Comic book characters have become the new pantheon of myth in the real world, but it’d be hard to find a person who believes they are literally true. In the world of comic books, gods have the advantage of being provably real with actual visible proof. A few of them have even become recognizable through movie and television adaptations, like how Thor from Marvel Comics has appeared in all sorts of cartoons and headlined several MCU movies.
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However, this list isn’t for them. Thor and Zeus are all kinds of fun, but they’ve had their day in the sun. Instead, CBR is going to take a look at some of the lesser-known deities, divine beings, superheroes and villains whom you’ve forgotten are gods.
Oshtur was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and she first appeared in “Marvel Premiere #5” in 1972. Oshtur was one of the first Elder Gods that appeared when the Demiurge breathed life onto the surface of the planet. However, she left the newborn planet behind before the rest of the Elder Gods got especially nasty, particularly to humans.
Oshtur made it home after a while with her partner Hoggoth (an alien god) in tow, and they had a child together after observing human children at play. This child grew up to become Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme of the Earthly dimension. Oshtur also created the Book of Vishanti and the Tome of Oshtur. She’s consistently depicted as kind and noble, with a deep love for humanity. In fact, this love is manifested in the bloodline of Ororo Munroe: this line of African women have white hair, blue eyes and magical potential as a result of Oshtur’s blessing.
14. LORD CHAOS
This abstract entity is the literal embodiment of chaos, created by Jim Starlin and first appearing in “Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.” It’s not exactly overflowing with personality, given that it has exactly as much as the construct dictates. Lord Chaos encompasses the concepts of disorder, formlessness and randomness. The comics have never clarified the origin of these abstract concepts, but it has been speculated that Lord Chaos might have once been an intelligent organism. At some point, the organism would have dedicated its existence to the area of its choice until it became synonymous with that concept. Lord Chaos may have also been created for a specific purpose, but that too remains a mystery.
Lord Chaos first appeared during the final war with Thanos, a mad Titanian who manipulated Earth’s heroes into doing his bidding. The full scope of Lord Chaos’ powers are unknown, but it can be safely speculated they are incredibly effective.
13. MASTER ORDER
Master Order is the “brother” of Lord Chaos and its diametric opposite. This abstract entity is the literal embodiment of discipline, law, order and structure. It first appeared alongside Lord Chaos in “Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2.” Its powers have been confirmed to include cosmic energy manipulation, some form of immortality it and maintains a telepathic link with Lord Chaos and the brothers’ creation, the In-Betweener. Master Order does, however, lack a physical form. In order to appear, Master Order must use Manifestation Bodies from the Dimension of Manifestations in order to appear before Earth’s mightiest heroes.
It’s strongly implied that it was Master Order and Lord Chaos’ machinations that enabled Peter Parker to gain his powers, thus allowing him to play a larger part in the future of the cosmos. The essence of these cosmic beings have been used as a kind of infection to make the Fantastic Four fight amongst themselves, brought on by the In-Betweener.
This being spent most of his time being worshipped as the Japanese god of evil, but he’s been on the side of the good guys every now and again. Amatsu-Mikaboshi was created by Michael Avon Oeming and Scott Kolins, and first appeared in “Thor: Blood Oath #6” in 2005. One of his most powerful weapons is the mystical Grasscutter Sword, Kusanagi. However, Mikaboshi himself has the ability to fly, teleport, shape-shift, and survive in the vacuum of space without any kind of life support.
His biggest beefs haven’t actually been with any of his fellow Japanese gods, since after he recovered Kusanagi, he conquered Yomi (the Japanese underworld) with relative ease. Instead, Mikaboshi spent most of his time trying to defeat the Olympian gods by kidnapping Ares’ song and mortally wounding Zeus. Eventually, Mikaboshi was defeated. However, once “Secret Invasion” rolled around, Mikaboshi fought alongside his Olympic rivals in order to defeat the Skrull gods on the Skrull planet.
11. SENA THE WANDERER
Sena the Wanderer was created by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Scott Kolins, and first appeared in “Larfleeze #2.” She’s a part of the team known as the Gods of the House of Tuath-Dan, and is an antagonist of Larfleeze and Pulsar Stargrave. Sena uses telekinesis, energy projection, flight, as well as superhuman speed and strength. However, a vulnerability that the Gods of the House of Tuath-Dan share is if one of their members is killed, the rest of the team suffer physical consequences.
Sena has a tendency to want to bend anyone she wants to her will. One time she wanted to keep Pulsar Stargrave as a servant – but only after she either sterilized him or turned him into a woman. Pulsar eventually got away after Larfleeze put up a fight. Unfortunately, this enraged Sena to make Larfleeze’s constructs (which take the form of people he’s killed and are believed by some to be their actual souls) real in order to kill him.
Protégé first appeared in 1991 in the comic “Guardians of the Galaxy” #15. Like many others on this list, Protégé is a cosmic entity, this one ruling over the Universal Church of Truth. However, this one remains child-like in appearance. He’s worshipped as a god by his followers, including the Skrull shapeshifter Replica who gives the Guardians of the Galaxy to him as playthings. His many abilities are derived from power mimicry, which allows him to pick up the powers of nearly everyone he comes across. It is also stated by Eternity that Protégé will gain infinite omnipotence at some point during his life.
By the 31st century, Protégé nearly dissolved the Living Tribunal because his powers had grown to such an extent that he could overrule anyone who opposed him. He even attempted to usurp the Marvel universe’s creator, The-One-Above-All. However, the Celestial Scathan the Approver judged against him, and the Living Tribunal was able to absorb the child-god.
The-One-Above-All first appeared in “Sensational Spider-Man #40,” but is believed to be the origin of life in all of the multiverse and beyond. It’s also the only supreme being in the universe who can overturn the Living Tribunal, as they are The-One-Above-All’s representative. Its powers pretty much set the highest standard for any being in the Marvel universe, being omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
It doesn’t often interact with its creations, but The-One-Above-All does work in benevolent ways. It appeared at the Thing’s death, praising him for the Fantastic Four’s work and bringing him back to life. The-One-Above-All also encourages Peter Parker while disguised as a homeless man. It’s around for slightly bigger events as well. Once, Thor and a version of Adam Warlock actually gained an audience with The-One-Above-All after their reality had been destroyed. At this point, The-One-Above-All could also be called Above-All-Others, because it exists beyond time and space and oscillates between male and female.
X’hal first appeared in “New Teen Titans #24” in 1982. X’hal began her life as the leader of an alien race known as Okaarans located in the Vega Star System. When the Psion race invaded her home and kidnapped her, X’hal was subjected to numerous torturous experiments, including trying to mate her with an alien fighter called the Branx. She gave birth to Auron, but was killed shortly after. The Psions revived her by blasting her with bolts of pure energy, transforming her into a goddess. She then gained blast powers, energy manipulation, flight, light projection and immortality. X’hal remained on Okaara as a goddess, but when her home was invaded again, she went on a planetary murder spree.
In the New 52, X’hal was a Tamaranian who was experimented on by a group called the Makers and reborn as a goddess. Under her rule, Tamar’s rule extended to dozens of planets. However, she was eventually killed by the Makers and Tamar descended into chaos in her absence.
7. GRANNY GOODNESS
Granny Goodness first appeared in 1971 as a part of the issue “Mister Miracle” #2. Granny Goodness has all the powers of the New Gods, which include toxic immunity, immortality and super-physiology to name a few. She got her start on Akropolis (Darkseid’s home world), but not as part of the upper-class. Granny worked her way up as part of Darkseid’s elite soldiers called Hounds. Eventually, she became Darkseid’s top recruiter, torturing children to become fanatics in Darkseid’s war. Granny eventually moved to start her program over on Earth under the guise of running an orphanage.
After “Infinite Crisis,” Granny Goodness posed as the Olympian god, Athena, and manipulated the Amazons to go to war with the United States. However, she was discovered by Amazonian trainees and killed by Infinity Man. Since you can’t keep an old girl down, Granny Goodness was reincarnated on Earth, then killed again. Finally, Granny went into full-on demon mode by possessing the Alpha Lantern called Kraken during “Final Crisis.”
H’hronmeer is one of the Elder Martian gods and first appeared in “Martian Manhunter” #1 in 1988. His exact function depends on which Green Martian one asks – sometimes being called the God of Death and Fire, while others consider him the God of Light and Life. J’onn J’onnz’s interactions with him reveal that his primary function is to guide the souls of deceased Green Martians to the afterlife. This kind of action makes H’hronmeer one of the most active gods in the Martian pantheon, and he’s one of the few Martian gods who have communicated with the DC multiverse’s creator.
When a deadly virus annihilated the entire Green Martian population, H’hronmeer discovered that since J’onn survived, he remained psychically tethered to the dead Martians and kept them from being ushered into their final rest. The god attempted to bring J’onn back to Mars, but was thwarted by J’onn’s reliance on his altered memories. In the end, J’onn was able to sever his link to his lost people and H’hronmeer could fulfil his purpose.
Zauriel first appeared in “JLA” #6 and was created by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar and Howard Porter. Zauriel spent most of his existence as an angelic being. He served as a guardian angel until he fell in love with a mortal under his watch. Zauriel bullishly pursued mortality, not in the least to avoid the coup Asmodel (another angel) was planning against the Presence. However, he maintained his powers of sonic screams, flight, magic and telepathy.
Zauriel quickly joined forces with the new JLA in order to protect the Earth from Asmodel’s destruction. Unfortunately, Zauriel’s lady love decided to stay with her current boyfriend, and Zauriel became the ambassador from Heaven to Earth. He worked as the JLA historian, and didn’t even shirk away from Sunday school Q & A sessions to answer children’s questions about what Heaven is like.
4. ELAINE BELLOC
Elaine Belloc was created by Mike Carey and first appeared in “Lucifer” #4. At first blush, Elaine appeared to be a grief-stricken schoolgirl who sees dead people and only wants to find her murdered friend, Mona. She crossed Lucifer a few times, but it’s only when she starts showing signs of magic powers that her true parentage is revealed. Elaine was the impossible child of the archangel Michael, and the fallen angel Sandalphon planned to use Elaine’s womb to create angels.
Elaine managed to escape this purpose and even find the spirit of Mona in the Underworld. They both requested that Lucifer (new creator of the universe) make them guardian spirits, and become known as the Sisters of Mercy. This doesn’t last, and eventually Elaine accepted her father’s powers of Demiurgic power and became the new God. Elaine worked hard to be a fair ruler, and eventually decided to merge with the universe rather than rule it.
3. THE SPECTRE
The Spectre first appeared in “More Fun Comics #52” in 1940 and was created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey. For clarity’s sake, the modern iteration focuses on the Spectre’s separation from its human host, most recently, Jim Corrigan in the New 52. The iteration which brought the Spectre into full divine status was written by John Ostrander. The Spectre is revealed to be the embodiment of the God’s spirit of vengeance and the embodiment of the Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead. Its powers include immortality and reality warping.
The Spectre tends to be given assignments about judging complex and morally ambiguous situations. For instance, the Spectre was tasked with killing the firstborn of Egypt, and killed an entire nation of people after decades of civil war and ethnic cleansing except for two politicians on the opposing sides. In the New 52, Jim Corrigan was resurrected after being killed with his family in order to be the Spectre’s host.
Darkseid was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in “Forever People #1” in 1971 (although he did make a cameo appearance one year earlier). Prince Uxas plotted to seize power on his home world of Apokolips, and killed his older brother to get it. He absorbed his brother’s Omega Force, adopted a rock-like appearance, and started going by the name Darkseid. His powers include, but are not limited, to omnipotence, telekinesis and time travel.
Darkseid tends to kill family members at the drop of a hat and sees any other kinds of deities as a threat. He’s even invaded Themyscira and waged war on the Olympian gods. One obsession of Darkseid’s was with the Anti-Life Equation, which would eliminate all free will in the universe and grant Darkseid total control should he gets his hands on it (which he did during “Final Crisis”). He’s tangled with the best of Earth’s superheroes, but he’s best remembered as Superman’s foe. Darkseid’s also been killed and resurrected a number of times.
1. DIANA PRINCE (WONDER WOMAN)
Diana Prince first appeared in “All Star Comics #8” in 1941 and was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. Diana Prince is best known as Wonder Woman, but in 1998, she was resurrected from death in order to become the new Olympic Goddess of Truth. After a battle with Artemis, Diana was forced to pass the mantle of Wonder Woman to Diana’s mother, Hippolyta, in order to do penance for a past betrayal. Diana was never comfortable in this new role, especially when her fellow goddesses told her that she could only help those who called for her.
Luckily, this phase didn’t last particularly long. When it was discovered that Donna Troy was a duplicate of Diana created by the sorceress Magdala, Donna was kidnapped by a villain called Dark Angel. She forced Donna to relive thousands of lives, ending in tragedy until Diana intervened. Donna was resurrected, but Diana was punished by revoking her status as a goddess. Hippolyta stepped down and Diana Prince became Wonder Woman once more.
In the New 52, she was rebooted yet again to have been the daughter of Zeus, making her an a literal demigod. She later killed Ares, an act which forced her to become his replacement as the Olympian God of War.
Are there any other divine comic book heroes and villains who should have made this list? Tell us all about them in the comments!