Superman is one of the most popular (as well as most powerful) characters in the DC Comics stable. There have been adjustments to his character over the years changing just how strong he is, but in almost every version he is a giant solar battery not only with super strength, but with a strong set of values. Along with Batman and Wonder Woman — in fact, even eclipsing them, arguably — Superman is the most iconic character to come out of DC, and possibly all comics in general. However, given his famous strengths and weaknesses, how would he fare in the Marvel Universe?
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To be fair, we’re not going to pit Superman against The Celestials or the Beyonder. To make it interesting, we’re not going to even pit him against any extraterrestrials like Gladiator or the Silver Surfer. To make it even more interesting (as well as easier on Supes), we’ve also removed any Gods such as Thor or Hercules. With the exception of Doop (because quite frankly, we literally don’t know what Doop is), all of the superheroes mentioned are either augmented humans or mutants. Given Superman’s vulnerability to sorcery, expect to see a few magic users on the list as well. In terms of what version of Superman we’ll be referencing, we’ll be using the modern day Post-Rebirth character. Don’t worry, Squirrel Girl is nowhere near this article. We promise.
As the saying goes, nothing stops the Juggernaut, but what about Superman? One advantage that the Juggernaut may have is that his powers are magic based. Cain Marko, the half-brother of Professor Charles Xavier, found a hidden temple in Korea while in the Army. He grabs hold of a Crimson Gem of Cyttorak and turns into the unstoppable Juggernaut.
Keep in mind Cyttorak is the same powerful extra-dimensional entity that Doctor Strange evokes during some of his incantations. Magic is what makes Marko mighty, and if he’s in motion, nothing should be able to stop him. Superman, who historically does not fare well against magic-based opponents, with all of his solar-powered strength, might not be able to slow down the Juggernaut once he charges at The Man Of Steel.
14. GHOST RIDER
Superman has fought his share of demons before, but how would he fare against Ghost Rider? There have been different Ghost Rider hosts as well as demons possessing those hosts, so let’s choose the one that started it all: Johnny Blaze possessed by Zarathos. Ghost Rider is a flaming skeleton in a leather jacket riding a motorcycle that had wheels of fire. The motorcycle was a sweet ride that was incredibly fast and could drive on impossible surfaces, such as over water or up a building face.
Besides Ghost Rider being virtually indestructible, he can shoot hellfire and give the guilty a gaze from his Penance Stare, which has the onlooker relive the pain that the person had caused his victims. Although this is his most powerful weapon, it would probably not work on Superman because he’s too good of a soul. Superman should worry though about Ghost Rider’s hellfire and his resistance to physical injury.
If you’re trying to come up with a list of people that are physically stronger than Superman you’ll have a very short list. Such people as Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter come up, but let’s face it, trying to beat the Man of Steel in the strength department might be a futile endeavor. So what are other ways to defeat him?
Tyrone Johnson is Cloak, one half of the superhero duo Cloak and Dagger. He has the ability to open up his cape and create a portal to the darkforce dimension. If you’re sent there, Cloak isn’t doing you a favor; he sends people into his cape to feed off their energy and satisfy his constant mystical hunger. This can be deadly, so Dagger, using her light projections, can also feed Cloak to protect people from being fully absorbed. Is the Man of Steel the energy source Cloak needs to give him enough light to not hunger anymore?
Alex Summers, brother of Scott Summers, is named Havok for a reason: all hell breaks loose when he fires his powerful plasma blasts. Havok can absorb ambient cosmic energy but has also absorbed other kinds of energy as well. While fighting the Hulk, Havok was able to significantly weaken him by absorbing the gamma radiation from his body. It was enough to slow down the Hulk as well as cause him significant pain.
Could the immensely powerful blasts from Havok put down Superman? What if it was part of a one-two combination where Havok fires on Supes after he absorbs the solar radiation that The Man of Steel was using? Superman is in essence a giant walking solar battery, so in theory Havok could drain that battery, and that’s when he could really put the hurt on Kal-El.
11. SCARLET WITCH
It’s a little hard to talk about the powers that the Scarlet Witch has, because they are part magical and part mutant ability. Depending on the writer, that scale could be tipped in either direction. At one point she was using chaos magic, but then she had mutant powers to warp reality. Either way, she’s accomplished incredible feats, such as resurrecting Wonder Man from the dead, and who could forget that time that she said “No more mutants” resulting in the worldwide mutant population being reduced to around 200.
What would happen if the Scarlet Witch hit Superman with one of her hex bolts? If she were to utter the words “No more Superman” — what would happen then? Given how she’s been able to manipulate events on a planetary scale, we don’t know specifically what will happen to Superman, but we know it can’t be good.
If Gideon looks weird, you can blame it on the 1990s. Gideon was a member of the Externals, a group of immortal mutants. Because he’s been alive for hundreds of years, he’s been able to amass a great deal of wealth and influence, and spent his time looking for other Externals.
Gideon’s mutant ability is to replicate the superpowers of others. His power is similar to the X-Man Rogue but Gideon only needs to be near someone to replicate their ability. In fact, Gideon’s ability to duplicate a superhuman power can also be done with robots. Granted, there are a number of people that have the same physical strength and powers of Superman, so copying his abilities doesn’t guarantee a victory. However, his experience gives him the edge. Gideon, who’s been around and fighting for centuries, once armed with Superman’s abilities should be a force to be reckoned with.
Henry Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O’Grady have all been the Ant-Man and even though they are different people with very different personalities, their power remains the same: the ability to get small! Although Ant-Man can reverse the process and turn himself into Giant Man, we think the greatest challenge to Superman will be the tiny route.
People need to put their egos in check! When trying to match Superman up with someone that could beat him our default is thinking about overpowering him. However, his defeat might be found going the opposite direction. When the Ultimates first came out and the Hulk was rampaging through midtown Manhattan, he was defeated by the Wasp who became tiny, flew into Hulk’s ear and zapped his brain. While Superman is waiting for the Juggernaut or the Thing to arrive, Ant-Man could sneak into his nose and put a kryptonite explosive in his brain. Gross, but effective!
When X-Force was relaunched in 2001 by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, it was a clever and insightful take on the superhero celebrity, with the style of the book resembling indie pop art. One of the newest members of X-Force (which was later rebranded to X-Statix) was Doop, and you may want to sit down for this one.
Doop basically looks like a floating green potato. It’s hard to say what Doop is, and little is know about his origins except that he is a U.S. military experiment. At first glance, it’s hard to take him seriously, but let’s not forget Doop fought Thor and lived to tell the tale. He’s crazy strong and he’s got his own dimension on the inside of his body. If he can’t beat Superman, he might pop a pimple on his body which will open up a portal to the Doop dimension and suck Superman in.
7. OMEGA RED
From his physique, you can tell that Omega Red has superhuman strength, stamina (he once fought Wolverine for 18 hours straight) and agility. Omega Red can also extend and retract long whips out of his arms made of a substance called Carbonadium, the Soviet Union’s attempt at creating true adamantium. Does he have what Marvel categorizes as Class 100 Strength, meaning he could lift 100 tons? Not even close, no. So, how does he have a chance at beating Superman?
Omega Red has a “death factor” in which he absorbs the life force of others to maintain his own. He can do it by being near a person or ensnaring them with his tendrils. Superman has failed in the past against Parasite, who is also a power leech. It’s possible that he would not fare better against Omega Red.
6. DOCTOR DOOM
Doom is a creature of want. He wants a great number of things (revenge against the Fantastic Four, the Power Cosmic, world domination) and he’s actually obtained the majority of things that he wanted (holding onto them is a different story). Doom is a genius and we’re not exactly sure how his intelligence would rank in the DC Universe. One of the smartest beings around is Brainiac 5, who has a 12th-level intellect.
He does have something that Brainiac doesn’t have and that’s a strong grasp of the mystic arts. Doom, along with being a genius inventor, is also a very accomplished sorcerer. In Marvel Zombies he was able to repel zombie hoards from his kingdom with spell-casting alone. Superman has been able to battle the technological assaults from Lex Luthor, but Luthor could learn a thing or two from Victor Von Doom about magic.
Don’t call The Vision a robot, and don’t call him an android. The Vision prefers to be called a synthezoid, and was created by the robot Ultron. The Vision should probably avoid firing on Superman with the jewel on his forehead because it fires solar energy, something that the Man of Steel quite enjoys. However, The Vision has the ability to manipulate his density. This allows him to have a rock hard exterior or go the opposite route and phase through objects.
In the past Vision has used this as a method of attack: he would go intangible then re-materialize partially, causing great pain to his enemy. It is unlikely that even Superman could defend from a phase-shift attack to the dome. Could Superman punch through Vision’s dermal plating if he went super dense? Quite possibly, but it’s been said that the Vision at his heaviest was ten times denser than depleted uranium, so at very least, it would be a hellacious battle.
4. PROFESSOR X
Superman has been referred to as a big boy scout. Do you think that Superman would punch an old man in a wheelchair? It makes for a weird visual, but given that the man in the wheelchair is Professor Charles Xavier, Superman may need to put up the fight of his life.
Charles Xavier is one of the most powerful telepaths in the Marvel Universe. Besides being able to read minds he can also control them, Professor X can manipulate thoughts, induce memory loss (he’s even deleted memories from his own mind) and remove people’s senses. As a form of attack he can project blasts of psychic energy that you cannot physically defend against. Superman is definitely strong of will and perhaps his alien physiology might offer some protection, but all of Superman’s strength is worthless against someone who can control the minds of people on the other side of the planet.
Superman draws his power from the sun, but could he defeat an opponent who contains the “power of one million exploding suns”? The Sentry is not only Marvel Comics’ answer to Superman, he’s also arguably a critique of him as well. Superman, like any comic book character, is only as strong as the person writing for him, and at times Superman has shown inconceivable feats of strength, such as lifting 200 quintillion tons and destroying a solar system with a sneeze.
The Sentry also has shown power that’s off the charts. He’s ripped the god Aries in half and mind-wiped everyone on the Earth to forget that he ever existed (does Professor X know about this?). The Sentry is able to resurrect himself, even if his body has been completely destroyed. So Superman may be able to defeat him, but the Sentry could literally keep coming back for more (and more and more).
2. DOCTOR STRANGE
It’s no secret that Superman has a vulnerability to magic, so if you’re a betting person, place your money on Doctor Stephen Strange. He is the Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and probably the most powerful magician in the cosmos. Besides being an amazing sorcerer, through incantations, gestures, and totems can call upon the extra-dimensional mystical entities Agamotto, Watoomb, Raggadorr, Cyttorak, and more to augment his already formidable magic.
His perception and understanding of the universe has been expanded due to seeing things through his connection to magic, so there might be ways that he beats Superman that’s beyond our comprehension. He might battle Superman on the Astral Plane or simply just teleport him to a dimension/alternate space where he doesn’t have access to a yellow sun.
There are so many Hulks! The gray “Mr. Fixit” Hulk was less powerful but intelligent and crafty. Then there’s a version of the Hulk in which he’s retained Banner’s intelligence. However, in order to have contro,l he stops himself from getting too angry, which means he can’t achieve higher levels of strength. And then we have arguably the most powerful version: World War Hulk, also called Green Scar; the one who returned to Earth after being exiled by the Illuminati and was called “The Eye of Anger.”
Because the Hulk’s anger only makes him more powerful, World War Hulk was royally pissed for being kicked off the Earth and his incredible anger made him arguably stronger than he’s ever been. When he returned to Earth he literally puts the smack down on The Avengers, Doctor Strange, the entire X-Men and The Fantastic Four, to name a few. The gauntlet is thrown down: World War Hulk could defeat the current version of Superman. Let the arguments begin!
What other Marvel characters do you think could defeat Superman? Post your comments below!
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