As we’ve discussed, Superman isn’t necessarily the strongest superhero in the DC canon, but he is considered the yardstick by which other physically robust characters are measured. The question is, who from the Marvel Universe would be able to defeat the Last Son of Krypton? Superman has actually met up with some Marvel characters, and went head to head with Spider-Man, for example. We bring this up entirely to point you to the most hilarious image you’ll ever see of Doc Ock and Lex Luthor just having a grand old time.
Since these are fictional characters engaging in theoretical fights, we’d love to know if you agree or disagree in the comments. We’d also like to know if there are any Marvel characters we missed who might be able to take down the great and powerful Superman.
Out of all the Avengers, Ant-Man seems the least likely to take on Superman and win. However, Ant-Man has some unique abilities that may give him the edge. Sure, Superman is great at beating up people his own size, but he may have a problem fighting a hero who is the size of an insect. For example, try punching a fly and see what happens. Of course, Superman can just swat him, but this is when Ant-Man’s second power comes into play. If Ant-Man were able to bombard the Man of Steel with enough insects, even better if they were covered in Kryptonite dust, then Superman would be distracted enough for Ant-Man to get close.
Once Ant-Man got close enough, he could climb into one of Superman’s ears or up his nose. Ant-Man, who maintains super strength while small, could hopefully start pounding away at the inside of Superman’s head, and again, this would be even better if Superman was dealing with dust covered insects because this would weaken him. If the insides of Superman’s head are as tough as his exterior, then Ant-Man would need to get Pym particles to shrink down a weapon made of Kryptonite and cut away at the inside of Superman’s head. Superman would have no way to get at Ant-Man while he is inside his head, and let’s see him regenerate from an attack like that.
And heck, we haven’t even touched on the fact that Ant-Man can also become Giant Man. So yeah, we’re thinking he’d do just fine against our old friend Clark Kent.
9. The Destroyer
Strictly speaking, the Destroyer isn’t exactly a character; he is more of a weapon. But if he was being controlled by a powerful being, like Odin, then we think he could beat Superman in a physical fight.
The Destroyer was created on the orders of Odin to protect Earth from the Celestials, an alien race with incredible cosmic power. Once he was created, Odin and the other Earth Gods bestowed part of their powers to the Destroyer. With so much power, Destroyer has seemingly limitless physical strength.
Another advantage that the Destroyer has is that his suit is near impenetrable. When Thor, who is one of the strongest Marvel characters, hits Destroyer with his hammer, which is one of the most powerful melee weapons in the Marvel Universe, Destroyer usually doesn’t even show a crack. So it doesn’t sound like Superman and his fists could fare much better.
Also, this is just hand-to-hand combat; Destroyer also has the ability to wield cosmic weapons, like the Odinsword. Finally, the Destroyer has a disintegrator beam, which is a buildup of energy that he fires from where his eyes should be. The beam can supposedly annihilate anything, meaning the Destroyer could conceivably destroy the Man of Steal more thoroughly than Zack Snyder.
8. The Incredible Hulk
A battle between the Incredible Hulk and Superman is like the unstoppable force meeting the unmovable object. The Hulk, who is arguably the physically strongest character in the Marvel Universe, has shown some incredible feats of strength, most notably destroying an entire planet. Also, when Superman was “killed” it was by Doomsday, a very-Hulk like creature from the planet Krypton.
Something else to consider is that as long as there is oxygen, then the Hulk is strong on any planet. Superman doesn’t have that advantage. He is powerful because of Earth’s yellow sun. If they were to fight on a planet other than Earth, in a different solar system, like in Planet Hulk, then the Hulk would definitely get the win.
We should also point out that the Hulk and Superman did meet in 1996’s DC vs. Marvel #3, and Superman was the one who came out on top. However, that is one fight, on one day, and Superman barely edged out the Hulk in that meeting. While he did lose, the Hulk definitely proved that he can go toe-to-toe with Superman, which makes us pretty sure that, on any given day, the Hulk could smash the crap out of Superman.
7. Black Bolt
Luckily for Lois Lane, one of Superman’s powers is his super hearing. When she yells for help, he appears out of nowhere and saves her. However, that very same superpower is a problem when Supes is facing enemies who weaponize sound, or have supersonic powers. For example, in The Dark Knight Returns series, Batman uses supersonic sound to hurt Superman. In Injustice Gods Among Us Year 2 #1, Black Canary yells so loud that Superman’s ears bleed. Finally, Wonder Woman cupped him on both ears with her Bracelets of Submission in Wonder Woman #219 and it completely immobilized Superman.
This is why we think Blackagar Boltagon, aka Black Bolt, might actually have a chance at beating Superman. Black Bolt, who is the ruler of the Inhumans, has a voice is so powerful that even a whisper is enough to physically move the Hulk. Then, in Black Panther Vol. 4 #7, an inaudible whisper completely annihilates the ultra-powerful Apocalypse.
In case you’re wondering, yes, sound can kill a normal, everyday person. An incredibly loud sound, between 185-200 decibels, would cause an air embolism in the lung, which would travel to the brain or the heart. That would be deadly for humans, and Superman’s hearing is even more sensitive than ours. If Black Bolt’s scream is like a nuclear bomb going off, we’re guessing that, at the very least, he could permanently deafen Superman, if not outright kill him with his voice.
6. Jean Grey/The Phoenix
Superman is really good at punching people and throwing them around, but his mind strength is a whole other matter. One of the biggest downfalls of having Superman around is that he might fall under someone’s control and do something devastating. It has happened before when Poison Ivy put him under her hypnosis, and Starro essentially hijacked his body.
In the Marvel Universe, Charles “Professor X” Xavier and Zebediah “The Purple Man” Kilgrave both could probably control Superman’s mind. Once under their control, there are any number of ways they could kill him. They could make him commit suicide, or they could make him a homicidal maniac, which will turn other superheroes against him. Or, they could just make Superman sit and cry in the corner until they’re bored with him.
However, arguably the strongest psychic in the Marvel Universe is Jean Grey. She is an omega level mutant, and her strength is increased even more when she becomes the Phoenix, or the Dark Phoenix. When she is the Phoenix, her powers are at a cosmic level and she can assemble and disassemble objects at the subatomic level. Punch as hard as he likes, there is no way Supes will be able to take on a powerful psychic, especially one that has melded with a cosmic entity with near infinite powers.
You may be wondering how Deadpool, whose special ability is regeneration and longevity, may be able to take on one of the most powerful comic book characters ever. Well, to be honest with you, we don’t know. That’s part of the beauty of Deadpool – he is very unpredictable.
What we do know is that Deadpool has an impressive kill list to his name. Notably, he killed the entire Marvel Universe. This includes some notoriously hard to kill characters like the Hulk, Wolverine, Luke Cage, and the rest of the Avengers and the X-Men. One of the main reasons that the Merc with a Mouth is so lethal is because he’s dedicated to killing his targets. Where Superman refuses to kill, that is all Deadpool wants to do. This is exactly why Deadpool is the ultimate anti-hero.
In the end, Deadpool will win because he won’t fight fair; he’ll be clever and deadly. He could do something like trick Superman, get Kryptonite handcuffs on him, and then drown him. Or he may very well shove some Kryptonite into orifices that Superman definitely doesn’t want Kryptonite shoved. Deadpool would probably make a joke while sticking Kryptonite where the Earth’s yellow sun doesn’t shine, such as, “this is how I felt when he watched Ben Affleck’s acting in Batman v. Superman!”
Because Deadpool is so inventive, breaks so many rules, and is just straight up deadly, we’re sure Deadpool will kill Superman if he ever makes his way to the DC multiverse.
One of Superman’s biggest weaknesses is magic, and this is why magic users in DC, like Captain Marvel and the Green Lantern, can usually fight it out with Superman. Marvel also has some powerful magical characters, notably Doctor Strange and Mephisto, but the strongest of them all is Dormammu. In fact, according to the Marvel website, he is one of the most powerful entities in their universe.
Debuting in 1964, Dormammu is often an enemy of Doctor Strange. He was born in a different dimension and is made up of pure cosmic energy. Not exactly something Superman can clobber the way he normally takes on his foes. Besides just not having a body in the same physical way, Dormammu can change shapes, teleport, travel between dimensions, use telepathy, create artificial beings, raise the dead, and summon demons. These are not exactly the type of problems that Superman is known for tackling.
With magic being such a weak point in Superman’s armor, the most powerful mystical being in the Marvel Universe seems like the ideal being to take Superman down.
3. The Sentry
A relatively new Marvel character, introduced in 2000, Robert “Bob” Reynolds got his powers from drinking a special serum that made him the Sentry. In terms of physical strength, the Sentry is one of the most powerful Marvel characters, and his powers easily rival those of Superman. The Sentry has super strength, he can fly, he is nearly invincible, he can shoot energy fields, and he controls light. In other words, his powers are very similar to Superman’s. The major difference is that the Sentry’s powers seem limitless. In his bio on Marvel’s database, it says that he has the power of 1,000 exploding suns. In World War Hulk, the Sentry and the Hulk go toe-to-toe, and it was ultimately a tie, so the Sentry is certainly as strong as Superman.
But what really gives the Sentry an edge over Superman is that the Sentry’s mind is much more advanced. The Sentry has a heightened sense of consciousness and telepathic abilities, which allows him to do things like remove and implant memories. So not only would the Sentry be able to physically beat down Superman, he could also psychologically attack him. This means that even if the Sentry didn’t want to physically fight Superman, he could still beat him by wiping out all his memories, which would have devastating effects on Superman. After all, would you be the same person if you had no memories?
2. The Beyonder
Not a whole lot is known about the Beyonder except that he is an omnipotent, interdimensional being that lives in a completely different multiverse than the Marvel multiverse. In his, he is essentially God. He is everything, and everything is him.
After a hole opened up in the multiverse, the Beyonder found Earth, which made him curious about humans and the war between good and evil. To satisfy this curiosity, in 1984’s Secret Wars storyline, the Beyonder kidnapped superheroes and supervillains from Earth and teleported them to a galaxy far away, to a plant called “Battleworld.” There, he would make them fight for his amusement, and to understand humankind.
Had Superman been in the Marvel multiverse, or had the Beyonder found the DC multiverse, Superman would certainly have been one of the kidnap victims. After all, the Beyonder kidnapped some of the mightiest of Earth’s heroes and villains, including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Magneto, Spider-Man, Doctor Doom, and Doctor Octopus. If he could kidnap all of them, there is a good chance Superman might not have had much of a chance.
To defeat Superman, the Beyonder would only have to transport him to Battleworld, and without Earth’s sun, he would just be Clark Kent. From there, Beyonder probably wouldn’t even have to defeat Superman himself. Instead, he’d watch a supervillain beat him to a bloody pulp.
When you compare the powers of Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, to Clark Kent, Superman, it really isn’t fair. Galactus, whose real name is Galan, is the sole survivor of a universe that existed before the Big Bang, and he literally eats planets to survive.
Galan’s process of becoming one of the most powerful Marvel entities began when he flew his ship into the event horizon of the Big Bang. Once there, he merged with an entity called the Sentients of the Universe. After the Big Bang, Galan floated around in space for billions of years before he was accidentally awakened and emerged from his capsule as a being of pure energy. Galan, now known as Galactus, built a suit to contain his body (including one heck of a fancy hat!) and began to consume planets.
Galactus wields the Power Cosmic, which is one of the most powerful forces in the Marvel Universe. Just for some perspective, Galactus gave the Silver Surfer his powers by giving him a little bit of the Power Cosmic, and it is arguable that the Silver Surfer is so powerful that he could defeat Superman.
Also, Galactus has consumed many worlds, including planets with advanced and powerful beings. It would not be surprising if he has already consumed planets with beings as powerful as, or even more powerful than, Superman. The only reason Earth wasn’t destroyed by Galactus was because, during his attempt, the Silver Surfer took pity on humans and helped the Fantastic Four. Even then, they didn’t exactly beat him up, they just threatened him with a weapon the Silver Surfer helped them steal, and Galactus agreed to stay away. When Galactus returned to Earth in Fantastic Four Vol 1 #243, he was weak and tired after being double crossed by Terrax the Tamer. In a weakened state, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Doctor Strange were able to defeat him.
The only way that Superman would survive a fight with a healthy Galactus would be because Galactus lets him live.
Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, follow him on Pinterest or visit his website.