- Avengers face god-tier villains in intense one-on-one battles, like Captain America defeating the villainous Kleiser.
- Captain Marvel and Thor engage in a bloody and rage-filled battle across the entire planet.
- Iron Man and Captain America’s iconic conflict in Civil War leads to a brutal and destructive confrontation between the two heroes – and that’s just a few of the many brutal one-v-one battles in Avengers lore.
The Avengers aren’t known as the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for no reason, as they are called upon to face the greatest threats facing the planet at any given time. Indeed, the team was formed during a battle against a literal god, Loki, in Avengers #1, which set the bar for the god-tier villains they’d have to go up against from that point forward.
While the very nature of the Avengers implies the teamwork of Marvel Comics’ strongest heroes, some of the most intense battles are fought one-on-one. Sometimes a hero has to face a villain alone, other times a hero and another hero have a disagreement that can only be settled with their fists or weapons, and there are even a number of scenarios where an Avengers villain has it out with another villain, leaving the Avengers out of the equation entirely. No matter the matchup, there is a plethora of one-v-ones in Avengers lore – here are the 10 most brutal!
10 Shocking Moments From the Original Ultimate Marvel Universe
Marvel Comics Ultimate Universe pushed the boundaries of what fans could handle, from horrific gore to character changes. Here’s the 10 most shocking!
10 Captain America Inspired the MCU’s Most Controversial Kill Fighting Kleiser
Ultimates #12 by Mark Miller and Bryan Hitch
Kleiser is a villain unique to the Ultimate Universe who was a Chitaurie (which, in the Ultimate Universe, were stand-ins for the Skrulls) disguised as a Nazi general. Captain America met Kleiser during World War II, but it wasn’t until the Chitaurie race launched a full-scale invasion of Earth in the modern day that Captain America finally got to put this despicable villain down for good.
While the two superpowered enemies go blow-for-blow during the fight, the tide quickly turns when Captain America pins Kleiser down, lifts his shield above his head, and slams it down edge-first right into Kleiser’s chest. This scene plays just like the MCU’s most controversial kill in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, when USAgent does the exact same thing to a Flag-Smasher, leading one to wonder if this scene was the series’ ultimate inspiration.
9 Captain Marvel & Thor Tear Across the Planet in Carol’s Darkest Storyline
Captain Marvel Vol. 10 #12 by Kelly Thompson and Lee Garbett
Perhaps the darkest storyline in Captain Marvel’s history has to be The Last Avenger, especially the first issue of that arc, as it depicts Carol as a sinister force wearing a living, malevolent suit controlled by a vile cosmic villain who is forcing her to do something truly awful: kill the Avengers. This issue opens with Captain Marvel catching Thor off guard, launching a surprise attack to take him down quickly. However, this is the God of Thunder, and he won’t be beaten so easily. Captain Marvel knew this was a possibility, and she was more than prepared for it, as the two engaged in a battle that saw them tear across the entire planet. This fight was bloody and filled with confusion and rage.
In the end, Captain Marvel claimed victory, as she held up Thor’s severed head on the final page of this issue, indicating that she had killed the God of Thunder – seemingly bringing a gruesome end to a brutal fight.
8 Captain America Has a Space Battle with Kang the Conqueror
Avengers #53 by Kurt Busiek, Kieron Dwyer, and Rick Remender
In the Kang Dynasty event, Kang and the Scarlet Centurion invade the Earth of the present with an army from the future as they watch from orbit inside their giant space station. When the Avengers infiltrate the station, Kang unveils a giant projection of himself in space, one that’s very capable of inflicting physical harm. Then, Kang is shocked to see that Captain America has done the exact same thing, and the two have an epic space battle – like two gods fighting for dominion over an entire planet.
While this fight isn’t gory or gruesome like some of the others, the sheer scale of it is incredibly epic, and the same goes for the stakes this fight held, as the fate of the entire world was literally hanging in the balance.
7 Iron Man & Captain America Engage in Their Most Iconic Conflict Yet
Civil War #7 by Mark Miller and Steve McNiven
Civil War is perhaps the most iconic Marvel Comics event to date, and the entire thing hinged on the conflict between two Avengers: Iron Man and Captain America. Their disagreement over the proposed registration of superpowered individuals became a nation-wide war within that community, one that blurred the line between heroes and villains, and created a new one right between Iron Man and Captain America.
In the end, after both their armies had inflicted the maximum amount of damage they could upon each other, only Iron Man and Captain America were left to face one another, resulting in the now-iconic image of Captain America deflecting Iron Man’s repulsor blasts with his shield.
6 Sentry Proves He’s Stronger Than a God By Brutally Defeating Ares
Siege #2 by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel
When Norman Osborn and his super-villain Cabal invade Asgard (which was hovering above Broxton, Oklahoma at the time), the Olympian God of War, Ares, comes to the Asgardians’ aid, as he had his own score to settle with Osborn. Ares had been deceived by Norman into joining his Dark Avengers under false pretenses, and he vowed to kill him. So, Norman sent another former member of the Dark Avengers, Sentry, to take care of Ares first – and he did so in truly brutal fashion.
After some back and forth, Sentry got the upper hand in the fight, and literally ripped Ares in half at the waist, showering those beneath them in the deity’s blood and guts, effectively proving himself to be stronger than a god.
5 Wolverine Suffers His Most Controversial Injury Fighting the Hulk
Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk #1 by Damon Lindelof and Leinil Francis Yu
Speaking of people getting ripped in half at the waist, the exact same thing happened to Wolverine – who is both an X-Man and an Avenger – when he fought the Hulk in the Ultimate Universe, sparking some major controversy in the fandom. Since the Ultimate Universe was more or less an initiative to streamline the original Marvel Universe in a more modern and cohesive continuity, it’s a given that a ‘Wolverine vs Hulk’ story would happen. Wolverine did debut in a Hulk comic, after all, so it was only natural that the two face off in the Ultimate Universe. And this time, their battle was far more gruesome.
On the opening page of the first issue, Hulk rips Wolverine in half, splattering his blood and guts all over the snow. This caused some controversy, as some fans argued that the Hulk shouldn’t have been able to do that given the strength of Wolverine’s adamantium-coated spine. But, that notwithstanding, it’s an absolutely brutal sight to behold, and probably the coolest ‘Hulk vs Wolverine’ fights to date.
4 Iron Man & the Mandarin Tear Each Other Apart In A Brutal Final Showdown
Invincible Iron Man #28 by Daniel Knauf, Charles Knauf, and Roberto de la Torre
In the Iron Man: Haunted storyline, Tony Stark is in a heated conflict with the Mandarin, who is enacting a plan to release the Extremis virus into the population. This would kill anyone without a very specific genetic makeup, which would be most of civilization, and it would grant those who remain superhuman abilities. The Mandarin wanted to usher in the next stage of human evolution, at the cost of most of the world – including himself.
Tony Stark had to stop him, and he did so in truly brutal fashion, as Iron Man unleashes his full fury upon his arch rival for the sake of the entire planet.
3 Thor Teaches Iron Man the Difference Between a Mortal Man & a God of Thunder
Thor Vol. 3 #3 by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel
When Thor travels to Louisiana to see for himself the devastation of Hurricane Katrina (and blamed himself for not stopping it), he is interrupted by Iron Man. Stark tells Thor that he now has to work for the government, as per the newly instated superhuman registration/50 States Initiative. Tony threatens Thor with prosecution if he doesn’t comply, and Thor – already angry over the devastation surrounding him – can listen to no more of Stark’s arrogance.
Without holding back, Thor strikes Iron Man with a massive bolt of lightning before taking Tony’s armored head in his hands and crushing it, popping the faceplate off, and highlighting how vulnerable Tony Stark really is in the presence of a wrathful god.
2 Captain America Utterly Dominates His Hydra Imposter
Secret Empire #10 by Nick Spencer and Steve McNiven
Secret Empire threw readers into a world where Captain America was secretly an agent of Hydra all along, even going so far as to have the iconic Avenger utter the villainous words “Hail Hydra”. Thankfully, the ruse didn’t last long, as it was quickly revealed that this version of Captain America (codenamed Supreme Commander) wasn’t the real Steve Rogers, and the original Captain America just needed to be put back in the fight in order to take the imposter down.
In the final issue of Secret Empire, Captain America comes face to face with his ‘evil twin’. While they are almost perfectly matched, Captain America reveals he can do one thing the Supreme Commander cannot: he is worthy of lifting Mjolnir. After Rogers lifts Mjolnir, it’s all over for the Supreme Commander, as Captain America claims the victory and ends this brutal one-v-one matchup in the most satisfying way imaginable.
1 Thanos Claims the Power Stone In His Planet-Destroying Battle with the Champion
Thanos Quest by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim
When Thanos was on a mission across the cosmos to collect all the Infinity Stones, one of the stops he made was the planet on which the Champion currently resided, as the Champion was the keeper of the Power Stone. At the time of Thanos’ arrival, the Champion was battling legions of enemy soldiers single-handedly, and only stopped to face Thanos, who immediately challenged the Champion to single combat – a challenge the Champion happily accepted.
While the Champion was far more powerful than Thanos, the Mad Titan held his own quite well, making their battle an impressive display of raw power. But, Thanos knew he couldn’t keep it up, so he goaded the Champion into using the Power Stone to blow up the entire planet, giving Thanos an edge in the vacuum of space. This battle between two prominent Avengers villains literally ended with an entire world being blown apart, making it one of the 10 most brutal one-v-one fights in Avengers history.