Two of the greatest heroes in all of comics, Wonder Woman and Superman stand high among the rest. When Superman debuted in Action Comics #1 and Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941, their very introduction forever changed the landscape of comic books and pop culture.
With virtually unparalleled might and a friendship that’s the stuff of legends, when the Amazing Amazon and the Last Son of Krypton team up, few beings in the universe can stand against their awesome power. Yet for as long as the two heroes have existed, comic fans have done what they always do and debated who’s the better of the two superheroes. Who would win in a fight between Wonder Woman and Superman? It’s a question with no easy answer.
In multiple iterations of her origin, Wonder Woman received her powers from the Greek Gods themselves. With the strength of Hercules, the speed of Hermes, the wisdom of Athena, as well as armed with indestructible bracelets capable of deflecting virtually any projectile, her unbreakable Lasso of Truth and her tiara that can be used as a boomerang, Wonder Woman is a force unmatched. Then there’s Superman, the Man of Steel. The first superhero, Superman has every power in the phonebook. From freeze breath and super strength, to heat and telescopic vision, on top of speed and invulnerability, Superman has proved time and again why he’s all but invincible.
So what happens when these two powerhouses clash? Here at CBR, we’re looking at 15 times Wonder Woman was pitted against Superman to answer that very question.
15. SUPERMAN: RED SON
Imagine a world where Superman didn’t land in the middle of Kansas, but instead crashed on a Ukrainian farm and was raised to become the ultimate power on Earth in the name of Communism and Joseph Stalin. That, in a nutshell, was the essence of Mark Millar’s 2003 three-part series Superman: Red Son. In this Elseworlds story, Superman all but rules the world. Wonder Woman, throughout most of the tale, is madly in love with Superman, but the Red Man of Steel cares little for her, using her affections to his advantage. It isn’t until Batman’s death, who had previously been leading the fight against Superman, that she suspects the truth.
As the world begins uniting against Superman, realizing he’s become a dictator, and the Green Lantern Marine Corps tries and fails to stop him, Wonder Woman leads her Amazonian army against him. However, she is quickly defeated, barely capable of slowing him down.
14. THE VILLAIN’S JOURNEY
The Justice League’s latest villain, David Graves, in the New 52’s Justice League #11, has kidnapped Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman is desperate to find her friend, but the rest of the League urges caution, insisting she not barrel off by herself. Unwilling to listen to reason, Green Lantern tries to cage her, but in dramatic fashion, she punches him aside.
Superman tries next and Wonder Woman lands a kick with such force, all but figuratively knocking him into next week, that the panel itself has become famous. It was the first time in DC’s New 52 that audiences finally got a sense as to how Wonder Woman would fair against Superman. The end result was not a disappointing one. Before matters escalated, the heroes get ahold of their senses once more and Batman had Cyborg teleport them away.
13. A TALE OF TWO SATELLITES
Back in the relatively early days of the JLA, Justice League of America #143 to be exact, readers finally got to see Wonder Woman and Superman exchange fisticuffs. This being comics, the whole reasoning behind the two heroes exchanging blows is long and tedious, but essentially boils down to Wonder Woman being mind controlled into fighting the Man of Steel.
Aboard the Justice League Watchtower, the mind-controlled Wonder Woman has been ordered to wrest control of the satellite. Superman intervenes and the duo fight in dramatic fashion. Immediately, Superman can see Wonder Woman is not herself, forcing him to hold back, but it’s all he can do to keep up with her, as he finds himself impressed with her Amazon strength. Eventually, the fight ends in a draw, until the rest of the League arrives and helps free Diana from the mind control.
It seems like every once in awhile, Superman gets it in his head that he knows what’s best for humanity. Usually, that translates into him taking control of the world governments and/or removing all major weapons from the planet. True to form, this is exactly what Supes does in Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #13, titled “Madness;” having had it up to here with humanity and their shenanigans. Despite the Justice League warning Superman not to take matters into his own hands, he doesn’t listen and throws all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun, distracting the JLA with an army of Superman robots.
Wonder Woman and friends do their best to stop him, going so far as to recruit the New God Orion and even having Green Lantern create kryptonite, but despite the combined might of Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter, Superman escapes to continue plotting his eventual rule of the planet.
Superman is turning into the Kryptonian monster known as Doomsday. Should the transformation become complete, the new Doomsday-Superman will go on to lay waste to Earth and countless other planets. In Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1, Wonder Woman decides she won’t let that happen. Still believing that the mind of Clark Kent rests in the fearsome figure of the new monster that is Superman, it’s up to the Amazing Amazon to put a stop to his rampage.
Removing her indestructible bracelets, Wonder Woman’s god power blossoms to new heights as she takes on Doomsday-Superman. All seems lost and we see Wonder Woman preparing to deliver the killing blow to the man she loves, but at the last second, Clark regains control of his body and becomes the hero known as Superman once more.
10. FOR TOMORROW
All you need to know here is a bunch of people have gone missing thanks to something known as The Vanishing Device. Back in 2004 in Superman #211 Superman, deciding per usual that he knows what’s best for everyone, takes the Vanishing Device with him to the Fortress of Solitude where he plans on vanishing himself in hopes of finding the lost people. Wonder Woman appears, armed for battle, insisting Superman not follow through with his plan, as it might kill him. Superman doesn’t back down, so the two fight.
It was a polarizing battle at the time amongst readers. While Wonder Woman gets a couple shots in, it’s clear Superman was written to be the significantly stronger of the two. The fight ends when he says the Fortress is set for self-destruct and there are people inside. Wonder Woman chooses to save said people, letting Superman escape.
9. CASUALTIES OF WAR
Superman has a tendency of getting transformed into giant raging monsters. Interestingly enough, it’s usually up to Wonder Woman to deal with the Man of Steel when he becomes uncontrollable. Issue #17 of Superman/Wonder Woman proved it wasn’t the exception to that rule.
In issues prior, the evil sorceress Circe had been getting up to no good. Superman and Wonder Woman team up to combat the latter’s longtime foe, yet Circe uses her magic to whammy Superman, causing him to fall under her control and attack Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman, who at the time possessed the power of the God of War, takes on the challenge. While the fight is relatively brief and Superman is out of his mind, it’s made pretty clear that the Princess of the Amazons dominated this particular skirmish.
8. DARKSEID WAR
While Grail, the daughter of Darkseid and an Amazon, orchestrates a war between the New God and the Anti-Monitor himself, the Justice League gets swept up in a series of events that lead to Darkseid dying and the League becoming avatars of various dark gods.
The result of these transformation is their power sets become a bit are different, as do their personalities. Superman becomes the God of Strength; the power makes him unhinged as strength become all he cares about. Nearly killing Steve Trevor and wanting to test his might on Wonder Woman, the new Superman’s thirst for battle is unquenchable. In Justice League #47 by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok, Wonder Woman is kept on her toes as she tries to stay alive. Eventually, she breaks out the Lasso, tying up Superman, instructing him to remember his identity so he can overcome the madness that’s been overwhelming him.
7. SUPERMAN VS. WONDER WOMAN
Superheroes fighting on account of misunderstandings are a classic comic book trope. Never was it truer than in the 1977 story “Superman vs. Wonder Woman.” It’s set in the year 1942 with both heroes learning about the Manhattan Project. They also have very different feelings on the matter. Superman is assured by the U.S. government that no one will use it, but Wonder Woman doesn’t want anyone to have it to begin with.
The two immediately fight over the situation, trading blow for blow in a way only the two mightiest beings on Earth can. Their struggle is so great that they eventually end up fighting on the Moon, but their fight is halted when they realize part of the bomb’s components have been stolen by Baron Blitzkrieg and the samurai Sumo, forcing the duo to team up.
6. A LEAGUE OF ONE
In JLA: League of One, Wonder Woman learns from an oracle that a dragon will appear and kill her teammates. Rather than let her friends die, Wonder Woman decides to sacrifice herself. To do so however, she must detain the Justice League so she can undertake the mission by herself.
One by one, she defeats each member for the Justice League, including the likes of Batman and the Flash, all in the name of saving them from a more horrific fate. Eventually, she comes across Superman. Realizing she can’t beat him one-on-one in any meaningful way that’ll save him, Diana tricks Superman, revealing she’s launched the JLA satellite into an asteroid belt with their teammates on board. Superman has no choice but to begrudgingly leave Diana to her own devices, defeated by her tactical mind rather than her fists.
5. ABSOLUTE POWER
In a timeline re-written by Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, and Cosmic King, Superman and Batman are turned into the evil rulers of the Earth. Pockets of resistance pop up now and again to combat their oppression, but are mercilessly put down by the World’s Finest.
In this alternate timeline, Wonder Woman, accompanied by Uncle Sam and the rest of the Freedom Fighters, leads one such fight. In Superman/Batman #15, their final epic confrontation for the sake of the world comes to a head. Nearly all the resistance fighters are mercilessly slaughtered by the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, and Wonder Woman kills Batman. Her action only angers Superman to the point of irrationality. Charging at her, the enraged Superman beats Wonder Woman senseless, only to then implement a savage finishing blow in the form of strangling her to death with her own Lasso of Truth.
4. DIFFERENT WORLDS
In the 600th issue of Action Comics, Wonder Woman and Superman kiss for the first time. Yet shortly thereafter, the two decide they should just be friends. Their conversation gets put on hold when Hermes calls Diana to Olympus. Superman joins her, but they both end up in different versions of Olympus. Moments later, they come face-to-face with an evil version of the other and are forced to do battle.
It turns out Darkseid is behind the switcheroo and it’s Amazing Grace and Kalibak the two heroes are fighting. The villains bring the heroes closer together before vanishing, leaving Wonder Woman and Superman to fight. They do, but their titanic battle leads them to Darkseid’s lair. After breaking in, they reveal it was just a mock fight and had been searching for Darkseid the whole time under the cover of the fake battle.
There are tons of brutal fights in the Injustice comics, but the fight between Wonder Woman and Superman, orchestrated by Batman, in the eighth issue of Injustice: Gods Among Us Year 4 definitely stands out.
The two combatants face each other in battle; while they start off evenly matched, Superman quickly regains the lead. All but begging Diana to give up, it is that compassion that proves his undoing. Refusing to back down, becoming fiercer than ever, Wonder Woman uses her superior combat skills and Clark’s hesitation to gouge his eyes and then break his arm in one of the most brutal fight-ending moves we’ve seen between the two in their entire history. Superman tries his utmost to fight back, using everything at his disposal, but it’s not enough. He’s ruthlessly beaten back down and knocked out. The winner is Wonder Woman.
2. THE WITCH AND THE WARRIOR
The evil sorceress Circe is at it again. This time around she’s turned all the world’s male superheroes into animals and man/animal hybrids. In Wonder Woman #175, the female superheroes, led by Wonder Woman, come together to save humanity from Circe’s machinations. Unfortunately, Circe has ensnared Superman with some nasty magic, transforming him, giving him protrusions similar to Doomsday and boosting his strength through dark magic.
In one of their fiercest battles of all time, Wonder Woman, the only hero capable of fighting him, takes on Superman in a relentless battle. The Amazon uses every trick in the book as she more than holds her own against the magically powered up Superman. Despite having her arm dislocated and being bludgeoned repeatedly, Diana’s indomitable will triumphs. She gets the Lasso around him, soothing Superman back to normalcy; Superman is reduced to tears, aghast by what he’s done.
In what is perhaps the most famous fight between the two legends, Wonder Woman and Superman go all out in Wonder Woman #219. This time it’s Superman yet again who’s had the mind whammy put on him, courtesy of the villain Max Lord. Lord, tricking Superman into thinking Wonder Woman is Doomsday, cackles with glee as he sees the heroes battle.
Disillusioned, Superman attacks her with everything he has. From burning her face and breaking her wrist, to taking her out into the sky and hitting her back down to earth, her reentry causing a massive crater. Superman is going all out, and Wonder Woman is trying to survive, holding back a hair because she knows he’s not in control. The fight ends, Diana having given as good as she’s got, by capturing Lord, and much to many a fans’ shock, killing him. Their whole fight lasted just under two minutes.
Which battle do you think was fiercest? Let us know your opinion in the comments!