While the Avengers may have had the lion’s share of the headlines in recent years, that other big team of superheroes is set to absolutely crush the box office, if reaction to their ComicCon trailer is anything to go by. We are, of course, talking about the Justice League.
They go up against Gods and Monsters, ruthless psychopaths, even immortal warriors, all before they’ve even had breakfast. They are a collection of the greatest warriors in the universe and never hesitate to put it all on the line when innocent lives are at stake.
Like the Avengers, the Justice League has had numerous changes to their roster, with many new faces joining the old-guard. Some have become mainstays while others have fallen into obscurity. The enduring question remains, “Who is the most powerful?” Based on their current incarnations, we’ve broken down a list of the 15 Most Powerful Members of the Justice League, Ranked.
Victor Stone was a gifted athlete with a genius level IQ. As a child, his parents had used him as a test subject for an intelligence-enhancing serum, but he rejected them and chose to delve into petty crime instead. As he grew older, he found an outlet in sports and his natural athleticism set him on a path to football stardom instead.
All that changed when an ill-fated trip to his father’s lab resulted in him being maimed by an extra-dimensional demon. Most of his limbs and internal organs were either removed or destroyed, and in an act of desperation, his father used the exotic technology at his disposal to restore Victor to life as a cybernetic organism, or Cyborg.
After stopping a terrorist attack on the U.N, Cyborg became a valued member of the Teen Titans-- and one of the most powerful on the team. In more recent continuities, he is a founding member of the Justice League and uses his enhanced strength and impressive arsenal to battle the most powerful of their foes.
If you had to choose the powers or attributes of an animal, which animal would you choose? The strength of an elephant? The speed of a cheetah? Vixen doesn’t have to choose just one: she can channel the abilities of any animal on Earth.
Centuries ago in Africa, an ancient warrior known as Tantu asked the spider god Anansi to create a totem that would grant the wearer the ability to channel the power of the animal kingdom, with the caveat that the wearer must use that power to protect the innocent. The totem was handed down through the generations to Tantu’s descendants until it reached Mari McCabe.
Mari established herself as a model and became very wealthy. After being given the totem by her uncle, she used that wealth and newfound power to become the superhero known as Vixen. She quickly joined the Justice League and has served in several different incarnations of the team. Her power to adapt to any situation, as well as to use animal instincts to assess threats, makes her a lethal and effective member of the team.
13 Red Tornado
Red Tornado has a complicated back-story with numerous retcons. In some, he is an android created to do great harm, but learns the value of human life and becomes a hero. In others, he is an Air Elemental that took on a robot form.
In whatever universe he is depicted, Red Tornado is a heroic being that seeks to be more human. One continuity sees him become human, as his spirit becomes capable of transferring to the body of a mindless duplicate. His soul is transferred by the villain Felix Faust, posing as Deadman, and Red Tornado discovers he has retained his wind-generating powers, but lacks the resilience of his powerful android form. When he is torn apart (and partially eaten) by Solomon Grundy, his human body dies and he once again becomes an android.
While the ability to generate hurricane and tornado level winds may not seem that powerful, he has torn apart foes as physically resilient as Solomon Grundy with winds that could level cities. His greatest power may come in the form of his android body itself. While it has been destroyed many times (something of a running joke at one time), it is incredibly resistant to damage and incredibly strong too.
There have been several versions of Firestorm (most recently on the CW series Legends of Tomorrow), but the most powerful (and arguably the best) version is the original fusion of Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein.
Ronnie, a high-school student, and Professor Martin Stein, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, were caught in a nuclear accident and they fused into the form of Firestorm the Nuclear Man, capable of absorbing radiation and shooting intense blasts of fire from their fingertips. As the professor was unconscious during their initial merging, it was Ronnie who was the dominant mind during their time as a single entity. As time progressed, the two took to sharing the Firestorm body and Ronnie benefited greatly from the older and wiser Professor Stein’s advice and guidance.
While Firestorm appears to have the power to generate heat and fly, his power is actually much more complicated than that. He can rearrange the subatomic structure of elements and transmute them from one thing to another. This allows him to change lead into gold, for example. While the mass must remain constant, he can change the shape of things at will. He can internalise this power to not only fly at incredible speeds, but phase through solid matter and grant himself superhuman strength and resistance to injury. His only weakness is that his shared consciousness does cause some internal debate, causing him to hesitate when making key decisions.
Often the butt of the joke, Aquaman is in fact incredibly powerful. The king of Atlantis has had many origins; sometimes as a human-Atlantean hybrid, sometimes as an Atlantean who was raised by a lighthouse keeper after being abandoned by his parents.
In any iteration, Aquaman has the physiology of an Atlantean and therefore has evolved to live under the intense pressure of the ocean. On land, he has superhuman strength and durability on a par with some of the strongest heroes of the Justice League. His trident is so powerful that it is capable of piercing even Superman’s nearly indestructible skin with ease.
He also has the ability to telepathically communicate with any ocean life. While this has often been mocked, it is actually an incredibly useful power, as he has a vast army at his mental command, willing to decimate any adversary in his domain. As his territory is essentially two-thirds of the surface of the planet, he is one of the most powerful men in the world. He is also one of the richest, given that he has access to the totality of all sunken treasure in human history.
10 Power Girl
Despite often being thought of for her body-type before her powers, Power Girl is one of the most powerful beings in the history of the Justice League. A Kryptonian from an alternate universe, Power Girl has the same abilities as any other Kryptonian under a yellow sun: she can fly, has super-strength, super speed, invulnerability, x-ray and heat vision, freeze breath, and super-hearing.
While her physical power is on par with Superman, she does lack his combat experience. However, she does possess certain advantages over him. While his enemies know to fear his power, Power Girl is often underestimated and uses that to her advantage, leading her enemies to lower their guard. As she is from an alternate universe, Kryptonite has no effect on her, giving her one massive advantage over Kryptonians from the universe she now resides in. She is however, highly susceptible to magic, much like Superman. While not a super power, she is an accomplished business woman and scientist, possibly due to the generally higher IQs of Kryptonians.
9 Green Lantern
“In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might beware my power – Green Lantern’s light.”
While there are literally thousands of Green Lanterns across the universe, the most famous of Earth’s many Green Lanterns is the former pilot Hal Jordan. Hal, like the rest of Earth ,was unaware of the existence of the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe, or the power rings they used to defend the universe against the forces of evil. One day he came across the dying alien Abin Sur, who passed along his Green Lantern Ring to Hal, making Hal his replacement in the Corps and the first Earthman to join the Corps.
While a normal human without the ring, when wielding it, Hal has the ability to generate constructs out of pure willpower. These constructs appear as solid green telekinetic energy and can take the form of whatever the user can imagine. While the constructs themselves have no limits besides the user’s imagination, the rings do require periodic recharging from the user's Green Lantern which acts as a portable battery and recharging station. The Lantern itself also requires periodic recharging from the Central Power Battery on the Guardian’s planet of Oa.
Zatanna, like her father Zatara, is an exceptionally gifted magician and is potentially one of the greatest mystics of the DC universe. Zatanna’s limits have never fully been established, with her power set varying depending on who is writing about her. Initially, during her first adventures with the Justice League, her powers were quite limited, consisting in the manipulation of fire, air, water, and earth. As her powers have grown, she has shown the ability to manipulate all forms of energy and conjure apparitions and magical constructs.
As a way of focusing her powers, she usually says her spells backwards and has hinted that backwards is her natural tongue. She does not appear to need to do this however, as she has been able to cast spells when bound and gagged.
While the source of her powers are magical, there appears to be a genetic element as well as she is descended from a line of powerful magicians. Her powers may continue to develop over time making her even higher on this list as she grows older.
"Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound”
The last surviving member of the House of El, Kal El was sent to Earth to avoid the destruction of his home world. His father, a great scientist, created a small pod capable of interstellar travel and placed his infant son inside it. When the pod reached Earth, the child landed in rural Kansas and was adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their son. The boy took the name Clark and lived a normal life on their farm.
As he grew older he became aware of his responsibilities as a powerful being and moved to the city of Metropolis, becoming the costumed crime fighter Superman while maintaining his secret identity of Clark Kent, a journalist.
As with all Kryptonians, Superman is powerless on his home planet. Exposure to Earth’s yellow sun since infancy has granted his cells numerous incredible powers, coupled with their natural density. He can fly, has super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, x-ray and heat vision, freeze breath, and super-hearing. He has also exhibited other powers, such as generating massive solar flares, something other Kryptonians have yet to exhibit. His many years fighting as a member of the Justice League and training alongside the best fighters in the world have also given him a huge degree of skill in combat.
Given the power of seven Gods by the wizard Shazam, Billy Batson has the ability to transform into the form of Shazam, one of the most powerful beings in the world, by simply saying the word Shazam!
He has the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the speed of Mercury, the lightning powers of Zeus, the wisdom of Solomon, and the courage of Achilles. He also has the ability to fly, with various sources disagreeing on which of his magical patrons is responsible for this power. He is depicted as essentially invulnerable in his powered form, and is much stronger than Superman. He does however have a degree of vulnerability to lightning, somewhat ironically, and also to magic.
During the Darkseid War, his powers were altered and he gained new powers from a host of different patrons. He gains the Strength of S'ivaa, the Fires of H'romneer, the Compassion of Anapel, the Source Manipulation of Zonuz, the Boldness of Ate, and the Lightning of Mamaragan.
5 Captain Atom
A United States Air Force officer who was framed for a crime he didn’t commit, Nathaniel Adam was asked to take part in a government experiment as an alternative to execution. The experiment involved being detonated inside an alien ship, and he was seemingly killed in the explosion, but re-appeared many years later in his now-familiar metallic form.
He initially gained the power to tap into the “Quantum Field” and generate massive blasts of energy and fly. In more recent stories, his powers have grown considerably and he is now depicted as having the power to transmute physical matter. His atoms are constantly splitting and reforming due to tapping into strong nuclear force, one of the most potent forms of energy in the universe.
While he is essentially invincible in his current form, he does have a significant weakness: over-use of his powers can make it hard for him to maintain a solid form. Should he be able to conquer this weakness, he may well become the most powerful member of the League.
4 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman’s power levels have been vastly different over the years. In some, she is stronger than Golden Age Superman, even before earning her bracelets that enhanced her strength further. During the Silver Age, she is considerably weaker than Superman, but it is worth noting that he was massively over-powered at that time and essentially nothing could match him. In recent years, she is back to being a physical match for Superman once more.
In the Post-Crisis universe, Wonder Woman has powers comparable to those of Shazam and has speed courtesy of Hermes, strength from Demeter, wisdom of Athena, etc. However, since 2011 she is now known to be the daughter of Zeus himself and also the new God of War, with a power level comparable to Ares's. In addition to being one of the physically strongest superhumans on Earth, her new god-like powers have potentially no limit.
She has shown some telepathic ability, along with an intuitive ability to master any weapon and combat style, making her the best melee fighter in the world. Due to her divine heritage, she is also immune to most forms of magic.
3 The Flash
Running really fast isn’t that great a super power, right? Wrong! The Flash is one of the most powerful people on the face of the Earth. Originally a painstakingly slow forensics expert, Barry Allen was doused in chemicals after a shelf of them was struck by lightning.
While Barry gained the ability to move at incredible speeds, he also gained superhuman endurance, which allowed him the ability to run great distances. He also regenerates tissue at high speed, giving him the ability to heal from serious injury very quickly.
The Flash has been seen to travel at light speed, but he has also managed to borrow kinetic energy from outside sources and travel to the other side of the universe and back in an instant. Due to his mind operating at super-speed, he is able to think at a speed comparable with the velocity he is travelling at.
The Flash is also able to use the lightning he generates while traveling at speed and can hurl it at an opponent. He can move his arms at such great speed that he can create tornado like winds comparable with those of Red Tornado.
Due to his great speed, The Flash is also able to vibrate his molecules through solid matter, essentially phasing through them. He can also vibrate the molecules of an object so fast that even the strongest and densest of matter can be made to explode.
2 Martian Manhunter
Referred to by Superman as “The most powerful being on the face of the Earth,” the Martian Manhunter is possibly the most versatile super being in the Justice League’s history.
His Martian physiology is remarkably adaptable and grants him the ability to rearrange his cells as he sees fit. He can loosen the bonds between his cells to become intangible, or make them denser than Superman’s, giving him incredible strength and invulnerability. He can also shape-shift, giving him the ability to appear as anyone of equal mass. His traditional form is actually a compromise between a human form and his actual Martian appearance.
His most potent powers, however, are his mental abilities. He has exhibited one of the most powerful telepathic abilities ever seen in the DC universe and has shown a degree of telekinesis too.
His only weakness is a susceptibility to fire. As it doesn’t exist on Mars in the same composition as it does on Earth, he has no natural defense against it.
1 Doctor Fate
There is no limit to what Doctor Fate can do, making him by far the most powerful member of the Justice League. The source of that power is the Helmet of Fate that has been worn by many people over the years and has allowed them to serve as an avatar for the sorcerer Nabu.
Nabu is the most powerful sorcerer in any dimension and his powers are without limit. He has sent people to other dimensions within the multiverse with barely more than a thought and has wiped entire armadas out with less effort than a gesture of his hand.
Physically, he has the ability to grant himself any power he so chooses and has seemingly unlimited superhuman strength, invulnerability, and flight. He can raise the dead, hypnotize enemies, and cast an unlimited number of spells. He has the ability to warp not just the universe, but the entire multiverse too, changing history to suit his needs.
Given his status as an essentially omnipotent being, it comes as no surprise that he takes the number one spot on this list.
Honourable Mention - Batman
No Justice League list could ever be complete without including Batman. While the Dark Knight has no superpowers himself, his endless planning and preparation has equipped him to go up against gods and monsters and find their weakness, often resulting in him giving them a total beat-down.