In the mid-1990s, the Thunderbolts stepped onto the scene as heroes taking up the cause of the vanished Avengers. They revealed themselves to be the Masters of Evil in disguise, and that original line-up organized by Baron Zemo remains among the most powerful Thunderbolts rosters ever. Many more Thunderbolts squads exist in Marvel Comics, including some with Marvel’s most powerful heroes and villains.
The upcoming MCU Thunderbolts movie likely takes its live-action squad from the team’s various comic iterations. The screen line-up promises a lot of possibilities, as characters like the Juggernaut, Venom, Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and even America Chavez have all belonged to the team at one point or another. Many Spider-Man villains make up the team at different points, with Kingpin leading his own version and Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, leading the Dark Avengers in what could be a preview of the team in the MCU.
Kingpin formed a Thunderbolts team to fight off Knull during the King In Black storyline and used his cunning and resources to field a roster with impressive might. Powerful characters like Rhino, Man-Bull, and Grizzly made for one of the strongest Thunderbolts rosters.
The ability to mimic any fighting style made Taskmaster a vital member during the battle against the alien symbiotes. Kingpin also recruited Star, a powerful character who possessed Reality Stone in the comics. With her cosmic might, she defeated a Symbiote Dragon during the invasion.
Ant-Man headlined the Thunderbolts roster under H.A.M.M.E.R.’s stewardship. He brought his ability to shrink to a microscopic scale or grow to impressive heights to a team that fought against the Skrulls in Secret Invasion, among the most important Marvel Comics events ever.
Black Widow’s skill in espionage and hand-to-hand combat also made the team impressive, along with her considerable tactical experience. The team also benefitted from Ghost’s intangibility and skill in computer hacking.
Hawkeye took over the team early in its history, bringing his unrivaled skill in weapons and martial arts to the team. He also brought his leadership, which guided the team away from its supervillain roots into a heroic squad with purpose.
Hawkeye oversaw a team that included the mechanical genius of Fixer, able to invent brilliant new technologies. Fixer later developed the Techno robotic body, which was able to shapeshift to produce offensive weapons as well as adjust its size and density.
The Original Team
The original Thunderbolts squad included Baron Zemo, whose evil genius generated the plot to masquerade the Masters of Evil as superheroes. His skill in martial arts and vast resources helped the team pull off one of the biggest cons in Marvel history.
The initial squad also included Songbird, whose supersonic screams unleash utter devastation on her enemies. Her ability to generate sonic constructs of physical form ranks her among the most powerful Thunderbolts members from Marvel Comics.
Norman Osborn joined the Thunderbolts, bringing his twisted intelligence and superhuman strength to the team. He later coopted some members into the Dark Avengers, including the deadly mercenary Bullseye, who took over the role of Hawkeye.
The team benefits from the alien strength and speed of Venom, at this time Marc Gargan, the former Scorpion. Moonstone applies her Kree-enhanced power to fly and generate massive energy blasts during her stint as a powerful variant of Ms. Marvel.
One of the most powerful Thunderbolts rosters in Marvel Comics emerged during Civil War. This expansive roster included dozens of supervillains and anti-heroes, including major Spider-Man villains like Venom, Doctor Octopus, and Green Goblin.
This roster served the United Stated government, hunting down rogue superheroes who refused to comply with the Superhuman Registration Act. They brought their combined powers to bear against the heroes, led by Captain America, in the final battle in New York City.
Luke Cage’s Thunderbolts
Luke Cage brings extraordinary strength and invulnerability to any team he serves with. His Thunderbolts squad also included the unstoppable Juggernaut, among the best X-Men villains, as well as Hyperion, an Eternal of almost god-like ability.
This team also included Man-Thing, an immortal being of superhuman strength and stamina. Man-Thing also guards the Nexus of All Realities, a powerful waypoint to the multiverse within Marvel Comics. The Nexus’ energy contributes to Man-Thing’s unusual powers.
Winter Soldier’s Thunderbolts
The Winter Soldier’s Thunderbolts combined the lethal military skill and experience of Bucky Barnes along with several classic Thunderbolts members. Moonstone’s gravitational powers and Atlas’ immeasurable strength rank this roster high among all Thunderbolts teams.
This roster also included Kobik, the living manifestation of the Cosmic Cube. Kobik possesses enormous cosmic power and the ability to alter time and space as she did at the end of Secret Empire, instantly making this Thunderbolts team one for the ages.
Red Hulk’s Thunderbolts
The sixth Thunderbolts roster came together under the Red Hulk, himself among the most powerful versions of the Hulk in Marvel Comics. This titanic roster included the functionally immortal Deadpool and mystically powerful Ghost Rider.
This squad also collected elite tactical skills in Elektra and the Punisher, along with a much more relaxed morality. This team went on personal missions to take down targets they identified, like when Frank Castle led them on a hunt for the mafia in New York City.
The New Thunderbolts
The newest Thunderbolts roster in the comics stands among the most powerful. Hawkeye once again leads a squad that includes America Chavez, whose power to punch through reality to other universes provides the team unparalleled potential in their upcoming battles.
Spectrum, better known as Monica Rambeau, possesses unmatched power and control over the entire electromagnetic spectrum. She generates devastating cosmic blasts and can also become energy at any point in the spectrum, including light itself.
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