The Ultimate Grudge Match: Which Superhero Would Win?

In other threads, Dopers have danced around this burning issue without really providing a clear-cut ranking for know-nothings like me. Let me admit that after reading Fenris’ recent dissertation on the Green Lantern, I’m a bit reluctant to pose my stupid question, but here goes:

Taking into consideration every major comic book he-man of all time, how would you rank each in terms of sheer strength/fighting ability/power?

It seems obvious that Superman is #1, but where do the Green Lantern, the Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Captain America, the Flash, Thor, Batman, the Thing, etc rate?

What about that superdude who had a steel mask covering his face? What about Mon-el and that guy who could make things super-heavy simply by pointing at them? Feel free to factor everyone in.

[Note to Fenris: bibliography and footnotes not needed.]

Well, see, that’s the thing. It’s fairly easy to rank superheroes into general power catagories, but it becomes much harder to say X will always win over Y.

For example, Superman seems to have more raw power than Thor, but Thor’s magic hamer attacks would clean Superman’s clock. Unless Superman hit him at superspeed, or used his heat vision…there’s always a way for a writer to come up with a way for a given character to beatthe shit out of another.

For example, in a recent story arc in Justice League of America, Batman’s long time foe Ras Al Ghul found out that Batman had come up with several traps and strategies to defeat the other JLA members in case they went psycho. Using these tricks gadgets, and traps, it was shown the with preperation and suprise, Batman could beat ever other member of the JLA, including Superman. Yet Batman has no superpowers.

With all that said, it’s pretty clear that Superman will always be the top dog in the DC universe.

I think you’re thinking too broadly. You’ve gotta isolate it into individual bouts, depending on who would make the most interesting sparring partners.

For example:

Dr. Doom vs Dr. Strange

Hulk vs Thing

Iceman vs Human Torch

Cyclops vs …awww, Hell. Anybody. Any superhero alive could beat Cyclops. Even Aquaman, and all he could do was talk to fish.

You get the picture.



Anyway, there’s no easy answer for the reasons Sealemon listed. However if you narrow it to say “Who’s the strongest?” (Superman Earth-1), “Who’s the most the most skilled fighter” (Toss-up: Batman, Captain America or Karate Kid), “Who’s the most powerful non-cosmic type?” (Duplicate Boy), etc then the question can be answered or at least debated.


(BTW: The guy with the mask was probably Ferro-Lad who was somewhat weaker than Superman. Mon-El is stronger than Superboy, but not as strong as Superman. Star-Boy was the one who could make things super-heavy. Early in his career (for one adventure) he had the Superboy suite of powers, plus super heaviness.)

Fenris (dissertation??)

I’d say Superman is the toughest, certainly in the DC universe at least. In the Marvel universe, I’d probably have to vote for Magneto because physics be damned, he can do pretty much anything he wants with his powers over magnetism. If he hadn’t died/disappeared/whatever, Professor Xavier’s son was quite a powerful one too.

The worst? Duh. Aquaman. NO ONE sucks worse than Aquaman.

What about Plastic Man? Hell, what about Mighty Mouse?

I guess it all depends on how pissed-off you make the Hulk, right? :slight_smile:

As ex-Aquaman writer Peter David points out, Aquaman’s gotta be pretty tough and super-strong to endure those ocean depths. As a result, you could drop him into the middle of the Bronx at two a.m. and he wouldn’t be breaking a sweat. In contrast, if you drop Batman in the middle of the Atlantic ocean sans utility belt, he’d be history.

Yeah, the Superfriends version of Aquaman was lame, but then the Superfriends version of everybody was lame…

Ok, I am now officially a geek.

I think the most powerful superhero in the DC universe is Danny the Street from Grant Morrison’s run on the Doom Patrol. I mean he became a whole new world when things got too tough for his friends.

[sub]I’m not joking, by the way.[/sub]

Yeah, but there’s that one Green Lanter…Mogo?..that’s a whole sentient planet and it has a Green Lantern ring around it’s equator. I’d say that Mogo could take out Danny the Street and Ego the Living Planet two falls outta three.

But Danny the Street is much cooler. A transvestite street? How cool is that?


I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Silver Surfer, he would absolutely waste anyone that has been mentioned in this thread. His bout with the Green Lantern went something like this:

Silver Surfer: Sorry I have to do this…
Green Lantern: Yea I understand…

Then the Surfer toasted him.

And in a team up I have of the Surfer and Superman, Supes is awed by the cosmic one’s powers.

The only person in the Marvel Universe that could ever beat Norrin Radd would be Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, but even that wouldn’t happen because, as we all know, Thanos subconciously sets himself up for defeat.

Maybe someone who understands the Flash’s power can help explain, but wouldn’t someone with super speed beat any other superhero without?

Let’s look at some of the ways the Flash is defeated in storylines.

Strength. Can’t land a punch on him, and the Flash can punch you thousands or millions of times. If the Flash needs to lift something heavy, wouldn’t it be a simple matter of pushing it millions of times in a short span of time?

Getting stuck. The Flash should be able to avoid getting hit with a sticky substance, and I don’t really buy the “so much inertia he cannot avoid stepping into something sticky” plotlines. He can zig zag around at high speed, so he should be able to avoid stepping in a puddle of goop.

Being trapped in a confined space and gassed. The Flash should be able to escape any trap before it closes.

Defeated by a super power. The Flash should react faster than the other guy and do something suitable or simply dodge the incoming bullets or light beams.

Flying nemesis. The Flash can quickly build a scaffold up to the bad guy.

As an aside, how common is super speed? I know Superman has it, but who else besides Flash?

I meant dissertation in terms of sheer analysis, not re: length. Halfway into your post, I thought: “Lord I don’t know any of this stuff.”

BTW, I thought Mon-el had the same powers as Superman, except he could be weakened/killed by lead.

Also, I never understood the Green Lantern’s powers. IIRC, he would hold a key on his finger up to a green lantern and acquire some type of power.

I haven’t picked up a comic book in probably 25 years. (I’m 38.)

Who the hell is Silver Surfer? What kind of name is that?
The Thing vs. The Hulk–who wins?

I think the all-time winner would have to be Herbie, the Fat Fury.

No stoppin’ that lollipop.

We also can’t forget Universe Man. He is the size of the entire Universe, man.

I agree about Herbie, I must admit… but we’re asking two questions here.

A: Who is the most powerful super(hero-villian-sapient being)?

B: Who would win in a fight?

For A, I’d vote for either the Beyonder or Shaper of Worlds from Marvel, or The Spectre in DC…

For B?
Captain American and Superman. Always and forever.

Of course, there’s the two issues of… Is it the character’s first appearance, and whose title is it in?

You want I should bop you with this lollipop?

Yup, but in terms of how strong he actually is, he’s slightly weaker than Superman and somewhat stronger than Superboy. In addition, Braniac 5 made him a serum that cures his allergy to lead (it’s made of kryptonite)


He has a ring that makes objects (like giant sissors or boxing gloves, or cars, or whatever) out of “solid light”. It also lets him fly, works as a laser, a tractor beam, etc. The original Green Lantern was allergic to wood and the ring was magic. The second Green Lantern was allergic to the color yellow and the ring was (ahem) "science) based. The current GL has no allergies, but is as dumb as a post (although he’s getting better)


Galactus is a big humanoid creature that eats the “life force” of planets. He went to a planet named Zenn-la and threatened to eat it. A guy made a deal with Galactus: Spare my planet and I’ll be your flunky, finding you other worlds. Galactus turned the guy into the Silver Surfer. The Silver Surfer found planets for Galactus for eons, but when he came to earth, the Thing’s girlfriend Alicia convinced him that helping Galactus destroy inhabited worlds was bad. He then became a good-guy and turned on Galactus.


A Jack Kirby one. Very typical Kirby actually: How 'bout another Kirby creation? The Black Racer. A black guy, in black medival armor, on skis who’s the embodiment of death. Kirby couldn’t do dialogue to save his life, but in terms of sheer imagination.


The Hulk. Doesn’t matter which version of the Hulk (dumb/smart, grey/green) either. The Hulk almost always wins.

Fenris, who’s thinking about starting a “ask the comic book geek” thread for questions like these.

Actually, I think that one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe, if he ever comes around and realizes his power, is none other than Bobby Drake, Ice Man.

I mean, think about it. He can freeze the condensation in the air. That means he can immediately enclose anybody he’s fighting in a prison of crushing, suffocating ice. If he wasn’t so Hell-bent on being a “good guy” he could have taken over the world by now.

True, but there are enough heat manipulators around to give h im a hard time. Also, if he were to try that trick on the Hulk, ol’ Jade Jaws would just flex ever so slightly and bust right out of that icy prison.