Whether they’re assembling on screen or in the pages, the Avengers are a staple of media today. What began as an experimental Iron Man movie has now grown into a massive franchise that spans multiple films leading up to a bombastic climax that is sure to dominate theaters when it finally comes out.
Along the way, we’ve been introduced to a number of new superheroes that will be joining the fray, and there’s a lot of excitement to be had seeing more show up. So far we’ve seen weirder characters like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange along with Marvel legendaries like Spider-Man and Captain America. Each character introduced in these movies has a unique depiction that harkens back to the comics while still staying true to the lore of the MCU.
However, did you ever wonder what the movies would be like had the characters actually been allowed the costumes of their comic book counterparts? After all, these books are where they came from, why shouldn’t they be allowed to wear those suits? While some times this is for the best, sometimes the resulting choice isn’t very good, and we wish that a more classic suit would’ve been in order.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 15 Avengers in the MCU- how they look now and how they should look when kept in line with the comics. We may have added a villain or two as well.
By this point in the MCU’s lifespan, we’ve pretty much forgotten Iron Man 2, right? For those joining in on the Marvel train a bit late, Iron Man 2 is one of the few “not good” movies in the MCU. Why you may ask? Well, take a look at the film’s main villain, Whiplash. In the movie he bears a non-protective suit that only covers the upper part of his torso. The suit attaches to his arms, giving him the long electric whips that he’s so famous for. Oh, he also wears orange prison pants, and that’s it. Later in the film, he just becomes an Iron Man knock off. Not much to see here. His comic book counterpart on the other hand is really cool to look at. He bears a sleek protective suit of armor that makes us believe he could go against Iron Man. Furthermore, it’s also believable that he could use such powerful whips without hurting himself. Topping the look all off is one of the coolest masks I’ve ever seen on a bad guy. It’s almost like Marvel took the comic book version of the character and said to the artists, “Do the opposite of this.”
14. Scarlet Witch
This costume is one of the most drastic changes the MCU has to offer. When she was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch donned a red suit that took some inspiration from her comic book suit, but that’s mostly where the similarities end. Instead of a long cape, Scarlet Witch’s jacket covers her entire torso while coming down past her legs to still give a wizard-y feel. Furthermore, she wears a set of black leggings underneath to give her full coverage. In the comics, her outfit is much more provocative. She wears no leggings whatsoever, and the torso simply comes down like a one-piece swimsuit. She does have some long red boots that come up to her knees, and her cape is long and flowy. The biggest difference is that she wore some kind of crown in the comics that hinted to her true capabilities, while in the movies, no such crown is present. Her change is probably for the better, as such a revealing would not only invite the wrath of parents, but the wrath of avid feminists as well. Why can’t we have a female hero who isn’t sexualized?
There’s a lot of evidence that Quicksilver’s inclusion in Age of Ultron was simply a move to spite FOX, and after seeing the film, I still believe that’s the case. One big hint as to Marvel’s intentions with the character is that his costume is nothing to write home about. Usually costumes in the MCU have something unique about them that makes them stand out from the rest, but Quicksilver just has a cool shirt (that is very clearly Under Armour). FOX definitely took more liberty in making their character stand out from his source material. In the comics, however, Quicksilver was much more distinguished (for better or worse). He wore an entirely green suit that covered his whole body with a pair of golden shorts to go with it. On the top of his head was white hair instead of bleached blonde, an it was styled in a way that looked like little horns to give readers the idea that this character was really fast. He also bore a very large lightning bolt over the torso of his costume. There are a few reasons why this wouldn’t work in the film, one being that no one in the MCU wears a onesie like that, but I just wish Marvel would’ve put more effort into his design.
12. Black Panther
Here’s another example of Marvel taking a lesser-known property and seamlessly bringing it into the fold of the MCU. What makes this move even more impressive is that they didn’t start Black Panther in his own movie- they introduced him in a Captain America film. And, man was he one of the coolest parts about it. His costume in the film was black and flecked with silver all around. This was to show that his suit was of a vibranium weave and can withstand even the heaviest of bullets. On the tips of his fingers are his trademark claws that look more like deadly fingernails (and that’s not a bad thing; it’s truer to an actual panther). The comic version of the character isn’t much different overall, the biggest one being that he bears a cape over his suit to show his status as the king of Wakanda. His necklace is oftentimes gold as well as his belt buckle, and his claws are much longer and more akin to Wolverine’s adamantium blades. It makes sense that the MCU would try to take the character in a different direction so as to not confuse it with Wolverine.
At the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier, we were pleased to know that we would see a particular double agent return again as the villainous Crossbones. Knowing that the next film was Civil War got us even more excited, because Crossbones assassinated Captain America in that comic. However, we know this isn’t the case and the character was a bit underutilized. His costume in the film also reflects that, not giving much for him to do. He sports a much more militaristic suit of armor over his torso with a faintly painted “X” over it in white. Instead of using his guns, Crossbones instead has a mechanism over his arms and hands that allow him to punch much harder than the average man, so he can go against Captain America. A sturdy helmet sits over his head that resembles a skull as well. His comic book counterpart has a much more contoured suit. The symbol on his chest is more noticeably a set of crossbones, and his mask is more noticeably a skull. The biggest difference is that this version of Crossbones is decked out in guns and ammunition, most likely due to his reputation.
10. Doctor Strange
Ah, the most recent inclusion into the MCU (as of the time of this writing). Doctor Strange, all other opinions of the film aside, was a pretty “off the wall” film. The character’s costume in the movie is mostly accurate to his comic counterpart, but it supports a more realistic robe-like appearance to ground it in reality. His brown belt is filled with strange mystical tools that help him to practice his magic. His cape is the most similar to the comics, sitting over his shoulders and everything, the only difference is that the cape has much more detail. The eye of Agamotto also sits on the end of a necklace. His comic book version, on the other hand, is much more colorful. While the color scheme is still the same, Doctor Strange instead bears a gold belt and neither his robes or his cape have much detail. His hands are covered with golden gloves, and the eye of Agamotto sits at the front of his cape instead of hanging from a necklace. A small detail is that his cape is also trimmed gold in the comics whereas it’s solid red in the movie.
Thor was one of the biggest things the MCU had to get right. There weren’t a lot of people who liked Thor at the time, and if they could at least make the film likable, then they could move on to more obscure properties. Luckily they did, and there weren’t even very many changes from the film and the comics. Thor’s costume in his films has changed a bit over the years, but always features that trademark Asgardian armor. He also has that vibrant red cape atop his shoulders, fairly long blonde locks, and a whole lot of muscle. His comic book version, on the other hand, has MUCH less detail. He sports more colors- his torso is often black and the circles are a light blue as opposed to the silver seen in the MCU. His cape is more is less identical, but his hair is usually much longer here. The biggest change is that in the comics, Thor bears his helmet, whereas it’s only used in a ceremony in the beginning of the first Thor film and never seen again after that. That choice was probably for the better, as the helmet wouldn’t translate as well to the big screen as it does on the pages.
Forget Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye had the biggest change from the comics to the big screen. In the MCU, we see Hawkeye sport his bow, but he wears an all-black suit that originally didn’t have sleeves, but they were added later. At some point, Hawkeye is even given some purple over his torso to allow for a bit of color. He bears a quiver on his back full of all kinds of trick arrows used in the many battles the Avengers have had to face over the years. His comic book counterpart is much different. For starters, his suit is primarily purple, so stealth has practically gone out the window. Furthermore, Hawkeye doesn’t wear a mask in the films, but there is one in the comics. Again it’s entirely purple with a part covering his eyes like a masquerade mask. A big H sits above his eyes. Naturally, after the movies came out, Marvel quickly changed the design for their archer so that he looks much cooler these days, bearing a set of goggles to help him see better as opposed to a flashy purple mask. I don’t think I have to explain why this version didn’t make it to the big screen.
7. Star Lord
Star Lord has had a few design changes over the years, and for the purpose of this article, we will compare his newer design from the comics to his design in the MCU. Nobody had heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy by the time the film came out, so the artists had more freedom to do what they wanted. Star Lord sports a very swagger design, having a long trench coat that goes down to his ankles. He has a few blasters at his sides that are strangely similar to the Plasma Rifles from the Halo series. Then he has a metallic mask that covers only his face with bright red eyes. It’s pretty cool, and his comic counterpart isn’t bad either. He sports a much more military-style suit with sharp edges and a formal look. At this time, he was a cyborg as well as the adviser to the Kree military. His helmet was also more militaristic, and smaller eyes that only glowed red when in battle. It’s easy to see why they changed this for the film, as the direction wouldn’t fit the character in the movie.
Groot doesn’t have a suit! How could he be different? Just wait and you’ll see what I mean. Like Star Lord, Groot was not a known character before the movie, so the artists had more creative freedom. In the film, Groot is portrayed as a gentle giant with a soft spot for those in need. However, he can also take a lot of hits and deal out damage when he needs to, as seen when the Guardians infiltrated the Dark Aster. There isn’t much to his design outside of that, as he just resembles a walking tree. In the comics, however, Groot is much more monstrous. Sporting a set of sharp teeth where the movie version had none, Groot was still the Guardians’ big guns. Also, his overall look was that of many vines intertwined as opposed to a sentient tree. He also had various glowing spots on his body that resembled spores. While a monstrous Groot would’ve been fun to see, it made more sense for the movie to have a friendlier version. After all, audiences remember him the most, and are really excited to see Baby Groot in the second film.
There was a lot riding against the Ant-Man movie. After all, the character himself was a laughing stock among the casual community, his suit was frankly ridiculous, and there were some production problems within the film itself. That said, it was shocking to see the movie was as good as it was. One reason is that they got the costume right. In the movie, Ant-Man had a much more “prototype” look to it. He sported a red and black technical design that stayed true to the MCU, with silver on his arms legs and helmet. Two big red lenses sat over his helmet for his eyes. His suit eventually got a sleeker upgrade for Captain America: Civil War. In the comics, his suit was a bit more ridiculous. The helmet was entirely silver and had antennae to resemble an ant, and had open holes for his eyes and mouth. The suit was much more form fitting, and had red black and dark blue. Out of all of the suits, I would argue that this one needed to be changed the most, because the film would’ve fallen flat on its face if not. Could you imagine what that would’ve looked like?
4. The Falcon
The Falcon was an excellent inclusion in the second Captain America film and has now become a mainstay for the MCU. His former military training feeds greatly into his suit. His torso, being a combination of grey, black, and red, has a kevlar feel to it, being able to protect him. His forearms are bare, but he does have gloves over his hands. The wings on his back are much more technical, but function all the same. When in sticky situations, they can also double as a shield. On his left arm is a control panel that he can use to call his drone, Redwing. In the comics, Falcon’s suit is naturally more formfitting and colorful. Sporting a combination of red and white, he’ll stand out in battle a bit more. Also, his wings function more like gliding material that he can fold out at will. This version also keeps Redwing, but instead of it being a drone, it’s an actual bird this time around. Falcon also sports a white mask that covers his eyes as opposed to the goggles he uses in the MCU. This one probably needed a bit of tweaking before he started showing up in movies.
In the Daredevil Netflix show, Matthew Murdock bears a much more practical suit that is lined with an excellent bulletproof armor. It is lined with red and black colors and has a helmet that only leaves his mouth visible. When he began his career, he only had a set of regular billy clubs, but in season two, he received an upgrade that allowed his cane to grapple onto various objects. In the comics, his suit is much more noticeable. Being entirely red across the board, the Daredevil suit probably attracts more attention that it deters. Furthermore, he also has a big “DD” logo on his chest just for those that didn’t know who he was. In the comics, he is also much more acrobatic than he is in the Netflix show. While on paper there aren’t many differences to be had, in functionality and overall tone, they couldn’t be more different. If you want to know what the comic suit would look like in a movie, go watch the 2003 Ben Affleck Daredevil- then tell me you’re not glad that they made the change.
2. Baron Zemo
This is one case where the comic book and movie versions of the same character hold no similarities at all. In the MCU, Baron Zemo (just called Zemo) had no particular outfit or even the same origin story as his comic book counterpart. He was simply a man seeking to get revenge on the Avengers for causing collateral damage to his family. In the comics, however, Zemo was a much more formidable villain for Captain America. The character sported a more European outfit, bearing gold and purple all over his body. His face was the most distinguishable feature, being that he had a mask that was permanently stuck to his face. The mask had a yellow crown-like thing on the top of it. While it makes sense that the MCU would do away with this design because the characters only share the same name, I can’t help but wish they at least used the mask during the film. That might’ve made Zemo stand out just a bit more, but I understand that it wasn’t about Zemo- it was always Captain America versus Iron Man.
Spider-Man has had the most changes one character can endure in film history. He started with the raised silver webbing days of Sam Raimi before moving on to the more modern times of Marc Webb before finally coming to the MCU. Dare I say it, his costume has never looked better since coming back to Marvel. His look is about as classic as it gets, with expressive eyes and a smaller Spider-Man logo. However, he has some black stripes across his suit that make it more technical, and has web canisters across a subtle belt. The eyes move only to help him focus his spider sense. In the comics, this version most closely resembles the first Spider-Man we see in Amazing Fantasy 15, the biggest difference being that the comic version doesn’t have the black stripes or a belt of any shape or form. Furthermore, he also has web wings that the MCU version doesn’t have but will be obtaining in Spider-Man Homecoming. There are plenty of other comparisons that can be made to multiple Spider-Men across the years that the character has been around, but there isn’t much else to be said. All I can say is that Marvel has done an excellent job transitioning this character to the big screen. Welcome home, Spidey.