Superman, the Man of Steel and the Last Son of Krypton, is generally considered not only of the greatest superheroes in comic books, but also one of the most powerful. In fact, it’d be fair to say that he’s known for his ridiculous power-sets and his ability to do practically what is required of the story. He’s moved planets; travelled at hundreds of times the speed of light, time-travelled for grins and giggles, and even famously sneezed away an entire galaxy. Few heroes and villains present a genuine challenge to the Man of Steel, which has made some readers consider Kal-El boring; he can do anything and beat anyone. Except for those characters he can’t.
You may not realize it, but there’s a plethora of characters in the DC Universe capable of destroying Superman. Yet for one reason or another, the powers that be at DC Comics have decided to keep these characters hidden. These individuals are simply missing from current comics. Presumably, there isn’t enough room for multiple Supermen and/or beings capable of thrashing Superman with the flick of a finger. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 characters DC Comics has kept hidden that can totally take down Superman.
15. THE SPECTRE
A charter member of the Justice Society of America, the Spectre gets his power from God himself. A being of magic, capable of doing practically anything, the Spectre is a god in his own right. With limitless strength and the ability to control all matter, along with time and space, the Spectre is really only hindered by his human host and their ability to judge someone fairly. Aside from the Presence and perhaps one or two other godly beings, the Spectre is second to none.
Heroes and villains alike do everything they can to stay out of his way and treat him with only immense respect. However, if the Spectre tries to judge/kill someone the Presence and/or God doesn’t want him to, then the Spectre’s powers are ineffectual against the individual. Also, he doesn’t harm innocent people. Where the Spectre is now is anybody’s guess.
14. MARTIAN MANHUNTER
For the longest while, DC Comics fans have wondered just where the heck the Martian Manhunter is. Appearing for brief stint during the New 52 series Stormwatch and even briefer still in his own mini-series afterwards, there’s been no recent sign of everyone’s favorite Martian, J’onn J’onzz. The last surviving Green Martian, his power is so great that for all intents and purposes he can beat Superman.
Already sporting all of Superman’s powers, i.e. strength, flight, heat vision, and invulnerability, Martian Manhunter also comes equipped with telepathy, shapeshifting, and he can become intangible. Superman once admitted fearing J’onn’s power and it’s easy to understand why. And so, DC has quietly swept Martian Manhunter under the rug, letting him drift off quietly, allowing readers to believe Superman is the world’s strongest hero.
13. PHANTOM STRANGER
One of DC’s premiere magic users, there are few more adept at the arcane arts than the Phantom Stranger. He uses his abilities primarily to assist other heroes, but the Stranger will get personally involved if a situation is dire enough. When he does, few opponents can match him, including Superman. Effectively immortal, the exact nature and limits of his power are unknown to even the Phantom Stranger.
He can teleport, travel between dimensions (including Heaven and Hell), time travel, fire energy blasts, dispel magic, can survive without air, manipulate reality, visit people in their dreams, is omniscient and cannot be hurt through physical means. His only weakness is magic and it has to be someone on the tier of the Spectre, God’s vengeance, or even God, for him to be troubled. The mini-series Trinity of Sin was when last we saw him.
While there have been several iterations of Firestorm, they all have one commonality: they’re all wicked powerful. Potentially one of, if not the, mightiest people on the planet, according to Batman, Firestorm has enough power to bring Superman to his knees and then some. Though Firestorm’s range of powers might be pretty broad, his simpler abilities consist of firing nuclear fusion blasts, absorbing radiation, phasing through objects, and he’s even superhumanly strong.
Yet none of that compares to his trump card: his ability to rearrange the atomic and subatomic structure of inorganic matter. Frankly, he can turn anything into anything, and that includes kryptonite. Additionally, Firestorm can use his molecular rearranging power on himself to shapeshift, regenerate and give himself the ability to survive without food or water. He’s a walking powerhouse Superman could not stop and he hasn’t interacted with the DCU in a big way for a while.
11. COMPOSITE SUPERMAN
If you’re unfamiliar with the villainous Composite Superman, don’t feel bad, as that only means DC has done a stellar job of keeping the Batman/Superman hybrid away from readers’ eyes. The story of Composite Superman is a weird one, and that’s saying something since this is comics. After Joseph Meach tries to commit suicide Superman saves him and gives him a job at the Superman Museum. While there, a bolt of lightning strikes him and a display of statues of the Legion of Super-Heroes and he gets all their powers; Superman’s included.
Meach then turned his skin green and gave himself a ridiculous Superman/Batman costume. Despite his general kookiness, the Composite Superman proved stronger than Superman and is capable of not only taking on the Man of Steel and Batman simultaneously, but the entire Legion of Super-Heroes too. Goodness knows when/if we’ll see the bizarre villain again.
10. THE PRESENCE
Out of all the characters to keep excluded from the DC Universe, you’d think God would not be one of them Well you’d be wrong. It’s been years since we saw God, or as he’s known in this case, the Presence. DC Comics’ version of God, the Presence rarely appears, if only because it can do anything. The Presence has taken many forms over the years including the disembodied Voice of God, and the source of the Spectre’s power, and the Hand.
The Presence is infinite and eternal and second only to the Primal Monitor, which is essentially the writer and/or the canvas and paper of whatever comic book he’s featured in. With such a vast array of power, and the strongest being on this list, it’s easy to see why DC would keep the Presence hidden, but it would be nice to see God now and again.
An android built by the mad Professor Ivo, the scientist was completely obsessed with power and wanted to create something that couldn’t die and could defeat any adversary it came across. To that end, he created Amazo, who had the combined powers of the original Justice League, including, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Superman. Capable of using the powers to their fullest extent and in any combination, Amazo is simply stronger than Superman in every way.
Add to the fact that the android can absorb and replicate additional powers, and it makes him more of an unstoppable beast. Only through clever thinking and plenty of training and teamwork is the Justice League ever able to stop him. Even so, an iteration of Amazo appeared in The New 52, but DC has kept him under wraps since then.
Without question Superboy-Prime is one of the strongest non-magic based mortals in the entire DC Universe. Leagues above most singular heroes or villains, Superboy-Prime stems from a universe much like our own, where he was the only person with superpowers. Originally a good guy during Crisis On Infinite Earths, he went insane in Infinite Crisis.
He fought virtually every superhero on the planet and nearly took them all down. With power dwarfing Superman’s by leaps and bounds, there’d be nothing the Man of Steel could do if the crazed Kryptonian returned. His impact on the DC Universe was profound. He started the Rann-Thanagarian War, killed Superman from Earth-2, murdered multiple Green Lanterns, punched a hole in reality, and would have killed Ion if the heroes of Earth didn’t stop him. Currently, DC is keeping him tucked away; who knows if we’ll ever see Superboy-Prime again.
There have been multiple Gogs in DC Comics and they’ve all proven crazy powerful. The most common iteration is William Matthews; when he became Gog he also turned into a literal god. Gog possesses all the fancy powers you can think of, including bending time and reality, super strength, energy blasts, flight and even granting people wishes!
If there’s any question about whether Gog could kill Superman, Mark Waid’s The Kingdom ended the debate. Gog, imbued with unearthly power, goes back in time and kills Superman with minimal effort. Then he takes it one step further and travels back a day into the past, killing him again. He repeats the process over and over again. Despite his power, or maybe because in spite of it, there’s been no sign of Gog for years and nobody seems to have asked why.
6. CAPTAIN ATOM
Nathanial Adam, or Captain Atom, is not only ridiculously powerful, but also the general inspiration for Alan Moore’s Watchmen character Doctor Manhattan. Captain Atom’s origin involved getting disintegrated and then reformed as a nigh all-powerful being with a wide array of powers. Aside from the basic abilities like flight, super strength, and invulnerability, Captain Atom’s true strength lies in his ability to manipulate and project incredible energy, transmute properties and objects, and can even control his size.
Already made primarily of living energy, Captain Atom’s only legitimate weakness is overusing his powers, which leaves him unable to maintain a physical form. Even if Captain Atom can’t move planets like Superman, his other abilities make up for it. With a thought he can manipulate reality, summon nuclear energy, or even let loose a volley of red sun or kryptonite-based radiation at Superman. After his latest mini-series, Captain Atom is M.I.A.
5. MISTER MAJESTIC
Mister Majestic was Wildstorm’s answer to Superman. His similarities to Superman are staggering; he’s really just another version of the Man of Steel, but under a different name. Mister Majestic has all of Superman’s powers, but to an even more heightened degree. While their physical strength is similar, Majestic simply has more powers than Superman.
He’s leagues faster and has more endurance; Mister Majestic is noted at having travelled for months at a time at speeds greater than light. Aside from the strength to move planets and move faster than light speed, Mister Majestic’s powers also include invisibility, telekinesis, telepathy, and even heat vision after a fashion. However, Majestic’s heat vision is hundreds of times more powerful as it’s changed the composition of Jupiter, altering it on a pre-atomic level. Mister Majestic was last seen in the comic Team Seven, but there hasn’t been a peep since.
Ion is the benevolent symbiote and the physical embodiment of the first act of willpower in the universe. As such, it is the source behind the Green Lantern Corps and the power they get from their will-based energy rings. In this particular context, we’ll be looking at Ion as seen when the host was Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. During the time he possessed the Ion power, Kyle had all the usual Green Lantern powers like force fields, energy manipulation, and the ability to create constructs with the only limit being his imagination.
From there, the dial turned up to eleven; Kyle became omnipotent and omniscient, capable of existing everywhere at once simultaneously. Furthermore, Kyle, or Ion, could control time and space without any difficulty and manipulate reality to his whim. He essentially became God. Where is Ion now? Good question.
An interdimensional demon and one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, the monster known as Trigon has enslaved countless worlds. The father to the Teen Titan Raven, but also a bunch of super nasty demons, Trigon claims to have existed since the beginning of the universe. A magical creature, his power not only dwarfs Superman, but nearly everyone else’s.
Immortal, Trigon is also telepathic, invulnerable, telekinetic, can discharge energy projectiles and can totally manipulate reality and transmute matter. Only beings like the 5th Dimensional Mister Mxyzptlk have any chance of taking him on. His powers don’t end there as Trigon can open wormholes, grow in size, and even once reshaped the entire Earth to his whim, becoming omniscient in the process. Yet to this day, and despite all his feats, Trigon’s full power has never been seen. Since the New 52, Trigon’s whereabouts have remained a mystery.
Impossibly old, the crazy alien known as Larfleeze is also the sole bearer of the Orange Lantern Ring. What does that mean exactly? Well, having the only Orange Lantern ring also means he possesses the entire might of a whole Lantern corps, or the Orange Corps in this case. He doesn’t have to share power with other members, but can harness and exercise the Orange Light of Avarice to its fullest on his own.
With far more power than any other power ring, Larfleeze can easily dominate any, and probably all, Green Lanterns, who themselves certainly have the power to take down Superman. In fact, his ring is 100,000 times more powerful than a standard Green Lantern ring. Along with generating hard-light constructs, anyone Larfleeze kills becomes added power for him as he can use Orange construct versions of them for his personal army.
1. DOCTOR FATE
While Superman may not have many weaknesses, magic is by far one of his sneakier ones. With no proper defense against it, Superman easily falls prey to an adept magic user, much less someone on the level of Doctor Fate. Already one of the most powerful heroes out there, Doctor Fate is also one of the strongest sorcerers in the universe. Barring godly entities like the Spectre or the Presence, few can challenge the good Doctor.
All knows Fate’s prowess in magic, but he can do more than conjure earth-shattering spells. Fate also boasts super strength, telepathy, invulnerability, telekinesis, and can manipulate lightning…because why not? While he’s popped up here and there in such titles like Blue Beetle and Dark Nights Metal, he’s never allowed to explore the full extent of his powers. If he were, every problem would be over in an instant.
Which character do you hope to see more of from DC in the future? Let us know in the comments!