It’s all too easy to forget that DC Comics’ four-color universe is populated with the sort of superpowered heroes who can punch holes in planets and villains who can obliterate entire solar systems with a click of their fingers.
The gods and monsters who have spent the last eight decades locked in an eternal war that’s told in monthly thirty-two page chapters have brought destruction and salvation in equal measure, and to ensure that the blame and praise for both is distributed evenly, we’ve compiled a list of fifteen of the most powerful characters whose only motivation are to either save the universe or destroy it.
The only mortal who armed with nothing more than an iron will and an arsenal of gadgets and weapons that would shake the pillars of heaven itself has stood in the path of beings immeasurably more powerful than he could ever dream of being and lived to tell the tale, Batman is the personification of the human spirit.
DC’s avatar of justice might not be the most powerful beings to dwell in it, but his sheer force of will and refusal to surrender makes him one of the strongest.
The greatest trick that Constantine ever pulled was convincing the Devil to let him go. A man with a taste for the darkness who communes with demons and the things that go bump in the night, John Constantine is the often ignored factor that no one accounts for until it’s far too late.
The personification of magic in the DCU, Zatanna has mastered the subtle art of controlling the building blocks of creation, and through the manipulation of magic, can tear apart and rebuild the fabric of the cosmos.
She may look like a stage magician, but her incantations can twist the universe inside out.
The man who outran Death itself, The Flash sped to the end of time and space and hurtled through the boundary that holds the physical universe in check.
Able to run faster than the speed of light, if the Flash hits his target at full velocity, nothing can stand in his way.
The master of the oceans who can command all of the creatures that dwell within his kingdom, in his natural element, there are few who can compete with the power that Arthur Curry can summon, and even Superman has felt the wrath of the sometimes King of Atlantis and knows to tread carefully in his presence.
The “main man” himself and last of the Czarnians, he’s the no-nonsense anti-hero whose loyalty fluctuates according to his mood and what day of the week it is.
Having battled everyone from the Green Lantern Corps to the Teen Titans, the self-proclaimed strongest dude in the universe might just be able to live up to his not so outlandish claims.
The angst-ridden, sole survivor of a dead world, J’onn J’onnz has a power set similar to Superman but prefers to play the role of detective and diplomat rather than a warrior.
Which is probably just as well, as he could master the art of war in minutes and conquer any world if he chose to give in to the darkness instead of fighting on the side of the righteous.
Superman’s “clone” from Bizarro World, possesses all the raw power and abilities of Superman but has none of his intelligence, acting on instinct and driven by emotion.
He has all the fury of a nuclear arsenal and isn’t afraid to unleash it at a moment’s notice.
Karen Starr is a Kryptonian from an alternate universe who has learned to hone and sharpen her powers over time, and like Superman is a natural leader who has stood at the front of the JSA (Justice Society of America) and only wishes to use her almost unlimited power for good.
The cousin of Superman who, like Kal-El managed to escape the last moments of Krypton, Kara-Zor El is as powerful as Superman, and while she sometimes struggles with the role of Superhero, has never deviated from the path that the House of El has chosen to follow.
The embodiment of fear, and the entity responsible for once taking over Hal Jordan and using him as a weapon of universal destruction, Parallax is the embodiment of yellow energy, and no matter how many times his foes attempt to defeat him (is it even a “him”?), he returns time and time again, stronger than he was before.
Thaal Sinestro is a former Green Lantern and the leader of the Sinestro Corps who has laid worlds to waste, and raged across known space, chose to wield fear as a weapon rather than fight it.
His power when magnified through the yellow rings of his Corps is as staggering as it is terrifying.
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
When the words “In brightest day…” echo out, the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 is regarded as the greatest Green Lantern in all of history, and has put his life on the line countless times, and used his power to overcome fear and his will to defend all of creation from the evil that constantly threatens to engulf it.
The demi-god daughter of Zeus and Queen Hippolyta of Themyscira, Diana is a near-immortal champion of justice whose strength and courage could literally topple mountains.
A founding member of the Justice League of America, she has never faltered in the face of danger and has defended the DCU from all enemies foreign, domestic, and intergalactic for the last eighty years.
Given the power of the gods by a strange old wizard, whenever Billy Batson says his magic word, he becomes Shazam, a hero with the power to crack the world, and who could, should he ever choose to, probably defeat Superman in single combat.
The original bastion of the DCU, a hero so powerful that he can fly from one end of the Universe to the other, he has defeated death to return to the land of the living and sacrificed everything to defend his adopted home time and time again.
He isn’t just a superhero, he’s the god that other gods fear.
The spirit of vengeance, The Spectre is a magical entity that needs a human host to keep it in check.
With powers that are nearly unlimited, The Spectre is only controlled by the fact that it cannot, and will not act outside of the parameters set for it and can only use its powers to punish the guilty.
Having found a way to Earth-Prime, Doctor Manhattan is the most terrifying being in all reality, who can shape the physical laws of this, and any other universe with just his will and can erase and destroy any living creature with just a thought.
Doctor Manhattan is power personified and the only thing in the DC Universe that every other superpowered individual is afraid of.