Posted : 2013
Author : Kev Stewart
First things first; I’m a huge Superman fan and a huge fan of comics in general, so this is in no way an attempt to sully the character – it is merely an attempt to deal in facts and shed some light on a myth…
“What is that myth?” I hear you ask; All too often I see people saying “no one is more powerful than Superman” – and that simply isn’t true – so I’m going to point out a few characters of the heroic variety who would beat Superman (utilising consistent feats of power as actual evidence) in a straight up fight, if both characters were going all out to win, without any outside interference or extenuating circumstances (note; there are countless numbers of villains more powerful than him – Thanos, Surtur, Pre-Crisis Darkseid, Pre-Crisis Validus, Dormammu etc to name a few – but finding heroes who are more powerful than him is indeed a little bit more difficult).
I’m prepared for the fact that there will be a lot of disagreement from hardcore fans of the character who simply don’t like their favourite hero losing, but part of being a fan of the character is knowing everything about him or her – including their limitations – so do be open-minded please! On that note, using actual evidence from comic books i.e. mentioning actual ways in which said characters are more powerful than the man of steel by way of feats of power that they’ve actually demonstrated, here are eleven heroic comic book characters who are more powerful than Superman (in no particular order, as the power levels of these guys vary massively – they’re just all more powerful than Supes)…
Mister Majestic is a very similar character to the man of steel, demonstrating the same powerset – only on a more impressive scale. Their strength is fairly similar – Mister Majestic can move planets on strength alone – but particularly of note is the fact that he is considerably faster than Superman – he has travelled for months at a time at speeds well beyond that of lightspeed. He also has more esoteric powers to use, such as the fact that he has psychic powers (though he hasn’t used them much for offensive purposes, but they allow him to read the minds of others and predict their moves therefore) and has used telekinesis, which means he can move objects from a distance without touching them or use it to aid and reinforce his own physical strength. He can also become invisible (which might not help in a fight against Superman, but it gives him another extra power that Superman simply doesn’t have). He has also used his laser vision to turn a star ingot into a replacement for the sun as well as alter the composition of Jupiter on a pre-atomic level – both of which are insane feats of power. Majestic has a crazy feat where he used his super speed, strength, invulnerability and vision powers to mine his own minerals, smelt them, reshape them with his hands and create components for super-technology – all within nanoseconds.
10. The Silver Surfer (Marvel Comics)
Silver Surfer is simply outright more powerful than Superman in every way apart from physical strength – but that makes no difference because he is too durable to be hurt by Superman’s own physical attacks, given that he can casually hang out in a black hole (or he could just go intangible to avoid them) and he has a multitude of other powers that he could use to defeat the Kryptonian hero. The Silver Surfer is many times faster than light, whereas Superman’s speed tends to cap off at around lightspeed, so the Surfer can win the fight in a straight up one-on-one battle before Superman has processed a thought. He could do so, for example, by turning Superman in to a teapot using transmutation – something that Superman has absolutely no defence against – or he could emit massive amounts of Kryptonite radiation, given that he has a proven ability to do such things with varying types of radiation. If he was feeling eccentric, he could transmute Clark’s heart into a block of Kryptonite – and I remind you, this would all happen before Superman could process a thought, thanks to Surfer’s incalculably superior speed.
9. Martian Manhunter (DC Comics)
Martian Manhunter essentially has very similar physical statistics to Superman, but a whole load more powers that give him the overall edge. His strength is in the same ball park (though not quite up to Superman standards), given that he has done things like lift huge boulders, buildings and vessels, as well as having casually thrown people over 100 miles with perfect accuracy. His durability is on a similar level to Superman too, given that the two have exchanged blows before and taken them without any damage, while speed is also similar, given that Martian Manhunter has flown across a city to get in between a man and some bullets in the time it takes the bullets to get even halfway, given that he has flown around the world and smashed several giant machines then speedblitzed some White martians in the time it took someone to draw breath. Most importantly, speed wise, he has flown alongside Superman, going at full speed, and kept up comfortably. But, given that their speed is on a par, it’s the fact that Martian Manhunter has powers that can be operated with a single thought that puts him above Superman. If the two fought, while Superman would have to launch a physical attack on Martian Manhunter (whether that be flying towards him to attack him or firing a heat vision blast at him), he would merely have to think once to make himself completely intangible and therefore immune to anything Superman could do to him and then, whilst intangible, he could telepathically assault Superman. Martian Manhunter has the telepathic power to control thousands of minds at any one time. Martian Manhunter also has healing that is on a par with Wolverine’s (he has been turned to goo and full regenerated in seconds), telekinesis (so he can thrown Superman around from afar without even touching him) and the same kind of super-breath and heat vision that Superman has.
8. Supreme (Image Comics)
Supreme is another character, like Mister Majestic, who essentially has the same powerset as Superman – only on a more impressive level. He is more durable than Superman – being able to casually fly through a star and easily endure the vortex of a black hole. He is faster than Superman and can throw millions of faster-than-light punches in milliseconds, as well as being able to fly through space at speeds much, much faster than the speed of light. Strength-wise, as a point of reference, Supreme’s proven-weaker kid sister had a feat that had her basically moving the universe on sheer strength. Supreme is also made up of molecules that are constantly in flux, which gives him the ability to adapt on the fly to overcome any given opponent. For example, he has analysed his opponent’s atomic structure, on one occasion, and instantly developed a new power for himself to cancel it out. Doing so enabled Supreme to defeat said opponent with a single hit. Also, in a crossover comic (which I know isn’t canon, but it gives an idea of how powerful he is supposed to be), he beat the crap out of Thor and then took Mjolnir for himself.
7. The Mask (Dark Horse Comics)
I have a feeling this one might be controversial, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true! The Mask, although often portrayed as a bit of a joke character (particularly in the live action movie), is actually an insanely powerful character in the comic books. He is essentially a cartoon character, possessing “toonforce”, which basically enables him to conjure any power as he pleases and warp the very reality around him. He has never displayed physical strength on a par with Superman – that’s a given – but it’s the fact that he has such crazy durability and unkillability (meaning there is literally nothing that Superman can do to permanently put him down) in addition to the fact that he could turn Superman in to a bar of chocolate if he wanted to that makes him more powerful than the man of steel. The Mask has been at ground zero of a blast that destroyed a solar system and survived unscathed (in fact, he found it funny). He has also been blasted in to tiny little bits – each of which simply became independent little versions of the character, operating on their own, before simply coming back together to reform the Mask back to normal. He has also simply no-sold magic transmutation – he was magically turned in to a lump of cheese, but simply turned himself back to normal using his powers. The Mask is no slouch when it comes to speed either – a Mask wearer conjured a motorbike for himself out of nowhere and proceeded to ride around the Earth multiple times in a single panel, so his powers can clearly spawn speed powers on a par with Superman (indeed, he actually turned himself in to a version of the Flash in one scene in order to outrun a bullet and catch it in his mouth). The Mask also demonstrates the ability to mind-control people in to doing things they don’t want to do (for a mainstream version, think of the dance scene in the movie). I can picture him making Superman beat himself up. Basically, if the two fought, Superman could pummel the Mask in to tiny pieces, but the Mask would never, ever be permanently put down – and then he could just mind-control Superman or turn him in to something funny… like a piece of Kryptonite.
6. Classic Doctor Strange (Marvel Comics)
Current Doctor Strange is a shadow of his former self, which is why I have specified the classic Sorcerer Supreme version of the character. The classic version of the character was nowhere near as physically strong, fast or as durable as Superman, but he could defeat him in a one-on-one battle by virtue of having an automatic forcefield powerful enough to withstand anything the man of steel can physically dish out. From within that forcefield, Strange can then cast a wide variety of spells to defeat the Kryptonian – which will definitely work, given that magic is one of the things that he is by no means invulnerable to. For example, Strange could cast the Crimson Bands – a magical restraining spell that wraps around its target and has been used to hold characters as physically strong as the Hulk himself. Also, from the safety of his forcefield, he could let out his astral form and ruin Superman’s day telepathically from the astral plane. As a sorcerer who draws his power from a variety of massively powerful entities, such as the Vishanti (Hoggoth, Oshtur and Agamotto) and the Octessence (Balthakk, Cyttorak, Farallah, Ikonn, Krakkan, Raggadorr, Valtorr and Watoomb), the list of spells at Doctor Strange’s disposal that could ruin Superman’s day is almost endless.
5. Wally West (DC Comics)
Wally West beats Superman on speed alone. Fact. But the fact that he also has a whole host of other powers to boot ensures his victory over the man of steel. To put Wally West’s speed in to perspective, know this; When West learned that a large bomb was about to detonate in a city centre, at the moment of explosion, he evacuated half a million people to a safe point outside the bomb’s range, one person at a time, in ten picoseconds. That is insanely fast – far faster than Superman could ever even think of thinking, let alone moving. So, if the two were to ever have an all-out brawl, Wally could do whatever he needed to do before Superman ever realised that he was in a fight – and given the other things that Wally can do, that means the fight would be over before it even began. Wally West can steal the speed of other people, so he could turn Superman in to a stationary statue in an instant. There’s one thing he could do. Wally West can time travel, so he could dump Superman one hundred years in the past in an instant and then return to the present, having left the man of steel there. There’s another thing he could do. But in terms of actually fighting to defeat Superman, Wally West possesses a punch known as the IMP (the infinite mass punch) – an attack which hits with the power of a dwarf star. That would knock Superman clean out. He can also vibrate through objects and vibrate their molecules, causing them to explode. If he did that to Superman, the Kryptonian would blow in to a million pieces before he could react. There are actually other powers that the Speed Force grants, but I shouldn’t really need to mention any more to prove this point…
4. Ion (DC Comics)
Ion isn’t actually a character per se, it’s actually a benevolent symbiote, created when the first act of willpower in the universe was carried out, which embodies willpower itself and is the driving force behind the Green Lantern Corps and their power rings. When the entity has a host, the name Ion is often used as an alias by the hosting character – and in this case I’ll be referring to the time the Green Lantern Kyle Rayner was its host. Of course, any character hosting Ion has all the usual powers of a Green Lantern (flight, incredibly durable automatic forcefields, energy manipulation, the ability to create constructs and the ability to augment their own physical statistics etc), but they also possess other abilities of untold power. As Ion, Kyle Rayner was completely omniscient and omnipotent, possessing all knowledge and able to exist everywhere at once. He had complete control over time, space and reality and was essentially God. He fixed all of the world’s major problems at the same time by virtue of being everywhere he was needed simultaneously. He was never defeated and chose to submit his powers and bled them off to avoid losing his humanity. He did so by creating a generation of Guardians and restarting the central power battery – both of which are fine indications of the level of power he possessed, given that the Guardians are insanely powerful beings and the central power battery is what powers every single Green Lantern ring (of which there are hundreds).
3. Gladiator (Marvel Comics)
Gladiator beats Superman by virtue of the fact that he outclasses him in every single physical statistic. He doesn’t really possess any powers that Superman doesn’t possess – it’s simply that the ones he does possess are on a different level to the man of steel. Between shattering planets with his fists as a strength feat, swimming through stars as a durability feat and moving through high end time-dilations which were bordering on being a timestop, on pure speed, as a speed feat, he is essentially Superman squared. On the occasion that he shattered the planet, Gladiator was angry as he passed a large mass in space. A lifeless, humongous planet that was described as having “weathered the death of galaxies” (meaning something that had destroyed the very galaxy around it wasn’t powerful enough to destroy it) was in front of him. In his anger he smashed it to bits in one shot – essentially showing that he had the power to destroy something that a galaxy destroying event failed to destroy. Now that’s raw power. Going back to Gladiator’s speed; we all know that Superman is much faster than a bullet, but check this – Gladiator’s thoughts go so fast that he can have a prolonged internal debate with himself, complete with extensive flashbacks, while he debates whether or not to bother casually stopping a high-tech bullet travelling across a city towards Vulcan that he’s just watching come in. Seriously, that’s the plot of an entire comic – Gladiator casually watching the bullet come in across a city and wondering if he should just let it kill the guy.
2. Sentry (Marvel Comics)
Sentry is insanely powerful. The only thing he is inferior to Superman with regard to is his speed – but that doesn’t matter at all. To illustrate why, I will simply list some of the crazy feats of power Sentry has carried out… Sentry is said to have fought Galactus to a stalemate – Galactus being the devourer of planets and a character capable of destroying galaxies. If he can even come close to doing that, fighting Superman would be a cakewalk. He has defeated the Molecule Man at his own game (matter manipulation) – and bearing in mind Molecule Man is a MASSIVELY powerful character, this is no mean feat. It essentially means that he could turn Superman into a pencil. Strength-wise, he’s powered through the Crimson Bands – a powerful magic restraining spell which the likes of the Hulk have failed to escape from – and, with one hand, casually stopped a swing of Terrax’s axe-wielding hands – the same attack that has destroyed a planet before – which is also a crazy feat of durability that proves nothing that Superman could physically do to him would hurt him. He has destroyed a planet with his energy flares, which can also be seen in the normal world whilst he is in a microverse, which is an INSANE feat of power. A single wide-angled energy blast against Superman would kill the Kryptonian outright.
1. Odin (Marvel Comics)
Thor (who is generally around the same power level as Superman, apart from being substantially slower) has a father who goes by the name of Odin – as most people know. Odin could smash the living hell out of Superman. As a side effect of some of Odin’s more destructive battles, entire galaxies have been destroyed. Yes, you did indeed read that correctly; the collateral damage when Odin fights can be to the extent that entire galaxies are destroyed. So that’s not even the full level of his powers – he’s not directing his attacks at the galaxies – he’s directing them at his opponent (for example Set, the serpent god) but the impact of the attacks destroys the very galaxies around him. The man has also gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Galactus in a one-on-one battle. That’s correct; Galactus. The fellow who eats planets for lunch. He is far more durable than Superman, far stronger and possesses a host of esoteric abilities such as telepathy, energy blasts and manipulation, illusion casting, molecular manipulation and the creation of forcefields. He is a Skyfather – a being of a level well above that of Superman and he could literally let Superman wail on him all day without receiving so much as a scratch.
So, there you have it; eleven heroic comic book characters who are more powerful than Superman. Can you think of any more? Has this been an eye-opener for you? Are you angry with me? Please let me know in the comments box below (but at least try to be civil, please)!