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Every One Of Marvel Canine Cosmo's Powers And Abilities Explained

One of many quirky, unusual characters to pepper James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy" films and holiday specialCosmo the Space Dog might just be the most lovable. 

The talking cosmonaut canine was first glimpsed briefly in the original "Guardians" film and has since re-appeared in the sequel, the "Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," and "Marvel's What If?" Die-hard comic fans hoped that Cosmo would come in from the periphery and get more involved in an MCU storyline, and multiple scenes in the "Special" seem to indicate that's finally happening.

Cosmo possesses telekinetic and telepathic powers, making the dog incredibly useful as the Guardians work in Knowhere. Cosmo is the Chief of Security for Knowhere in the comics, but there she is also a he. When Gunn decided to bring the character (introduced in Marvel Comics in 2008's "Nova" #8) to the big screen, he changed the character's gender to honor a stray Russian mongrel who became the first animal to orbit the Earth. "Cosmo is based on Laika, a female Soviet space dog who died in orbit in 1957," he said at the time. "I'm just going back to the original source material."

As depicted in the comics, Cosmo has several active superpowers, but also has certain latent abilities that seem likely to change for the MCU. Below, a breakdown of what to expect now that Cosmo the Space Dog has joined forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Cosmo has enhanced intelligence, well beyond a Terran canine

When Cosmo was knocked out of Earth's orbit sometime in the 1960s, cosmic rays enhanced the brave pup's physiology in much the same way four Americans became the Fantastic Four. While it was an accident, and Cosmo wasn't meant to hike it all the way to Knowhere, that's precisely what happened. The mutation resulted in significantly enhanced intelligence, but that's not to say Cosmo is smart for a dog; Cosmo is more intelligent than most humans.

Dogs are intelligent animals, but compared to Cosmo, they're no longer the same species. Cosmo is capable of communicating with other sentient lifeforms and does so with a Russian accent (voiced by "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova). She also has been known to slip a little Russian into her speech, often replying with "da" for yes, "nyet" for no, and she likes to throw in a "comrade" every once in a while for good measure. Cosmo can speak telepathically with anyone and anything, including Nova's Worldmind, which surprised the supercomputer as well as Nova.

Cosmo's intellect has kept her busy in Knowhere, where she has access to all the alien technology scattered about the place. She can pick up and use pretty much anything, and Cosmo's intelligence has kept her employed and safe for many years. It sets her apart from most of the beings she interacts with as Chief of Security on Knowhere.

Cosmo's enhanced durability keeps her safe

Cosmo is stronger than she looks, and she's also incredibly durable. Whether it's her spacesuit or something else, she has demonstrated an ability to take a beating and keep on going. In the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, she was at ground zero when Carina grabbed the Power Stone and caused the Collector's entire collection to go up in flames. Not only did Cosmo survive the explosion without a scratch, but she was also freed from captivity. 

Since that initial appearance, Cosmo has moved on from a Collector's item to use her skills in Knowhere to elevate her position. She is a capable fighter, so there's a good chance she got into a few scrapes along the way. Still, whenever you see her, the space suit is in pristine condition, and Cosmo looks as happy and healthy as possible. 

That said, Cosmo's run in the comics has put the dog through a great deal of hardship. Cosmo has taken part in the "Secret Invasion," "War of Kings," and "Thanos Imperative" storylines. The Space Dog survived them all, significantly impacting the Marvel Universe along the way. Cosmo has taken a few licks over the years — after Captain Skaarn takes over Knowhere in "Nova" #15, Cosmo is seriously injured and poisoned — but remains a survivor.

Cosmo lives far longer than Terran canines

If you've ever had a dog, you know it's a sad fact of life that dogs don't live as long as humans. But this isn't something that keeps Cosmo up at night, since her lifespan seems to have been amplified substantially. 

Cosmo is a Golden Retriever/Labrador mix, also known as a Goldador. According to Travelling With a Dog, a Goldador's natural lifespan is around ten to 12 years. That's with healthy food, a lot of exercise, and quality veterinary health care, a bunch of things Cosmo does not have.

Nevertheless, because Cosmo lives in Knowhere, she's not eating standard-issue kibble — so perhaps her diet is even better. Granted, she does love treats, which Rocket provides, but other than that, it's anyone's guess what she's eating. The proof is in the pudding: Cosmo is much older than any Goldador has a right to be. The exact date is unknown, but Cosmo was first launched into Earth orbit sometime in the 1960s.

Cosmo first appeared in the comics in 2007, so, at the very least, Cosmo has been away from Earth for 38 years (if the launch took place in 1969). There may be some relativistic time dilation involved, but no matter how you look at it, Cosmo should have died decades ago. Seeing as the character doesn't age in any obvious way, Cosmo may, in fact, be functionally immortal; she has such a slow rate of aging it looks as if she doesn't age at all.

Cosmo's telekinetic abilities overcome her lack of thumbs

Cosmo's telepathic abilities are what separates her from other dogs, and they are incredibly strong. In the "Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," Cosmo is first seen alongside Rocket, raising two panels into the air. When Rocket distracts her, she drops them to the ground. This exhibition of her powers is only a tiny sampling. She can do much more than elevate and place panels; at times in the comics, Cosmo has been known to throw entire groups of people from one wall to the next.

In "The Thanos Imperative" #5, Vision is gravely wounded during a fight, and Cosmo steps in to save the day saying: "Bozhe Moi! Comrade Vision! Please to be Stayink still while Cosmo seals hydraulics with telekinetic tourniquets." In the midst of that battle, Cosmo placed telepathic tourniquets on an ally, which means she is capable of incredibly precise placement of suppression fields, all controlled through the dog's incredible mind.

Unfortunately, in the next panel, Cosmo is interrupted and blasted away by the Scarlet Witch — but it's the thought that counts. Because Cosmo is a dog, her telekinetic abilities more than make up for a lack of opposable thumbs. In addition to aiding her in combat, she uses her powers to lift and use tools, interface with computers and other equipment, and generally make her life easier in and around Knowhere.

Cosmo can telepathically cloak herself

Cosmo's psionic abilities run the gamut between offensive and defensive, the latter of which works in several interesting ways. The ability to telepathically cloak herself and others makes it next to impossible for anyone to directly observe the cunning canine, even if they have psychic powers. Cosmo can use telepathic cloaking to fool your run-of-the-mill bad guy; it's most useful, however, when facing off against a powerful telepath.

That said, the more powerful a person is, the less likely Cosmo's telepathic cloak will be effective. She can extend the cloak to others, making them as unobservable as she is to a specific target. This kind of ability is shared with other powerful psionic people in the Marvel Universe. In "The Uncanny X-Men" #317, Emma Frost telepathically cloaked Banshee and herself as they made their way inside a SHIELD base, but forgot to cloak the water they brought in with their footsteps from the rain, quickly noticed by the agents inside.

That kind of mistake can cause a telepathic cloak to fall apart, and it doesn't take a genius to spot them. Fortunately, Cosmo is usually meticulous about such details, as she's incredibly intelligent and pays attention. This ability is helpful for offensive and defensive means, though it's likely best used for espionage, coming in handy as Cosmo walks the beat in Knowhere.

Cosmo can create a psionic shield to protect herself

Another useful ability in Cosmo's bag of telepathic tricks is the power to erect psionic shields. These mental energy shields protect Cosmo from psionic and energy-based attacks. Psionic shields aren't physical barriers, so they don't stop kinetic attacks and are instead meant to shield Cosmo's mind from other mental attacks. Cosmo's psionic shield can protect her, but it can also be extended to cover other people, protecting their minds from attack in the process.

This ability has proven useful whenever Cosmo goes up against another powerful psionic being. Because Cosmo has telepathic powers that allow her to invade another's consciousness with little effort, she has to protect herself from similar attacks. During the "War of Kings" storyline, Cosmo used her strong telepathic powers to communicate with a Celestial in the Celestial Engine. This made it possible to send a telepathic message to the past to Adam Warlock, thanks to the still-existing Celestial connection in Knowhere.

The ability to enter the mind of a Celestial is a power infinitely greater than most telepaths can muster, so Cosmo needs to enact psionic shields to protect herself. Failing to do so could potentially devastate her psyche, resulting in her demise. Psionic shields are sometimes referred to as "mental defenses" in the comics, and they are common for Cosmo and people like Professor Charles Xavier, Emma Frost, and Jean Grey.

Cosmo can create telepathic illusions

One of Cosmo's more active psionic abilities is her power to cast telepathic illusions on a target. These are complex, realistic and capable of fooling someone into believing just about anything Cosmo wishes. The usefulness of telepathic illusions is vast, as they can be used to thoroughly confuse a target by making them think they are about to walk off a cliff, are facing a gigantic beast, or any number of oddities that Cosmo happens to think of in the moment.

Additionally, telepathic illusions can be used to help someone if they're experiencing stress or other issues requiring some relief. Cosmo typically uses telepathic illusions for the former, as the ability is advantageous when battling anyone whose telepathic abilities are dwarfed by her own. Another aspect of this ability is using it to hide or obscure oneself from detection via telepathic camouflage.

This ability makes the person using it appear different, masking themselves from detection. Using telepathic camouflage, Cosmo can make herself look like anyone or anything she wishes. Additionally, telepathic camouflage can effectively render someone invisible. Like most of her telepathic abilities, Cosmo can use it on herself, or she can use it to alter the physical appearance of a group of people. Of course, the more people she needs to camouflage, the more complex the task, as it requires intricate mental acuity on a target's mind.

Cosmo's powerful mind control abilities help her get into other peoples' heads

One of the most common superpowers at a telepath's disposal is mind control, and Cosmo certainly isn't lacking there. Like other powerful telepaths in the Marvel Universe, Cosmo can look into a person's mind and take complete control over them. This ability has been glimpsed via others in the "X-Men" films, such as when Charles Xavier makes it so large groups of people freeze in their tracks, seemingly stopping time. That may be what it looks like to the casual observer, but to those in the know, he's infiltrating their minds and stopping them in their tracks.

Cosmo also has this ability, though it's less dramatic to freeze people in place in the comics. Still, Cosmo is an expert when it comes to mind control and has demonstrated this ability numerous times in the comics. In "Nova" #20, Nova and Rocket are poisoned, so Cosmo taps into Adomox's mind to force him to give them the antidote and say, "Sam and Rocket were smart to bring Cosmo. Adomox very naughty and hateful. Cosmo think he would have died before giving antidote. Antidote was hidden in slipspace. Teleporting in now."

With that, their enemy, who panels before threatened to kill them, gives them the lifesaving antidote they needed. Cosmo stepped in and knew exactly what to do in this instance, saving two allies in the process. That's just one small example of a time when Cosmo quickly took over someone's mind to get them to do her bidding.

Cosmo can use mental paralysis to stop someone in their tracks

One aspect of telepathy that comes in handy for Cosmo is the use of an ability called mental paralysis. This isn't the same as breaking into someone's mind and causing them to stop dead in their tracks; it's far more than any simple parlor trick. Mental paralysis is pretty much what it sounds like: it's the ability to delve deep into someone's mind and cause mental and/or physical paralysis.

By doing so, Cosmo can take on threats she would otherwise be incapable of fighting. During the "Thanos Imperative" storyline, there's a fight in "The Thanos Imperative" #2, where Cosmo faces off against a rampaging Hulk from the Cancerverse. Pound for pound, Cosmo has nothing on the Hulk, but the Space Dog didn't waver in her stand against the Jade Giant. She stood her ground and said, "Cosmo see you are havink anger issues," as the Hulk was about to pound her into furry goo.

In the very next panel, the Hulk passes out onto the ground. When Star-Lord offers up a "What the...," Cosmo replies, "I reach in his head, make him stroke out. It painless way to go." Within an instant, Cosmo managed to not only stop the Hulk dead in his tracks, but she also killed him — the Hulk! — with a thought. That kind of ability is incredibly powerful, and Cosmo didn't break a sweat taking down one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe.

Cosmo can use her powers to remove memories

Another set of Cosmo's impressive telepathic powers include mental amnesia and sedation, and they're pretty much what they sound like. Mental amnesia enables Cosmo to tap into a person's mind and erase their memories. This can be a specific memory, such as meeting Cosmo, or literally anything trapped inside someone's head, but it can also be used more drastically. If Cosmo wishes, she can erase a person's mind, causing complete and total amnesia.

This type of mental attack can be temporary or permanent, depending on how Cosmo flexes her mental muscles. Another telepathic manipulation in Cosmo's bag of tricks is mental sedation, which makes it possible for Cosmo to enter a target's mind and render them unconscious. This is different than making them sleep, as it genuinely sedates the mind, making it impossible for them to do anything, including think.

Cosmo used mental sedation in "The Thanos Imperative" #1 while going up against the Mad Titan himself. She was able to pacify an enraged Thanos, but she couldn't do it on her own. Cosmo had to work alongside Mantis and Moondragon to collectively attack the mind of Thanos and render the newly-resurrected behemoth inert. At the time, he was enraged and growling like the Hulk, so it took a lot of mental effort to bring him down. It's good they were able to pacify Thanos, as he was about to destroy Star-Lord when Cosmo and company came along.

Cosmo's most powerful attack is a psionic blast

The ability to attack someone with mental energy is the cornerstone of any telepath's bag of tricks, and Cosmo is no exception. Because she has a great deal of mental control over her abilities, Cosmo can concentrate them to launch a psionic blast at a target. These aren't the kind of energy blasts you might see someone like Psylocke meting out; Cosmo's psionic blasts aren't capable of causing physical damage — they're entirely mental.

When Cosmo shoots off a psionic force bolt, it hits the target's mind with a bang. The blasts can cause all kinds of damage, depending on how powerful they are. They might merely cause pain throughout the body at the lowest level, while at higher levels, they can render a target unconscious. If Cosmo needs to turn things up to 11, she can, but it does far more damage than a low-level attack.

Instead of hurting her enemies or rendering them unconscious, Cosmo can cause a target to have a stroke or go completely brain-dead, effectively killing them with a thought. These attacks differ from Cosmo's use of mental paralysis, as they're often far more powerful. Other characters in the Marvel Universe capable of this sort of mental assault include Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and a few others.

Cosmo uses mental detection to sense the presence of others

While Cosmo has many impressive offensive and defensive mental abilities tied to her telepathy, some function without any effort. Her mental detection ability is incredibly strong, for instance, making it possible for Cosmo to sense the presence of all sentient beings. This doesn't have a defined radius, but it's clear she can sense people within large areas surrounding herself, whether the person wants to be noticed or not.

Mental detection essentially means Cosmo detects a person's distinctive mental energy. Essentially, they think, therefore Cosmo knows where they are. Cosmo demonstrated this ability in "The Thanos Imperative" #2 while walking with her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos. After commenting that Thanos' mind was becoming harder to read, Cosmo offers up her distinctive exclamation, saying, "Bozhe Moi! Beware! Cosmo is sensink another mind approachink! Not alive or dead, but instead ..."

Cosmo sensed Vision's approaching mind, and as he's a Synthezoid who isn't alive or dead, Cosmo's comment makes sense. Granted, Vision has a powerful mind, but it's not like he was broadcasting his presence before he was ready to make it known. Cosmo sensed his approaching mind, proving that the little Space Dog is more than capable of using her passive mental skills to ensure the safety of herself — and anyone she calls comrade.