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How Starlight's Energy Powers In The Boys Differ From Captain Marvel

Amazon Prime's The Boys is a sharp take on the culture and concept of superheroes that looks at the way their power might be corrupted by forces like capitalism and ego. One of the reasons it has resonated with viewers is that it — and the comic book series from which it originates — features a roster of supes that feel familiar. Although they are their own distinct characters, it's clear that Homelander (Antony Starr) features allusions to Superman and Captain America, while Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) has more than a few nods to Wonder Woman.

Another example of these similarities is Starlight (Erin Moriarty), the wholesome "defender of Des Moines." Her signature ability to harness electricity into powerful energy blasts recalls a similar power displayed by Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who is able to do major damage with the beams she shoots out of her hands. But that doesn't mean the powers of both supes are exactly the same. Like snowflakes, each superhero's powers are unique. So, how do Starlight's and Captain Marvel's seemingly similar energy blasts differ from each other?

To get a scientific opinion on the matter, Looper reached out to Dr. Jed Macosko, Ph.D., a Professor of Physics at Wake Forest University to help us understand exactly where the differences lie between Starlight and Captain Marvel's energy blasting powers.

It all comes down to where the energy comes from

According to Dr. Macosko, while there are some surface-level similarities between the energy powers of Starlight and Captain Marvel, when you take a look under the hood, they're quite different. As he explained to us, "Starlight requires energy input to get energy output." That means she needs to have electricity around her to use her abilities. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel "has a limitless power supply and avoids breaking the fundamental Law of Energy Conservation by using powers from another dimension."

Starlight, Dr. Macosko explained, has powers that "are pretty clearly electrically-based, especially since she requires electricity as her input." And while it's hard to pin down exactly what source Captain Marvel draws her own energy from (possibly another dimension all together, ala Ant-Man's Pym Particles), it's clearly not an input-output system the way Starlight's powers operate. Dr. Macosko explained that "there's enough evidence to show that Captain Marvel's energy bursts are electromagnetic, rather than pure electricity (think lasers rather than lightning bolts)."

When it comes to who's more powerful, that gives the edge to Captain Marvel, as she does not require energy input. That being said, we'd still pick either one of these powerful women to be on our own extrajudicial squad of corporate funded supersoldiers.