Comic books have long featured veterans as heroes. It’s an easy way to explain the training, expertise, and mission sets certain superheroes rock and roll with. Some heroes have their entire persona built around military service, like my favorite Captain America. Marvel’s MCU has taken our favorite heroes and villains and given them a modern lineage not tied down by decades of comic books that often make backstories immensely complicated. This rewriting of history has spawned Marvel’s Spec-Ops community.

It could be argued that Marvel’s Spec-Ops community started with Captain America and Bucky Barnes of the Howling Commandos. They certainly get an honorary mention, but to me, this list is about the operators that served before becoming heroes, villains, and something in-between. Also, I’m using the term MCU loosely here: take it to mean the modern film and television representations of these characters. Don’t be the comic book guy in comments hitting me with a “Wellll… actually…”


1) Emil Blonsky – The Abomination

Emil Blonsky was loaned to SOCOM from the British Marines for a unique mission. Hunt down, capture, or kill Dr. Bruce Banner. Obviously, this is a complicated mission when the good doctor can become the Incredibly Hulk. He’s the only foreign member of Marvel’s Spec-Ops community.

Emil Blonsky

The British Royal Marines are an elite military force that can trace their origin back to 1664. Modern British Royal Marines operate as seaborne commandos.

Their mission-set includes maritime interdiction, force protection, personnel recovery, direct action, and more. These troops undergo one of the longest and most physically demanding training regimes in the world, with recruit training lasting 32 weeks for enlisted personnel.

The Abomination

Emil Blonsky was a captain and therefore undertook 60 weeks of basic training. Blonsky had a fearsome reputation and refused promotion to a staff gig so he could keep fighting as long as possible. Eventually, he wanted the Hulk’s power and transformed himself into the Abomination. He was last seen as a cage fighter in China.