Despite being a shared universe, the Marvel Universe still manages to have a few clear divisions. One of those exists with the Cosmic side of the universe, comprised of their greatest spacefaring heroes. Though several heroes like the X-Men will sometimes dip into space for a series of adventures, only a few are clearly designated as heroes and villains who can survive the rigors of deep space. Many of those characters are also some of the strongest in the entirety of the Marvel U, inherently strong and practically unbeatable. With Marvel preparing for its next big cosmic scale event in Infinity Countdown, CBR has stepped in to find who is the strongest of Marvel's cosmic hero.
For this list, we sourced the data from Marvel's own information, referencing volumes of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, as well as updated Power Grid rankings from several one-shots and relaunch issues over the years. Taking these numbers into account with the long and storied histories of these characters over the decades, we've created a definitive list of who to watch as the adventure turns to the stars in coming months. Here are the 15 strongest cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe.
Gamora won't hesitate to let you know she's the deadliest woman in the entire galaxy, and she can definitely prove it true. The daughter of Thanos and master of most conventional weapons and martial arts, Gamora is missing a lot of the abilities that make most of this list so powerful. She doesn't throw blasts of cosmic radiation, her green skin isn't inherently tougher than anything else, and she's definitely mortal.
But it's those slight differences that give her an edge. Her strength and speed are greatly enhanced, and she's still tough as hell. Gamora's someone you definitely want watching your back in any fight, with an iron will and a combat prowess unmatched by anyone in the galaxy. Gamora physically may be the squishiest person on this list, but on the battlefield, there are few who can match her abilities.
14 DRAX THE DESTROYER
Drax the Destroyer may have the strangest origin of any Marvel character, and in many cases, it's all but forgotten. A real estate agent on Earth, Arthur Douglas and his family are murdered by Thanos, who is trying to keep his presence a secret. To combat the Mad Titan, Thanos' father Mentor and grandfather Kronos placed Arthur's soul inside a vessel that would become known as Drax the Destroyer, a being whose sole existence was to kill Thanos.
Thanks to his reincarnated body, Drax is one of the most durable beings in the galaxy, able to take a hit from even the strongest beings in the galaxy, and the hits he can't take are shrugged off thanks to his enhanced healing factor. Though nowhere near as strong as he once was, many of his opponents may be relieved to find Drax has recently taken a vow of pacifism.
Groot is an interesting character. Largely forgotten for several decades, this seemingly one-off character has become one of Marvel's most endearing, thanks to his appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy, both in comics and on film. Hailing from Planet X, not much is known of the past or the physiology of the plant-like Groot, though it has been established that he is royalty on his homeworld, and is incredibly intelligent.
This makes it all the more interesting that Groot typically is portrayed as a heavy in the Marvel Universe. Best utilized for his incredible endurance and his strength (ranked as one of the highest in the Marvel U), Groot has also demonstrated the ability to speak with plantlife and possesses a healing factor that could bring him back from what could best be described as death.
12 ADAM WARLOCK
Artificially created by the mysterious Enclave and christened Warlock by the High Evolutionary, Adam Warlock is one of the Marvel's most mysterious and powerful cosmic beings. He's proven this time and time again by coming to the aid of Earth and the whole of the universe, standing up against the likes of Thanos and stronger and serving as the de facto guardian of the Infinity Gems.
Warlock has been a unique presence in the Marvel Universe for years, repeatedly cheating death to be reincarnated thanks to his own strong will, which even Death cannot overcome. In addition, the unique properties of his cultivated physiology grant him a superior strength, speed and endurance, meaning getting Warlock to the point of death is a feat in and of itself.
Maybe it's cheating to list the one-time Captain Marvel as a cosmic hero, but Monica Rambeau is just as capable of handling business in outer space as she is on the streets of Louisiana. Known these days as Spectrum and working closely with The Ultimates, Monica's ability to manipulate and control energy is unparalleled in the Marvel Universe, making her a force to be reckoned with in any scenario.
It doesn't stop there though. Her energy form makes her nigh-invulnerable, though it takes a physical and mental toll. And already fast as is, her energy form makes her travel at light-speed when necessary. More impressive though is Monica's staggering intellect, thanks to her powers, allowing her to perceive data differently through a form of cosmic awareness.
10 AMERICA CHAVEZ
Raised outside of time and space, America Chavez is a surprising heavy-hitter that nobody saw coming. Chavez first burst onto the scene in 2011's Vengence crossover and has been a fan-favorite ever since. America, for all intents and purpose, in invulnerable. She's demonstrated resistance to gunfire, actual fire, unprotected spacewalks and more, and proved strong enough to go hand-to-hand with even Loki.
But what makes America so starkly special is her ability to create interdimensional portals. Not only are these portals something she can open at will, but they allow her to traverse the whole of the multiverse, as well as through time. This gives America a unique edge that practically no one short of an MCU god has. These portals are also an offensive weapon, allowing her to open them up through objects to cut through them.
9 CAROL DANVERS
Of course Carol Danvers is on this list. As a unique Human/Kree hybrid, she might be literally the best of both worlds. With a career as Ms. Marvel, Binary, Ms. Marvel (again) and then finally taking on her mentor's iconic title as Captain Marvel, Carol has the powers of flight, strength, energy projection and durability. Her only weaknesses appear to be the ones she lets slip through.
Carol's had it rough, combating alcoholism, adjusting to fluctuating and changing powers, and spending a stretch of time depowered after an encounter with Rogue. But each time she comes back stronger. As a prominent Avenger and leader of Alpha Flight, Carol has led the defence of the Earth and beyond. Her powers and history not only make her a top-tier fighter, and her ability to amplify her powers through absorbed energy makes her all the more dangerous.
8 NOVA (SAM ALEXANDER)
Following the apparent destruction of the Nova Corps, Sam Alexander fell into heroism with the discovery of his father's Black Nova Corps helmet. The helmet is an unusual specimen in that it contains it's own power source, not requiring the same connection as other Nova Corps helmets. Sam eventually became one of the universe's most notable Novas thanks to his unique helmet, though he's still not quite on par with predecessor Richard Rider.
This is largely due to Sam's own inexperience with the helmet. Powerwise, Sam's up there in the Marvel U, and his connection to the Nova Force puts him just a step below the likes of the strongest cosmic heroes. Sam has made leaps and bounds in strength as he attains mastery of his helmet, and may soon be one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe.
7 BLACK BOLT
The erstwhile king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt doesn't have a stick but he sure does walk softly. Exposed to the Terrigen Mists while still in his mother's womb, Black Bolt's voice is one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe. Capable of levelling mountains with just a whisper, Black Bolt has been perpetually mute save for special occasions where his awesome voice is either muted or nullified somehow.
But Black Bolt's voice isn't his only weapon. His powers actually work via his body processing ambient energy, affording him a degree of energy projection and manipulation. Additionally, his body is naturally enhanced, much like all Inhumans, granting him an increased strength, speed, and durability. Add to this a mastery of martial arts and training from his cousin Karnak in detecting weak points and you've got one of Marvel's deadliest cosmic kings.
Quasar's power is really determinate on the wielder's usage of the Quantum Bands, so across the many bearers of the title (including the original, Wendall Vaughn, and the latest, Avril Kincaid) the power tends to remain the same, though the user's effectiveness is based on their training with it. Vaughn is still regarded as the greatest Quasar, though Avril more than earned respect during the Secret Empire event.
Vaughn proved to have a unique bond with the Quantum Bands, giving him an incredible mastery of them and making him a notable hero of the "Annihilation" event. Similarly, former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Avril Kincaid proved to be the powerhouse of Carol's Alpha Flight team when stranded in space during Secret Empire and was able to get the team back onto Earth by sacrificing her life overpowering the defense shield.
5 NOVA (RICHARD RIDER)
Something of a Green Lantern pastiche in the Marvel Universe, Nova has become perhaps the most important character in the line of cosmic heroes. Originally a teenager given powers by a dying Nova Corpsman, Richard Rider has quickly stepped into his role as Nova. When the Corps fell, he carried the entire Nova Force himself and eventually managed to restore the Corps.
Nova's powers made him a formidable force during the Annihilation event, and led to his apparent death in the Cancerverse, giving his life to save the universe in a move that many heroes didn't even realize had happened. Recently Rider finally fought his way back to the Marvel Universe, overcharging the Cosmic Cube and sacrificing the Worldmind to do it. Though it cost him the Nova Force, he remains a hero perhaps only rivaled by Silver Surfer in terms of speed and energy projection.
4 BETA RAY BILL
Beta Ray Bill shocked Asgard by proving worthy of Thor's hammer Mjolnir, something no one else had ever done at the time. When Beta Ray Bill refused to kill Thor, Odin granted the noble Bill his own mystical hammer, Stormbreaker. Since then, Bill has popped up from time to time and has remained as tough as ever. This is thanks to his cybernetically augmented body and, of course, Asgardian energies.
As a member of the Korbinite race, Bill already was incredibly strong and durable, but cybernetic augmentations have made him impossibly strong and practically immortal. He also thrives in hot climates, which gave him an edge when he fought Thor on a lava planet. Combined with the mystical powers granted by transforming with Stormbreaker and Beta Ray Bill quickly becomes a cosmic force to be reckoned with.
Centuries old, impossibly strong and nearly unbeatable, Gladiator was originally depicted as Praetor of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard and now serves as the empire's ruling Majestor. Gladiator has always been portrayed as someone nearly impossible to defeat, his strength, speed and durability being at some of the highest levels seen in the whole of the Marvel Universe, and it's all tied to his own self-confidence.
Unlike anyone else on this list, Gladiator maintains his strength with his own unwavering faith in his abilities. And what a set of abilities they are. Heat vision, powerful breath, a resistance to psychic attacks and the ability to travel unaided in space all set him apart from other heroes. Though obviously a bit of a Superman rip-off with purple skin and an impressive mohawk, he's still been a formidable part of Marvel's cosmic scene for decades.
2 SILVER SURFER
The Silver Surfer has been one of Marvel's most formidable cosmic heroes for over 50 years now, and he's typically remained at the top of the ladder. Fueled by the Power Cosmic, even the militaristic Nova Corps had previously considered the Surfer to be a potential threat to all of the universe if he should ever turn evil. Fortunately, the Surfer's tortured soul and nomadic life have kept him on the side of good so far.
The Power Cosmic makes the Surfer a formidable opponent for any who pushes his hand. His silvery skin has proven to be indestructible, allowing him unprotected travel through space, resistance to most forms of damage and strong enough to even take a blow from the Hulk. His ability to absorb and redirect energy rivals even a Nova's and his board might be the fastest thing in the known universe.
1 CAPTAIN UNIVERSE
Captain Universe is an odd one. The Uni-Power typically travels from host to host, possessing them in a time of great need and leaving them when their crisis has averted. The Uni-Power has proven to be incredibly powerful. The only limit seems entirely dependent on the wielder and to what ends they wish to wield it.
The Uni-Power might be the Marvel Cosmic tipping point. Going stronger than this, and you're in the god territory. The power was last seen weakened by the fracturing universe and bonded with Tamara Devoux. However, the power is directly tied to its own universe and has not been seen since the world was rewritten in Secret War. With the death of the previous universe, it is possible Captain Universe as we know it simply no longer exists.