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Avengers vs X-Men

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
One publisher… two teams of super-powered heroes. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be going head to head with the X-Men and the Avenger to see which team comes out on top. We’re evaluating a wide range of categories to determine which is truly Marvel’s greatest team of crime fighters.

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One publisher… two teams of super-powered heroes. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be going head to head with the X-Men and the Avenger to see which team comes out on top.

We’re evaluating a wide range of categories to determine which is truly Marvel’s greatest team of crime fighters.

Round 1: Founding Members

The Avengers made their debut in 1963 and have the dynamic duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby to thank for their creation. The original roster of characters included Ant-Man, the Hulk, Thor, and the Wasp, with Iron Man serving as the leader. Though that might seem like a solid lineup, they were an admittedly unstable team. Hulk left the team in the second issue, with Captain America, having been discovered frozen in the ice, taking his place in the fourth issue. Considering how quickly he joined up, Cap is generally considered to a core member of the team. Suffice it to say, with a super soldier, two size-manipulators, a god and more than one genius on onboard, they lived up to their label as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”

Debuting in not only the same year but also the same month as the Avengers, the X-Men are a reminder of just what a creative hot streak Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were on in the early ‘60s. The X-Men were a vessel for Stan Lee to explore not only good and evil but issues of discrimination as well. Stan introduced the concept of “mutants” to the Marvel Universe in order to create a superhero team without having to give each character a unique origin story. The original lineup consisted of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, and Iceman, led by their mentor, the telepathic Professor Charles Xavier. Armed with their various mutant abilities, these characters each brought something unique to the battle against evil.

Though both original rosters are special in their own right, that of the Avengers feels more well-rounded and dynamic. As a super-team made up of already established and popular characters, it was a hit from day one, and while the original X-Men roster would eventually rise to the A-List of Marvel heroes, their series was canceled in 1970, returning with an updated lineup 5 years later.

WINNER: Avengers

Avengers: 1/ X-Men: 0

Round 2: Additional Members

Of course, while a team’s founding members are important, so too is the need to expand the ranks, bringing in fresh blood to shake up the dynamic and ensure the most effective fighting force possible. As the premiere superhero team in the Marvel comics universe, the Avengers has seen a number of big names heroes come and go over the years, including but not limited to Black Widow, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Vision, Wolverine, She-Hulk, Beast, Spider-Man, Quiksilver and Scarlet Witch, among many, many others. If a hero is worth a damn and doesn’t have major PR problems, chances are that they’ve served at some point.

The X-Men, of course, is a more selective group with a particular prerequisite for joining their ranks - you need to be a mutant. Thankfully for them, the concept of mutant-kind opens up the door to many, many possibilities. And over the years, numerous comic book writers have embraced the mutant side of Marvel as an opportunity to get weird, wild and wonderful in creating new characters. Numerous big name mutants have since joined the ranks of the X-Men, some even going on to eclipse certain founding members. Among their most illustrious members over the years are Wolverine, Shadowcat, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Storm, Emma Frost, Colossus, Gambit, and Jubilee.

Over the years, the X-Men have introduced us to some of the coolest and most interesting heroes in comic book history. However, the Avengers have their pick of the superhero world, and that includes X-Men like Wolverine, Storm, and Beast, not to mention other mutants like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. As such, the Avengers take the round, and with it, a 2 point lead.

WINNER: Avengers

Avengers: 2/ X-Men: 0

Round 3: Spin-off Teams

Apparently, the same rules that apply to television and business are equally applicable to the world of super heroics. If you’ve got something good that the people like, make a spin-off or start a franchise! Though the core Avengers will always be the fan favorite, there are a number of associated teams which have succeeded in making a name for themselves in their own right. The first and most notable is the West Coast Avengers. Sure, they’ve always felt like the B-team, but that’s part of their appeal. They’re underdog heroes getting the chance to shine. Then you’ve got the Young Avengers, a team of youthful heroes connected to the original members. The New Avengers, the Secret Avengers, the Avengers Unity Division, the humorous Great Lake Avengers, the Pet Avengers - they all bring something unique to the table.

Like the Avengers, the X-Men have also given birth to a number of related teams. X-Factor is the name that’s been used by a variety of groups, including (interestingly enough), the original five X-Men when they got back together. It’s also been the name of a government-sponsored team of lesser-known mutants and, later, a corporate-sponsored one. The New Mutants are young superheroes in training at the Xavier school, who eventually served as the foundation for yet another team, X-Force, a more militant group of mutants led by Cable using aggressive tactics. In the wake of the events of M-Day, yet another new team was put together by Emma Frost, appropriately dubbed the New X-Men. So yeah… no shortage of X-teams either!

Honestly, this one is a pretty tight race. Both teams have given birth to a number of memorable related groups. The Avengers almost clinch the round with the West Coast Avengers and the ever-silly Great Lake Avengers, but the X-Men affiliated teams tend to make more of an impact, becoming stand-alone teams in their own right that readers can’t get enough of. X-Men take the round by a hair and get themselves on the scoreboard.


Avengers: 2/ X-Men: 1

Round 4: Villains

While a cool, colorful team of heroes with unique abilities is all well and good, they’re only as interesting as the villains they go up against. And in the case of the Avengers, that means pretty much every major threat to life on earth, as well as the various arch-nemeses that each hero brings to the team as part of their baggage. Over the years, they’ve squared off against the likes of Ultron, Loki, Hydra, Kang, the Dark Avengers, the Skrulls, M.O.D.O.K., AIM and many more. But of course, arguably their greatest adversary is Thanos. Like we said… if the Avengers are showing up to deal with the threat, you know its a serious one.

Not to be outdone, the X-Men have also had to square off against some seriously formidable villains. The Avengers may have Thanos, but the X-Men have Apocalypse to contend with, one of the world’s first and most powerful mutants. Of course, when they’re not facing a major crisis like those Apocalypse brings with him, they’re constantly having to foil the neverending machinations of their evil adversaries, the Brotherhood of Mutants and the Hellfire Club. Add to that Onslaught, Mr. Sinister, Mastermind, Sabretooth and the hateful William Stryker and it's enough to make your head spin. Of course, we haven’t even mentioned Magneto yet, who’s arguably one of the greatest villains of all time.

Quite frankly, we don’t envy either team; those are some seriously intimidating villains. Between the two, the Avengers arguably face bigger and more catastrophic threats, but the often personal nature of the conflict between the X-Men and their recurring adversaries makes for a more interesting hero-villain dynamic, and so we’re ultimately going with them. The X-Men tie it up!


Avengers: 2/ X-Men: 2

Round 5: Team Chemistry

Ask the coach of any professional sports team - there’s more to putting together a winning lineup than getting the best, strongest, or most skilled players. For them to function as a unit, you’ve got to have a good balance and solid chemistry. Though they’ve been through a lot of different rosters over the years, there’s no denying that the Avengers are a well-oiled machine. Also, amongst more long-term members, there’s a real sense of camaraderie and friendship. Of course, like any group of people spending too much time together, they also tend to butt heads and get into conflict over questions of leadership. But hey, who wouldn’t in such high-stress situations? Then again, Civil War did get pretty ugly.

Whereas the Avengers are close, the X-Men - many of them having grown up together at the X-Mansion - are more like a family. And we mean that in both the best and worst ways. The love that these characters have for each other runs deep, but when tensions flair and there’s a falling out, it’s like a real-life family feud. More so than within the Avengers, where things are kept more professional, there appear to be more romantic entanglements as well. Though the team has seen more than its fair share of in-fighting, they almost always come back together, usually stronger than ever. Faced with adversity and prejudice, this team knows the value of friendship and family.

This was another tough one. Both are incredibly effective teams of superheroes. At the end of the day, however, there’s a level of intimacy and history with the X-Men that arguably makes their team dynamic a bit more compelling. And with that, the X-men take the competition!


Avengers: 2/ X-Men: 3

Did we pick the right team? Be sure to debate it in the comments and of course, don’t forget to subscribe to WatchMojo for more entertaining versus battles.

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