Ah, the Justice League. Whether you need a cat rescued from a tree or two cats rescued from two trees, you can always rely on the DC's finest. While the League’s successful feline rescue percentage stands at a respectable 97% (nobody is perfect), the League really shines when it comes to banding together to defeat foes of immense power. Individually, each member of the League could defeat just about any foe in the DC universe. With their powers combined, the League’s regular roster of members tends to lay waste to entities which consider the multiverse to be a particularly flimsy piece of paper.
But how would the Justice League fare against the biggest and baddest villains in the Marvel universe? It’s the question that - probably - keeps DC fans up at night, and one that we, unfortunately, have had few chances over the years to see play out before our eyes. As such, a hefty dose of speculation is always required to settle the debate. So far as that goes, though, there are clearly a select few villains from the Marvel universe which could not only give the Justice League a run for their money, but may even be able to beat DC’s mightiest heroes.
15 Doctor Doom
Could Doctor Doom beat the Justice League? So far as that goes, there are two arguments in play. The Doom doubters will tell you that the villain brings nothing to the table that the Justice League hasn’t necessarily dealt with in the past. Genius level intellect? Check. Power armor? Check. Time travel abilities? Check, check, check. On the surface, Doom seems like a stoppable foe.
However, it’s not really about the individual powers so much as it is about the total package. Like so many villains, Doom’s exact power level tends to shift slightly based on who is holding the pen. However, Doom is always portrayed as a brilliant survivor who simply refuses to believe that he must accept the possibility of loss. He’s a powerful foe who always manages to find a way to overcome his enemies, which is the tie that binds the Justice League’s greatest opponents.
Kurse made his Marvel debut in Thor #347 as Algrim the Strong. While we tend to think that Kurse is certainly a more marketable name, there’s no denying that the most fascinating aspect of the villain is his remarkable strength. Without diving too deeply into the rabbit hole that is exact strength levels of comic book characters in relation to their respective universes at large, Kurse regularly outmuscles Thor and has been known to lay the smackdown on The Incredible Hulk.
In fact, Kurse’s whole gimmick is that he bullies heroes that rely on their power alone. That places many of our favorite Justice League heroes in a bind, as Kurse is a match for heroes like Wonder Woman and Superman. It would really be up to characters like Batman to carry some of the water so to speak, and he's always one cosmic sized backhand away from bowing out of the battle.
13 Count Nefaria
Count Nefaria is one of many Marvel villains who are kind of fading into the pages of history as the company’s reputation gradually leans more and more on their cinematic universe. It’s difficult to think of how Nefaria would ever work his way into a MCU film, but there was a time when he was one of the deadliest villains in Marvel comics. When Nefaria assumed an ionic form, he essentially became a being of infinite power. Marvel’s mightiest heroes would have had to combat Nefaria for a month to even put a dent in his power resources.
It’s hard to imagine that the Justice League would fair much better. Now granted, we’re talking about Nefaria at his ideal power level, but that’s really the case with every villain on this list. That Nefaria is more than capable of taking the Justice League’s opening punch and surviving the fight.
Kilgrave, aka Purple Man, introduced himself to many people via Netflix’s exceptional Jessica Jones series. Credit David Tennant’s absolutely brilliant performance with turning Kilgrave into one of the most despicable villains we’ve seen in a Marvel television show or film, but the nefarious baddie has always been a fascinating foe capable of pulling off horrific acts with little regard for the consequences. While Kilgrave (spelled with an extra "L" in the comics, because subtly is boring) boasts some regenerative healing abilities, his main power is his ability to manipulate minds and bend them to his will.
Unless the Justice League is willing to stealthily kill Kilgrave before he can have the chance to speak, he could theoretically just turn the team against each other or force them to fight off an army of civilians to get to him. He creates a lot of problems for the League that superpowers alone can’t solve.
11 Mad Jim Jaspers
Mad Jim Jaspers? Have we lost it? Not quite. Jim Jaspers might look like a ridiculous Marvel villain from a bygone era, but there was a time when Jim Jaspers was straight up overpowered. Jasper’s powers are based on his ability to warp realities to his will. He’s been referred to as the reality butcher and is capable of reshaping everything from planets to people to match his own physical form. While he can’t create new realities, he can essentially manipulate existing ones in any way that he sees fit.
Obviously, that kind of power presents real problems for anyone trying to defeat Jaspers. He can simply create an unwinnable scenario for the Justice League, or otherwise alter an existing situation so that it benefits him. Even his almost non-existent fighting skills can be improved by his ability to reshape his own form.
10 Molecule Man
Molecule Man is another one of those frustrating villains whose ability to manipulate existence really hinders one’s ability to punch them in the face. Molecule Man was introduced as a Fantastic Four villain who could manipulate objects down to a molecular level. As the years wore on, Molecule Man’s power levels grew. He could not only control molecules; he could alter multiverses and essentially play puppet master to existence itself.
That multiverse manipulation really comes in handy when you imagine a Justice League fight against Molecule Man. Given how fragile the DC multiverse has historically been, we’re guessing that this guy could wreck some havoc in the world if given the chance to do so. Really, their best chance is just to wear Molecule Man out, which historically hasn’t been a very effective tactic.
Despite having the kind of name typically reserved for the first boss in a forgettable NES game, Mangog is a true power nightmare. Mangog was introduced to the Marvel universe as a Thor villain way back in 1968, at a time when Marvel’s writers weren’t scared to make ridiculously overpowered villains that they knew could eventually be defeated in absurd comic book-y ways. Even then, Mangog’s impossible strength, magical abilities, immortality, and ability to draw upon hate for additional power meant that he was used sparingly in future comics.
Mangog the OP - as he calls himself while playing Overwatch - would most certainly present a sizeable threat to the Justice League. The problem with Mangog is that he tends to get stronger as a battle wears on, and he wasn’t exactly weak to begin with. He is typically defeated by items from the Thor mythology which the Justice League doesn’t typically have access to.
Once upon a time, Titannus was a simple Skrull. He was, however, kind of a disappointment among his people due to his inability to actually perform even basic shape-shifting. So, his comrades decided to turn volunteer him as part of a Super Skrull experiment designed to grant incredible powers to those who participate. Titannus was one of the few survivors, and he ended up not only gaining shape-shifting abilities, but super strength, healing factor, energy projection, and invulnerability as well.
In the Marvel universe, Titannus was eventually defeated when a group of heroes subdued him and forced him to believe an alternate reality where he had actually won. While the Justice League could pull off such a trick, if they happen to be a bit short on reality warpers by the time that Titannus comes calling, DC's finest could be staring down the barrel of a losing battle.
With all due respect to the film version of Ultron, there is a reason that some Marvel fans felt the second Avengers movie really dropped the ball in terms of conveying the full strength of this fully-operational destroyer of hope. While the initial form of Ultron wasn’t especially powerful, later takes on the character expanded upon his power level until he become a nigh-invulnerable genius creation with the ability to manipulate energy.
Defeating Ultron with raw power is a bit of a challenging prospect. Traditionally, those who have done best against Ultron have possessed some pretty pronounced mythical abilities. If Dr. Fate is in town or the Green Lantern is at the top of his game, then they would be the Justice League members most likely to lead the battle against this mighty foe. Otherwise...well, it’s not looking good for the heroes of DC Comics.
At a certain point, it’s almost boring talking about Galactus’ power level. The character’s official Wikipedia profile even features him devouring an entire world with an almost bored look on his face. If you’re well in the dark, this supervillain's power stems from his mastery of the powers cosmic. Galactus needs to destroy in order to survive. His entire existence is based on destroying existence. He’s tough, is what we’re getting at.
The ways in which heroes have defeated Galactus in the past are so specific and elaborate that we hesitate to say that anyone can actually “beat” Galactus, much less the Justice League. While Galactus could just choose to make someone like Wonder Woman his new herald and turn her against the rest of the team, we like to think he’d skip the theatrics and utilize his nigh-infinite power against the group.
Oblivion is one of a few Marvel characters whose power level is generally described as infinite. In fact, Oblivion is named Oblivion because his existence is simply the embodiment of the end of all known life. He is the personification of absolute destruction, and that means that any abilities that he needs to utilize in the name of his goals can be utilized.
What can the Justice League do against such an overwhelming force? Oblivion is not only ridiculously powerful in the traditional sense, but his role in the universe means that if he were to cease to exist, then everything we know could still fall apart. If he did decide to start provoking the Justice League, it really wouldn’t be in their best interest to escalate the conflict into a full-on battle.
There have been a few global destroyers whose very existence changes the nature of Marvel Comics throughout the history of the brand, but few have ever left as big of an impact as Apocalypse. Traditionally, Apocalypse has been referred to as the first mutant. Even if that isn’t true (it's a widely disputed factoid), the point is that he has grown over the years and has gradually morphed into a mutant whose abilities greatly exceed just about every other mutant who's ever lived.
Apocalypse excels at bringing ruin to entire civilizations, whether they be ancient societies or communities of powerful mutants. He’s learned to best multiple powerful enemies at once, and sometimes is even at his best when a variety of foes are trying to beat him. The Justice League can give it a go, but is their power level really that much greater than the army of mutants Apocalypse has handled in the past?
Mephisto is a relatively simple character to explain, as he is essentially Satan. You know, Lucifer, The Devil...that guy. Mephisto was introduced in the Silver Surfer series as one of the few characters who could truly rival Norrin Radd in terms of power. While Mephisto has always been very powerful in the traditional sense (strength, immortality, magic, etc.) what really makes him stand out is his ability to tempt even the noblest of minds.
We’d be willing to bet that there are a few characters on the Justice League roster who would fall victim to the temptations of Mephisto if forced to confront them directly. Even if none relented, they’d still have to fight a foe who has almost always existed and seemingly almost always will continue to exist. That’s just not fair.
Intimidating nicknames are a dime a dozen in the Marvel universe, but there’s just something powerful about the handle “The Dread One” that really sticks with you. Dormammu comes to us from the Dark Dimension - a popular locale in the Doctor Strange universe - and was created as an almost Stephen King-like villain whose terror was so great and notorious that the writers really didn’t know how to actually give him a form. Eventually, they decided to create one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe.
Dormammu isn’t typically beaten so much as he is kept at bay through various methods that typically involve the magic of Doctor Strange. Given that the Sorcerer Supreme isn’t a member of the Justice League - at least until Disney makes the biggest buy-out in entertainment history - the DC heroes would have to reach deep to find a way to best this challenge.
When theorizing about which Marvel villains could beat the Justice League, it’s always nice to be able to point to a villain whose resume includes “essentially beat all the Marvel heroes” when making one’s argument. Ah, Thanos. When the Mad Titan secured the Infinity Gauntlet, he expanded his power level by untold degrees and proceeded to decimate the mightiest heroes Marvel has ever known. His actions left an echo throughout the Marvel universe that seems to grow louder as time wears on.
The simple state of the matter is that no group of heroes can really defeat Thanos when he is at full power. Unless the Mad Titan wills himself to be beaten, he is probably going to win any fight that comes his way. While we are just as eager as you are to see the chaos that would result from a Superman vs. Thanos fight, the fact is that there would be one clear winner. Except probably Thanos.
What other Marvel baddies could best DC's big guns? Let us know in the comments.