Aquaman is now the highest grossing DC film of all time, beating out the previous film to hold the distinction, Wonder Woman. Both are full of some of the strongest women in the DC Universe, as well as two of the most powerful superheroes in the Justice League; Mera and Wonder Woman. Both are imbued with near god-like abilities, both come from societies that are thousands of years old, and both know the burden of royal responsibility. It would appear with the success of Aquaman in theaters, and Mera’s new role in the series Mera: Queen of Atlantis, that she is now the most powerful woman in the DC Universe. But there are many reasons why Wonder Woman will always hold the title.
Born on Themyscira, an island untouched by time for thousands of years, Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus and an Amazon Queen. Her sacred weapons include the sword of Apollo, and bracelets from the Aegis of Artemis, and the Lasso of Truth. She’s a founding member of the Justice League, as well as an enduring symbol of hope and freedom. Mera was born in Xebel, one of the Seven Kingdoms of Atlantis, a princess trained to be a queen and an assassin. She was once sent to take out her future husband, Aquaman, but a love grew that was more powerful than political subterfuge. She now rules in Aquaman's stead, using her power of water bending to create everything from swords and shields, to tidal waves that can swallow the planet’s nations in a matter of minutes. With their unique abilities, powerful weapons, and strong dispositions, the competition is fierce for these royal warrioresses to claim the title of the most powerful woman in the DC Universe.
20 MERA: HER MOVIE IS THE HIGHEST GROSSING DC FILM
Let's get right down to it: Mera’s film has made over a billion dollars worldwide, well ahead of Wonder Woman. Okay, okay, technically it’s called Aquaman after her famous husband, but Mera stole the show by displaying some awe-inspiring powers that show why she deserved top billing.
Her aquakinesis, or “water bending” had her targeting and blasting enemies, creating giant defense bubbles, and creating weapons from the water around her. She was also the one that got Arthur Curry to take on Ocean Master, and saved his life multiple times. Not to mention, she helped him to identify where King Atlan’s sacred trident was, thus allowing Aquaman to become the next ruler of Atlantis.
19 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN LASSO THE SUN
Of all the many mystical weapons in Wonder Woman’s arsenal, her magical lasso is one of her most infamous. With it, she can bind enemies (and wayward superheroes), force anyone touching it to tell the truth and, in one notable instance, tow the sun!
In Wonder Woman #21, a nuclear explosion resulted in the creation of the Atomic Universe, a micro-verse based on uranium. Within it, Queen Atomia rules over warrior women made out of protons and slave robots made out of neutrons. To get everything back into alignment, Wonder Woman lassos the sun to prevent all life on Earth from dying.
18 MERA: SHE CAN FORM HARD OBJECTS FROM WATER
In the movie Aquaman, Mera is shown creating walls of water, spear-like bursts of water, and defense shields around herself and those she’s trying to protect that keep water out. Even Arthur Curry isn’t taught how to water bend, and it’s a trait specific to Xebellians. Arthur isn’t taught this ability, but it saves his life several times.
In the Aquaman comics, Mera is able to bend water into hard objects, including but not limited to walls, swords, knives, and shields. She doesn’t need water present to do these things; she can pull it from creative spots like say, your blood.
17 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN MOVE THE EARTH
Wonder Woman’s magical Lasso of Truth does more than make a person honest; it’s virtually unbreakable material can be used to perform unimaginable feats like pull the sun (in Wonder Woman #21) and move the Earth in JLA Vol 1 #75.
When the three thousand year old Atlantean Gamemnae attempts to purge Atlantis and all surface dwellers, Aquaman and Mera weren’t able to stop her even with their combined aquakinesis, especially after she threw water into space and upset the Earth’s orbit. It was only with the use of the lasso that the Justice League could assist Wonder Woman in dragging the Earth back.
16 MERA: SHE CAN USE WATER TO STOP A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
On more than one occasion Mera has used her incredible water bending abilities to stop nuclear explosions. She does this by creating a hard bubble of water around the source of the blast before it can get to a life threatening radius.
In Aquaman #22, she used her hard water constructing abilities to shield herself and Aquaman from a nuclear blast. Unfortunately for her, it was Aquaman that got all the credit for the protective measures taken in what could have meant the end of them both. As usual, the slight on the part of their rescue team made Mera even more distrustful of humans.
15 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN TRAVEL AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
The Flash isn’t the only notable DC superhero that travels at head-spinning speeds; Wonder Woman’s normal traveling speed is just shy of the speed of light. When she’s geared up for battle, her speed is even faster, second only to The Flash himself, and Superman.
There have been notable occurrences when she’s pushed beyond her own limitations. The Speed Force is the energy field not only responsible for giving speedsters their power, but also pushing time and space. Wonder Woman has entered it of her own accord, something previously thought only possible of The Flash since you have to be quite a bit faster than the speed of light.
14 MERA: CAN MANIPULATE THE FLUID IN PEOPLE’S BODIES
Mera doesn’t need water around her to perform aquakinesis; she’s able to conjure it from some pretty ingenious places. The human body, for instance, is made up of mostly water, and Mera has been known to utilize that source when the right to rule Atlantis is encroached upon by evil would-be kings.
In Mera: Queen of Atlantis #6, she stops the water from moving through Ocean Master’s lungs, and calmly informs him that she can not only stop his breathing, but trigger a stroke that would kill him. She can stop blood circulation in his body flat, and even draw blood through the pores of his skin.
13 WONDER WOMAN: HER BRACELETS
The most notable pieces in Wonder Woman’s arsenal of specialty weapons are her bracelets. In some versions of her origin story, they’re gifts from Zeus, the Aegis of Athena capable of deflecting bullets and even Superman’s laser vision. She can deflect projectiles with them and generate a massive concussive blast when she brings them together.
Without them, her strength grows tenfold, and she enters into a sort of berserker rage, like Wolverine. It’s been said that one of the only ways to control her raw power is to wear the Bracelets of Submission so that she doesn’t become a threat to herself and others.
12 MERA: SHE’S TAKEN OUT THE ENTIRE JUSTICE LEAGUE
Mera basically has the same powers as Aquaman plus magic, and her Xebellian heritage gives her certain advantages that even he doesn’t have. When she’s in a foul mood and gets to water bending, the consequences can be catastrophic. When the Justice League has to reel her in, she doesn’t go quietly. What’s that vortex of water above Atlantis visible from the Justice League Watchtower, two hundred miles wide and sending waves crashing towards the US coast? Just Mera having a bad day.
She easily used water to grab all the appropriate “jewelry” from Green Lanterns and Wonder Woman (Power Rings, Tiaras, etc), dehydrated The Flash so he couldn’t get up to super speeds, and swatted Batman like a flying rodent.
11 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN BEAT THE HULK
The Hulk is considered one of the strongest members of the Avengers, if not one of the strongest superheroes. His strength comes from his anger, which dictates that the madder he gets, the stronger he gets, and there isn’t a cap or limit to that exponential growth.
That being the case, it takes time for the Hulk to build up his rage, as getting immediately angry at something only makes him marginally stronger than his fellow Avengers. His fury has to build for him to grow, and he would never become mad enough fast enough to fight Wonder Woman at her normal demi-god like state of agility, strength, and speed.
10 MERA: SHE CAN PULL AN ARMY OUT TO SEA
Atlantis has been the target of attack ever since humans and supervillains learned of its existence. Aquaman is its leader and main defender, but Mera is the true MVP when it comes to making sure Atlanteans are safe. With her water bending skills, she can repel torpedo attacks by Black Manta, sieges from the Trench People, and large scale assaults from the surface dwellers.
There have been occasions where secret squads of highly trained amphibious commandos and the US military have attempted to engage Atlanteans at one point or another, and Mera has been known to pull them out to see and only show mercy when they have agreed to never return.
9 WONDER WOMAN: SHE’S DAMAGED DARKSEID’S EYES
Wonder Woman’s come a long way from her time as part of the Super Friends television series, where her most common role as part of the Justice League was as the damsel in distress who Darkseid was always trying to capture and make his bride.
In the animated film Justice League: War, the Amazon battles Darkseid for fun, taunting him into combat as he tries to take over Earth. As he tries to blast her apart with his laser vision, she uses her Lasso of Truth to hogtie him, using her sword to deflect the dangerous beam of his gaze before plunging it into his eye socket and incapacitating him.
8 MERA: SHE RULES ATLANTIS
Aquaman is the recognized King of Atlantis, but he's abdicated, abandoned, and relinquished the throne countless times. Whether it was to spend more time fighting with the Justice League or to search for his missing son, he always had one person he could trust to rule in his stead; Mera.
She was granted the title of Atlantis Ambassador to the surface, but she was also made Queen of Atlantis when Atlantis resurfaced from the depths of the sea. She had been raised as a Xebellian princess and so had the pedigree, though she hated the diplomats she often dealt with.
7 WONDER WOMAN: SHE’S SNAPPED THE SCEPTER OF DC CRONUS
Cronus, king of the mythical Titans of Greece, and son of the Earth Goddess Gaea, who Wonder Woman draws her own strength from, has faced the famous Amazon many times. In one instance, he used his powers to create from clay a perfect replica of her, albeit with an evil twist.
After battling the Greek Gods, he set his sights on other figures in the Heaven realm when Wonder Woman arrived to put a stop to him. She stole his scepter, which was strong enough to contain the cosmic energy force that created the Speed Force and Quantum Realm, the Godwave itself, and snapped it like a twig. She suffered the effects of a full Godwave explosion without a scratch.
6 MERA: SHE CAN WEAPONIZE HER RAGE
As signature as her fiery red hair, Mera’s rage is one of her defining qualities. While she wasn’t quite as brazen in early Aquaman comic books, her lasting traits have been her stubbornness and aggressiveness as the decades went on.
Her rage isn’t just for show; when it’s combined with her water bending, it becomes a formidable force. When she perceived the United States had launched a preemptive strike against Atlantis while she was its ruler, she sought to have talks with an ambassador of peace to determine their endgame. As a precaution, she created tidal waves to surround the entire country and threatened to release them and her armies as a warning.
5 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN TAKE DOWN GODS
Being the daughter of Zeus and drawing her powers from the Earth Goddess Gaea, Wonder Woman has abilities that put her on the levels of gods. And as a deity, she has been able to level them in her time. She has defeated Nemesis, a Goddess who had defeated both Ares and Zeus, and did so where the Goddess ruled supreme.
She’s taken out two Hecatonchires Cottus and Briareos, god creatures that surpass the Titans for strength, and Atlas, who carries the cosmos on his shoulders. She even took hits from the Shattered God (though she didn’t destroy him) who can restart creation as fast as Thanos snaps his fingers.
4 MERA: SHE CAN CHANNEL HER EMOTIONS
Mera may be known for her rage, but the depth and breadth of her emotions aren't always so destructive. Often times she uses her powerful emotional consciousness to help her in wielding water weapons and even Power Rings. In The Blackest Night miniseries, she becomes the Red Lantern when she is hunted by a Black Lantern undead Wonder Woman.
At a time when the undead Justice League were terrorizing the Earth, Mera encountered a Black Lantern Aquaman, holding the body of their undead son, attempting to get into her mind. She was able to temper her anger while using the ring, acknowledge they were not really her loved ones, and scorch them with flames.
3 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN CUT ATOMS
The mystical weaponry at Wonder Woman’s disposal includes a sword so strong that it can cut atoms. This is especially helpful if you’re stuck in a reactor core turned cell with Superman and need a way out.
In Superman/Wonder Woman #6, Wonder Woman and Superman are trying to prevent General Zod from opening the Phantom Zone and letting an army into their dimension. Imprisoned in a reactor core full of U-235 atoms, Superman suggests using her sword to cut one and trigger an explosion to close the gateway, which it does, allowing them to narrowly escape in the process.
2 MERA: SHE FIGHTS DESPITE MENTAL ILLNESS
Often cited as one of her biggest weaknesses, Mera's mental health is a source of constant dysfunction. It's not like she doesn't have cause for wild mood swings and mental breakdowns; when her son was taken by Black Manta, her husband abandoned her. Her son was suffocated by Black Manta's own hand. Her constant paroxysms often jeopardized Atlantis, but she also used them to protect it.
She used her rage and her breakdowns in her water bending, and became a literal force of nature. But she's taken responsibility for herself when she can, and been to mental health facilities.
1 WONDER WOMAN: SHE CAN FLY
When Wonder Woman was originally created, though she had super strength, speed, and agility, she didn’t have the power of flight. That’s why she cruised around in the Invisible Jet and didn’t have need for a cape.
By the ‘70s she could “glide” for prolonged periods of time. After Crisis On Infinite Earths came out in the ‘80s, her origin story was retconned to include a moment where, as he was passing out Diana’s gifts, the God Hermes granted her the gift of flight, ensuring that she could always fly right from the start. The power was preserved with the New 52 2011 reboot.