Superman is recognized as not just the standard to which all heroes are held to in comic books, but he’s also one of comics’ mightiest heroes. He’s moved planets, flown at hundreds of times the speed of light, time traveled for fun, and even sneezed away an entire galaxy. Few characters present a genuine challenge to the Man of Steel; some readers insist Kal-El is simply too powerful, since his writers almost never let him lose. With a character as popular as Superman, it’s no surprise he’s inspired plenty of copycats too. Nearly every comic book company has created their own Superman analog, or rip-off as the case may be. Sometimes these characters are stronger than Superman and other times they were weaker.
Regardless, it’s to Superman’s credit they exist. Readers can tell immediately when they’ve come across a Superman analog and are then intrigued to see where a particular story goes. At the end of the day, all these Superman rip-offs are a testament to Superman’s legacy and the amount of influence he’s had on creators and our world. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 Superman rip-offs, eight of which are stronger than the Man of Steel, while seven are weaker.
15 STRONGER: GLADIATOR
A member of the Strontian species, Gladiator is the leader of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and is one of the strongest beings in Marvel Comics. He’s also a direct homage to Superman. Gladiator’s name was inspired by Philip Wylie’s novel Gladiator, the novel that inspired Superman. His alter-ego, Kallark, is a portmanteau of Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El, and his Earth name, Clark Kent. Now let’s talk about his powers.
Gladiator has all of Superman’s abilities and the number of awe-inspiring feats Gladiator has committed is too long to list. Still, a few of them are he’s flown across galaxies in seconds, kicked Thor’s hammer across a city, hit Wonder Man to the center of a planet, and destroyed an entire world with one punch. With all manner of sensory powers too, Gladiator’s has no real weaknesses and is as strong as he wills himself to be.
14 WEAKER: THOR
Thor Odinson is easily one of the mightiest heroes in Marvel Comics. The son of Odin and Gaea, the goddess of Earth, Thor boasts Superman-level strength. He also has invulnerability, a kinship with the elements, and can wield the mystical hammer Mjoinir. Both Thor and his hammer are capable of destroying planets; Mjoinir can warp reality, control massive storms, let him fly at light speed, teleport, and do nearly anything.
Mjoinir boosts Thor’s incredible strength and channels his power, but in extreme circumstances Thor can summon his elemental power by himself. A magical being, Thor is made up of one of Superman’s weaknesses. The only reason Thor is listed as weaker is because the two fought during the JLA/Avengers crossover; Superman won. Still, the fight left Superman completely drained, admitting Thor was the toughest opponent he’s ever faced. Written differently, it’s conceivable Thor would win.
13 STRONGER: SENTRY
Imbued with the power of a million exploding suns, the Sentry is Marvel’s dark heroic version of Superman. After drinking an experimental super-solider formula, Bob Reynolds became the Sentry and became privy to ridiculous power. Occasionally, the Void, the Sentry’s darker, manifests and creates pandemonium. The Void is so powerful he easily broke every bone in the Hulk’s body. Later he joined Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers and defeated the Molecule Man.
For a frame of reference, the Molecule Man can create whole universes, is feared by Galactus, and can control the molecules of the universe. The Sentry won by shifting his molecules ahead in time and acquired the ability to also alter matter, but at a greater level. Throughout "Siege" he killed Ares, destroyed Asgard, and then required a nuclear explosion and Mjonir’s mightiest strikes to die. Unleashed, the Void is privy to nearly any power imaginable.
12 WEAKER: OMNI-MAN
Robert Kirkman’s Invincible started off as something of a satire on superhero comics, but since its inception, the series has evolved into something more. Incredibly epic, Invincible maintains a massive fanbase. Early on in the series, we’re introduced to Mark Grayson’s father, Nolan Grayson, who serves Earth as the planet’s greatest superhero Omni-Man. It’s a complete rip-off of Superman, but that’s the general idea. Like Superman, Nolan comes from an alien world of hyper powerful beings called Viltrumites.
Unlike Kryptonians, Viltrumites seems to get slightly stronger with every battle. Omni-Man is remarkably strong, but Superman dwarfs him easily. Even though Omni-Man might not be as strong or have super sensory powers, he and his race do have the uncanny ability to survive mind-boggling injuries. Nolan and his son have been impaled, lost limbs, and even been nearly torn in half; all injuries that have killed Superman, but they survived.
11 STRONGER: HYPERION
Hyperion was the first character Marvel created as an answer to Superman. Allying himself with the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers, the neigh all-powerful being is considered one of the strongest super-humans in the entire Marvel Multiverse. Originally introduced as a villain, the only one who could challenge him was Thor.
Heralding from Earth-13034, when he arrived to Earth-616, he became even stronger, his already great power amplified by startling degrees. Hyperion’s power comes from the Sun and the Sun in this universe was less filtered. Hyperion’s powers are nearly identical to Superman. He has Atomic Vision, which can fire heat blasts of 12,000 degrees. His feats of strength and durability are also similar, but taken up a notch. He’s held two universes apart, slowed down a hurtling planet single-handed, and his invulnerability is so great, Hyperion survived being sandwiched between two Earths smashing into each other.
10 WEAKER: SUN GOD
Sun God, or Zoran, was born in another universe. He’s also the strongest being in his universe. A member of the Great Society, an unabashed rip-off of the Justice League, Sun God was his team’s Superman. After Sun God’s team defeated an Incursion, they battled the Illuminati, comprised of Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, the Hulk, Beast, Black Bolt, and Namor.
Throughout the fight, it’s pretty clear that Sun God is the strongest hero of both groups. Taking on the Hulk, Zoran is hit multuple times by a full-strength Hulk, but to little effect. He then knocks out the “strongest on there is” with just two blows. Still, despite his power, it’s clear he’s not quite as powerful as Superman. He doesn’t have Superman’s speed and lacks a few powers like ice breath. It wouldn’t be easy, but Superman would take him.
9 STRONGER: SUPREME
Every comic book company needs a Superman and in the ‘90s, Image Comics’ Man of Steel came in the form of the character Supreme. Supreme’s power is off the charts, putting anything and everything Superman has done to shame. He’s almost too strong to make for an entertaining character. He’s endured the vortex of a black hole without any trouble and he’s so fast he can throw millions of faster-than-light punches in milliseconds.
To get a sense of Supreme’s strength, let’s look at his much weaker little sister: she once moved the universe with sheer muscle power. Composed of molecules that are in flux Supreme can immediately adapt to any opponent For example, Supreme can analyze his opponent's atomic structure and develop new powers to cancel them out.
8 WEAKER: CAPTAIN MARVEL
The most famous Superman analog, Captain Marvel debuted in Whiz Comics to serve as a to challenge Superman comics back in the day. Since then, the living god has gone on to become one of DC’s most popular superheroes. Incredibly strong, Captain Marvel is a being of magic. On a technical level and on paper, Captain Marvel should be able to easily defeat Superman. He’s nearly as physically strong, but he comes supplied with incredible magic, one of Superman’s primary weaknesses.
Yet Superman is the more popular character, so even though you’ll see Captain Marvel slugging it out and occasionally hurting the Last Son of Krypton, you won’t see him beat Superman is a straight-up fight. No matter, Captain Marvel is strong enough to move stars; he can fly at light speed, hypnotize people, and even throw his patented magical lightning at enemies.
7 STRONGER: MISTER MAJESTIC
Mister Majestic was Wildstorm’s answer to Superman. Yet whereas Mister Majestic and Superman have similar abilities, the former’s powers are astronomically stronger. He’s leagues faster and has more endurance; he traveled for months at speeds greater than light. Along with the strength to break worlds in half and his frightening speed, Mister Majestic’s powers also include firing energy beams from his hands, invisibility, telekinesis, and telepathy.
Majestic even possesses his own variation of heat vision; it’s so potent, Majestic altered the composition of Jupiter, changing the planet down to a pre-atomic level and turned a star ingot into a replacement for the sun. Majestic boasts an insane intellect, which lets him invent anything in moments and outthink his foes in nanoseconds. He even once combined his powers to mine his own minerals, smelt them, and manually reshape them, creating components for super-technology in less than a second.
6 WEAKER: ALPHA ONE
Appearing in The Mighty comic series, Alpha One was originally a navy solider who became lost at sea. After getting exposed to irradiated water thanks to a nuclear test, he acquired powers and became his world’s first superhero. Alpha One’s power set is pretty much the same as Superman’s, yet he’s not on par with the Man of Steel. Alpha One Has super strength, letting him stop runaway trains with only marginal effort and he’s close to being invulnerable.
He can fly and also sports all of Superman’s super sensory powers like heat vision, X-ray and telescopic vision, and super hearing. Alpha One is the strongest hero on the planet, only because there really aren’t many other characters to challenge him. In a match with Superman, it’s pretty clear Alpha One wouldn’t prove victorious.
5 STRONGER: BLUE MARVEL
It’s impossible to deny the resemblance and similarities shared between Blue Marvel and Superman. Adam Brashear served his country in the military, but then later discovered he had powers. Adam adopted the superhero alias the Blue Marvel and saved the country numerous times. He was forced into retirement by the government because he was black. Blue Marvel might be the strongest hero on Earth. He received his powers by getting exposed to radiation from the event horizon of the Negative Zone.
Labeled an Alpha-Level threat, a term designated for planet-destroying entities, Blue Marvel’s limits are unknown. An “antimatter reactor”, he can manipulate all antimatter; one-gram contains the energy of a nuke. He’s beaten the Sentry and the Ultimate Hulk with one punch and even Hyperion fears him. Additionally, he has unlimited molecular and energy manipulation, allowing him to transmute matter and energy.
4 WEAKER: APOLLO
Belonging to the superhero group Stormwatch, Apollo is unquestionably mighty, one of the strongest beings in the Wildstorm Universe. Like Superman, Apollo’s abilities are powered by solar energy, which he’s able to absorb from the Sun’s UV rays. He can store vast amounts of energy inside his body to discharge whenever he wants. Though if he loses exposure to sunlight, Apollo’s powers will quickly leave him.
Capable of withstanding diving into the Sun without any discomfort and flying at speeds that make him nearly invisible, those who can challenge Apollo are few. It was also heavily implied that he was stronger than the New 52 Superman, although the New 52 Superman is the “weakest” Superman incarnation and turned out to just be an aspect of the “real” Superman.
3 STRONGER: PLUTONIAN
Coming right out of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable comic book, the Plutonian answered the question, what if Superman went crazy and started murdering everyone? This was even before the Injustice comics and whatnot, so the premise really intrigued comic readers.
The Plutonian’s origin is something of a mystery, but it’s been speculated that he might have been an orphaned mutant or an alien refugee. Though he was Earth’s greatest hero he went crazy and started killing his former teammates. Plutonian possesses all of Superman’s powers and has even more frightening abilities. Whereas Superman gets his powers from the sun, the Plutonian gets his powers from manipulating matter up to the atomic level; his abilities are psionic in origin. As a result, the Plutonian’s powers are greater that Superman’s. Additionally, even the Plutonian doesn’t know how powerful he is; if his powers were truly unleashed, he could manipulate reality and alter probability.
2 WEAKER: ICON
While Icon might not be quite as powerful as Superman, he’s close enough so that it barely makes a difference. Even so, he’s technically weaker and that’s why Icon is here. Similar to Superman, Icon, or Augustus Freeman, is an alien who crash-landed on Earth, albeit in the American South in 1839. Eventually he escaped slavery thanks to the Underground Railroad and would later join the Justice League.
While Icon was en route to Earth, his DNA was altered by his ship so he looked human. A side effect was that he was endowed with incredible abilities. Like Superman, he was exceptionally powerful under a yellow sun and is nearly the physical match for Superman, both in terms of strength and speed. Icon can also manipulate positrons, the antimatter counterpart of electrons. Despite this, he’s tried beating Superman and he’s failed.
1 STRONGER: COUNT NEFARIA
One of the Avengers’ most powerful villains and strongest mortals in the universe, Count Nefaria is a monster of a villain. Not only does he have Superman’s powers, Count Nefaria also has Wonder Man’s powers and is made of ionic energy. Nefaria’s feats are absolutely ridiculous. His strength is off the charts, as he’s taken on the combined forces of all the Avengers and the Thunderbolts simultaneously. He can easily toss around skyscrapers, he’s beaten Wonder Man effortlessly, and Nefaria is ever stronger than Thor and an enraged Hulk.
Mjoinir can’t hurt him; he’s caught the mystical hammer with one hand, without it affecting him. Nothing really can. He’s even withstood temperature-based attacks three times hotter than the surface of the Sun. Furthermore, he’s an energy vampire and can drain various opponents of their energies. The exact limits to his powers are unknown.
Do you agree or disagree with this list? Let us know in the comments!