Last week we published a list of 10 character from the Marvel universe who could hurl a Subway sandwich to Saturn and as expected, the first comment was someone telling us we were stupid for ignoring the upper pantheon of characters who can destroy entire realms of reality. So we decided to write a sister list for DC characters that similarly ignores all of the boring characters with unquantifiable levels of cosmic power and instead list 10 characters who can punch things really hard, because we never learn and kind of love it that the commenters treat us so poorly.
This isn’t a list of the “most powerful” DC characters, because such a list would be kind of dull. Instead, this is a list designed to show how silly comics get when you have to consistently make characters stronger to keep them interesting. For example, consider the many Herculean feats of…
10. Arthur Curry – AKA Aquaman
We don’t think any superhero has a reputation as bad as Aquaman, which doesn’t really make sense when you realize that as “King of the Sea” he’s got unquestioned rule over 75% of the entire world. Because being King is only fun when it comes with perks, Aquaman also has total dominion over every creature that calls the sea its home and in at least one comic, a flock of sea eagles. (Aquaman #27)
According to the DC wiki, Aquaman “possesses superhuman strength on the order of 150 times human maximum,” which would make him barely strong enough to lift a couple cars. However, newer comics have shown Aquaman casually doing things like lifting an entire cruise ship (New 52 Aquaman #1) and throwing a submarine from the bottom of the ocean with enough force for it to fly several hundred feet into the air (New 52 Aquaman #21). We don’t know what humans Aquaman is supposedly only worth 150 of, but we sure as hell never want to meet them.
Incredible feat of strength:
We’re going to have to go with the time when Aquaman picks up a boat weighing over a hundred tons and swings it at an underwater ice-zombie without any apparent effort (Aquaman: Death of a King), if only because it means Aquaman is at least as strong as Gipsy Danger from Pacific Rim. That’s not bad for a hero mostly known for that one GIF of him using dolphins as a jet ski.
9. Larfleeze – AKA Agent Orange
Larfleeze is a billion year old orange alien who singlehandedly wields an almost godly amount of power thanks to a pile of magic rings that he and he alone has access to, which really puts Superman’s origin story into perspective. Larfleeze has access to the same basic abilities as members of the Green Lantern Corp, only instead of will, his constructs are powered by his insatiable sense of greed, which is represented by the color orange for some reason.
As the sole member of the Orange Lantern Corps, Larfleeze could theoretically shatter entire planets with a giant glowing fist composed of fighter jets, or swat moons out of orbit with a comically large tennis racket. The secret of Larfleeze’s immense potential for ass-whupping lies in his affinity with the “orange light of avarice,” the power of which is only limited by Larfleeze’s own gluttony. As a unique side effect of being fuelled solely by Greed, Larfleeze’s power ring has the rather unique ability to charge to 100,000% of its usual capacity, granting the alien more power than an entire army of Green Lanterns, who are variously described as being strong enough to temporarily restrain Superman through sheer force of will. Then again, when you consider that Green Lanterns often waste their power creating stupid things like giant teddy bears and space-faring pirate ships, maybe Larfleeze isn’t that scary.
Why you don’t want to mess with him:
Every time Larfleeze kills another being, he is able to “steal” their identity and add a twisted version of their form to his glowing orange army of unstoppable energy warriors. This means Larfleeze has the combined might of an entire army of warriors who each individually wield “possibly one of the most powerful weapons in the known universe.” It’s lucky for everyone in the DC universe that Larfleeze is usually too busy trying to beat up Santa to ever use his powers to their full potential. (Larfleeze Christmas Special #1)
8. Cobi – AKA Star Conquerer
In the DC universe there’s a race of starfish creatures dubbed “Starro,” who are basically the DC version of Facehuggers from the Alien franchise. But instead of killing their victims, they force them to do their bidding, with a single Starro capable of taking control of everyone from a regular human to members of the Justice League (Justice League Europe #26-28). The far better named Star Conquerer not only has total control over every Starro in existence, but actually grows in power with every victim they enslave.
Technically, that means that Star Conquerer has the potential to be one of the physically strongest beings in the DC universe because every victim adds to his already immense strength. Considering that Star Conquerer has taken over hundreds of planets and controls millions of beings from across nine different galaxies he’s already millions of times stronger than an average person. Take that, Aquaman.
Greatest feat of strength:
While Star Conquerer has only appeared in a handful of comics over the years, he has proven sufficiently strong enough to lop off the head of a major DC villain called Despero, who once held aloft a mountain-sized hunk of brick hurtling towards his own face called the “Rock of Eternity”, for no other reason than he wanted to show off how strong he was. (R.E.B.E.L.S. #2)
7. Billy Batson – AKA Shazam or Captain Marvel
By day, Billy Batson is just an ordinary 10-year-old kid with a stupid alliterative name, but when he speaks the word “SHAZAM” he gets struck by lightning and transforms into a hero with access to the collective powers of six Greek gods. Because having the power of just one God wouldn’t be fair, would it?
All in all, Shazam has access to the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury to use in any way he sees fit. This allows him to do things like fire lightning bolts from his eyes, control the weather to such an extent he can write messages in the sky that can be seen from space, or stalemate Superman in an arm wrestling contest (THE POWER OF SHAZAM! #46).
Because Shazam is, essentially, a small child attempting to steer a 7-foot tall lightning powered hunk of beef, he is in some regards stronger than Superman because he quite literally doesn’t understand his own strength. Even when blessed with divine knowledge from the gods, kids are still stupid in the DC universe.
Wondrous feat of strength:
Probably the time he effortlessly pushed a moon back into orbit when he noticed that it was out of place, then went and punched the guy who’d moved it in the face without killing him. We wonder which Greek hero he learned that level of restraint from. (Captain Marvel Adventures #106)
6. Teth Adam – AKA Black Adam
By day, Teth Adam is just an ordinary 3,000-year-old Egyptian Pharaoh, but when he speaks the word “SHAZAM” or, better yet, yells it from the top of a mountain while playing a guitar, he gains the respective powers of several gods. Something sounds suspiciously familiar about this…
The main difference between Black Adam and Captain Marvel is that while Captain Marvel derives his powers from the wussy Greek gods, Black Adam gets his powers from the objectively cooler, animal headed gods of Ancient Egypt. While powered up, Black Adam is virtually invulnerable. He can fly and heal wounds by striking them with bolts of lightning, because comics don’t have to make sense if there’s an excuse to draw something cool.
Strength-wise, Black Adam is capable of pretty much all the feats you’d expect from a guy they had to hire Dwayne Johnson to play in a movie. Black Adam once threw an entire aircraft carrier at New York because he was angry (JLA #36-41), and he can supposedly fly at speeds in excess of Mach 500 within the Earth’s own atmosphere, meaning he could punch someone in the face and then watch an episode of Adventure Time before it made any noise.
Most bizarre feat of strength:
We could mention that time in the World War 3 arc where he tears through half of the DC universe, but we’d much rather draw attention to the time he gets into a fistfight with a yeti, disembowels it with his bare hands – when he doesn’t have any powers – and then uses its guts as a makeshift rappel, because why would we not want to tell you about an ancient Egyptian pharaoh fighting a yeti? (Black Adam: The Dark Age)
5. Diana Prince – AKA Wonder Woman
Packing a pair of indestructible bracelets, an unbreakable lasso that forces whomever is captured by it to tell you their pin number, and arguably the most powerful right hook of any female in fiction, Wonder Woman is, in terms of raw physical power and combat prowess, unequivocally badass.
Throughout her illustrious seven decade long crimefighting career, Wonder Woman has hurled a rock several millions miles directly into the centre of the sun (The Brave and the Bold #7), deflected Darkseid’s supposedly unstoppable Omega Beams by slapping them with her wrists (Supergirl from Krypton #6), and once even walked off being clocked in the jaw by Professor Zoom when his fist was travelling at almost the speed of light, allowing him to hit with the apparent force of an entire star.
Greatest feat of strength:
Rather handily, Wonder Woman is partially responsible for one of the most unbelievable and somewhat controversial feats of lifting in DC comics when she, with the aid of Superman, lifted a cosmic being known as the Spectre (JLA/Spectre: Soul War). Being a cosmic being, second only in power to that of God himself, the Spectre is a pretty hefty dude who supposedly weighs as much as “eternity,” whatever that means.
4. Uxas – AKA Darkseid
Darkseid is the DC equivalent of a Japanese mob boss, in that he spends most of his time standing around looking cool with his arms crossed while occasionally firing disintegrating death beams from his eyeballs. Though the overall power of Darkseid’s almighty backhand varies considerably depending on which comic he decides to grace with his presence, he is generally considered one of the DC universe’s most powerful entities.
However, Darkseid rarely ever needs to display his vast, untapped resources of raw power because he can also fire something called Omega Beams from his eyes. According to Darkseid, there is no being in the universe who can survive being hit by one of these beams (though Wonder Woman would argue differently), and he has total and utter control over the direction in which they move. Basically, he could theoretically make the beams travel exclusively in the shape of a crudely drawn penis and still manage to kill almost any being in the known universe.
Greatest feat of strength:
They say a picture says a thousand words, which is good because we couldn’t print any of the ones this image stirs in our minds. Feel free to get creative in the comments.
In the unlikely event that the image of Darkseid pimp-slapping one of the strongest beings in the universe doesn’t paint him as being kind of buff, Darkseid once crushed a Lantern Corps power ring – an item described as one of the most powerful weapons in the universe – with his bare hands while someone was still wearing it.
3. Doomsday – AKA The Ultimate Destroyer
According to the comics, Doomsday is the result of decades of cruel experimentation to create the ultimate life-form. In short, Doomsday was repeatedly sent to prehistoric Krypton as an infant to die, whereupon he’d be cloned and sent back again, now immune to whatever had killed him previously. As a result of his countless deaths and decades of forced evolution, Doomsday is virtually indestructible and strong enough to stand toe-to-toe with almost anyone in the DC universe.
Along with besting the likes of Wonder Woman, Powergirl, and over a hundred Green Lanterns while surfing around on a giant meteor (Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey #2), Doomsday also once punched his way out of the supposedly inescapable Phantom Zone (Doomsday #1). On top of this, Doomsday has slaughtered entire planets filled with superpowered beings, levelled cities, slapped mountains into dust, and even once nearly succeeded in killing every wildebeest on Earth for some reason.
Most Obviously Greatest feat of strength:
Well we’re kind of obligated to talk about him killing Superman in the aptly titled Death of Superman arc. Of course because this was a comic book, instead of dying, Superman actually entered a form of hibernation and came back more powerful than ever a few months later.
2. J’onn J’onzz – AKA Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter is essentially Superman, if the writers in charge of his character never bothered to get rid of all the stupid powers they came up with in the 1980s. As if being super strong with the ability to turn himself into a giant snake wasn’t overly powered enough, the Man from Mars can turn invisible, walk through walls, and stretch his extremities to such an extent he could slap you in the face from a passing biplane.
By using both his superior, Martian physiology in combination with his immense telekinetic powers, the Jade Warrior is capable of some truly outlandish feats of upper body strength, like knocking someone out by letting them punch him in the face (Stormwatch Vol 3 #1), or lifting a spaceship bigger than the Earth itself by focussing all of his biomass into his own arms (Action Comics #34). And who could forget the time he helped pull the entire Earth out of orbit using Wonder Woman’s lasso?
Coolest feat of strength:
We’d probably go with the time he sucker punched a version of Superman from an alternate reality while simultaneously delivering a one-liner about being there being a damn good reason he’s the last surviving member of his race (Infinite Crisis #6). Apparently, no hero in the DC universe can say that they’re strong until they’ve knocked at least one version of Superman through a wall. But more on that in a second…
1. Clark Kent – AKA Superman
We thought long and hard about giving the Man of Steel the number one spot, knowing it would annoy the one group nobody on the internet ever really has the patience to deal with: people who don’t like Superman. However, something occurred to us while we were researching the other entries. While the last Son of Krypton is by no means the most powerful character in the DC universe, Superman is the yardstick against which all other supposedly robust characters are measured.
In all of the research we conducted, characters aren’t considered strong because they can lift an oil tanker or flatten a forest by closing a book too quickly. They’re considered strong because they can hurt Superman. Hell, Superman was considered so ridiculously overpowered by his own writers that the character of Doomsday was created purely so that the Man of Tomorrow would have an opponent who could challenge him in a fight that didn’t involve Kryptonite or Muhammad Ali. Superman is so overtly powerful that his feats of strength now include bench pressing the entire Earth for five days straight. That’s not a typo or hyperbole. According to the New 52 DC comic, Superman #13, the Man of Steel is strapped to a machine that forces him to lift “5.972 sextillion tons” and all Superman says in response is, “That’s all you’ve got?”
Remember, this is the same hero who was introduced to the world as being just strong enough to lift a crappy Volkswagen over his head.
Greatest feat of strength:
When it comes to Superman, his greatest feats seem to revolve around his titanium jaw and the fact nobody ever seems to be able to put him down for good. Superman’s survived nuclear warheads, planet evaporating explosions, Darkseid’s Omega Beams, being punched through the center of the Earth, flying through the center of a red sun – the light of which is something that is explicitly said to weaken him – and an explosion caused by a bomb big enough to kill a nebulous ball of evil the size of a sun (Action Comics #847).
But perhaps Superman’s greatest feat is the time the Justice League encounter a miniature black hole and Superman’s first reaction is to clamp his giant man-hands around it to stop it from escaping, and it works (JLA #77).