(Let’s try this again!) 😉
Just before the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially kicked off with Captain America: Civil War, I created a tentative Avengers classification system. Since then, we’ve had a number of new developments, and a great deal has been added to the MCU. In this time of transition between the end of Phase Three and whatever comes next, I figured now was a good time for updating said system. For the most part, it has held up well, but there is always room for improvement, ya know? 🙂
First, a quick recap:
The All-Out Assault Attackers
The ones with enough brute, physical power to take theoretically “superior” forces head-on in a brawl and win, handily, often by virtue of overwhelming strength. In other words, these are the one-man armies, their greatest distinction being their ability to go straight through pretty much anything in their way.
Thor, a prime example
Hulk, firmly Class A
Captain Marvel, an extreme example, practically soaring into her own class by virtue of her overwhelming power alone (but more on that in a moment)
Iron Man, begins as this, but I think he evolves out of it (more on that in a moment, too)
War Machine, may be Iron Man’s sidekick, but he packs enough firepower to be Class A
Captain America, albeit at the lower end, much like…
The Winter Soldier, possibly, but more skilled at operating covertly
Speaking of which:
The Bold and Brave Backup
These may have special abilities, be highly trained, or have ridiculous skills and technological tricks, but they’re far less suited to fighting entire armies head-on. They are more geared towards sneaky, wily attacks greatly dependent on skill and adaptability. Relying more on their wits, these are the people who have the Attackers’ backs in a fight.
Black Widow, still the most classic example of Class B
Cap and Bucky might fit better here, arguably
Tony Stark, without his suits
Rocket Raccoon, especially
Ant-Man, may have a certain sledgehammer trump card in how he goes all giant-size, but he’s primarily a tech-based trickster.
Mantis, possibly, but but at the very lowest level of such. Her special skill might be potent under the right circumstances, but she really has little to no feasible role in a real fight, let alone the penultimate battle of Endgame.
Heimdall, an excellent example of someone with a special skill, who uses is covertly and effectively, and has the heroes’ backs, even when he was dying. He will be missed! 😦
The Capable Commanders
These are the people who may or may not hold their own in an Avengers-level fight, but their true value lies in the ability to lead, strategize, scheme, and hold the line. Most Avengers, when you get down to it, tear things apart, especially enemies. But Commanders keep things together, including massive organizations like Shield, which, especially in recent years, has been especially difficult.
Odin, King of Asgard, might be included, but considering how his mistakes led to his kingdom going to crap, I’m not so sure about this
The Ancient One, same thing as Odin
Yondu, same thing again
Valkyrie, could be easily counted in this class, though, as she gets up and leads her people after they’re destroyed several times in a row, both in battle and in peace.
The Daring Defenders
These are the people who may have powers, but at the low end of such, relying on their wits to get by, and are much more suited to dealing with crimes on the streets than invasions from the skies.
Cloak and Dagger, may have dealt with a supernatural crisis that threatened an entire city, but it was still relatively small, and their skills are very much geared towards fighting crime.
Mayhem, a frenemy of Cloak and Dagger
The Runaways, though I haven’t seen much of their show, I am familiar enough with their comic-book iterations to confidently include them here as well.
The Everyday Avenger
These are the most numerous of Earth’s protectors, the normal people who can’t fight entire armies, or save the heroes, or command legions. These are the legions, and the volunteers, the rank and file.
The Howling Commandos
Many agents of Shield
The armies of Wakanda
So, that’s where things have more or less stayed the same. But, there is one particular thread that was left dangling back then, which I address now with the inclusion of a new class of Avenger:
The Super Special Supers
These are the Avengers who have a great deal of raw power, like Class A, but use it in a variety of cunning ways, like Class B. They have bags of tricks, applicable to almost any situation, with a good deal of power behind them.
Doctor Strange is probably the single best example here. While most of the other sorcerers and mystics have tricks aplenty, most of them would end up in Class B, lacking the sheer power of the Sorcerer Supreme, and having much smaller bags of tricks on hand.
The Scarlet Witch is a natural inclusion, too. Her psychic abilities, energy manipulation, and telekinesis are applied in numerous, clever ways, yet her sheer power is incredible. She is able to stand toe to toe with almost any enemy, even Thanos himself, and that has everything to do with both her power and clever adaptability.
In a similar way, Captain Marvel might be considered Class S, as she’s demonstrated both power and cunning, but she seems more like a cosmic-level sledgehammer than a scalpel, so I would say she’s somewhere bridging Class A and Class S.
Vision similarly defies a simple classification. He has plenty of raw power, yet only a few skills. He is clever, though, and difficult to even strike when he can phase like that. He’s a bit like Captain Marvel in that way, I suppose.
Groot could be a shoe-in for Class S, in his way. He’s been small and weak since the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s still surprisingly strong and adaptable. Full-grown, he had enough tricks up his sleeve for Class B, but also the brute force of Class A. That says Class S, if anything does.
Finally, there’s Iron Man. Or, rather, Iron Man as he becomes in the end. He starts out absolutely in Class A, but he evolves over the course of the Infinity Saga. His experiences in and out of his suits (without them, he is Class B, easily) have a clear influence on him and the abilities he develops with his technology. By the end, he has an amazing arsenal, bound only by his imagination. That is a key feature of this class: specialized adaptability.
What do you all think? Additions? Alterations? Am I nuts? 😉 Where would the villains fit into this sort of system?