Powers are granted to heroes through many means. Some acquire them though hard work and discipline, some have their powers thrust upon them and others are born with their abilities. There is a constant struggle going on between all meta-humans, be they good or evil, and sometimes extra help is needed to get the upper hand, or even to acquire powers in the first place.
The DC Comics Universe is littered with objects that can provide that very thing. Some exhaust their users, while others embolden them; some require heavy sacrifices, and many are bestowed to those who are in the right place at the right time. They could come from places that existed before creation itself or could have been created with world domination in mind. No matter their origin or purpose, the items in the DC Universe that can bestow great power are spread far and wide, and we at CBR have compiled the 15 most powerful.
The Warzoons created Warworld in an effort to conquer the Universe. It first appeared in “DC Comics Presents” #27 in 1980, created by Len Wein and Jim Starlin. Controlled by a mental link, Warworld is covered in missiles and laser cannons capable of destroying entire planets, so it’s fortunate that the Warzoons mysteriously died out before they could utilize their weapon. Rediscovered by the Largas, they could not bring themselves to destroy Warworld, and gifted its keys to the Martians before they died out as well.
History dictated these keys would fall to Mongul, the alien warlord. In the Pre-Crisis continuity, Mongul controlled the deadly planet, but found the mental powers it demanded from him too overwhelming. Its defences were strong, but Superman and Supergirl were able to break through them and destroy it. In the Post-Crisis continuity, Warworld was the seat of Mongul’s galactic empire, and the site of his twisted gladiatorial games. Superman fought the champion Draaga on its surface, and was able to defeat him with ease. Warworld would eventually fall to the hands of Draaga, as well as Brainiac, but no matter its ruler, it remains a deadly threat to all peaceful planets across the Universe.
14 ROCK OF ETERNITY
The Rock Of Eternity is the traditional home of Shazam The Wizard, and has been around since the Golden Age of comics. It first appeared in 1947's “The Marvel Family” #7, published by the now defunct Fawcett Comics. The story featured the Marvel family visiting Shazam on the Rock Of Eternity and gaining their powers. The superhero named “Captain Marvel” first appeared here, but Fawcett Comics was forced to give the rights over to DC after a lawsuit, and DC was forced to give up their rights to the name when Marvel claimed it for themselves.
Regardless of all this, the Rock Of Eternity has remained a profoundly powerful place. The Champion created it from two large rock formations, one from Heaven, and one from Hell, and it is the nexus of power that fuels a neighbouring reality. It is the prison for a reptilian demon known as The Three Faces Of Evil, as well as the Seven Deadly Sins. Furthermore, The Rock is the source of all magical power on Earth. The Rock’s guardian is bound to it for life, meaning that poor Shazam can only leave for 24 hours at a time.
The H-Dial is a powerful magic device first discovered by Robby Reed in a cavern near his hometown of Littleville, Colorado. It resembled an old telephone dial, and when Robby spelled out H-E-R-O on its keys, that very thing he became. Each time he typed in the word he was granted different abilities, and could return to normal by typing the reverse. New forms could be taken by typing other words, such as V-I-L-L-A-I-N, H-E-R-O-I-N-E, or in one unfortunate circumstance, H-O-R-R-O-R.
Eventually, Robby used the H-Dial to split himself in two in order to stop the plot of a villain. His two selves embodied the goodness and evil within him, and could not remember who they truly were. Chris King and Vicky Grant discovered two more H-Dials, but these versions only granted super abilities for one hour at a time. They used them to help Robby combine his halves once more, and he then retired as both a hero and villain for good.
12 NTH METAL
Nth Metal (or Ninth metal) is a substance found on the planet of Thanagar, and grants unusual abilities to those who come into contact with it. It negates the properties of gravity, allowing a user to fly, protects one from physical extremes and speeds healing. The full extent of its properties are not fully understood, and the supervillain Onimar Synn had complete mastery of the substance, making him akin to a God.
In ancient Egypt, a ship made of Nth metal crash landed and was discovered by Pharaoh Khufu and his wife-to-be, Chay-Ara. Their contact with the mysterious substance sent them into a cycle of reincarnation, with their latest forms being Carter Hall and Shiera Saunders, better known as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. They were gifted Nth Metal belts by Thanagarian Paran Katar, and have continued the Nth Metal legacy on Earth that was started by their ancient selves. With the use of the metal, they have performed numerous heroic deeds and have became indispensable members of the Justice League.
11 THE BOOK OF THE BLACK
The Black Lantern Corps. is one of the most frightful organizations in the DC Universe. They are the embodiment of Death, and their avatar is Black Hand, who channels the energy of Nekron after he was resurrected by Scar. The Black Lantern Corps. represent the darkness that existed before the white light of existence was born, and their struggle against creation is what caused the white light to split into the emotional spectrum. They predict the coming of The Blackest Night, a great doomsday event that will extinguish all light forever.
The Book Of The Black is a tome that exists in the vaults of planet Oa, and contains within it many forbidden prophecies and untapped magic potential. It was written by the fallen Guardian of the Universe, Scar, and is considered the facilitator of the Blackest Night, for within it are written the names of those who have the power to resist the end of times, and possibly reverse it. The book also predicted that Hal Jordan would be the greatest Black Lantern, which was proven true when he joined the Black Lantern Corps. to escape the Dead Zone, summon Nekron, and defeat the First Lantern, Volthoom.
The great android Amazo has been around for a long time, first appearing in “The Brave And The Bold” #30, created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson in 1960. He was built by the immortality-obsessed Professor Ivo. Amazo has long been a thorn in the side of the Justice League and is one of their deadliest villains, as he has the ability to duplicate their powers. He can take on the strength of Superman, the speed of The Flash and the cunning of Batman, but also takes on their weaknesses. Frightfully, he has the ability to “adapt” around these weaknesses, making his villainous potential virtually limitless.
There have been multiple models of the Amazo Android. Fellow android Hourman once dragged Amazo out of the timestream to study him, but Amazo copied Hourman's time manipulation abilities and wreaked havoc upon the Universe. Another version of Amazo copied the powers of the Justice League as a whole, but his programming was overwrought when Superman officially disbanded the League. He also had a son named Kid Amazo, who went against his programming to become a hero, an act that slowly drove him insane.
9 THE COSMIC ROD
The Cosmic Rod is the tool and symbol of Starman, a hero that has taken many forms. The original Starman was Ted Knight, who first created the Gravity Rod, the item that the Cosmic Rod was based upon. The Cosmic Rod is powered by the stars themselves and grants its user a myriad of powers, including gravity and magnetic manipulation, energy projection and absorption, inter-dimensional travel and the ability to control the Rod with one's mind.
Though the Starman mantle has fallen to many heroes, including Charles McNider and even Bruce Wayne, the most famous wielder of the Cosmic Rod would be Jack Knight. Jack was the son of the legendary Ted Knight, and looked up to his father immensely. Jack's brother David was the original recipient of the Cosmic Rod, but Jack was forced to assume the role of Starman after the supervillain Mist ordered his children to murder David. The villainy of Mist and his children could not go ignored, and Jack, somewhat reluctantly, swore to defend his city against them. He would eventually bestow the Rod to Stargirl, formerly known as the Star-Spangled Kid, and help her become a key member of The Justice Society.
8 THE SWORD OF SUPERMAN
The Sword Of Superman was a relic that appeared in the Pre-Crisis storyline “Superman Annual #10: The Day The Cheering Stopped, ” written by Elliot Maggin in 1984. The sword came into existence in the Big Bang, and has Superman’s stylized “S” embedded on its pommel. It has a sentience of its own, and transmitted the “S” symbol to Jonathan Kent’s mind when he was creating Clark’s super suit. The sword is the very reason that Superman’s name is known throughout the Universe, and it seems to have a deep and mysterious connection to him.
When King Kosmos hypnotized everyone on Earth into despising Superman, the sword appeared to him and gave him the power he needed to regain his influence and overthrow the villain. The Sword then attempted to imbue him with all the power of the Universe, which would allow him to become one with its eternal fabric. Superman refused this power as he dramatically began coming apart like shattered glass. Having been denied, the blade of the Sword fell away, leaving only the hilt, which Superman hurled into space to await the one who would earn its nigh unlimited power.
7 CENTRAL POWER BATTERIES
The emotions that came into being with sentient life conformed into the light spectrum, and this energy manifested itself as seven emotional embodiments. The Central Power Batteries were created to channel these massive energy sources, and each Lantern Corps. has their own battery from which all their power is drawn. The most well known of these batteries in the Green Central Power Battery, located on Oa, which empowers the Green Lanterns.
There are two other central power batteries alongside the seven of the emotional spectrum, those being Black and White. The Black Battery was constructed by Nekron around the remains of the Anti-Monitor after he was obliterated by Superboy-Prime. The White Battery is somewhat more mysterious, as it crashed on Earth during the Blackest Night, when it was needed most. It houses The Entity, the spirit that triggered all life. No matter their origin or followers, the Central Power Batteries are some of the greatest sources of power across the DC Universe, and are pivotal to all members of the various Lantern Corps.
6 THE SPEAR OF DESTINY
The Spear of Destiny is a dangerous tool in the DC Universe and one that bleeds into the history and mythology of our own world. The Spear was the very same that pierced the side of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion, eventually finding its way to the hands of Adolf Hitler. The Spear turned anyone that got close to Hitler into a servant of Nazism, and thus no superheroes could stop him from creating the Third Reich.
Before the Nazi regime was overthrown by conventional means, Hitler performed a ritual that would fill any holder of the Spear with an unstoppable desire for power. The Spear made its way to American hands and was given to Superman to help stop the Spectre and a raging water elemental, as the Spear was the only thing powerful enough to harm them. The Spear almost corrupted Superman, but he hurled it into space before any real damage could be done. The Spear was retrieved once more when the rogue angel, Asmodel, possessed the Spectre and literally froze over Hell. The Spear Of Destiny is a dangerous weapon to wield, but its dire need often outweighs the risk of carrying it.
5 MOBIUS CHAIR
The Mobius Chair is a device of the Anti-Monitor, ruler of the anti-matter Universe and instigator of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. He built it in his unending quest for knowledge, and bestowed it upon the Metron before it was taken from the New God by Batman.
The Mobius Chair can teleport through time and space in mere moments, and can travel to other dimensions with ease. It has an inherent life support system that allows users to survive the perils of the cosmos, and a tractor beam that is strong enough to pull an entire planet. Its most useful feature, however, is that it contains all the knowledge of the New Gods, deific beings of the Fourth World, and this allows its user to access knowledge beyond the mortal realm. In “Justice League” #50, Batman did what we thought would never happen, and used the chair to reveal the identity of the Joker. We won't spoil the truth of that here, but such forbidden knowledge is just a taste of what the Mobius Chair can provide.
4 MOTHER BOX
The Mother Boxes are near sentient supercomputers used by the Gods of New Genesis and communicate with a familiar “ping!” Jack Kirby created them for his “Fourth World” saga when he left Marvel for DC in 1970. Each Mother Box is so powerful that they seem to have minds of their own, and are directly connected to The Source, the wellspring of life and energy in the DC Universe. They can manipulate gravity, summon Boom Tubes to teleport, heal injuries, sustain a being in space and reconfigure matter. They form deep bonds with those who use them, and have been known to self-destruct when their owner dies.
Many characters across the DC Universe have possessed Mother Boxes. Superman was given one through Mister Miracle when he was tracking Doomsday to Apokalips. The Mother Box healed Darkseid in order to help Superman in his fight, gave him various high-tech weaponry and healed him completely once the battle was finished. Orion carried one that controlled his fury and beast-like appearance, but this Box was taken from him several times. Ted Knight, the original Starman, also had one, and his consciousness was transferred into it before it was destroyed.
3 THE HELMET OF FATE
Much like the Cosmic Rod, the Helmet of Fate grants the powers of a hero known as Dr. Fate to whoever wields it, and was created by Nabu, the Lord of Order. The first Dr. Fate was Kent Nelson, who discovered Nabu in an ancient temple in Mesopotamia. Nabu granted him the helmet, along with the Amulet of Anubis and The Cloak Of Destiny, giving him all the powers that he possessed. This Dr. Fate helped form the 1940’s Justice League, and married Inza Cramer, with whom he was destined to fight alongside for years.
During the "Infinite Crisis" event, Nabu was destroyed, along with the Helmet’s current owner, Hector Hall. The Helmet travelled through many hands and space itself before being delivered to Kent V. Nelson, great nephew to the original Dr. Fate. He became the Helmet’s primary owner and used it to battle the demon Negal. The Helmet gives its user incredible magical powers, such as flight, spell casting, telekinesis, teleportation and enhanced intellect. Dr. Fate is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Universe and could be seen as DC’s counterpart to Marvel’s Dr. Strange.
2 WHITE LANTERN RINGS
The White Lantern Ring is the most powerful tool to harness the emotional spectrum, as it utilizes the combined force of all emotions. The White Ring first appeared in “The Blackest Night” #7 and carried within it the strength of The Entity. This all-consuming power overwrote Hal Jordan's Green Ring, giving him the strength to defeat Nekron, resurrect his fallen allies, create the White Lantern Corps. and put an end to the Blackest Night.
The White Lantern Ring had several owners after this event. Deadman came to possess it, and became a servant of the Entity. Many heroes were killed and resurrected by the White Ring, and it pulled many unexpected strings in order to prevent the rising of the Dark Avatar. In the New 52 reboot, Kyle Rayner gained a White Lantern Ring that was free from the influence of The Entity when he mastered all seven powers of the emotional spectrum. He then absorbed the Life Equation and became so powerful he feared he could not keep himself under control. This crisis was solved when the ring was split into seven pieces, with the ability of being re-combined in times of great need.
1 THE MIRACLE MACHINE
The Miracle Machine is the most powerful, unpredictable, and unstable item in the DC Universe. Its dangers lie in the volatility of the human mind, as it has the ability to turn any person’s thoughts into reality. An insane Brainiac 5 attempted to use the machine to destroy the Universe, but could not imagine a properly magnificent death. He conceived of Omega, a being who could, and the machine was eaten by Matter-Eater Lad in order to stop this plot. The consumption drove him mad, and once the machine was removed from his body, he was essentially granted the power of invulnerability. Superman has also used the machine, once to create a duplicate of himself, and once to defeat the terrifying onslaught of Darkseid.
Even a fleeting thought will become true if one is near the Miracle Machine and it has the ability to create and destroy entire worlds. It was built by the Controllers after reverse-engineering the willpower technology of the Guardians of the Universe and can only be properly used by someone with complete control of their mind. It is currently locked deep in the Legion of Superheroes' vault to prevent any misuse. Thank goodness for that!
Are there any other powerful objects from DC Comics that deserve a mention on this list? Be sure to let us know in the comments section!