Billed as being the world’s first superhero, and one of the strongest beings in the DC Universe, Superman is truly an icon. People who have never picked up a comic book or even seen a superhero movie in their lives still know who Superman is — as well as his mild-mannered alter-ego Clark Kent. With super-strength, super-speed, heat vision, flight, and being virtually indestructible, Superman is a force to be reckoned with.
We’ve already run through the superheroes from various comic publishers and multimedia properties who are capable of defeating the Man of Steel — but what about Superman’s closest friends? Batman can’t be the only character in the DC Universe capable of beating Superman. In case you were wondering, he isn’t. Here are 15 Justice League Members That Could Beat Superman In A Fight.
15. Wonder Woman
The issue with Wonder Woman is, people have tenuous knowledge of the Amazonian princess, who is as old and prominent as her two male counterparts: Batman and Superman. Imbued with powers by the Greek gods, Diana Prince possesses virtually the same superhuman strength as Superman, along with being nigh-invincible. In addition to being able to lift Thor’s hammer and carry Captain America’s shield, it isn’t difficult to believe that she has, on occasion, defeated the Man of Steel in a fight.
When Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman says she’s killed creatures from other worlds in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, she means it. She has powers that rival even the strongest beings in the DC Universe, including Superman. For instance, she can produce a deafening concussive blast with her bracelets (which can be seen in the Justice League Comic-Con footage) that is capable of making Superman’s ears bleed. As it stands, Superman has more raw power, but Wonder Woman is a far superior warrior, thus increasing her chances at victory.
14. Martian Manhunter
J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter is one of the seven founding members of the Justice League, though his charter membership was later retconned as a result of the Flashpoint crossover, replacing him with Cyborg. As an extraterrestrial, Martian Manhunter possesses practically all the same superhuman abilities as Superman but is coupled with exemplary telepathic abilities. Whether Martian Manhunter is stronger than Superman is one of the many never-ending debates amongst comic book fans. Another is if the green Martian can defeat the Kryptonian.
Based on brute strength alone, Martian Manhunter is capable of fending off the Man of Steel in a fight, but where he excels at is telepathy. He can not only read the minds of his opponents but control them as well. Additionally, his telekinesis allows him to move any nearby object with his mind. All of his abilities either allow him to defeat Superman or, at least, make it substantially difficult for the Man of Steel to fight back. However, despite his extraordinary abilities, Martian Manhunter is not without flaws; his Achilles’ Heel is fire — equivalent to Superman’s Kryptonite.
13. Captain Marvel (Shazam)
Billy Batson aka Captain Marvel, who was renamed Shazam (after the name of his power as well as his comic series) following a trademark dispute with Marvel Comics over the Captain Marvel name, is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe. Having been created by DC Comics rival Fawcett Comics in 1939, Captain Marvel was later acquired by DC Comics and subsequently injected in the DC Universe, where he stars as a prominent member of the Justice League.
Since Captain Marvel was inspired by Superman, he shares many of his powers with the Man of Steel — super-strength, super-speed, nigh-invincibility. However, the key difference between the two (other than their alter-egos), is that Captain Marvel obtains his powers through magic, something that Superman is vulnerable to. And judging by the fight the two have in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come graphic novel, which depicts a possible dystopian future, the good Captain battles Superman, using his iconic lightning bolt to defeat the Kryptonian.
12. The Flash
While multiple heroes have used the codename Flash over the ages, for the purposes of this list, we’ll just focus on the most prominent (and widely recognized) of the bunch: Barry Allen. Endowed with the powers of the Speed Force, Barry Allen became the fastest man alive (something fans of The CW’s The Flash know all too well) — faster than any other being in the universe, including Superman!
On paper, being super fast may not seem like much, but what Barry does with his speed earns him a spot on the list of one of the most powerful Justice League members ever to exist. Combined with the ability to travel at speeds faster than light, Barry Allen can phase through solid objects, generate lightning strikes, travel between dimensions, and above all, execute an Infinite Mass Punch.
If Barry Allen runs practically at the speed of light, he effectively has the relative mass of a white dwarf star. If he puts all that energy into an attack, he produces an Infinite Mass Punch; a form of attack that can knock someone like Superman across continents — it can certainly wound him, if not kill him. And since his powers come from the Speed Force, Flash wouldn’t feel a thing.
11. Captain Atom
Captain Atom aka Nathaniel Adam is DC Comics’ in-universe equivalent and to the Alan Moore-created Doctor Manhattan (though Captain Atom made his debut long before Manhattan), who appears in DC’s Watchmen graphic novel. However, accounting for the recent events in the DC: Rebirth comics, Watchmen — and Doctor Manhattan, for that matter — has been integrated into the DC Universe.
As the subject of a science experiment, Air Force pilot Nathaniel Adam disintegrated and later reformed with superhuman abilities. With the powers of flight, invulnerability, transmutation, energy manipulation, size alteration, and much, much more, Captain Atom is a dominant force in the DC Universe. His only weakness is overuse of his powers, which can substantially affect his ability to maintain a solid form.
In a fair fight, Captain Atom would annihilate Superman. Whether he uses brute strength, nuclear energy, or reality manipulation, Captain Atom is practically unstoppable. If needed, he could even compound red sun radiation which would weaken Superman, thus allowing him to finish off the Man of Steel in any way he chooses.
10. Doctor Fate
Unlike most of the superheroes in the DC Universe, the name Doctor Fate is not tied to any one man or woman but is rather an essence inhabited by multiple individuals. That spirit is known as Nabu, a Lord of Order and the most powerful sorcerer in the universe. His abilities are indeterminately forceful, and his blasts can be felt from the opposite side of the cosmos.
As for his weapons, the Helmet of Fate is one of the most powerful objects in the DC Universe, granting its wearer magic beyond their wildest imaginations. For example, he once threatened to cremate the entire crew of Death’s vessel if they didn’t allow him onboard. Not wanting to tempt Fate, Death allowed the good Doctor to travel with him into the Regions of the Dead.
Although Doctor Fate was one of the original founders of the Justice Society of America (while possessing the original host Kent Nelson), he was once a member of the Justice League as well. And since Superman has a weakness to magic, Doctor Fate could quite easily obliviate the Man of Steel, should he need to. Honestly, Fate wouldn’t even need to fight.
9. Power Girl
Fans of DC Comics — comics, movies, or television — are painfully aware of the multiverse, a fictional cosmic construct in which infinite parallel universes exist, with limitless variations of iconic characters inhabiting them. Following the outset of the Silver Age of Comics, and the creation of new heroes, DC Comics’ wartime heroes (those published during the Golden Age of Comics) were altered to fit in the new, seemingly complex timeline.
To account for things like multiple superheroes using the same name, the comic publisher revealed that all of their wartime heroes would exist on Earth-Two, and all of their new heroes would exist on Earth-One. Power Girl aka Kara Zor-L, whose Earth-One counterpart goes by the name Supergirl, was one of those characters. As the cousin of Superman, she manifests all the natural powers a Kryptonian would have in a solar system inhabiting a yellow sun: super-strength, flight, and heat vision, among other things — just like Superman.
Although she has been primarily a member of the Justice Society, she is also a member of the Justice League. And in the pre-New 52 universe, Power Girl was occasionally stronger than Superman, having been able to defeat some of Superman’s enemies for him. We don’t know if that means she would be capable of defeating her cousin in a fight, but she certainly wouldn’t make it easy for him.
Thanks to Warner Bros.’ newly formed DC Extended Universe, casual moviegoers will finally be introduced to the incredibly powerful Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas and ruler of Atlantis. That may seem like a joke to many people, but rest assured, it isn’t. Aquaman aka Arthur Curry is often laughed at in the comic book world, but he is actually one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, thanks to his rigorous training and mystic Trident.
Depending on the continuity, Aquaman’s Trident reaches various levels of strength and destructibility; however, in any case, it can pierce even the most durable of enemies. Who knows; maybe it can penetrate Superman’s skin, too. In addition to using his Trident, Aquaman (like The Flash on land) can outswim Superman in the water. Therefore, if a fight were to break out between Aquaman and the Man of Tomorrow in the water, there is a chance Aquaman could win, especially if he was using his Trident from The New 52 universe. After all, its magic and sturdiness is able to pierce the skin of Darkseid!
Zatanna may not be as well known as her Golden Age counterparts, but she is one of the strongest living magicians in the DC Universe. It’s important to emphasize the term “living,” since she is not a spirit which requires a host, but is rather simply a human who develops extraordinary mystic abilities. However, when she was first inducted into the Justice League, Zatanna’s powers were quite limited, but they have since grown and turned her into a death-defying sorceress.
As the daughter of the Golden Age sorcerer Zatara (a former member of the All-Star Squadron), Zatanna hails from a long line of powerful magicians, which amplifies her capabilities to a new playing field. Her powers have no definitive ceiling, and she has been seen working alongside Enchantress, Doctor Fate, and John Constantine, thus making her a viable candidate to fight Superman, who she can beat if given the chance to cast a spell. However, if Superman were to subdue her before that happens, then there’s nothing she can do to repel him.
Although Spectre has never been a member of the Justice League, he was a charter member of the Justice Society of America, which is why we’ve made an exception and included him on this list. Like many other characters on this list, The Spectre obtains his powers through magic. However, unlike most of the characters on this list, Spectre is practically a god. There is no limit to his strength; he can manipulate matter, time, and space; and his only handicap is that he requires a human host who can judge fairly.
Even though he is the strongest being in either the DC or Marvel universes, he does not harm the innocent. As long as Superman stays on the right side of good and evil, there is no reason for him to quarrel with Spectre. If he was fighting Superman Prime, however, things might not be so clear-cut, for the alternate, villainous version of the Man of Steel is moderately resistant to magic, and therefore is able to put up a substantial fight against Spectre.
5. Green Lantern
The Green Lantern Corps is the DC Universe’s intergalactic police and military force, whose Lanterns utilize rings that imbue them with supernatural powers which represent their embodiment of willpower — and, more importantly, their lack of fear. The first human Lantern was the Golden Age character Alan Scott; however, the most cherished and well-known Lantern is Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Lantern.
As one of the founding members of the Justice League, Hal Jordan is one of the most valuable heroes on the team. His intergalactic authority and otherworldly powers make him a worthy opponent to even the strongest villains in the universe, including The Spectre (who isn’t a villain, but he did take Hal Jordan as a host once).
Although Hal Jordan is merely a man without his ring, while he is wearing it, he is arguably more powerful than Superman. With unyielding willpower, Hal Jordan can produce virtually indestructible constructs that can trap, subdue, or possibly even kill Superman. For arguments sake, Green Lantern and Superman would be essentially equal if they were to fight.
4. Lex Luthor
As everyone knows, Lex Luthor is Superman’s arch-nemesis, having been the Man of Steel’s perennial enemy since 1940. When someone spends as much time trying to defeat Superman as Lex Luthor has, you learn a few things. For one, Luthor learned to develop a mechanical war suit that would counteract Superman’s strengths with its own. But, overall, Luthor has defeated Superman so many times in the comics that it’s difficult to choose just one instance. However, he would definitely need his war suit if he were to go head-to-head with the Man of Steel.
In case you’re wondering, to the uninitiated, it may seem like a mistake putting Lex Luthor on this list, but believe us, it isn’t. In the aftermath of the Forever Evil crossover event, Lex Luthor and Captain Cold joined the Justice League along with new Green Lantern Jessica Cruz (who joined a few issues later). Since Luthor was technically a member of The New 52 Justice League, before the DC: Rebirth relaunch earlier this year, he barely scrapes the requirements to be on this list.
Off the bat, Cyborg may seem like a strange character. And you may be wondering, how can a cybernetic character like him be capable of beating Superman in a fight. The thing is, if he wanted to, Cyborg can kill virtually any living being in the DC Universe within seconds, merely by scrambling their brains — and that doesn’t even begin to cover what he can do.
As one of the founding members of The New 52 Justice League (as well as the Justice League in the DC Extended Universe), Victor Stone aka Cyborg is a worthy ally (and opponent) of any superhero in the DC Universe. His abilities to communicate with and control technology can reach catastrophic levels if he isn’t careful.
We’ve already had one superhero fight in the DC Extended Universe, but if Superman were to ever turn evil, at least we know Cyborg would be able to fight alongside the rest of the Justice League and supress the Man of Steel.
As fans of The CW’s Arrowverse (namely The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow) know, Firestorm — a fusion of high school student Ronnie Raymond and nuclear physicist Martin Stein — is capable of great feats, most of which involve nuclear power. Although he can fly at incredible (yet unmeasured) speeds, Firestorm is capable of so much more, which makes him one of the most powerful members of the Justice League.
On this list, Firestorm is a bit of a wild card, since he doesn’t contain any raw abilities that can hurt Superman. However, with his ability to rearrange subatomic structure of inorganic matter, coupled with energy manipulation and the ability to regenerate damaged tissue, Firestorm can put up a significant fight. Whether he can win or not is something else entirely. If Firestorm isn’t able to defeat Superman with his powers at hand, he could always conjure up Kryptonite (yes, he can do that) and defeat Superman that way. But where’s the fun in that? After all, he’s not Batman.
The reason this list was created is because, at one point in time, Batman defeated Superman. We see this fight unfold briefly in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but one of the few times The Dark Knight was able to best the Man of Steel was in Frank Miller’s iconic miniseries The Dark Knight Returns — which has, since its release in 1986, inspired countless comic books, television shows, video games, and, of course, movies.
In the miniseries, an aged Batman comes out of retirement one final time, and when the President of the United States requests Superman handle the situation, Batman defeats him using Superman’s one weakness: Kryptonite. Although he doesn’t have any superhuman abilities, Batman is a warrior and masterful tactician. Given ample amount of time, Batman can defeat virtually any enemy.
In fact, anyone who possesses green Kryptonite (or radiation of a red sun) would be able to kill — or, at least, subdue — Superman. That’s the problem with having an Achilles’ Heel. Batman’s is his parents; something that becomes painfully obvious throughout the decades.