In DC canon, Justice League Dark remains a relatively new squad of heroes. Created by Peter Milligan, the team first appears at the start of the New 52, debuting in the aptly titled Justice League Dark #1. Five members, characters associated with the DC Universe’s occult-related mythos, make up the original team -- Deadman, Madame Xanadu, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, and Zatanna. Since its inception less than a decade ago, Justice League Dark has continued to expand. Similar to other DC teams, heroic and non, said expansion comes courtesy of a rotating cast of characters. Their goal? To manage cases beyond the regular Justice League’s purview. Such cases generally fall under the label of mystical or occult in nature. Therefore, powerful forces the likes of Superman and Batman are incapable of maintaining require equally powerful forces to thwart their threat of attack.
Because many magic wielding characters count as some of DC’s most potent players, Justice League Dark is chock-full of heroes who are immeasurably formidable. However, some lesser characters, power-wise, often help fill the ranks of Justice League Dark. Given all of the above, we’re left to wonder who deserves recognition as the most dominant member. To some degree, assigning a single character the number one spot seems nigh on impossible, particularly because a few Justice League Dark members share notably powerful abilities. Nonetheless, we have taken the team’s most prominent recruits and arranged them based on their capabilities alone. Here are 20 Justice League Dark members ranked from least to most powerful.
20 DETECTIVE CHIMP
Yes, Detective Chimp has been recruited to Justice League Dark. He’s a recent recruit, too. However, that doesn’t make him any less essential to the squad. In fact, if the DC Universe has taught us anything about apes, it’s that they should never be underestimated. Detective Chimp is no exception.
As his namesake suggests, being a detective serves as his foremost skill. This necessitates incredible intellect on his part, which surpasses that of most humans. His expertise on matters of the occult, ability to communicate with every living creature, and investigation prowess that’s comparable to Batman’s makes Detective Chimp a quality asset to Justice League Dark’s recent iteration. It doesn’t, however, translate to raw power when compared to his fellow JLD members.
Considering his typically depicted villainous nature, Man-Bat seems another surprising addition to the Justice League Dark ranks. However, the Batman foe is known to have a good streak or two in him, as well. Such is the case when he joins the team.
Due to his being able to transform into a half-man/half-bat hybrid, Man-Bat already stands as one of JLD’s more unique characters. Plus, with regard to his various abilities, he’s certainly no slouch. In addition to having superior intelligence, since his human form is that of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, Man-Bat has super strength, sound-related skills associated with bats, and the ability to fly. Still, Man-Bat’s inability to maintain this form keeps him from ranking higher on this list.
18 BLACK ORCHID
Roughly four iterations of Black Orchid have existed since the character’s introduction in Action Comics #428 in 1973. The version associated with Justice League Dark is Alba Garcia, who joins the ranks by order of Steve Trevor. Akin to Swamp Thing’s abilities via the Green, Black Orchid uses similar plant and animal-based elemental powers (the Green and the Red) to shapeshift. Interestingly, Alba Garcia’s shapeshifting maintains Black Orchid’s reputation as a master of disguise.
Nifty transformations constitute only a portion of her abilities, however. Alba Garcia’s Black Orchid also has enhanced strength, flight abilities, and elasticity-related powers. It’s all rather impressive. Yet, on a team featuring the likes of John Constantine and Zatanna, Black Orchid isn’t too much of a stand out.
Frankenstein’s history in DC lore dates back to a 1948 issue of Detective Comics. Since then, the character has fought on the side of both good and evil. In this lengthy span of time, Frankenstein’s also been associated with several DC teams. Arguably, his most notable team affiliation to date is with Justice League Dark.
Due to his being an undead creature, mortality isn’t a problem for Frankenstein. His odd nature also provides the monster incredible strength and the ability to sustain himself without food or water. However, drawbacks do exist. For instance, Frankenstein doesn’t have a healing factor. Consequentially, body parts may need replacing should he suffer too much damage.
16 DOCTOR MIST
Doctor Mist’s tenure with Justice League Dark is incredibly brief -- he features early in the team’s first run of comics during the New 52. However, following Doctor Mist’s betrayal of Justice League Dark, his inclusion is revealed to have been orchestrated by Nick Necro, a villainous mage who once aided in the tutelage of Zatanna and John Constantine.
An immortal with spellcasting abilities, Doctor Mist seems powerful in his own right. Yet, his capabilities come equipped with a few debilitating limitations. Doctor Mist's ability to only remember a number of spells and incantations represents one example of his power constraints. The time it takes for Doctor Mist to cast certain spells serves as another.
Like Justice League Dark itself, Pandora is a new addition to the DC Universe. Though her origins are touched upon in 2010’s Wonder Woman #45, Pandora doesn’t officially debut until Flashpoint #5 in 2011. With connections to enigmatic figures in the DCU, such as the Amazons and Phantom Stranger, Pandora remains endlessly intriguing. While her time with Justice League Dark may be brief, her presence on this list is justified given her powerset alone.
Immortality and superspeed certainly count as some of Pandora’s more significant gifts. But her ability to turn invisible, as well as her connection to nature are far more intriguing. For instance, Pandora’s traveling between the land of the living and that of the dead is nothing short of astounding.
A lesser known Justice League Dark member, Princess Amethyst hails from Gemworld (or Nilaa), a world of magic. She aligns herself with the supernatural team for a brief period of time, primarily to aid Tim Hunter with his powers and the Books of Magic. Beyond this, Amethyst’s contributions to Justice League Dark as a whole are minimal.
Her help with Tim Hunter is required because she acts as a magical conduit, capable of transferring power. For example, within a crystal she can imbue healing powers. Amethyst has defensive and offensive abilities, too, such as energy construction, telekinesis, energy manipulation, and the like. Amethyst isn’t amongst the JLD’s most valued alum, but when summoned, she assists as required.
13 ANDREW BENNETT
Of course, it didn’t take long for Justice League Dark to recruit a vampire. I… Vampire’s very own Andrew Bennett constitutes the perfect fit. Due to the circumstances of his recruitment, which involve his owing John Constantine a favor, Andrew’s stint with the team is short lived. He aids them in battling Felix Faust and rescuing Doctor Mist. Still, the vampire counts as one of JLD’s formidable members.
As a vampire, Andrew’s abilities fall under familiar trappings. This includes shapeshifting, superior senses, relative immortality, hypnosis, magic usage, superstrength, and so on. Like other creatures of the night, Andrew has a fair number of weaknesses. One exception is sunlight, which will weaken instead of outright destroy him.
Indeed, an honest to God angel from Heaven has served in the ranks of Justice League Dark. Similar to a few other heroes on this list, Zauriel’s stint as a JLD member is fleeting. The angel joins during the team’s run of New 52 comics, specifically offering guidance for their dealings with the Blight.
As far as his powers are concerned, Zauriel, compared to other JLD members, isn’t too impressive. Obviously, the character’s Angelic nature serves as a boon for him. As angels have been depicted elsewhere, Zauriel has the ability to metamorphose, fly, and use magic. His connection to the Presence, DC’s God counterpart, ensures Zauriel can supply his fellow heroes with integral information.
11 SWAMP THING
One of Justice League Dark’s most prominent members, Swamp Thing requires no introduction. However, he isn’t amongst the original team’s ranks as he joins during the New 52’s “Horror City” arc, which begins in Justice League Dark #19. Interestingly, Swamp Thing’s relevance to the group has yet to subside, evidenced by his appearance in the animated film and his presence in JLD’s recent comics iteration.
Swamp Thing’s connection to The Green gives him command over every facet of plant life. Such mastery over nature means greenery of all kinds becomes subject to his will. This link to the Earth also explains his immortality. Upon destruction of his body, the conscious mind within it -- that of Alec Holland -- needs only to connect to a new host.
Arguably, much of Deadman’s growing popularity is attributed to his being one of the Justice League Dark’s original five members, and it’s about time the character gets his due. What's more compelling than an acrobat being killed by a League of Assassins member, then granted a chance to find the guilty party by a Hindu goddess? Hardly any thing at all. Thankfully, the many intriguing aspects of Deadman’s character often receive ample exploration in JLD stories.
Of course, his abilities help make him all the more fascinating. Being a ghost, Deadman harbors a whole host of supernatural powers. For instance, possession, traversing the land of the living and the deceased, and flight constitute a few of his most notable attributes.
9 TIM HUNTER
Decades ahead of teaming with Justice League Dark, Tim Hunter represented one of DC’s more incredible enigmas. A Neil Gaiman character, Tim initially had the makings of a Harry Potter figure before The Boy Who Lived even existed. As for the DC Universe, however, Tim’s destiny is to become the greatest magician ever. What does this mean for JLD? An astonishing resource of untapped potential.
Despite having relinquished his magical abilities prior to meeting JLD, Tim still proves beneficial to their cause. While he and Zatanna are stranded in an alternate dimension, Tim assembles an army of magical beings to combat enemy forces. Is he technically one of Justice League Dark’s most powerful members? Debatable. But the potential of what he evidently will become must count for something.
8 ETRIGAN THE DEMON
Surprisingly, Etrigan the Demon is not a Justice League Dark member in any of the team’s comic iterations. 2017’s Justice League Dark animated film marks the character’s first appearance on the supernatural squad. Additionally, he’s rumored to feature amongst JLD ranks in the eventual live-action film, and will appear as a member in the “Justice League Dark Character DLC Pack” for LEGO DC Super-Villains.
A demon bound to the human form of Jason Blood, Etrigan brings plenty to the table. Just a few of his abilities, in addition to immortality, include spellcasting, hellfire projection, superstrength, and teleportation. Jason himself harbors great power in his own right, as sorcery gives him telekinesis, mind control, and myriad other skills.
7 SHADE THE CHANGING MAN
Despite being an original member, Shade the Changing Man is seemingly one of Justice League Dark’s lesser known heroes. Shade’s absence on the roster in JLD’s cross-media ventures contributes to his having little renown. Yet, such misfortune does not distract from his significance to the team’s numerous comic book adventures.
Using the Miraclo Vest (M-Vest) from his home planet of Meta, Rac Shade has the ability to warp reality, shapeshift, cast illusions, teleport, and even create life. It’s a remarkably impressive set of powers, which Shade has also used while fighting as a member of the Suicide Squad after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
6 WONDER WOMAN
The most recent incarnation of Justice League Dark stars Wonder Woman as team leader. This is also the version featuring the aforementioned Man-Bat and Detective Chimp. Thus, someone has to bring order to what, on paper, appears as though it could breed chaos. Still, given the newness of her JLD debut, it seems too early to judge the quality of Wonder Woman’s status as a member.
On any other team, Wonder Woman easily ranks near the top of the most powerful list. However, her brute force hardly holds a candle to magic-wielding characters with reality bending expertise. Though her own magical prowess, minor as it is, in addition to her Lasso of Truth, secures her a spot as one of JLD’s more formidable members.
5 NIGHTMARE NURSE
Similar to other power rankings, determining which character’s abilities trumps those of another can become difficult. In the end, it seems arbitrary, especially when considering continuity and depictions from different writers. For Nightmare Nurse, one action almost earns her a spot above Phantom Stranger -- saving his life. Even with the expertise of Zatanna and Constantine, it’s Nightmare Nurse that restores good health to the Stranger.
Yet, despite that, as well as her’s and the Stranger’s near identical powersets, he edges out a narrow lead. There are a few tricks up Phantom Stranger’s sleeve that she can’t match. For example, while both can manipulate reality, employ divine abilities, teleport, and more, she does not share his psychic or soul absorbing abilities.
4 PHANTOM STRANGER
As one of the DC Universe’s most mysterious figures, The Phantom Stranger has affiliations with various types of teams. From Justice League to the Sentinels of Magic, his reach ranges far and wide. The Stranger joins Justice League Dark during the New 52’s “Forever Evil” crossover event. He does not stay with them for long, however, primarily offering his aid to their fight against the Blight.
While his background remains ambiguous, with some tellings suggesting he’s Judas Iscariot, Phantom Stranger’s powers are fairly well-defined and they are many in number. Teleportation, telepathy, time travel, trans-dimensional travel, phasing, reality manipulation, invisibility, powers of divinity, the list could go on for a time. The origins of Phantom Stranger’s abilities, like his very being, is unknown.
3 JOHN CONSTANTINE
Though it may not always appear as such, John Constantine ranks as one of the DC Universe’s most powerful mages. He’s the go-to guy for magical troubles for a reason. And the reasoning goes far beyond his being an occult detective and paranormal expert. When it comes to using magic, few folks are as gifted as the hellblazing John Constantine.
Constantine’s sorcery is incredibly wide ranging. Energy projection, spell casting, astral projection, necromancy, hypnosis, and demon summoning only scratch the surface of his abilities. Should magic not be the optimal choice in certain situations, Constantine instead employs wit. A master at manipulation, Constantine once tricked Satan, the master manipulator himself, into drinking holy water. Is there a better way to measure power?
2 MADAME XANADU
Like Shade the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu represents an original JLD member who’s yet to embark on a cross-media adventure. Thus, the wait for her time to shine persists. On comic book pages, however, Madame Xanadu’s immense power receives ample attention. Considering her status as one of DC’s more prestigious magicians, the fortune teller is often involved in events concerning the supernatural.
Her magical prowess is primarily attributed to her upbringing as Morgaine le Fey’s sister and student of the wizard, Merlin. Madame Xanadu’s sorcery gifts her with telepathy, telekinesis, immortality, and a panoply of other magical skills. Particularly interesting is her ability to foresee the future.
Few mages in DC’s vast universe can stand toe-to-toe with Zatanna. As the daughter of the famed magician Giovanni Zatara, Zatanna’s magical prowess is presumably genetic in nature. In many respects, it’s unmatched, too. One of Justice League Dark’s original members, Zatanna seems to appear in every iteration of the team, including its cross-media adventures. Given the character’s incredible power, her prominence comes as no surprise.
Like Madame Xanadu, Zatanna’s abilities are exhausting in number. Yet, Zatanna possesses power the fortune teller lacks. Just a few include the ability to trans-dimensional travel, control the elements, alter reality, and redirect attacks at enemies. It’s no wonder she becomes prevalent throughout many of DC’s supernatural tales.