Superhero characters are thrown into the most grandiose situations. Whether the heroes of the Marvel Universe are facing the end of all reality itself or the Justice League is facing the might of Darkseid and Apokolips, there is no shortage of extraordinary situations your favorite characters can find themselves in. These characters, no matter which universe they hail from, have proven their stripes many times over. They have shown that they are the bravest, the greatest and the most heroic. No matter how dire the situation, they rise up — and sometimes that can lead to shocking results.
These great and dangerous circumstances, for good or ill, have led to some of the greatest superheroes in the world taking on even more power, and even bigger responsibilities. Thanks to things that were completely out of their control, the biggest characters in both the Marvel and DC Universe were, at one point or another, turned into living cosmic gods, on top of the power they usually possess. Some of these transformations lasted a while, while others were only temporary. But it doesn’t change the fact that the following superheroes truly became forces of the cosmos.
15. DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange is already the Sorcerer Supreme, a very powerful mage in the Marvel Universe. How much more powerful could he become? A whole lot really, and it came when he barely had anything else. In the recent pages of the Doctor Strange comic series, Stephen Strange lost the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, the Sanctum Sanctorum and his Cloak of Levitation to Loki, Asgardian God of Mischief.
Not without a few tricks left in his bag, Stephen devised a plan to try and reclaim what was once his. He broke into Asgard and found his way to the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. There, Stephen made an offering that was accepted, and the Wold Tree infused him with so much magic that Strange became a living God of Magic.
14. GREEN LANTERN
During Geoff John’s “Darkseid War” storyline in the pages of Justice League, the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid, two of the greatest forces of evil in the universe, went to war with each other. Such a battle had repercussions throughout the entire universe, and when Darkseid died, it created a vacuum of power left by the cosmic gods. His followers, the Parademons, instantly attacked Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corps.
There, they defeated every Green Lantern officer. With a Mother Box fused to the Central Power Battery, the Parademons began the search for a new God — the God of Light. Hal Jordan went inside and, for a brief moment, he became that very God, with the Mother Ring around his finger. However, Hal recognized that this was a power too great for him, and he ultimately refused it.
13. DOCTOR DOOM
Doctor Doom may not technically be a superhero, but he tries to be, from time to time. Such a case presented itself when Doom attempted to save all of creation by stealing power from the Beyonders. With this power however, Doom didn’t exactly live up to the legacy of heroes: instead, he used it to create his own world where he reigned supreme as God Doom.
In this new world, Doom was master and emperor. His power knew no compare. He was the creator and the destructor, a true living god for this new alternate reality, a reality that became a battleground to save all of the Marvel Universe in the Secret Wars event series. In this story, Doom became all he had ever wanted to be: a cosmic god, who ruled over all.
12. THE FLASH
When the battle between the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid reached a boiling point in “Darkseid War,” Darkseid summoned one of his greatest weapons at his side: the Black Racer, the New God of Death. However, the Anti-Monitor managed to turn the tables by seizing control of the Flash, and forcing him to become one with the Black Racer. As a result, Flash became the new God of Death.
The situation now reversed, the Anti-Monitor was now the one in control of Flash, and Death itself. As this God, Flash was the one used to murder Darkseid, a turn of events that sent shock waves through the entire DC Universe. In fact, such a death was so massive that its repercussions are still being felt to this very day, in the pages of the Wonder Woman comic series.
11. FRANK CASTLE
Wait, Frank Castle? The Punisher? Yes, that Frank Castle, the one and only Punisher. In the recent pages of the Thanos comic series, we came to discover that, in the future, during a fight between Thanos and the Avengers, Frank Castle would, with his dying breath, make a deal with Mephisto to become the newest Ghost Rider. But when he returned to life, the battle was done, and the Earth barren. So, he was left with just vengeance and nobody to enact it upon.
As fate would have it, Galactus, the Devourer of worlds, would eventually find his way to Earth, on the run from Thanos. There however, he only found the Ghost Rider to greet him, who had spent centuries alone on the planet, stewing in his anger. To enact vengeance upon Thanos, Galactus made Castle into his new herald, imbued with the power cosmic. Then, Frank Castle became the Cosmic Ghost Rider, a true force of the universe…. before ultimately switching sides again and working for Thanos. It’s a weird… but insanely great… series.
Superman was another herald of Galactus, which is a whole other story. It’s also not the first or last time he was given a cosmically divine upgrade! Before Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor would come to face each other on Earth in “Darkseid War,” Superman and Lex Luthor were transported to Apokolips. There, the two were attacked by all manner of enemies, and they realized that, since there was no sunlight in the sky, Superman was losing his powers at an alarming rate. When the situation was too dire, Lex Luthor devised a plan.
He advised Superman to drop into one of the firepits of the planet, which should technically be filled with the fire from a sun. However, while the dark energy inside the firepit returned Superman to strength, it also turned him into a negative version of himself, and the God of Strength. Now, Superman had no morals, and he had all the powers of a God – on top of his own.
9. AUNT MAY
In 1984’s Marvel Team-Up #137, the Marvel Universe would see Peter Parker’s lovely Aunt May transformed into a cosmic being with god-like powers after being transformed into a herald of Galactus by the Devourer of worlds himself. Such a transformation took place when Aunt May found herself at the circus with young Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue Richards.
When Galactus crashed the event looking for a new herald, he attempted to give his power to Franklin. But Franklin managed to accidentally deflect the power cosmic onto Aunt May, who was transformed into a powerful, space-faring herald of Galactus known, hilariously, as “The Golden Oldie.” This transformation was very brief. As a matter of fact, it would be reverted in this very issue. But Spider-Man’s aunt still became, for a short while, the newest cosmic godling of the Marvel Universe.
8. IRON MAN
We hear your concerns. Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, is just a smart man with a lot of money — there is no way he could simply become a god. And while that may be true, Tony’s genius and resources would one day allow him to at least wield the power of a god from Asgard. In fact, in the Fear Itself event series, the Avengers and their fight against the Serpent, Odin’s brother, would prove quite difficult.
To try and gain the upper hand, Tony, wearing his Bleeding Edge armor, found himself in the Dwarven forges, and plunged his suit of armor into a vat of melted Uru, the metal that was used to create Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir. Tony emerged from the Uru with a new magical Asgardian armor that closely resembled the weapon known as the Destroyer. With this, Iron Man held the power of the gods.
In the Marvel Universe, there are many weapons and forces that can grant someone the powers of a god-like being. Such a power is known as the Enigma Force, and its offshoot, the Uni-Power. The Uni-Power represents only a fraction of what the Enigma Force is capable of, but it is still enough to be one of the greatest powers in the cosmos. The Uni-Power is sentient, and when it chooses a host, this person becomes the new Captain Universe.
There have been many Captain Universes throughout the years, like Spider-Man, the Invisible Woman and Tamara Devoux, but there is one who has wielded the power before who is destined to become its future heir: Laura Kinney, aka X-23. The female clone and daughter of Wolverine. X-23 briefly possessed the Uni-Power, but it seems this story is only just beginning.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, writer and director James Gunn made a very big change to Peter Quill’s origins. In the comics, Star-Lord is the son of J’son, the emperor of the planet Spartax. However, that was changed in the film, where he was made the son of Ego, the living planet, a Celestial who is effectively a god of the Marvel Universe.
After Quill would make this discovery, he would come to learn of all of the Celestial powers he possessed. After slowly learning to use them, he would use these powers in a fight against Ego — but the destruction of the living planet would take away Peter’s powers. Even so, for a brief time, Peter had those powers in his arsenal and, for that fight, he truly was a god.
For the longest time, Jean Grey was the host of the Phoenix, a cosmic force for life and death in the universe. But although Jean is the member of the X-Men most closely associated with the fiery entity, she wouldn’t be the only one to become its host. In fact, such a role would also befall Jean’s other half, Scott Summers, aka Cyclops.
In the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, Hope Summers, the mutant messiah, would attempt to become the new host of the Phoenix, to less than stellar results. In order to save the world, a weapon created by the Avengers would hit the Phoenix but, rather than killing it, it splintered it into five parts, each of which found different hosts — Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, Namor and their leader, Cylcops. With this cosmic power, a warped Cyclops would come face to face with his mentor Professor Xavier, and tragically kill him.
4. WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman is effectively a Greek Goddess. As the daughter of Zeus, she was already born with the powers of a god. But there came a time when even she became something even greater than herself, when she became a different kind of god. In the pages of the New 52’s Wonder Woman, Diana Prince became the God of War.
Yes, Wonder Woman has had a long history of battling with Ares for the fate of mankind, a rivalry that was even brought to the big screen in the Gal Gadot-starring Wonder Woman film. But in the comic books, in her battle against the First Born, Diana had no other choice but to prevent the villain from killing Ares. Instead, she did it herself and, consequently, took his place as the new God of War.
3. LEX LUTHOR
“Darkseid War” was an event that had repercussions on the entire Justice League. Darkseid’s death affected the universe, and the raw power that was inside of him, the Omega Effect, was let loose in the cosmos, roaming back to its home on Apokolips. There, Darkseid’s followers prepared for the return of this energy, and sought to create a new God out of it — the new savior of Apokolips.
As it just so happened, Lex Luthor was on Apokolips during these events. What’s more, in order to save himself, he lied to Darkseid’s followers and declared himself as their fabled savior. What Lex didn’t know however was that they would connect him to a machine, and have the Omega Effect transferred inside of him. This then transformed Lex Luthor into the God of Apokolips, and the new Darkseid.
In the pages of 1987’s Uncanny X-Men Annual, Wolverine, Storm, Psylocke and the rest of the X-Men faced an alien villain by the name of Horde. This villain was powered by a shard of a crystal known as the Ultimate Vision. With his great power, Horde managed to defeat all of the X-Men, Wolverine included.
But a single drop of Wolverine’s blood fell on the Crystal of Ultimate Vision, which was enough to not only bring him back to life, but with all of the powers of a god. Then, Wolverine was able to easily defeat their new enemy. Once that was done, however, Wolverine was able to refuse the power bestowed upon him. And yet, for a brief instant, Wolverine wasn’t just an immortal mutant — he was a cosmic god.
Before the “Darkseid War” would begin, some members of the Justice League would come face-to-face with Metron, who sits atop the powerful Mobius Chair, keeper of all knowledge in the Universe. While Metron advised them to leave, Wonder Woman sought answers. Using her lasso, she pried Metron off of his mighty chair. Then, the Justice League only had a few seconds to act.
Separated from its master, the Chair was about to summon a Boom Tube to disappear. In order for it to stay, Batman saw no other option and sat upon it. Instantly, Batman became one with the chair, and he was transformed into the God of Knowledge. Whatever questions the League or Bruce had, there was an answer. Batman may have the strength of a god to his fans, but this time, he really became one.
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