With Avengers like Thor and the Hulk, the Marvel Universe is home to some of the strongest superheroes around. And since those heroes need someone to fight, Marvel has more than its fair share of super-strong supervillains too. From mutant menaces to Asgardian beasts and cosmic threats, Marvel has dozens of villains who are strong enough to bench press a mountain. Even on a bad day, a decent number of these powerhouse villains could probably hold their own against the Hulk in a fistfight.
Now, CBR is counting down some of the strongest villains in the Marvel Universe. While many of the characters on this list have a variety of superpowers, we’ll only be ranking these bad guys by their raw, physical strength. Since most of these characters have been depowered or been given massive power upgrades over the years, we’ll be considering the average amount of strength that these humanoid villains have usually had across their comic book appearances. By Marvel’s official rankings, all of these characters can lift over 100 tons and have an almost immeasurable level of physical strength that’s hard to quantify. With such incomprehensible amounts of raw physical power, these powerhouse villains always give Marvel’s mightiest heroes a major challenge.
Thanks to a combination of alien augmentation and his own mutant abilities, the almost-immortal Apocalypse is one of the X-Men’s most formidable opponents. In 1986 X-Factor #5, En Sabah Nur was created by Louise Simonson, Jackson Guice and Walt Simonson to give X-Factor, an affiliate X-Men team, a major villain on par with Magneto. Dedicated to his brutal ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ philosophy, Apocalypse has carved a path of destruction from his origins in Ancient Egypt into multiple possible future timelines where he rules the world.
With his mutant power, Apocalypse has the ability to manipulate his cellular structure on a molecular level.
This gives him shape-shifting and size-changing abilities. Since bonding with his alien Celestial armor, Apocalypse has grown even stronger by augmenting his abilities through outside means. While super-strength isn’t Apocalypse’s most exciting power, 1989’s Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe Update #1 established that Apocalypse’s could have a potentially limitless amount of strength, depending on what kinds of energy sources he draws power from. On a few occasions, Apocalypse has held his own against Asgardians like Thor and Loki. In 1997’s Incredible Hulk #456, by Peter David and Adam Kubert, Apocalypse was even able to pin the Hulk down for a few moments without too much difficulty.
Even though he’s one of the Hulk’s oldest villains, it’s easy to forget about the Abomination. While he’s nowhere near as famous as Marvel’s other big, green gamma-ray-irradiated strength-monster, the Abomination is still one of the strongest villains in the Marvel Universe. Although he kept his intelligence in his vaguely-amphibian form, Emil Blonsky was permanently transformed into the Abomination in 1967’s Tales to Astonish #90, by Stan Lee and Gil Kane. When he hasn’t been trading punches with the Hulk, the Abomination has spent some time in space serving several cosmic entities, taught a creative writing class and briefly led a group of outcasts that lived in the sewers of New York City.
While the Hulk usually gets stronger as he gets angrier, the Abomination has a fixed level of strength that rarely changes. Since he got a more concentrated dose of gamma radiation, the Abomination is twice as strong as a calm Hulk. While the Abomination has only won a few battles against the Hulk, he and the green giant have had some truly Earth-shaking battles, like their fight-to-the-finish in 2001’s Incredible Hulk #25, by Paul Jenkins and John Romita Jr. Outside of the Hulk, the Abomination has had surprisingly strong showings against Namor the Sub-Mariner and a group of Avengers.
In one of the most surprising moments from 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, Cate Blanchett’s Hela crushed Thor’s hammer Mjolnir with her bare hands. While her comic book counterpart has never quite managed to do that, she’s still one of the strongest Asgardians in the Marvel Universe. Like her namesake from Norse mythology, Hela has served as the Asgardian Goddess of Death since she was introduced by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1964’s Journey Into Mystery #102. Since she rules over a decent chunk of the underworld, she’s one of the more important figures in Marvel’s mythological pantheon.
While Hela might seem more adept at wielding Asgardian magic, her remarkable strength has really shined through some of her hand-to-hand battles.
In Ragnarok, she kept Thor at bay with one arm and single-handedly defeated an Asgardian army, taking most of the troops out with a single strike. In comics, she has defeated Pluto, her counterpart from the Olympian pantheon, with relative ease. When Hela and Thor have had one-on-one fights, she’s proven herself to be an equally strong fighter as the God of Thunder through several fights that ended in a tie or a close defeat. In 1985’s Thor #361, by Walter Simonson, she even scarred Thor’s face with a single, though somewhat magically enhanced, strike from her sword.
While elves don’t usually inspire fear, Algrim the Strong casts a menacing impression. After he was created by Walter Simonson in 1984’s Thor #347, the Dark Elf fought Thor in a battle that ended with Algrim taking a dip in the magma of an active volcano. When the Beyonder, an omnipotent cosmic being, found Algrim, he healed him and doubled his strength in Secret Wars II #4, by Jim Shooter and Al Milgrom. During their next encounter, Thor used Megingjord, the Belt of Strength, to bolster his own abilities. When the Beyonder saw this, he doubled Kurse’s strength once again in 1984’s Thor #363, by Simonson.
At the peak of his powers, Kurse was four times as strong as Thor, who’s already one of Marvel’s strongest heroes. While Thor was eventually able to stop him, he could only defeat Kurse with an energy-based attack and the help of his allies, Beta Ray Bill and the Power Pack. While it’s somewhat unclear what level his strength settled at, he was able to physically dispatch the Asgardians Hela and Heimdall with ease. Kurse served as both a rampaging monster and a loyal warrior for Asgard before he perished in Ragnarok. Although Algrim recently resurfaced, the mantle, and powers, of Kurse were passed on to a new host, Lady Waziria in 2015’s Mighty Thor #14, by Jason Aaron and Steve Epting.
16. DESAK, DESTROYER OF GODS
Since the Marvel Universe is full of so many different cultures and civilizations, it has an unusually high number of Asgardians and other powerful beings who’ve been worshipped as gods. In 2001’s Thor Annual 2001, Dan Jurgens and Tom Grummett introduced Desak Sterixian, the first of two Marvel Universe god-hunters. After the alien’s gods betrayed him and destroyed his world, Desak took the Amulet of Power and became Desak, Destroyer of Gods. By defeating numerous pantheons throughout the cosmos, Desak absorbed their life force, and their power, into the Amulet, which added to his considerable strength.
While his exact strength has never been calculated, he was able to hold his own against Thor, Hercules and Beta Ray Bill at the same time.
After Thor became the King of Asgard and got a major power boost, he fought Desak again. Even though Thor had the power of the Odin Force, Desak gave the God of Thunder a serious beatdown, and he was only stopped by a well-placed throw of Skurge the Executioner’s axe. In a possible future where Thor became a cruel, distant ruler, a revived Desak held his own against Thor and his son Magni, the self-proclaimed God of Strength. Even though he merged with the Asgardian Destroyer armor, Desak was taken out for good when he took a massive blow to the head from Mjolnir.
15. GORR THE GOD-BUTCHER
For the past several years, Gorr the God-Butcher has taken over Desak’s role as Marvel’s resident pantheon slayer. Since he was created by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic in 2013’s Thor: God of Thunder #2, Gorr has carved out a path of destruction through the past, present and future of the Marvel Universe. After his family and his world perished, Gorr found All-Black the Necrosword, an immensely powerful weapon that gave the alien a variety of super-powers, including a vast amount of super-strength. For thousands of years, Gorr used the weapon to wipe out millions of gods, even one who was strong enough to wrestle with black holes for fun.
With each pantheon that Gorr wiped out, the Necrosword grew stronger and stronger. Even though the full extent of his powers was never established, Gorr was able to simultaneously battle three versions of Thor at once in 2013’s Thor: God of Thunder #10, by Aaron and Ribic. After defeating the rest of the Asgardians, Gorr was even able to imprison the old King Thor within the barren walls of Asgard. After his plan to take out ever god in the Marvel Universe failed, Thor finished off Gorr for good by striking him with a blast from two Mjolnirs at once.
14. KING HYPERION
Marvel has had a lot of Hyperions. In 1969’s Avengers #69, Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema created the first Hyperion to be the Superman analogue on the Squadron Sinister, a villain team that was modeled after DC’s Justice League. A few years later, a more heroic Hyperion emerged as part of the Squadron Supreme, a team of heroes who took over their world in a well-intentioned but deeply flawed plan. In 2004’s Exiles #38, Chuck Austen and Jim Calafiore introduced King Hyperion, an even more powerful version of the ersatz Superman.
After taking over his world, this Hyperion began conquering other alternate realities in a merciless campaign that cost millions of lives.
For reasons that were never fully revealed, this version of Mark Milton was far stronger than any of his parallel reality counterparts. In addition to single-handedly taking out plenty of parallel reality superhero teams, he was able to hold his own against two other Hyperions at the same time. He was able to stop the super-strong villain Holocaust with one hand before absorbing the energy of the incorporeal villain. After he traveled to the main Marvel Universe, he could only be stopped by the surprisingly powerful Blue Marvel, and he later held his own against the unstoppable Juggernaut in a fistfight.
Bad things usually happen whenever one of the Heralds of Galactus shows up. While any one of those cosmically-enhanced beings is probably strong enough to earn a spot on this list, Morg is Galactus’ strongest herald. Created by Ron Marz, Ron Lim and Kevin West in 1992’s Silver Surfer #69, the alien was an executioner who respected Galactus’ planet-consuming raw power. Impressed by Morg’s efficient brutality, Galactus gave him unlimited cosmic powers and made him his new Herald. With his cosmically-enhanced axe, Morg was able to defeat the Silver Surfer, Galactus’ famous ex-Herald, without too much difficulty.
After bathing in the Well of Life, an alien world’s version of the Fountain of Youth, Morg grew even more powerful. In 1992’s Silver Surfer #75, by Marz and Lim, this immeasurably strong Morg defeated the combined forces of Galactus’ former Heralds, including Silver Surfer, Terrax, Nova, Firelord and Air-Walker. Even after Galactus took away part of his powers, Morg was still a fairly major player on a cosmic scale, and he was able to take out an entire fleet of Skrull ships. Just a few years after he was created, Morg perished after he activated the Ultimate Nullifier, one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe during a battle involving Galactus and the mega-powerful Tyrant.
12. CHAMPION OF THE UNIVERSE
Before the Power Stone was part of the Infinity Gauntlet, the Champion of the Universe wielded its mighty power. As one of the Elders of the Universe, Tryco Slatterus is one of the oldest beings in all of existence. Using the Power Primordial, leftover energy from the Big Bang, the modestly-named Champion transformed himself into the perfect physical specimen. When Tom DeFalco and Ron Wilson introduced him in 1982’s Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, he challenged Earth’s strongest heroes to a boxing match that would determine the fate of the Earth.
While he could’ve easily channeled the Power Primordial into giving himself numerous fantastic abilities, the Champion focused all of his energy into his raw physicality.
He made his super-strength even more devastating by mastering countless forms of hand-to-hand combat from around the universe. Although he won that boxing match against the Fantastic Four’s super-strong Thing, the Champion has suffered an uncharacteristically high number of defeats recently when he’s gone up against Marvel heroes like She-Hulk and Deadpool. Despite that, the Thing said that the Champion was stronger than the Hulk and the Silver Surfer, even when he didn’t have the Power Stone. When he had the Infinity Gem, the Champion was even strong enough to destroy a planet with a single punch.
11. ARON THE ROGUE WATCHER
While the Watchers might not look that scary, they’re some of the most powerful aliens in the Marvel Universe. Although they’re bound by their oath to observe events without interfering, several famous Watchers like Earth’s observer, Uatu, have broken those rules over the years. In 1975’s Captain Marvel #39, by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom, and Tony Isabella, Uatu’s disobedience fascinated another Watcher, Aron. After Uatu took the young Watcher under his wing, Aron was enthralled by the exploits of Earth’s heroes and villains. By abandoning his oath to never interfere, Aron became the villainous Rogue Watcher.
While the full scope of Aron’s cosmic powers would put him at the top of this list, his physical strength is merely incalculable. Still, he was able to single-handedly take out the Fantastic Four, including the hyper-strong Thing, in 1989’s Fantastic Four #327, by Englehart and Keith Pollard. After his interference was discovered, Aron was taken to the Watchers’ home, where he was put on trial for interfering. After Aron escaped from custody, he tried to destroy the entire universe so he could make a new one. When Aron was on the edge of victory, Uatu broke his vow and wiped Aron from existence in 1995’s Fantastic Four #400, by Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan.
As the unstoppable Juggernaut, Cain Marko might be Marvel’s strongest earthbound villain. After growing up as Professor Charles Xavier’s bullying older stepbrother, Marko discovered the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, which transformed him into the impossibly strong, unstoppable Juggernaut. Since he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1965’s X-Men #12, the Juggernaut has tormented, and occasionally worked alongside, the X-Men and Marvel’s other heroes with his immense power.
As Cyttorak’s earthly avatar, the Juggernaut has punched his way through hyper-strong heroes like Colossus, Thor and the Hulk on multiple occasions.
Once he gets any momentum, the Juggernaut also generates a force field that, combined with his strength, lets him crash through any obstacle in front of him. In 1999’s Uncanny X-Men #369, by Alan Davis, Terry Kavanagh and Adam Kubert, he briefly accessed Cyttorak’s full power to become “Trion” Juggernaut, who could be the most physically powerful being in the history of the Marvel Universe. With these powers, Juggernaut grew over 100 feet tall and could punch his way through the walls of reality and into other dimensions. Although he was truly unstoppable with those abilities, he eventually lost them and returned to his traditional power set. Later on, Marko briefly lost the power of the Juggernaut to the X-Men’s Colossus, but he eventually regained the staggering power of the Juggernaut and resumed his criminal activities.
While they both might wield vast amounts of power, Magneto and Professor X aren’t exactly intimidating physical threats. Despite that, the darkest parts of their respective personalities merged to form the powerhouse Onslaught. Even before he officially debuted in 1995’s X-Man #15, Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid and Andy Kubert’s character packed some serious muscle. In the lead-up to the aptly-titled 1996 crossover “Onslaught,” a single punch from a relatively weak Onslaught sent the Juggernaut flying from Canada into New Jersey in 1995’s Uncanny X-Men #322, by Lobdell and Tom Grummett. When he fully emerged, Onslaught used his immense physical strength along with his vast telekinetic and electromagnetic powers to threaten most of Marvel’s heroes.
While the limits of his physical strength were never fully established, Onslaught said that he was powerful enough to tear apart a star with his bare hands. He was strong enough to beat up the Hulk in one-on-one combat and ripped the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak out of Juggernaut’s body with his pure strength. Ultimately, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had to seemingly sacrifice their lives to bring Onslaught down. When he was trapped in another dimension called the Negative Zone, he was even able to pull himself back into the main Marvel Universe.
While he might be one of the newer, less familiar characters on this list, Anti-Man has already proven himself to be a major force to be reckoned with. Created by Kevin Grevioux and Mat Broome in 2009’s Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1, Conner Sims was a scientist who worked alongside Adam Brashear. When their experiment to make a bridge to the Negative Zone failed, Adam turned into the heroic Blue Marvel, and Conner was turned into the physically and mentally unstable Anti-Man.
Powered by anti-matter from another dimension, Anti-Man brought a level of cosmic instability with him whenever he returned to Earth.
Like his nemesis, Blue Marvel, Anti-Man had a large number of powers that included immense super-strength. In addition to holding his own against his former friend, Anti-Man single-handedly beat up a strong Avengers team that included powerhouses like Wonder Man, the Sentry and Ares. After Connor attained cosmic awareness, a kinder, gentler Galactus made Anti-Man his first Herald of Life. While this took his already impressive abilities to even greater heights, his stint as a Herald of Galactus didn’t last long. After Galactus had been severely injured, Anti-Man sacrificed his life to restore Galactus to health in 2017’s Ultimates 2 #6, by Al Ewing and Travel Foreman.
7. YMIR THE ICE GIANT
Not to be confused with the Frost Giants, the Ice Giants are some of Asgard’s oldest, most formidable foes. While he doesn’t have a ton in common with his counterpart from Norse mythology, Ymir the Ice Giant was the first giant, who gave life to all other races of giants. Far more powerful than the rest of the Ice Giants, he was brought into the Marvel Universe by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963’s Journey Into Mystery #97. Originally, Ymir was just a giant pile of ice and snow from the icy realm Niflheim. After being exposed to the Well of Life, Ymir gained sentience. In a time before time, Odin seemingly finished off Ymir in battle, although the Ice Giant later regenerated himself.
Thanks to his giant stature, Ymir can lift well over 100 tons. With one direct hit, Ymir can daze Thor or create a trench that cuts deep within the Earth. In some of his most noteworthy moments, he even fought the fire demon Surtur, who’s destined to destroy Asgard, to a stalemate in one-on-one combat. While Ymir seems to bring a severe blizzard with him wherever he walks, he’s still made of ice. That means that he’s still vulnerable to fire and hot temperatures, despite all of his immense power.
With the Infinity Gauntlet, there’s really nothing that Thanos can’t do. However, Thanos is still a major cosmic powerhouse, even without the Infinity Stones. Since he was created by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich in 1973’s Iron Man #55, the Mad Titan has been a threat to the entire cosmos. Obsessed with courting the physical embodiment of Death, Thanos has carved a path of devastation that led him to the Infinity Gauntlet and beyond. While his status as a mutant Eternal already granted him considerable physical abilities, Death increased his physical abilities even more when she brought him back from the grave.
While the full limits of his strength have never been tested, Thanos can hold his own against the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe with ease.
He routinely takes on the Avengers and other teams of galactic heroes, and he punched a hole right through a fully-armored War Machine in 2016’s Free Comic Book Day: Civil War II by Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung. In comics, Thanos has beaten the Silver Surfer into unconsciousness. With some help from the Power Stone, Josh Brolin’s Thanos did the same thing to the Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War. When Thor’s strength was increased exponentially by the Power Stone, a regular-strength Thanos still defeated the Thunder God in 1994’s Silver Surfer #88, by Ron Marz and Andy Smith.
Despite his somewhat goofy appearance, the Mangog is one of the most serious threats that Asgard has ever faced. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1968’s Thor #154, the Mangog is the living embodiment of the hatred of billions of beings that perished by Odin’s sword. Since he was freed from his prison beneath Asgard, he attacked Asgard on numerous occasions. Even after Odin revived those he had once slain, the Mangog eventually returned, now drawing strength from all hatred in the universe.
Altogether, Mangog possesses the collective strength of “billions of billions” of beings. With strength that far outclasses Thor and the other Asgardians, Mangog relies heavily on his physical power in battle and can usually only be stopped through creative means. During his assaults on Asgard, the Mangog has broken the Rainbow Bridge, taken down giants with a single punch and struck down an entire army of Asgardian warriors. In 2018’s The Mighty Thor #704, by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman, the Mangog had the upper hand against the combined efforts of Odin, Jane Foster’s Thor and Thor Odinson. While Thor has never been a physical match for the Mangog, he has defeated the beast using magic or the Odin Force, which Thor used in 2004’s Thor #84, by Michael Avon Oeming, Daniel Berman and Andrea DiVito.
As 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok showed audiences, Surtur is a giant, demonic fire beast who’s destined to destroy Asgard. While he plays a similar role in Norse mythology’s version of Ragnarok, Surtur was brought into the Marvel Universe by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963’s Journey Into Mystery #93. As the leader of the Fire Giants of Muspelheim, Surtur stood almost 1,000 feet tall and was older than Odin. With the giant-size Twilight Sword, Surtur grew even more powerful as he controlled its dark magical energies. Since Surtur is almost impossible to fight, he’s usually defeated through trickery or by being imprisoned in some distant realm.
Due to his massive size and his immense power, Surtur has a practically incalculable amount of physical strength.
Using the Twilight Sword, Surtur was able to shatter the Rainbow Bridge to Asgard with a single mighty blow. He also held his own in battle against Ymir and an Odin Force-empowered Thor, respectively, for extended periods of time. Still, Surtur accomplished his most astonishing physical feat by forging the Twilight Sword. Starting in 1983’s Thor #337, by Walter Simonson, Surtur destroyed a galaxy, which included Beta Ray Bill’s homeworld Korbin, for the raw material he needed to forge his gigantic weapon.
While he might not be as famous as Dormammu of the Dark Dimension, Zom has a reasonable claim to being the most powerful mystical entity in the Marvel Universe. Created by Stan Lee and Marie Severin in 1967’s Strange Tales #156, Zom is an ancient being with unknown origins and vast mystical abilities. To keep Zom at bay, he was put in shackles, blinded and trapped outside of space and time by Eternity, the living embodiment of the Marvel Universe. In order to defeat Dormammu’s more powerful sister Umar, Doctor Strange released Zom from his extra-dimensional prison. This short-sighted move drew the attention of the Living Tribunal, the multiverse’s ultimate guardian, who personally dealt with Zom.
While the full extent of Zom’s power isn’t known, he’s a destructive force who poses an existential threat to the universe. In 2007’s World War Hulk #3, by Greg Pak and John Romita Jr., Doctor Strange channeled a portion of Zom’s power. Although he struggled to contain Zom’s influence, Strange was easily able to beat up the Hulk in a fistfight. Around this same time, Zom’s spirit inhibited Iron Man’s empty Hulkbuster armor in Incredible Hulk #111, by Pak, Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk. Even in this weakened state, Zom’s spirit was still able to take out a team of heroes that included Hercules and Namora.
Unless you’ve read a lot of Silver Surfer comics from the mid-1990s, you probably haven’t heard of Tyrant, even though he’s one of the most powerful characters in the history of the Marvel Universe. Created by Ron Marz and Ron Lim in 1993’s Silver Surfer #81, Tyrant was a sentient machine that the world-devouring Galactus built billions of years ago, shortly after the beginning of the universe. While Galactus only destroyed worlds for the energy that he needed to live, Tyrant lived up to his name and became a merciless conqueror with a lust for power.
Initially, Tyrant was almost as large and as powerful as Galactus. When Tyrant and his creator battled, they were so strong that entire galaxies were destroyed as collateral damage.
Even after Galactus took away some of his power, Tyrant was still able to swat away several Heralds of Galactus, including the Silver Surfer, at the same time. Tyrant knocked out cosmic powerhouses like Captain Marvel, Beta Ray Bill, Gladiator and Terrax with one punch each. In 1994’s Cosmic Powers #6, by Marz and Scott Eaton, Thanos used one of Tyrant’s devices to exponentially amplify his own abilities, boasted about holding his own against Tyrant and retreated from battle before he suffered a certain defeat. In Silver Surfer #109, by Mike Lackey and Tom Grindberg, Tyrant was ultimately stopped by the Ultimate Nullifier, one of the most powerful devices in the Marvel Universe.
Before he recently turned over a new leaf, Galactus was probably the most feared being in the Marvel Universe. Since he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966’s Fantastic Four #48, Galactus has traveled around the cosmos, consuming worlds to satisfy his never-ending hunger. Originally, Galactus was a humanoid explorer from the world Taa. After his universe was destroyed and the Big Bang created a new one, Galan was transformed into Galactus. While he could initially go centuries without feeding, Galactus’ hunger has grown over billions of years, and he’s created Heralds like the Silver Surfer to help him find new worlds to consume.
Outside of the physical embodiments of abstract concepts like Order and Chaos, Galactus has a pretty strong claim to being the strongest being in the Marvel Universe. Like any living being, Galactus isn’t as strong when he’s hungry, but the Power Cosmic still gives him an immeasurable amount of power. Even on an empty stomach, Galactus still has enough physical strength to move a planet without breaking a sweat, like he did in 1982’s Rom #27, by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. In 2012’s Fantastic Four #603, by Jonathan Hickman and Barry Kitson, Galactus pretty much won a fistfight against four Celestials at the same time. Thanks to the work of the Ultimates, Galactus received even more powers along with a new purpose as the Lifebringer, who now restores the desolate worlds he once destroyed.
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