Marvel Comics has introduced us to countless epic superhero characters over the years. However, more recently, the 2010s have been exceptionally prolific in introducing new characters. One of them is Ava Ayala, aka White Tiger, who has absolutely epic superpowers, powerful enough to go against the best. So, how powerful is White Tiger in Marvel?
Ava Ayala’s White Tiger is an insanely powerful character, as her powers come directly from the White Tiger God through a Jade Amulet she has. But, even after the White Tiger God abandoned Ava, she continued being a prolific superhero, using her exceptional combat skills instead of superpowers.
At her most powerful moments, Ava could be compared to the most epic heroes, including Black Panther, Captain America, and Iron Man in the Avengers, or Power Man, Iron Fist, and others. That being said, White Tiger’s powers weren’t always on the same level, nor were they under Ava’s absolute control. Let’s dive into the character’s history to learn more.
Who is White Tiger in Marvel Comics?
Anyone who had the Amulets containing the White Tiger God could become the White Tiger. However, the Amulets remained a part of the Ayala family for a long time, being passed on through generations for decades. Ava Ayala was one of the youngest children in her family, spending almost her entire life admiring Hector, her brother who donned the White Tiger mantle.
Ava first appeared in Avengers Academy #20 in October 2011, where she was the first new full-time student since the Academy’s opening. An anti-hero named Gideon Mace killed most of her family, including her parents and sister. Not long after that, her big brother Hector died, too, and left the amulets to his daughter, Angela Del Toro.
Angela was, unfortunately, corrupted by the Hand, so the amulets eventually ended up in Ava Ayala’s hands. She became the White Tiger after using the amulets and living in somewhat of a symbiosis with the White Tiger God, who resided within the amulets.
Their deal was that Ava would get to use the awesome White Tiger superpowers as long as she allowed the White Tiger God to gain full control of her body one day of the week. The superpowers included superhuman physiology, enhanced senses, exceptional combat and martial arts skills without any training, and much more.
At one point, Ava joined the Heroes for Hire and was also a member of the Avengers Academy, the Mighty Avengers, and several other superhero teams over the years. At one point, vengeance consumed Ava, and she decided to go after Gideon Mace – her family’s killer.
Before she took it too far, the Mighty Avengers stopped White Tiger, and she didn’t kill Mace, which enraged the dangerous, vengeful god that gave Ava her powers. He threatens to kill her, but Ava manages to convince him to do the exact opposite.
She argues that if the White Tiger God killed her, he would have killed his last avatar, and seeing that the other heroes found the god dangerous, they would likely destroy the amulets, subsequently killing to god as well. So, instead of the god killing her, Ava convinces him to give her absolute control of all the White Tiger superpowers (New Avengers Vol. 4 #7).
That was Ava’s most powerful state, but after another White Tiger amulet bearer arrives from an alternative universe, the god realizes Ava has no leverage over him and decides to abandon her. Despite losing all her superpowers, Ava continued working as the hero White Tiger, using her prolific fighting skills instead of any particular superpower.
White Tiger Powers & Abilities
I keep mentioning how Ava Ayala gained incredible superpowers after becoming White Tiger. But, what are those superpowers, and does she have any particular abilities that complement her powers?
Well, as the White Tiger, Ava Ayala first and foremost gained superhuman physiology. She had superhuman strength, much stronger than the strongest humans on Earth. She could move at speeds higher than the fastest Olympic athletes and had reflexes resembling those of a wild cat.
Her durability was also enhanced, as Ava Ayala could take harder hits without damage and survive some brutal injuries that would usually kill every human. For instance, she was able to survive a clear shot through the lung, several stab wounds, etc.
When Ava puts her amulet over a wound, it heals almost instantly. She was able to heal broken bones, stab wounds, and other injuries that way.
Moreover, Ava Ayala had incredible agility and balance as the White Tiger, all thanks to the White Tiger God’s prolific cat-like attributes. Those attributes also included animal-like enhanced senses.
For instance, Ava could see the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum while also having clear vision much, much further than any human being. She could also see perfectly in almost pitch-black environments.
That also goes for her sense of hearing and her smell, as she’s able to hear sounds a few kilometers away and pick up on a scent of her target and pinpoint its location from miles away.
Another invaluable power that Ava had as the White Tiger was camouflage; she could blend into her surroundings seamlessly if she stood completely still. It never granted Ava invisibility but made her incredibly hard to spot.
Finally, the White Tiger God granted Ava Ayala exceptional martial arts and combat skills. She wasn’t naive, however, and continued training and perfecting her craft, studying under Tigra, who taught Ava how to utilize not only her powers but also her equipment, most notably her suit and claws.
That allowed Ava Ayala to continue doing superhero work even after she separated from the White Tiger God and lost all of her superpowers. Currently, Ava is powerless but still incredibly effective in combat due to her fighting skills and extensive training.
How powerful is White Tiger compared to other Marvel characters?
Seeing that Ava Ayala’s White Tiger went through major changes in power levels over her short comic book history, one has to separate the superpowered Ava and the powerless Ava.
When she was at her most powerful self, having full control over the White Tiger God, Ava Ayala was incredibly powerful. In fact, she could be compared as equal or better to Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, and similar superpowered Avengers. She was never at Thor or the Hulk’s level but was absolutely more powerful than, for instance, Hawkeye or Black Widow.
There was this one point when Power Man and Ava Ayala realized their powers could complement each other and make both of them much more powerful. Power Man controls the chi force, and Ava’s chi is incredibly powerful compared to other humans.
First, he drew chi from other people and transferred it to Ava, allowing her to create a tiger out of the chi. In Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 #3, that tiger was powerful enough to destroy a splinter of the almighty Shuma-Gorath- On the other hand, Ava returned the favor to Power Man by transferring some of her powers to him, making him unfathomably more powerful.
When in tandem, there weren’t many beings that could defeat the two, and they called themselves the New York Tiger-Style Kung Fu. Even before that, in Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1, both Sam Wilson and Tony Stark dubbed Ava as a Gamma Level Threat.
Now, after Ava lost her White Tiger powers, she obviously wasn’t nearly on that level, but still, one could easily put her in the Black Widow power-level category.
How powerful is Ava Ayala compared to other White Tigers in Marvel comics?
I’ve already mentioned that there were other White Tigers in Marvel comics that gained powers through the Amulets in the same way as Ava. However, they weren’t the only White Tigers in Marvel’s history.
For instance, in Heroes for Hire #1, we learn that the High Evolutionary took an actual tiger and artificially evolved her into a tiger-woman who chose to keep its original tiger form. Even when she was at her best, I’d still pick Ava Ayala’s White Tiger over her any day of the week.
Another White Tiger came in Black Panther Vol. 3 #62. The mantle belonged to Kevin ‘Kasper’ Cole, a member of the Panther Cult and the protege of the Black Panther himself. Compared to a powerless Ava, they are about on the same level, with Kasper having a slight advantage due to larger physical strength and better technology.
However, compared to a fully-powered White Tiger Ava, Black Panther’s protege would likely stand no chance.