Sometimes it seems like villains in the MCU just keep getting stronger and more powerful, while heroes are finding it harder and harder to figure out ways and tactics to defeat them each time. Recently, we have been introduced to the Goddess of Death and the Category 1 Life Ender. If you don’t know who we are talking about, you better prepare yourself because we will dig into Hela and Thanos, or rather, who would win if these two were eve up against each other. Let’s try and take a look at their background both in MCU and Marvel comics, weapons, and abilities to try and figure out this puzzle. So in a fight Hela vs. Thanos, who is stronger?
Thanos would win in a fight against Hela. We have to consider whether Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet in this fight or not. Hela is a pretty powerful being, but if she were up against Thanos with the Gauntlet, there is no way she would stand a chance against the Stones that control the whole universe. If Thanos didn’t have the Gauntlet, Hela could beat him, but it would be a hell of a fight and we are not sure that she would win in every timeline.
Let’s break down each of the characters’ weapons, abilities and powers in order to see how and why would each of them win or lose in a fight.
According to comics, Hela, better known as the Asgardian Goddess of Death, is the daughter of one of Loki’s incarnations. The interesting fact is that she was actually born in Jotunheim, the land of giants. When she was old enough, Odin appointed her as the Goddess of the Dead which gave her power over realms called Hel and Niflheim.
The MCU introduces her in the movie Thor: Ragnarok where she is presented as Odin’s firstborn. There, Hela was the executioner of Asgard and Commander of Einherjar (Asgardian army) long before Thor and Loki. She and Odin conquered all nine realms.
During their tour de realms, she could be seen on a giant wolf named Fenris and was even, at the time, worthy of Mjolnir which she wielded together with her necroswords.
After a while, Odin decided it was not worth waging war anymore, but Hela disagreed with him. He managed to subdue her and banish her to Hel where she was supposed to stay for the whole of eternity. To ensure her banishment and to protect Asgard, Odin bound his life to Hela’s making sure she could not escape as long as he was alive. He even wiped her out of Asgardian history and records, making sure she was completely forgotten.
Like her brothers in the movie, Hela has superhuman strength, speed, and stamina, as well as durability. She’s a very skilled combatant and has great psychic and mental powers including astral projection, levitation, and the creation of illusions. She’s also able to manipulate dark magic. All in all, she is graced with many abilities and powers which make her a person you do not want to cross paths with.
Both the comics and the MCU state that Thanos is a warlord from Titan. He’s half Eternal and half Deviant, which is a cousin race of Eternals and this side made him stand out in the crowds all of his life.
In the comics, his own mother had a hunch about him destroying all life in the universe, so she tried to kill him, although his father stopped her. What’s interesting about Thanos is that he was a pacifist when young, but as he started to enter adolescence, he became infatuated with nihilism and entropy which even led him later to fall in love with comics’ embodiment of death – Mistress Death.
Since he is part eternal, there is no doubt that he is extremely strong and not just strong, he is, for sure, one of the mightiest beings in the MCU and the comics. Comics Thanos’ abilities have been greatly amplified because of his Eternal heritage being mixed with Deaviants’, as well as his use of mysticism and powers that were given to him by Death itself. In both comics and MCU Thanos gets a hold of Infinity stones and a gauntlet which makes him virtually indestructible.
He, as Hela, is also gifted with superhuman strength and stamina and is capable of telepathy and telekinesis. What makes him so special is that he is incredibly resistant to any kind of psychic or physical attack. Basically, this guy is, too, graced with so many abilities that one cannot even comprehend everything which makes him even scarier than the Goddess of Death.
Hela vs. Thanos: Strength and speed
So, both of these characters have been gifted with superhuman speed, strength, and stamina.
On one side, we have Thanos who has no problem enduring or inflicting pain for a long period of time. Physically looking, Thanos is one of the strongest, most durable, and most difficult beings to kill in the entire MCU; his natural abilities would allow him to remain in a prolonged battle a lot longer than most. He’s known for using cosmic energy to drive his own metabolism which means he fights until death. In conclusion, he’s definitely physically superior to Hela in that sense.
Even if physically stronger, if Thanos can’t move quickly enough to follow Hela’s quick moves he could easily get overwhelmed. Even though he can endure any kind of damage, Hela is sneaky (after all, her father in the comics is Loki), and if we combine that with speed and durability, Thanos might not be a match for her, which makes this argument go in Hela’s favor.
Hela 1, Thanos 0
Hela vs. Thanos: Magic and science
With Hela being a goddess, she has access to all kinds of magic. What’s important to emphasize here is that, according to the comics and MCU, she draws her powers from Asgard.
She is able to travel across space and time and her ability to teleport is directly linked to her magic and speed. She can levitate, create illusions, and even do limitless astral projection, while able to retain most of her powers and abilities. She is also known for firing deadly bolts out of her hands. Hela also has the ability to telepathically communicate, but this one is only limited to her warriors.
Her most iconic move in the comics is called Hand of Glory – she uses mystical energy to enhance the strength of her punch making it impossible to stay alive for anyone, even divine immortal beings. To top all this off, her touch can be deadly to some (mostly mortal beings from Earth, but this is still worth mentioning).
Thanos is known for being more science-oriented and keeping up with the latest scientific discoveries. Comics Thanos is a genius in many fields of advanced science and uses his intelligence to create technology, weapons, and transportation that exceeds anything modern-day Earth can produce at that moment.
He too uses teleportation, but his ability to teleport is connected to his special chair. It is said that the chair is powered by techno mysticism which means he can telepathically connect himself with it. This makes him able to travel anywhere in time and space, even to alternate universes.
This one might be a bit harder to decide, but we’ll give points to Thanos. Even though magic can be limitless and a scary weapon, as we’ve seen from many other heroes and villains, if Hela’s magic is bound to Asgard, she kind of depends on it not getting destroyed (and as we’ve seen in Thor: Ragnarok, that’s possible). We can be sure that there will always be scientific discoveries in the world or universe and with Thanos being a genius, this is one he just can’t lose.
Hela 1, Thanos 1
Hela vs. Thanos: Army and equipment
Let’s start with Thanos on this one, as it’s probably an obvious one. As we can see in both Avengers: Infinity war and Endgame, there sure is a huge number of evil and sinister beings just waiting to come to his service. He practically doesn’t go to a fight without his army which is numerous, both in infantry and air force. The army is made of members of the Black Order which makes them extremely vicious and very well trained and equipped. Arguments for this can easily be found on the big screen in both movies.
Additionally, throughout the comics, Thanos is known for collecting all Infinity stones and having the Infinity gauntlet. Unlike the movies, where he collects it once and uses it once, before they wipe him out, in the comics he comes into their possession frequently and is, of course, unstoppable. Fact is, possession of all six Stones means control of the whole universe, therefore no one stands a chance against him.
Hela shouldn’t be underestimated either. Her army consists of the dead from Hel, who is reanimated to serve her. This army is a vicious one as well and it would be logical to assume it’s limitless in the sense that there are too many dead in Hel and Niflheim for her to use all at once. This would mean she can just conjure up a big number as soon as she feels like she might be losing. In all her battles, she has always been followed by a great Asgardian wolf Fenris who is also a great asset in battle.
In Thor: Ragnarok we can see Hela creating her own weapons out of thin air. Given her speed and the ability to create numerous blades at her will, this useful skill can give her a great advantage when attacking. In the movies, we see her using her necroswords with which she slashed the entire Einherjar, but in the comics her, previously mentioned, Hand of Glory is the iconic weapon that not many immortals have escaped.
There is no doubt that if the two armies would be put together on the field, they would give one hell of a fight and it would only come down to who’s more powerful. On the one side, the better equipped Thanos’s army could rip out most of Hela’s army with their weapons, but on the other side, if she can replace them more easily than Thanos, that makes her army much more durable.
Thanos is unbeatable with his Infinity Gauntlet. This weapon can turn all of Hela’s army, as well as her blades to dust in a matter of seconds. If Thanos was without the gauntlet, then Hela would stand a chance, but of course, that would be a really long fight, considering Thanos’s durability. We give points to Thanos here, cause, either way, chances are quite small of him going down.
Hela 1, Thanos 2
Hela vs. Thanos: (In)vulnerability and death
Hela, again being a Norse Goddess of Death, is immortal. As her powers are bound to Asgard, if Asgard were to be destroyed like it was in Thor: Ragnarok, she would die too. She has a pact with Death that allows her to claim souls to Hel of Niflheim, her touch is fatal to mortals and her powers of Death are apparently only reserved for immortal beings. All in all, this one is hard to kill.
The interesting thing about Hela is her cloak. The cloak gives her strength and beauty and keeps her healthy and young. It’s probably the one thing that could save her from the Infinity Gauntlet, but barely. There’s a downside to this – if she were to lose it, we would be able to see two parts of Hela – one still beautiful, strong, and healthy, while the other rotting away.
In comics, Thanos can go without food, water, or air for an indefinite amount of time. He’s immune to all terrestrial diseases and basically unbreakable due to his blessing from Lady Death after she resurrected him. In the movies, Thanos was killed twice – firstly Thor cut off his head, and then later, Stark wiped him out with his own weapon – the Gauntlet.
Here, we’ll give points to Hela’s immortality. Yes, Thanos is durable and yes, he has the Gauntlet, but even with the gauntlet, there is a great possibility that he would not be able to kill Hela because of her cloak. With Asgard and her cloak in place, he can try and try, but she will not go. Movies and comics version of him might be extremely hard to kill, but it’s still possible.
Hela 2, Thanos 2
Hela vs. Thanos: Conquests and strategy
We will not go into detail about all of the conquests of these two villains as there are too many to count. The important thing to emphasize is that Hela has mostly focused on Asgard and its nine realms throughout the comics, while Thanos has had a great wish of wiping out most of the universe and has succeded in it a couple of times.
Asgard is one of the most powerful civilizations in the universe. If Hela is able to take it down, there is no doubt that she’s a powerful being. She’s an intelligent and strategical being that has won over Asgard many times. The fact that she went against Loki (and let us remind you that he’s the one responsible for Ragnarok in the movie) and Thor and beat them a couple of times is pretty badass. If we were to talk about her durability, hand-to-hand combat with Thor where she is the victor is definitely something to brag about to the entire universe, seeing how many failed to do the exact thing.
Unfortunately, she has also lost Asgard many times, most recently by not being able to fight off Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok which resulted in her death.
Thanos is a great strategist and has proven successful in most of his conquests. He doesn’t just rely on his durability, strength, or power like many other villains. He approaches situations he finds himself in always a few steps ahead of his opponents (a great example of this is both Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, even if he ended up dead).
Thanos can also brag about many accomplishments, one of which is taking down the Avengers, for sure. Thanos has also managed to deflect Thor, although, Thor is quite persistent so he eventually managed to kill him in, at least, one timeline. Let’s take a look at one other mighty Avenger – Hulk.
Hulk’s also considered one the most powerful beings in MCU and comics, but Thanos easily beat him. His only limit, as well as his greatest strength, is his rage. Thanos beating him made him realize that he is not the strongest being he thought he was, which hit him pretty hard at one point in Avengers: Infinity War. If Thanos can take on Hulk’s pure rage and make it look so easy, he can take on anything.
This one could seem kind of a tie if it weren’t for the fact that Thanos has proven his power over many races, universes and timelines. Hela has never been the one to end an entire universe because she sees no point in it. If she wanted someone dead or just more dead in Hel and Niflheim in general, she easily could’ve just stolen their soul or used some of her death powers on them.
She always wanted Asgard and its nine realms and although she did have some adventures on Earth and some other planets in the comics, she was always hung up on Asgard. Thanos is “only” limited by his vision of ending the universe or rather rebirthing it. He has defeated many powerful heroes and even more powerful villains. If, for example, Thanos would go for Asgard in order to defeat Hela, maybe the only thing to discuss would be who, out of the two of them, would be faster and more tactical in preserving/destroying it.
Hela 2, Thanos 3
The Bottom Line
Hela is definitely a worthy opponent to Thanos. Up until the end, it was a tie, as these two villains have great power that makes them indestructible among most of the universe. Given that Hela has some flaws in the comics, like the cloak or her powers being tied to Asgard, she could definitely put up a fight, but there are only a few who could beat Thanos. She stands more of a chance with him not having the Gauntlet, but with the Infinity Stones, he’s unbeatable.
So, there you have it – a full-blown spectacle broken down to pieces to see who and why could win in such a spectacular fight.