Captain Marvel vs Thanos: Who Would Win (Comics and Movies)?

Is Captain Marvel Stronger than Thanos?

Today’s comparison is yet another one involving the Mad Titan, Thanos. After comparing his powers to the likes of Apocalypse and Thor, we are now going to compare him to another superhero – Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers, the human alias of Captain Marvel, is one of the stronger earthbound heroes in the Marvel universe and she has proven to be pivotal in defeating Thanos in the recent MCU movies, but Is Captain Marvel stronger than Thanos? Keep reading to find out.

Thanos would win in a fight against Captain Marvel. Despite what the MCU did with her character, the comic book version of Captain Marvel would not hold out very long against the Mad Titan, since he overpowers her in practically every aspect.

Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.

Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom and others.

Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.

Thanos and his powers

Thanos is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Thanos was created by Jim Starlin and made his debut in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (1973) and has since become one of the best-known villains in the Marvel universe, but also comic books in general. Although Starlin himself admitted he was inspired by DC Comics’ supervillain Darkseid, Thanos has gained popularity as a stand-alone character and a cornerstone of Marvel’s Multiverse.

Thanos Earth 616 from Champions Vol 2 25 001 1

Thanos was inspired by the Freudian concept of “Thanatos”, just like his brother, Eros, was inspired by the Freudian concept of the same name. He is the son of two Eternals, but also a carrier of the Deviants gene, which explains his physical experience. Believing him to be a danger to the universe, his mother wanted to kill him, but his father stopped her. As a child, he was a pacifist and would only play with his brother and their pets. Later on, he became fascinated with nihilism and the concept of death, eventually falling in love with Mistress Death, the embodiment of Death in the Marvel universe.

Soon after that, Thanos became a supervillain, initially a pirate, but soon had more grandiose plans. He was not satisfied with mere piracy; he wanted more. He wanted ultimate power, to rule over the whole universe and to become the most powerful being alive. This is why he wanted to collect the Infinity Stones, so he could shape reality according to his own will. A lot of his works are motivated by his love towards Mistress Death, for whom he has killed on several occasions.

He is a very powerful cosmic entity and has fought practically every major superhero group in the Marvel universe, including the Avengers, the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos even fought an alternative version of himself, King Thanos, after the latter had killed everyone in the universe; King Thanos knew that it was only Thanos (i.e., a younger version of himself) that could kill him, which is why he used the Time Stone to bring him to the alternative future.

Thanos has appeared in a lot of derivative material, including TV shows, video games and the MCU, where he was the main villain of the first large narrative. He was played by Josh Brolin.

Captain Marvel and her powers

The character of Captain Marvel has a very long and interesting history. The first Captain Marvel wasn’t actually a Marvel Comics character, but rather the superhero that we today know as Shazam, who is part of the DC Comics universe. The original Captain Marvel debuted back in 1939/1940, while Marvel’s character of the same name appeared in 1967.

It is interesting to know that the original Captain Marvel wasn’t even a DC Comics character, but a character created belonging to Fawcett Comics; in 1953, DC Comics sued Fawcett over Captain Marvel, alleging that he was a copy of Superman, after which Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel stories, before selling the rights to the character to DC in 1972. But, since this text is about the Marvel Comics character, let us see how that character developed.

Jumping in the void created by the DC-Fawcett lawsuit, Marvel Comics created their version of Captain Marvel in 1967, with the character debuting in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967). The first among several iterations of the character was a member of the Kree race known as Mar-Vell, who donned the costume until 1982, when he was replaced with Monica Rambeau, after dying from cancer.

Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel until 1993, when she gave the title to Genis-Vell, Mar-Vell’s son. After more than a decade, Genis-Vell gave the mantle to his sister, Phyla-Vell, who would be known as Captain Marvel from 2004 to 2007. A Skrull sleeper agent known as Khn’nr became the fifth Captain Marvel in 2007, donning the name for just a couple of years, until 2009, when he was by Noh-Varr.

The most recent and current Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, who inherited the title in 2012 and has been further popularized by MCU, where this iteration appeared in the movie Captain Marvel and in other Avengers movies. Because of this fact, we are going to use Carol Danvers as the protagonist of our article.

Carol Danvers from Red She Hulk Vol 1 59

Carol Susan Jane Danvers is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel. Carol Danvers is best known as the current Captain Marvel, although she has a much longer history within the Marvel universe. She was created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan.

The character of Carol Danvers debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968) as an officer of the United States Air Force. She was a colleague of Dr. Walter Lawson, the human alias of Mar-Vell, the first Captain Marvel. The first major event of her history happened when she was hurt in an explosion of a Kree device; Mar-Vell saved her life, but she was seriously injured. During the explosion, her DNA got mixed with Mar-Vell’s, which gave her superhuman abilities.

Carol Danvers returned during the 1970s with her superhuman abilities as the superhero Ms. Marvel, debuting in the comic Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). She was a very progressive character at the time and has since become one of the foremost female superheroes in the Marvel universe. Carol Danvers worked with the Avengers and has appeared in titles involving other characters. She herself has changed superhero identities again in 1982 (when she became Binary) and in 1998 (when she became Warbird), before finally becoming Captain Marvel in 2012’s Avenging Spider-Man #9 (2012). The role of Captain Marvel has increased Danvers’ popularity so much that she has now become an essential Marvel superhero.

Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel has appeared in several animated movies and TV shows, video games and the MCU, where she appeared in both her own stand-alone movie and the Avengers saga. In the MCU, she is played by Brie Larson.

Captain Marvel vs Thanos: Who Would Win?

Captain Marvel vs Thanos

Comparing Captain Marvel and Thanos is easier than you might think, mainly because the recent MCU movies might have caused a bit of confusion when these two are concerned.

Firstly, let us see Thanos’ powers. Thanos is a very powerful Eternal and has proven himself more powerful than most characters, even without external enhancements such as the Infinity Stones. He is immortal, has superhuman strength, speed and durability, he is practically invulnerable, can teleport and regenerate, he can manipulate matter, use telepathic abilities, manipulate energy and even fly; he also has superhuman intelligence.

Carol Danvers, as Captain Marvel, has a similar plethora of abilities, but they aren’t that strong as Thanos’. Captain Marvel has several superhuman traits (strength, stamina, durability, speed) and can even fly. She has regenerative abilities and can harness and use different types of energy for both offense and defense. Her real powers are unlocked when she manages to activate her Binary Powers.

As for the official numbers, the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010), lists their powers as follows:

 Captain Marvel
(a.k.a. Carol Danvers)
Energy Projection5/76/7
Fighting Skills4/74/7

As you can see, the comparison is not even fair, since Thanos beats Captain Marvel in almost each of the six categories. Thanos is one of the mightiest beings in the whole Marvel universe and he has proven himself to be able to defeat almost anyone, and if not – to at least be a worthy opponent. On the other hand, Captain Marvel becomes a worthy opponent only when using her Binary Powers (when she can reach Class 100+ strength), but even then – not against every opponent, like Thanos.

Captain Marvel is generally considered to be weaker than both Hulk and Thor, some of Marvel’s strongest superheroes, while Thanos can usually beat both of them – Thor even on a regular basis, while Hulk is a more challenging opponent for the Mad Titan. Both Thor and Hulk have regularly beaten Captain Marvel and you can read our article about Thor vs Captain Marvel.

So, what happened in the MCU, then? Although we’re mainly focusing on comic books in this article, we think that the movie problem deserves at least a brief explanation. Namely, at the end of Infinity War, Nick Fury summons Captain Marvel as a lifeline for the Avengers’ fight against Thanos after the snap. Nick Fury considered Captain Marvel to be so strong that she could measure up to Thanos, which is an incredible feat, despite Thanos not being near his full potential in the movies.

In Endgame, Carol Danvers really did prove her worth by punching Thanos around a few times, but it was not nearly enough to beat the Mad Titan. So, while the MCU might have suggested that Captain Marvel could defeat Thanos, it wasn’t until Iron Man’s sacrifice that the Mad Titan really disappeared; the upper hand was, thus, just a suggestion and nothing fully established within the MCU continuity, although we have to state that Thanos was not near his full powers in the movies and that Captain Marvel was a bit powered up compared to the cosmic villain.

If you are interested to find out about who is stronger between Thor and Thanos, follow the link to our article.

And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!

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