Who Is More Powerful, the X-Men or the Avengers?


Summary

  • The Avengers and X-Men are top Marvel teams, each with unique strengths and fan-favorite characters.
  • The X-Men have powerful mutants, telepaths, healers, and Omega Level abilities that can give them an edge in battle.
  • The Avengers have a wide range of powers, tech, leadership, and diversity to strategize and counter the X-Men.



While The Fantastic Four might have been the team that truly kicked off the Marvel Universe in 1961, the two biggest teams in the franchise are The Avengers and The X-Men. Both titles debuted in 1963, and while they both struggled to find their voice at first, they eventually became major pillars of the Marvel Universe with some of the fans’ most beloved characters.

The Avengers were Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, united to fight a force that no single hero could handle. Similar to the Justice League from DC, they were a team made up of pre-established heroes from other titles. The roster has featured almost every major character from the Marvel Universe, representing the vast corners of the franchise, including super soldiers, gods, aliens, androids, magic users, and everything in between.


Meanwhile, the X-Men are a team of mutants bound together under Professor Xavier’s vision of a peaceful world between humans and mutants. Contrastingly, the Avengers are public-adored heroes; the X-Men fight for a world that hates and fears them. While the team is all mutants, each one possesses their own unique ability, which makes them a force to be reckoned with.

Which team is stronger, The X-Men or The Avengers? Both teams have a lot of shared history and moments in the comics, and with a massive roster, let’s look at which team is the strongest.


The Case for the X-Men


The X-Men roster is massive and has, over the years, included heavy hitters like Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Gambit, and even Deadpool himself. Professor X is one of the strongest telepaths on Earth, and the X-Men have three other telepaths, including Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and Psylocke, at their disposal, which could easily impact and disable most of the Avengers as they do not have telepathy. However, heroes like the Hulk are immune to telepathic attacks.

Fighters like Wolverine and Deadpool possess almost unlimited superhealing, which makes them nearly impossible to level down. Pairing them with super strength characters like Colossus and Beast and energy projectile heroes like Cyclops and Gambit with mutants like Angel, Shadowcat, and Nightcrawler makes the X-Men a pretty powerful lineup.

Additionally, the concept of Omega Level Mutants is worth considering. As defined in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X #1 from 2019, an “Omega level mutant is a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register — or reach — an undefinable upper limit of that power’s specific classification.” This includes mutants like Storm, Iceman, and Jean Grey as they control almost elemental forces.


Then, of course, there is the Phoenix Force, commonly associated with Jean Grey. The Phoenix Force is one of the most powerful and destructive forces in comics, and when Jean had the Phoenix Force, she destroyed an entire planet. The Phoenix Force, combined with Jean’s telepathy and telekinesis, makes her both a powerful hero and an even deadlier foe. Yet now that the Avenger Echo has gained control of the Phoenix Force, this is potentially one ace the X-Men no longer have exclusively up their sleeves.

The biggest factor in the favor of the X-Men is how they work together as a team to combine their powers. From Colossus throwing Wolverine in a fastball special to the fact that the mutant nation of Krakoa has found a way to cheat death by combining the powers of five different mutants shows how the X-Men and mutants can share and combine their powers into impressive feats of strength and ingenuity.


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The Case for The Avengers

The Avengers are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. In the comics, they originally consisted of Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Ant-Man, and Wasp by the time Captain America joined the team in issue 4, the team became known as a rotating roster of various Marvel heroes, including Carol Danvers, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, She-Hulk and many more. Almost every major hero in the Marvel Universe has been part of the Avengers at some point in time, so it makes narrowing down the team’s power sets harder.


The fact that The Avengers have such a wide array of powersets from different elements of the Marvel Universe certainly works in their favor. They have magic heroes like Doctor Strange working with genius tech inventors like Iron Man. Between Iron Man and Black Panther, The Avengers have enough technology and resources to take on any threat the X-Men could throw at them. Meanwhile, Captain America is the peak leader of the Marvel Universe; he commands respect and loyalty from a god like Thor, an uncontrollable rage monster like the Hulk, and many heroes that outrank him in power. In contrast, the X-Men’s leadership tends to be rocky, with Professor X, Cyclops, and Wolverine often struggling to keep their team in order.


There is also the fact that the Avengers have four of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. Thor, Hulk, Captain Marvel, and the Scarlet Witch. Thor is the Norse God of Thunder and one of the strongest heroes around, while the Hulk only gets stronger the angrier he gets, so the more a fight goes on, the more he will keep going. Captain Marvel is essentially the Marvel Universe version of Superman, but she did lose her powers once to Rogue just by being touched by her, so that is a factor worth considering.

Then there is the matter of The Scarlet Witch. A former member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants and then an Avenger, the Scarlet Witch rewrote all of reality in the events of House of M. By the story’s end, she took away the X-gene from 98% of the mutant population, severely hurting the mutant species.


Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X storyline established that Wanda Maximoff was one of the biggest threats to the mutant population and that the X-Men have her listed as having committed 986,420 crimes against the mutant population and is only beaten by Boliver Trask, the creator of the Sentinels. The Scarlet Witch’s power to rewrite reality and the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness shows she could if she wanted to kill powerhouses like Professor X, Captain Marvel, Mr. Fantastic, and Black Bolt show she might be far more dangerous than the Phoenix Force.

What Goes Down in the Comics

Avengers vs. X-Men
Marvel Comics

The Avengers and X-Men have clashed many times before in the comics, with the first being Uncanny X-Men #9 in 1964 as well as Avengers Annual #10 in 1980, Onslaught in 1996, and House of M in 2005, but the biggest showdown between the two teams was in the comic book event Avengers vs. X-Men in 2012.


The series saw The Avengers and X-Men clashing over the fate of the Phoenix Force. The X-Men, led by Cyclops, wanted to use the mutant Hope Summers to bond with the Phoenix Force to restore the mutant population after Scarlet Witch took away 98% of the mutant’s powers in House of M. Meanwhile, The Avengers, led by Captain America, did not trust the power of the Phoenix Force and wanted to stop it before it could do any potential harm.

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The two sides clash, but when the Phoenix Force is split up between Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, and Namor, they eventually go too far for most X-Men, and many switch sides to the Avengers. Cyclops absorbs all of the remaining Phoenix Force power, and the Avengers struggle to hold him off, even someone as powerful as The Hulk. Cyclops is defeated by the combined efforts of The Scarlet Witch and the mutant Hope Summers.


During Avengers vs. X-Men‘s publication, a second comic was published alongside the main story titled AVX: VS which was the fight book as each issue dealt with two fights between members of the X-Men and Avengers roster. This comic established Iron Man had developed a suit with no metal so that he could fight Magneto with ease. Other notable fights include Captain America defeating Gambit, while Emma Frost is able to subdue Thor with her mind powers.

While the Avengers come out of the comic as the winning side, it is important to note that the comic is written in favor of The Avengers, and even by the final few issues, most of the X-Men have backed out of the fight for not subscribing to Cyclops philosophical side of the conflict. So the Avengers are receiving a great deal of assistance from various X-Men members like Wolverine, Beast, and Rogue.


The Debate Comes Down To Key Players

The fight would essentially boil down to its four heavy hitters. On the X-Men side, it’s Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine, and Rogue. For The Avengers side, it’s The Scarlet Witch, Storm, The Hulk, and Captain Marvel. Each of these four characters has enough raw power to turn the tide of battle for either team, and it would all depend on how their leadership uses them.

Jean Grey and Scarlet Witch both possess a sheer raw, unlimited power that can be used for positive or destructive gains. Scarlet Witch did manage to destroy the Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-Men, but that was with the assistance of Hope Summers. Given how powerful Scarlet Witch is on her own, it is safe to assume she could defeat the Phoenix Force.


Thor and Storm are both elemental powerhouses that can control the weather. While Thor might physically be stronger, Storm can control a wider range of elements, and as shown in AVX: VS, Thor was able to be physically cut up and heart by Emma Frost diamond form shared so with the right combination of elements, Storm could easily hurt and weaken Thor as long as she can avoid being hit by Mljonir. Storm’s status as an Omega Level Mutant could give her a slight edge.

Wolverine and the Hulk love to fight and are basically unstoppable. Hulk’s size and raw strength certainly could tear Wolverine apart, but Wolverine’s higher intellect could mean he has a tactical advantage. Both would likely be the last two standing in a fight and would need assistance from another member to bring another one down.


While Rouge did take Carol Danvers’s powers once before, that was a younger version of Carol, and her powers have grown as Captain Marvel. With her energy blast, she could keep a distance from Rogue to keep her from touching her. Yet Rogue still has some of the strength, flight, and endurance of Carol Danvers, so these two could be evenly matched.

The Winner: The Avengers

The Avengers look up to the sky in The Avengers
Walt Disney Studios

While someone might want a more definitive answer, the real winner of the fight depends on the circumstances. It depends on which version of the X-Men and Avengers team. The original first class of X-Men vs. the original Avengers? It probably goes to the Avengers. Meanwhile, the X-Men introduced in 1975 could probably beat the 70s-era Avenger. The new mutant nation of Krokoa has given the X-Men the ability to cheat death, which, at the moment, could allow them to fight the Avengers and take any risk, knowing they will come back. It is safe to assume the live-action film version of The Avengers is stronger than the film version of the X-Men. But it all depends on the context.


There is also the matter of time and setting for the fight. In a straight battle with no prep time, the Avengers might have Captain America’s leadership going for them, but they could be overwhelmed by the array of X-Men’s powers. Some prep time, though, gives Iron Man and Black Panther time to prepare some technology to counter the X-Men, while leaders like Captain America and Captain Marvel could form battle plans likely better than Cyclops or Professor X.

But there is one factor that gives the Avengers a slight advantage: diversity. As established earlier, the Avengers have members from across the Marvel universe, which includes humans, aliens, gods, androids, Inhumans, Eternals, and even mutants themselves. The X-Men lineup is diverse, no doubt there, as the mutants themselves symbolically represent various marginalized groups. Yet the X-Men team is composed almost primarily of mutants, with a few key exceptions. The Avengers’ strength comes from the fact that they can pull from various corners of the franchise. The Avengers have unexpected members like Ghost Rider, Blade, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and even Deadpool.


It is this diversity in powers, origins, and abilities that gives the Avengers the slight edge in a battle and speaks to a wider theme for both the X-Men and The Avengers: diversity is a strength, not a weakness.



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