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Marvel Vs DC: The 35 Most Powerful Superheroes, Ranked

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Marvel Vs DC: The 35 Most Powerful Superheroes, Ranked

Summary

  • As long as Marvel and DC have been the two dominant publishers in the comic book industry, fans have compared and contrasted the companies’ most powerful characters, seeking to determine who is truly the strongest superhero either has to offer.
  • From the Flash, who possesses the ability to tap into DC’s Speed Force, to Marvel’s Master of Magnetism, the powerful mutant known as Magneto, to the actual deities of both universes and those empowered by them, this list strives to offer a definitive ranking of the publishers’ most dominant heroes.
  • Both Marvel and DC have their share of cosmic powers, as well as ordinary characters who have been elevated to unimaginable levels of strength and ability – finding out out they stack up against one another is a must for any comic book fan, new or old.

When naming the strongest superhero or most powerful superhuman, it’s ultimately a question of Marvel vs DC Comics, who have been creating superheroes and gods for decades.Of all the most powerful beings and entities within the Marvel and DC universes, who reigns supreme, and who will fall short?

Marvel and DC fans are constantly comparing the heroes from their respective franchises. Each series of comics boasts a number of compelling and powerful characters, with every new installment to the cinematic universes expanding upon their range of skills and abilities. To make things simple, we took all the complicated flow charts of powerful superheroes in Marvel and DC (from comics to film) and separated them out in a neat and orderly ranked list. Rankings were conceived through power obtained and held by each character.Ultimately one brand features a roster even stronger than the other! But which one?

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35 The Speed Force Endows This Hero With Breathtaking Powers

DC: The Flash

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Flash Comics #1 (1940)

Gardner Fox (writer); Harry Lampert (artist)

Access to the Speed Force (cosmic energy), granting him super-speed; intangibility; ability to travel through and manipulate time

Since the inception of the character, the Flash – also going by the nickname of Scarlet Speedster – is a title that has been claimed by four different individuals: Jay Garrick (college athlete), Barry Allen (forensic scientist), Wally West (Barry’s nephew), and Bart Allen (Barry’s grandson).

Also known as the Fastest Man Alive, the Flash uses powers such as super-speed, intangibility, and superhuman agility. Flash can also move at speeds that alter time, allowing him to travel backward or forwards through DC’s timeline, proving him to be one of the most powerful superheroes.

Ranking: While the Flash’s speed powers certainly give him an advantage over many heroes and villains alike, his reality-warping tendencies have often been more troublesome than helpful. As he lacks a certain amount of control over these cosmic abilities that others on this list possess, he lands at the #30 spot here.

34 Asgardians Give All Heroes A Run For Their Money

Marvel: Heimdall

Heimdall Death in Marvel Comic

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Journey Into Mystery #85 (1962)

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber (writers); Jack Kirby (artist)

Asgardian physiology, granting him superhuman strength, senses, stamina, and durability; skilled in hand-to-hand marital combat

Heimdall is an Asgardian god. Known as a protector, Heimdall can see and hear just about everything within the Nine Realms. He is a brother to Sif and is a member of Vanir.

It is said about Heimdall, that he can, “hear sap running through trees and see events occurring miles away.” He stands over 7 feet high and weighs almost 600 pounds. Heimdall prefers to fight with a two-handed longsword. He also possessed the Odinpower for a short time, which allowed him to channel cosmic energies.

33 A Fan-Favorite Whose True Might Remains To Be Determined

DC: Beast Boy

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Doom Patrol #99 (1965)

Arnold Drake (writer): Bob Brown (artist)

Shapeshifting; ability to take on animal forms at will

As a perennial fan-favorite character, it is likely that Beast Boy’s power set will only continue to grow more impressive with future stories.

DC’s “Beast World” crossover event made it clear that Beast Boy can be a global threat under the right circumstances, as Beast Boy “spores” spread his powers across the globe, wreaking great havoc before the outbreak was contained. This event raised the question of the true limit of his transformative abilities.

For example, were Beast Boy’s power to allow him the ability to take the form of a virus, or bacteria, he could prove to be a threat the heroes of the DC Universe are not prepared to face. As a perennial fan-favorite character, it is likely that Beast Boy’s power set will only continue to grow more impressive with future stories.

32 One Of The Strongest Healing Factors In Comic Book History

Marvel: Deadpool

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

The New Mutants #98 (1991)

Fabian Nicieza (writer): Rob LIefeld (writer; artist)

Mutant healing factor, essentially granting him immortality; weapons expert; hand-to-hand combat expert; superhuman reflexes; ability to break the fourth wall

Wade Winston Wilson – aka Deadpool or the Merc with a Mouth – is known for his obnoxious personality, though his greatest superpower is his healing, derived from Wolverine’s healing factor, which allows him to quickly regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of his cellular structure.

This healing factor allows for his musculature to generate fewer fatigue toxins than the muscles of an ordinary human. This gives him superhuman levels of stamina in all physical activities while enhancing his natural strength, agility, and reflexes which helps the argument that he is one of the most powerful superheroes. Deadpool’s agility and reaction time surpass even the best human athlete.

31 A Justice League Stalwart With A Range Of High-Level Powers

DC: Martian Manhunter

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Detective Comics #225 (1955)

Joseph Samachson (writer) Joe Certa (artist)

Martian physiology, granting powers including shapeshifting; invisibility; phasing; regeneration; flight; speed; and superhuman strength.

J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is one of the founding members of the Justice League of America, and is considered to be one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. Throughout his history, Martian Manhunter has gone by 21 different aliases, including Mrs. Klingman, a high school civics teacher of none other than Clark Kent.

He is often referred to as “the Swiss Army knife of superheroes,” although, Martian Manhunter’s powers and abilities are common to other members of his race. A handful of his many powers include shapeshifting, invisibility, phasing, regeneration, flight, speed, and superhuman strength.

30 Original Avenger & Asgardian Allfather

Marvel: Thor

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Journey into Mystery #83 (1962)

Stan Lee & Larry Lieber (writers); Jack Kirby (artist)

Asgardian deity & current Allfather, abilities include control of lightning and thunder; superhuman strength and durability; cosmic awareness; wields the hammer Mjolnir

Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has depicted the character as an increasingly comedic figure, in the comics, Thor is one of Marvel’s most dangerous warriors.

Thor is the Asgardian god of thunder and easily one of Marvel’s most powerful superheroes. In addition to his natural superhuman abilities, with the passing of Odin, Thor became the Allfather, the most powerful Asgardian within the Nine Realms.

Thor’s abilities also include elemental powers such as weather and electricity manipulation. He also learned how to take flight without the use of Mjolnir Hammer, and has regeneration powers. Though the Marvel Cinematic Universe has depicted the character as an increasingly comedic figure, in the comics, Thor is one of Marvel’s most dangerous warriors.

29 One Of The Justice League’s Big Three & The Original Amazon

DC: Wonder Woman

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

All-Star Comics #8 (1941)

William Moulton Marston (writer); Harry G. Peter (artist)

Amazonian physiology, granting her powers including super-strength; invulnerability; flight; superhuman agility; superhuman healing; advanced in combat techniques & strategy; familiar with magic weaponry.

Diana the Amazon Princess, better known as Wonder Woman was created by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, and artist Harry G. Peter. Her character was inspired by Marson’s wife, Elizabeth, and their lover, Olive Byrne. Wonder Woman is unique because she was sculpted from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and given life by Aphrodite. She was also given superhuman powers as gifts by the Greek gods. DC recently changed her backstory, though, as now she is the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta.

Wonder Woman’s powers include super-strength, invulnerability, flight, combat skill, combat strategy, superhuman agility, healing, and magic weaponry. She also has the wisdom of the goddess Athena, along with 7 powerful pieces of equipment that enhance her abilities further. Most notably, her Lasso of Truth and Bracelets of Submission.

28 This Avenger Has Brought The World To Its Knees Before

Marvel: Hulk

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962)

Stan Lee (writer); Jack Kirby (artist)

Bruce Banner’s Hulk form grants him superhuman strength; invulnerability; shockwave generation; gamma ray emission; Banner on his own posessess a genius-level intellect

Robert Bruce Banner, when transformed into the massive, unstoppable force of nature known asthe Hulk, stands at a height of almost 8 feet tall, and weighs in at close to 1,400 pounds. Certainly, he is not a superhero one wants to fight in close quarters with, as the angrier the Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes.

He can jump several hundred miles in one bound and can run at super speeds. Although, at some point, he begins to destroy the surrounding ground while running that fast, which is why he prefers to jump. The Hulk also has regeneration powers, along with an oxygenated perfluorocarbon emulsion, allowing him to breathe underwater and can move between varying depths without having to worry about decompression or nitrogen narcosis.

27 The Avatar Of God’s Vengeance

DC: Spectre

The Spectre Face from DC Comics Art

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

More Fun Comics #52 (1940)

Jerry Siegel (writer); Bernard Bailey (artist)

Divine empowerment, granting him powers including immortality; energy manipulation; super-strength; flight; connection to the spirit realm.

With multiple versions attached to his name, Spectre was first introduced in More Fun Comics #52 (1940). More Fun would eventually become part of DC Comics. The Spectre is not a normal superhero. It’s a cosmic entity and the physical embodiment of god’s vengeance on Earth. Spectre normally assigns itself to a human host, starting with cop Jim Corrigan and followed by Hal Jordan.

Spectre has Divine Empowerment, which gives him unlimited power thus resulting in him becoming one of DC’s most powerful superheroes. At various times, Spectre has been considered one of the most powerful beings in existence, second to One. He can warp and control reality, along with time and space. Spectre also has access to all the knowledge in the universe, including events altered through distorting time. A Spectre host manifests a unique Spectre form. Sometimes the Spectre form is recognizable by those who knew the host in life.

26 A Classic Mythological Hero Redefined By Modern Legends

Marvel: Hercules

Marvel Comics Hercules Cosmic Costume

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 (1965)

Stan Lee (writer); Jack Kirby (artist)

Olympian physiology, granting him immortality; invulnerability; superhuman strength; superhuman agility; skilled fighter

Based on the hero from Greek mythology, Hercules was introduced to the Marvel Universe by legendary creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 60s. He received his own series titled The Incredible Hercules in 2008. Hercules is simply known for his superhuman strength. Hercules is so strong, he can lift or press more than 100 tons, making him one of the strongest superheroes in the Marvel Universe. Hercules is also an Olympian god, meaning he’s immortal. He can be wounded in battle, but he won’t die by conventional means.

His weapon of choice was forged by the god Hephaestus from enchanted adamantine called Golden Mace (not made from gold). Hercules’ mace has survived attacks from Thor’s hammer in the past. Hercules also exists in an alternate universe where he is the sole survivor of the Olympians. He leaves Olympus to become the father of a new race of gods.

25 Krypton’s Favorite Daughter

DC: Supergirl

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Action Comics #252 (1959)

Otto Binder (writer); Al Plastino (artist)

Kryptonian physiology, granting her powers including super-strength; flight; invulnerability; super speed; heat vision; freeze breath; X-ray vision; superhuman hearing; and healing factor

Created as a female counterpart to the Man of Steel, Supergirl is also as Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El has the same abilities as Clark Kent including his 5 enhanced visual abilities. Areas in which she stands out on her own include being trained in hand-to-hand combat by Batman, first-level Klurkor, multilingualism, genius intellect, and even artistry.

Supergirl’s powers include super-strength, flight, invulnerability, super speed, heat vision, freeze breath, X-ray vision, superhuman hearing, and healing factors. Kara was a fierce, impulsive, and sometimes immature teenager. When she landed on Earth Supergirl was suffering from undiagnosed Kryptonite poisoning. Being trapped with a chunk of Kryptonite for 30 years damaged her brain, making her prone to wild mood swings.

24 A Spider-Man Enemy Turned Cosmic “King”

Marvel: Venom (Eddie Brock)

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (May 1988)

David Michelinie (writer); Todd MacFarlane (writer; artist)

Symbiote grants its host superhuman strength; invulnerability; enhanced speed; healing factor; As King in Black Eddie Brock also possesses the abilities of symbiote telepathy and mental time travel

After killing Knull, the god of the symbiotes,

Eddie Brock became Marvel’s “King in Black,” elevating the Spider-Man

antagonist to a role of cosmic importance and power.

While several of the heroes represented here began – or have spent time as – villains, Venom was the most unequivocally evil in his villain era. The character’s popularity shifted him into the role of anti-hero; over time he has taken on an almost entirely heroic role.

After killing Knull, the god of the symbiotes, Eddie Brock became Marvel’s “King in Black,” elevating the Spider-Man antagonist to a role of cosmic importance and power. The role of Venom has also, at times, been filled by the overtly heroic Dylan Brock, Eddie’s son – though the senior Brock remains the one, true wielder of the symbiote’s power.

23 This Hero Controls His Universe’s Powerful Magic Forces

DC: Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate flies and puts his arm out in as a JSA

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

More Fun Comics #55 (1940)

Gardner Fox (writer); Howard Sherman (artist)

Magical expertise; wearer of the Helmet of Fate, which grants abilities including astral projection & control of the natural elements

Over the years, many have taken on the title of Doctor Fate: Kent Nelson, Jared Stevens, Khalid Nassour. And they all have one thing in common: They all wore one of the most powerful relics in the DC Universe, the Helmet of Fate. The spirit of Nabu, a powerful cosmic being resides in the helmet, and those that are chosen to bear the mantle of Doctor Fate are granted godlike magic abilities.

With Nabu’s guidance, Doctor Fate serves as the DCU’s leading authority on magic, and he has used his arcane abilities to stop overwhelmingly powerful enemies such as Wotan and Mordu. Of course, Nabu and those that serve as Doctor Fate aren’t always on the same. But when the two entities are in sync, the magic of Fate is nearly unbeatable.

22 The Former Herald Of Galactus Turned Interstellar Hero

Marvel: Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer in space in Marvel Comics

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Fantastic Four #48 (1966)

Jack Kirby (writer & artist)

Wields cosmic powers; indestructible; light-speed travel; ability to transverse dimensional barriers

Born Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer is known as one of the noblest and tormented entities in the Marvel Universe. The Silver Surfer wields the power cosmic, allowing him to absorb and manipulate the universe’s ambient cosmic energies. He’s almost totally indestructible and can navigate space, hyperspace, and dimensional barriers.

The Silver Surfer can reach hyperspace speeds on his board and has even time traveled before. Like Hercules, his strength level is 100 plus. He also converts matter into energy, meaning he never has to eat or drink for survival resulting him in becoming an immensely powerful superhero.

21 A Character So Strong That It Makes Him Vulnerable

DC: Captain Atom

Captain Atom looking towards the reader in the DC Comics

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Space Adventures #33 (1960)

Joe Gill (writer) Steve Ditko (writer & artist)

Quantum senses; quantum duplication; omnipotent knowledge; levitation; matter reconstruction

Captain Atom (Nathaniel Adam) first appeared in Space Adventures #33 (1960), created by writer Joe Gill and artist/co-writer Steve Ditko. His powers include enhanced senses, better known as his quantum senses. Captain Atom perceives time differently than most, being able to see the past and future as one single entity. He essentially knows everything and can remember it too.

Because Captain Atom has an enhanced mental capacity, allowing him to process information like a super-powered computer. He once interfaced with a PC and read 100 yottabytes (one septillion or 1024 bytes) of information in an extremely short amount of time. Other abilities include telekinetically restructuring matter, levitating, changing size, along with creating clones via quantum superposition. Captain Atom has quantum armor, disintegration, molecular reconstruction, and is invulnerable.

Ranking: Ironically, Captain Atom has proved to be so powerful that he has proven difficult to include in DC stories without having him immediately solve the conflict, resulting in the character
repeatedly being killed off
. As a result of his frequent deaths, he ranks lower than he might be expected to.

20 An Underrated Powerhouse Lurking Out In The Galaxy

Marvel: Grand Master

grandmaster in thor ragnarok

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

The Avengers #69 (1969)

Roy Thomas (writer); John Buschema (artist)

Powers include near-immortality; levetation; energy blasts; reality manipulation

The Grandmaster is one of the ageless Elder of the Universe, sometimes depicted as the Collector. The Grand Master is the king of manipulation; mastering most civilizations’ games that require skill. His powers include a virtually immortal body, levitation, energy blasts, and being able to manipulate reality by time traveling through space.

One of the Grand Master’s greatest powers includes being able to wish someone’s early termination simply by wishing it. And he’s able to maintain a psychic link with the most advanced computers of his base world. In Thor: Ragnarok he was portrayed in a more comedic fashion, barely showing off any of his powers or abilities. He did have a cool Melt Stick, however, which happens to be his weapon of choice.

19 The Captain Gets His Powers From The Gods Themselves

DC: Shazam

Shazam 14 Variant Cover DC Comics

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Whiz Comics #2 (Fawcett Comics, 1940)

Bill Parker (writer); C.C. Beck (artist)

Magic powers bestowed by ancient gods, including super-strength; invulnerability and superhuman durability; flight; electrokinesis

Shazam debuted as a Fawcett Comics character, before DC bought the rights to him in 1973, and he was re-introduced with the publication of Shazam! #1. This superhero is the alter ego of Billy Batson. Billy speaks the magic word SHAZAM (an acronym of six immortal elders: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), transforming into a powerful god-like superhero (Shazam!) to fight against villainous criminals.

Shazam’s powers include the usual superhero strengths and durability along with divine empowerment, transformation, electrokinesis, magic, flight, and even immortality while in his transformed state. Shazam (Captain Marvel) can use power distribution too, allowing him to share his magical powers with anyone in his family that he so chooses. This creates similar and different powers within those individuals based on their personalities.

18 The Master Of Magnetism Has An All-Time Great Redemption Arc

Marvel: Magneto

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

The X-Men #1 (1963)

Stan Lee (writer); Jack Kirby (artist)

Omega-level mutant powers granting him mastery of magnetic fields; psychic resistance via his signature helmet

Magneto began as the first antagonist in
X-Men
history, but his enduring appeal to fans has been as a heroic character, a turn which started in the 1980s

Magneto began as the first antagonist in X-Men history, but his enduring appeal to fans has been as a heroic character, a turn which started in the 1980s. Creators have subsequently tried to return him to his arch-villain status, but in every case, Marvel has quickly reversed course – and it can be argued, doubled-down on his heroism.

The latest example of this is Magneto’s death and return, as part of the final act of X-Men’s Krakoan Saga. Resurrection of Magneto portrayed a stunning summary of the character’s impact on the Marvel Universe in which the lives he has taken are literally outweighed by those he has saved.

Ranking: While some characters ranked below Magneto on this list have more powerful natural abilities, few characters in any superhero universe wield their abilities as deftly as Magneto. Further, considering it is rare that he enters any circumstance or setting that is totally devoid of metal, the result is a near-instant solution to almost any problem.

17 The Living Embodiment Of Tyranny

DC: Darkseid

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970)

Jack Kirby

New God Physiology, Omega-Effect, Super Strength, Nigh Invulnerability

Darkseid is one of the biggest threats in the DC Universe. He is the living personification of tyranny and seeks to control all life in the Universe through the Anti-Life Equation. He has been a major villain of both Superman and the Justice League and is an ever-present threat.

Due to his New God Physiology, he’s capable of great acts of destruction and has been behind or related to some of the greatest Crisis events that DC has ever faced. Darkseid’s power is so great that he has not only beaten heroes like Shazam and Wonder Woman but he’s also beaten two separate versions of Superman simultaneously with no problems at all.

16 The Genocidal Mad Titan

Marvel: Thanos

First Appearance:

Creators:

Powers

Iron Man #55 (1972)

Jjim Starlin Mike Friedrich

Necromancy, Immortality, Immense Strength, Nigh Invulnerability

Like Darkseid is to the DC Universe, Thanos has been a considerable threat to the Marvel Universe. His worship of death has led him on several genocidal rampages across the universe, and he’s succeeded in killing just about everyone at least once. While Thanos is incredibly deadly on his own, he also has a habit of collecting the Infinity Gems and using them for his genocidal ambitions.

There are few villains in Marvel who command as much respect and fear as Thanos, and even fewer who have killed as many people as Thanos. While there are certainly stronger characters on this list, Thanos is the only one who has successfully killed every being in the Marvel Universe at one time.

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