When getting a gang of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters together to try, individually, to destroy the DCEU version of Superman, you should first ask, “What has worked against him in the DC universe?” Anybody with Kryptonite can potentially kill Superman. Even a mere human like Batman can kill Superman, provided he has some of that rare green poison on hand. So let’s make a rule that nobody can use Kryptonite. With that out of the way, magic attacks have worked against Superman in the past. Likewise, the unimaginably intense brute force of a god, such as Darkseid (one of the DC inspirations for Thanos), can almost certainly crush the Man of Steel. By the same token, the Hulk-like Doomsday has actually killed Superman in the comics by pummeling him to death.
Superman is a cosmic being of apocalyptic power, one who makes an absolute mess of Metropolis in an effort to protect it from Zod’s invading forces in Man of Steel. Seemingly dead at the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, he will somehow rise from the grave to fight alongside (or against?) the heroes of Justice League. (Not a spoiler, he’s literally on the poster.) And yet, despite all of this, there are several characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe who could decimate DCEU’s Superman. This article gives you the rundown on Marvel’s would-be Man of Steel-slayers. Naturally, spoilers ahead.
Ego isn’t all that imposing in disguise as a mild-mannered mortal, but as Ego The Living Planet, he’s a terrifying presence. Earthly brute force typically doesn’t work against Superman, unless it’s the force of the entire planet. After all, in the comics, Hawkman used the Claw of Horus to thwack Superman with a force equal to the mass of the Earth.
Superman struggled against the comparatively small Swamp Thing, particularly in the New 52 story arcs, so it’s logical to expect a full-sized sentient planet to be capable of crushing him. Kal-El’s one chance might be to remark on the similarities between Ego’s unwanted son Id, the Selfish Moon, and Kal-El’s troublemaking son Johnathan. Superman and Ego also have love-hate relationships with the other sort of Sun, too. Suns feed both Superman and Ego’s powers, but they also at times pose existential threats to their survival.
As the Asgardian Goddess of Death, Hela has the power of life and death over all of the gods and goddesses of Asgard. Let that sink in. If mere mortals touch her, they die. If she struck Superman, would he die immediately? Maybe, maybe not. But he probably wouldn’t live to see the morning. Hela’s power of levitation might not be all that impressive to Superman, but her power over existence might be. Just a bit.
That said, the fact that she can astral project is a bad sign for the Man of Steel. We already know that Superman doesn’t do well on the astral plane. Virtually none of his superpowers matter in the spirit world. X-Ray vision, super strength, super-flare, and even super-hearing rely upon the physics of the physical world. Hela need only drag him to Hel and let her evil spells do the rest.
A mutated Eternal, Thanos of Titan is basically a superpowered alien god. Even without the Infinity Gauntlet or the Cosmic Cube, Thanos is one of the strongest Marvel characters, with cosmic powers such as devastating energy projection and telepathy. A Marvel cross between Darkseid and Metron, Thanos’s destructive powers are nearly limitless on account of his unhealthy relationship (read: obsession) with Mistress Death.
Drax the Destroyer literally ripped Thanos’s heart out of his chest and the Mad Titan didn’t stay dead. This fact alone should terrify Superman. Imagine the Man of Steel’s shock when he tries to bring down Thanos, only for the Mad Titan to shrug it off, smile and deliver his own blow 100 times more powerful right back to him. When Thanos says, “Let the Universe cower in fear,” you can bet he’s talking about Kryptonians, too. Superman doesn’t stand a chance.
The Vision is an android — usually referred to as a synthezoid in the comics — capable of human emotion… and devastating power. The gem on his forehead fires an infrared beam at 16,649 degrees Celsius. That’s more than three times the heat of the surface of the Sun. We already know from series such as All-Star Superman that, though he gets his powers from exposure to the Sun’s radiation, the Man of Steel cannot withstand certain quantities of solar radiation.
All the Vision would need to do is overwhelm him with solar radiation. Vision can also change his density and become intangible at will, which makes Superman’s skill set more or less useless. Throw in the fact that the Vision’s intelligence probably exceeds Superman’s, and we’re putting our money on the intangible android with an infinity stone in his noggin.
Loki is Asgard’s god of mischief, a sorcerer without peer. While it’s unlikely that Loki’s cunning would get the better of Superman, his command of magic and powers to move between dimensions of existence present serious dilemmas for the Last Son of Krypton. In the comics, Loki once turned New York City into ice cream and willed people out of existence just because he felt like it. In the movies, he has gone toe-to-toe with the MCU’s most powerful beings, and even led an invasion of Earth! This son of a Frost Giant is not to be trifled with.
Loki’s powers of magic are so intense that he can defeat his brother, the God of Thunder, with a simple illusion. As the Lord of Chaos, Loki is pretty much fixated on bringing about the destruction of Asgard, so we’ve yet to see what he is capable of when he isn’t distracted. No doubt, defeating Superman would require his undivided attention, and it might not be easy, but there’s no way Loki loses this fight.
11. DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Stephen Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme. He deals in magic and moves freely between dimensions of existence. Doctor Strange’s powers of illusion alone would make him a formidable foe. Of course, his powers extend far beyond mere illusions. His magic skills rival, if not exceed, those of his teacher The Ancient One, the original Sorcerer Supreme.
Yes, Dr. Strange is just a human being, so there’s the potential for Superman to overpower him, but it’s unlikely, especially with an infinity stone at his disposal. Yeah, remember when he used that to defeat a cosmic god? All he needs to do to defeat Superman is imprison himin a similar magic cage, throw him into a dimension of pure red sun energy and then put it on loop. Job done!
10. CAPTAIN MARVEL
We’re still not sure how the MCU Captain Marvel will shake out, but given that she has already been called the cinematic universe’s heaviest hitter so far, there’s a good chance she’ll be able to effectively throw hands against Supes. Now, Carol Danvers’ early incarnations wouldn’t stand a chance against the Kryptonian. However, the current version of Captain Marvel would trounce him, and it’s this one that we will likely see in the MCU.
Her current version combines the cosmic powers of the godlike Binary with the Kree powers of Mar-Vell. With the power of flight and the ability to shoot devastating energy blasts from her hands, she is as close to a human-goddess as we’re likely to see in Marvel movies. Also, Captain Marvel’s one weakness — her selfless compassion for others — is not one that Superman is likely to exploit.
Thor is the best warrior in all of Asgard, and possibly the entirety of the MCU. His hammer Mjolnir wreaks devastation wherever it is thrown (well, at least it was before Thor: Ragnarok). It can only be lifted by those worthy enough to wield it (which, admittedly, Supes has done in the comics; but then again, so has Cap, and he couldn’t do it in Age of Ultron). The fight between Supes and Thor would be a close one, as it has been in the comics.
While their skill sets are more or less evenly matched, our money is on the God of Thunder. Superman is a gifted alien whom some people regard as godlike. Thor is an actual god, who can fly, manipulate electricity and other forms of energy and generate hurricane-force winds. That’s all added to the fact that he is one of the best hand-to-hand combatants of all time, with thousands of years of battle-hardened experience. Sorry, Clark, you lose this one.
You knew the Hulk would be on here. Bruce Banner’s alter ego is big, green, stronger than anything on Earth, fueled by rage and indestructible. On top of that, the angrier Hulk gets, the more powerful he gets. We have yet to see the limits of Hulk’s powers in the MCU, but most recently, he survived going toe-to-toe with a super-charged Thor. Luckily for him, he can always get a little angrier and thus is always a danger, to man and god alike.
In the MCU, Bruce Banner has a lot more control over when he transforms than he does in the comics, thanks to his being “always angry.” Because of that, the Hulk is more of a controlled weapon than he has been in the comics (not counting Green Scar, the so-called “Professor Hulk” and some of his other, more clever iterations), and could take it to Superman just as hard and as savagely as he did to Thor.
Dormammu’s dark magic powers makes him a fearsome opponent. Dormammu’s skills with magic are technically greater than any human’s. It takes a whole lot of luck for Dr. Strange to do any damage to this devil-like lord of the Dark Dimension. As a being of pure mystical energy, Dormammu has complete control over magic and is arguably its most powerful user in the entirety of the MCU. Strange basically got a lucky shot in, let’s be real.
Other, lesser sorcerers make this list by virtue of their magic skills, and they’re pawns compared with the might of Dormammu. They use magic. Dormammu is magic. Like a real god, the Dread One gets even more strength anytime anybody invokes him by name. Don’t kid yourself, the only way Superman flies out of this one is if Dormammu’s magic throws him.
Heimdall guards the Rainbow Bridge known as the Bifrost. As someone who can see anything in the universe, no matter the distance, his super-senses are equal, if not superior, to Superman’s, but his ability to choose what sensory info to pay attention to makes him truly formidable, even for somebody as powerful as Superman. Heimdall isn’t just omnipotent; he’s also what you might call an “active listener.”
Whereas Superman can, on occasion, become overwhelmed by his acute senses, Heimdall can block out what he doesn’t want to see or feel, if blocking it out will help him to better serve his master Odin. This master combatant is one of the few warriors on this list who doesn’t need to wield magic in order to crush everyone’s favorite Kryptonian. Since there’s no way that Heimdall would leave his post, Superman has to fight him in Asgard, giving Heimdall home-field advantage.
If Superman blasts Mantis with his heat vision, she’s probably toast. But if she can sneak up on him, he’s the one who’s done for. Mantis’s weaponized empathy can be positively deadly, as she proved in Guardians Vol. 2. All she needs to do is lay her hands on the Man of Steel and conjure up imagery so soul-crushing that Superman loses the will to live. What if she makes him feel like nobody in the universe will ever understand him, that the humans he has sworn to protect will always resent and distrust him? Alternatively, she could just put that joker to sleep! If she did it to a living planet, she could do it to Superman.
Her expertise in martial arts will help her evade Supes’ attacks as she moves in for the kill via one-touch instantaneous suicidal depression and/or slumber. We know that the simple mention of his adoptive mother’s name, Martha, can change the course of a battle; that’s quite a crutch in a fight who can manipulate you on an emotional level.
Hailing from the Norse realm of Muspelheim, Surtur the Fire Demon poses a serious threat to Superman’s existence. Although fire on Earth is nowhere near hot enough to injure Superman, fire outside of the Earth’s natural limits — especially that made of magic — has been known to cause serious problems for the Man of Steel.
It’s safe to presume that a bonafide fire demon would be capable of producing at least as much heat as a robot like The Vision. Sure, Superman has overcome similar situations in the past, but never in the DCEU movies! This version of him may be buff, dreamy and super powerful, but against someone of the magnitude of Surtur, the vaunted Man of Steel would most assuredly be tempered.
3. THE ANCIENT ONE
In the comics, the Ancient One is a centuries-old Tibetan man called Yao. In the MCU, she is a 675-year-old Celtic woman. In all the ways that matter here, though, they’re one and the same. When Doctor Stephen Strange meets the Ancient One, she is the Sorcerer Supreme, the most powerful magician on planet Earth. She’s a paradox, “steadfast yet unpredictable, merciless yet kind,” according to Karl Mordo.
Dr. Strange’s reason for the visit is to find a cure for his crippled hands but he ends up learning the mystic arts from the Ancient One, becoming her pupil and later her successor. We can assume that anything Dr. Strange can do, she can do, and possibly better. Now this one will be tricky, since the Ancient One technically died at the end of Doctor Strange. Still, as a magic entity, death is never really the end. Even Supes could tell you that one!
2. THE COLLECTOR
The Collector is an Elder of the Universe, or as they are known in the MCU, a Celestial. He’s almost as old as the universe itself and presumably just as powerful. He collects stuff, as his name implies, but it’s more than a hobby. His collecting is an all-consuming endeavor, and includes a pursuit of both things and beings alike. In his collection, the MCU version of the Collector has a Chitauri, a Frost Giant, Cosmo the Soviet cosmonaut dog, Howard The Duck (who is also the Collector’s drinking buddy of sorts), a freakin’ Infinity Stone or two, and, at one time, a cosmic cocoon.
Do you think he wouldn’t want to add a certain superhero from Smallville to his museum, or that he wouldn’t be able to get him if he so chose? What makes us so sure Superman would lose against him? He’s an immortal, telepathic Cosmic Being with the power to see the future and wield cosmic energies. He is a cosmic god, and no matter who you are, that’s probably going to mean your death.
1. THE GRANDMASTER
The Grandmaster is another Elder/Celestial of the Universe, in the same family as the Collector. Grandmaster loves to gamble, and unlike the Collector, who distracts himself from the tedium of immortality by collecting things, he prefers to orchestrate games, competitions and tournaments, and as was shown in Ragnarok, has the ability to control even the most powerful beings in the universe.
The Grandmaster is so powerful that he captured the Hulk and Thor and made them fight each other in an arena for his own amusement. Granted, it got a little awkward because he didn’t realize they were “friends from work,” but the point is, if he can enslave Thor and the Hulk, he can destroy the Man from Krypton. He wouldn’t even need to do the fighting, just sic the Hulk and Thor on Superman, sit back and enjoy the show.
Is there anyone we missed? Who else in the MCU would be able to OWN Superman? Let us know in the comments!
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