Both the Marvel and DC Universes have an ultimate villain who battles the greatest heroes in comic books’ most epic storylines. Darkseid has been a popular character for many decades, owing to him being the archenemy the Justice League; Thanos has usurped Darkseid in popularity, though, thanks to the MCU making him mainstream popular.
However, this doesn’t make Thanos instantly more powerful, and if you’re having doubts over who takes the crown, then check out these points we’ve stacked up. In this list, we’ve considered all depictions of these characters, not just the comic books.
11 Enemy Power Level: Darkseid
Let’s put this is in simple terms: Do you see the Avengers ever beating the Justice League? The DC superhero team is far more powerful than Marvel’s offering, and Darkseid has to contend with the former on a regular basis.
It’s not much of a problem for Darkseid, though, as he always stomps the Justice League whenever they try to fight him. The League more often than not only manage to escape him rather than beat him. We just can’t see Thanos being able to give the likes of Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman a hard time.
10 Main Inherent Power: Darkseid
Thanos' powers of telekinesis, telepathy, and cosmic energy are only used sparingly, and aren’t considered part of his usual arsenal. This leaves him without that one trump card that is needed to spell a victim’s doom.
Enter Darkseid - the supervillain with the signature move to end all others. Using his Omega Beams, Darkseid has ruled worlds with an iron fist. The Omega Beams are capable of traveling galaxy-wide distances, and are locked on its target till eternity unless directed on something else. The Omega Beams are a one-shot kill for the most part, and have been used by Darkseid for teleportation, resurrection, and all-out disaster.
9 Main External Power: Thanos
Both Thanos and Darkseid have one MacGuffin that is used as part of their core characterization. For Darkseid, it is the Anti-Life Equation; Thanos’ signature weapon is the Infinity Gauntlet.
Darkseid is hardly ever shown having acquired the Anti-Life Equation; even if he does achieve it, its main power is to cause widespread loss of brain function, enabling the holder to make his victims dance like his personal puppets to his every whim. However, it’s outstripped in power by the Infinity Gauntlet, which we all know is capable of turning all kinds of realities away. With this Gauntlet, it’s pretty much an instant victory for Thanos.
8 Armada And Armies: Darkseid
Both these supervillains are intergalactic despots who have conquered hundreds of worlds. Thanos is well-known for being wanted in the solar system for his crimes, and he carries these out by using his forces comprising of Outriders, personal underlings, and armada like the Sanctuary.
However, Darkseid has a freakin’ world of his own that he rules over. Being the unquestioned king of Apokolips, Darkseid has his army of Paradeamons, who know only a thirst for fear and hunt in astonishingly large groups. Add to that, Darkseid commands several generals like Steppenwolf, Big Barda, Kalibak, among others, whose personal physiologies themselves are equivalent to armies. Darkseid simply has more resources, and has more powerful generals at his disposal.
7 Experience: Darkseid
Thanos’ age has never been accurately specified, with the generally accepted figure being around 1,000 years of age. This is certainly a ridiculous amount of time to spend waging wars and gathering experience, but it looks like a teensy amount next to Darkseid’s.
The ruler of Apokolips is actually a deity, who uses his body as an avatar to present himself to lesser beings. This easily makes him potentially billions of years old, and several hundred thousand years at the very youngest. Thanos has no chance matching Darkseid in terms of experience, which means he just doesn’t know the numbers of tricks, war mongering, and sadism levels that Darkseid has achieved. It’s like comparing a veteran with decades of experience with a fresh new recruit.
6 Children Loyalty: Thanos
Yes, this is a very new point that has gone in Thanos’ favor, as offspring were not his strong suit until the MCU version of his children came along. As we saw, the Black Order were fiercely loyal to their father, to the point where they chose death before chances to escape.
If power levels are to be considered, then Darkseid’s children are hopelessly far ahead of the Black Order, with Orion, Mister Miracle, and Kalibak all capable of making the Black Order look like a joke; however, we’re considering the fact here that all of Darkseid’s children despise him, meaning there’s no undying loyalty in them as there is in the Black Order. In the end, that’s all that matters.
5 Strength: Darkseid
This one seems to be almost even stevens, with Thanos having shown he’s strong enough to beat down the likes of Hulk, Thor, and run Odin close. He’s also shown moments where he’s picked up objects of enormous weight, as well as hold back force that would crush someone else.
But there’s the fact that Thanos is being compared to a guy who slaps Superman around. Darkseid's strength is immeasurable in that he’s been shown to one-shot guys like Shazam and Martian Manhunter like they were kids (which is kind of true in the former’s case). In one instance, a seriously depowered Darkseid was shown to match Zeus of all beings in the strength department, along with shattering a Green Lantern power ring with his bare hands.
4 Equipment: Darkseid
There have been many interpretations of Darkseid, but we’ll pick the DCAU version for being the most technologically advanced one by far. Thanos doesn’t have technological assimilation like Darkseid did, once the latter was merged with Brainiac that is.
This combination led to Darkseid creating advanced tech, such as the Agony Matrix, which was confirmed to cause pain million times what even Superman could withstand, as well as a mysterious blade that was capable of carving Superman’s heart out. Thanos’ technology is incredible in its own right, with his floating chair being capable of traveling galaxies; to counter that, though, we have two words that will hand Darkseid the decisive victory: Mother Boxes.
3 Durability: Tied
Being able to withstand punishment from beings of enormous power is an even more useful ability than super strength, and here we just can’t decide who’s the better one. Although Thanos has been shown to lose to guys like Galactus and Odin, he’s still been able to take punishment from them and walk away only slightly injured.
Darkseid, being a New God, has physiology that takes abuse of only the highest quality to make him falter. He’s taken serious shots from the likes of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and of course Superman, but barely ever shows any scratches from these fights. Both these characters seem far too durable for us to make a decision.
2 Biggest Feat: Thanos
Sure, in one story Darkseid was able to acquire the Anti-Life Equation and totally end the Fourth World, but this wasn’t made out to be as enormous an event for us to seriously take it as the ultimate feat. In almost all of his stories, Darkseid is seen fighting a seemingly looped war with New Genesis, one where Highfather always seems a step ahead. In his pursuits against the Justice League, Darkseid has lost more than he’s won in his conquests.
This leaves us with the simple task of bringing up Thanos’ greatest feat: Ending life on a trillion-level genocide. In the comics, he achieved this so easily that it didn’t even look difficult; in the MCU, he achieved the Snap as well, and destroyed half of all life. This kind of enormous victory is one where Darkseid sees second place to Thanos.
1 Winner: Darkseid
For those who don’t know: Darkseid is the character that led to the creation of Thanos, making the former the original figure of warlord dominance in comic books. Despite having racked up reputable feats and prowess for himself, Thanos is still not at the level of Darkseid.
Darkseid has far too many inherent qualities such as ruthlessness, power, influence, and character that allow him to be a cut above Thanos. If you’re being honest with yourself, you just know that Darkseid would have a much easier time contending with Marvel heroes had he been in that universe, while Thanos would not have been able to reach the same levels as Darkseid in the DC Universe. It is the ruler of Apokolips who bags the overall victory here.