When you talk about the most powerful characters who appeared so far in the MCU, it’s usually a tossup between Scarlet Witch and Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. However, when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 premieres, a new competition arrives in Adam Warlock. So, if Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel were to fight, who would win and why?
Adam Warlock would win against Captain Marvel almost every time. Carol Danvers recently became much more powerful in the comics than before, but still not enough to compete with Warlock, who is almost omnipotent.
Adam has been teased as the next evolutionary step of the Sovereigns in the post-credit scene of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. However, we still don’t know which powers from the comics will translate to the MCU, so let’s compare the comic versions of the characters to see who has the best chance to win.
Both Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel have incredible powers, augmented by their ability to wield, control, absorb, manipulate, and redirect various types of energy. Their powers are similar, but they manifest them differently. However, let’s try not to take these into account just yet and focus only on their physical strength.
Carol Danvers was a Class 50 character, meaning she could lift about 50 tons with relative ease. However, her strength went through the roof when she got into her Binary mode. In Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 #24, we learn that Carol is easily a Class 100+ hero. Currently, Danvers isn’t Binary anymore, but her strength can withstand 100 tons easily.
We see that in Avengers Vol. 8 #2 when a dead Celestial fell to Earth, and Captain Marvel was strong enough to support its weight on her own. Carol is strong enough to fistfight Thanos even in the MCU and easily penetrates and destroys his colossal battleship (Avengers: Endgame).
She’s capable of energy projection but often uses her powers to engage in close combat. Unlike Adam Warlock, who is a worthy opponent at close range but much prefers attacks from a distance, using his powers to create force fields, energy blasts, and much more.
Adam’s exact strength level is unknown, but seeing that he has similar powers to Carol, it’s safe to say that they’re somewhere up the same alley. He fought hand-to-hand (and held his ground) against Wonder Man, Thor, and even a Thanos clone that had the same physical strength level as the Mad Titan himself.
It’s also important to note that Captain Marvel couldn’t harm the Silver Surfer, whereas Adam Warlock knocked out the Herald of Galactus with a single hit. Sure, he probably used his energy projecting powers to enhance the blow, but still, it was a clean go-to-sleep strike.
With that being said, I’d say that Adam and Carol have around the same level of strength. However, Captain Marvel engages in hand-to-hand combat more often and generally uses her powers in that direction much more than Adam Warlock. Because of that, Captain Marvel takes the strength category.
Point: Captain Marvel (1:0) Adam Warlock
Captain Marvel is extremely fast. She can use her powers to fly and propel herself at incredibly high speeds. Around Earth, she usually goes well over Mach 4, or four times the speed of sound. However, when Carol has her Binary powers (roughly her powers in the MCU), Danvers can survive outer space without aid and travel, at least, close to the speed of light.
She says that she visits thousands of planets across the universe, so it’s obvious that she has to travel quite fast to get from one to the other. However, she’s quite inferior to Adam Warlock in this regard, and I’m saying that for a good reason.
You see, Adam Warlock is a teleporter. A teleporter on a cosmic scale, meaning he can manifest anywhere he wants in the universe. Combine that with his cosmic awareness, and you can already see why Warlock is one of the most powerful Marvel characters.
Even when he’s not teleporting, Adam has remarkable speed features. He moves right around the speed of light while in space. In an atmosphere, though, Warlock can’t move that fast, but he can still teleport almost instantly – and instinctively, thanks to the cosmic awareness.
To sum up, Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock have similar speed features, but Danvers can’t teleport like Warlock. That’s why he wins this category.
Point: Adam Warlock (1:1) Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is incredibly hard to hurt. She can take a punch from Hulk, Thanos, and other Marvel powerhouse characters without much damage. Her aging process is so slow that Carol is practically immortal. That being said, she can get hurt, especially when she’s weakened.
However, even when Captain Marvel gets hurt, her manipulation abilities over various forms of energy allow her to heal herself much faster than a normal human, even from the hardest injuries. She can also heal others, but that’s irrelevant here.
What’s relevant is that Danvers has a much stronger immunity against most known diseases and toxins. Finally, when she has the Binary powers, Carol is self-sustenant (doesn’t require food or air), meaning she can survive in the deep ocean, or the outer space, without any aid. Sum that up, and you see that Captain Marvel is extremely durable. However, she CAN die.
The same can’t be said for Adam Warlock. He is just as durable as Carol in terms of sustaining physical damage. I mean, the guy once ate a direct blast from Galactus and didn’t even flinch. He’s also self-sustenant, immune to diseases, and doesn’t age. Again, just like Carol, Warlock can also die. However, there’s a catch.
In Strange Tales #178, we learn that Adam’s soul is so strong that not even Death herself can claim it. So, instead of dying, Adam Warlock ends up in a cocoon, where he regenerates before returning to life. Therefore, Adam Warlock can never really die – he would always return, even if Captain Marvel finds a way to kill him.
Point: Adam Warlock (2:1) Captain Marvel
As I mentioned a couple of times, Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock have quite similar powers. Both of them can absorb, manipulate, and adapt cosmic energy, using it for either offense or defense. Their main source of power is cosmic energy, but they both showed skills allowing them to manipulate other types of energy, too.
So, what’s the difference, then?
Captain Marvel has a much more straightforward approach to using cosmic energy. Her range of attacks usually remains in the form of energy blasts, beams, or simply her physical strength augmentation. She can also use cosmic energy to heal herself or others.
While she did show skills that allowed Carol to manipulate energy and matter in more creative ways (for instance, creating a razor blade made out of pure energy in Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 #10). However, she doesn’t get as creative that often.
On the other hand, Adam Warlock’s cosmic energy manipulation, absorption, and projection exceed Captain Marvel’s. His array of attacks is much wider and more creative, seeing that Warlock usually uses this kind of offense as his primary weapon.
Still, we’ve seen Captain Marvel get creative with her skillset, too. But, what sets Adam Warlock apart – is magic. Adam can manipulate mystical energy in numerous ways, including astral projection, body transmutations, and many other mystical skills.
In terms of cosmic energy usage alone, they are pretty evenly matched. However, Warlock’s offense is much more diverse, and he can use magic, whereas Danvers cannot. For that reason, Adam Warlock gets another point.
Point: Adam Warlock (3:1) Captain Marvel
Going through Captain Marvel’s powers, we’ve pretty much mentioned all her powers so far. Let’s recap what she can do, apart from superhuman strength, speed, durability, stamina, and agility, as they are almost a classic for every superhero.
Carol Danvers has strong cosmic energy manipulation skills, giving her an array of skills she uses effectively. That includes energy absorption, which Carol uses to augment her strength, photonic blasts, molecular manipulation (to a degree), healing (herself and others), etc.
Carol can also fly, but what makes her so amazingly powerful compared to some other heroes is the incredibly strong cosmic awareness she possesses. Carol can sense danger from miles away and subconsciously predict the opponent’s moves to counter them effectively. However, this power proved to fire off randomly, making it quite unreliable.
As for Adam Warlock, though, the guy is a product of perfect genetic engineering, capable of unimaginable things. He can do everything Captain Marvel can, but on a larger scale, as well as perform magic, teleport anywhere in space, and be practically immortal. But do you want to hear the craziest part? We haven’t even mentioned the best part.
After a short while, Adam Warlock has been merged with the Soul Gem (known as the Soul Stone in the MCU). It allows Warlock to unlock so much more potential power, including incredibly telepathy skills, clairvoyance, mystic senses, magic, reading, taking others’ souls, and much more.
To cut the story short – it came to a point where you can’t even make a list of all the powers Adam Warlock has. He’s omnipotent, omnipresent, and can virtually do whatever the plot requires him to do, be it magic, energy projection, hand-to-hand fighting, reality-warping – you name it. He’s so powerful that he once became the Living Tribunal itself.
Captain Marvel might be one of the most powerful Avengers ever, but Adam Warlock is one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe. He gets the point here, and it’s not even close.
Point: Adam Warlock (4:1) Captain Marvel
Adam Warlock Vs. Captain Marvel: Who Wins?
In a one-on-one fight, Adam Warlock would beat Captain Marvel 9/10 times. The one time Carol might win is if she can find a way to catch Adam off-guard and outsmart him – which is impossible because he has ultra senses and cosmic awareness.
So, she’d first have to find a way to make him less powerful and then go at him, but then again, it takes away the element of surprise, doesn’t it? In reality, the only way she wins is if Adam Warlock is weakened for some reason and Carol is severely powered up. In any other case, he trumps her.
That doesn’t necessarily have to translate to the MCU, too. In the MCU, Adam Warlock’s origins are different, and it seems right now that the Soul Stone is out of the question. Therefore, what powers Adam will have in the MCU remains to be seen, meaning we can’t know for sure who’d win between MCU’s Carol and Adam until we see what Warlock will work with.