While I fully respect and get along well with my fellow writer here, Johnathan Williams, I believe I will have to disagree with his assessment that in the end of the long-anticipated battle between the X-Men and the Avengers, the X-Men will come out on top. Everything that he says about them in the opening is true, and I, too, had a deep love and appreciation for that early 1990′s animated X-Men cartoon. I even think the X-Men are one of Marvel’s greatest teams in any iteration and any decade. They have saved the Earth and the universe many times over.
The Avengers are darlings of the Silver Age, spawning some of the most iconic characters in comics and one of the most historically diverse super hero groups of all time. They have had members, both past and present, of groups such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Their power knows no limits, and their bench is deep, to borrow a sports metaphor for a moment here. Their history and rich personal relationships knit them tightly together. All this and soooooo much more, which I hope to spell out to you here, will add up for a clear cut victory for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers.
1. Leadership: Let’s face facts here. I will admit that Cyclops is pretty bad ass in many ways, and his leadership has been a rock for the X-Men over the years, but how could he possibly stand up to the standard that has been set by both Captain America AND Iron Man, who are both current and active members of the Avengers? Cap has proven himself time and again as someone that even the most fiercely independent hero will follow, and he usually comes out on top. Iron Man may have his obvious flaws, but strategy and leadership when it counts are not part of them. The Avengers will follow these two men, no matter what. They trust them, and who better to have your back in a battle with other high-caliber fighters like the X-Men than Steve Rogers and Tony Stark? Even if one or both of these men were to be incapacitated, others such as Ms. Marvel or Thor could step up to the plate and lead easily.
2. Seasoned, Experienced Membership: Yes, many of the X-Men may know each other well and know each other’s powers, but the reality is that these Avengers have known each other for a very long time. Most of these guys have worked with each other for years and years, bonds that have been forged in some massive battles such as the Kree-Skrull War, Secret Invasion and so many others. The X-Men have had their share of epic battles for sure, but most of the X-Men now under Cyclops and Wolverine and either A: divided or B: children. Or both in some cases. While Cyclops is focusing on training teenagers to use their powers as soldiers, Wolverine is focusing on the school first approach. If these two teams mix in the battle with the Avengers, you now have two teams working together under two styles of leadership who are very young. The Avengers are all adults who are used to team situations and how to communicate in those instances without a moment’s hesitation. Can many of these X-Men say the same? Even those like Rogue, Beast, Psylocke and Hope, who are all on different sides?
3. Magic: I’ll grant you that the X-Men do have some pretty powerful telepaths in Emma Frost and Psylocke, and lord knows that Hope is full of potential, but Doctor Strange is no joke either. Sorcerer Supreme isn’t a title that’s just tossed out randomly to the first person who shows up. Stephen Strange is always a potent threat, and he’s faced down various demonic forces no less than Mephisto and Dormammu. The telepaths may have their strengths, but Strange could easily take them all out in one fell swoop. He has any number of powerful spells at his disposal, with vast knowledge of how to use them. Also, Iron Fist. Another Avenger with mystic powers that has proven himself a formidable fighter, Iron Fist holds mighty power in his, well, fist. Magic is always unpredictable, but in the hands of the capable it is a massive advantage. Let’s not rule out the Scarlet Witch as well, as she could be a major player for the Avengers, and do we REALLY need to revisit what she did to the X-Men?
4.Big, Raw Power: For all their numbers of vastly and naturally powered members, the X-Men don’t have as much natural strength and power as the Avengers. It’s just a fact. After Colossus and Rogue the X-Men are pretty shallow in terms of physical prowess and strength, whereas the Avengers have some of the strongest members of the Marvel universe on their roster(s). Let’s start with Red Hulk. I could probably just stop there, because very little has been able to stop this man since his joining the Avengers not so very long ago. On top of that, add Thor, a god. A Norse god, strong and powerful. Let’s not forget Luke Cage, he of the nigh indestructible skin. Oh, and then there’s The Thing, ANOTHER strong guy who’s not afraid to clobber when the time arises. There are so many members of this team that if one fell, another could rise up in their place and lead the charge forward. While on the surface brute strength may not seem like much of an asset, it really is. Power can turn the tide of battle into any direction, and with so much on the line, as well as the other three strengths mentioned thus far, the Avengers have this category covered as well.
5. Technical Savvy The X-Men now have their science gurus in people such as Dr. Nemesis and Danger, but, again, the Avengers have long held an advantage in the area of science and technology. The X-Men have their ways, and Beast is certainly a capable scientist, but with the combined intellects of Tony Stark and Hank Pym alone, not to mention the Vision, a being of vast technological ability. Iron Man’s capabilities in this area alone put the Avengers at a huge advantage, and how many times have the Avengers managed to fight off the likes of Ultron and Kang, both technological geniuses in their own right. We’ve seen time and again last minute fixes from the Avengers that involve science, and even Spider-Man has intelligence in this area, which makes them a threat on the fly, that ability to react quickly and intellectually to problems. It’s saved them in the field on more than one occasion, and if it happens again during this conflict with the X-Men, they are certain to have things go their way.