When most people think of superheroes, they think of laser-eyes and immense strength or a battle for the very planet with a team of the world’s finest. However, not all super heroics are on such a grandiose scale. While the Avengers are out foiling Kang’s time-based plots or holding of Thanos from dominating the Marvel Universe, life goes on for the rest of the Earth. With life continuing as best it can amidst these events, crime and supervillains also do not pause. That is why several individuals in the superhero field operate much closer to the streets, protecting their local neighborhoods as best they can. These heroes are often less powerful than their more global counterparts, though some could give then a run for their money.
Heroes that operate on a more street-level basis are often more attached to their communities. This allows them to work in tandem with their locale and they have a better knowledge of how to best operate in their respective territories. Spider-Man knows New York like the back of his hand, years of swinging between its buildings have allowed him to know how to be where to be when it counts. Luke Cage actively takes part in uplifting his local community and advocates reform, which in turn affords him the respect and cooperation of those around him. There’s so much more to being a hero that operates closer to civilians, CBR takes you to the streets to find out who works there and who does it best!
20 THE RAKSHA
Madripoor is a place in the Marvel Universe where the law is not upheld regularly. A wretched hive of scum and villainy those in a galaxy far far away might call it. All sorts of sordid and unpleasant dealings happen daily in this haven for villains. What is it like for those who live there, though?
One young group of Madripoor natives are fed up of the deplorable sins of their home. The Raksha, a team of mutant street urchins, banded together to at least try and make a difference. Though they have their job cut out for them, they have proved themselves very useful, becoming firm allies to the X-Men Blue team.
19 WHITE TIGER
White Tiger is adept in martial arts and is an incredibly formidable combatant. Gaining enhanced powers from the White Tiger pendant around her neck, she is able to bolster her already impressive abilities. Unfortunately, the pendant keepers have historically been tainted by the spirit that grants power to the holder.
Despite fighting the influence of the nefarious White Tiger Spirit constantly, she provides some much needed mystical elements to her street-level crime fighting. Impressing the Avengers with her work early on, she was invited to join the New Avengers alongside the newest Power Man, Hulkling, Squirrel Girl, Sunspot and Wiccan.
18 UNION JACK
There have been several Union Jacks, dating all the way back to World War II, operating to protect the interests of the UK. Working alongside heroes such as Captain America, Namor and the original Human Torch, Union Jack acts as the eyes and ears for British intelligence on the streets.
Enjoying stints on teams such as the Invaders, he’s no stranger to working alongside the superhero community, despite not having powers himself. He also answered the call during Ends of the Earth, when Spider-Man needed global allies and the Avengers were compromised. He single-handedly took down the Octobots besieging London.
Patsy Walker always wanted to be a superhero, but had no powers to make her super. To compensate for her lack of abilities, she trained herself to be as athletic as possible and convinced Beast to train her to be a superhero. Beast agreed and she joined the Avengers for a spell, until she was given the opportunity to train under Moondragon.
While off in space she was given minor psionic powers to compliment her physical acumen. Upon returning to earth, Hellcat would become one of the Defenders. As well as keeping the streets safe, Patsy was briefly trapped in Mephisto’s realm alongside Mockingbird. To say that she’s been through Hell and back would be a little on the nose.
Blindspot is a hero that operates on ingenuity and limited resources, working as a janitor at a university, he uses the lab equipment at night to develop his invention. His invention, that he uses to help fight crime, is an invisibility suit. Though not formally educated due to his humble beginnings and tumultuous immigration to the US, Sam is a genius.
Wanting to make a difference, he took to the streets of New York with his tech and ended up becoming Daredevil’s apprentice. Seeing potential in both Sam’s brains and application of his technology, he agreed to train the young vigilante. Sam has also worked alongside Iron Fist and is no stranger to fighting The Hand.
15 KATE BISHOP
Taking on the title of Hawkeye is no simple feat, but so far Kate Bishop has done the legacy proud. Though her beginnings were privileged and her tastes expensive, she has acclimated herself to helping and understanding the plights of the everyday person. Working alongside Clint Barton, she has helped see off several mafia-based threats to the streets of NYC.
Kate took her talents out to Los Angeles, noticing an imbalance between heroes on the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States. While there, she proved herself to be a formidable street-level hero, operating alone without her fellow Young Avengers or the guidance of Clint.
14 MISTY KNIGHT
Misty Knight is a seasoned figure in street-level crime fighting due to her several roles and responsibilities over her career. She’s been a police officer, a private investigator and a hero in her own right, working alongside the Avengers and Heroes for Hire respectively.
Misty also has a try and being Captain America for a little bit, finding that she quite enjoyed taking up the shield. However, her most famous role has been working alongside longtime friend Colleen Wing as the Daughters of the Dragon. Their partnership has led them all across the world, bringing some definitive justice to streets everywhere.
13 SCARLET SPIDER
Though several heroes have taken the title of Scarlet Spider, all of them have either sought to emulate Spider-Man or provide heroics akin to his. Ben Reilly, the most famous hero to take the mantle, was particularly adept at providing heroics for the city of New York and most recently, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kaine Parker, another clone and ally to Peter, also holds the title of Scarlet Spider. Though he’s a lot angrier and a touch more brutal than Spidey, he’s still aligned with the side of good. Following Spider-Island, Kaine moved out to Texas to help get a new perspective on life, and bring a branch of the Spider-Family to the southern states.
12 BLACK WIDOW
Black Widow made a name for herself by getting involved in the domestic affairs of several countries after being forged in the Red Room. Her exploits have taken her across the globe, but her operations are largely on street-level. Espionage, deception, social engineering and resource acquisition are just some of the abilities Nat possesses.
Since her jump to the Avengers she has shown she can leverage her abilities to hang in there with larger threats, but still excels at the groundwork. Her wealth of practical experience makes her fundamentals near perfect, and she is able to work excellently in tandem with similar heroes, like Hawkeye.
Clint Barton began his career as a marksman in a carnival, so community and the value of people have been instilled in him from a young age. With his environment came lessons in how to remain street smart and thinking on his feet. Though Hawkeye is often seen gallivanting off on wonderful adventures with the Avengers, he isn’t a stranger to some home grown groundwork.
Clint once purchased an entire apartment building in an effort to stop gangsters strong-arming the tenants and making their lives difficult. Rather than solve the problem, he angered the criminals and what ensued was a turf war in his very apartment building. Clint held his own and proved he wasn’t one to be easily ran out of town.
Elektra is one of the deadliest women on the planet. She has gone toe-to-toe with some of Marvel’s most talented martial artists and still remains feared. If you need a problem dealt with discretely and permanently, Elektra is who you need to call. She’s also returned to life a few times, defying fate for good measure.
Despite her conflicting past with Daredevil, she’s been shown to operate heroically most of the time. She was even part of a Thunderbolts team that also boasted the Punisher. Elektra is equal parts deadly and effective, finding no shortage of work when dabbling in mercenary work.
9 MOON KNIGHT
Marc Spector has a very unique approach to contributing to the pantheon of street-level vigilantes. First of all, he operates on the basis of wanting to be seen on approach. In what is a tactic involving the instilling of both fear and confusion, Moon Knight wears bright white costumes and announces his arrive with action.
He’s not exactly stable at all times, as his multiple personalities have been an issue for him at times. Regardless, Moon Knight is a reliable and diligent hero when it comes to protecting the innocent, especially at night. He was once so committed to stopping a criminal that he cut the villain’s face off. A but much, Moon Knight.
The Master of Kung Fu has been helping keep New York safe for quite some time. Adept at just about every martial art you can think of, he’s operated from humble circumstances and contributed so much to the superhero community. Yes, he’s kicking butt and taking names, but he also empowers and educates those around him.
He impressed Cap during his time on the Secret Avengers, eventually receiving full Avengers membership. Shang-Chi has also taught several of his fellow superheroes some of his martial arts know-how. A results-orientated teacher, Shang’s students include Spider-Man and Domino. He only once gained the power to duplicate himself, allowing him to create a horde of martial arts adepts.
7 JESSICA JONES
Jessica Jones has the abilities of someone who should be helping out Captain Marvel or even the Guardians of the Galaxy. She had issues learning to fly initially, though this has since been mastered. Her strength and durability would allow her to hold court among the chief Avengers. This is not Jessica’s calling however.
She’s done a great job battling her own inner demons, trying to become a better person and hero. Her bond with Luke Cage elevated not only her own self confidence but made both partners better by association. Using her private investigator skill-set, she’s one hell of a vigilante and one resourceful mother!
6 LUKE CAGE
Luke Cage respects the importance of communities and nurturing good environments for kids to thrive in. Not only will you see Luke cleaning the streets with his powers, you’ll see him actively encouraging and bettering the neighborhoods he deals with. Alongside Iron Fist as the Heroes for Hire, they make sure to give back to the community whenever they can.
Luke’s also a firm believer in reformation, being a former prison inmate himself. He doesn’t give up on people and he’s active in rehabilitation and re-education initiatives. Due to his work helping reform criminals, he oversaw the Thunderbolts for a time, helping supervillains become heroes.
5 IRON FIST
In many ways, Danny Rand need never take to the streets to be a superhero. He has the resources of a Tony Stark-type playboy and access to mystical realms and knowledge in the same vein as you’d see Dr. Strange deal with. However, Danny Rand is a man of action.
Iron Fist doesn’t let his privileges stop him from getting involved in local communities. He’s done a lot of good work for the streets of New York alongside his best friend, Luke Cage. Though New York is never squeaky clean, helping make it a better place certainly can’t be harder than slaying an ancient dragon!
To say Frank Castle is tough on crime would be an understatement. Due to unfortunate circumstances involving the loss of his family to the mob, Frank has no time for criminals. His one-man war on crime has seen him do incredible, albeit brutal, things to put criminals down for good.
His methods are largely disapproved of among his fellow heroes, Daredevil and Captain America being two very vocal opponents. The Punisher will never relent, however, because a man with nothing left to lose is a very dangerous man indeed. There is no filter on this vigilante, just hard justice and ruthless efficiency.
Daredevil is a next level hero when it comes to making the streets of New York safe. Not only does Matt Murdock battle injustice physically, he uses his expertise on the law to try and keep criminals and wrongdoers down for the count. Matt has his finger in the pulse at all levels of heroics, alongside his law partner Foggy Nelson.
Daredevil takes on the crime head-on whereas during the day, Matt Murdock uses jurisdiction and legal acumen to tackle villains. He’s two sides to a coin that is determined to clean up Hell’s Kitchen. Daredevil has also gone outside of Hell’s Kitchen, spending a brief period helping make San Francisco a little safer.
2 CAPTAIN AMERICA
Though he is often the leader of the Avengers and a decorated war hero, Cap appreciates the value of operating close to the streets. Part of the reason he stood so firmly against the Registration Act in Civil War was that he knew it was unfair on street-level heroes. Being able to stand up for others and use his influence for good is something Cap is adept at.
In his own adventures, Steve Rogers often finds himself dealing with a lot of the villains street-level heroes would. Steve stands for the people of the USA and as such, he’s never one to back down from dealing with domestic threats, on the streets of America. Cap usually employs the help of Falcon or Wolverine when taking to the pavement.
Spider-Man is possibly the most famous hero that Marvel has on its roster that still operates primarily at a street level. Yes, he’s been on multiversal jaunts and stared down god-like beings, but that doesn’t change his foundation. Spider-Man is often spotted putting in a shift or two on the streets of New York.
Peter Parker began as a hero helping the average joe on the street. With the aim to make his Uncle Ben proud, he’s never strayed far from being out friendly neighborhood Spider-man. He’s also inspired others, like Miles Morales and Flash Thompson, to follow his example.