Published April 22, 2019

The Avengers' 10 Most Memorable Sacrifices

These are the heroes who are willing to give their lives and more to save the world and their friends.

What does it mean to be one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Sometimes, it’s the willingness to lay down their lives in the service of others. More than once, the super team finds themselves facing a foe so dangerous and difficult that their only choice is to give something – or someone – up. Sacrifice isn’t a foreign concept to the team – after all, they’re called the Avengers for a reason! is taking a look at some of the Avengers’ most memorable sacrifices, including a few that happened fairly recently.

Swordsman Redeems Himself

Swordsman Sacrifice

The Swordsman had a very checkered past, even when compared to the other reformed members of the team. He was a villain for years before Mantis convinced him to truly reform and rejoin the fold. Unfortunately, when Mantis appeared to fall out of love with him, it caused Swordsman’s heart to break.

Regardless, in GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS (1974) #2, Swordsman managed to save the team and Mantis’ life as well. However, it cost him his life just as Mantis returned his feelings.

The Crossing

Iron Man sacrifices himself
AVENGERS (1963) #395

It’s safe to say that THE CROSSING was not the Avengers’ finest hour. It certainly wasn’t for Tony Stark. He was revealed to be in the thrall of Kang and Mantis, or Space Phantoms, if you believe AVENGERS FOREVER. Tony became the very things he despised: a villain and a killer. But in AVENGERS (1963) #395, Tony saw his chance for redemption and took it. He sacrificed his life to stop Kang’s plans, and he even helped the heroes save the life of his teenage counterpart.


Sacrifice during Onslaught

The mutant entity known as Onslaught was one of the greatest threats the heroes ever faced. In ONSLAUGHT: MARVEL UNIVERSE, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four came to the chilling revelation that stopping Onslaught would require their lives. Each of the heroes of both teams willingly sacrificed themselves to stop Onslaught from reforming. It was only through the power of Franklin Richards that they were not lost forever. Instead, the heroes were reborn in a newly created pocket universe before their inevitable return.

“Not Like This!”

Hawkeye's Death

Hawkeye’s infamous last words became a meme before we really knew what a meme was! It all happened in AVENGERS (1998) #502, near the end of AVENGERS: DISASSEMBLED. Wanda Maximoff’s out of control powers created a Kree invasion that felt all too real. When Hawkeye was fatally injured, he took the opportunity to blow himself up near one of the Kree ships. The resulting explosion took his life, but no one can say that he didn’t die as he lived.

Captain America Surrenders

Captain America's sacrifice
CIVIL WAR (2006) #7

For the sake of his beliefs, and to protect the heroes who wanted to remain anonymous, Captain America took up arms against Iron Man in CIVIL WAR. Cap even formed his own Secret Avengers while leading a resistance to the Super Human Registration Act.

In CIVIL WAR (2006) #7, Cap’s forces were on the verge of defeating Iron Man’s supporters. However, the interference of regular people forced Cap to realize that he wasn’t serving their needs. To end the conflict, Cap surrendered. Not every hero accepted the amnesty that followed, but Cap’s sacrifice allowed them to fight another day.

Thor Slays the Wasp

Thor kills Wasp

Prior to SECRET INVASION, the Skrulls replaced Hank Pym and gave Janet van Dyne a formula that made her their ace in the hole. When the tide of war turned against the Skrulls, they activated the bio-weapon inside of Janet’s body when she was surrounded by her friends and allies.

In SECRET INVASION (2008) #8, Thor took drastic action. He apologized to Janet as he used his hammer to seemingly hasten her demise while sparing the other heroes her fate. Years later, it was revealed that the Wasp wasn’t actually dead. She was just stuck in the Microverse. But that doesn’t change what Thor was willing to do.

Thor’s Final Battle

Thor's Sacrifice
FEAR ITSELF (2010) #7

What goes around comes around. In FEAR ITSELF (2010) #7, Thor faced the Serpent in a final battle, even though his death had long been foretold at the Serpent’s fangs. Sure enough, Thor was mortally wounded and he took his final steps, just as predicted. But a god doesn’t run from their fate, and Thor once again proved his worth.

Not even death could hold him down forever.

Havok Loses His Daughter

Havok sacrifice

The Avengers Unity Squad’s greatest failure led to a mutant homeworld, where Havok and Wasp were happily married with a daughter named Katie. But when the chance to save the Earth arrived, Kang kidnapped Katie and forced Havok to go along with his plans.

In UNCANNY AVENGERS (2012) #22, Kang held Katie’s fate over Havok’s head as he claimed the powers of a Celestial. Even though he knew it meant he would never see his daughter again, Havok turned on Kang and prevented him from claiming his total victory. Havok not only lost his daughter, but the Wasp as well. It was a sacrifice from which he never truly recovered.

Quicksilver Runs the Race of His Life

Quicksilver's sacrifice
AVENGERS (2016) #688

Pietro Maximoff has had his good years and bad years. Sometimes he’s a hero, but other times, he backslides into villainy. Quicksilver has always been his best self as a member of the Avengers. During AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER, it was Quicksilver who noticed that many of Earth’s heroes were held in stasis by a beacon that only he could perceive.

In AVENGERS (2016) #688, Quicksilver pushed himself to his very limit to capture the beacon and free the imprisoned heroes. Even with Scarlet Witch’s help, Quicksilver knew that this was likely to be his last race, but that didn’t stop him from doing it.

Spectrum’s Light

Spectrum's sacrifice

This is the most recent entree on our list. In AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME #10 -- on sale now! -- Monica Rambeau gave up most of her power while helping Vision enter the House of Ideas to face Nyx, the Mother of Night. That effort was not in vain, as Vision saved all of creation. However, it did leave Spectrum significantly de-powered by the end of the story. Monica still has some power, and she seems happier to regain some of her mortality. But it remains to be seen if she’ll ever be that powerful ever again.


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