Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take center stage in Marvel’s Avengers, the new loot-based action-adventure game from Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix. The game gives fans control of several of Marvel’s greatest heroes as they take on an evil tech corporation known as Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), which has supplanted superheroes with its own robot army. Disbanded after a terrible disaster that claimed the life of Captain America, the heroes have to find a way to come together again to take down this new threat to the world and bring back the age of heroes to the Marvel universe.
Marvel’s Avengers features a diverse cast of heroes and villains, including cult-favorite baddie George Tarleton, better known as the superhuman and ugly force of nature MODOK. During your adventure, you’ll also meet former Ant-Man Hank Pym, have a run in with the Abomination, take on Taskmaster, get interviewed by Marvel’s top TV reporter Phil Sheldon, team up with SHIELD commander Maria Hill, and foil Monica Rappaccini’s evil experiments with terrigen gas and gamma radiation.
This big cast of characters — yes, Nick Fury is here, too! — makes Crystal Dynamics’ version of the Marvel universe feel complete and lived in. It’s clear that there’s a lot of history between these characters, as showcased by the game’s prelude tie-in comics, and it’s fun to watch all of these Marvel characters interact with each other throughout the story campaign.
With quite a few playable characters to choose from at launch, here’s a rundown of the game’s heroes, a little bit about their backstory in the game’s universe, and the sorts of powers and abilities you can expect from them:
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (1963)
If you enjoy zipping around the sky, high above the action, to rain down hell on your enemies, then Iron Man will definitely be your favorite character in this game. Equipped with a combination of long-range and close-range attacks, Iron Man provides a pretty balanced combat experience as long as you’re able to figure out the flying mechanics. You’ll definitely spend more time up in the air as this hero than any other.
If you’ve read the comics or watched the movies, you know that Tony Stark is a fast-talking and cocky tech mogul who always comes armed with a funny quip as well as a few explosives. But when his tech and weapons fall into the wrong hands at the start of the game, Tony decides to retreat from the world in shame, giving up his life as Iron Man.
Iron Man is voiced by Nolan North.
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery #83 (1962)
Thor is definitely more of a melee character, wreaking havoc on any AIM soldiers that dare get in his way. Armed with the powerful Mjolnir, Thor’s every move packs a punch and feels weighty. The god of thunder’s elemental powers also deliver devastating AoE damage. He’s definitely a character you’ll choose when you want to get into the baddies’ faces.
The god of thunder is also much more regal than the rest of the heroes and carries himself as true Asgardian royalty. That said, he’s still a fish out of water on Earth, which leads to some pretty funny situations in the game.
Thor is voiced by Travis Willingham.
First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (1941)
Cap is the ultimate hero: brave, strong, kind, and always willing to put the lives of others over his own. He’s the leader of the Avengers for a reason and he inspires the rest of the characters to do their absolute for those they protect. So when Captain America tragically dies during a terrorist attack executed by Taskmaster, it’s not surprising that the superhero team falls apart. Without the world’s greatest hero, what hope does the planet have?
A scrappy brawler who uses punches and kicks to break through the enemy line, Captain America’s melee gameplay is complemented by his shield, which can auto-target baddies and take them out in one throw.
Captain America is voiced by Jeff Schine.
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #52 (1964)
A gritty spy who isn’t exactly friendly but also has a heart of gold, Black Widow is your go-to hero for mid-range attacks as well as a nice mix of gravity-defying martial arts kicks. She packs dual pistols that do quite a bit of damage, especially after she levels them up with special status effects. Black Widow also has a very cool trick up her sleeve: an ability that grants her and the rest of the team invisibility for a short amount of time, perfect for when you’re surrounded by enemies and want to make quick work of them.
Black Widow is voiced by Laura Bailey.
Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel
First Appearance: Captain Marvel #14 (2013)
Avengers superfan Kamala Khan is the heart of the game’s story. After the terrorist attack unleashes the terrigen mist on the citizens of San Francisco, Kamala is forever altered, transformed into an Inhuman with incredible shape-shifting powers. But when AIM declares war on the Inhumans they believe to be a threat to the planet, Kamala is forced to keep her powers a secret — until one day she decides that Tarleton and his tech corporation must be stopped. Her plan? Reassemble the Avengers.
Kamala truly plays unlike any of the other heroes, her stretchy powers providing perhaps the most fun you’ll have in the game. Swinging around with her stretchy arms never gets old and her embiggening ultimate ability is the perfect way to turn the tide of any fight. She’s honestly the best.
Kamala Khan is voiced by Sandra Saad.
First Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962)
No one smashes things like the Hulk. Using this hero’s special rage meter in a fight means very bad news for the bad guys, as he punches and stomps his way through the ranks of AIM cannon fodder. Hulk can grab enemies, swing them around, or use their fragile bodies to hit other bad guys with. Best of all, you can pretty much wreck whole environments with the Hulk, who rarely holds back his strength. You’ll also do a fair amount of platforming as the big guy, which is unexpected but works well enough.
Like in the recent MCU movies, Bruce Banner feels very conflicted about the Hulk at the start of the game. He doesn’t really want to turn into the Hulk anymore but increasingly finds himself in situations that require him to go green. Together with Kamala, the two make a pretty charming duo early on in the story, as they try to solve the mystery behind Cap’s death.
The Hulk is voiced by Darin De Paul and Troy Baker (as Bruce Banner).
The following characters are scheduled to be released some time after the game launches as DLC:
First Appearance: Young Avengers #1 (2005)
Kate Bishop, the third Hawkeye in the comics, is working with SHIELD and is on a mission to find Clint Barton, the first Hawkeye, who has been captured by AIM. Initially a member of Marvel’s teenage superhero team, Young Avengers, Kate has joined the main Avengers team on several occasions in the comics.
Kate will be the first post-launch hero to join the roster, bringing new story missions, gear, and abilities with her.
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #57 (1964)
The original Hawkeye will follow Kate. The announcement trailer for Kate Bishop also revealed that Clint has cut some sort of deal with AIM and seems to be working with the tech corporation. Of course, it’s likely that not all things are as they seem.
First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
Spider-Man will swing his way to Marvel’s Avengers in 2021, and it’s no surprise that many fans are already anxious to play as the friendly neighborhood webslinger. There’s just one catch: not every one with a copy of Marvel’s Avengers will get the chance to play as Spider-Man.
As revealed in August, Square Enix is releasing Spider-Man as an exclusive character for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game. This means that Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Stadia players won’t be able to play as Spider-Man at all when he finally launches. The good news is that PlayStation users will get the Spider-Man Marvel’s Avengers DLC at no additional cost to them.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #52 (1966)
Crystal Dynamics teased a future Black Panther DLC that could bring T’Challa to the game at a later date. It seems that the studio originally planned to announce the character right before launch but it decided to delay the reveal out of respect for Chadwick Boseman, the Black Panther star who sadly passed away in late August.