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Who Are The Most Powerful Characters In Marvel Defenders?

The Avengers have included some of the best Marvel superhero rosters in the comics, but many of their heaviest hitters have also belonged to another, lesser-known team: The Defenders. The Defenders were a major team that got their start in the early ’70s, and have been part of Marvel history since. The team includes Doctor Strange and the Hulk, but they’re only some of the most powerful Defenders.

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The Defenders line-up has seen some big changes through its various incarnations in the last 50 years, but many of its powerful members were there from the very beginning. For a team designed to be primarily made up of “outsiders,” the squad includes some of the best of the best.

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Updated on November 27th, 2021 by Darby Harn: With the Avengers on a bit of a hiatus in the MCU, other Marvel Comics superhero teams could emerge in their place, like the Thunderbolts and the Young Avengers. Another likely team to appear in the MCU is The Defenders. Many of the most powerful members of the classic Marvel team are active in the MCU already or are about to be, and include some major heavy hitters like the Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man. Many of them could potentially converge in Spider-Man: No Way Home, making the superhero team even more likely in the near future.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye comic

Hawkeye is a major part of the Avengers and the West Coast Avengers going back to the 1960s, but comic book fans know Clint Barton was also an integral part of the Defenders. Without any superpowers, he relies on his extraordinary skill in archery.

With peak human reflexes, expert training, and acrobatic skill, he may not be the most powerful, but he’s a vital part of any team. Hawkeye could join the team in the MCU through the events of the Hawkeye streaming series on Disney+, where he is training Kate Bishop, one of the best female archers in comics. 

Hellcat

Marvel Hellcat

Hellcat joined the team in the early ’70s. Patsy Walker has no superpowers, but is a skilled martial artist and gymnast, making her a valuable fighter. Hellcat also has retractable claws in her gloves, making any fight with her an ugly one.

Early versions of the character also had a magical cloak that protected her from mystical attacks, though this was dropped as the character progressed. She could potentially join the team in the MCU if she returns along with Jessica Jones from the Netflix series featuring both.

Nighthawk

Nighthawk was first introduced as a member of the Squadron Supreme, an homage to the Justice League of America from DC Comics. As the Batman stand-in, he had no powers of his own. But Kyle Richmond was a gifted fighter and athlete and his skills made him a natural fit for the Defenders.

He ends up with the team after leaving the Squadron Supreme and remains with them through the early ’80s. He appears to die in The Defenders #106, but there have been other versions of him in later Squadron Supreme comic storylines.

Valkyrie

Marvel Comics Valkyrie

The original version of Valkyrie in the comics, the Asgardian warrior, Brunnhilde, came into the team with issue four of The Defenders in 1973. Though she doesn’t have any power per se, her Asgardian physique makes her many times stronger and more durable than the ordinary human being. She also ages more slowly.

She does have a mystical ability that allows her to perceive death. Valkyrie could sense when death was approaching for other people. In extreme circumstances, she could also teleport herself and others to the realm of the dead.

Spider-Man

Spider-Man has been part of many teams over the years in the comics, and could well become a founding member of The Defenders in the MCU. With superhuman strength, reflexes, and endurance, he’s on par with some of the strongest members of the team. He distinguishes himself thanks to his web-slinging and acrobatic prowess against opponents.

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Peter Parker is also one of the most intelligent members of The Defenders, with a knack for problem solving and ingenuity that make him a valuable member of the team regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.

Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones on the cover of Alias Vol. 1.

Jessica Jones joined the team not long after her live-action version joined the Netflix Defenders, where she was played by actress Krysten Ritter. She brought her superhuman strength to the team, which is equal or greater than many of the other members of the team.

She once picked up Goliath, who was the size of a building and super dense due to his enormous size and threw him a great distance. The comic book version of Jessica Jones is also able to fly, which makes her an enormous asset in any battle, and allows her to bring an enormous amount of force down on any opponent.

Luke Cage

Luke Cage Marvel

Luke Cage is one of the strongest superheroes in the Marvel Universe and a member of many great Marvel teams. Thanks to an experimental procedure, his body is super dense, impervious to just about anything including bullets. He’s also incredibly strong.

Though he rarely needs it, he also heals much faster than the ordinary person. Luke Cage was partners with Iron Fist, one of Marvel’s best martial artists, for much of his early career. He became a regular member of The Defenders in issue #17 of the series, in 1974.

Namor

Namor standing as king in Saga of Serpent Crown.

Namor the Sub-Mariner is the Prince of Atlantis and one of the founding members of The Defenders. He’s also one of the most powerful. He can fly, swim at incredible speed, and survive the enormous pressures of being deep underwater. This makes him incredibly strong and durable, and a major player in any battle.

He has been shown to be able to take on the Hulk in the past, though depictions of his powers and abilities have varied some since his introduction in the comics all the way back in the Golden Age when Namor first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939.

Hulk

Hulk gamerverse cover

The Hulk is physically one of the strongest Avengers in the MCU and in the comic books. Given superhuman strength by a gamma-ray accident, Bruce Banner is virtually invulnerable. He’s not unkillable, though, but what death means for the Hulk and other gamma-infused characters is the question behind the current The Immortal Hulk run in the comics.

RELATED: The 10 Best MCU Teams, Ranked

The Hulk was one of the three founding members of The Defenders in 1971 and remained a consistent part of the team. This was a change from his previous behavior; he dropped out of the first Avengers squad after only a few issues.

Mar-Vell

The original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, was one of many superheroes who were only Defenders for a day in issue #62 of the original series. He brought enormous cosmic power to the fight. One of the most powerful versions of Captain Marvel in the comics, he not only had superhuman strength, stamina, and speed (including flight) but could teleport basically anywhere in the cosmos.

Mar-Vell could fly faster than the speed of light and in some cases generate illusions, though he wasn’t necessarily a magician like many of the other powerful members of The Defenders over the years.

Hellstorm

hellcat daimon hellstrom

Daimon Hellstrom is one of Marvel’s most powerful magicians, and in the realm of Hell, is virtually all-powerful. The son of Satan in the universe of Marvel Comics, Hellstorm has a vast command of the mystic arts. He’s also able to teleport himself back and forth to his native dimension at will.

He also used a special trident, forged in Hell, which amplified and channeled magical energy. He could project his own soul fire through it, a mystical energy that made people feel like they were on fire.

Clea

Clea and Doctor Strange connect

Clea is a powerful sorceress and the niece of Dormammu, one of the most powerful villains of Doctor Strange. As a result, she’s the Sorceress Supreme of the Dark Dimension she and Dormmau hail from and brought a lot of mystical firepower to The Defenders when she became a recurring member in Defenders #39.

She is able to transmute matter, project convincing illusions, and much like her uncle, summon beings and other mystical objects from other dimensions by drawing on the latent energy of various planes of existence.

Silver Surfer

Thanos vs Silver Surfer

The Silver Surfer is one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe, thanks to his command of the Power Cosmic. Besides his incredible strength and endurance, Norrin Radd can fly through the universe faster than the speed of light.

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He can also absorb the latent energy of the universe, using it to sustain himself, and manipulate energy and matter on a molecular level. He was one of the earliest recruits for the team, joining in issue #2, and remains one of its most powerful members.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange in costume wielding magic in his hands as Sorcerer Supreme in Marvel Comics.

As powerful as the Silver Surfer is, it’s debatable that he or anyone else on the Defenders is more powerful than Doctor Strange. The Sorcerer Supreme is one of the most powerful beings in Marvel Comics, with an encyclopedic knowledge of many forms of magic and a talent for wielding it.

Eternity, one of the highest cosmic beings in the Marvel universe, considers him the most powerful human alive. Doctor Strange was behind the formation of the Defenders and has remained the lynchpin of the team through its many later incarnations.

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch, Darkhold

The Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful Marvel characters in comics and the MCU, a Nexus Being with the ability to alter reality on an unimaginable scale. She proved this with terrifying results in House Of M, one of the comic books that inspired WandaVision, where she erased most mutants from existence with a single phrase.

A member of the Secret Defenders beginning in 1993, she preceded her decimation of mutants by changing reality across the world so that her children, Billy and Tommy, were still alive after she discovered they were only magical constructs.

NEXT: 10 Times Doctor Strange Was A Villain In Marvel Comics

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