Assuming you haven’t turned on the TV since February or been to the theater in  the last couple of years, you might not be aware of it, but there’s an Avengers movie coming out this week, well, at Genesis Deluxe, Lekki. its out already!! .  With Joss  Whedon directing and a slew of successful solo superhero films preceding it,  expectations are high, and nerds like myself are already falling over  themselves, picking apart trailers and speculating on which heroes might make  cameos.

But running time is scarce and, for a team that’s been around since 1963 and  frequently switches members, you can bet there are a lot of characters that  won’t make the cut.  That may be for the best, because  the Avengers have certainly seen their share of unimpressive members  over the years.   Here are ten that you can bet won’t be making it  onto even a direct-to-video sequel in the years to come:

10.  Moon Knight

MoonKnight

Moon Knight is a Batman-esque urban vigilante who dresses entirely in white  in order to better conceal himself in the shadows and skulk around dark  alleys.  That should tell you all you need to know about his mental state  but, just in case, he’s an ex-mercenary who struggles with multiple personality disorder, occasional hallucinations,  and uncontrollable violent rages.  This makes him the only superhero who  might save you from a mugger, then suddenly realize you’re his great-aunt  Mildred who died back in ’82…and he hated his great-aunt Mildred.

Moon Knight actually works pretty well as a solo character, but whoever gave  this man an Avengers ID card should be shot.  Do you want to  charge into battle alongside a non-powered human target who at any given moment  might decide he’s a destitute cab driver and you just tried to stiff him on  a fare?  My most vivid memory of Moon Knight as an Avenger was  when he called an immediately post-coital Spider-Man to summon him to some  emergency.  That’s Moon Knight: ruining the afterglow since 1975.

9.  Jack of Hearts

jackofhearts

Jack of Hearts wins the “originality in superhero names” award going away,  since his real name actually is “Jack Hart.”  Given that, you  can almost forgive him for trying to make a playing-card-themed superhero identity work.   Almost.  But then you remember there is no “Captain Rook” or “Miniature Top  Hat Man” and he’s ridiculous again.  The costume certainly contributes to  that, with the high shoulders and asymmetrical face shading.  I guess Jack  of Hearts figures that if it works at a child’s birthday party, it’ll work when  fighting the Masters of Evil.  But it won’t, Jack.  And the arrow  pointing at your crotch might be sending the wrong message.

Jack eventually suffered a really ignominious death (faced with living  in a containment tube 14 hours a day, he instead flew into space and exploded;  then his zombified corpse was used to bomb Avengers Mansion),  which almost makes you want to exclude him from this list out of pure  sympathy.  But then you remember that cool characters almost always get  noble, grandiose deaths, and there’s a reason Jack of Hearts didn’t.   Sorry, Jack.

8.  U.S. Agent

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Hey look, it’s black Captain America!  Uh…but not in a racist way.  More of an “I forget what colors are on  the American flag” way.

U.S. Agent’s worst sin is redundancy.  As you’d expect,  the Avengers kind of already have the “athletic guy with a shield” role covered, and if they need an arrogant, impulsive jerk who won’t take  direction, they’ve got Hawkeye and Quicksilver on speed dial.  War Machine  is in a similar boat, but at least he’s best friends with Iron Man; Cap and the  Agent don’t even like each other.  Not surprisingly, that doesn’t make for  a lot of panel time on a team whose name is frequently preceded by “Captain  America and the…”  U.S. Agent is essentially relegated to the role of Cap  understudy, waiting for a man whose childhood friends and family are all busy  playing shuffleboard or moldering in the ground to somehow be  unavailable.  He spends most days sitting patiently by the phone, afraid to  go out for fear of missing the call about a major crisis that requires the aid  of Every Avenger Ever.  Waiting…waiting…

7.  Doctor Druid

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Let’s get it out of the way first: “balding” is not a good look on a  superhero.  It’s superficial and all, but when you’re talking about a  universe where everyone looks like a supermodel or a male stripper, the George  Costanza look is going to stand out.  Still, that’s not enough to consign  Doctor Druid to this list.

No, what hurts him is that he’s a magician whose name is not “Doctor  Strange.”  Fair or not, popular characters carve out niches in  superhero universes, and everyone else instantly becomes an also-ran.   Thus, anyone’s reaction to seeing Doctor Druid is an automatic “Oh… uh, so I  guess Doctor Strange wasn’t available?”  You can’t blame them- Doc Strange  has a luxurious head of hair, a mansion in the heart of New York, and a hot alien princess for a lover.  Doctor Druid has,  presumably, a 1-bedroom in Newark, a locker at the YMCA where he  keeps his stuff, and a windowless van with Celtic runes spray-painted on  it.

Ironically, Doctor Druid actually predates Strange and his origin is  basically the same, which does not help him seem less superfluous.  His  tenure with the Avengers is not doing him any favors either, since he  got seduced by a villainess and ended up destroying the team for a  while.  But really, it’s hard to fault the guy too much for that — when you  look like an Ancient Cultures professor from the local community college  who’s role-playing as a superhero, you have to take the loving where  it finds you.

6.  The Sentry

TheSentry

Sentry is that rare character on this list who WAS cool right up until he  joined the Avengers, and then immediately stopped.  Originally  presented as a “lost” character, the Sentry’s deal was that he  was once the Marvel Universe’s greatest hero.  But because his  dark side, the Void, was so dangerous, he volunteered to have his  existence erased from the minds of everyone on Earth, including himself,  stranding him in his human identity forever.  And that’s fine — a little cheesy, maybe, but a perfectly decent story.

But then they brought him back as a mental patient who had killed his  wife.  Then they revealed his wife wasn’t actually dead, but he still had  mental problems that made him afraid to use his powers.  Then we  learned he didn’t actually get his powers in a lab accident, but rather was a  junkie who broke into the lab and swallowed this weird serum looking for a  fix.  Then his wife actually died but he resurrected her himself, causing  her to beg Iron Man to kill her husband.  Then a bunch of bad guys took  over the government for a while and got him on their side.  Finally he went  completely nuts, killed some people and an Avenger or two, and had to  be put down.  Seriously, great story arc, Marvel.  Inspiring and  cohesive!

5.  Deathcry

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Be honest — can’t you kind of tell Deathcry sucks just from the  picture?  She has the stink of “X-treme!!!” all over her, from the  mismatched costume to the tribal tattoos to her Wolverine hair, and that’s not  even getting into the name.  Avengers don’t kill, so either  Deathcry’s codename is writing checks her body can’t cash, or she’s referring to  her own exclamations of expiration; either way, it’s less than threatening.

She also has the misfortune to be associated with the worst period  in Avengers history, when everyone was wearing extraneous bomber  jackets and Iron Man was killing his teammates off because surprise, he was evil  all along!…yeah, don’t ask.

Despite in theory being 16 years old, Deathcry was created at a time when  female characters were basically mobile breast platforms, and she looks  it.  However, she’s also from an avian race of aliens with vestigial  feathers.  That means at some point, a writer sat at his keyboard and  thought, “Okay, here’s one for all the guys out there who are romantically  attracted to birds.”  The sad part is, he was right — you know that  someone, somewhere in the world has fantasized about Deathcry.  And there  is a remote but real possibility that you have shaken that man’s hand at some  point in your life.  I’ll just let that one digest for a little  while.

4.  Swordsman

swordsman

Damn, does this guy look goofy.  The trick with archery-based characters  like Hawkeye and Green Arrow is how to make them seem useful on a team with guys  like Superman or Thor.  It can be done, but writers really have to get  creative to invent situations where an arrow will do the job in a way that  heat vision or repulsor rays just won’t.

But at least an arrow is a ranged weapon; think how much harder it is to make  a character work when his power is that he, uh, has a sword.  And he’s  pretty good at using it.  That puts Swordsman on a par with every guy who’s  ever attended a Renaissance Faire.

The Swordsman’s tragedy is that he’s an Inigo Montoya guy in a Tony  Montana world.  Sure, he has “trick swords” that can shoot electricity  and nerve gas and flames, but that basically just brings him up to the Penguin’s  level of threatening.  You’ve still got to work like hell to convince me  he’ll be able to foil a simple convenience store robbery if  the perp has an uzi or a shotgun.   The Avengers regularly go up against cosmic beings and  gods.  Captain America needs to be there to lead everyone and strategize,  and at least Hawkeye might be able to land a lucky shot in the villain’s eye or  something.  What’s Swordsman going to do?  Nothing.  Go away,  Swordsman.

3.  Starfox

Starfox

Hoo boy, Starfox.  What do you say about the only Avenger who  costs the team more in paternity suits than property damage?  Aside from  the standard strength/durability/flight that a lot of superheroes have,  Starfox possesses the ability to stimulate the pleasure centers in a person’s  mind, making them calmer and more susceptible to suggestion.  I’ll bet  that makes him popular at frat parties.  He’s also a hedonist who spends all his  non-Avenging time traveling to various “pleasure planets,” which is as close as  Marvel Comics will ever get to saying this guy likes playing the field and group  stuff.

Okay, so the man’s a walking, talking roofie colada, but that doesn’t make  him a bad person.  He’s probably really responsible  about using his abilities, right?  Well, he was once sued by a married  woman who claimed he used his powers to make her cheat on her husband with  him.  Then his lawyer, She-Hulk, started wondering if he’d used them  to initiate the one-night stand they once had.  So he agreed to have his  mind read, which revealed that he didn’t use his powers to make She-Hulk sleep  with him…but he HAD used them to make her fall in love with (and marry) some  other guy.  Oh, and he was banned from the courtroom for using his powers  to influence witnesses.  Sounds like Avengers material to us!

2.  D-Man

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D-Man is one of those characters created to be a hard-luck success story,  only he never became very successful.  Wearing an outfit modeled on  Daredevil’s short-lived original costume, D-Man started off as a member of a  superpowered wrestling league (…yeah), but his strength was coming from a  highly addictive drug.  Eventually kicking the habit, D-Man helped Captain  America a few times and finagled a sympathy “Yeah, sure, you’re an Avenger… uh, we’ll call you if a REALLY big menace comes along.  Something worthy of  you” kind of membership.

That’s fine, every team needs a mascot, as long as the Philly  Phanatic doesn’t think he’s going to be out there shagging fly balls in an  actual game, if you get my drift.

D-Man eventually ended up the protector of a community of homeless people,  leading to a hilarious scene where the Sub-Mariner complained about his stench,  suggesting he might be more at home with the less-choosy X-Men.  When a guy  who smells like a combination of tuna and low tide is griping about your odor,  you know you have a problem.  Writers continue using D-Man as a punchline  to this day, recently having him be turned down for a nanny gig watching a  fellow superhero’s kid.  That’s sad, but can you blame anyone?  He has  a child molester beard and his name is two letters away from “D-Bag.”  You  need to dress for the job you want, D-Man.  Also, a bar of soap would not  be a bad idea.  Don’t eat it.

1.  Gilgamesh the Forgotten One

gilgamesh

Wow, where do you start with Gilgamesh?  I guess the costume, since  wearing horns and the upper half of a cow face on your head will never, ever be  cool.  I also don’t think the skirt is going to strike fear into the hearts  of evildoers, and there are way too many colors working at odds in that  outfit.  He’s obviously based on an actual mythical hero, but not one of  the cool ones like Hercules or King Arthur.  Instead, Gilgamesh has to hope you’re  familiar with the exploits of an ancient Sumerian king and, even for nerds,  that’s pushing it.

He also suffers from the redundancy that hits so many of the heroes on this  list — the Avengers already have Thor for their neo-classical bruiser  and Hercules for when writers are tired of Thor, so what possible use could  Gilgamesh serve?  He’s third-string, useful only for anniversary issues or  a cheap death to make a new villain seem more deadly.  Even his full name  encourages you to overlook him.  I’m just saying, when your heyday was 4500  years ago and you consider Beowulf a promising young talent, it might be time to  pack it in.  We’ll always have Babylon, G.

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