Who’s the greatest hero the MCU‘s ever had? Well, anyone who’s cried at the ending of Avengers: Endgame would probably say Iron Man, but then you could also interpret that question in a slightly different way as who is the most powerful hero, in which case you might lean towards Captain Marvel or even Scarlet Witch.
However, if you really think about it, there is actually only one answer to that question that makes any canonical sense, and it’s an answer that may surprise you. It’s certainly an answer that would’ve surprised us back when the MCU first began with Phase One, given how far this character has come. For this mind-blowing revelation, you need look no further than the best mainstream MCU product (excluding the standalone Guardians 3) Phase Five has given us so far. I am, of course, talking about Quantumania Loki season 2.
Forget Iron Man’s snap, nobody has saved more lives than Loki
Image of Loki from season 2 superimposed over Iron Man’s sacrifice from Avengers: Endgame.
Images via Marvel Studios/Remix by Christian Bone
As a hilarious meme (courtesy of u/Pythagoras180/ScreenRant) makes clear, the number of lives saved by the Avengers, even once you add all four big crossover event movies to date together, is nothing compared to the number of lives saved by Loki. The Asgardian prince’s whole ambition in season 2 is to rescue the TVA so that it can continue to maintain the Sacred Timeline and its infinite offshoots. Of course, Loki ultimately succeeds in his aims, albeit at a deep, personal cost, and he becomes God Loki, the overseer of the entire Sacred Timeline.
In Thor, Heimdall reveals that the Earth-616 universe contains 10 trillion lives, therefore Tony Stark successfully saved 5 trillion souls when he reversed Thanos’ snap in Endgame. That’s no mean feat, to be sure, but the figure that Loki has saved is truly incalculable. Loki rebooted the timeline when he graduated to his godhood, creating the World Tree which upholds an infinite number of branched timelines. Therefore he saved an infinite number of 10 trillion lives.
It’s ironic that Stark’s incredible heroic achievement is made to look small-fry by the very first world-ending threat that Iron Man faced. Just like Tony eventually became someone who would make the “sacrifice play,” as Cap would call it, so too did Loki. It just took him a little longer, although boy, did he make up for it.
Although, once Avengers: Secret Wars gets here and plunges the multiverse into danger once more, then the Avengers might demand a recount