Top 80 Marvel Heroes

A personal ranking of who I think are the 80 most important Marvel Comics heroes. Not my favourites, but who I think have had the biggest impact on the 616 universe, and who are its biggest stars. Ideally based equally on Earth-616 now, and throughout history. That said, it used to reflect the Bendis era of 2004-2012 more than anything, and is now starting to increasingly reflect the modern Post Secret Wars era instead.

Note: Although the final decisions are made subjectively by me, to help me make those decisions I use a spreadsheet, ranking heroes based on a weighted score that combines their Total Comic Book Appearances, Comic Appearances per Year (APY), Video Game/Toy Appearances, and Number of Comic Series as a Lead Character.

List items

  • 1

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • 2

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • 3

    Added in 2nd draft in 2012, either he was dead and I took it seriously for the first draft or I thought he was. I was young and mostly knew 616 history, not 616 news.

  • 4

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • 5

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • 6

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 20

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 25

    Seemingly added in 3rd draft in 2013. I believe she was dead for the first two drafts and I took it seriuously at the time.

  • Top 25

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 25

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 25

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 25

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 30

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 30

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 30

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 30

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 30

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 35

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 35

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 35

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 35

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Actually has pretty low spreadsheet stats due to often being replaced by one of 3 other Riders, but is important as (technically) the first one, the one with movies, and a representation of the legacy.

  • Top 35

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 40

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 40

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 40

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 40

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 40

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 50

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 50

    Added in 5th draft in 2013, replacing Quake/Noh-Varr.

  • Top 50

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 50

    Inexplicably not added until 4th draft in 2013. Replaced Pixie/Justice/Firestar. Hey, the Inhumans used to not matter much, although I still say his exclusion was a dumb oversight.

  • Top 50

    Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

    Part of me feels like Scott hasn't earned Top 50, or maybe even Top 80 if you don't consider the movies. He has the lowest Weighted Score after Cloak/Dagger and Blade, because he was kind of a supporting hero, then died for almost a decade. At the same time, he's been an Avenger, an FF member, a Hero for Hire, and technically a Defender. And he's now had more solo series than Hank, and been in just as many games. So I guess he's here to stay.

  • Top 50

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier, originally as the only Captain America.

  • Top 50

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 50

    Added in 2nd draft in 2012.

  • Top 50

    Former Top 100 (and likely Top 10) Villain, moved over to T80 Heroes in 17th draft, replacing Kate Bishop.

    Look at Savage Avengers. War of the Realms: Strikeforce. Patrick Gleason's Marvel debut announcement. The 80th Anniversary border covers. The newest Incoming image.

    What do they all have in common? A bunch of Marvel's biggest heroes, and no villains, and Venom. It was time.

    I will probably always see him as a sort of antivillain rather than an antihero, but he's only as bad as Punisher, and the appellation "Lethal Protector" is older than I am.

  • Top 50

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Namor notably has low-ish stats because until very recently, he wasn't in video games at all, and although it's not a perfect system, I find video game rosters to be a good reflection of which Marvel heroes are important. This is even more true for Herc, Rich Rider, and Captain Britain. It really does help to be in the movies.

  • Top 60

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Watch this space, he's been depowered, replaced, and killed, he could go any day now. But he was SO important for those few years that for now, he stays.

  • Top 60

    Moved up from Top 200 in 6th draft in 2014, replacing Rachel Summers/Red She-Hulk/Guardian.

    As they started to appear in more and more media before and after the movie, I basically had no choice. I kinda resent the new Guardians, as it kinda feels like they "cheated" their way into prominence, and then pretty much replaced the FF post Secret Wars, and their characterizations feel like one-dimensional versions of the movie characters rather than whatever they were before. But hey, nobody cares, and even I can't deny that they're CLEARLY T80 material now.

  • Top 60

    Moved up from Top 200 in 6th draft in 2014, replacing Rachel Summers/Red She-Hulk/Guardian.

  • Top 60

    Moved up from Top 200 in 6th draft in 2014, replacing Rachel Summers/Red She-Hulk/Guardian.

  • Top 60

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier. Originally as a joke, and then eventually as a legit inclusion.

  • Top 60

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 60

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Currently a teenager, but I won't acknowledge that version until I have to, and I don't expect to have to.

  • Top 60

    Was promoted to Top 200 from below. (This is true of any characters newer than like, 2012.)

    Promoted to Top 80 in 10th draft in 2018, replacing Rachel Summers/Sharon Carter.

    I used to say that the list was based on all of Marvel history with a slight Bendis Era bias, (most of what I've read is 2004-2013) and it's hard to tell how brand new characters will go down in Marvel history. But I think it's safe to say Kamala (and Miles) is a permanent addition to the Top 80.

  • Top 60

    Added to Top 200 post Secret Wars, promoted to Top 80 in 10th draft in 2018, replacing Rachel Summers/Sharon Carter.

  • Top 60

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    I will now imagine/prefer Betsy as white going forward, because that whole British-lady-taking-an-Asian-woman's-body-and-suddenly-becoming-a-ninja-and-keeping-it thing is actually pretty effed up and I'm glad it's over.

  • Top 70

    Added in 2nd draft in 2012.

    Historically, his importance is undeniable, but it seems to be waning. These things tend to be cyclical, so we'll see what happens, but as I write this, the picture immediately above it literally his sister as the brand new Captain Britain. Not saying he's not Top 80, but if I trend any further towards making this list reflect 616 as it is now rather than throughout history, he'll be in danger.

  • Top 70

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 70

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Top 70

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Blade is a weird conundrum in that he actually has a pitiful APY and hasn't had a solo book in years, yet he still feels like a major Marvel character because he's had 3, soon to be 4, movies. So this leads to him being in very few comics, but every single video game and whatnot anyway.

    Fun Fact: I sorted my spreadsheet by only Total Appearances and APY (removing Video Game Appearances and Solo Comic Series) and Blade fell down to No. 199.

  • Top 70

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

    Somehow I waited and waited until he came back, never once demoting him. But now that he's back, he doesn't even feel like T80 material, he's not even a team member or a regular supporting character anywhere. I think his prominence in the DnA cosmic era, and his status as a cult-favourite with hardcore fans kept him on here, but now that he's alive I'm being confronted with the reality that maybe he isn't that important. We'll see.

  • Top 70

    Added in 2nd draft in 2012, Nick Fury Sr. removed in 3rd draft.

    I don't really know if he's earned Top 80 on his own, but if you think of him as "the only Nick Fury that we have now" rather than "a lesser Nick Fury who's only a few years old", it makes more sense and somehow feels right. Plus, if you think of him as equivalent to the Fury that appears in Every Single Video Game/Cartoon/etc, you can't not put him in there.

  • Top 70

    Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

  • Top 70

    Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

    I'm not the first to say this but, wow, Illyana has rocketed up the ranks of major X-Men since AvX. I'm not sure if things are going to stay that way, but she already seems to be recovering from her Blue/Gold/Red era lull and reestablishing her significance in the Hickman era.

  • Top 70

    Surprisingly not added until 4th draft in 2013. Replaced Pixie/Justice/Firestar.

  • Top 70

    Present since first draft in 2012 or earlier.

  • Added in 5th draft in 2013, replacing Quake/Noh-Varr.

    I actually don't remember why I made this decision, as it wasn't an obvious one beforeInfinity, but she proceeded to 100% earn it in the next few years, becoming the Main Inhuman instead of BB half the time.

  • Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

    C and D actually have the lowest weighted spreadsheet score of the whole Top 80, and only Blade's APY is lower. And yet, they've always seemed to be right on the outskirts of Marvel's roster of big-name heroes, so the prospect of demoting them feels weird. Not movie or ongoing series material , but TV show and miniseries material. Similarly not Top 50 material, but still Top 80 material.

  • Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

  • Added in 3rd draft in 2013.

    Interestingly, (it's interesting to ME) this was pre-Unbeatable when the list was a hypothetical fan game roster, so it was mostly done as a joke, but then just like Rocket she proceeded to earn Top 80 status. We'll see if she can keep it now that the book's ending.

  • Moved up from Top 200 in 8th draft in 2017, replacing Rescue.

    I was hesitant to add Jessica because she feels like such an outlier: no superhero name, no costume. But now that she's had a big TV show and a few more solo series, it feels right. Plus, now that the MCU Defenders are A Thing, I had to complete the quartet.

  • Promoted in 11th draft in 2018 based on number of appearances and appearances per year, replacing Shang-Chi.

    Not gonna lie, I did actively want at least one East Asian character on the list, and once Shang left the Avengers he stopped being important (although that will probably change, as the movies rule all). But at the same time it probably would have been her regardless, as a recently repowered fan favourite X-Women she was an obvious choice, representation reasons or not. She would have made Top 80 eventually.

  • Promoted in 12th draft in 2019 due to high Total Appearances as Flash and high APY as Agent Venom, Avengers/Spidey/Guardians ties, multiple video game/adaptation appearances. Replaced Tigra/Man-Thing.

    Weirdly, I promoted him AFTER he died, which is often my reason to DEMOTE someone. But Flash has a ton of appearances as a supporting character, and had multiple solo series in a short time as a lead hero. I have faith he'll be back, but we'll see if he keeps the Top 80 position.

  • Promoted to T80 in 13th draft in 2019 due to very high TA, APY, video game appearances. Replaced recently promoted Crystal.

    Although the stats spreadsheet I use did favour Crystal at one point, with Bishop returned and appearing in tons of X-Books, he seemed like an overwhelmingly better fit, and once I added Jubilee I dismissed my unofficial "I probably have enough X-Men" policy.

  • Promoted to T200 from below at some point. Promoted again to T80 in 14th draft in 2019 due to new status as Valkyrie, replacing... Valkyrie.

    I had actively decided not to promote her if she didn't get powers again after her run as Thor ended, but she did so here we are. Has earned it in sheer Appearances per Year alone since 2014, but it looks like I preempted Jane powering up in the MCU too!

  • Ghost-Spider, Earth-65

    Promoted to Top 200, then pretty much immediately promoted to Top 80 in 15th draft in 2019, replacing Maria Hill/Wonder Man.

    I generally do not like to put alternate universe characters on these lists unless they are permanent 616 residents. I held off on putting Miles in the T200 until after Secret Wars, and I held off on the Teen O5 X-Men and OML until they went away. But Gwen has become such a major mainstay of the late-2010s Marvel brand that I could not hold off any longer, even if she's only like, commuting to 616 part-time.