Where fighting is concerned raw power and brute strength aren’t always enough to win the day. Most master combatants can tell you this: there are plenty of other elements one needs to take into account. Things like experience and on-the-fly craftiness matter, even in the face of an opponent stronger than you. In the world of comics, it’s how characters like Batman are able to fight gods and monsters and still come out the other end alive, as one’s wits are the key to winning any battle.
Known to the world as Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers served her country and the world long before she had super powers. Joining the Air Force on account of her love for flying, she would later join the CIA and NASA.
Following a bizarre event involving something called the “Psyche-Magnitron”, Carol absorbed some radiation and the original Captain Marvel’s genetic template. Carol’s proved time and again she’s one of the Earth’s strongest champions, so what happens when she’s matched up against DC’s strongest? Carol’s never been one to back down from a challenge, even if that challenge is Superman — rest assured, the Man of Steel would have his hands more than full with her.
15. SHE CAN ABSORB ENERGY
One of Captain Marvel’s key powers is ability to absorb energy. Not in the way that the X-Man Rogue can, by touching people and draining them of their life force, but Carol can absorb nearly any type of energy directed at her. If she’s prepared for the attack, and even if she’s not, Carol can take the energy into her body and convert it into raw power to further strengthen herself.
Superman is oftentimes keen on using heat vision to burn his enemies, but no matter the intensity, Carol could absorb everything Superman unleashes. Once that’s over, she’ll convert all of that into raw power that she can then redirect towards the Man of Steel. Bear in mind, it doesn’t just have to be heat vision, Carol’s absorbed hard sound waves, Iron Man’s repulsor rays, magic and more.
14. SHE HAS A SEVENTH SENSE
One of things that makes the superhero Spider-Man so formidable is his spider-sense. Capable of warning him about incoming danger, it makes him nearly impossible to hit. Captain Marvel has her Seventh Sense, which works in a similar way.
A precognitive ability, it allows Carl to subconsciously recognize danger before it occurs, which in turn allows her to predict an enemy’s attacks even before they make them; this has helped her tremendously in the heat of battle. Against a foe like Superman, Carol will need every ability she can get. Knowing what the Man of Steel is going to do next is just the advantage she needs — all that’s required is for her to predict a couple of attacks to turn the tide of the fight.
13. THE AVENGERS HAVE HER BACK…
Captain Marvel joined the Avengers, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, back in The Avengers #183. Since then, Carol found a group of friends to call her family, aside from the X-Men. Taking on every villain that came their way, large or small, Carol Danvers never backed down. With allies like Thor, Hercules, Iron Man and the Vision on her side, few could stand against her.
We’ve seen Superman take on Thor during the JLA/Avengers crossover, only to beat the Thunder God, but left completely drained and vulnerable. Following that fight, the Avengers dogpiled on Superman and knocked him out cold. The same would apply here, Carol will call for help if she needs to and hold off Superman until her friends arrive. When they do, even if she’s beaten, they’ll finish the job.
12. …AND SO DO THE ULTIMATES
Carol Danvers is smart and being smart means you don’t have to do everything alone. Carol learned this sobering lesson when the Avengers confronted her about her alcoholism. Even though she didn’t take it well initially, she learned from the experience and used it to make her stronger.
Years later, after she joined Alpha Flight, Carol created the Ultimates. Serving as a proactive task force, she brought in Black Panther, Blue Marvel, Ms. America and Spectrum. Every hero on the team is ridiculously powerful and if fighting as a unit, there’s no way Superman would stand a chance. Even if Batman and friends get involved, Spectrum alone can destroy a planet, Blue Marvel is pretty much Superman already and Ms. America is on the team only so she can take down her teammates if they go too far. Suffice to say, they can beat the Last Son of Krypton.
11. HER BINARY FORM
Binary is Captain Marvel’s ultimate transformation and it allows Carol to reach her peak power and beyond. Her strength level is practically incalculable in the Binary form and her array of attacks becomes far stronger; she gains a wider arrange of abilities too.
When Captain Marvel becomes Binary, her power is linked to an interstellar white hole and is endowed with the ability to generate light, heat, radiation and nearly every other form of energy along the electromagnetic spectrum. In this form she can travel at the speed of light and breath in space, which is essentially the same as not needing to breathe; Superman won’t be able to cyclone the air out of her lungs. When she’s Binary, it’d be just as easy to say Carol can do anything in this form.
10. SHE’S A BETTER FIGHTER
Superman might very well be the strongest guy on the planet Earth, but for all his power he’s struggled against weaker foes like Wonder Woman who happened to be superior fighters. Fighting Superman is nearly always a zero-sum situation, especially if your plan is to take him head-on. If your plan is to strategize and dance around him, looking for openings, ducking, weaving and striking quickly, you might have something there.
Through all the military training she’s received, both by the Air Force and CIA, but also thanks to the Avengers and her time with the X-Men, Carol is an outstanding hand-to-hand combatant. Superman might have a couple martial arts up his sleeve, but his fighting style simply does not emphasize those abilities — at the end of the day he relies more on his powers. Carol doesn’t have to.
9. SHE’S EVEN A BETTER JOURNALIST
Not all battles must be fought with fisticuffs. They say the pen is mightier than the sword and in Captain Marvel’s case, that’s definitely true. Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent might be a heck of a reporter, but that’s only because he’s Superman and can zip from one place to another getting exclusives no one on Earth (literally) can. In the face of someone like Lois Lane, Clark totally admits she outclasses him in journalism.
Carol is no slouch in the writing department either. Even before she received her Captain Marvel powers, Carol was a talented journalist, a freelance writer and a magazine editor. As for Clark Kent? Well, he’s stayed in the bullpen and even once started his own blog… so that’s something. Put the two heroes in the ring and have them battle with words, rather than punches, and Danvers will likely be getting the Pulitzer, not Clark.
8. THE GALACTUS FACTOR
You know what’s better than having either the Avengers or the Ultimates on your side if you’re Captain Marvel? Having Galactus, them Devourer of Worlds at your beck and call, that’s what! Ever since Carol and her team of Ultimates took the fight to Galactus and changed the core of his being from Devourer to Lifebringer, he’s sided with them on more than one occasion.
One of the most powerful beings in the entirety of the Marvel Universe, even fighting conceptual entities like Order and Chaos, Galactus’s strength is impossible to classify. Sure, you can say that if Carol gets Galactus then Superman can have the Justice League, but it wouldn’t even matter. At his current levels, Galactus is too powerful for mortals to challenge. He’s a heck of an ace to have up your sleeve.
7. HER EXPERIENCE WITH ESPIONAGE
Punching your opponent in the face isn’t the only way to beat them. Before she possessed super powers or even considered them, Carol joined the Air Force and quickly rose to the rank of Colonel; her skills were more than exemplary and earned her notice of the CIA. They actively recruited and trained her to become a field agent. She was very good at her job. Able to break into highly secure bases with nothing but her wits.
If she applied herself, Carol could easily connect the dots between Clark Kent and Superman. What better way to leave a fellow superhero up the creek than by revealing their secret identity? Without even firing a single energy blast, she’ll have defeated the Last Son of Krypton, or at least made life extremely awkward for him.
6. HER ENERGY BLASTS ARE EXTREMELY POWERFUL
One of Captain Marvel’s go-to attacks is her energy blasts. They aren’t just regular old energy attacks, but they are photon blasts made of cosmic energy. On any regular old day, Carol’s energy projection attacks are at least on par with Iron Man’s full-strength concussive blasts, which can hurt nigh any superhero or supervillain. However, Carol’s photon blasts are made astronomically stronger when she absorbs an opponent’s energy and adds it to her own.
Her energy attacks can increase further in might if she changes into Binary, absorbs, say, Superman’s heat vision, and then hits back with a powered-up version of his own energy and hers. Capable of utilizing energy up to the strength and size of a nuclear explosion, we’ve seen New 52 Superman fall to nuke-sized attacks; maybe it won’t kill him, but it surely will knock him for a loop.
5. HER COSMIC AWARENESS
In addition to sensing and acting on incoming attacks, Captain Marvel also has something called Cosmic Awareness. It’s tied particularly closely to her Seventh Sense, so it’s easy to mistake one for the other or lump them into one category. However, Carol’s cosmic awareness works slightly differently. One of the many additional abilities that come with her being Binary, Captain Marvel has cosmic awareness akin to the Silver Surfer’s.
She can visually perceive varying types of energy patters and is immediately aware of any disruptions in space. With that in mind, it’s feasible Carol would “see” Superman getting his powers from the sun and figure a way to work around that. Either way, while cosmic awareness might not be an impressive offensive power, it’s a great buff that supplies Carol with tons of information. Information, as Batman would probably tell you, is the key to victory.
4. SHE PROTECTS THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE
Intergalactic threats are a real problem in comic books. Whether it’s Marvel or DC, many major threats to the Earth come from the stars — there’s always some malevolent alien hellbent on taking over the planet. To combat such potential dangers, organizations were developed to act as defensive measures, defending the Earth as the first line of defense. In Marvel Comics, Alpha Flight is that group.
With a satellite base standing guard over the planet, Carol and her Alpha Flight teammates, which so happens to include Quasar, the Protector of the Universe, try and have contingencies for every potential alien threat. With weapons capable of taking down even the sturdiest alien, even if Alpha Flight cannot beat Superman, they can certainly distract him long enough for Carol to work out another plan or to hit him when he’s off guard.
3. GRAVITY CONTROL
By now, it should be more than abundantly clear that Captain Marvel is insanely powerful. Already boasting an incredible assortment of abilities, Carol Danvers seems to have nearly as many as Superman. While she might not have heat vision or arctic breath, she can control gravity. It’s not something we see Carol use terribly often, but if she’s allowed complete access to every one of her powers, Captain Marvel can and will control the gravity surrounding Superman.
Still, no matter how much pressure she applies, it’s only going to hold Superman temporarily. Yet in a fight, a few seconds means all the difference between victory and defeat. Keeping the Man of Steel pinned for a couple seconds gives her enough time to blast him with some red sun radiation or kryptonite.
2. RED SUN RADIATION
Superman only has a few weaknesses — that’s partly what makes him so super. Few opponents have the means to hurt him, much less defeat him. Luckily for Captain Marvel, though unluckily for the Man of Steel, she has access to nearly each and every one of Superman’s weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is red sun radiation.
Even though getting exposed to red sunlight might not physically hurt Superman, it robs him of his powers and makes him no more powerful than the average dude. As Binary, Carol is a beast. Capable of wiping out entire scores of enemy warships, if brute force doesn’t work, she’ll get trickier. Captain Marvel, while Binary, can access all forms of solar radiation, including red. Once she unleashes it on Superman, the fight is done.
The most famous weakness in all of comic book is Superman’s vulnerability to kryptonite and kryptonite-radiation. Powerless in the face of the radioactive rock from his home world of Krypton, the introduction of kryptonite to most Superman-related fights means it’s usually game over. With Captain Marvel and her Binary form, and the ability to hit Superman with red sun radiation, she can potentially do the same for kryptonite.
You might ask how would Carol know about Superman’s crippling weakness; the answer is espionage. If Carol knew a confrontation with the Last Son of Krypton was inevitable, then with all her skill in spying, journalism, espionage, and military training, it’d be pretty easy for Captain Marvel to figure out the connection between Superman and the deadly green stuff.