Everybody wants to rule the world, right? Well, thankfully not. For every wannabe dictator, there’s millions of regular folk that just want to be ordinary Joes. But in the realm of superheroes, there’s plenty of megalomaniacs that try to take over the world on a regular basis. Whether they're just plain mad, or they genuinely believe they're the best man or woman for the job, there's never been a shortage of overly ambitious baddies that have sought after the biggest throne of all. Fortunately for the rest of us, there’s an abundance of spandex clad good guys out there that are willing to risk life and limb to stop them.
But what if those heroes chose to go bad? Which ones possess the power and skills to actually take over the world? Well, there’s plenty to be honest, and in some alternate continuities, these heroes actually elected to do just that. So, considering their various strengths and tactics, we take a look at 15 Superheroes That Could Rule The World If They Wanted To.
Few superheroes cause as many philosophical debates as Superman. The man from another world with the power of a god is seen by some as a messiah-like figure, sent by his father to save us from ourselves. There’s certainly plenty of allegory to pick apart when it comes to his origins. But what if he wasn’t sent to save us, but to rule us? It was the central question of both Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman, along with countless other comics, and it continues to be an interesting premise.
Despite his weakness to kryptonite, Superman remains one of the most powerful beings in all of comic book history, and his silver-age version was almost unstoppable. If he chose to, he could wipe out most of those who would oppose him with relative ease. If he had time to plan (or rather, if his opponent didn't), he could incinerate Batman from a distance, long before the Caped Crusader had the chance to create a kryptonite weapon.
With so much god-like power at his disposal, we're lucky he’s a good guy.
“Hulk is the strongest one there is.” While several heroes and villains come close, when the Hulk gets mad, his strength increases exponentially, seemingly without limit. During the events of World War Hulk, he defeated and imprisoned the majority of Earth’s heroes and forced them to battle each other in retribution for banishing him and (seemingly) causing the death of his wife. While Hulk was eventually defeated by the only hero who could match him, The Sentry, he essentially threw the fight after discovering the treachery of his ally Miek.
Should Hulk ever wish to in the future, he could potentially defeat the entire Avengers roster if he were pissed off enough. Or, if he were in one of his smarter guises such as the Professor Hulk or The Maestro, he could use cunning strategy and his world-class scientific mind to defeat them.
While Hulk remains a mostly heroic figure, he does tend to do battle with other heroes fairly frequently. Should he ever go fully to the dark side, very few would be able to stand against him for long. The only question would be, what would be left of the world in the aftermath?
13 Doctor Fate
While many people have worn the Helmet of Fate over the years, his status as a lord of order has remained constant. He is dedicated to the side of good, and uses his considerable power to fight the forces of evil.
But what if the lord of order decided to force order on a chaotic world? While Superman remains one of the Justice League’s biggest guns, his weakness to magic is well known. Doctor Fate would be able to incapacitate or kill the Man of Steel and Batman before taking on those who have their own affinity for magic, such as Zatanna.
With near limitless power at his disposal, both heroes and villains alike would be unable to stand against him for long, as Fate would be able to turn them against each other before taking out the most powerful of the remaining warriors all by himself. Once he’s taken out the most powerful opposition, it’s a simple matter to dominate the world’s leaders and rule, perhaps forever.
Born in the present day, Nathan Christopher Summers was a mutant with the potential to become the most powerful being on the planet. His gifts gave him the potential to have limitless telepathic and telekinetic power, enough to defeat any foe. Sensing the boy’s potential, the villain Apocalypse targeted him with a techno-organic virus which, while not killing him, limited his powers for much of his life. Cable grew up in the future, raised by his time-displaced parents for quite some time. Eventually, he became the leader of a resistance to the evil rulers of his era, becoming a hardened general, as well as a guerrilla fighter of the highest caliber. Gifted with a genius intellect, he also became skilled with developing new technologies.
While Cable’s powers are usually diminished, he remains a skilled soldier. Even when in the final stages of dying from the techno virus, he managed to defeat Captain America, Iron Man, Falcon, and Red Hulk with little prep time, merely through the use of intelligent tactics.
If Cable set his sights on world domination, it would most likely be achieved by amassing additional support and using his skills as a general to cause simultaneous situations around the globe, stretching the world’s resources thin before taking out strategic targets. Should he be able to access his full power, he could simply use his telepathic and telekinetic abilities to take over the world via sheer force and mass-mind control.
11 Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff possesses the ability to both alter probabilities and tap into the natural magical forces that permeate the universe. Unlike Doctor Strange, who had to earn his power through study, Wanda was born with the ability to use magic and serves as a conduit for that energy.
Wanda has shown the ability to tap into incredible sources of magical and extra-dimensional power, such as chaos magic, the so-called life-force, and even the Phoenix Force, giving her limitless power. On one occasion, while suffering deep emotional trauma, she used the life-force to alter all of reality and create the House of M universe, re-writing the history books to suit her desires. At the end of that crisis, she cast her most powerful spell yet by uttering the simple words, “No more mutants”, which caused 98% of the world’s mutants to lose their powers in an instant.
While she is once again a hero, she could potentially go bad again, and if she could use her command of magic to wipe out her opposition before they even knew what was happening.
Prior to the modern age of heroes, Thor was one of few beings to walk the Earth with the powers of a god. Had he been so inclined, he could have ruled the world centuries ago with only beings such as Apocalypse, Selene, and Exodus having the potential to stop him. If he'd done so, the world could have looked very different and we would have a Marvel universe where Viking culture was the dominant force on Earth. In one alternate timeline, Thor (using the Odinforce) DID rule the world for many years. He undid the timeline, thankfully, and this will not come to pass.
At his classic power levels, only Hulk and perhaps Doctor Strange can surpass him in strength and magic, respectively. If in possession of the Odinforce, Thor may well be able to defeat both of them. Certainly, he could use Mjolnir to open a portal to the other side of the galaxy and send Hulk there, eliminating the most powerful opposition he'd likely face. Indeed, it’s only Thor’s behavior that could be used against him, but if he were to use his centuries of wisdom to his advantage, he may well be more than anyone could handle.
9 The Flash
The Flash is one of the most powerful beings in existence and is arguably far more powerful than heavy hitters such as Superman. His infinite mass punch is able to destroy almost anything, possibly including the Man of Steel himself.
But it’s not just raw power that makes the Flash capable of taking over the world; it’s his ability to be almost anywhere at once. Anyone that plotted against him would have to come up with a viable method for stopping him that The Flash could not evade, and possibly use against them. The man can outrun pretty much anything, even a nuclear explosion.
While Flash’s speed is often merely used to run extremely fast, he’s also able to think thousands of times faster than the average man. This means that, even when caught off-guard, he has ample time to think of a response to any given situation. He’s a very hard man to catch off-guard, of course, and therefore could find himself almost unbeatable if he chose to take over the world. And if he happened to find himself on the verge of defeat? He could simply sprint backward through time and try again, no big whoop.
8 Franklin Richards
Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue, is one of the most powerful entities in the universe. At full-power, there’s literally nothing he can’t do. At the end of the Onslaught crisis, he reached out to his mother, and by sheer instinct, created a universe to protect her and his family and friends until he could save them. Seriously, he created a universe in an instant -- and he was six years old.
If Franklin were to decide to rule the world, he could do so in an instant with minimal effort. Even the mightiest of heroes and villains would be powerless to stop him. Indeed, it would take the collective power of the Elders of The Universe or the One Above All to prevent his domination of the universe itself.
Thankfully, Franklin is still a boy who is primarily interested in play-time. Should he grow up to be a megalomaniac, however, it would be a pretty straightforward process to world domination. Dare we say...it would be child’s play?
Simply put, if Batman wanted to rule the world, he could because he’s Batman. But to elaborate further, it’s in his guise as Bruce Wayne that Batman is truly most dangerous. He’s a handsome, intelligent, charismatic billionaire, and he could cakewalk into the Presidency of the United States if he were to run. After all, Lex Luther pulled it off.
Once elected, his crimefighting tactics would be augmented nicely by his position as Commander in Chief of the largest military force in the world. If the other superheroes stood against him, not only would he have his contingency plans from his Batman days, but the combined forces of the U.S. military. Assuming that half the heroes of the Justice League stood with him (he's usually got at least a few pals in his corner), he could spread American influence pretty quickly and take over the world in short order.
Indeed, the Dark Knight could rule the world without ever donning the cowl or throwing a single punch. Because he's Batman.
While often considered an outright villain, Mystique is one of those morally ambiguous characters who flirts between good and evil. She’s often been on the side of mutant rights, but like Magneto, she isn’t afraid to use extreme violence to achieve her goals.
While Mystique lacks raw power, she is a cunning and skilled operator who could use her shapeshifting power to assume the identity of any world leader and simply take their place. Once she had done this, and considering the fact that she barely ages, she could begin the process of creating a political union of the major powers and eventually take over the world, all the while slipping into new identities so nobody is aware that she is the one taking control. Over the centuries, Mystique could be dozens of world leaders until eventually declaring herself empress for life of a new world order. While ruling via political manipulation may not be as quick as annihilating the opposition in one fell swoop, but it would certainly be effective.
While Cyborg may not be the biggest gun in the Justice League, he has the potential to be their most powerful member in the digital age by simply taking over the world’s computers. While this may not seem like much of a superpower on the surface, it affords him multiple opportunities for world domination.
Not only can he access the world’s nuclear arsenal and either hold the world to ransom or actually initiate Armageddon, but he would also be in control of the majority of the world’s media. By using simple propaganda, he could steer people to believe whatever he wanted, inciting wars and conflicts in order to bring the world to its knees.
Alternatively, he could also access anybody’s private data and blackmail the world into giving him ever more political power. In a digital age, he could be the ultimate weapon for evil if he so chose.
4 Charles Xavier
Despite being compared to Martin Luther King and often considered to be a good guy, Professor Charles Francis Xavier has a hell of a dark side. Not only did he lust after Jean Grey when she was still a teenager (and his student) but his dark psyche attacked the X-Men on several occasions, most notably during the Onslaught incident.
Xavier, like Batman, has contingencies to defeat all his allies as well as his adversaries, should either of them present an obstacle. When he transformed into the evil Onslaught, these “Xavier Protocols” were exposed, and his students realized that Xavier had plans to kill each and every one of them if need be.
While Onslaught was eventually defeated, Xavier does still show dark impulses from time to time. He’s currently dead, but this is a comic book character we're talking about, so he won’t stay that way. Should he return with his dark side dominant, he could use worldwide mind control in concert with his knowledge of his friends and enemy’s weaknesses to threaten the world once more.
3 Iron Man
Another super-rich superhero that could buy his way into the presidency is Iron Man. Tony Stark has often shown that he feels his genius means he knows better than other heroes, and he's turned against them in the past in pursuit of what he believes he is right (see Armour Wars, Civil War and Civil War II). Should he do so again, and in the White House no less, he could use the resources of the U.S. government to mass produce Iron Man drones and enforce his domination of the planet. Indeed, if he were to combine Stark tech with Sentinel technology, he could create massive Sentinel-sized Iron Men powerful enough to conquer the planet as well as neutralize any superhuman resistance.
With enormous technological resources, seemingly unlimited funds, and possibly a number of superhumans loyal to his cause, global domination would be quite possible for Iron Man. It’s a good thing for the Marvel universe that he seems disinterested in ruling the world…for now.
2 Kyle Rayner/White Lantern
Unlike the Green Lanterns, the White Lantern (Kyle Rayner) possesses the powers of the entire emotional spectrum, making him one of the most powerful beings in the universe. His abilities are potentially limitless, making his character the only thing preventing him ruling the world.
With such enormous power, there’s no military force that could oppose him. Even the world’s entire military force combined would be unable to prevent his rule. As for the combined efforts of the Justice League and the assorted heroes and villains of the DC universe, even they may be unable to prevent White Lantern ruling the world. Even the god-like strength of Superman would be unable to combat a near-omnipotent being with total control over life and death.
On the plus side, White Lantern is inherently a good guy, so his rule may be a benevolent one. If it weren’t for whatever reason, we'd be in one hell of a pickle.
1 Reed Richards
It goes without saying that Reed Richards is the smartest superhero there is. He is a genius whose intellect lends itself to all forms of science, as well as a vast number of disciplines too numerous to list here. While his social skills could use some work, there’s few problems he couldn’t overcome with a little thought.
Reed has, at times, attempted to use his genius to influence society by means other than the hard sciences. He once conquered Latveria when Doom was believed dead in order to establish a safe and free country. He also joined Iron Man in enforcing the superhuman registration act during the original Civil War, having come to the conclusion that only by registering superhumans could the world avoid an apocalypse.
Should he return from his adventures in the multiverse and decide that the world needs his genius to guide it, he could come up with countermeasures to all of Earth’s superhuman community (as well as more conventional militaristic forces). With only Doctor Doom and Black Panther as his true rivals when it comes to brain power -- and with the two being unlikely to work well together -- Reed could well be the one to rule the world after a brief, but decisive war.
Got any theories as to who else could conquer the world? Let us know in the comments!