Top 5: Avengers Line-Ups


There have been, at last official count, 25,584 Avengers line-ups consisting of 104,493 members. Narrowing it down to the best five was… a challenge worthy of the Odinson himself.


5. The “New” Team

Captain America, Iron Man, Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Echo/Ronin, and… ugh, The Sentry

The team that brought the Avengers back to prominence in the Marvel Universe actually took a page from the DC Universe’s Justice League of America and added more heavy hitters to the line-up. The result? Readers started paying attention again and since then just about every major storyline in the Marvel Universe has passed through The Avengers.


4. The Busiek/Perez Team

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ms. Marvel, Firestar, and Justice

(Not pictured: The Wasp, Hank Pym, Black Panther, and Wonder Man)

One of the reasons why the Kurt Busiek/George Perez run was so beloved — besides the great stories and fantastic art — was that it brought back the feel of the classic early 1980s Avengers teams (see below). The line-up changed a few times, but this was the best one.


3. The Late ’80s Team

Captain America, Thor, The Black Knight, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Dr. Druid

(Not pictured: The Wasp, Namor, and Hercules)

A sentimental favorite of mine, the Roger Stern/John Buscema Avengers was very, very fluid in terms of members. But when I think about The Avengers of my childhood, The Avengers that I fell in love with, I think of this rag-tag team of heroes who faced all manner of foe.


2. The Early ’80s Team

Captain America, Iron Man, The Wasp, Yellowjacket, The Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, and Beast

(Also pictured: Henry Gyrich. Not on the team, but an Avengers mainstay. And a bastard.)

The era that most people probably think of as the “Classic Avengers Line-Up” features all of the elements that make up a great team: two mercurial couples, two wise-cracking best friends, two alpha male leaders, and … Hawkeye.


1. The “Original” Team

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, and Ant-Man

I put original in quotes because if you want to get technical about it, the original Avengers line-up would swap out Captain America for The Hulk. But that team lasted only one issue and when Captain America is thawed out and joins the team in the fourth issue, we have what is usually considered the first “real” line-up of The Avengers. That having been said, putting this team at number one was a no-brainer.



  1. I have next to no knowledge of the Avengers (I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a single issue of "Avengers" or its variants), but Thor’s beard in the late 80’s is enough to make that team my personal number 1.  That is one mighty beard.

    The "Original" team is solid, too, but their obvious lack of beard is holding them back. 

  2. A reserve member eh? How does this work? do i get my call based on my position onthe reserve list, or my location, or what skills i can bring to an emergency? and what are the rules? can i stare at Thor or Iron Man, can i shout Avengers Assemble at all? this is a big responsibility and i want to make sure I can meet them to the best of my abilities.

    Also, I’m going to have to go with the early 80’s team, because that looks like a fun crew!

  3. My first experience with the team was with Operation Galactic Storm. I really shouldn’t be surprised then that I wasn’t fan until much later in the Bendis era. Also, my LCS just had the hardcover collection of Avengers Forever for $12 and I just finished reading that, a great read and a good dose of team history.

  4. Busiek’s team was the best, though I also loved the "Kooky Quartet" of Cap, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver.

  5. I completely agree with #3 – some really great (at times, really weird) stuff there, including the best Avengers story ever, Under Siege (that had nothing to do with a company-wide crossover).

  6. Captain Marvel was a woman? Didn’t know that. Didn’t know marvel had a Black Knight character and I’m glad they didn’t keep that Thor design.

    Guess I’ve only read the New Avengers books. 

  7. EARLY 80s TEAM …BABY!!!!!

    Also……Marvel: Bring back the real Vision!!!

  8. As a reserve member i look forward to appearing in New Ultimate Top Secret Avenger Academy Frontline Prime-THE ORIGIN #1: retailer incentive variant edition.

    I really love the lineup of the original team. Thats just a classic superhero team right there. Now who would win in a fight. Original Avengers vs Original JLA? 

  9. Good call on all of the above. Usually when it comes to the Top 5, I’ll have some minor quibble about the makeup or positions, but this one is right on the money.

  10. What are the top 5 Avengers teams that have been assembled since 2000?  It feels like we’ve had quite a few…

  11. If I am now a reserve member of the Avengers does that mean that Captain Steve is going to judge me?

  12. I must have bought every issue during the late 80s.  That was during the epic run of Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer.  Those were some good solid stories.  One thing I really liked about Stern’s  Avengers was that he kept the roster small, maybe five or six , and there was a lot of character stuff.  The current ranks of 4 teams with 10+ members each is a totally different vibe.


  14. I love lists like this- well done.

  15. Funny to me how the ‘NEW’ line up is almost the exact same as ‘THE’ team now. Just that Clint is Ronin there and some blonde douchebag is in the back.

    So has there really been that much change over the years for Marvel? 

  16. @TNC – If you mean since the beginning of the Avengers in the 60’s, then yes. If you mean in the last few years… then yes.

    I love lists like this. I might have to put the Busiek/Perez team at the top of my personal list, as the interplay, bickering and sense of history among those characters is what made me realize that the Marvel U was a big place worth exploring.

  17. @Casey: I just ment the last few years.

  18. I can’t make any argument with this list at all.  I’d kind of want to bring in the "second" lineup (when Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch joined) but I’m not sure who I’d bump off to put them on there.  I was so excited to hear that Beast was moving onto an Avenger’s book again and think that the character really flourishes on the team.  Excellent list as usual.

  19. @TNC- one could argue that that was why Civil War/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign was such a big deal for the Avengers.  that team really felt right, and just as we were getting used to it, it was torn apart, and is only now getting back to something similar.

  20. I think you mean "four mercurial couples" and… Hawkeye.  I like to call that "the era where everyone was married to someone else on the team, literally or figuratively."

  21. Early 80’s TEAM!!! FTW!!

    Furry blue Beast, Classic Iron Man armor, Vision, Scarlet Witch, damn 12 year old me loved that run!

  22. Can someone explain to me the hate everybody has for the Sentry? I’ve read every issue of The New Avengers and of course all events since it started and i’m not understanding the pure hate for that character. I don’t necessarily like the Sentry by any stretch in fact I found him slightly annoying but I cant say I hate the character. Was there something that happened in another series about him that I missed or something? 

  23. I don’t have a lot of Avengers knowledge but i’d pick the Busiek/Perez run as my favorite. Could we get one of these for Justice League as well?

  24. #2 is where I started with Avengers, but #3 is probably my favorite team… even though Black Knight and Dr. Druid are kind of silly. 🙂 I always liked Captain Marvel, and Thor really should have a beard…

    @connor – Is this list just in reverse chronological order? 😉

    @thompsonlive – I think the main problem with Sentry is that he was retconned into the world. We were supposed to just accept the idea that he had been around for a lot longer than he’d been in print. For those of use who were reading Avengers in the 80s, it seemed extra silly. (Well, to me at least.) You can’t just create the sense of attachment that Bendis seemed to be going for with the character.

  25. #2 is my all-time favorite, but #3 is the one that made me fall in love with the Avengers. great list!

  26. I read The NEW Team first and it’s not my personal top lineup of the team The Busiek Perez Line up is my quentesstional line up. Busiek took the teams complicated history aand made it work and feel fresh and new and Perez’s Art worked perfectly with Busiek’s words.

  27. where is captain marvel and dr druid now?