As one of the most feared and powerful villains in Marvel history, Thanos is always a tough opponent to defeat. While it took the combined forces of almost every MCU superhero to stop the Mad Titan during Avengers: Endgame, he’s been defeated multiple times by much less in the comics.
Many characters have been successful in single-handedly defeating Thanos, including a few who have already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here are 5 heroes from the MCU who have beaten Thanos in the comics.
Drax The Destroyer has a different comic book origin story. In the comics, he used to be Arthur Douglas, a human whose spirit was transported into an advanced body by the cosmic entity Kronos after Arthur’s family was killed by the Mad Titan. This enhanced body, which has superhuman abilities like super strength, extreme resilience and flight, is made for the sole purpose of killing Thanos.
He achieves this purpose in Annihilation #4, when Drax fights his way through an army of insect drones to reach Thanos, promptly punching a hole through his chest and tearing out his bloodied heart. This scene would not have worked in the MCU, considering the film version of Drax is significantly less powerful, and Disney would not allow such a disturbing scene in their PG-13 film.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have faced off against Thanos multiple times in the comics. In one instance, the team’s leader, Star-Lord, crushingly defeats Thanos using the Cosmic Cube, putting the Mad Titan into a coma. This is all the more impressive considering the fact that, unlike his cinematic counterpart, the comic Star-Lord is not half-Celestial and is only slightly more powerful than a human in peak condition.
In the MCU, Peter Quill is originally much more powerful, and he could easily defeat Thanos using his Celestial powers if he still had them. He plays an instrumental part in the near defeat of Thanos on Titan during Infinity War, showing off his skills as a master planner and tactician, before swiftly ruining it all when he lets his emotions get the best of him.
Through centuries of fighting and slaying dangerous villains, the God of Thunder has built a reputation for himself as one of the strongest warriors in the Marvel Universe. However, one villain who has seemingly always gained the upper hand against Thor is Thanos. In 1998’s Thor #25, with the aid of some Asgardian weapons crafted by Odin, the God of Thunder is finally able to exact a sweet and easy victory against the Mad Titan.
Despite being one of the strongest characters in the MCU, Thor does not have the best track record against Thanos, even though he nearly killed him in Avengers: Infinity War when he drove Stormbreaker into his chest. He is able to decapitate Thanos at the beginning of Endgame, but this a significantly weakened Thanos who no longer poses a threat. At their next meeting, however, the now out-of-shape Thor fares much worse, and would have been killed if it wasn’t for a Mjolnir-wielding Captain America.
Although he is best known for being the Inhumans’ royal family pet, Lockjaw is also a member of another superhero team: The Pet Avengers. The Pet Avengers, whose roster includes Falcon’s bird Redwing and Throg (Frog Thor), assembles the Infinity Gems on Lockjaw’s collar, allowing him to easily fend off Thanos before trapping the Mad Titan in another dimension.
While the Lockjaw in the television show Marvel’s Inhumans is comic accurate, his talents haven’t been explored enough to know if he has the power to pull off a similar stunt in the MCU using the Infinity Stones. This super pet is sidelined throughout most of the season, perhaps due to budgetary concerns, robbing fans of a chance to see more of the giant, teleporting bulldog in action.
Although he has yet to appear in the MCU in his full form, the end credits for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 confirms Adam Warlock’s existence. In the comics, he is one of Thanos’ most prolific opponents, being able to outsmart the Mad Titan, tricking him into taking off his gauntlet in the now iconic Infinity Gauntlet story arc, which inspired the events of Infinity War. The golden hero later uses the gauntlet to undo all of the death and destruction caused by Thanos, restoring the universe to its proper state.
It took an army of Avengers to stop Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but the comics have seen some MCU characters stop the Mad Titan on their own.