Thanos and Darkseid are two of the most famous villains in comic book history. The Mad Titan, specifically, has become a pop culture icon after the incredible success of Avengers: Infinity War. Darkseid was meant to serve a similar role in the DC Extended Universe and he could still become a successful villain on the big screen in the Worlds of DC. But, Thanos has separated himself from his predecessor.
The Mad Titan debuted three years after Jack Kirby introduced the world to Darkseid. Since then, the two villains have been constantly linked and compared to each other. Thanos made a name for himself in the Infinity Saga, with classic stories like The Thanos Quest, The Infinity Gauntlet, and Infinity War establishing the villain as one of the most menacing characters in comic book history. Darkseid has also plagued the DC Universe and its heroes, with Final Crisis being a prominent example of his sinister deeds. Both characters are remarkably similar in appearance and they also have similar backgrounds as they have each served as the tyrannical ruler of a planet: Apokolips for Darkseid and Titan for Thanos. Both have an incredibly powerful weapon, the Omega Beams and the Infinity Gauntlet, respectively, are two of the most potent tools in all of comic books. When comparing two characters, it’s hard to say who would win in a fight and we’re not trying to directly answer that question. Instead, we’ve provided a list, which includes 10 Reasons Darkseid Is More Powerful than Thanos (And 10 Why Thanos Is More Powerful).
20 DARKSEID: ANTI-LIFE EQUATION
Through the years, various retcons and changes have altered what the Anti-Life Equation means. But, for the most part, the formula represents the dark side (pun intended) of life itself. At times, such as Final Crisis, Darkseid has gained control of the Equation and the results are often catastrophic. Grant Morrison, in his famous Seven Soldiers miniseries, established that the Equation is built on loneliness, despair, mockery, condemnation, judgment, among others, and it can be used to influence sentient creatures.
In Final Crisis, using the Equation, Darkseid nearly eliminated the world as we know it. It took an absolute miracle from Superman to stop him.
19 THANOS: INFINITY GAUNTLET
As Thanos displayed in Infinity War, whoever has access to the legendary Infinity Stones instantly becomes arguably the most powerful figure in the universe. The Mad Titan has a long-running connection with the stones and the character’s infamous quest to gather them and reshape the universe in his image (in the comics and on the big screen) is part of some of the most famous stories in Marvel’s long history.
Each stone grants its wielder incredible power, controlling all five of them can make someone omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The stones also provide the mastery of time, the mind, and life itself. With the Infinity Gauntlet around his wrist, Thanos is practically unstoppable, which gives him an edge over Darkseid.
18 DARKSEID: PARADEMONS
Each individual Parademon may not be very impressive, but when Darkseid unleashes a monstrous swarm of them, they can tip the scales in any battle. These troopers each have a power set that makes them stand apart from typical cannon fodder. Parademons have heightened strength, endurance, and pain tolerance. Plus, these soldiers can breathe fire, fly (due to their armor), and self-detonate, which can be advantageous in the presence of their enemies.
The DCEU put a different spin on the Parademons; the big screen version of the troopers were attracted to fear and had the ability to transform other beings into Parademons (this ability has appeared in the comics).
17 THANOS: BLACK ORDER
Thanos is, at times, the ruler of Titan and Darkseid is the dictator of Apokolips. Therefore, both villains can summon a legion of soldiers at a moment’s notice. The Mad Titan, though, also has a universally feared special task force at his command. The Black Order works for Thanos and often helps him meet his nefarious goals.
Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian (or Black Dwarf), Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive all made their big screen debuts during Infinity War. While the movie didn’t quite do them justice, this group is an unpleasant crew that has proven it can hold their own against the mightiest of heroes the universe has to offer.
16 DARKSEID: NEW GOD
As a New God, Darkseid is one of the most powerful figures in the DCU. He can teleport through time and space and he’s incredibly strong. He’s even crushed a Green Lantern ring with his bare hands. Physically, he’s practically unmatched, as he’s managed to take down the Justice League by himself.
Darkseid has gone toe-to-toe with Zeus, an Olympian deity, which is a fairly accurate indicator of the former’s power level. In “The Great Darkness Saga,” Darkseid also displayed some genuine divine-like power when he controlled the minds of everyone on a planet. Darkseid also sensed the demise of his son, Orion, without even witnessing the demise himself. Overall, the dictator of Apokolips is on par with the most dangerous threats in the DCU.
15 THANOS: ENERGY MANIPULATION
Thanos is more than just a Titan who occasionally has the powers of the Infinity Gauntlet. With the ability to absorb energy and blast it back out, Thanos is a powerhouse in his own right.
The Mad Titan has enhanced this power through the use of bionicle and mystical means. When the Grim Reaper revived him, Thanos’ powers received an additional boost. Thanos has used this ability to exchange blows with beings as powerful as Odin and Galactus, knocking the latter off his feet. The power to manipulate energy lets Thanos create energy shields as well as force fields, which makes The Mad Titan a truly indomitable adversary.
14 DARKSEID: OMEGA BEAMS
Putting it simply, Darkseid emits lasers from his eyes, which is a spooky image to begin with. These energy blasts are often used as an offensive weapon and it can eliminate living beings or revive those who have experienced it previously. Superman can withstand the beams, but they still pack a painful punch for the Man Of Steel.
Also, Darkseid has access to a cosmic energy called the Omega Effect, which powers the beams. The ruler of Apokolips used the beams, or the Omega Sanction, to send Batman back in time during Final Crisis, which placed the hero in a series of increasingly nightmarish realities.
13 THANOS: DURABILITY
Before he was resurrected, The Mad Titan was remarkably durable and resistant to injury. Death augmented these traits and made Thanos nearly invulnerable. Odin, The Silver Surfer, Galactus, Thor, and others have blasted The Mad Titan at point-blank range and none of them were able to inflict any genuine damage.
Thanos has even endured multiple screams from Black Bolt and withstood various attacks meant to level planets. The Mad Titan is practically impossible to bring down, even when an opponent lands a good hit, Thanos has an extraordinary healing factor. Additionally, his Eternal physiology also makes him immune to disease and prevents him from aging.
12 DARKSEID: DOESN'T UNDERESTIMATE OPPONENTS (AS MUCH)
Thanos is known for a lot of things and one of them is his questionable decision to leave some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes alive at the climax of Infinity War. During the famous fight on Titan, once Thanos got the upper hand, he could have easily removed Tony Stark and Nebula from the board.
Taking Stark down would have practically ensured The Mad Titan’s victory, but Thanos left him alive and now Iron Man will likely be a crucial part of the Heroes’ attempt to defeat the villain. It’s fair to argue that Darkseid would not have made such a glaring misjudgment.
11 THANOS: UNMATCHED INTELLIGENCE
You might not guess it at first glance, but Thanos is one of the most intelligent beings in the Marvel Universe. He has a genius-level intellect in most fields of science, which allows him to create exemplary, advanced technology. One of The Mad Titan’s most impressive creations is his famous chair, which allows him to time travel, teleport, fly, and travel the multiverse.
Thanos also has an advanced knowledge of the mystic arts, which, combined with his technological genius, makes him comparable to Tony Stark and Dr. Doom. Thanos’ mind isn’t usually responsible for his failures, but his heart can take the blame for many of them.
10 DARKSEID: NO MORALS
We don’t mean to belabor the point, but Thanos’ decision to let Stark live is, frankly, surprising. Some fans believe The Mad Titan showed Iron Man mercy because the former has morals. It seems odd to suggest that a man who eliminated half of all life for the sake of balance has a heart, but that just might be the case.
Darkseid doesn’t have a soft spot like that. Yes, he has underestimated his opponents and it’s come back to bite him, but it’s usually a matter of ego. Furthermore, Darkside is never in danger of going soft. On the other hand, in Infinity War, through his interactions with Gamora and Stark, Thanos showed that he is susceptible to his emotions.
9 THANOS: FORCEFIELD
Thanos is already immortal and, for all intents and purposes, invulnerable. When you factor in the force field generated by his famous chair, he becomes, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult opponents in the Marvel Universe.
You could argue that Thanos wouldn’t be as impressive without his chair, given the various abilities it grants him. But, more often than not, the chair and The Mad Titan are inseparable. As a result, Thanos’ creation can be considered one of the many things that makes him so dangerous. The chair is an incredibly useful tool and allows Thanos to have a strong defense against a number of attacks.
8 DARKSEID: INFINITY GAUNTLET POWERS
With the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos’ power is impossible to comprehend, let alone measure. But Darkseid doesn’t even need some shiny stones and a fancy glove to boast some awesome powers. He has the ability to teleport through time and space, he’s impressively strong, and he’s also a telepath/telekinetic.
Each of these skills is comparable to the respective powers of the Infinity Stones and Darkseid didn’t even need to go on an enduring quest to acquire these abilities. Instead, he just took the Omega Force from his brother Drax. It’s no coincidence why Thanos and Marvel’s own Drax are bitter enemies.
7 THANOS: WHOLE TEAM REQUIRED
We all saw how it unfolded in Infinity War. Whether it was on Titan or on Earth, various iterations of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes couldn’t stop Thanos. Star-Lord was unsuccessful in stopping The Mad Titan and was ultimately responsible for his triumph. He let his anger cloud his judgment, which stopped the other heroes from removing the Gauntlet from a weakened Thanos.
Then, on Earth, Thor didn’t go for the head and Thanos emerged victorious. While Darkseid has also shown he can take down the whole Justice League, Superman has practically defeated him single-handedly. For Thanos, though, the Avengers need all hands on deck.
6 DARKSEID: IMMORTAL
As a New God, Darkseid is immortal. Along with the rest of his race, he took powers from other deities and individually, Darkseid took the Omega Force for himself, which augmented his exceptional durability. Darkseid and other residents of Apokolips have used the Source, one of the universe’s primary energies, to evolve themselves into practically perfect beings. When Darkseid sets his sights on Earth, everyone is right to be worried because he’s seemingly unstoppable.
Additionally, Darkseid does not age and he is impervious to disease. The ruler of Apokolips is physically superior to humans and most metahumans, in every way, which is why he’s such a dominant figure.
5 THANOS: UNIVERSAL THREAT
We’ve discussed Thanos’ formidable range of abilities. He’s one of the strongest, smartest beings in the Marvel Universe and, when he has the Infinity Gauntlet, he is nearly unstoppable. The rest of the MU recognizes this truth. The Nova Corps classified The Mad Titan as one of the most dangerous threats in the universe who is capable of ending all life and reality itself. This ranking earned Thanos a spot in a cosmic prison camp, courtesy of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.
On the other hand, Darkseid isn’t always viewed as the worst threat in the DCU. Yes, he’s near the top of the list, but he doesn’t always strike trepidation into the hearts of other cosmic beings the way Thanos does.
4 DARKSEID: RUTHLESS INFLUENCER
Darkseid is one of the most masterful influencers in the DCU. He shaped a young boy into becoming his current servant, Desaad, and there’s also the infamous story in Action Comics #593 with Superman and Big Barda. In “The Great Darkness Saga,” Darkseid essentially created a planet full of superpowered beings and controlled them all.
Then, there’s Final Crisis, when Darkseid pulled the strings and came this close to eliminating the world and life as we know it. Even now, it’s fairly clear that Darkseid is influencing his “teammates” in Justice League Odyssey, but his endgame is currently unclear. Needless to say, Darkseid almost always has some wicked plans in the works.
3 THANOS: MASTER STRATEGIST
Thanos deserves some credit for organizing his plans, both in the comics and the movies. The Thanos Quest might be the best demonstration of this tactical and strategist brilliance. The Mad Titan goes on a mission to gather the Infinity Stones and single-handedly takes them all from various cosmic beings who possessed them.
Thanos influenced the In-Betweener in order to get the Soul Gem, tricks the Champion Of The Universe into giving him the Power Gem, and then uses The Gardener’s creations against him to take the Time Gem. Most impressively, Thanos beats The Grandmaster in a game of wits. The Mad Titan proves, time and again, that he has the brains and the brawn to intimidate the greater Marvel Universe.
2 DARKSEID: REGENERATIVE ABILITY
Despite his immortality and invulnerability, Darkseid always has a backup plan if he’s ever resoundingly defeated. The ruler of Apokolips can fully regenerate his body, even when he’s been eliminated. This ability also came in handy when Aquaman and Wonder Woman impaled his eyes. Darkseid’s opponents can never truly defeat him because he’ll always be able to heal himself.
DC Rebirth has explored another facet of Thanos’ ability to regenerate. He drained the life force from various deities, which enabled him to age into a young adult after initially being reduced to infancy. When Darkseid drained the energy of Zeus, he fully returned to his original self.
1 THANOS: DRIVEN BY LOVE OF...
Thanos loves Death. This affection can be interpreted literally and metaphorically, but in the pages of the comics, Thanos has a soft spot for the equivalent of the Grim Reaper. Death caught Thanos’ eye and The Mad Titan was smitten.
He has offered many gifts to his prospective partner, but she’s often unamused. Thanos’ desire to win Death’s admiration and respect often drive him to up the ante. This unrequited love was largely responsible for his actions in the comic book version of Infinity War. Death gives Thanos something to fight for, and love is the strongest motivator. It often seems that The Mad Titan just won’t stop until he wins Death’s hand.