the Vision has over his comic book counterpart, and that’s the fact that he has(d) an Infinity Stone implanted in his forehead. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to realize the power that gave him or how to utilize it, but it’s still a significant edge.
5 COMICS: DR. STRANGE
Much like Spider-Man, the MCU’s Doctor Strange is at the beginning of his career as the universe’s Sorcerer Supreme, so his experience levels in dealing with cosmic threats are somewhat limited, despite his impressive rookie showing against Dormammu.
But it’s more than just experience that edges out the comics Stephen Strange over his MCU counterpart. He’s much more knowledgeable in the arcane arts and is more powerful in the extreme, so apologies to Benedict Cumberbatch, but comic Dr. Strange wins this one hands-down.
4 MCU: SCARLET WITCH
There’s no doubt the comic book Scarlet Witch is a genuine OP character when she exercises her full potential. After all, she’s managed to alter reality in House of M and almost eliminate the mutant race in Decimation.
However, the MCU Wanda Maximoff has yet to explore her full potential, and if the upcoming Disney+ series and role in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is any indication, she may very well surpass her comics counterpart. In any event, there’s one thing the MCU Scarlet Witch was able to do that her comics counterpart wasn’t, and that’s nearly defeat Thanos.
3 COMICS: THOR
The MCU Thor is a mighty warrior, and though he may have fallen on hard times by the time Endgame rolled around, he was still pretty formidable and could pack a wallop.
But even at his peak, MCU Thor couldn’t hold a candle to the comic book Thor. A literal god, the comics Thor has powers that are legitimately magical in nature and not just Ancient Aliens pseudo-science. Between that and comic book Thor’s experience as a warrior, Chris Hemsworth has no chance!
2 MCU: CAPTAIN AMERICA
This one’s a close call, and truth be told, it could have gone either way. However, when all is said and done, the nod goes to MCU Cap. Yes, comics Cap has tons more experience leading meta-humans and fighting off bad guys, but there’s an ineffable human quality to Chris Evans’ portrayal that makes his version of the Star-Spangled Avenger too resilient to be defeated.
He didn’t succumb to death or Hydra brainwashing, only threw in the towel and shield for a chance at true love and even then, only when he found a worthy successor. His pure heart gives him the slightest edge in this matchup.
1 COMICS: IRON MAN
As hard as it is to side against Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, there’s little chance he’d be able to beat his comics counterpart. Sure, Downey’s made Tony Stark more interesting and accessible with his amazing portrayal, but he’s also more flippant, arrogant, prone to mistakes, and encumbered by his own hubris than the comics version.
The comics Iron Man could easily capitalize on these faults to hand MCU Iron Man a defeat, and if that doesn’t do the job, then accessing his multitude more suits of armor and technological weaponry probably would.
Fans have come to love the MCU versions of Marvel characters. They're great but we wonder if they could defeat their comic counterparts.