Throughout the rich and colorful history of DC Comics, a large number of characters have appeared in the stories published by DC.
In this article, we are bringing you a list of the most powerful & strongest DC characters of all time, be they heroes or villains. The point is that they are powerful and we plan on ranking them to finally determine which one among them is the strongest.
15 Strongest DC Characters
15. Mister Mxyzptlk
Alias: Master Mxyzptlk, Ben deRoy, countless others
Debut: Superman #30 (1944)
Created By: Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
Mister Mxyzptlk is a character belonging to the DC Comics universe. He is one of Superman’s greatest enemies, actually a pixie from another dimension that had his debut in Superman #30 (1944). Mxyztplk’s powers far exceed human physics.
Originally, Mxyzptlk had set his sights on conquering the planet on his own but soon decided to torment Superman whenever he got the chance. His only weakness was that he couldn’t bear to be ridiculed and if he said or spelled his name backward, Kltpzyxm, he was unwittingly sent back to his home dimension for a minimum of 90 days.
Mxyzptlk often tried to counter this last weakness, but he was still naive enough that Superman always managed to play with him over and over again. Mr. Mxyzptlk continued to be a thorn in Superman’s side for many years.
Although Alan Moore offered a drastically different take on the character in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, he passed through Crisis on Infinite Earths relatively unchanged, though the unpleasant nature of his pranks and the psychological effect they had over the others was reinforced, at least initially.
In the early post-Crisis stories, the “condition” that would bring him back to the Fifth Dimension was whatever he wanted it to be, but after Lex Luthor taught him how to lie, rendering it meaningless, the stories started to make Mxyzptlk say his name backward all over again.
Many of Mxy’s subsequent stories took on a post-modern tone when he commented on editorial decisions, genre clichés, etc. This was especially evident in Superman: The Man of Steel #75, a pastiche of Superman’s death in Superman #75, which culminated with Mxyzptlk meeting the Supreme Being, who turned out to be Mike Carlin, the then publisher of Superman titles, which promptly brought him back to life.
Mr. Mxyzptlk, like all inhabitants of the Fifth dimension, possesses unlimited magical powers which allow him to do pretty much whatever he wants, in other words, he is omnipotent in our dimension.
His only known weakness in the comics is, that for him, his fights against Superman are just a game, which often prompts him to set a challenge to Superman so that the latter has a chance to send Mxyzptlk back to his dimension (for 90 days usually). This deal is not (unlike the one in the animated series) ruled by a cosmic rule but only ruled by Mxyzptlk’s will. We can thus discern a certain form of honor on his part since the latter always keeps his promise.
And while Mister Mxyzptlk is undeniably a powerful entity, he is usually perceived in a comical fashion, being more mischievous than actually evil (although this is not a general rule when he is concerned). This guy can manipulate reality and has been known to cause a lot of problems for DC’s characters, which is why it’s good that he doesn’t appear in the stories all too often.
Still, he is powerful enough to land a spot on our list, despite being more funny than dangerous.
14. The Endless
Alias: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Delirium
Debut: The Sandman #1 (1989)
Created By: Neil Gaiman
They are beings who embody the anthropomorphic concepts of Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium. More immortal and influential than the gods who pass and pass when no one believes in them, the Eternals were born with our universe and will probably perish with it. They are not, however, omnipotent, since even the universe is governed by laws and rules that must be respected.
Each of them has a personality that is manifested by its behavior and appearance. Although personifying entities endowed with superhuman powers and abilities, they show the qualities and feelings of the mortals they reflect, and occasionally make human errors.
When one of the Eternals dies, as in the case of Dream in The Benevolent, only their personal traits die, but the embodied form of their concept survives in another form. These beings are not essential to the functioning of the universe, and their usefulness remains obscure, but their absence would bring random chaos or greater futility to existence.
Around the seventeenth century, Destruction left his post, no longer wanting to bear responsibility for the cycles of construction and destruction in the world, and choosing to focus on creative occupations, such as the arts. The other Eternals react rather negatively to his decision, which calls into question their function.
Dream does not understand (and this misunderstanding will end in loss), Delirium is disappointed to lose a playmate, and Death is afraid that this will make Delirium imitate him.
All are destabilized by the resignation of one of their own, but continue to fulfill their duties. Because they are only mirrors of human consciousness, the Eternals are immortal but not immutable: they evolve according to the evolution of the concepts they represent (for humanity, in most tales, but in “A Dream of a Thousand Cats”, we find that the same entities exist to reflect each living being, like cats).
When Death spends his day on Earth in China in “Short Lives”, she takes on the features of a Chinese, whom his mortal companion is used to seeing; just like in “Soft Lands”, when Marco Polo asks if Dream is still as pale skinned as ever, Dream tells him that it all depends on which eyes you look at him.
Technically not one character but a group, The Endless can still be viewed as a composite unit. They are exceptionally powerful cosmic entities, more powerful than even God himself, and they appear in Gaiman’s The Sandman, with the Dream – the comic book’s titular protagonist – being one of them. They are ageless, immortal, and nigh-omnipotent. While they are a collective of concepts and ideas, each sibling has their own feelings, thoughts, and personalities.
Due to their amazing powers and how they influence our world, we absolutely had to put them on our list.
13. The Decreator
Debut: Doom Patrol #32 (1990)
Created By: Grant Morrison, Richard Chase
The Decreator was a cosmic entity that was created as a shadow of God and was born during the first moments of creation. It is dedicated to the complete eradication of all existence and has the power to make things disappear from reality spontaneously. The Cult of the Unwritten Book worships this invincible creature and they are dedicated to the liberation of the world.
Although they managed to release him, they were ultimately foiled by the Doom Patrol and Willoughby Kipling. It is impossible to beat the Decreator, but Crazy Jane found a way to slow it down so that its progress is imperceptible. He’s still out there wiping out the existence and making things work… but he’s doing it so slowly that it doesn’t really matter.
This geye (a pun on the words “guy” and “eye”, thank you very much) is an enigma. The Doom Patrol fought him once and he was shaped like a giant eye. He is said to be the shadow of God himself and was created during creation itself. But, unlike God, a being of creation, the Decreator is a being of destruction and all he does is destroy; he is even capable of doing it at great speeds, which is why the Doom Patrol had to slow him down so that the destruction wouldn’t be noticeable.
So yes, the guy has yet to be destroyed, we have yet to discover a way to do it, but since he is a giant eye, we might just need to poke him in the right place to get rid of him. Until then, he’s on our list.
Alias: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen
Debut: Flash Comics #1 (1940)
Created By: Gardner Fox, Harry Lampert
Explaining Flash is not as easy because – unlike most other characters on this list – several characters in the history of DC Comics have worn The Flash costume since the character first appeared back in 1940.
The character was created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert and was the first Speedster (the collective name for characters who can use the power of the speed force) in what was to become a whole “family” of similar characters. Most of them are superheroes, but some (like Reverse Flash) have been villains.
The first Flash was Jay Garrick, a Golden Age character that introduced the Flash to the DC continuity. He became the Flash after a freakish laboratory experiment and decided to use his new skills to fight crime; at the time, he was a college student.
Garrick was Flash initially from 1940 to 1951, then again from 1961 to 2011 and has been a part of the main continuity since 2017, although now very old. Due to the nature of the speed force and its role in balancing out the whole DC Multiverse, his appearances and his role in the main continuity have changed a lot over the years.
The second and undoubtedly the most famous Flash is Barry Allen, the current “main” Flash and the rival of Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash. Barry Allen donned the mantle from 1956 to 1985 and has been doing it since his “rebirth” in 2008. He is a forensic scientist who got his powers after lightning struck his laboratory and the chemicals inside.
A very important part of his story is the murder of his mother by Thawne, for which his father was blamed; this is why Allen constantly tries not only to find out the truth but also to change the past, which would ultimately result in the creation of the Flashpoint universe. He played a major role in most of DC’s universe-wide crossover events.
Barry’s nephew, Wally West, took over the mantle in 1986 and wore it until 2011; he reappeared and has been donning it again since 2016. Wally West took over the mantle of the Flash after Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, after being the original Kid Flash.
He got his powers the same way as his uncle (he is related to Barry’s wife, Iris West) and became his sidekick until he actually replaced him as the Flash. He has been a fan-favourite and is to date the fastest Flash among the group.
The fourth and to date the last person to don the Flash costume is Bart Allen, Barry Allen’s grandson, who was the Flash from 2006 to 2007. He appeared as the superhero Impulse, only to inherit the Kid Flash uniform from Wally West, before ultimately becoming The Flash.
He is actually from the 30th century and spent most of his career as the sidekick to Wally West, becoming Flash after his death in the Final Crisis event in 2006. His tenure was brief, as Barry Allen soon returned and reclaimed his mantle.
Whichever iteration of the character you chose, the Flash is certainly a powerful character. This superhero has amazing abilities and although they tend to change from iteration to iteration, the likes of Barry Allen and Wally West have shown us just what the Flash is capable of. Whether you need a quick delivery method or a change in the timeline, the Flash is always there to assist you. The character also keeps evolving in the stories and we keep discovering new levels of his powers.
This is all enough to put him on our list, but since he is not that good against physically imposing characters, we couldn’t give him a higher spot.
Debut: Superman: Man of Steel #17 (1992)
Created By: Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern
Doomsday is the name given by Booster Gold to a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, primarily as an antagonist of the superhero Superman. He was conceived during a brainstorming session of the Superman writing team in 1991 as a foe that would match Superman’s physical strength.
One of the writers wrote down a remark for the need of a “doomsday for Superman”, and the rest of the team liked it so much that they decided to name the monster – Doomsday. He made his cameo debut in Superman: Man of Steel #17 (1992), with a full debut in #18.
The origin story of Doomsday is pretty bizarre. He was created by an alien named Bertron and was left on prehistoric Krypton to evolve, if possible. Namely, prehistoric Krypton was a harsh environment where only the strongest beings could survive (this was long before the humanoid Kryptonians evolved and lived on the planet).
The alien infant was killed but also revived repeatedly, becoming stronger after each resurrection. Namely, Doomsday developed the ability to develop immunity to what had killed him, meaning that he could never die from the same cause twice. Combined with his extreme regenerative abilities, he was a powerful being even as an infant.
Doomsday was forced to endure the agony of death several thousand times, which eventually led him to hate all life. At one point, he became so powerful that he killed all life on Krypton and eventually located and killed his creator, Bertron. Doomsday eventually escaped and went on a killing spree across several planets, even facing a younger Darkseid, but the two didn’t engage in direct combat.
He eventually crossed paths with the Green Lanterns, killing thousands before eventually being killed by a Guardian of the Universe, who sacrificed himself to kill the Kryptonian monstrosity.
Doomsday didn’t actually die, but was sent through a spatial tear and eventually ended up on the planet Calaton. He terrorized the planet for years before its inhabitants created The Radiant, who killed Doomsday with one strong energy blast. But, as it usually is with Doomsday – he was not killed. He regenerated slowly, but he came back to life, now immune to the energy that killed him, just like every time before that.
His most famous storyline is “The Death of Superman”, where the Kryptonian monstrosity came to Earth. After defeating the whole Justice League in a matter of minutes, he engaged in a fight with Superman. He was the first supervillain to be a match for the Man of Steel in a physical confrontation and the cult series eventually lead to Superman and Doomsday killing each other.
Thus, Doomsday became the first and so far the only supervillain to kill Superman in combat. Of course, both of them survived the famous clash and Doomsday would play a role in future DC Comics stories.
A being that can die, but each time he dies, he comes back, stronger than before; aka, Doomsday. This Kryptonian monstrosity was the first comic book villain that actually killed Superman, although he died in the process as well. There have been several iterations of the character, but Doomsday was always depicted as a horrifying threat.
He had almost all of Superman’s powers, but was at the same time completely maniacal and without reason. He wants to kill and destroy, travelling the universe in search of new prey; he even beat Darkseid to a pulp in the latter’s early days.
Doomsday can be defeated, but it takes some real power to do it, which is why we put him on our list, but below the ones that could actually defeat him.
Alias: Galid/Kalaa of Nilaa
Debut: House of Secrets #61 (1963)
Created By: Bob Haney, Lee Elias
Eclipso is a fictional character that appears in stories published by DC Comics since 1963. The Eclipso comics, which are usually horror stories, go back to writer Bob Haney and his illustrator Lee Elias, who developed the main character and the plot premise of the series in the early 1960s.
At the beginning of his stories, Eclipso is introduced as the young American scientist Bruce Gordon, who decides to travel to the Pacific island of Diabolo to observe a rare natural spectacle, a solar eclipse.
Shortly after his arrival on Diabolo, Gordon is suddenly involved in an argument with a native faith healer; a fight ensues in which the shaman is killed, while Gordon survives with just a small cut on his face, which the healer made with the help of a black diamond. During the soon-to-follow solar eclipse, Gordon is transformed into a powerful creature named Eclipso, who embodies the bad side of his personality.
As Eclipso, the otherwise benign Gordon causes all sorts of mischief. The division into two contrasting personalities takes place in the same way as the division of Doctor Jekyll into his good self and the bad Mr. Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson’s eponymous fantasy novel.
In order to transform Eclipso back into Gordon, it must be irradiated with bright light – such as a flashlight – which, in terms of the reverse effect, corresponds to the opposite of an eclipse of the sun. The remodeling task is then mostly taken over by Gordon’s friend Simon Bennett and his daughter Mona.
In the Eclipso series of the 1990s, we finally learn that the gruesome Eclipso is actually an evil god, the god of vengeance, who lives on the dark side of the moon, who burns with his own personality to people who feel a thirst for vengeance undermine and transform them into images of oneself.
Not as popular as his successor Spectre, Eclipso was the Presence’s first “Angel of Vengeance”. This cosmic goblin was created as a being that enforces the Presence’s will but at one point, he turned evil and was stripped of his role, thus becoming a supervillain.
Still, Eclipso kept most of his powers and when you compare this to the fact that the Spectre is much higher on our list (see below), you can imagine just how powerful Eclipso was and what levels of power we are talking about. This is why he landed a spot on our list.
Alias: Eobard Thawne
Debut: The Flash #139 (September 1963)
Created By: John Broome, Carmine Infantino
The Reverse-Flash is, like the Flash, a superhero name used by several different characters in the DC Comics universe. At the time of writing this article, there has been a total of five Reverse-Flashes – Edward Clariss, Eobard Thawne, Hunter Zolomon, Thaddeus Thawne, and Daniel West. Since Eobard Thawne is by far the best-known and most important Reverse-Flash in the continuity, we are going to focus on him.
Eobard Thawne had an ever-changing origin story before his history was finally established in The Flash: Rebirth (2009), written by Geoff Johns. The character debuted in The Flash #139 (1963) and was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino.
In this iteration, Thawne found a time capsule with the Flash suit in the 25th century. He then amplified the suit’s energy and turned himself into a Speedster, but reversed the colors of the suit, becoming Professor Zoom the Reverse-Flash. Flash discovered this and confronted Thawne, eventually defeating him and destroying his suit.
Blaming the Flash for his defeat, Thawne became obsessed with “replacing” Barry and traveled back in time to exact his revenge. He killed Iris West and tried to kill Fiona Webb, but Barry Allen snapped his neck in order to avoid losing another person he loved.
The post-Crisis story “The Return of Barry Allen” gave Thawne a new origin. He was depicted as a scientist obsessed with the Flash, so much in fact that he underwent plastic surgery to look like Barry Allen. He managed to gain Speedster powers by using an antique Cosmic Treadmill and went back in time, fighting Wally West in the process. He was ultimately sent back to the 25th century.
Thawne returns as a major DC villain in The Flash: Rebirth (2009), where his return foreshadowed the major Final Crisis event. He played a major role in the Blackest Night storyline, where his pre-Crisis corpse was revived by Nekron as he became a Black Lantern and, subsequently, Black Flash.
He died once again but was ultimately resurrected, after which event he escaped. In one later story, Thawne traveled back in time to completely alter his personal history. During the Flashpoint storyline, he goes back in time to kill Barry Allen’s mother, which results in the creation of the “Flashpoint universe” after Barry Allen also went back in time to stop Thawne from killing his mother.
The“Flashpoint universe” was an alternative timeline Barry Allen ultimately fixed, but only after Thomas Wayne – that universe’s Batman – killed Thawne with a sword.
Thawne, of course, did not die and it was late revealed that he is practically immortal because of his connection to the Negative Speed Force. His origins slightly changed during the New 52 and Rebirth imprints, but the essence was kept. He played a major part in the events leading to and happening during the Doomsday Clock narrative, where he was killed by Dr. Manhattan. He survived even that, proving that even the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan could not kill or erase him.
Eobard Thawne’s comic book history is that of a truly sinister and fearsome villain. His control of the Speed Force is truly amazing and although the Flash can usually defeat him, Thawne never really disappeared. He keeps coming back, thus showing just how powerful he is and just how strongly his connection to the Speed Force is.
At one point, Thawne became one with the Speed Force, he became a being of energy, thereby becoming invincible and indestructible, as energy cannot be destroyed – it only changes form.
Thawne was the only character that Doctor Manhattan could not permanently destroy because he became energy, which speaks for itself in terms of our list.
8. Lucifer Morningstar
Alias: Lucifer Samael Morningstar
Debut: The Sandman #4 (1989)
Created By: Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg
Lucifer Morningstar is a character appearing in publications by Vertigo, a division of DC Comics. The character is directly based on the fallen angel and visually inspired by David Bowie, as requested by Neil Gaiman for the designers.
The character’s first official appearance was in the comic book Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #65, where Jimmy Olsen, in a dream, meets a man who calls himself Mr. L, who thinks he is the ancestor of Lex Luthor and makes a deal with him, but the consequences are terrible to discover that the man is actually the fallen angel Lucifer.
After that, the character was constantly modified, having appeared in several stories, not to mention several different versions of Satan that appear in different stories. Lucifer is best known for his appearance in the famous Neil Gaiman comic, Sandman, where he participates in the Triumvirate of Hell.
Bored of his existence as Lord of Hell, Lucifer expels all the demons and doomed souls from Hell, to then close his doors and hand over the key to Dream of the Endless, obviously predicting that the possession of the key would put him in bad shape. Meanwhile,
Hell ends up in the hands of two angels, Duma (the angel of silence) and Remiel, while Lucifer retires to Earth, where he becomes a pianist.
A three-chapter miniseries was created where heaven sends the angel Amenadiel to make a deal with Lucifer; he needed to get rid of the old nameless gods, but heaven doesn’t want to get involved directly. As payment, Lucifer requires a letter from God.
Lucifer continues to run his piano bar called Lux, he is portrayed as a nihilist-type of character, while the series focuses on philosophical discussions about free will and shows Lucifer’s journey in a quest to get rid of the control exercised in beings by God.
Lucifer is considered by many to be one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe, second only to his creator Yahweh (The Presence) and tying with his brother Miguel Demiurgos.
He can manipulate reality at will, being regarded as the one who shaped the universe while Miguel created with the power of Yahweh (The Presence). Despite this, Lucifer hardly ever uses his powers, preferring always to use strategies, having defeated Amenadiel even though he is almost without powers; if necessary he usually uses blows based on fire and light in reference to his name Morning Star.
Known mostly via the popular TV show, Lucifer Morningstar has a much more vivid and interesting comic book background. Although he is very loveable and doesn’t really really look like he has much to offer, his angelic background and his powers make him truly formidable. He is more often a supervillain than not, but he is not your classical comic book villain.
Lucifer is very close to God in the traditional sense of the term, he is almost as powerful as him and that is why we had to put him here on our list, but we do not think that he would stand much chance against the guys we placed higher than him.
Debut: Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 (1985)
Created By: Marv Wolfman, George Pérez, Jerry Ordway
Anti-Monitor, whose name has recently been revealed to be Mobius, is a fictional supervillain and antagonist that debuted in the limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was published between 1985 and 1986 by the publisher DC Comics.
His first appearance was in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 (1985) (although he initially remained in the shadows until his official appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths #5-6), and was subsequently destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (1986), only to return after a long absence in Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1 (2007) (as part of the crossover event “War of the Sinestro Corps” and Blackest Night).
Anti-Monitor has been one of the most formidable enemies ever faced by the heroes of the DC Universe (or the “Multiverse”, as he has been everywhere around the multiverse). He is directly responsible for more deaths than any other known DC supervillain, having destroyed thousands of universes.
He was powerful enough to kill a distracted Supergirl with almost no effort, although it might be suggested that when the universe was rebooted, most of the deaths attributed to him indeed, apparently never happened. He has consumed thousands of positive matter universes in order to increase his power, and he was able to personally fight dozens of the strongest heroes of the multiverse at the same time.
During Blackest Night, even though he became a Black Lantern after being killed by Superboy Prime, the Anti-Monitor was not controlled by Nekron, revealing just how powerful the Anti-Monitor actually is, and even a personification like death was not able to control him, even while he was a power source for the Nekron Corps when he was subdued.
As far as cosmic entities go, this guy is truly fearsome. The Anti-Monitor is a very destructive force feared throughout the universe, an entity with truly chaotic powers that can eliminate everything in its way.
The Anti-Monitor was the main villain in the famous Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, threatening to destroy reality as we knew it, and was later even able to beat Darkseid (one of his avatars) to a pulp in direct combat; that was a stronger version of Darkseid, mind you. This is certainly more than enough for us to list him on here and give him a higher spot on our list.
Debut: Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1981)
Created By: Mike W. Barr, Len Wein, Joe Staton
Nekron, the fictional demon personification of Death, is a comic book character appearing in stories published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #2 (1981), and was created by Mike W. Barr, Len Wein and Joe Staton.
A recurring enemy of Green Lantern, he is the main antagonist of the famous story Blackest Night. Nekron is the imaginary personification of Death, the master of a hellish region that appears to be a frontier between Limbo and Purgatory within the DC Universe. It is the place where the souls of the dead await the passage to their final destination, be it the Silver City or Hell.
Nekron draws his power from the souls and spirits of those who have died. During the events of Blackest Night, it was revealed that Nekron was in charge of the black rings of power, which reanimated the dead, and was in partnership with Scar and Black Hand. When the power level of the Black Lantern rings reached 100%, Nekron arose on Earth, just outside Coast City.
It also turned out that Nekron, in a partial retcon of an earlier Teen Titans story, was the mastermind behind the miraculous resurrection of many superheroes in the past. By “allowing” the deceased heroes to be reborn, he secured a small team of “undercover agents”.
After resurrecting Batman for a few moments as an emotional lever, he was able to create black rings of power that attached themselves to Superman, Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, Kid Flash, Animal Man, Ice, Green Arrow, and Superboy, transforming them all into Black Lanterns.
Hal Jordan and Barry Allen were also on the list of possible targets, but Barry managed to avoid their transformation by moving two seconds into the future thanks to his speed. According to the Black Lantern Jean Loring, when the Guardians initially harnessed the Emotional Specter, Nekron was created out of the pre-creation existence of the universe as a defense mechanism, Guardian of Darkness.
Given the form of death conceived by the human mind, Nekron marched with his army of the undead, claiming that the hunger that grips him is never satisfied. The limits of Nekron’s powers are unknown. Geoff Johns described it as arguably the most powerful dark force in the DC Universe. He displayed the ability to raise the dead, kill with a touch, deliver black energy blasts, and grow out of proportion.
The embodiment of Death in DC’s universe, Nekron had to be sealed away into his own dimension because of how dangerous he was. Nekron controls death and death makes him even stronger; when he invaded Earth during the Blackest Night storyline, the whole world saw just how dangerous this guy was.
On top of that, he was able to control zombie versions of extremely powerful characters, such as the Anti-Monitor (well, in a manner, but okay), which just proves how powerful he is.
Luckily for us, Nekron is not invincible, but he is powerful enough to land such a high spot on our list.
Alias: Jim Corrigan, Crispus Allen, Hal Jordan
Debut: More Fun Comics #52 (1940)
Created By: Jerry Siegel, Brendan Baily
The Spectre is a character from the DC Comics cosmos created in 1940 during the Golden Age, by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily. It had its debut on More Fun Comics #52 (1940), and later became a member of the JSA on the pages of All-Star Comics.
The Spectre is a divine being endowed with unlimited powers similar but not equal to those of the Presence. His greatest power is being able to permanently remove the powers from any existing being, apart from the Presence that provides him with such power, and give them to some very fortunate elect or destroy them and make them disappear into oblivion.
The first to wear the cloak of the Spectre is Jim Corrigan. A detective that died in action, Corrigan is resurrected and has a second chance as a representative of divine wrath, a sort of judge on Earth who decrees whether a mortal’s soul has yet to live or is already evil enough to deserve the flames of hell for the rest of eternity.
In a sense, then, he was not quite a “hero” in the strict sense of the word, but rather an unscrupulous avenger, who has no problem killing the wicked. The construction of the character, over the years, makes him practically omnipotent, able to change the very aspect of reality.
Of course, this was not a big problem during the Golden Age, but when the American comics market entered a long period of crisis (the 1950s), inevitably the Specter was gradually forgotten as well.
He returns, in the form of Jim Corrigan, during the Silver Age, this time on the pages of Adventure Comics. His omnipotence does not seem an excessive obstacle to the use of the character; on the contrary, his aspect of a semi-divine entity is exalted, as the representative of God himself among mortals. Furthermore, his contribution will be fundamental for the final victory against the Anti-Monitor during the maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths.
In the seventies, the Spectre reappears again on the pages of Adventure Comics. This series, written by Michael Fleisher and drawn by Jim Aparo, was known for its particularly gory descriptions of punishments, often dictated by the law of retaliation against criminals.
In fact, they were, for example, transformed into wax, or into the wood and then thrown onto a saw of an industrial sawmill, or into the glass and dropped so as to break. Some fans complained about such violence and in #435, Fleisher, although it remains unknown whether it was because of the complaints or because it had already been planned, he introduced a character who shared the ideas of fans, a reporter named Earl Crawford.
The series was canceled despite there being several pre-made stories. Several years later, in 1988, these missing chapters were drawn by Jim Aparo and released in The Wrath of the Spectre miniseries.
As far as DC Comics’ classical roster is concerned, The Spectre is certainly one of the strongest characters ever, comparable – in a way – to Marvel’s Living Tribunal. He is the “herald” of the Presence, his “Angel of Vengeance” who punishes sinners in the Presence’s name, and had DC not expanded its roster with even more powerful characters, Spectre would certainly have been higher up on our list.
He has truly amazing powers and whether he occupies a host or appears in his original form, he is certainly a dangerous entity and one deserving of such a high spot on our list.
4. Superman Prime (One Million)
Debut: DC One Million #4 (1998)
Created By: Grant Morrison, Val Semeiks
Superman Prime (DC One Million) is a version of Superman that appeared in the DC One Million comic book, written by Grant Morrison. He is actually Superman, but from the 853rd century, he survived by becoming the living extension of the Sun itself. Superman Prime (DC One Million) is actually the modern-day Superman who left Earth sometime during the late 21st century, after everyone he ever cared about had died.
He traveled the whole DC Comics universe and survived by becoming a sort of deity and an embodiment of the Sun itself.
His travels lasted from the 21st century and ended somewhere around the turn of the 700th century. During his travels, he acquired tremendous skills and abilities from across the universe. When he returned, he made a covenant with his descendants and decided to give them a small fraction of his powers, as long as they served for truth and justice. After the covenant, he left and returned to his new Fortress of Solitude in the center of the Super Sun.
When Solaris fired what he thought was the Knight Fragment at the Sun to kill Superman Prime (DC One Million), the Green Lantern retrieved a DNA sample from Solaris’ core that had been placed there when it was constructed and started a supernova reaction in Solaris’ core.
The Green Lantern then tried to contain the explosion with its power ring. He was joined by Kal Kent, who contained the explosion with his force vision. Superman Prime (DC One Million) suddenly reappeared in the Sun after fifteen thousand years of solar energy and shattered the tyrant Sun once and for all with the Green Lantern ring that Solaris had accidentally given him.
The time he spent in the Sun increased his already great power to presumably infinite levels. His strength and a whole myriad of other skills he had acquired also rose to unknown levels since his time in the Sun. After the destruction of Solaris, much was revealed about Superman Prime’s (DC One Million) hibernation in the Super Sun. During this time he had been waiting for Solaris to try his hand at life because, thanks to his time-traveling younger self, he had known the events beforehand.
He knew about the DNA sample in Solaris’ core and, with the help of Lzyxm Ltpkz (the Fifth Dimension’s Superman) and Hourman, used it to his advantage, reviving his beloved Lois Lane in the process. After what seemed like an eternity to him, he had withdrawn into the Sun to await her return, and now a Silver Lois Lane and a Golden Superman Prime (DC One Million) were reunited.
In all the time since her death, life had had little meaning or warmth for him, but now Superman Prime (DC One Million) felt that he was complete again.
Superman Prime (One Million) is DC Comics’ strongest superhero. He is the perfect version of Superman that has spent thousands of years collecting the energy of a “yellow” sun, thus achieving his peak potential. He inhabits the future and while he is neither omnipotent nor a deity, he is certainly the strongest “regular” character that DC has created so far.
He has been defeated a couple of times and we do assume that his powers will run out of energy after several millennia, but he certainly does deserve such a high spot, despite these shortcomings, which is why he is ultimately here.
3. Darkseid (True Form)
Debut: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (1970)
Created By: Jack Kirby
People usually perceive Darkseid as the New God we’ve seen in the comics. Yes, the guy who conquers planets and lost to Doomsday, Superman, Batman, and others. But, and we have to stress out that a lot of this is still shrouded in mystery, which seems to be only one of Darkseid’s forms.
In The Multiversity Guidebook, the Highfather, also a New God and Darkseid’s brother, states that each reality – past, present, and future – has its own version (avatar) of Darkseid. This means that Darkseid is actually an omnipresent, non-corporeal being fragmented so that he can be present in every possible reality.
As far as we know, only actual multiversal deities (The Presence in DC Comics and The One Above All in Marvel) and Dr. Manhattan have these abilities, which would put Darkseid – his true form, that is – very high on the list of the most powerful beings in the history of comic books.
Sadly, not much is known besides this remark by his brother. Throughout the history of the comic books, Darkseid’s true form did make several cameo-type appearances, but it was never fully revealed, nor did it play a major part in most storylines. Why? Simply because the true Darkseid doesn’t really care about such trivial things. He is so powerful and so above the general concepts of reality that he really doesn’t even bother intervening, opting to just send some of his avatars to do the job.
So, when did this true form actually appear?
In Final Crisis, Darkseid is said to be able to cast a gigantic shadow above the whole Multiverse, thus proving that he transcends all of reality and existence and not just the ones we’ve most often seen him in.
Likewise, the Flash (Barry Allen) stated that his falling is so dangerous that he would take the whole multiverse down with him. Darkseid falling would cause the destruction of existence. Along with that, he was able to create a singularity so powerful that it was swallowing up the Multiverse itself, as the Green Lanterns witnessed.
In the Pre-Crisis area, Darkseid was able to take control of a total of 3,000,000 Daxamites (humanoid aliens with powers similar to Kryptonians) without any help whatsoever.
Mentioned several years ago, but appearing only recently, Darkseid’s True Form seems to be a universe-level threat that will take a collective effort to destroy. As if Darkseid’s avatars weren’t strong enough, his True Form is stronger on so many levels and we still have no clue how it can be defeated.
His avatars had certain weaknesses and/or limitations, but none of them apply to his True Form and that is why we have placed this version of the character so high up on our list.
2. The Presence
Debut: More Fun Comics #52 (1940)
Created By: Jerry Siegel, Bernard Baily
The Presence is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. It debuted in More Fun Comics #52 (1940), written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Bernard Baily. The Presence debuted as The Voice (of The Presence), just one of its many forms, and was responsible for empowering Jim Corrigan as the Spectre.
The Presence is a very complex and interesting character in the mythos of the DC Universe. Although the DC Universe is filled with various deities, author Greg Rucka confirmed that God (in the Abrahamian sense) is above all of these deities. Although God was a very mysterious character in the lore of DC Comics, it was later revealed that the famous Presence is actually the Abrahamian god overseeing the whole Universe.
The Presence has taken a lot of shapes and forms throughout the history of the DC Universe, thereby showing one of its many powers. It appeared, initially, as The Voice and then as The Hand, playing an important role in the Green Lantern series. It also appeared as The Source, a godly manifestation named “Wally” and as the human-looking Presence. This form looks a lot like Doyle’s Dr. Watson to us, but maybe you’ll have a different association.
The Presence is an omnipresent entity that, despite that, appears only occasionally, but he is considered to be the ultimate creator of the DC Universe and one of its strongest beings.
The Presence is DC Comics’ chief deity, comparable to Marvel’s the One-Above-All. But, there is a difference. While the One-Above-All is undoubtedly Marvel’s most powerful character, The Presence comes second to the one even stronger entity.
With this, we do not mean to say that The Presence is weak or limited in its powers, but the comics have shown us that the old Watson-resembling man can be killed in combat and that his powers are limited when compared to the character in spot number one.
He will come back though, he cannot be permanently killed, but the next guy is even better.
1. Doctor Manhattan
Alias: Jon Osterman
Debut: Watchmen #1 (1986)
Created By: Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons
Dr. Manhattan is the pseudonym of Jonathan “Jon” Osterman, a fictional character from the DC Comics fictional universe. He debuted in Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel, Watchmen (1986), and has played an enormous role in shaping the DC Multiverse, even bigger than The Presence.
The creation of Dr. Manhattan was actually an unfortunate incident that happened to physicist Jon Osterman, as he returned to get a watch from his lab coat. The lab coat was left in a test chamber, so Osterman went inside, but the door closed.
The other researchers are unable to open the door or override the countdown to the next activation, and Jon’s body is torn to pieces from the force of the generator. In the months that followed, Osterman managed to rebuild himself gradually, until he finally reappeared as a tall, hairless, naked, and blue-skinned man, glowing with a “flare of ultraviolet.”
Becoming an actual superhero, Osterman became known as Doctor Manhattan — in honor of the Manhattan Project — and became a pawn of the U.S. Government and the leader of the Watchmen. At one point, he realized the banality of his situation and disappeared off to Mars, abandoning both the Watchmen and the Earth.
Still, at one point he became disillusioned with his role on Earth and teleported himself to Mars, where he spent most of the time, pondering complex metaphysical questions and discovering the secrets of life and creation. He played a prominent role in enabling Ozymandias’ plot to prevent World War III, even destroying Rorschach in the process.
Later on, he played a pivotal role in the creation of the Flashpoint and New 52 timelines and was the center of the mystery explored by Batman and The Flash during the “The Button” storyline. He played another major role in Doomsday Clock, where he – once again – became a true superhero, ultimately wiping himself out of existence.
The undisputed number one on our list and in our opinion the strongest fictional character ever created, Doctor Manhattan has it all. There is practically nothing he cannot do (he cannot alter the fundamental principles of nature, but that does make sense) and he is by all standards indestructible, save for when he himself decides to destroy himself.
Doctor Manhattan is a human being that has become a god, even more, powerful than DC’s main deity, The Presence, and that is why we have put him on top of yet another list of strongest characters of all time.