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Marvel Confirms a Shocking MCU Avenger Is Worthier Than Steve Rogers

Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers #60!In the MCU there is perhaps no hero more worthy than Captain America, a hero who embodies the best of humanity. However, when it comes to the pages of Marvel Comics it turns out that a surprising teammate has him beat, at least according to the judgment of the Celestials.

In Marvel’s Judgement Day crossover event the Celestial known as the Progenitor has been recreated by a group of Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals that includes the likes of Tony Stark and Mister Sinister. Brought back to life to end the war between Eternals and mutants, the Progenitor quickly fulfilled that purpose only to reveal a much more dangerous agenda. The reborn space god announced that in just 24 hours it would judge every individual on the Earth and determine whether the inhabitants of the planet were worthy of continued existence. This led to understandable panic among both the civilian and hero populations, with Captain America taking the lead on trying to keep the populace of Earth calm. Unfortunately, Cap was the first person to be judged, and he was found wanting.


Related: Captain America Disrespects Hawkeye In The Way Only He Could

In A.X.E.: Judgment Day #2, by Kieron Gillen and Valerio Schiti, Steve Rogers is the first hero to receive a decision from the Progenitor. “You have a dream of a better country. You have tried to inspire it for a century. This country is the world leader… and the world is what it is. It is worse every day.” By that standard, the Celestial judges Captain America a failure. However, in Avengers #60, by Mark Russell and Greg Land, a shocking MCU Avenger passes the test where Steve Rogers couldn’t.

The process by which the Progenitor judges people is still a mystery, but in Avengers #60, Clint Barton’s Hawkeye gets the thumbs-up. When asked for a concrete baseline, the Celestial points to a mailbox and says that Hawkeye must be able to bring more joy to others than the inanimate object. Clint initially scoffs at the idea, but unlike his self-assured rival, Captain America, he then spends the rest of the issue introspectively wondering if he is in fact more useful than a mailbox. In the end, it is that search for answers that ultimately proves to the Progenitor that Hawkeye is more useful than a mailbox, and thus allows him to pass.

Why Hawkeye Is Worthier Than Captain America

This comparison between Clint Barton and an ordinary New York City mailbox is initially a joke, but the issue makes it clear that the contest is pretty close. Throughout the issue readers are given glimpses of the mailbox bringing people joy, even as Hawkeye spends the issue realizing that he failed to stop an alien menace in the sewers. As close as the contest seems, the Celestial ends the issue by saying that Clint has grown through his search for understanding and introspection, and that is something a mailbox cannot do. It might also be something that Captain America cannot do.

On the surface, it appears as if the standards of judgment by the Progenitor are based upon a person’s ability to fulfill their own goals and purpose. Steve Rogers fails because he cannot live up the standard of inspiring a better world, while Clint Barton lives up to his own goal of helping those he can and improving every day. However, it may also be the case that the Celestial is fixated on change, judging Captain America a failure because he’s been unable to change the world, while Hawkeye has been successful at changing his own perspective. Change is often trumpeted as a major fixation of Marvel’s cosmic beings, so it would make sense that achieving change, or having the potential to change, is what the Progenitor is looking for. Either way, according to a space god with immense insight into both characters, it turns out that Hawkeye is a worthier hero than Captain America, no matter how much that might shock fans.

Next: Marvel Confirms The X-Men’s Cyclops Is Greater Than Captain America

Avengers #60 is available from Marvel now.

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