Cold air tickles Wolverine’s nose. His nostrils tingle with a familiar scent. Adamantium claws burst from his knuckles as he charges like a wild animal through the forest until the scent lingers like a stale mist. He scans the trees around him. A resounding crack splits into the trunk of a tree behind him as a blurred metal disc ricochets off it, whirling at Wolverine. The flying object slams into Wolverine’s skull before returning to the hand of his opponent.
Shaken, Wolverine staggers to his feet. The blurred image of a Captain America costume fills his vision. Cap braces himself, shield ready for impact, as the enraged X-Man lunges at him with the force of a beast, swinging wildly. The clanks and scraps of metal on metal echo through the air as Wolverine’s assault pushes Captain back. A swipe of the claws forces Cap to somersault away, but Wolverine leaps on top of his toppled prey. The two find themselves locked in a struggle as Wolverine’s claws bear down upon the prone Captain America. The claws inch closer to Cap’s neck. The blade kisses his chin, drawing blood, but a flash of red and gold swoops down from the sky, delivering a blow that knocks Wolverine airborne. A red, armored gauntlet reaches down to help Captain back to his feet.
“Good to see you, Tony.”
“You didn’t really think I’d let you do this alone, did you?” replies Iron Man. But Cap isn’t the only with backup…
The Avengers and the X-Men are Marvel’s two biggest teams. The question every comic fan has probably asked themselves at some point is: if these two groups fight, who will win? Let’s check out the teams and break down these unique comic book groups.
So, who gets to fight? Both the X-Men and the Avengers rosters include enough heroes to make an army, but trying to imagine a war between heroes on that scale is a bit unwieldy. Certain X-Men could even be placed on both sides! Let’s take two five-man teams of signature members from each, since each team rarely fights in groups bigger than five anyways.
The X-Men roster has seen many heroes come and go. For this matchup, Wolverine and his group after the Schism story arc will represent the X-Men. Wolverine, Iceman, Rogue, Beast and Shadowcat compose this team.
For the Avengers, the most current lineup seems suitable. Actually, the current lineup looks much the same as it did in the Avengers’ early days. Captain America leads, with Iron Man, Hawkeye and Vision rounding out his team. Red Hulk replaces the Incredible Hulk for the last member.
Powers and Abilities
Powers! It’s where the conversation of every superhero begins. Both of these teams have a lot of powers, so let’s look at a breakdown of the abilities of each group. Since basically every superhero has some form of martial arts training, a note is only included for heroes who have extensive training in that field.
- Wolverine: Healing factor; adamantium skeleton; claws; extensive training in martial arts.
- Iceman: Control over temperature; ice armor; ice construct creation; regeneration of ice form; an Omega-level mutant.
- Rogue: Absorption of powers of other meta-humans; flight; super-human strength; ionized plasma creation.
- Beast: Increased strength, speed, agility and reflexes; biochemistry mastery; medical skills; healing factor (not as powerful as Wolverine’s).
- Shadowcat: Phasing through solid matter; extensive training in martial arts.
- Captain America: Maximum human-capacity strength, speed and agility; vibranium shield; extensive training in martial arts.
- Iron Man: Flight; repulsor beams; uni-beam; defensive energy shielding; super strength.
- Red Hulk: Super strength (upper limits of strength unknown); immunity to most forms of physical damage.
- Hawkeye: Master of weaponry; extensive training in martial arts.
- Vision: Super speed, strength, and agility; can create energy blasts; can change his density at will; flight; phasing.
X-Men take the advantage in this category. Iceman and Rogue are the powerhouses of X-Men, while Red Hulk and Iron Man are powerhouses of the Avengers. Vision’s abilities are above those of Beast, Shadowcat and Wolverine, but their combined power and abilities make up for a deficiency of the Avengers. Despite bringing a lot to the table, Captain America and Hawkeye have zero super-human powers. They both have skill sets that often allow them to take down foes more powerful, however, in a fight with teams with a lot of super powers, two people not having them creates a liability.
Leadership and Teamwork
Powers are great, but if a team cannot utilize their skills, losing the upper hand can happen in an instant. The X-Men and the Avengers have both seen unprecedented action and each have their unique quirks.
Wolverine’s life, which has lasted well over a century, pushed him into countless wars. Logan’s weakness as a leader may lie in his loner nature. Although he has proven on several occasions that he can lead a team when the need arises, Wolverine always appears more at home when he does things solo.
The X-Men have extensive teamwork training. Since members come and go often, the X-Men adapt to new groups all the time. While adaptability is good, it doesn’t help them to discover their full potential as a team. The unpredictability in roster and knowledge of the team’s powers leaves them with uncertainty of what they are capable of.
Steve Rogers served through WWII to gain his combat experience, but Steve also didn’t have the boon of healing factor to help his survival chances. Rogers had to work harder during his war experience to learn the tactics to protect himself and his teams. This factor gives Rogers a better understanding of how to protect weaknesses, rather than just march through them like Wolverine might attempt. Rogers also has the personality of a natural leader: dependable, humble, and a deep-seeded need to protect others.
Teamwork is the Avengers’ bread and butter. One factor to consider about the Avengers is that this team has been together much longer. Iron Man, The Vision, Captain America, and Hawkeye have been on the Avengers consistently since the beginning. The ability to have a feel for what your teammates are capable of leads to less need for communication and more generally accepted roles within the group, which comes with experience together. Red Hulk is the only new member, but he’s a gifted strategist who has much more control than Hulk did. If anything, it’s an improvement to the team.
The X-Men are a formidable team, but Rogers is a born leader backed by a team of heroes he’s worked extensively with over many years. Wolverine is more of a leader by circumstance followed by a group of mutants he’s worked with on varying degrees. At this point, Captain America and the Avengers have got a pretty good grip on what their capabilities are as a group.
And the Winner is…
Beast and Shadowcat rush from the shadows of the forest, helping Wolverine up, but Logan quickly swats away their hands and utters a guttural growl. Iron Man nods at Captain America as he takes flight high above the battle. Trees crumple behind them like they were made of papier-mâché as the Red Hulk makes a thundering leap through the forest, landing in front of Cap, shattering the ground beneath.
Vision hovers in, unnoticed behind the team. Iceman glides in on ice, while Rogue floats down behind Wolverine. The real fight begins!
Red Hulk stampedes at the X-Men, while Iron Man charges a repulsor blast in flight. Red Hulk flails at Beast and Shadowcat, his gargantuan fist passing straight through Shadowcat’s phased body, as Beast and Wolverine deftly evade. Rogue soars into the sky, landing a power hook on Iron Man, which sends his repulsor blast into the sky. Rogue’s assault continues on Iron Man as he struggles to regain his balance, when Cap’s shield strikes Rogue.
As Rogue plummets to the earth, Iceman sweeps the sky with an ice slide to catch her, but is confronted by Vison, who shifts his density to topple Iceman’s bridge. A charging Captain America meets the plummeting Rogue with a bludgeoning shield bash that sends her crashing into a tree, while a follow-up blast of repulsor energy slams into the downed Rogue.
Upon seeing his comrade fall, Wolverine enrages and breaks free of Red Hulk’s rampage. In a flurry of adamantium, Wolverine swipes at Captain America with unrelenting force, pushing Cap back with each attack. As Cap gives ground, an arrow screams from the shadows, exploding into Wolverine’s back. Wolverine staggers for a moment as Cap seizes the upper hand to flip Wolverine on the ground with his shield. Vision lands on Wolverine, increasing his density to that of a few tons and rendering Wolverine immobile.
As Iron Man and Iceman exchange blows, Shadowcat narrowly escapes a blow from Red Hulk, but as she phases back into solid form, another arrow from the shadows explodes into her back, tossing her into the sky like a rag doll. Beast, distracted by his fallen teammate fails to dodge Red Hulk’s grasp and is snared by Red Hulk’s constricting hands. His friends at the mercy of his enemies, Iceman surrenders to the Avengers.
The Avengers Win!
In the end, superior teamwork will win. The Avengers have proven themselves to be a more experienced team over the years and are more likely to use the powers and skills they do have to their best advantages. The X-Men, while having extensive training in the Danger Room, as well as some deadly powers, just don’t seem like a team with as much cohesion as the Avengers.
How do you think it would play out?