Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you got through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Strength, as the man who brought Conan to life on the silver screen, pointed out, is as much about the individual force of will and determination as it is about physical power.
It’s a product of the anvil that adversity and triumph shape every living creature on and, in that respect at least the denizens of the Marvel Universe are no different to any other creature in creation.
Their individual strengths and weaknesses are a product of who they are, the hardship that they have endured, and the purpose they are burdened or blessed with, as well as the “superpowers” they received through the intervention of fate.
The measure of each hero’s strength and determination has often left fans to question which of Earth’s heroes is the mighties and who would win should they ever have to face each other on opposing sides.
But what if those same heroes weren’t heroes at all? What if they were born to stride among the stars as a God and an Eternal? What would happen if two of the greatest forces of darkness that the Marvel Universe had ever known met on the battlefield?
Who would triumph, Hela or Thanos, and which of them would prove to be strongest? It’s the sort of dream match-up that the four-color faithful and MCU fans would pay a fortune to witness and devour in a plethora of gorgeously detailed panels and pages, which is why we thought we’d pit the Mad Titan against the Goddess of Death in a fantasy battle for the ages…
The Strongest There Is
Trying to determine whether Hela is stronger than Thanos, or Thanos is stronger than Hela is one of those ongoing debates that can only be determined based on their past interactions with other superpowered beings.
So, let’s start with Thanos. During his initial encounter with a pair of Avengers and their allies in Infinity War, he murdered Heimdall and Loki, beat the strongest there is, the Hulk, in a fistfight, and bested Thor, which is a physical feat that few beings in the Marvel Universe could ever hope to match or equal.
And, in the quest for the Infinity Stones, in an attempt to fulfill his “divine” purpose he gladly sacrificed his daughter Gamora to achieve his goal. He is a devastating combination of physical prowess and determination.
As strong and resolute of purpose as he is, Hela is every bit his equal, if not his better. She was so powerful that Odin was terrified of what she might do, and kept her locked away for thousands of years, and it was only after his death in Ragnarok that she once again emerged to try and plunge the Nine Realms into darkness.
After she first escapes the prison that Odin made for her, she crushes Mjolnir in one hand, hurls her brothers Thor and Loki to the far side of the galaxy, and kills the Warriors Three (Fandrall, Volstagg, and Hogun) before singlehandedly slaying the entire Asgardian Army.
If that wasn’t enough to establish her raw strength, Valkyrie later tells Thor that it was Hela who wiped her sisters from existence during the Goddess’s first campaign to bring the Nine Realms under her control.
And after thousands of years of imprisonment, she still only has one goal and one burning desire, to sit on the throne as the Queen of all Creation, and she would gladly dispatch her family and her people in order to ensure she achieves what she sees as her destiny. As far as determination, willpower, and raw physical strength are concerned, the combatants would enter the field as equals.
Hela Versus Thanos
The battle itself, however, would depend on two factors. Whether they faced each other with their armies or by themselves. If it was the former, as terrifying as Hela’s undead army of former Asgardian heroes and the giant wolf Fenris would be, Thanos’ fleet of ships, devastating firepower, and legions of war-hardened warriors would almost certainly give him the edge and turn the tide of battle in his favor in moments.
When they would inevitably have to face each other, the tables would end up turning in Hela’s favor. Both are consummate strategists having waged war on the Realms and across the galaxy, and even though Thanos has the strength of an Eternal, Hela is the Goddess of Death and would take Thanos apart with a combination of speed, strength, and weapons that she can seemingly summon at will, ensuring that she would emerge from any one on one conflict between them, as the ultimate victor.
The For Color Question
Ene though the outcome of their MCU battle would be almost certain, in the four-color realm, things would be a little different. Thanos, from the moment, that he was introduced to the Marvel Universe by Jim Starlin in Iron Man #55 in nineteen seventy-three has been enamored and enchanted by Lady Death, and as Hela is the Goddess of Death and one of the many avatars of his desire, Thanos would be unlikely to challenge her to single combat.
And Hela, during The Final Gauntlet, was so madly in love with Thanos, that she attempted to resurrect him by finding, and reuniting the scattered parts of his corpse.
It was an undertaking that proved to be disastrous for both of the eternally “star-crossed lovers” and ended with them being dragged into a black hole, a fate that neither of them would be able to escape if it wasn’t for the fact that the only people for whom death is eternal in comics are Ben Parker and Mar-Vell.
We haven’t seen the last of Thanos, and we haven’t seen the last of Hela in the four-color world, and what the future holds in store for them remains, for the time being at least, to be seen.
And The Winner Is… Hela Or Thanos?
Thanos and Hela are certainly more than a match for each other, and while we’re sure that any potential encounter would end in a like-minded union rather than physical confrontation if they did decide to fight to the finish, our money would always be on Hela. She is, after all, the Goddess of Death.