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Dear Serena Williams: Iron Man is the most dangerous Avenger. You’re welcome.

The tennis star asked, and we answered

A still from Iron Man 2 in which Tony Stark is holding up his right hand charging a repulsor ray Marvel Studios

On Wednesday, Tennis star Serena Williams asked Twitter a very simple question, prompting an extended debate inside the Polygon offices.

While trying to determine the “most dangerous” Avenger may seem like the sort of challenge that can be argued endlessly without finding a clear answer, we feel that Williams deserves the very best.

So here’s the answer: It’s Iron Man. I’m so glad we could help with this one!

Hold up, Iron Man?

Yes, Iron Man. Williams didn’t ask for the most powerful Avenger. That would be Thor, obviously. (Or, perhaps, Captain Marvel when she finally joins the team.) Williams wanted to know the most dangerous, and that’s a whole different ball game.

Unlike his teammates, Iron Man is the Avenger who has directly caused the most damage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tony Stark has mental health problems which continue to go untreated, so I’m not going to argue that the events of these films are his fault, exactly. But the most dangerous? Absolutely.

He’s capable of creating weapons of mass destruction, and does. On a seemingly daily basis. He’s created multiple artificial intelligences, one of which has already gone rogue. He doesn’t know how to talk to his friends, and this leads to fights that level entire airports. When some of his buddies turn on him, he recruits a teenager by lying to his guardian and ultimately gives the young man a suit that’s basically a loaded gun with a safety that a teenager can override.

Iron Man is so sure that he’s going to face an existential crisis that he causes catastrophe after catastrophe while still feeling like the good guy. He’s trying to save the world, after all, even though he’s the one who keeps putting it in jeopardy long before Thanos shows up.

There is an argument to be made for The Hulk in this discussion, but Bruce Banner’s alter ego is a known danger, and proper steps are taken to limit the damage he can do. Heck, you can make the Hulk happy with a gladiator arena and some good booze, apparently. Iron Man is power and delusion left completely unchecked, and the results have been disastrous.

What Serena Williams does with this information is up to her. But Iron Man is the only correct answer. Have a great Wednesday.

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