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Who Did The Best Job Leading The Avengers In The Comics?

March 18, 2020 2.5k votes 295 voters 4.4k views15 items

List RulesVote up the Avengers who did a great job while in charge.

There may be no more honored title in all of comic books than the official leader of the Avengers, and it’s a job that's been held by a surprising number of characters over the years. Those more casually associated with the franchise might assume Captain America is just always in charge by default, but that’s not quite true. By their own charter, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must always have an elected chairperson in command, and it's not always Steve Rogers.

In fact, all of the founding Avengers, with the notable exception of the Hulk, have served in the role of chairperson over the years. Some - like Cap, the Wasp, and Black Widow - have spent longer than others in the chair, but each leader has made at least a few notable contributions to the organization's history, both for better and for worse.

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  • Part Of Rotating Chairpersonship: Avengers #1-16, Avengers #32-127

    Permanent Chairperson: Avengers #17-31, Avengers #186-217, Avengers #255-256, Avengers #278-279, Avengers #300-347, Avengers Vol 3 #1-85, Avengers Vol 5 #1-44

    Highlights: Given that Steve Rogers’s leadership covers the vast majority of team history, it’s difficult to narrow down the best moments - but the "Cap’s Kooky Quartet" era, in which he led a squad consisting of just him and three reformed crooks, deserves special credit. So too does his steady commanding during the Avengers World era, in which the organization grew to its greatest size yet. 

    Lowlights: Cap has quit the Avengers on several occasions, including when he became “The Captain” and when he proved unable to stop his teammates from enacting lethal justice in "Operation: Galactic Storm." His Avengers Vol 5 stint also ended with the destruction of the Marvel Universe, so there’s that. 

    Best Leadership Quality: Captain America is inspiration personified. There may be no better leader in the annals of fictional history.

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  • Part Of Rotating Chairpersonship: Avengers #52-127

    Permanent Chairperson: Avengers Vol 8 #8-present

    Highlights: Early in his career, T’Challa led the Avengers in a multipart adventure against the nefarious Egghead. Later, when given the official role of chairperson, he moved the team’s HQ to the frozen body of a Celestial at the North Pole and revamped the entire organization - even going as far as to create a new official support squad, the Agents of Wakanda.

    Lowlights: Black Panther's time as leader has attracted several onslaughts from his most prominent rival, Namor the Submariner. It has also caused friction with the US Government, which opposes the idea of a non-American leading the Avengers, despite their headquarters no longer existing within the United States. 

    Best Leadership Quality: Regality. Some leaders are chosen, but King T'Challa was quite literally born to be in charge.

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  • Part Of Rotating Chairpersonship: Avengers #1-16, Avengers #32-127

    Permanent Chairperson: Avengers #151-185

    Highlights: As rotating chairperson, Iron Man wasn’t given much opportunity - mostly because nobody knew he was secretly super-genius Tony Stark at the time. As permanent chairperson, he held back an invasion from Atlantis, took on the Lethal Legion, and led the Avengers through the legendary "Korvac Saga" - which saw Earth's Mightiest Heroes team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy from the Year 3000!

    Lowlights: Tony Stark’s time in the chair culminated with the National Security Council taking hold of the Avengers - and immediately booting half the roster. It didn't take long before Iron Man was forced to leave after being falsely accused of homicide, prompting him to hand the reins back to Captain America. 

    Best Leadership Quality: Unparalleled intelligence, though he had to keep it on the down-low when he was still pretending to not be Tony Stark.

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  • Permanent Chairperson: Avengers #348-402

    Highlights: When Captain America left the Avengers in protest of their decision to slay the Kree Supreme Intelligence, it was left to Natasha Romanoff to pick up the pieces - and indeed she did, holding the team together for more than 50 issues, a stint in the chair that trails just Cap and the Wasp. Highlights include the epic conflict against the Gatherers, the "Bloodties" crossover, and taking down MODOK and the Red Skull at the same time.

    Lowlights: Romanoff oversaw a tumultuous period in the Avengers’ history, including Steve Rogers becoming a werewolf, the breaking bad of Tony Stark - necessitating his replacement by a time-traveling teenage version of himself - and the sacrifice of most members of the team, but not the Widow herself, to stop Onslaught. 

    Best Leadership Quality: Her cold, hard, calculating nature. If you wanted an Avenger to make a difficult moral decision, Black Widow was the one to do it.

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