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Top Five Characters Who Debuted In the Pages of the Avengers

Top Five Month (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) continues with a look at the top five characters to make their debut in the pages of the Avengers (there are a number of great characters who first showed up in the Avengers)!

Enjoy!

This list is tough – the top five I’m pretty certain on, but the ORDER of the top five is a lot tougher! There are some big name characters here!

HONORABLE MENTION

Black Knight (Dane Whitman)

The Black Knight was a stalwart member of the Roger Stern Avengers and ended up becoming practically the star of the book during Bob Harras’ run on the book. Heck, Black Knight was so popular that they sent him to the Ultraverse as one of the bigger characters to be sent to that world as part of Marvel’s attempt to pump some new life into the Ultraverse!

5. Wonder Man

Wonder Man is one of the few Avengers to debut after the series started to be popular enough to get his own ongoing series! And it last over two years, which is better than most characters out there!

4. Rogue

Thanks to the suggestion, folks! Rogue definitely belongs on the list. Heck, she also fits right in with “so hard to tell who goes in what spot,” as she is definitely a Top 5 choice, but WHERE? She surely is ahead of Wonder Man, but should she go ahead of Kang and Ultron, too?

3. Kang

Kang or Ultron – who is tops? Both major Avengers villains, but I think if I had to pick one…

2. Ultron

it would be Ultron. But really, it’s basically a toss-up.

1. Vision

Vision, however, became such an important part of the Avengers that they even used him for the little corner box for years! THAT was how much he became identified with the title, a title that he debuted in some forty-odd years ago.

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

63 Comments

Great list! And Agree with Ultron as 2 over Kang.

When I saw the title of this list, I thought for sure Rogue would be on it. She debuted in Avengers Annual 10, and you’ve got to admit, she’s pretty popular.

Where is Deathcry?

Oh man, Rogue beats Wonder Man any day.

What – no mention of Taskmaster?

Tough crowd.

The sooner we get the proper Vision back the better.

Oh and Hasbro: Put a few more of the MU Vision figure out there so I can afford one!

Kang loses out just for that stupid costume. Otherwise he’s an amazing villain. I think I’ve read Avengers Forever seven times and it still gives me a headache keeping it all straight, but that’s what I love about comics in the first place. Still, what was he even doing in Secret Wars in the first place? Just a reason to make Dr. Doom look badass when he annihilated him.

Ultron on the other hand is pretty straightforward. Menacing design that only once has managed to be crappy (the Avengers cartoon from a while back), one main goal and just enough pathos to be really interesting. And he gave us the Vision, which in itself is great. Good list, I cannot disagree.

But then I actually LIKE Wonder Man.

Re: Kang vs Ultron…

Personally I would say Kang, except that in the context of this list, you have to limit it to just the character’s Kang identity. Because he appeared, as Rama-Tut, in Fantastic Four before his Avengers debut.

That still leaves Kang, plus Immortus and, I think, the Scarlet Centurion… so most of the guy’s closet-full of identities can be assigned to Avengers, and it seems fair to put him in the list.

But that asterisk might help Ultie’s claim to an edge, all the same. Good list.

A similar list for the Justice League would not be nearly as impressive- Red Tornado, Zauriel, G’nort…

Wow, for once a Cronin list I agree with 100%! (Though I would have switched it around- Wonder Man is my #1 Avengers character! ;) )

I would easily put Rogue over Kang or Ultron; villains have never been the Avengers strong suit. And waitaminute, why is Wonder Man ahead of Rogue!? She doesn’te ven get an honorable mention here?

What’s wrong with Zauriel, DanLarkin?

I’m so disappointed Immortus didn’t make the list.

Besides the earlier debut of Kang in the FF as Rama Tut, there was also an earlier incarnation of the Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia that appeared in the Golden Age. He also had a one shot appearance in Marvel Superheroes #17.

I too was hoping to see Taskmaster, but with a list this short I’m not surprised he didn’t make it. Would love to see a longer list!

Forgot about Rogue! Though her character hasnt been cool in years…Love Taskmaster but can see him at 6

Yeah, Taskmaster should get an honorable mention since he has a solo mini series plus his appearances during Dark Reign.

While we’re at it, it can be suggested that the Vision debuted prior to Avengers, as well. There was the Golden Age character of the same name and appearance, of course.

And, though this has gone back and forth for years, so far as I know the current continuity still holds that the modern Vision was essentially a refurbished original Human Torch (unless that was retconned again).

I figure that all five of these guys are valid enough for inclusion in the list, but these issues sure get complicated when you’re a nerd. :-)

Well if you’re not going to count Kang you might as well not count the Vision, given he was based on another character and at one point was officially the revived Human Torch android.

The Vision’s name and some aspects of his appearance might have been influenced by the Golden Age Vision, but the substance of the character was influenced heavily by the androids in Robert Silverberg’s SF novel, Tower of Glass. The Vision can easily be considered a unique character overall.

SRS

I’d put Rogue at #2.She’s been a/the featured character in the 3 X-Men Movies and 3 X-Men Cartoons. You’re on greatest character list had her at the top. She’s currently lead in one of the X Books. Kang and Ultron are good villains…but that’s all. We’ll never see Kang menacing the silver screen, and I’m not too sure Ultron will either (not sure evil unstoppable robot will play well as something other than a Terminator rip off)

Definitely the Vision. I can’t really read older issues without getting sad/pissed that he and Scarlet Witch are no longer together and part of the team. Talk about writers who don’t know anything about the Avengers’ history.

“Definitely the Vision. I can’t really read older issues without getting sad/pissed that he and Scarlet Witch are no longer together and part of the team. Talk about writers who don’t know anything about the Avengers’ history.”

I’d rather gouge my eyes out than read another Vision/Scarlet Witch story.

Kang has the epic time travel thing going for him which means most of his key storylines have had major effects on the series, however Ultron has a genuine personal connection to the Avengers which means the best stories featuring him all tend to be a bit more intense than the Kang stories.

Also, I don’t mind Kang’s costume, (though the colour scheme could use a bit of work), but Ultron’s facial design is top-notch distillation of raw evil and anger.

Actually, perhaps if not covered already, perhaps Brian could do top 5 “team” villains, whether JLA- and Avengers Specific or checking some of the characters who’ve menaced the smaller teams (I’m looking in your direction Ruby Thursday & The Headmen)

Great list. I’d forgotten about Rogue, but she’s a good inclusion.

Also echoing the sentiments re: Taskmaster as an honourable mention. Aside from him, Kang, and Ultron, there weren’t that many other interesting Avengers villains debuting in the comic itself. Maybe Grim Reaper, and lots of henchmen types like Whirlwind, Swordsman, and Power Man.

I always liked Jocasta and I guess Mantis was interesting, although neither are near Top 5 range.

I think Henry Gyrich should get an honourable mention just for the prominent role he eventually played in the background of the Marvel Universe as a government-sized J. Jonah Jameson type (as a thorn in the side of the superheroes).

It’s very hard to disagree with this list. I normally find Kang pretty boring, but he’s been so important over the years he deserves inclusion. I think the only others who really deserved a shot for this list would be Mantis (horribly underrated) and Gyrich (always fun when written correctly).

Perfect list. I’m also an Ultron guy more than a Kang guy, probably because the first Avengers comic I ever read was #202, “Ultron Undying” in which a mind controlled Tony Stark rebuilt Ultron’s body.

Given her popularity and influence, Rogue deserves to be at least #2 on this list.

Taskmaster deserves an honorable mention as well. Always loved him and given his recent surge in importance and popularity in the MU, it should be a given.

Speaking of villains, didn’t Baron Zemo debut in Avengers 4?

@b2squared- I love Zauriel. But other than in Morrison’s JLA, he’s been used poorly or not at all. He hasn’t really been a significant DC character in the way the people on this list have been in the MU.

nice list. glad to see ultron and both Vision on it for they debuted in the avengers and still are lasting. and Rogue figured she should be on the list since she took down Miss Marvel one of the avengers big guns. though suprised Hawkeye did not make the list.

I’d definitely put Rogue at the #1 spot. Great character.

"Brian Michael Bendis"

September 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The Vision? An in-character Wonder Man? The Black Knight?

Man, Stern, Busiek, and all those other old writers sure as hell don’t know what the fans like AT ALL. Get out of the Stone Age people! And remember kids, if a story takes less than six issues to tell, it isn’t worth telling. That one comes straight from the heart, True Believers.

Decompression!

I haven’t had much interest in most versions of Wonder Man, but his solo ongoing was a favorite when it was running, especially during Galactic Storm (Haven’t read it recently but remember those parts being the most exciting), up to when his costume and characterization changed. I’m guessing the costume change wasn’t too popular overall since the series ended soon after.

Chad– Hawkeye didn’t make the list because he debuted in Tales Of Suspense, the title that featured Iron Man at the time.

An interesting list. Some comments:

1. Which writer wrote what:

Roy Thomas:Black Knight (honorable mention), Ultron, Vision. Fun fact, Thomas originally planned to revive the Golden Age Vision, but Stan Lee told him to make the the new Vision an android instead.

Stan Lee:Wonder Man and Kang.

Rogue: Chris Claremont.

So, Stan and Roy are tied with two apiece, if you don’t count Roy’s honorable mention. O

“The Vision? An in-character Wonder Man? The Black Knight?

Man, Stern, Busiek, and all those other old writers sure as hell don’t know what the fans like AT ALL. Get out of the Stone Age people! And remember kids, if a story takes less than six issues to tell, it isn’t worth telling. That one comes straight from the heart, True Believers.

Decompression!”

Yeah, if Bendis had only used more boring old characters, “New Avengers” wouldn’t have been such a sales disaster.

What, no love for Red Wolf?

“Man, Stern, Busiek, and all those other old writers sure as hell don’t know what the fans like AT ALL. Get out of the Stone Age people! And remember kids, if a story takes less than six issues to tell, it isn’t worth telling. That one comes straight from the heart, True Believers.”

Well, at least Steve Englehart agrees with you.

I like this list. I can’t remember who was quoting him, but someone quoted Garth Ennis as saying that Ultron is a cool character, but EVERY time he appears they have to rehash his origin.

I was actually just pondering this today. WHY is the Vision called the Vision? His powers aren’t really vision related in any real sense, are they?

What? No Rage?

Hah.

The Vision was named that because when the Wasp was attacked by him in his first appearance she said he looked like some sort of Vision. Kind of a lame origin for one of the cooler names but there you go…

Incidentally, I believe the Wasp also named Starfox and the Avengers themselves! Not a bad track record there.

What book did the Wasp debut in?

What book did the Wasp debut in?

Tales to Astonish

Oh, yeah, while I did not expect her to make the top five, she is a personal favorite of mine: Mantis. I would like to put her in for an honorable mention. But feel free to disagree.

“Yeah, if Bendis had only used more boring old characters, “New Avengers” wouldn’t have been such a sales disaster.”

Really, nothing says boring like a super-strong android (synthezoid, whatever) who grapples with his identity, flies, is kind of a dick to the mutant witch he loves, and whose favored method of attack involves phasing through an enemies chest and slowly solidifying, resulting in extreme pain. Nothing about that character says “good comics stuff.” Super boring.

Also, if a series sells a relatively high amount of issues, it must be good. Also, every fan of the classic runs must be pleased as hell with it. That’s math. “Boring old characters” will never sell as well or better, even all those times that they have, and the #1 movie at the box office every week is always the best movie, even when it sucks.

Maybe you’d agree with me that Lenil Francis Yu’s issues put John Buscema and George Perez’s to shame?

funkygreenjerusalem

September 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Heck, Black Knight was so popular that they sent him to the Ultraverse as one of the bigger characters to be sent to that world as part of Marvel’s attempt to pump some new life into the Ultraverse!

Were Black Knight and Seseri originally intended to be sent to the Ultraverse, or just meant to be gone?

Because it felt to me more an opportune move to have them re-appear in the Ultraverse books, as opposed to being written out with the intent of appearing elsewhere.
I just remember there being a few years between the two events, and the Avengers anniversary feeling more like a proper ‘goodbye’ to the characters.
(I was a kid at the time, and new to comics, so I could well be wrong. Heck, I believed them when they said they were killing Prof X and that the X-Men books would be in a new reality. I thought they was playing for keeps. Yup, I was gullible.)

“Also, if a series sells a relatively high amount of issues, it must be good. Also, every fan of the classic runs must be pleased as hell with it. That’s math. “Boring old characters” will never sell as well or better, even all those times that they have, and the #1 movie at the box office every week is always the best movie, even when it sucks.

Maybe you’d agree with me that Lenil Francis Yu’s issues put John Buscema and George Perez’s to shame?”

Wow, I must have really hit a nerve for you to have completely distort what I wrote in such a shameless (zing!) manner.

“Speaking of villains, didn’t Baron Zemo debut in Avengers 4?”

Baron Zemo’s debut was one of Stan’s more interesting experiments; he debuted simultaneously in Avengers #6 and Sgt. Fury #8, which came out at the same time. Avengers #6 was set in the present while Sgt. Fury #8, of course, was set during World War II, giving him an instant backstory as a long-standing MU villain. A nice bit of universe building.

Apropos of nothing, one of my son’s first words was “Kang.”

Is Captain America disqualified due to his Golden Age status?

BTW, can anyone clear up a mystery for me? I remember a Human Torch solo story in which Batroc the Leaper inpersonated Captain America. Torch believed he was the original Cap, because it was Torch who found Namor. But, at the end of the issue, when Cap is unmasked to reveal Batroc’s mask underneath (it was the Silver Age, things like that happened) Johnny mused to himself that it was too much to hope that such an iconic WWII hero would still be alive.

Now, given that Cap returned in Avengers #4, when must this Human Torch solo story have happened? Had to of been before that, right? Maybe in a Tales to Astonish?

Theno

The book you’re looking for is Strange Tales #114 (http://www.comics.org/issue/18004/?style=default).

@ Thenodrin: That would be Strange Tales #114, but it wasn’t Batroc ze Leaper, as Batroc debuted as a Cap villain *after* the Avengers revival. The villain in question is this, rather more obscure, dude: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/acrobath.htm

What a fantastic cover for Avengers #48 by George Tuska!

Man I love that Vision cover! You should do a top five uses of the red spectrum on a cover. Avengers 57, Spiderman 50, and from one of my favortie series of all time, Night force #4! so underated and short lived. :(

Has anyone been using Black Knight at all these days? Or is he in limbo or something?

JoeyMac: Black Knight was a regular cast member of ‘Captain Britain and MI-13′ prior to its cancellation.

Where’s Jarvis?

Jarvis first appeared in Tales of Suspense 59 according to http://marvel.wikia.com/Edwin_Jarvis_%28Earth-616%29

Oddly enough my comment really isn’t about the article but rather the cover of the Avengers issue in the number one spot. Wow, no disrespect to any of the heroes on that team but for an Avengers team the power level is REALLY weak.

Switch Wonder Man with Vision and I agree. As the title has progressed the Wonder Man character has become more important. Part of Vision’s appeal was that he was an artificial ghost of a dead Avenger, now that the real thing is back plus all the cool connections Wonder Man has with the Beast, Scarlet Witch, Ms. Marvel, the Grim Reaper and of course Vision, the machine becomes less important than the man that gave origin to it.

No question about the Vision at #1, and Ultron at #2. Without Ultron, the Marvel Universe would have no adamantium, and Wolverine would have just been a short, smelly Canadian. The Vision was a definitive part of the Avengers title through its best years, and until Heroes Reborn had appeared in more issue than any other Avenger save Cap. Sad to see such a great character eroded over the years by bad decision making (and yeah, that includes tearing him down in order to build the comparatively generic Wonder Man up).

Here’s hoping someday he’s returned to glory.

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