Speed can be an interesting power set in superhero comics, in that it can it is a force that requires very specific data to rate, but can also be frequently bent by impressive superheroic feats, newly formed rules of the universe, and of course, the current creative team's narrative choices.
This has led to an ongoing debate between comic fans over which comic speedster is the fastest, with many variables weighing in. While the DC Comic universe is usually the frontrunner for speedsters, today we'll be looking at a few of Marvel Comics' unexpectedly fast heroes, ranked by their speed as best as that can be determined through comic history.
Wendell Vaughn was also known as Quasar, the Protector of the Universe, so it makes sense that he would have to be one of Marvel's fastest characters in order to protect something as big as the universe singlehandedly. However, when it comes down to sheer ranking in actual speed, Quasar is fast but not the fastest.
While he can quickly travel across the galaxy using Quantum Jumps that provide almost instantaneous travel, his flying speeds have topped out at lower than faster-than-light travel. For example, before he learned how to Quantum Jump, it took him approximately four months to fly from Earth to Uranus. There's no joke there, we promise it really happened.
9 CAPTAIN MARVEL
Carol Danvers has fluctuated across the speed rankings over the years, largely due to the fluctuations in her power levels. After Carol gained and lost her powers, she gained access to her Binary abilities that allowed her to tap into the energies of a white dwarf star, which made her incredibly fast.
While she no longer has access to that level of power, Carol can still reach speeds of several times the speed of sound in an atmosphere, and much faster in space. She can still near the speed of light when in her Binary form, provided there is a sufficient source of energy for her to draw upon.
Monica Rambeau actually started her career off as Captain Marvel before taking on the name of Spectrum, though her abilities are very different. Spectrum is able to transform herself into any form of energy that exists on the electromagnetic spectrum, such as light, x-ray, microwave energy, etc.
When Spectrum transforms into these energy forms she also gains the properties of the energy, which means in her light-form she is capable of moving at the speed of light. However, this also does give her a very real limitation, as light can not move faster than the speed of light, though some other Marvel characters can.
Technically, Thor's personal speed would not rank him high on this list, as while he would be faster than humans thanks to his Asgardian physiology, he wouldn't win too many speedster foot races. However, when wielding his mystical hammer Mjolnir, the race would go very differently.
Mjolnir is capable of moving at subsonic speeds in the atmosphere and faster-than-light, or FTL, in space. While THor primarily uses Mjolnir to move along at these speeds, he also has his trusty chariot pulled by his enchanted goats Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder that can move almost as quickly as Mjolnir.
Robert Reynolds is an interesting addition to this list, as his powers are still largely undefined beyond being really freaking powerful. Previously known as having the power of a "Million Exploding Suns," the Sentry's abilities as of late have been redefined due to the joining of his Sentry and Void personalities, that previously limited his full potential.
However, while he was the Sentry, he not only surprised Thor with his quickness but was also able to travel between Earth and the sun in just a few minutes, which would mean he moves FTL. We can safely assume that his speed has surpassed that prior feat in his new form, especially since last readers saw of the character he was quickly flying out into space and away from Earth.
For a character known as the Human Rocket, speed has always been an important part of Nova's power set. While it allowed him to fly through Earth's atmosphere at incredibly quick speeds during his initial beginnings as a costumed hero, it wasn't until Richard Rider was enhanced by the Xandarian Worldmind that he really became one of Marvel's fastest characters.
The Nova Corps relies on the power of the Nova Force, which Rider was able to directly tap into after the Worldmind upgraded his suit. This meant he was able to not only fly at incredible speeds under his own power, but he was also able to access hyperspace to travel past FTL and move across the entire galaxy using the power of the Nova Force.
As a member of the Eternals, Makkari has had a few different reboots and reimaginings over the years, which has left his level of speed uncertain. While currently he is known to run at speeds around Mach 3, he has been known to move much faster in previous iterations of the character.
Makkari once previously ran in a Galactic Marathon that included a couple of entries on this list (including another possible entry from the DC Universe), and he was able to tap into what was called Absolute Speed, which allowed him to move much FTL and eke out a win, making him the fastest runner in the Marvel Universe before his power levels were nerfed.
3 SILVER SURFER
Much like the aforementioned Thor and Mjolnir, Norrin Radd/Silver Surfer's speed actually comes from his surfboard, though that could be argued away as an extension of the Surfer as well. Either way, the Surfer and his board are enhanced by the Power Cosmic, which enables them to quickly move through the galaxy much faster than the speed of light.
This is an ability that would obviously come in handy for a herald of Galactus, as their entire existence depends on them quickly moving through the galaxy and finding consumable planets for the Devourer of Worlds. Silver Surfer has rarely been outmatched when it came to speed, though there are a couple of other characters who are surprisingly faster than the Surfer.
2 ADAM WARLOCK
Adam Warlock was originally known as HIM and then just Adam before he adopted his final name, and just like his identity, his powers have continued to grow and evolve over the years. While he has almost always been capable of FTL travel through space, his ability to regenerate himself has consistently amped those abilities up with each new regeneration.
His speed is now often confused with teleportation, as Adam Warlock seems to be able to be present when and where he is needed, often appearing at a cosmic event or events that would require nearly instantaneous travel. His speed has also granted him time travel abilities which may be part of the reason he is able to appear as he does around the universe.
1 THE RUNNER
Marvel's fastest being is actually an Elder of the Universe known as the Runner. He exists alongside his brethren as one of the most powerful and ancient beings in the galaxy, with his incredible speed allowing him to cross galaxies in seconds, which were even further enhanced when he wielded the Space Stone, though he barely tapped its actual power.
The Runner has raced a number of other speedsters on this list and prevailed, though Makkari did manage to win one of his Galactic Marathons, besting the Runner in the process. However, it's the Runners continued feats of speed and races against other fast heroes like Silver Surfer that continually demonstrates that The Runner is the fastest being in the Marvel Universe.