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In the past couple of years, we have seen the big screen debuts of two of the most powerful female superheroes in comic book history: Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. While one was a bigger win at the box office (Captain Marvel, raking in more than $1 billion worldwide), a question that remains is who would win against each other in a fight?
One is an Amazonian demigoddess. The other is a Boston-native with Kree blood and Tesseract energy flowing through her. One wields indestructible weaponry. The other can shoot photon blasts.
It seems to be a decidedly neck-and-neck match-up between DC and Marvel’s dynamic heroines, but there could always be more (or less) than meets the eye with even the strongest of heroes. How about we take a deeper look at Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel and see who is stronger?
The reign of superheroism for what is now DC Comics may have begun with Superman and Batman in the Golden Age of Comics. However, you cannot complete the trinity of the publisher’s flagship characters without Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman, who finally made her live action film debut being played by Gal Gadot in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, first appeared in DC’s All-Star Comics #8 in October 1941 before starring in her first feature in Sensation Comics #1 in September 1942. She was created by Professor William Moulton Marston (under the penname Charles Moulton), also credited for inventing an early prototype of the polygraph, who took inspiration from the feminist ideals of his fellow psychologist wife Elizabeth and their polyamorous partner Olive Byrne to craft the character.
Better known among friends and family as Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta (or just Diana Prince when blending in among civilians), Wonder Woman is an Amazonian demi-goddess who was molded out of clay and brought to life by Zeus. She has the gift of immortality, having lived at least 5,000 years old, as well as a slew of remarkable abilities that make her one of the fiercest warriors in the universe.
Wonder Woman is a master of combat, armed or unarmed, having been trained since a very young age and, given her immortality, that is a lot of time in the ring. Not to mention, there is no way of telling how long a single training session could last since her high endurance keeps fighting tirelessly for days on end.
Wonder Woman is invulnerable to everything from fire to lava to thermonuclear explosions. However, without her shield or unbreakable steel cuffs (forged the remains of Zeus’ shield), piercing weapons such as bullets or arrows can leave wounds, which would heal within minutes anyway.
Wonder Woman can move at supersonic speeds, on foot or in the air, and has been known to keep up with The Flash, something very few people are capable of. Her strength is also superior to most. For reference: with just 10 percent of her full potential, she could launch an enemy from Earth to Pluto. Have you ever seen Superman do that?
Her famous tiara is more than a fashion statement, as it can be thrown at breakneck speeds to stun opponents, and her sword could cut through Superman. Yet, perhaps Wonder Woman’s trustiest tool is the Lasso of Truth, which, in addition to proving useful in battle, also makes her a master of interrogation, coercing any person to tell the truth without question or hesitation.
I would say without question that Wonder Woman is a warrior of colossal ability and prowess who could take on any challenge or opponent with ease. I do, however, hesitate to say that she cannot be bested by anyone. Such as, say, Captain Marvel?
I have always gotten a kick out of watching the likes of Thor or Hulk competing to claim the title of “Strongest Avenger” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, this was before they met cosmic powerhouse Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel is a character that has seen multiple iterations throughout history (usually men), and technically it was a DC character who had that name first, but we don’t need to talk about that. For this particular imaginary battle, inspired by the success of the 2019 Brie Larson-led MCU film, I am going to focus on the current holder of the Captain Marvel title, Carol Danvers.
Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, Carol Danvers made her first appearance in March 1968 in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 as a colleague of Dr. William Lawson (the secret identity of a Kree named Mar-vell, Marvel comics’ original Captain Marvel). The Boston native was very competitive as a child, always looking to prove she was as capable as her older brothers, and dreamed of being an astronaut before growing up to be an officer of the United States Air Force and the CIA at one point.
Everything changes for Carol Danvers when she caught in the explosion of a Kree device, from which Captain Marvel was just barely able to save her life. In 1977, it is revealed that the explosion melded Danvers’ human DNA with Kree DNA and gifted her with astonishing abilities. She then broke out as a superhero under the name Ms. Marvel.
Throughout the following years, Carol Danvers would discover new abilities and, with those discoveries, take on new identities such as Binary or Warbird. It was in 2012’s Avenging Spider-Man #9 when she debuted as Captain Marvel.
As for what she can do, Captain Marvel’s abilities are so impressive and mysterious, she does not even know the limit to her own power. So far, the known abilities at her disposal make her, supposedly, the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe.
In addition to her piloting skills, Captain Marvel does not even need a plane to fly, which she can do at supersonic speeds. Her Air Force training has come in handy for her in the event of airborne combat, allowing her to easily maneuver around enemies.
Captain Marvel also carries super strength at various levels, depending on the persona she is tapped into. For instance, as Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers could life up to about 50 tons, but channeling her Binary state could allow her lift double that weight.
Most forms of damage will do no harm to Captain Marvel and can even be of benefit to her. Her ability to absorb massive amounts of energy can allow her to enhance her additional strengths or channel it into a devastating photon blast, which we saw come in handy against Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
She is also invulnerable to bullets and most other weaponry. However, in the event that she would, somehow, sustain injury, Captain Marvel’s healing ability would take care of that instantaneously.
While it is not so much a weakness as much as potentially problematic, Captain Marvel does have a tendency to be quite reckless, jumping into battle without much hesitation or preparation. Therefore, I believe I can safely infer that she would not hesitate to stand off against Wonder Woman, but I do wonder, is she prepared?
Wonder Woman Vs. Captain Marvel
It is a question that we have had on our minds since Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers blasted her way into our hearts in the midst of Gal Gadot’s debut as Diana: in a fight between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, who will be the alpha? Are you ready to find out?
Captain Marvel can do just about anything that Wonder Woman could do, and beyond. Not to mention, if she had to, she could tap into her Binary-era abilities, which would allow her to generate the power of a star and wipe Wonder Woman out with a supernova.
Of course, there is no telling whether or not she would be able to conjure that ability on command. As I have mentioned before, the limit Captain Marvel’s power remains a mystery, even to her, but one thing Wonder Woman can count on is her own self-assurance.
Wonder Woman has been alive, and will remain living, for a very long time. Not only does her eternal life grant her universal wisdom, it also given her more than enough time to perfect her skills in combat.
Every move Wonder Woman makes is made with the utmost precision. While Captain Marvel’s hyper-awareness, an ability comparable to Peter Parker’s “Spider Sense,” allows her to predict an opponent’s move before it is made, I imagine Wonder Woman could initiate a counter strike just as quickly as Captain Marvel would deflect.
All this battle would come down to is who can withstand each other’s most devastating attacks the best and, in turn, who can deliver the most damage.
It may seem easy to assume that Captain Marvel has that round in the bag with her photon blast, but Wonder Woman can endure the likes of thermonuclear explosions and is likely to survive such an attack as well. On top of that, Captain Marvel’s photo blast is usually at its strongest when she absorbs energy of similar power from enemies, which is something Wonder Woman would not have to argue.
All Wonder Woman has to do is outlast a few photon blasts until they grow significantly weaker, rope up Captain Marvel with the Lasso of Truth, and, with one swing of the Sword of Athena, seal Carol Danvers’ downfall. Captain Marvel’s cosmic power may be unparalleled, but the real warrior here is the unstoppable Wonder Woman. May her reign continue as the most powerful woman in the universe.