The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s cosmic superteam returned to action in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. The film also introduced the powerful Adam Warlock who joined the team to stop the dangerous threat of the High Evolutionary. Adam Warlock is one of the Marvel universe’s most powerful characters, but the Guardians have encountered even worse over the years.
While the members of the Guardians of the Galaxy have made a name for themselves, they also deal with characters much stronger than themselves. The Guardians occasionally welcome powerful members like Quasar or Nova to the team, though they often find themselves dealing with much more powerful beings like Gladiator and Cosmic Ghost Rider.
8 Adam Warlock
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #66 (June 1967) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
One of the High Evolutionary’s strongest creations made his live-action debut in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. The Enclave originally created the genetically perfect being known as “Him,” though he was later reborn as Adam Warlock thanks to the machinations of the High Evolutionary.
Warlock was already a powerful conduit of cosmic energy which increased his strength, speed, and durability, and allowed him to fly in space unaided. The High Evolutionary gave him the Soul Gem for his reborn form, further increasing his psionic abilities. He later gained additional quantum magic through another rebirth, further increasing the scope of Adam Warlock’s incredible power.
First Appearance: Age of Ultron #10 (June 2013) by Brian Michael Bendis and Joe Quesada
While she was originally a demon hunter from Heaven in the Spawn universe, Angela first appeared in the Marvel universe during the Age of Ultron event. Fans eventually learned about her history as the lost Asgardian daughter of Odin during the Original Sin event.
When Angela first arrived in the Marvel universe, she quickly found new allies with the Guardians of the Galaxy. She joined the team for a few adventures and developed a kinship with Gamora over their battle prowess. As an Asgardian, Angela has incredible strength and durability, though she has also trained for years as an assassin for Heven, further increasing her deadly threat.
First Appearance: Captain America #217 (October 1977) by Roy Thomas, Don Glut, and John Buscema
Wendell Vaughn was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent before he came into possession of the incredibly powerful Quantum Bands. He debuted as a new Marvel Boy before an ancient being called Eon chose him to become Quasar, the new Protector of the Universe.
Quasar could use the Quantum Bands to manipulate quantum energy to create powerful energy constructs as weapons or shields. Quasar could also travel nearly instantaneously using quantum teleportation, and he even survived after his death as a quantum energy being. He now shares the role of Quasar with Avril Kincaid as they fight alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #18 (June 1963) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
The Skrull empire has long feuded with heroes from Earth like the Fantastic Four. Skrull scientists analyzed the powers of the strongest members of the Fantastic Four and imbued a soldier named Kl’rt with all of their abilities as the first Super-Skrull.
Super-Skrull retained his natural shape-changing abilities, which combined well with Invisible Woman’s invisibility for stealth. His enhanced strength from The Thing and extreme elasticity from Mr. Fantastic made him more than a match for most opponents. Human Torch’s incredible cosmic flame further increased Super-Skrull’s status as a powerhouse and eventual ally to the Guardians.
First Appearance: Young Avengers #1 (February 2005) by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung
When Billy Kaplan helped found the Young Avengers, he disguised his mystical abilities by calling himself the Asgardian. However, he soon took on the name Wiccan after he discovered he was the reincarnated son of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.
Wiccan recently married his fellow Young Avengers teammate Hulkling as one of the best Marvel couples. Hulkling also recently took the throne of the new Kree/Skrull Alliance. They worked closely with the Guardians to help stabilize Marvel’s new empire. Wiccan can cast spells capable of almost anything provided he can concentrate and has enough energy to power the magic.
3 Cosmic Ghost Rider
First Appearance: Thanos #13 (November 2017) by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw
An alternate reality version of Frank Castle/The Punisher died during Thanos’ fatal attack on Earth. He sold his soul to Mephisto so he could punish Thanos, and returned to Earth as Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, Earth was dead and Castle was alone.
When Galactus arrived on Earth, Castle agreed to become his herald and gained the Power Cosmic as well. As the Cosmic Ghost Rider, he traveled across time and space to punish Thanos, creating doomed timelines and messing with reality. He eventually restored the timeline and settled into the mainstream 616 reality, where he first joined the Guardians before turning on them.
First Appearance: X-Men #107 (July 1977) by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum
The Shi’ar’s Imperial Guard is one of the most feared groups in the universe. They are usually led by an alien Strontian named Kallark, who is better known as Gladiator. He is also known as one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe.
Gladiator serves the Shi’ar Empire and he even took control of it once to safeguard his people through dark times. Gladiator has been both an ally and an enemy to the Guardians, and he even briefly joined the Annihilators to fill in for the Guardians during one of their absences. He has incredible strength, speed, and even heat vision which often leads to Superman comparisons.
First Appearance: Nova #1 (June 1976) by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema
Richard Rider was a human teenager when he became Nova, the Human Rocket. He was the last Nova Centurion after the destruction of Xandar and eventually ascended to the role of Nova Prime. Rider bonded with the Xandarian Worldmind to further increase his incredible gravimetric power during the Annihilation event.
Rider helped rebuild the Nova Corps and even helped found the Guardians of the Galaxy, though he didn’t join himself. He remained a close friend of Star-Lord’s before Nova eventually joined the Guardian’s modern roster. He had access to the incredible Nova Force which allowed him to protect the galaxy as a one-man army for a short period of time.
NEXT: Guardians of the Galaxy’s Best Rosters, Ranked
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