From primary school playgrounds to corporate office breakrooms, comic book fans have argued for eons as to whether Marvel or DC Comics has the strongest heroes. Thanks to the prominence of superhero films over the last two decades, these debates have only grown more intense! Now, you can't turn on the TV or hop on the internet without seeing Marvel vs DC threads all over the place.
We figured we might as well throw our hats into the ring since these Marvel vs DC debates aren't ending any time soon. Today, we're going to compare ten of Marvel and DC's strongest characters by category, compare their feats, and then choose a definitive winner. Since most of these characters have decades of continuity behind them, we'll compare the modern versions of our combatants - with the express intent of excluding as much excess continuity as possible. With all that out of the way, let's get ready to rumble!
11 Angriest Assailant: The Hulk vs Atrocitus
In the green corner stands, 'the Strongest One There Is,' the Green Scar, the Incredible Hulk! Fueled by anger and possessing limitless strength, the Hulk is undoubtedly the physically strongest character in Marvel's extensive stable. Many of the Hulk's most impressive feats from the Modern Age stem from the notorious World War Hulk storyline - in which the Jade Giant stomped out every Marvel hero and villain he could get his hands on. Most Marvel vs DC battles pit the Hulk against Superman, but we have another contender in mind.
In the red corner, we have the founder of the Red Lantern Corps and the Guardians' worst nightmare - Atrocitus! Atros was once a peace-loving scientist from the planet Ryut. But once the Guardians' Manhunters took away everything he loved, Atros used blood magic to form the Red Lantern Crops. Now, Atrocitus can channel the Red Light of Rage to empowered himself and melt his foes with pyroclastic bile!
We have two rage-filled warriors facing off against each other in this Marvel vs DC battle. We imagine Atrocitus would try to burn the Hulk and restrain him with Red constructs. Things might be even for a time until the Jolly Green enters his Worldbreaker state. Atrocitus wouldn't have the means to put the Hulk down for good, whereas the Hulk would only need to remove Atrocitus' ring - which has replaced his heart and keeps him alive! Though it's a tough decision to make, we give this win to the Hulk.
10 Strongest Psychic: Jean Grey vs Raven
For this next Marvel vs DC battle, we have Jean Grey duking it out with Raven. On her own, Jean Grey is a force to be reckoned with; she was born an Omega-Level mutant, can create nigh-impenetrable psychic shields, and can unlock the potential powers of other mutants. But when Jean plays host to the Phoenix Force, her attributes skyrocket! Phoenix Jean is as powerful as many of the Marvel Universe's abstract entities - including the likes of Eternity and Infinity.
Conversely, Raven is more of an empath - her powers primarily revolve around manipulating emotions; at least that's the case with Raven's base form. As the daughter of the demon-lord Trigon, Raven has the potential to access immense power - at the cost of her soul. Raven normally resists Trigon's influence, but we'll say that she's accepted his power for the sake of this Marvel vs DC battle.
Regardless of Trigon's aid, Raven still loses to Phoenix Jean every time. When empowered by Trigon, Raven becomes a threat to Earth. But when Jean's hosting the Phoenix Force, she becomes a threat to the cosmos! It's also worth noting that Rachel Summers once used the Phoenix Force to mass-exorcise an army of demons - something that we imagine Jean could do to Trigon.
9 Mightiest Myth: Thor vs Wonder Woman
Despite their roots in the Pulp Science Fiction genre, comics books have become increasingly mystical over the years. Hence the inclusion of mythological characters like Odin, Zeus, and Ra in both the Marvel and DC Universes. We'll be comparing the child of two Sky-Father deities for this Marvel vs DC battle - Thor Odinson and Diana of Themyscira! Similar to their depictions on the big screen, both Thor and Diana are impossibly strong - with both heroes taking on the Hulk and Superman respectively!
Any time that stories glimpse into the future, we see that Thor and Diana's powers eclipse their parents - allowing them to protect their Universes' with ease. But even in their modern forms, Thor's still trounced Galactus and Wonder Woman's still toppled Darkseid. The Marvel vs DC battle is almost too close to call, but there's one last factor to consider - weaponry. Mjolnir outclasses any weapon that Wonder Woman owns - including her Bracelets of Submission or her Lasso of Truth. It'd be a hard-fought victory, but Thor would claim it in the end.
8 Swiftest Speedster: Quicksilver vs The Flash
There are two types of Speedsters in comic books - the quick, and the dead. This Marvel vs DC battle pits Wally West against Pietro Maximoff - the fastest men alive from both their respective realms. Officially ranked as DC's fastest character, Wally West can exceed scientific limitations by channeling the Speed Force. Once when in dire straights, Wally outran the Black Racer (one of DC's personifications of Death) by running to the end of time and back!
In comparison, Quicksilver has disarmed bombs in nanoseconds and is too fast for most telepaths to control! Pietro also can perform many of the same feats that the average Speedster can - including vibrating molecules and reacting to things faster than the eye can comprehend. Unfortunately for Quicksilver, all of that pales in comparison to Wally's picosecond feats. For context, a picosecond is one-trillionth of an average second. In that time, Wally's dismantled guns scanned large areas, and created weapons out of the Speed Force! Wally takes this Marvel vs DC fight with ease, though we're confident that Barry Allen could also match out Quicksilver as well.
7 Most Accurate Archer: Hawkeye vs Green Arrow
We had to show some love for two of the least appreciated heroes in the Avengers and Justice League respectively. Both Clint Barton and Oliver Queen are two mortal men that rub shoulders with demigods regularly! To keep pace with their titanic teammates, Hawkeye and Green Arrow employ a slew of unconventional gadgets in battle. Hawkeye and Green Arrow pride themselves on their excellent aim - with Clint's whole shtick revolving around 'never missing a target.'
Since Hawkeye and Green Arrow are so similar, we feel that this Marvel vs DC battle comes down to the tools of the trade. Green Arrow's trick weapons include net arrows, scatter arrows and his signature 'boxing glove arrow.' We love all of those weapons, but we have to give the edge to Hawkeye - who carries around Adamantium and Vibranium arrows these days. It's also worth noting that modern versions of Hawkeye genuinely never miss - only firing strange shots to set up situations to his advantage.
6 Smartest Scientist: Hank Pym vs Rami The Guardian
We were thinking about calling this one 'scariest scientist,' since both Hank Pym and Rami are loose canons. On the one hand, Hank Pym is alleged to be Earth's Scientist Supreme. His creations include Pym Particles, the Ant-Man suit, and Ultron. We don't think we need to emphasize how monumental each of those achievements is, as well as how bone-chilling that Ultron's existence is.
In contrast, Rami is the Malthusian that engineered the Green Lantern Rings and the Phantom Ring. This guy somehow harnessed space magic and then put in a handheld device! Sure, Ultron's a scary robot, but so is Amazo - an android that can replicate the powers of the entire Justice League! Using one of Rami's rings, Hal Jordan to blast a hole through Amazo with one hit! Simply put, Green Lantern rings have far more scientific applications that anything Hank Pym's created thus far. To that end, Rami takes this Marvel vs DC battle - especially if he were to use the Phantom Ring on Hank.
5 Keenest King: Black Panther vs Aquaman
They say that a nation's only as strong as the man who's leading it. Typically, that phrase refers to mental, emotional, and spiritual fortitude. For the sake of this Marvel vs DC battle, however, we're going to take that saying more literally.
T'challa rules Wakanda with keen insight and compassion. The opposite of an idle king, T'challa proactively protects his nation from the front lines as the Black Panther! T'cahlla also has a stockpile of Vibranium at his disposal - one of the strongest materials in the Marvel Universe. Couple that with his immense intelligence and the powers granted to him by Bast, and the Black Panther becomes a one-man army!
Unfortunately for T'challa, Arthur Curry is more than just a man - he's the King of Atlantis and the wielder of Poseidon's Trident! If this Marvel vs DC battle escalated into a full-blown war, we're sad to report that the armies of Atlantis would wash out Wakanda's defenses. In a one-on-one fight, Black Panther can't match Aquaman's - he' broken yellow lantern constructs and lifted city streets with his raw strength! Aquaman's also insanely fast, once catching Barry Allen off guard.
4 Most Ingenius Inventor: Iron Man vs Batman
Both Iron Man and Batman are two of the smartest men in their respective universes. Anthony Edward Stark pioneered his famous Iron Man exoskeleton suits decades ago, with nothing but scraps and spare parts on hand. Since then, Tony's created increasingly advanced Iron Man suits for every occasion he could think of. In recent years, Tony's armors incorporate nanomachine technology - allowing Stark to rebuild his Iron Man suits seemingly from thin air! And let's not forget to consider all of the other inventions Tony's created with Stark Industries in this Marvel vs DC battle - including his Hulkbuster, Thorbuster, and Fin Fang Foom Buster suits, as well as Stark Tower!
In contrast, many of Batman's inventions are much subtler than Iron Man's; Bruce Wayne designs all of the Batarangs, Grapple Guns, and Bat Suits that he uses while fighting crime. The Batmobile, Justice Buster armor and Hellbat suit are probably some of Bruce's most over the top inventions, come to think of it. Well, Bruce also had a hand in making Brother Eye - an Orwellian nightmare that surveys the world at all times! Moreover, Batman has a knack for creating specific inventions that target his foes' weaknesses - such as Kryptonite rings and sonic grenades.
With all that in mind, we still have to give this Marvel vs DC battle to Tony Stark. His Iron Man suits outclass just about all of Batman's inventions by a mile. Think about this; Tony's taken out rage-monsters, maniacal robots, and gods with his Iron Man suits - we're sure he could handle anything that Batman could throw at him. Now, this is the part where someone says that Bats could beat anyone with enough prep time. That person probably isn't wrong, but we'd argue that the same goes for Tony - made evident in the Fear Itself storyline.
3 Staunchest Sorcerer: Doctor Strange vs Zatanna
Both the Marvel and DC Universes are home to some of the most powerful magicians in the world of comics. Doctor Strange towers over his fellow magic users that hail from Earth - and many that come from other planets and dimensions. As the Sorcerer Supreme, Strange must singlehandedly defend the Marvel Universe from threats that most others couldn't imagine. This includes the likes of Dormammu, Shuma-Gorath, and Nebulos - the Lord of Perilous.
Zatanna Zatara, on the other hand, is perhaps the strongest Homo Magi in the DC Universe. She's long since surpassed her father, the world-renowned Giovanni Zatara, in terms of sheer magical prowess. With a word, Zatanna can turn people into doves and reconstruct entire buildings! Zatanna is also a key member of Justice League Dark - working alongside John Constantine, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman to repel mystical threats.
So in this Marvel vs DC battle, we've got a sorcerer that uses hand gestures to cast spells and another that needs to speak backward. As tough and as close as this matchup is, we have to give the victory to Doctor Strange. He's the freakin' Sorcerer Supreme - the man fights demonic entities and evil gods daily! And if the War of Spheres is still canon, Strange once participated in a five-thousand-year long war, then returned relatively unscathed!
2 Fiercest 'Flying Brick': Captain Marvel vs Superman
In comic book terms, a Flying Brick is an impossibly powerful character that possesses a suite of tremendous abilities - typically superstrength, superspeed, extreme durability, an array of vision powers, and flight (hence the name.) Alongside the Blue Marvel, Sentry, and the Gladiator, Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel) is one of the strongest Flying Bricks in the Marvel Universe! Her Binary powers set her apart from the others, allowing Carol to tap into a wellspring of energy that rivals a white hole's! Even in her base form, Carol's lifted Celestials, dented moons, and tanked hits from Wonder Man. If anyone could give the Man of Steel a run for his money, it'd be Captain Marvel.
When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster invented Superman in the 1930s, they had no idea that the character would become so influential. Decades later, Superman's smacked down Darkseid on his own, flown to the Source Wall and back, and held black holes in the palms of his hands! Numerous Flying Bricks have cropped up over the years, but none are more famous or beloved as Superman. He's the original Flying Brick (which is funny since he couldn't fly or shoot lasers back in the day.) If you can think it, Superman's probably done it - including feats that ought to be impossible.
Perhaps out of all of the other Marvel vs DC matchups in this article, this would be the most intense. Superman and Captain Marvel's power levels are very similar - and both of them don't know the meaning of the word "surrender." Ultimately, we'd have to say that Superman would prevail in the long run. Clark's fought the likes of Captain Atom, Imperiex, and the World Forger. With time, however, Carol's feats may one day match Superman's. Should a rematch occur, we don't think the multiverse could handle it!
More of Marvel's characters have won in more categories, but DC's victors far outshine their competition. No one from the Marvel Universe or the DC Universe compares to Superman, whereas Iron Man and Hawkeye just barely edge out their rivals. Still, we'd say that Marvel has stronger characters for now. That's the caveat, however - times change. DC could reinvent Batman one day and make him a closer rival to Iron Man. Captain Marvel's power could continue to grow until she outclasses Superman. The world of comics is always in flux; today's victors could be tomorrow's losers - and vice versa.
Marvel's victory over DC also reflect a real-world shift in paradigms; DC's characters were overpowered during the Golden and Silver Ages, while Marvel's were more down to Earth. The Hulk didn't break worlds in the 1960s, he was a riff on Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. But over the last few decades, Marvel's increased the power of their heroes and villains while DC's sought to humanize their characters. As a result, the Modern version of Superman isn't as strong as his past counterparts (though he's still powerful,) but he's more relatable. However, nothing's static in the comic book world. When (not if) the tables turn, you can count on us to rank Marvel and DC's greatest champions once again.