Making her debut in 1986’s Marvel Super-Heroes #13, Carol Danvers has had a long, complicated, and even convoluted history within the pages of Marvel comics. She’s been everything from a stereotypical damsel in distress to an Air Force pilot, to a human-Kree hybrid capable of cosmic powers. She’s also held the superhero titles of Ms. Marvel, Binary, and Warbird. In fact, Carol Danvers didn’t even adopt the mantel of Captain Marvel in the comics until 2012 — four years after the MCU began. Thanks to the movie, many have come to associate Captain Marvel with Carol Danvers.
On top of the character being the first female to enjoy the title role of an MCU movie, Captain Marvel is also one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU. This is largely on par with what fans have come to expect out of Captain Marvel from the comics, where she has everything from increased strength and durability, to the power of flight and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy. Maybe even more impressive is Captain Marvel’s seventh sense, which allows her to glimpse future events. The list goes on and on.
Where does Carol Danvers fit in comparison to the other Marvel characters on the page and screen?
Updated on June 28th, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: With Carol Danvers’ long history in Marvel Comics, there are a lot of different powers at her disposal. In the MCU, she even seems unbeatable. Her ability to transform energy is, so far, nearly unparalleled in the MCU. Seeing how some characters have grown over the years, however, like the Scarlet Witch, might have some fans reevaluating just who could take on Captain Marvel successfully.
Marvel Characters Who Would Defeat Captain Marvel In Seconds
Carol Danvers and Rogue have already fought in the comics, and Rogue did end up with the upper hand. The X-Men character hasn’t always been a hero, and her ability, to copy someone’s powers (and in some cases, memories) with a single touch, means that all she has to do is get close enough to Carol to have the same power as her.
When Rogue and Carol have the same abilities, the fight would probably last for longer than seconds, but the truth is that Rogue adapts incredibly quickly to suddenly having new powers at her disposal, so if she didn’t win quickly, it would be a stalemate.
Sentry isn’t a comic book character that everyone knows these days, though his die-hard fans have been clamoring for him to make it into the MCU for years. Robert Reynolds, a former addict, took the “Sentry Serum” when breaking into a lab looking for a fix. That serum was a combination of just about anything to make a super soldier, resulting in someone even more powerful than any of the super soldiers already in the comics.
Emma Frost, one of the most powerful telepaths in comics, calls him “godlike” when it comes to his powers. He pulls energy from the sun itself, and he can manipulate molecules in a way that can alter reality itself. Of course, he doesn’t have the same level of control over his powers as Captain Marvel does, so if they go head-to-head, he only beats her when he’s in control and focused.
A common enemy of Thor, Surtur is a fire demon descended from Muspelheim — one of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology. Though Surtur had previously been defeated by both Odin and Thor, the fire demon is eventually reunited with the Eternal Flame, allowing him to bring about the destruction of Asgard. Surely any character capable of destroying one of the Nine Realms single-handedly could easily take out a being like Captain Marvel.
Surtur’s powers may have been buffed thanks to the Eternal Flame, but in the comics, the villain hardly needed any help to defeat Thor. The other MCU characters should just be happy that this massively overpowered enemy ended up taking himself out along with Asgard.
A member of the Celestials, Ego was one of the oldest and most powerful beings in the MCU. With his mastery of matter and energy manipulation, Ego planned to take over the universe with his Expansion plan — which would have wiped out all current life and replaced it with his own living signature.
While Captain Marvel has been imbued with her fair share of cosmic abilities, they’re nowhere near the level of a Celestial. Carol simply wouldn’t stand a chance against Ego and his Expansion plan, and the only reason the villain faces defeat in Guardians 2 is because Peter shared his Celestial makeup. Otherwise, this villain could have destroyed the universe before Thanos ever had a chance of his own.
Thanos (with the Infinity Gauntlet)
Without the Infinity Gauntlet, a number of MCU villains easily outrank Thanos in terms of sheer power — these include Hela, Ego, and Dormammu, just to name a few. With the gauntlet, Thanos is without a doubt the greatest threat to the universe, making Captain Marvel simply no match for the Mad Titan.
That being said, without the Gauntlet, Thanos isn’t nearly as powerful in the MCU. His powers have also fluctuated greatly in the comics, where Thanos has been known to demonstrate his fair share of cosmic abilities. Therefore, even without the Stones, a fight between these two might still be too close to call.
The de facto ruler of the Dark Dimension, Dormammu is one of the oldest and most powerful beings in the MCU. Dormammu wishes for nothing more than to extend his reign across the Multiverse, which results in him granting additional powers to Kaecilius of Earth.
When Doctor Strange confronts the villain in the Dark Dimension, Dormammu has complete control over the realm. He can endlessly destroy anyone who opposes him — not that it would matter much, considering Dormammu is also immortal. The only reason that Strange stops Dormammu’s plans is because the sorcerer literally has time on his side. Therefore, if Captain Marvel didn’t go into this fight with this same advantage, she’d be a goner in no time.
Adam Warlock is another Marvel character whose powers have fluctuated greatly throughout the character’s fifty-plus year life in the comics. At the very least, Warlock’s baseline powers are similar to that of Captain Marvel’s. He has superhuman strength and durability, along with the power of flight and the ability to control cosmic energy. What would really give Warlock a leg up in this fight would be his ability to regenerate, as the character is known to retreat into a cocoon to restore and rebuild his powers — making his ultimate defeat nigh impossible.
Warlock has already been teased in the MCU, with his cocoon appearing at the end of Guardians 2. The simple fact that they’re keeping him under wraps until after Captain Marvel’s debut may also hint that he’s the more powerful opponent.
Many Marvel fans have rooted for Galactus to be one of the next big bads in the MCU. The cosmic entity has been a part of the comics since the 1960s, where Galactus has consumed no shortage of planets in that amount of time, often with no regard for its inhabitants. Since Galactus has been around prior to the creation of the universe, his powers are truly omnipotent. He can destroy and create life with little effort, making Captain Marvel — or anyone else for that matter — of little threat to Galactus.
That being said, the world eater has been thwarted on a number of occasions. It would certainly take more than one human-Kree hybrid to bring him down.
With a name like Eternity, it’s no wonder that this Marvel character could easily destroy the likes of Captain Marvel — or any other lifeform for that matter. The cosmic entity first appeared in Strange Tales #134 in July of 1965, where Eternity is portrayed as an all-knowing, all-powerful being who has been around since the universe first began. There is seemingly no limit to what Eternity can do, as the character has knowledge of all things in the universe and is able to warp reality on a whim.
With the MCU unafraid to introduce characters like Dormammu and Ego the Living Planet, there’s always a chance that Eternity will enjoy a big screen treatment. If that’s ever the case, the heroes will be lucky to discover that Eternity usually doesn’t meddle in the matters of lesser lifeforms.
After sitting on the sidelines for the majority of the MCU, Scarlet Witch finally let her true powers shine in Infinity War. Here, Scarlet Witch is shown to be one of the strongest allies on the battlefield, as she’s able to hold off Thanos and destroy one of the Infinity Stones at the same time. Her power only grows from there as she’s able to control an entire town in WandaVision and wipe out the Illuminati in a matter of seconds in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.
Wanda has the ability to literally change the fabric of reality in the comics, and her magic appears to have no limit in the MCU. The only reason Doctor Strange is able to “defeat” her when she becomes a villain is because Wanda gives up the fight.
The Living Tribunal
Yet another cosmic powerhouse, the Living Tribunal is an all-powerful being which seeks to balance the powers of the universe. He appears to have complete control over reality — tipping the scales of good and evil as he sees fit. However, the Living Tribunal has been known to answer to the Once-Above-All, indicating that he doesn’t always view himself as the sole judge, jury, and executioner of the universe.
Of course, Captain Marvel would be of little threat to the Living Tribunal. So long as Carol Danvers doesn’t massively upset the cosmic balance, she shouldn’t have to worry about an entity like this getting in her way. On the other hand, Thanos has been known to get a rise out of the Living Tribunal on numerous occasions, especially when he gets his hands on the Infinity Stones.
As mysterious as it is powerful, the One-Above-All is the equivalent to the god and creator of the Marvel Multiverse. The deity is said to be the source of all life in the universe, existing before even Galactus or Eternity came into play. As one might expect, the One-Above-All’s powers are infinite and unparalleled by any being.
While the One-Above-All could surely destroy Captain Marvel at any moment, the entity largely remains out of the action. Instead, the Living Tribunal often acts on its behalf by balancing out the cosmic scales of good and evil. While it’s unlikely that this Marvel character will ever get a big screen incarnation, we can always assume that he’s influencing the outcomes from afar.
The One-Above-All is largely regarded as the strongest being in the Marvel universe, with the Living Tribunal sitting directly below him, while other entities like Eternity and Galactus fill in the rest of this cosmic hierarchy. But when the Beyonder made his debut in 1984, he couldn’t help but muddy the waters the bit.
Upon his introduction, this being from the Beyond Realm had near-infinite power. He is able to round up all the universe’s biggest heroes and villains and make them battle against one another, and it is said that his abilities are somehow unparalleled. Of course, this didn’t fall in line with what readers already knew about the other all-powerful entities in the Multiverse. The Beyonder’s abilities were eventually reduced in later issues. Either way, Captain Marvel wouldn’t stand a chance against this cosmic being.
Marvel Characters Captain Marvel Could Destroy
While Valkyrie, as an Asgardian, is practically immortal, as the MCU has demonstrated, even Asgardians can meet their ends. Odin, Hela, and The Warriors Three are all incredibly powerful Asgardians who have all been killed in the MCU. Valkyrie might be one of the oldest Asgardians the audience has been introduced to. She does have super strength, durability, an easy command of weapons, and even a Pegasus to aid her, but Captain Marvel has her beat when it comes to sheer power.
That’s largely because Carol’s abilities mean that she is changing the form of energy and using it as a weapon. Valkyrie can’t punch her way through that. Of course, it’s unlikely these two would actually fight in the MCU. The audience would be more likely to see them team up.
Ant-Man’s abilities are entirely reliant on technology that allows him to shrink and grow. Whether the Ant-Man in question is Hank Pym or Scott Lang, Carol Danvers could blast right through them.
It’s true that both versions of Ant-Man are likely smarter than her when it comes to obscure technology, so with a well thought out plan, either of them might be able to last a bit longer in a fight against her. It’s unlikely they would get the chance to enact their plan though as she would be ready for a fight.
It has to be noted that Kamala Khan would never want to fight Carol Danvers. She admires her so much that a fight between the two would break her heart. It also has to be noted that Kamala Khan has two very different power sets when it comes to the comics and the MCU.
The comic version of the character is able to shape-shift and grow different parts of her body, kind of like Ant-Man’s ability to grow or shrink, but she most often uses this ability in her fists. Captain Marvel would only need to use an energy blast against an “embiggened” fist to stop Ms. Marvel. In the MCU, Kamala’s ability is a little closer to Carol’s as she manifests and manipulates hard light. A lack of experience and understanding of her abilities would mean Carol definitely has the upper hand there too.
A descendant of the Frost Giants and an heir to the throne of Asgard, Loki’s powers are both vast and unpredictable. While he is no match for Thor in terms of sheer strength, Loki has been known to outsmart his adoptive brother on numerous occasions. This makes predicting a fight between the God of Mischief and Captain Marvel seemingly too close to call — as there are far more variables to consider than just each characters’ superhuman abilities.
With enough prep time, Loki could almost certainly hatch a scheme to one-up Captain Marvel, but it if the two were simply to be thrown into a ring Sakaar-style and forced to square-off, it would be best to put money on Captain Marvel to emerge the victor.
In the comics, Captain America’s strength and agility are supposed to represent that of peak human condition. In other words, he can only run as fast and lift as much as the human body will allow. In the MCU, Cap’s powers seem to have eclipsed this standard, as the audience has seen Steve Rogers do everything from exit an aircraft without a parachute to stopping a helicopter from taking flight bare-handed.
Impressive as these powers may be, Captain America would — unsurprisingly — prevent little threat to a cosmic powerhouse like Captain Marvel. With the MCU teasing a more cosmic future, this may very well be the reason that characters like Captain America and Iron Man might not have a place in the franchise beyond Avengers: Endgame.
In Infinity War, Tony Stark’s nanotech suit massively increased the hero’s powers — almost to a ridiculous degree. Anything that Stark needed to accomplish could be done courtesy of the nanotech, ranging anywhere from resealing a spacecraft to patching a wound. It was these additional powers that also made Stark the only mortal capable of drawing blood from Thanos.
That being said, Iron Man on his best day couldn’t hold a candle to Captain Marvel on her worst. While Stark can fly around and emit energy blasts of his own, Carol Danvers need not put on a suit to access her powers — they’re simply engrained into her DNA. This puts her head-in-shoulders over any mortal hero who relies on an armored suit to get the job done.
Like so many comic book characters, Spider-Man’s powers have fluctuated greatly throughout his long life on the page. Whether or not Spider-Man is able to lift 10 tons or 50 tons, it’s abundantly clear that Peter Parker is far stronger than characters like Tony Stark and T’Challa — even if he doesn’t look it.
Peter also has the advantage of his powers being one with his DNA. In other words, he doesn’t have to put on a suit or ingest the Heart-Shaped Herb to have superhuman strength. This still puts him well below the league of Captain Marvel. Even if Peter could out-muscle Carol and manage to dodge the majority of her attacks, the fact that he is still bound by the law of gravity would be a massive disadvantage in this fight.
In terms of sheer physical strength, the Hulk could easily out-muscle Captain Marvel. The superheroine’s slew of other powers would make defeating the Hulk a walk in the park. Unlike the Hulk, Captain Marvel’s superhuman abilities are always on hand. She doesn’t have to worry about transforming into her stronger half before heading into battle, which is a problem that has continuously plagued Bruce Banner.
Even if you were to strip these characters of their powers — reducing both of them to mere mortals — Carol’s training in the Air Force and CIA would still make her a far better fighter than Bruce, who has always been more of a science nerd than an accomplished martial artist.
Described as the most dangerous woman in the universe, Gamora has seen her powers significantly reduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora has a slew of other abilities on the page which range anywhere from a regenerative healing factor to enhanced vision. However, the movies have given us a character who’s abilities more or less boil down to increased strength and durability.
Gamora’s mastery over martial arts may make her a better hand-to-hand combatant than Captain Marvel, but Carol has so many other tools at her disposal that this fight would likely never come to blows. All Carol would have to do is fly around and fire photon blast in Gamora’s direction, never even giving the assassin a chance to put her sword skills to good use.
Despite his epithet of “the Destroyer,” Drax hasn’t caused very much destruction in the MCU as of yet. This may be because the onscreen version of the character largely draws from the later incarnations of Drax from the comics, where his powers have been significantly reduced.
However, Drax once demonstrated cosmic abilities that allowed him to stand toe-to-toe with the original Captain Marvel. These attributes included firing energy blasts and surviving the void of space — similar to what we’ve seen out of Carol Danvers. Therefore, Drax might have once been able to destroy Captain Marvel, but the version of the character fans know today might just be better off relying on his newly mastered art of going invisible.
Doctor Strange is without a doubt one of the most powerful Earth-bound heroes in both the Marvel comics and movies. His mastery over the Mystic Arts makes Strange difficult to defeat by conventional means, and the magician has helped bring down some of the universe’s most formidable foes ever since he made his debut.
What gives Captain Marvel the leg up in this battle? It’s the simple fact that she doesn’t have to rely on artifacts and ancient relics to get the job done. Many of Strange’s most intimidating powers are granted to him thanks to the Cloak of Levitation, Eye of Agamotto, and the Sling Ring. Even with these objects at Strange’s disposal, Carol’s “seventh sense” could most likely circumvent Strange’s magical superpowers.
As if it wasn’t already abundantly clear, Infinity War confirmed that Thor was currently the best thing that the Avengers and the Guardians had going for them. Thor nearly defeats Thanos by the film’s end, driving his new ax Stormbreaker through the Mad Titan’s chest. Maybe even more impressive is that Thor had to take the brunt of a collapsing star in order to forage the weapon in the first place.
He could take quite a bit of the energy that Captain Marvel could throw at him, but she could rip her way through several spaceships without breaking a sweat, and still come face-to-face with Thanos. These two would be a fun fight to watch.
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