Before he appeared in the post-credit scene of 2012’s The Avengers, Thanos was just another supervillain who was far more popular with comic book readers than he was with the general public. He may have played a prominent role in some of Marvel’s biggest crossover events — most notably 1991’s The Infinity Gauntlet — but he was still nowhere near are recognizable as other Marvel villains, such as the Green Goblin, Venom, or Magneto.
Of course, a lot has changed in the past few years. After brief appearances in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Age of Ultron, Thanos finally took center stage earlier this year in Avengers: Infinity War. Many worried that the villain hadn’t enjoyed enough screen time prior to the film’s release. Thankfully, Infinity War did a commendable job of not only exploring Thanos’s origins, but turning him into one of the franchise’s more layered villains.
Inevitably, the Mad Titan has undergone considerable changes from his jump to the page to the screen. His origins, motives, and even powers have shifted to accommodate the already established universe. That being said, he has still proven himself to be the greatest threat the Avengers and Guardians have ever been up against. How does the villain stack up to the rest of the comic book world? How would he fare in the DC universe, where many of the villains have to compete with heroes the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman?
Well, let’s find out! Here are 10 DC Villains Who Could Defeat Thanos In Seconds (And 10 He Would Destroy).
20 Defeat Thanos: Doomsday
Few DC characters have posed a physical threat to the Man of Steel, which explains why some of his greatest foes, such as Lex Luthor and Brainiac, must rely on their super-intellect to try and defeat Superman.
This is where Doomsday came into play: a monstrous beast created through genetic manipulation, with the source of his powers being harvested from ancient Krypton. The character was first introduced in the early '90s, when he brought about Superman's demise. When it comes to facing off against Thanos, Doomsday certainly wouldn’t have the tactical edge over the Mad Titan, but his immense strength and nearly indestructible quality would easily have him emerging the victor in a mano-a-mano battle.
19 Destroyed by Thanos: Lex Luthor
It’s hard to come up with a single human villain who would stand a chance at defeating Thanos. If anyone could do it, that villain would definitely be Lex Luthor. Despite having no superpowers, Lex has stood toe-to-toe with some of the strongest and most intelligent beings in his universe, including Superman and Brainiac. He is considered one of the smartest comic book characters of all time, and has demonstrated mastery over the scientific world on countless occasions.
Of course, Thanos is no slouch when it comes to the scientific invention as well. He’s created devices far beyond the technological capabilities seen on earth, not to mention that his Eternal-level strength would put him far out of Lex Luthor's league.
18 Defeat Thanos: Darkseid
While Thanos is often regarded as the Marvel counterpart of Darkseid, who appeared a few years earlier in DC, we have no doubt that the New God would make short work of the Mad Titan. Darkseid is arguably one of the strongest characters in the DC universe. He has long been seeking to destroy existence as we know it. He may never fully succeed, but he has a laundry list of superpowers that make him seemingly indestructible — including matter manipulation, energy projection, and immorality.
In other words, you’ll never see him shed a tear or express remorse as the Mad Titan has been known to do. Even with the fully-assembled Infinity Gauntlet, it’s hard to imagine Darkseid not emerging victorious from this fight.
17 Destroyed by Thanos: Joker
The Joker may be the greatest comic book villain ever created, but that doesn’t inherently make him a match for the Mad Titan. The Clown Prince of Crime first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940, and he would go on to become the archenemy of the eponymous hero ever since. What have continued to set the Joker apart from many comic book villains are his ill-defined origin story and lack of superhuman abilities. He is simply a deranged man with no shortage of tricks up his sleeve — often times, quite literally.
Unlike Batman, we doubt Thanos would fall victim to any of the Joker’s pranks or master plans. He’d also be smart enough to realize that the chaotic, self-serving nature of the Joker would make him an utterly worthless henchman.
16 Defeat Thanos: Brainiac
A battle between Brainiac and Thanos might seem too close to call. But without the Infinity Gauntlet, Brainiac’s long list of inherent abilities would likely give him a slight edge over the Mad Titan. The extraterrestrial android has long been one of Superman’s most daunting adversaries. While his twelfth-level intelligence is his greatest asset, his physical powers are also nothing to be scoffed at. He’s often held his own against the Man of Steel.
To be sure, both supervillains are some of the smartest strategist and inventors within their respective universes. With a bit of luck on his side, it’s not hard to imagine Thanos emerging victories from this battle. But if we were to simply weigh each characters’ victories and defeats against one another, Brainiac would come out on top.
15 Destroyed by Thanos: Cheetah
Ever since SNL-alum Kristen Wiig was cast in the role of Cheetah in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, there has been a newly ignited interest in this classic DC villain. We’ve seen a number of incarnations of the character since Cheetah made her 1943 debut, many of which have exhibited very similar power sets while facing off against the Amazonian demigod. These include enhanced strength and speed, as well as a heightened sense of smell and sight.
In other words, she has exactly the type of powers one would expect from a villain named Cheetah. While she might be a nuisance to Diana Prince on Earth, this is yet another DC villain who would prove fruitless while up against Thanos.
14 Defeat Thanos: Ares
A common adversary of Diana Prince since the 1940s, Ares has enjoyed increased notoriety ever since he made his live-action debut in last year’s Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, the villain was one of the most criticized elements of an otherwise acclaimed film, as they failed to develop the character into anything truly interesting before he met his demise at the hands of the heroine.
In both the movies and comics, Ares has been a showcase of godlike abilities. His main area of expertise is fostering war throughout the universe, though he is certainly no slouch himself when it comes to fighting. On top of his Olympian-level strength, Ares is a nearly unstoppable strategist, which would allow him to punch a hole in even Thanos’s most air-tight plans.
13 Destroyed by Thanos: Ra’s al Ghul
A common adversary of Batman, Ra’s al Ghul has proven himself to be a more competent strategist and combatant than the Dark Knight himself. This is thanks to his prolonged life courtesy of the Lazarus Pits, which have allowed him to accrue centuries of training. This has also made him a formidable foe of Superman and Wonder Woman on occasion.
Even with the League of Shadows on his side, Ra's al Ghul's mastery of the martial arts would be no match for the likes of Thanos. By design, the character is an old school villain who favors traditional combat over anything that might give him a technological leg up. This would certainly lead to his demise at the hands of the Mad Titan in a matter of moments.
12 Defeat Thanos: Mr. Mxyzptlk
A recurring adversary of Superman, Mr. Mxyzptlk fancies himself more of a prankster rather than a destroyer of worlds. That doesn’t make him any less of a formidable foe.
The character first appeared during the Golden Age, where he was introduced as an imp from the fifth dimension who holds seemingly limitless control over our reality — also known as the third dimension. In other words, Mr. Mxyzptlk can make anything happen simply on a whim without even breaking a sweat. Thanos is also capable of reality manipulation, but only when harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones. Even with the fully assembled Gauntlet, Thanos has far less mastery of these mind-bending powers than Mr. Mxyzptlk.
11 Destroyed by Thanos: Two-Face
Because Batman is the most beloved DC hero, many of his enemies are amongst the most recognizable comic book villains of all time. But because Bruce Wayne is simply a mortal man, pretty much all of these villains wouldn’t stand a chance against the Mad Titan Thanos.
The same can be said about Two-Face — who might make for a compelling adversary when facing off against the Dark Knight — but whose powers really leave something to be desired. Aside from a law degree, a defaced coin, and an arsenal of firearms, Two-Face wouldn't bring much to the table in a fight against Thanos. In fact, he's such a non-threat that the only reason Thanos might destroy him would be to silence Two-Face's endless blathering.
10 Defeat Thanos: Lucifer Morningstar
First appearing in The Sandman #4 in April of 1989, Lucifer Samael Morningstar was writer Neil Gaiman’s interpretation of the Devil for DC Comics. The Biblical character had seen various incarnations prior to popping up in the Vertigo imprint series, but none seemed as compelling or as powerful as Lucifer Morningstar. The fallen angel was said to have ruled over Hell for 10 billion years before growing bored and deciding to try his hand at living in Los Angeles, where his powers remained nearly omnipotent.
Lucifer was around when the universe was first created, granting him the ability to manipulate matter, energy, and even time. In other words, his natural powers are what Thanos wishes to attain in the Marvel universe, but Lucifer's immortality would give him an insurmountable advantage over the Mad Titan.
9 Destroyed by Thanos: Bane
One of Batman’s most formidable foes, Bane isn’t just all brawn as his appearance may imply. The DC villain also has a genius-level intellect, making him a serious double-threat to anyone who crosses his path. Bane is probably best known for breaking Batman’s back — a feat he accomplished thanks to the Venom, which greatly enhanced his physical strength to superhuman levels. Even without the serum's aid, Bane has proven himself to be in peak physical condition.
Of course, when it comes right down to it, Bane is still nothing but a mortal man. Even if he's able to outsmart and out-muscle most Earth-bound characters, he would simply be no match for the half-Eternal Thanos.
8 Defeat Thanos: Parallax
A common enemy of the Green Lantern Corps, Parallax is the DC Universe’s physical embodiment of fear. In its natural form, Parallax is depicted as a monstrous, parasitic organism — though it’s known for its ability to settle in a host and feed upon their fears and powers. Parallax has corrupted numerous Green Lanterns and wreaked havoc across the universe by instilling fear in its inhabitants.
Thanos would simply be no match for the mind-controlling Parallax, and a fight between the two would likely end in Parallax taking full control of the Mad Titan’s mind and body. Thanos may seem like one of the more emotionally-stable and logical villains in the MCU. In the comics, he's been prone to his fair share of mood swings and stints of existential dread, making him easy prey for Parallax.
7 Destroyed by Thanos: Deathstroke
Introduced as an adversary of the Teen Titans in 1980, Deathstroke has become one of the most distinguishable DC villains of the last few decades. In 2013, Slade Wilson was brought to life on the small screen, where he was portrayed by Manu Bennett on CW’s Arrow. Many moviegoers got their first look at the character in last year’s Justice League — a role which Joe Manganiello is expected to reprise in upcoming movies.
Similarly to Deadpool, Deathstroke is an expert mercenary who has mastered every form of fighting, from hand-to-hand combat to being an expert swordsman. Thanks to a super serum, the character also has a regenerative healing factor, as well as buffed strength and intelligence. Unfortunately, none of these skills would go far in a fight against an otherworldly entity like Thanos.
6 Defeat Thanos: Eclipso
Like many comic book characters, Eclipso’s origins and powers have fluctuated greatly throughout his time on the page. Debuting in House of Secrets #61 in August 1963, Eclipso was originally a run-of-the-mill villain, exhibiting powers of super strength and some minor mystical abilities that could easily be defeated.
However, Eclipso eventually transformed into one of DC’s most intimidating adversaries. He is now portrayed as an incarnation of the Wrath of God with near-omnipotent powers, from flight to matter manipulation. Eclipso is basically everything Thanos strives to be, but doesn't need an Infinity Stone scavenger hunt to demonstrate such impressive powers. Plain and simple, a fight between these two would literally last seconds.
5 Destroyed by Thanos: Harley Quinn
Despite the Joker being a staple of the Bat-verse since the 1940s, Harley Quinn didn’t stroll onto the comic scene until the 1990s. Since then, she has made a slow transition from supervillain to antihero — likely thanks to the character’s immense popularity.
While Thanos could undeniably defeat Harley Quinn in a matter of seconds, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which these two personalities would go head-to-head. In fact, with Harley’s innate obsession with megalomaniacal villains and Thanos’ soft spot for unconventional women, we think these two would actually make for quite the pair! After all, Thanos often finds that the only reason for his defeat is due to his low self-esteem, which is something the former psychiatrist could certainly help with.
4 Defeat Thanos: Despero
With a third eye granting him the ability to read minds, Despero would be a near-impossible villain to defeat. Even with the fully assembled gauntlet, Despero would be able to predict Thanos’s every move, giving him ample time to respond and do some strategizing of his own. While the Mad Titan has largely relied on the Infinity Stones to help him accomplish his maters plans on both the page and screen, Despero also relies on the Flame of Py’tar to enhance his magical capabilities.
Even without the flame, Despero has been able to hold his own with some of DC’s most intimidating heroes — including Martian Manhunter and Shazam. Surely, that would make defeating Thanos a relatively easy undertaking.
3 Destroyed by Thanos: The Riddler
Of course, in a mano-a-mano mash-up, Thanos would destroy the Riddler in a manner of seconds. Edward Nygma is nothing but a mortal man, after all. With enough prep time, the Riddler’s genius intellect coupled with his obsession for puzzles might actually succeed in throwing a wrench in the Mad Titan’s plans. At least momentarily.
First appeared in Detective Comics #140 in October 1948, this villain’s story began with a man so captivated by complex puzzles and riddles that he decided to take up a life of crime to try and outsmart the Batman. While the character has long been a hit on the page and small screen, the Riddler is due for another big screen incarnation — especially with the overabundance of Joker movies we've had in recent years.
2 Defeat Thanos: The Anti-Monitor
A number of the villains listed here could only defeat Thanos without the fully assembled Infinity Gauntlet. At the very least, the fight would be more evenly matched. However, the Anti-Monitor would be able to destroy Thanos in seconds no matter how many tools the Mad Titan had in his arsenal.
The character first debuted in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2 in May 1985, where he was an adversary of the Green Lanterns. With the Anti-Monitor’s ability to destroy entire universes, he quickly became a threat to any hero (or villain) living in the Multiverse. Arguably, the Anti-Monitor is one of those villains who is too strong for his own good. Thanos wouldn't even register as a blip on his radar.
1 Destroyed by Thanos: Lobo
While most comic book characters see their powers buffed over the course of time, this DC villain-turned-antihero has largely gone in the opposite direction. Upon Lobo’s debut in 1983’s Omega Man #3, the extraterrestrial mercenary had powers that were tantamount to that of a god. While this put him on the same playing field of characters like Superman, it apparently didn’t make him very interesting to the writers. As a result, Lobo’s origins were later retconned, and the character’s powers have fluctuated greatly ever since.
While Lobo continues to rival Thanos in his narcissism, by and large, Lobo’s powers aren’t quite on the same level as the Mad Titan’s. However, Lobo’s immortality and regenerative healing factor might make him a continued nuisance for Thanos after the fight is over.
How do you think these DC villains would stack up against Thanos? Let us know!