We’re 19 movies into the MCU, and we’ve seen several of Marvel’s gods from the comic books come to life. In the last ten years, we’ve finally had the chance to see live-action adaptations of the God of the Thunder, the Mad Titan, the Goddess of Death, and several other deities and god-like beings. Of course, these cinematic gods are far from perfect recreations of their source material characters. The gods of the MCU are naturally different from the gods in Marvel Comics. They exist in different universes with different backstories, and they often have different powers as a result.
Some of our MCU gods aren’t nearly as powerful as their counterparts in the comics — either they have a different lineage, or they’re missing an event that gave them powers, or they have a scaled-down power from the source material. Other MCU gods are actually stronger than their comic book characters, thanks to the omission of a weakness, a different assortment of powers, or a new genealogy. It is always fun to give the source material a look, which is why we’ve found five MCU gods who are stronger than they were in the comics and ten who are much weaker.
15. STRONGER: HEIMDALL
The Heimdall in the MCU is, in truth, very close to his comic book counterpart. As we saw in Thor: Ragnarok, he is a formidable warrior, even by Asgardian standards. As far as powers, Heimdall essentially has the same abilities in the MCU as he does in the comics. He can see and hear across the Nine Realms, although someone could evade detection if they used a certain type of magic. What really sets MCU Heimdall apart from his comic book character is that he doesn’t have one Heimdall’s greatest weaknesses from the comics.
In the comics, Heimdall’s superhuman senses occasionally got the best of him.
In Tales to Astonish #101 by Stan Lee, Loki transported the Hulk to Asgard with the intent of distracting Odin. When Heimdall attempted to stop the intruder, Hulk used the bridge guardian’s power against him. “So — you can hear a leaf when it trembles!” the green giant yelled. “If your ears are that sensitive — let’s see what this does to them!” Hulk then slammed his fists down on the Rainbow Bridge. The sound was so great that it overwhelmed Heimdall’s acute sense of hearing and caused him tremendous pain. So far, nothing in the MCU indicates that Heimdall has this comic book weakness.
14. WEAKER: ODIN
Allfather of Asgard or not, the MCU Odin isn’t anywhere near as powerful as his comic book counterpart. In the comics, Odin’s power is nothing less than magnificent. During one battle, he simultaneously fought Thanos and the Silver Surfer and won easily. When Annihilus proved too much for Thor and a host of Asgard’s champions, Odin banished the villain back to the Stygian Wasteland and said he could have killed Annihilus with only a thought. The Allfather’s even gone head to head with Galactus. Odin has also temporarily granted Jane Foster immortality, merged all life on a planet into one being, and trapped the great Mother Storm in Mjolnir. Impressive, right?
Compared with the might of comic book Odin, MCU Odin pales in comparison. Of course, he’s had a few acts of might. He defeated the Frost Giants when they invaded Earth and made Loki appear to be Asgardian. He had the power to banish Thor and kept Hela trapped in Hel thousands of years. When Asgard was without the Bifrost, he summoned Dark Energies to send Thor to Earth. However, it only took one of Loki’s spells and render the Allfather completely powerless. When Odin finally broke free from Loki’s spell, he stayed on earth and just died. Not exactly what we’d expect from the King of Asgard.
13. STRONGER: EGO THE LIVING PLANET
When Ego the Living Planet appeared un the MCU, he definitely had a power upgrade. While Ego is immensely powerful in the comics, he certainly isn’t what we’d call a god. One of the Elders of the Universe, the Stranger, created Ego by merging all life on a dying planet with the planet itself. Ego has all sort of powers in the comics. He has complete control of the entirety of his planet and also has total awareness of what happens on his surface. He can create incredibly strong humanoid bodies, read minds, and create psionic blasts that can take out starships.
The real difference between comic book Ego and MCU Ego lies in his origins.
In the MCU, Ego is not the Stranger’s creation. Instead, he is an incredibly powerful Celestial, without any sort of creator. While he exhibits many of the same powers as his comic book counterpart, like creating humanoid extensions of himself and controlling his planet’s substance, MCU Ego also has the power to fill the entire universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego placed pieces of himself on thousands of different worlds and nearly succeeded in expanding across the universe and ending all life within it.
12. WEAKER: VALKYRIE
As amazing as she is in the MCU, Valkyrie lost the bulk of her power when she debuted in Thor: Ragnarok. In the movie, Valkyrie was the sole survivor of the elite women warriors, the Valkyries. As such she had all the might of one of Asgard’s finest fighters. She was more than a match for Loki, and frequently sparred with the Hulk. She was also a valuable warrior in the fight against Hela. At the end of the day though, Valkyrie is nothing more than a very strong, very accomplished Asgardian warrior. In the comics, her role was much more integral to the Asgardian way of life.
In the Comics, Brunhilda the Valkyrie has several additional powers as one of the Valkyries. As one of the nine Asgardians that could carry the “worthy” who were slain in battle to Valhalla, the Valkyrie could travel to the other-dimensional realm of this paradise, and then travel back to the land of the living at will. Additionally, the Valkyrie could see spirits, and if a mortal was near death, she would see a glow around them that warned her of their imminent demise. Quite a different Valkyrie from the one we know and love in the MCU.
11. STRONGER: DORMAMMU
With the limited screen time he’s had, it’s hard to classify a mystically powerful being like Dormammu as stronger or weaker in the MCU. The ruler of the Dark Dimension has immense power in both the comics and the MCU, and both versions of the character can bestow some of this power on their followers. We do have a few instances where MCU Dormammu proved he was the greater Dark Dimension ruler, though. In the comics, Dormammu frequently attempted to destroy the Ancient One, although the closest he ever came to it was kidnapping him. In the MCU, Dormammu was able to bestow enough of his power to Kaecilius and his followers to kill the Ancient one easily.
Dormammu also appears to be harder to harm in the MCU as well.
In the comics, Dr. Strange is usually more than a match for Dormammu. He has repeatedly bested him in mystic battles, as well as physical battles where the two agreed not to use any powers. However, in Dr. Strange, there doesn’t appear to be any way that Strange could have harmed Dormammu. Of course, Strange was still learning about the mystic arts when he faced Dormammu, but it’s unlikely that he would have been able to do anything to Dormammu, even if Strange had had the same skill that he had during Infinity War.
10. WEAKER: LOKI
As much as we all love Loki, he took a major power cut when he joined the MCU. In the movies, the god mischief has a few of his original powers. His mental powers are mostly intact, as he has demonstrated the ability to project thoughts into people’s minds, and as we saw in Thor: Dark World, his telekinetic powers are quite impressive. As far as magic, most Loki can cast illusions, and move past Heimdall undetected. His shape-shifting powers are probably superior to those of his comic book counterpart’s — it is one of his most draining powers in the comics, but MCU Loki masqueraded as Odin for extended periods of time without showing any sign of fatigue.
In the comics, however, Loki isn’t just an impressive sorcerer– he is indisputably one of the best. His innate powers and knowledge of sorcery rival those of Karnila, the greatest sorcerer in Asgard. Loki has used his magic to create forcefields and to cast spells that prevented any god from using powers in a particular place. On different occasions, Loki has also used his powers to turn the Invisible Woman’s force fields back against her, and even gave the Absorbing Man his abilities.
9. STRONGER: FRIGGA/FREYJA
As the ability to run a country isn’t technically considered might, we have to say Frigga from the MCU is the strongest Queen of Asgard. In the comics, Freyja has an assortment of magic powers which are largely undefined. Her main claims to fame are the ability to cry golden tears (which are really only useful if you want to make a potion), and the time she cast a spell that made Balder almost completely invulnerable. We don’t see Frigga use either of these abilities in the MCU, although Frigga exhibits other powers in the movies. She had the power to cast illusions and also taught this ability to Loki. She could also communicate with others across distances and even project her form all the way to the Sanctuary.
While her comic book powers were swapped out for others in the MCU, the Queen of Asgard became notably stronger and skilled in combat in the movies.
In the comics, Freyja is considered to have the typical strength of an Asgardian, although this strength is diminished due to her old age. She does occasionally do battle in the comics, although her performance is never anything to write home about. In the movie, however, Frigga is a formidable fighter. In Thor: Dark World, she easily disarmed Malekith and would have killed him if the Kursed hadn’t intervened.
8. WEAKER: THE GRANDMASTER
The Grandmaster in the MCU is strikingly different than his comic book equivalent. In the comics, the Grandmaster is not a being to be trifled with. As an Elder of the Universe, he possessed Power Primordial, which he channeled to enhance his physical and mental powers. Consequentially, the Grandmaster has superhuman strength, speed, agility, and intellect. He also has impressive psionic powers, including the ability to read minds, erase memories, and move giant objects with telekinesis. The Grandmaster also has a slew of very impressive powers that include creating concussive energy blasts, teleporting across the universe, healing, and temporarily resurrecting the dead.
Clearly, we have a much weaker Grandmaster in the MCU. While the Master of Games is still an ancient being blessed with longevity in the movies, he doesn’t demonstrate much might. He relies solely on technology and hired muscle to keep his operation on Sakaar running, and once the obedience collars are powered down, his slaves easily overthrew and captured him (definitely not able to teleport, then). We haven’t seen any displays of energy manipulation or telekinesis, either, although the Grandmaster does still have some minor telepathic powers in the MCU. Still, the Grandmaster in the MCU has only a fraction of the power that he has in the comics.
7. WEAKER: VOLSTAGG
At first glance, Volstagg looks like a fairly normal adaptation from comics to screen. As part of the Warriors Three, he is a renowned warrior. He’s stronger than the average Asgardian, although not as quite as strong as he should be thanks to his massive girth. No extra abilities, no strange weaknesses, just Volstagg — well, mostly, anyway. The real difference between MCU Volstagg and his comic book counterpart is that the MCU left out one critical event in Volstagg’s life: the time he became War Thor. Following a traumatizing event in Nidavellir (as detailed in Mighty Thor Vol 2 #20 by Jason Aaron), Volstagg picked up the Mjolnir from the Ultimate universe and became War Thor.
As a God of Thunder, he possessed strength and power equal to Thor.
With his newfound power, War Thor decimated portions of Muspelheim and then matched blows with both Thor (Jane Foster) and the Odinson. Unfortunately for any War Thor fans, MCU Volstagg died unceremoniously back in Thor: Ragnarok and never had the chance to become War Thor on the big screen. Since literally, anything can happen when the Infinity Gauntlet is in play, it is technically possible Volstagg could return after Avengers 4, but we’re not holding our breath.
6. WEAKER: THOR
Thor has always been a heavy hitter, although exactly how powerful he is depends on whether we’re talking about the movies or the comics. After the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Thor has never been more powerful in the MCU. With his new understanding of his natural abilities and Stormbreaker in his hands, he’s one of the few heroes who looks like he has a chance against Thanos. And yet, comic book Thor still has a few powers we’ve never seen in the MCU. For example, Thor has the ability to erase memories in the comics.
In the comics, Thor discovered that his real mother is Gaea, the Elder Goddess of the Earth. After he accepted this fact, Thor learned he also had certain powers over the earth — powers that his counterpart on the big screen doesn’t have (yet). The God of Thunder doesn’t typically use this power, although it occasionally comes in handy. In Thor Vol 3 #4, Thor used his inherited power to create a giant chasm across an entire region in Africa, separating two warring tribes. As far as we know, Gaea isn’t a part of the MCU, so it is unlikely that Thor will develop any powers over the earth.
5. WEAKER: THE COLLECTOR
Much like his brother the Grandmaster, the Collector isn’t nearly as powerful in the MCU as he is in the comic books. As an Elder of the Universe, the Collector has a certain amount of Power Primordial. Typically, Elders used this power to enhance themselves in certain areas related to their past times (strength, intellect, etc.), however, all of the Collector’s power appears to have gone into his secondary or “true” form. When not in his true form, the Collector has the strength of a normal human. When he does decide to flex his muscles though (like he did in Avengers #338-339), the Collector has both a gigantic stature and cosmic level power.
The Collector has also been known to have glimpses of the future and alternate timelines, although only after periods of meditation.
Compared to his comic book counterpart, the MCU Collector isn’t that impressive. He has heightened durability, as he walked away from a Power Stone explosion with little injury. He also has longevity and has been around almost since the beginning of the universe, but there is no evidence the Collector has any precognitive powers in the MCU. He never revealed a powerful true self before his (apparent) death in Infinity War, either.
4. WEAKER: HELA
The Goddess of Death is immensely powerful in both the MCU and the comic books. Whether she’s stronger in one or the other actually depends on whether or not she’s wearing her cloak. In the comic books, Hela has one weakness: without her cloak, she reverts to a half-decayed, feeble creature with not even enough strength to stand, and she is also trapped in her realm without it. Thor found this out in Thor #361 when he managed to pull her cloak off during a fight. In base form then, Hela is actually stronger in the MCU. Of course, it’s a different story when her cloak is on.
At her full might, the Hela from the comics far surpasses her MCU equivalent. As the Goddess of Death, she actually has power over life and death. She is in complete control over her realm and rules over the Asgardian dead (the unworthy ones, anyway). She can also kill gods and mortals simply by touching their skin or by blasting them with a mystical bolt. MCU Hela is certainly powerful, as we saw when she destroyed Mjolnir with minimal effort. Still, as the comic book character exhibits actual dominance over dead souls, she’s on a level far above MCU Hela.
3. WEAKER: SURTUR
At first glance, Surtur the Fire Deamon is fairly similar across the movies and the comics. He’s a massive, flaming being foretold to destroy Asgard during Ragnarok. When Ragnarok finally came to fruition, Surtur had staggering amounts of power and destroyed Asgard, seemingly dying in the process. Surtur had one purpose: to destroy Asgard. It’s not surprising then that there isn’t’ much change to how he accomplished his destiny.
The real difference between MCU Surtur and the comic book character is how easy it is to kill him.
When we first see Surtur in the MCU, Thor flippantly mentioned that Odin had killed the fire demon “like half a million years ago.” While Surtur was, in fact, alive, his encounter with Odin did weaken him to the point where Thor could easily kill him. In the comics, killing Surtur (or almost killing him) would be a major victory, even for the Allfather. In Thor #400 the God of Thunder had all the power of Odin bestowed on him and still only managed to temporarily stun Surtur. Typically, Thor and Odin could only restrain Surtur for a time, usually by teleporting him to another dimension or trapping him in some sort of prison.
2. WEAKER: THANOS
It’s hard to believe that the same purple-colored Titan who just killed off half the MCU (not to mention some of the best superheroes ever) is weaker than his comic book counterpart. Still, the Mad Titan is even more impressive in the comics. Thanos originally had great power, and this power only increased after he died and the embodiment of Death resurrected him. He was so strong that he could destroy a planet with one punch, withstand an attack from Odin (who is a much bigger deal in the comics), and even make Galactus stagger. Thanos also held his own against Thor when the God of Thunder held the Power Gem in Silver Surfer Vol 3 #88.
Compared to the comic books, MCU Thanos isn’t anywhere near as frightening. We have never had the chance to see his might without the Infinity Stones, so we haven’t technically seen his base power. Still, even after he successfully completed the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos was still mortally wounded when Thor attacked him with Stormbreaker. MCU Thanos also appeared to be greatly wounded after he used the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half of all life, which didn’t phase him at all in the Infinity Gauntlet miniseries.
1. STRONGER: STAR-LORD
Peter Quill got a major power upgrade when he joined the MCU. Star-Lord isn’t even close to god status in the comics, and he doesn’t even have superpowers that would help in a fight. In the comics, he is the son of Emperor Jason of Spartax, a Spartoi, and consequentially is assumed to have increased longevity like the rest of his father’s race. Beyond that, nothing about his genealogy would set him apart from other humans. He is in peak human condition and makes an excellent pilot, marksman, and fighter, but he couldn’t create a giant Pac-Man Statue or hold an Infinity Stone with his bare hands.
In the MCU, of course, Star-Lord’s lineage is completely different.
Instead of half-Spartoi, Peter Quill is half Celestial, the son of Ego the Living Planet. His hybrid composition allowed him to survive in space longer than a normal human and to hold an Infinity Stone (for a few seconds) without dying. When he traveled to Ego, he was able to harness enough power to fight his father. After Ego’s death, it appears that Star-Lord’s immortality and power to harness Celestial energy faded, although it’s not certain that Quill won’t eventually develop these powers himself. Either way, Star-Lord is significantly stronger in the MCU.
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