If you ask most people who the most powerful character in the DC Universe is, they will quickly tell you with absolute certainty, the Man of Steel. And who could blame them? Superman is certainly portrayed as extremely powerful, especially in recent times. But is he the most powerful?
Below is a list of some of the most powerful characters (heroes & villains alike) in the DC Universe (in no particular order).
The Man of Steel has always demonstrated a staggering array of power. Super speed, flight, various forms of vision, freeze breath…. But the most notable of them all, is his super strength; in as recent as a few years, Kal-El’s physical strength has clocked in at roughly 6 sextillion metric tons (i.e., a number followed by twenty one zeroes). He could theoretically press this amount of weight—which is equivalent to the weight of our planet Earth-indefinitely, so long as he is operating at his normal solar-charged levels.
In addition, Superman has recently demonstrated a much more devastating power; the solar flare. This ability, which is an extension of his heat vision, allows him to expel all of his stored solar reserves all at once, and in all directions. It’s an ability that he can only rarely use, as it completely drains him of his powers for twenty four hours or more.
As powerful as Superman is, he is not without his own limitation. Various colors of irradiated rock from his now destroyed homeward, known as Kryptonite, has varying debilitating effects on him. Also, as a being of science, Superman is highly susceptible to the arcane, mystical energies of magic.
As a demigoddess, Diana of Themyscira of conceivably the most powerful woman on earth. Like many other heroes, Wonder Woman possesses a wide array of abilities, all of which were bestowed upon her from the Olympian gods and goddesses, beginning with her own birth father, Zeus himself. However, her physical strength, which is magically endowed to her, places her on par with perhaps the Man of Steel himself. Diana draws her strength directly from the goddess Gaia, or Mother Earth herself.
This magical blessing not only gives her super strength, but also the ability to heal from nearly all wounds, even potentially fatal ones. But Diana’s power does not stop there; Wonder Woman’s bracelets are a signature aspect of her image. As remnants of Athena’s Aegis shield, they are mainly used defensively, as she uses them to deflect projectiles, concessive force, and energy attacks. However, she can also utilize the bracelets offensively, by clanging them together, to unleash a massive mystical energy release.
The purpose of the bracelets do not end there, for as much as they are designed to protect Diana from the world, they are also meant to protect the world from her. Unlocking and removing them unleashes the full extent of Wonder Woman’s power. However, no god is without their Achilles Heel, and Diana is no exception; it appears that the bracelets were intended as a failsafe mechanism, designed to keep her raw power in check. Thus, remaining unfettered from her bracelets for too long would cause Diana to go insane.
What do you get for the man(hunter) who has everything? That is a question that only J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter could answer. J’onn possesses perhaps the most exotic cache of superpowers of all the superheroes. Flight, super speed, shape shifting, invisibility, telepathy, telekinesis, and Martian Vision (one part x-ray vision, and one part optic blast) are but some of his vaunted feats.
Add in massive superhuman strength, and sprinkle in a little altering of molecular density (J’onn can from being as intangible as an apparition, to as solid as titanium within a breath) for good measure, and you’ve got the recipe for easily one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
But, as we’ve seen with other heroes, the Manhunter from Mars is not without his own flaws, minute as they might be. The mere sight of fire—however small or large—is enough to debilitate J’onn (the effect is both psychological as well as physical), and extended exposure to flames could prove potentially fatal. Additionally, it was revealed early on after his inception, that J’onn loses access to all of his powers while he is invisible. Therefore, he must trade being a powerhouse for stealth.
“World’s Mightiest Mortal” isn’t just a catch phrase. Imbued with the powers of six deities (the Wisdom of Solomon, the Strength of Hercules, the Stamina of Atlas, the Power of Zeus, the Courage of Achilles, and the Speed of Mercury) Billy Batson is one of the most powerful beings on the planet. As a being that serves as a magical conduit, Shazam always has access to his abilities, whenever he says the magic word (“SHAZAM!”) which acts as a code word to activate them.
The Power of Shazam is more than a match for Superman, whom magic is one of his weaknesses. At one point in his history, Shazam has been depicted as being able to move stars and planets, something that Superman himself is also capable of. That said, Shazam is not without his own weakness. Despite having the appearance and powers of an adult, he is still a child at his core. This means that not only is he susceptible to the manipulation of any normal child, but he also can exploited into saying his magic word, and reverting back to his vulnerable, unpowered human form.
The Mighty Teth Adam is beyond a mere villain; he is a force of nature. The power that flows through him—six Egyptian deities, and their attributes; the Stamina of Shu, the Speed of Heru, the Strength of Amen, the Wisdom of Zehuti, the Power of Aten, and the courage of Mehen—has brought entire civilizations to their knees, in times both ancient and modern. Not to mention, Black Adam has gone toe to toe with many of DC’s heaviest hitters—Superman being amongst them—and was proven victorious more often than not.
However, as a ruler of his nation of Khandaq, which he rules with a firm hand, Adam is not without a level of arrogance, which has been his undoing in times past. Also, because of the similarities of their powers, Adam suffers the same weakness as that of Shazam; he too can be manipulated into reverting back to his depowered, human form. However, whereas it is usually Billy’s naivety that causes him to be tricked into saying his magic word, it is Black Adam’s ego that is always his undoing.
Andrew Pulaski wasn’t born with his powers. He’s not from another planet, nor, denote his namesake, was he descended from gods. He received his superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability and solar manipulation abilities by way of bioengineering. He has been seen walking on the surface of the sun, and is oftentimes depicted with an ambient orb of solar energy around his head, especially when he is in flight.
Though his powers behave very similar to the Man of Steel’s and others, the nature of his powers are slightly different. While Superman’s solar absorption is more ambient (meaning, he is constantly absorbing solar energy, and therefore for the drain of his solar reserves is far slower), Apollo’s metabolism of solar energy is much more immediate. This means that from a complete drain, Apollo can begin to replenish his solar reserves after a mere twenty seconds of solar exposure. However, the side effect to this, is that once he is cut off from sunlight, his powers begin to fade within moments.
This, along with the fact that he seems to have difficulty processing red sunlight (albeit without the debilitating effects that it has on Superman) are his only known weaknesses.
As a Kherubim Lord, Majestros’ powers are nearly identical to Superman’s, with the distinct difference of being able to shoot beams of energy from his hands. When the Windstorm Universe merged with the DC Universe proper, it was alluded that the planet of Khera might be a cousin planet to the planet Krypton, much in the way that the planet Daxam and Krypton are sister planets. Therefore, the Kherubim people gave similar physiologies to the Kryptonians and Daxamites, where all three races metabolize sunlight on a superhuman level.
However, unlike Krypton and Daxam, Khera orbits a yellow sun, & therefore most, if not all Kherubim possess super powers, to some extent or another. As a Kherubim lord, Majestros appears to be the most developed in regards to his superhuman abilities. Further, it seems that Mr. Majestic has inherited all of Superman’s powers, with very few of his weaknesses; Majestros is not susceptible to Kryptonite (neither are Daxamites), as he never inhabited the planet Krypton. It’s been alluded that he can be affected by magic, though the extent to which is unknown. It’s important to note that all Kherubim, though longevous, are all infertile. That, in addition to Majestros’ magnanimous ego, are perhaps his greatest weaknesses.
Referred to many times as the ‘Black Superman’, Augustus Freeman IV, known to this world as Icon, and to his native intergalactic civilization known as the Cooperative as Arnus (his native Terminan name), is every bit Superman’s equal, in more ways than one. Possessing staggering superhuman strength (he once punched Superman so hard in space, that Superman traveled several miles as a result of the impact!!), coupled with his super speed, flight, invulnerability and energy manipulation abilities (consisting of streams, waves, or bursts of Positronic energy, that he can emit from his hands, eyes, or entire body), Icon is a powerhouse to be reckoned with.
And yet, he too is not without weakness; though he is nigh invulnerable and can regenerate from harm, Augustus is susceptible to attack, and can therefore be injured if his attention is averted. Anything from slap to the face from a normal human, to a gunshot or worse can not only harm him, but also prove potentially fatal. Therefore, Icon’s self-awareness must always be maintained, lest his sole weakness would be exploited.
The overlord of Anti-Life is one of the most feared beings in the entire Multiverse. By his hand, have many galaxies been decimated. Darkseid feels no pity, no relent, no mercy. His machinations are exceeded only by his otherworldly strength and power. In one instance, he was depicted knocking Superman high into orbit with a single half-hearted punch.
Rarely does Darkseid get his hands dirty, but on those rare occasions, he seldom suffers defeat. No hero has ever laid claim of a true, clean victory over him in a fair fight. And whenever anything resembling a victory is won over Darkseid, it’s taken an entire League of heroes just to fight him to a standstill.
Still, his obsession with the Anti-Life Equation always seems to be his greatest shortcoming. He’s been known to abandon an otherwise successful invasion, for a glimpse of his most coveted prize. As with all powerful beings, hubris stands in the way of total conquest, and Darkseid is no different.
One of the most infamous characters in comics, known universally as the ‘Superman Killer’, Doomsday is his name incarnate. As resilient as he is tremendously powerful, he’s even bested Darkseid in single combat in the past. In fact, aside from a heat vision lobotomy at the hands of Superman in Justice League Unlimited, and the one occasion of being pummeled seemingly to death by the combined might of Superman, Supergirl, and a host of Kryptonians, Doomsday has never been definitively defeated.
His one weakness, if it could in fact be counted as such, would be his lack of intelligence.
So what say you all? Who do you think os the most powerful in the DCU? Who would be on your top 10? Sound off in the comments below.
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