The question of whether Darkseid or Thanos would win in a fight is a debate that will never be settled. But the most dedicated fans already know that the TRUE nemesis of the Lord of Apokolips... is the father of Christmas.
It's not hard to see why the theoretical title fight of Darkseid vs. Thanos would gain momentum, as consummate 'big bads' of DC's comics and Marvel's movies, respectively. But tempting as it may be, comic book fans shouldn't waste their time wondering if Thanos could somehow defeat the mighty Darkseid. Especially not when DC Comics has already revealed the only man to truly beat the mighty New God despite his best defenses, and continue to beat him every single year: Santa Claus. Yes, really.
In hindsight, it seems foolish to think that Thanos and Darkseid would ever come to blows, since they're cut from the same cloth. Heck, Darkseid just recreated Thanos' Infinity War beatdown as a tribute. But evil and determined as he may be, Thanos is still just flesh and blood, relying on food, water, and most importantly a traditional army to conquer planets and peoples. But an enemy like Santa Claus? That's determination and spirit that even the Parademons of Apokolips can't hope to stop.
This unexpected but painfully obvious fact was first pointed out as part of the DCU Holiday Bash #2 Released in 1998. The honor of passing on this eons-old rivalry falls to writer and artist Ty Templeton in a short story titled "Present Tense." In stark contrast to the happier tales of holiday cheer contained within the collection, Darkseid's chapter begins with an obvious air of menace, foreboding, and impending doom. As Darkseid's faithful servant falls to his knees, he informs his master that yet again, the impossible has taken place.
If comic readers have ever wondered what would make a God quiver, this tale reveals that Darkseid spends his year counting down the days until his armies are reduced to hordes of gingerbread men, his ground and air defenses rendered as ineffective as so many reindeer, and he is once again brought face to face with the embodiment of his most crippling failure.
Considering the patience that Thanos exhibited through almost all of his battles with the Avengers, it's hard to imagine the kind of internal strength needed for Darkseid to remain composed, watching Santa Claus once again stride happily into his Apokoliptian fortress, oblivious to the smoke still rising from his singed red suit. Standing silent as he realizes that no matter how many worlds he's conquered, or how much closer he's come to unlocking the Anti-Life Equation, his name will still be scrawled on the 'Naughty' list. And stay his hand as a lump of coal is once again offered as tribute to a God.
Readers are left to assume that Darkseid MUST stay his hand and allow Santa Claus to carry out his mission, possibly governed by some even greater sense or law of cosmic order. But watching as Santa Claus and his reindeer escape the orbit of Apokolips, effortlessly dodging the Omega Beams impotently fired from Darkseid, one has to wonder if the Lord of Apokolips is simply outmatched, fair and square.
For what good is fear, dominance, power, and conquest in the face of an entity fueled by milk and cookies, serving nothing but the holiday spirit? Darkseid would welcome Thanos.