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Month of Avengers/X-Men Top Fives – Top Five Honorary Avengers

All month-long we’ll be featuring top five lists about either the Avengers or the X-Men. Here is an archive of all the past top five lists!

In this installment, we’ll look at the top five honorary Avengers! With all the dozens and dozens of ACTUAL Avengers, it’s surprising to see that they still managed to get in some honorary members, as well!


NOTE: Avengers’ support staff are not honorary members. So no Jarvis, no Peggy Carter, no John Jameson, etc.

To give you an idea of who exactly we’re working with here in terms of eligible people, the honorable mentions and the top five cover everyone but Flux and Moira Brandon, neither of whom are even worth counting as honorable mentions, as the former never even appeared in an issue of Avengers and the latter appeared in one story (not a BAD story, but come on, she just doesn’t compare). So if you wish to disagree with the choices, go right ahead, but THESE ARE THE CHOICES YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH. If you don’t like one of the top five, your only option is to suggest someone from the honorable mentions list.


I liked the second Swordsman. He was a useful character. I didn’t hate his girlfriend, Magdalene, but nor did I particularly like her either. I appreciate the fact that Kurt Busiek wrote them off before a future writer killed them off for the heck of it (a fate that befell at least one of the characters on the following list).

Not a Deathcry fan at all. Marrina was a good character, but she was barely in the Avengers and when she was, her most memorable moment was almost killing them all! Not a fan of Teen Tony or Masque.

5. Yellowjacket

You have to love the idea of a lady stealing Yellowjacket’s costume and his powers and then becoming a criminal, only to end up helping out the Avengers when the Avengers priority alarm hidden in her costume keep beeping so much that she couldn’t help but respond to it and end up helping the Avengers save the world! She went on to become a notable member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Sadly, she was killed off in ridiculous fashion just so that the title could advertise “Two Avengers die!” and one of them is an honorary member and the other was a member for less than 10 issues! SO lame.

4. Whizzer

For awhile there, the Whizzer was a pretty major presence in the pages of the Avengers as he was thought to be the father of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver for a while there.

3. The Guardians of the Galaxy

Jim Shooter really used the Guardians well as he brought them into the Avengers to deal with their old foe, Korvac. I still love that they are on the cover of Avengers #181 as theoretical members of the team. Yeah, they’re really going to cut down the membership of the team to seven and somehow keep one of the Guardians?

2. Captain Marvel

I originally had him #1, but then I thought more about it. On the one hand, Marvel is clearly the most notable superhero associate of the Avengers who never actually joined the team. And on that same hand, Captain Marvel was part of three of the most notable Avengers stories of all-time, namely the Kree/Skrull War, the Korvac Saga and The Final Threat (the story where Thanos, Warlock, Pip and Gamora all die). However, those three stories were literally it for his appearances, and besides Kree/Skrull War, he wasn’t exactly a major focus of any of those other stories. Now on the OTHER hand…

1. Rick Jones

Rick Jones, that dude was HEAVILY involved in Avengers lore. First off, he was part of the Kree/Skrull War, as well. Hell, he ENDED the damn thing. However, Rick and his friends actually FORMED the Avengers!!! When Loki wanted to mess with some Earth heroes by making them all think that the Hulk went rogue, Rick and his friends tried to get the Fantastic Four to investigate, since Rick didn’t think that the Hulk would do the things he was accused of. Loki diverted Rick’s signal to the FF and sent it to the heroes who would ultimately form the first Avengers lineup. In #4, Rick was right there for Captain America to dwell on in his sort of creepy obsessive fashion that Cap used to obsess over stuff back in the day. In #8, Rick and his friends help the Avengers defeat freakin’ KANG! Eventually, Rick became Captain America’s partner. Plus, Rick was heavily involved in the Avengers Forever mini-series.

Is it a close call? Yes, but I think Rick takes the cake.

By the way, it is a great sign of how messed up gender politics were back in the day that for a while there the Wasp’s role on the team was deemed to basically be the same as Rick’s. “Wasp, you’re my superhero partner. Rick, you’re some kid. Yeah, I think you’re both basically honorary Avengers. Maybe Wasp could take notes for our meetings, as well?”


Hard to know who is a honorary Avenger and who isn’t? I’m guessing Jarvis and Two-Gun Kid don’t count for one reason or another.

Two-Gun Kid was made a reserve member. Jarvis, meanwhile, is their butler. I’ll throw in a bit about support staff to make it clear for folks.

Can’t argue with Rick being Numero Uno. The dude has been an important supporting character in a ton of long-running titles such as INCREDIBLE HULK, AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA, two different CAPTAIN MARVEL runs, and even freaking ROM, of all people, just to name a few. If you add up Rick’s appearances, it would likely equal his having an ongoing series by issue numbers alone.

I always felt the Whizzer should have died in the main Avengers book proper. He could also have been kept around to mentor Pietro (or at least attempt it) as the Marvel Universe’s answer to Jay Garrick. I only learned of his demise through a comment that Crossfire made in the first Hawkeye mini-series, back in ’83. I didn’t read the actual story until I picked up the Vision and Scarlet Witch trade paperback a few years ago.

By the by, that Perez cover to Avengers #167 is a true beaut.

Rich in color and detail, it features the Guardians and seven out of eight Avengers from one of my favorite lineups ever, the one from Avengers Annual #10.

I guess that makes Vance Astrovik the only person to appear on both your “honorary” and “mutant” Avengers lists.

Why isn’t Rick an actual Avenger yet, now that he has powers as A-Bomb? Way to drop the ball there, Cap.

Considering that freaking General Ross is an Avenger now, that is a darned good question.

Also, about #2, it seems to me that Captain Marvel had a fairly significant role in the Avengers Annual where Warlock died. He destroyed the artificial composite gem and was the sole witness of Warlock’s death, after all.

I could do without Rick as A-bomb. I always enjoyed what Peter David solidified: that Rick Jones was the “cool, ordinary guy” of the Marvel Universe who lived among superheroes without actually being one. Rick’s use of powers during the Kree/Skrull war never sat well with me, but I accept that it has its place in Marvel lore (and appreciate that Kurt Busiek brought it back for the limited purpose of the Destiny War).

I realize that we’re probably stuck with Rick being A-bomb as long as he’s that way on the new Hulk cartoon, but I look forward to him going back as soon as a writer can get away with it.

This list is perfect, wouldn’t change it!

God, that Avengers Annual 17 cover is just so ’80s — grey Hulk, Captain America as “The Captain,” Beast in the ugly brown X-Factor X costume. The ’80s was certainly the decade of everyone at Marvel dressed wrong.

In your Whizzer entry, you’ve got “for a while…” twice in one sentence. A minor quibble with a terrific list.

I don’t think Korvac was an old Guardians foe, certainly not at this point. He first showed up against the Defenders, then came his big Avengers arc.
That aside, good list. I’d count Jarvis (particularly after his flashback post being half-killed by the Masters of Evil–great story) but since you specified No Support Staff, fair enough.

After the Defenders battle, Korvac encountered the Guardians once in a Thor story, and at least he did come from their era. He was as much their foe as anybody’s, which is to say not much.

How and when were Swordsman 2 and Magdalene killed? I never read any of their issues, but find it sad when writiers use obscure characters as cannon fodder.

And yeah, Brian, I’m always struck by Wasp’s weird second-class status as a founding member whenever I look at the cover of Avengers #1: “Thor! Ant Man! Hulk! Iron Man!” Ummm, she’s right there on the cover. Would it kill you to acknowledge her? At least she started appearing with the other in the corner box starting with #3, when Hank became Giant-Man.

Purple Hayes: I read Brian’s sentence as saying that Busiek gave those two characters an ending of sorts himself so that another writer couldn’t just come along and use them for cannon fodder (or at least it would be harder to do it).

Good call on Rick Jones. Is he currently appearing anywhere or is he in limbo? Has he been de-Loebed yet or is he still that ridiculous A-Bomb character?

Hey, you made a mistake! #1 and # 2 are the same person!

Well, sometimes.

Hey, was Adam Warlock ever an Avenger? If not, then he should be on the list somewhere, i think.

Honorary Avenger is an official designation, just like reserve membership, because the Avengers are really into their rules and bylaws that way.Just teaming up with them doesn’t cut it. Somebody has to have said, “Hey, you’re an honorary Avenger” to qualify for the list. Nobody ever said that to Warlock because he’s so scowly.

Jeez, I forgot to Rick Jones. Almost hit the top 5.

Suggestions for top 5:
Top Five staff of the Avengers
Top five best female leaders of the Avengers / led more women.
Top five women who attended more of the Avengers.

Was Jocasta an actual member or an honorary? She sure wasn’t around very long!

Actual member. Provisional membership in Avengers #197.

Killing Yellowjacket II off was a mistake. There was a character with some potential that nobody post Stern, bar that Avengers annual, ran with. If anything that Avengers annual highlights what could have been. Even if it kills Jocasta AGAIN and Hercules as soon as he recovered.

Anyone remember who wrote it?

Walter Simonson.

My favorite Avengers “what the what?” provisional Avenger membership might still be Darkhawk, a teenager who lived with his mom in New York City and inadvertently ended up a provisonal with the West Coast Avengers for a skinny minute.

“After the Defenders battle, Korvac encountered the Guardians once in a Thor story, and at least he did come from their era.”

There was also an Annual crossover, “The Korvac Quest”, which started in the present day (Fantastic Four), then they went to meeting 26th Century Thor (Dargo Ktor) in Thor, then they met the Silver Surfer somewhere in the 28th century, something like that, and then their annual was in their present, when Korvac’s power/spirit comes back and incarnates into himself as a baby, completing some kind of cycle, and really cementing in my teenage brain that Korvac was tied to the Guardians.

Weren’t Rage and Sandman reserve members back in the late 80s early 90s? Or were they just trainee Avengers?

Sean: Oh yeah, there was more stuff tying Korvac to the Guardians after the Avengers “Korvac Saga,” just not so much before.

Good call on Rick Jones. He IS Marvel.

I miss the days when Spidey was just an honorary Avenger. He had that “Awe shucks guys thanks, but; I’m up to my neck with real problem and with you I feel in over my head!” quality that set him apart from what used to be “The Mighty Avengers”… an elitist group of do-gooders with government sanctioning. I like that Bendis sorta democratized the team.

Well, I understand no one cares for Moira Brandon, but I must say I adore her! This old lady is based in the character of Norma Desmond from “Sunset Boulevard” and, perhaps because, despite of her unimportance, her absence of powers and fragility she has reached the honorary status, makes her a different and fresh member of the Avengers between all this big guns.
My vote is for Rita deMara, Yellowjacket. I think she is a very wasted character with a lot of potential and humanity, and its a shame there are no writers that cares for her.
I would love to see a book of dead Avengers (most of the honoraries are dead) titled Avengers forever with the premise of defense the world as dead spirits or something :)

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