Could the X-Men beat the Avengers in a fierce fight? Or would Earth’s Mightiest Heroes live up to Marvel’s Merry Mutants too much? This is the debate fans on Twitter are having – enough to Avengers vs. X-Men started to be trending in North America.
Fans have been asking this question for almost as long as both teams have been in the Marvel Universe (the Avengers and the X-Men debuted in 1963 if anyone is wondering). And Marvel Comics has been responding to it for almost as long.
The Avengers and the X-Men had their first showdown just a year later in the 1964s Uncanny X-Men # 9, and clashed fairly regularly over the years that followed – to say nothing of the one-on-one conflicts between individual members of both teams.
So how did that first fight go, and who has the best overall record? Well, that response has fluctuated over the years.
It’s not exactly the “Tale of the Tale,” but we’ll see if we can figure out who really are the heaviest hitters in the Marvel Universe.
Uncanny X-Men # 9
1964 Uncanny X-Men # 9 put teenage mutants on the Avengers’ path for the first time, with the original X-Men lineup of Beast, Jean Gray, Cyclops, Angel and Iceman taking on Captain America’s classic Avengers roster. , Thor, Iron Man, Wasp and Hank Pym (then in his Giant-Man guise).
The two teams clashed when the Avengers detected the presence of the evil alien conqueror known as Lucifer, who was hiding an apocalyptic device in the desert.
When the Avengers arrive, they discover the X-Men already at the scene, with their mentor Professor X inside engaged in a showdown with Lucifer. Xavier tells his team to fend off the Avengers, as their interference would cause Lucifer’s device to activate.
Without hesitation, the X-Men take the plunge. And while the teenage heroes are outmatched by super science, super soldiers, and even a god, they hold on, managing to fight off the Avengers until Xavier can psychically defeat them. Lucifer.
Still, history seems to establish the Avengers as the strongest team, indicating that the X-Men would likely lose the fight if they continued.
Avengers: 1 – X-Men: 0
Avengers # 53
The second fight between the Avengers and the X-Men took place a few years later in 1968, in a story that was actually one of Marvel Comics’ first inter-title crossovers.
From Avengers # 49, former X-Men villains turned Avengers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver join the Brotherhood of Mutant Villains of Magneto after Scarlet Witch was injured in a fight with human villains.
The story then switches to Uncanny X-Men for several issues as Cyclops follows Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to Magneto, then reverts to Avengers # 53 for the conclusion, in which the X-Men and the Avengers intersect while chasing the twins.
The Avengers and the X-Men decide to team up to find their allies and take on Magneto, but when they find the Master of Magnetism, he uses a device to mentally control the X-Men, forcing them to fight the Avengers.
With Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver out of the picture, the Avengers are left with a roster of Black Panther, Hawkeye, Giant-Man and Wasp to take on Cyclops, Jean Gray, Iceman and Beast (with Angel imprisoned by the Avengers just before the fight) .
In a reversal of their first fight, this time it’s the X-Men who are set to take the Avengers down when Angel escapes Avengers imprisonment and frees the X-Men from mind control – with all the heroes teaming up to take down Magneto.
Avengers: 1 – X-Men: 1
The X-Men vs. the Avengers
The X-Men and the Avengers would cross paths with each other a few more times over the next several years, although generally as allies, with the X-Men’s Beast even joining the Avengers. The two teams have become much friendlier, with fewer punches and more teams.
However, in the years 1987 X-Men versus. Avengers Limited series, things came to a head again – and as is often the case when the X-Men and the Avengers cross paths, Magneto was right in the middle.
Seeking to stop Magneto to stand trial for his long history of crimes, the Avengers (along with a roster of Captain America, Black Knight, Monica Rambeau, Doctor Druid, She-Hulk, and Thor) track him down to a location where Magneto himself attempts to salvage broken pieces from his former space station Asteroid M which crashed into Earth.
While working as his allies at the time, the X-Men also hunt down Magneto, finding both the Avengers and the Russian super-team, with Soviet super-soldiers attempting to capture Magneto.
Magneto leads the X-Men (then made up of Rogue, Dazzler, Wolverine, Storm and Havok) to escape in the ensuing three-way fight – although this does lead the conflict to escalate into a series of clashes culminating in a final fight between the two teams. But before they can face each other, Magneto proves he has the goods to take them all down, stopping the Avengers and the X-Men in their tracks, before finally agreeing to stand trial for his crimes – including he is finally acquitted.
It’s hard to call a winner on this one. Magneto overpowered both teams, giving his allies the X-Men a technical edge, but the Avengers got what they wanted – Captain America specifically convincing Magneto to take responsibility for his villainous past. That being said, we’ll give the Avengers moral victory.
Avengers: 2 – X-Men: 1
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade
Continuation of the story Avengers: Disassembled, in which longtime Avenger (who was still considered a mutant at the time) Scarlet Witch betrays and dismantles the team, even killing several Avengers, the remaining heroes, and their mutant counterparts in the X-Men summoned to decide the comes out of Wanda. Before they can do anything, however, Quicksilver invites him to rewrite reality, which creates the world of House of M where mutants reign supreme and human heroes are in danger.
When reality is restored, Wanda casts a spell that robs most existing mutants of their powers and disappears. Over the next several years, despite the tensions caused by these events, the Avengers and X-Men manage to maintain a precarious peace for several years.
But things change when Wanda’s sons, Wiccan, and Speed of the Young Avengers (who are the reincarnated souls of her magically created twin children) lead their team to find her in the story. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, discovering that she has been under the influence of Doctor Doom the entire time in Avengers: Disassembled.
Freeing her from Doom’s influence, the Young Avengers bring Wanda back to society. But when the Avengers and the X-Men each learn that she has resurfaced, both teams come looking for her; the Avengers wanting to hold her accountable for everything she did, and the X-Men wanting to kill her out of hand for almost wiping out the mutant genre.
The entire saga culminates in a series of clashes between the X-Men, Avengers, Scarlet Witch, Magneto, and Doctor Doom – in which many teams gain and lose the upper hand – until the Young Avengers finally bring an end to it. in battle, successfully arguing that Wanda is not directly responsible for her actions thanks to Doom’s control, and putting aside the fighting (but not grudges) between the X-Men and the Avengers.
We’re calling this a draw, because it’s unclear exactly how a full-blown fight might have gone if the Young Avengers hadn’t stepped in.
Avengers: 2 – X-Men: 1
Avengers vs. X-Men
In the years 2012 Avengers vs. X Men, the Avengers, and the X-Men detect the return of the Phoenix Cosmic Force, each making conflicting plans on how to deal with the entity.
The X-Men plan to capture him and use his power to restore power to the mutant after the spell of Scarlet Witch, which deprived almost all mutants of their abilities. But the Avengers want to destroy the Phoenix entirely before its arrival can result in another Dark phoenix demonstration.
The two teams fight on the moon, with the X-Men gaining a massive advantage as the Avengers struggle to hold them back while assembling their device to destroy or at least contain the Phoenix Force. Ultimately, the Avengers manage to activate the device – but instead of destroying the Phoenix, it splits into five parts which enter Cyclops, Namor, Emma Frost, Colossus, and Magik, who become known as the Phoenix Five. .
The Phoenix Five begin to use the Phoenix Force to remake the world in their own image, resulting in a series of increasing fights with the Avengers – including a devastating all-out war between Wakanda and Atlantis.
In the end, the two teams put aside their differences to face the Phoenix Five, who quickly grow more and more out of control. Hope of the X-Men, who was supposed to host the Phoenix Force before her split, teams up with Scarlet Witch to absorb the Phoenix Force using her mutant abilities, which she then redirects to Wanda, who uses her to reverse its spell and restore power to the mutantkind before dispelling the Phoenix into space.
Since they won the main fight between the two teams and achieved the goal of using the Phoenix Force to save the mutants, we’re giving this one to the X-Men – but with a nod to the Avengers, in particular. Scarlet Witch, for their help defeat the big bad of the story.
Avengers: 2 – X-Men: 2
The winner decided
That leaves us in the embarrassing position of watching a tie between the greatest historical conflicts of the Avengers and the X-Men – although the scale on which the team could be definitely stronger may soon tip again.
The events of X-Men: The Trial of Magneto foster new tensions between the X-Men and the Avengers as Magneto faces the fallout from the apparent murder of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, once again putting the father and the adopted daughter at the heart of growing tensions between teams.
(Wanda Maximoff is no stranger to this position. Her powers and the conflicts they cause have been a primary driver of Marvel’s continuity for decades).
And at the same time, the latest volume of X-Men began with a mandate to make the X-Men Earth’s First Super-Team – or, put another way, its Mightiest Heroes.
Anyone wanting to bet on whether the Avengers will let this sit for long, given the current events of the aforementioned Trial of Magneto and its companion title Inferno (which just launched and has already had a major impact on the X-Men line)?
Yes, we also expect a rematch at some point – maybe sooner than we think.
Both the X-Men and the Avengers have been involved in some of the most notable Marvel Comics events all time.