Being able to destroy an entire realm of reality on a cosmic level is cool and all, but sometimes we just want to see things get punched really really hard. We've already taken a look at the most powerful superheroes out there, but when you take away all that magic, cosmic bumps, psychic abilities and sci-fi mojo, what are we left with? Well, for some, a ridiculous amount of physical strength.
We have combed through pages of the two comic powerhouses (sorry Goku) to find the best of the best. What we're left with is an impressive lineup of bruisers, bashers, and smashers. The Marvel Universe measures the raw physical strength of its heroes based on how much weight they can press overhead. DC does something similar. It's all very scientific stuff. Some characters though are so strong that it's impossible to quantify their power in any meaningful way. That's where we come in.
Here are the 15 Physically Strongest Superheroes.
The son of a sea captain and Atlantean princess, Namor the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel's oldest superheroes, and it's strongest. Often referred to as the first ever mutant, Namor's unique biology has provided him with superhuman abilities uniquely enhanced to both races. Which basically means he's a god among fish. For those not familiar with this pointy eared son of two worlds, Namor is the Marvel “knock-off” of Aquaman, only he's been around longer and can fly. Which, thanks to the Green Lantern and his humiliating power ring, we know Aquaman definitely cannot. Also, he's a shoal-load stronger.
To that point, the Namor's strength is unmatched by anyone when beneath the sea. Overall this power is dependent on his level of physical contact with water. Even when bone dry, Namor has handily beaten Luke Cage and used his body as a club to knock out She-Hulk (though she did have her back turned). Add in a few drops of H20 and the King of the Sea will stop the Brooklyn Bridge from falling over, right an upturned sunken tanker, lift a WWII destroyer, shoulder press submarines overhead, break the near unbreakable Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, hold up an entire island and nonchalantly turn a shark inside out. (And here we thought Batman was the shark killer in the DCU.) All that's enough to have anyone shouting “Imperius Rex!”
If you ever thought lawyers weren't tough enough to twirl dinosaurs, then you've never met She-Hulk. Her alter ego, Jennifer Walters, is Bruce Banner's cousin. You might have heard of him, or at least his angrier half. That's a lot of power running through her veins - literally. After getting shot, Jennifer's life was saved by a blood transfusion from Bruce. As a side effect, his gamma-irradiated blood transformed her into the Sensational She-Hulk, complete with a sizeable chunk of the Big Guy's incredible strength. Not to mention she retained her intelligence, allowing She-Hulk to continue to working as a practicing lawyer.
The most notable aspect of her powers is that She-Hulk gets exponentially stronger the more she works out in her human form. At one time, she followed the same training regiment as the Thing, but after being able to hold his max weight with a single arm, the Green Giantess had to find heavier means to stay in shape. Her resting strength is said to surpass that of the Gray, Savage, plus the T-Rex schedule. After a bout of intense training to defeat the previously undefeated Champion of the Universe, She-Hulk grew so strong that she needed a special suit to control her power. When it comes to laying down the law, you won't find anyone better suited than this hulking attorney.
13 Wonder Man
Simon Williams is one of the most powerful Avengers. Originally a villain, Williams was enlisted by Baron Zemo to infiltrate Earth's mightiest heroes after he was sent to prison for embezzlement, a crime he blamed on Tony Stark. To fit the part, Simon underwent experiments that turned him into the ion-powered superhuman Wonder Man. However, when the time came he couldn't betray the team and instead ended up joining their mighty ranks.
Thanks to Zemo's tinkering, Wonder Man's body is a solid form of pure ionic energy, which in essence makes him invulnerable and able to display some very impressive feats of strength. These include outmuscling Red Hulk without breaking a sweat, knocking down regular Hulk, one-shotting Namor, stopping a stamp press set for 50,000 tons, holding up the massive Hydrobase, catching a skyskraper and wielding fists that are said to pack a punch as strong as Mjolnir. To give an idea of his strength, the Thing once struggled to lift with two hands one of Simon's ginormous training dumbbells, where as Wonder Man not only easily lifted it with one hand, but chucked the weight, along with Thing, through a wall. Suffice to say, over the years Wonder Man has proven he can more than hold his own against some of the greatest superheroes.
Kara Zor-El is a different breed of Kryptonian. While her cousin Superman has spent years limiting his abilities, Supergirl flies around completely unrestrained with all the same powers. As a result, we've seen her destroy a moon, draw blood in a fight against Wonder Woman, blast Supes right through the Great Wall of China, and break free from Blackstarr's bounds that were supposedly strong enough to hold the universe together. Oh, and you know that key that opens the Fortress of Solitude? It weighs half a million tons. Only Superman can pick it up. Well, Supergirl has too. Or at least she did on the TV show. Not exactly canon, but still, if you can't trust the CW, who can you trust?
Supergirl may be more powerful than Superman. There's an argument to be made there. She is, after all, technically older. And she's shown the strength to resist his incestual come-ons, so kudos. But if Supergirl outmuscles the best on this list, it's most likely because of her reckless abandon and their predilection towards self-control. When push comes to shove, we've seen both Superman and Wonder Woman one-shot her to set her straight. Rest assured, though, not many can pull that off. It's probably more of a testament to that pair's clout than it is a slight against the Girl of Steel. Because no matter how wildly she wields her super strength, Supergirl remains a force to be reckoned with. Just in a slightly smaller package.
11 Power Girl
Power Girl is basically the same person as Supergirl, only older and from the Earth-Two alternate universe. Although she and Supergirl left Krypton at the same time, her journey took longer and, when she arrived on Earth, she was taken in and raised by Earth-2 Superman and his wife, Lois. As a result this version of Kara Zor-El is more mature (no pun intended) than Supergirl, and thus slightly stronger.
In terms of physical strength, the comparison comes down to their most basic levels. Even if Supergirl and Superman had the same level of yellow sun exposure, Supes would be stronger since he is a grown male the size of Henry Cavill. Supergirl on the other hand has the physique of a teenage girl. Comparatively, Powergirl has the body of a grown, muscular woman. Beyond that, Supergirl has admitted that Power Girl is stronger. Of course, there's always an argument to be made on both sides whether superheroes from Earth-2 are stronger than their primary Earth equivalents. To her credit though, Power Girl has moved the moon (that's 81 billion tons), held up a city-sized spaceship hurtling towards Earth, shattered an enormous god-like sword, lifted an ocean liner, and cold clocked Wonder Woman to Canada.
10 Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter is basically the Mars version of Superman, only with the ability to phase, shape shift, and read minds. Also, he's green. And only slightly less strong, which makes J'onn J'onzz more than worthy to be on this list. Take into account that this Alien Atlas can absorb surrounding mass (as in a planet's) to bolster his strength, and there is no telling what shape or size his fists will come in. But one thing's for sure, they will pack one hell of an extra terrestrial punch.
The Jade Warrior has amassed an impressive resume of flexing his otherworldly strength. He's KO'd Shazam and taking on the entire Justice League, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Steel, Aquaman, Flash, Big Barda, and Orion, at the same time. He's also pulled the Earth out of orbit and pushed a spaceship twenty times the size of the planet, though both were accomplished alongside the Man of Steel. Technicalities aside, Superman has said more than anyone else he's afraid of fighting Martian Manhunter in open-hand combat, calling him, “the most powerful being on the face of the Earth.” Not bad for a little green man.
A recovering meth addict with the power of a million exploding suns, Sentry is not someone you want to mess with. He's ripped gods in half, lifted a 20,000 foot tall Celestial, decapitated Ultron, calmly stopped Galactus' herald Terrax, and casually tossed She-Hulk like a lawn dart from New York to New Jersey. Basically he's an amped up Marvel version of Superman, only mentally unstable.
Sentry has yet to showcase the upper-limits of his impressive strength, though from what we saw in The Siege, where he pretty much levels Asgard, they're at biblical proportions. He is the byproduct of an enhanced version of the same super soldier serum that gave Captain America his muscles combined with a load of mind-altering drugs. Together, they helped take his alter-ego Robert Reynolds to the very peak of superhuman ability. That might sound like a ringing endorsement of substance abuse, but the Sentry makes Bruce Banner's issues look like child's play. He's always just a pin drop away from freaking out and turning to the dark side as The Void, his evil counterpart who is so unfathomably strong that he broke Hulk's limbs with relative ease. The fact Sentry has the strength to keep the Void in check is as impressive a feat as any. While his abilities are all over the place, Sentry is without a doubt one of Marvel's most powerful superheroes, possessing an astonishing physicality. Especially for a hero so bonkers that he's afraid to go outside.
8 Blue Marvel
Adam Brashear was so powerful that the US government asked him to stop superheroing. Well, for that reason and because he was black (sigh). The takeaway is that he's frighteningly strong. And that governments suck. But mostly, that Blue Marvel is strong. A former Marine, this Mighty Avenger is the result of a radiation mutation from an unstable device containing an inter-dimensional event horizon, which is science nerd talk for "badass".
Another Superman clone (then again who isn't), Blue Marvel has a pantheon of powers, of which his strength is at the forefront. He can split the moon clean in half, KO'd an overpowered Hyperion, hurled a meteor the size of Arkansas, effortlessly lifted an American warship weighing 93,000 tons, and punched Sentry into unconsciousness-- and space. Namor has said of all those who have hit him (apparently it happens a lot), only the blows of Thor and Hulk were as hard. Oh yeah, and his arch-enemy is Anti-Man. Which means Blue Marvel has the distinction of having literally punched anti-matter in the face. Take that, physics!
If you're going to enforce intergalactic law you'd better be strong (or call She-Hulk). So it's a good thing that the leader of the Imperial Guard is the Gladiator known as Kallark. Considered one of the most physically capable beings in the Marvel Universe, Gladiator's strength is limited only by the level of confidence he has in himself. As corny as all that sounds, we wouldn't want to go up against this proud warrior when he's having a particularly confident day.
He has knocked out the Thing with a one-two punch, dropped Colossus, punted Mjolnir, lifted the Baxter Building in a fight with the Fantastic Four, and broke Hyperion's back. His son once said that Gladiator even ripped apart a black hole, but we'll believe it when we see it. Like a lot of Superman knock-offs, he's purportedly overflowing with heaps of strength, though we've yet to see him reach the levels of those in the Top 5. Regardless, he did shatter a planet with his fists, so he's got that going for him. Which is nice.
When not Shazaming his fists into the face of bad guys, Billy Batson lives his life as an ordinary 10-year-old boy. But thanks to a wizard imbuing him with the the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury, this puny child need just yell the word "SHAZAM!" and, in a flash of lighting, he can live out every kid's dream by transforming into a superhero in possession of the immense capabilities of the gods. This allows him to outrace gravity, fearlessly walk right into Hell, and time travel. Oh yeah, and call upon the physical strength of Herc.
Shazam has pushed a rogue moon back into orbit, caught an aircraft carrier hurled by the Man of Steel, stalemated Superman in an arm wrestling contest, and punched a guy so hard he formed a black hole (though to be fair that last one had a boost from the powers of Zeus). Captain Marvelous is said to be Big Blue's equal in strength, but none of his feats have yet to reach such lofty heights. And he may be able to muster the power of Hercules but there's no substitute for the original.
The Lion of Olympus. The Prince of Power. Son of Zeus. Dwayne Johnson. Best known for starring in his own timeless Disney classic, this Olympian demigod has made quite a name for himself in the Marvel Universe. Ripped right from the public domain of Greek mythology, Hercules has been kicking Asgardians and taking names since ancient times, earning him a reputation as one of the strongest beings in existence.
The Incredible Hercules comes fully loaded with all the strength we've come to expect from mythology. Poets are still singing about the time he lifted all of Manhattan. Or when he tossed Godzilla like a flapjack. Then there's the time he filled in for Atlas and held up the entire sky. Oh, and don't forget when he threw the planet out of orbit in an arm wrestling stalemate with Thor, one shotted Abomination, withstood a blow from Hulk like a boss, and bashed Sentry's head in while Venom was chowing down on his fist. He might be old but you have to give props to a guy who has the boulder sack to belittle a Norse god in the third-person. “Whatever Thor can't do - Hercules can accomplish more mightily.” You can't argue with that grammar.
4 Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman isn't just the strongest woman in all of fiction, but one of the strongest superheroes period. She's responsible one of the most unbelievable feats of strength in all the DCU. She and Superman lifted the cosmic being known as the Spectre. Who cares that she had help, considering that Spectre, the embodiment of the Wrath of God, is composed of consciousness which weighs as much as eternity. That may all sound like nonsense... because it is. The point is, he's one hefty dude. And Wonder Woman picked him up. Not bad for someone who started off as a superhero secretary.
Astoundingly controversial deity deadlifts aside, Diana Prince has a slew of other feats that make the strongest of superheroes look like surprised meerkats. She's pulled Martian Manhunter out of a black hole he couldn't escape himself, thrown a rock millions of miles into the sun, put down Power Girl as if she were a child, walloped Hercules in an upright arm wrestle, walked off a punch containing the force of an entire star, deflected the full might of Olympus, and snapped the god Cronos' sickle like a twig - a sickle that was durable enough to contain the Godwave, an energy force that could destroy the universe. We could go on. Wonder Woman has basically been written as strong as infinity. And that's before she takes off her bracelets, which limit her strength. So let's just say she's really, really strong and leave it at that. Point is, she belongs here. And in her own movie.
There are few superheroes who are faster, stronger, or better looking than Thor Odinson. He is after all the God of Strength with the body of an Australian. And he's beaten Hulk. Now we're no experts on Norse mythology, but we're pretty sure we want a guy like that on our side when Ragnarok rolls around. After all, it's hard to argue with those arms. Especially when they've snapped adamantium with a flex of the muscle, oneshotted a hydrated Namor, wrangled a giant snake ten times the size of Earth and just as heavy, and knocked the Pheonix Force clean out. Not to mention he's destroyed a one million ton stone arch and when his fist collided with that of Hercules it closed a dimensional rift in freakin' space-time.
Sure, the fact he wields an immeasurably heavy cosmic hammer doesn't hurt, or that he sports a stylish belt that literally doubles his strength, but all that means is that this Norse god is packing some major power. Did you see when he pushed over the leaning Tower of Pisa with his finger? His finger! And not only is he as strong as the Hulk, he's hilarious to boot. The power to crush our skulls and make us laugh all at the same time? You're not going to do any better this side of the nine realms.
Having Superman at the top of any list almost seems like a cliché, especially one concerning muscles. But when all's said and done, there's no denying the Man of Steel is in a class of his own. Chalk it up to being a poster boy for superheroes everywhere or the greatest champion the Earth has ever known, but Superman's strength is undeniably super.
Placing him at or near the top is likely to piss off a few, but it's tough to deny the Man of Steel is the yardstick by which all others are measured. Kal-El has gone from destroying entire solar systems in a single sneeze to bench pressing the Earth for five days straight (the equivalent of 5.972 sextillion tons). Even without the ridiculous feats accomplished during the Silver Age and New 52, he's held black holes in his hand, destroyed planets in a single punch, and towed the incomprehensibly mammoth Mageddon. And if he goes for a dip in the sun, all bets are off (like lifting 200 quintillion tons). Sure, there's an argument to made that Supes is absurdly overpowered. His writers might even agree. After all, Doomsday was created so he'd have an opponent that could match him in a fight (other than Muhammad Ali). All that adds up to one thing and one thing alone: Superman is as physically strong as they come.
Save for maybe one....
1 The Incredible Hulk
He's beaten up gods and left entire teams of superheroes in the dust. "Hulk is the strongest one there is." It's kind of hard to argue against a character whose whole thing is punching things really hard. After all, the madder he gets, the stronger he gets. Sure there are plenty of things Hulk should not have smashed, but that's partly why we love him. Pit any other superhero here in an arm wrestling contest against the Incredible Hulk, enraged beyond all reason, and he'll rip their arm off - then eat it.
However, if we're getting technical, this one's a toss up between Hulk and Supes, depending on the situation. The Green Goliath's base strength is weaker than that of Superman and several others on this list, but theoretically (since we don't have any examples to prove it), the Hulk could surpass the Man of Steel's strength if he gets angry enough. It might take a while, which is probably why he doesn't rank at the top of superheroes who can beat Superman, but if the game went on long enough, he'd eventually level the playing field. There are always exceptions, like saying Superman would be worthless without yellow sunlight, while Hulk is Hulk no matter what the occasion. But in the end, if you were to ask who is the physically strongest superhero on a normal day, we'd go with Superman. If we're talking full potential, Hulk smashes.
Did we get the order all wrong? Or is there an even stronger superhero we left out? Let us know in the comments.