The 15 Most Powerful DC Characters, Ranked

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The DC Universe is loaded with powerful icons like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, roaming the streets and skies of these stories and doing battle with equally-powerful supervillains to protect the citizens of the world. Every character possesses a unique set of skills and abilities that elevate them to metahuman status, but which one of them is the strongest? Who are the DC characters that are so powerful they could punch out the moon, or time itself?

Well, we have a list for that! Here’s our ranking of 15 of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe.

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15. Doctor Fate

doctor-fate

Image via DC Comics

Because Doctor Fate has mastered a power set (magic) that many DC characters don’t have, he has an advantage that many heroes and villains don’t. The original Doctor Fate was Kent Nelson, the son of archeologist Sven Nelson and a founding member of the Justice Society of America. Kent’s transformation into Doctor Fate granted him powers of spellcasting, invulnerability, flight, superhuman strength, force fields, healing, pyrokinesis, telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation, and immateriality.

Magic users in the DC Universe aren’t nearly as numerous as the “traditional” spandex-wearers we think of when we imagine superheroes, making Doctor Fate’s impressive skill set something of a novelty as well as a force with which few can reckon.

14. Shazam

shazam-dc-comics

Image via DC Comics

Originally dubbed “Captain Marvel,” Shazam debuted in Whiz Comics #2 in December 1939 (cover dated 1940). Since then, he has become one of DC’s strongest and most revered heroes.

Teenager Billy Batson holds the power of Shazam. He transforms into “the world’s mightiest mortal” by speaking a single word:. You guessed it: Shazam.

As far as big screen interpretations go, Zachary Levi portrayed him in 2019’s Shazam!, and will return to the role in the forthcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

13. Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

Image via Warner Bros.

Wonder Woman is far from DC’s most powerful being. However, she earns her place on this list not just by virtue of who she is, but of what she has overcome and what she represents.

Wonder Woman represents the potential for a world without deadly confict. She symbolizes the strength of love and kindness as qualities that can help heal humanity of its hate and hubris.

Because she is stands for such strongly idealistic (but good-hearted and optimistic) things, we have to consider the strength of that symbol. And because what she represents is mighty on its own, Wonder Woman absolutely deserves a spot on this list.

12. Darkseid

Image via HBO Max

Darkseid is the Justice League’s biggest bad for some pretty clear reasons. He shoots zig-zaggy laser beams from his eyes. He commands legions of frightening (and disposable) minions. He rules a spherical hellscape (Apokolips) with a stony fist. His goal to rule the universe clashes with the League’s desire to protect the innocent.

Yes, some of the villains on this list eclipse Darkseid in the strength department. However, given the fact that Darkseid has proved himself to be more than a match for the entire Justice League, I would be remiss if I didn’t include him.

11. Lex Luthor

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Image via DC Comics

Lex Luthor’s greatest strength is his incredible mind. His cleverness, savviness, and indisputable brilliance are matched only by Bruce Wayne. Luthor doesn’t boast the formidable strength of Darkseid, nor does he possess the near-omniscience of Brainiac. What he does have, though, is access, intelligence, and resources.

The comics prove time and again that even on a universe-spanning battlefield, human ingenuity is not something to be underestimated. Luthor has plenty of that and more. He’s able to go toe-to-toe with gods and other cosmic beings because he knows his way around a power-play. He knows what his enemies want and he knows how to use this information to manipulate them.

Luthor makes this list because he can smart and outclass almost anyone in the DC Universe. If that doesn’t make him powerful, I’m not sure what does. Also, in a recent Justice League run, Luthor allied with Perpetua and became stronger than he has ever been. So there’s that.

10. Superman

Henry Cavill as Superman in black suit in Zack Snyder's Justice League

Image via HBO Max/Warner Bros.

The Man of Steel is an obvious pick for this list, but not just for reasons you already know. Superman’s will is as mighty as his punch, allowing him to grapple with forces far more powerful than himself. He draws his immeasurable strength from Earth’s sun, which

As most know, Superman’s greatest drawback is his weakness to Kryptonite. He doesn’t have any advanced protection against magic, either, making people such as Doctor Fate and Felix Faust particularly dangerous for him to displease.

But aside from those vulnerabilities, Superman is impervious to almost anything his adversaries throw at him. As far as Justice League members go, it’s tough to top the Man of Steel.

9. Eclipso

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Image via DC Comics

Eclipso is currently wreaking havoc in Blue Valley, Nebraska on the CW’s Stargirl, but his evil stretches back to the Silver Age of Comics. He first appeared in 1963’s House of Secrets #61, debuting as an evil entity who takes the scientist Bruce Gordon as his host. He has taken many hosts, but his power remains nearly unmatched.

A final note for this entry: It will be interesting to see whether Courtney Whitmore and her new JSA can stop Eclipso, or if he sticks around for that confirmed third season.

8. Doctor Manhattan

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Image via Warner Bros.

Dr. Manhattan’s power was pretty evident in Watchmen, but it wasn’t until the DC Comics event Doomsday Clock that readers realized just how strong he is. He can tamper with reality whenever and however he wants, as the aforementioned event series proved.

Manhattan’s former name was Doctor Jon Osterman, a celebrated nuclear physicist who became a god-like being following a botched particle test. He abandoned Earth some time after his transformation, amassing more power and solidifying himself as one of DC’s most formidable beings.

7. The Anti-Monitor

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Image via DC Comics

The Anti-Monitor is a piece of work. The antithesis of his brother, the Monitor, he controls the Antimatter Universe. He helped kickstart the Crisis on Infinite Earths, created an army of lightning-throwing troops aptly called the Thunderers, and pops up frequently to cause trouble for the heroes of Earth.

The Anti-Monitor is probably the strongest of Perpetua’s children, which is frightening considering just how strong they all are. He has the ability to end reality as we know it, but that seems to be a common thing among DC’s most powerful players.

6. Perpetua

perpetua-dc-comics

Image via DC Comics

Perpetua is a newer addition to the DC Universe. Like The Batman Who Laughs, she has not appeared onscreen yet but will likely be brought back for a future adaptation. Imprisoned for eons in the Source Wall, Perpetua breaks free and begins rallying her forces (which include a powered-up Lex Luthor) to fight the Justice League and set her ancient plot into motion.

Not only did Perpetua create the Multiverse, but she also mothered the absurdly powerful Monitor, Anti-Monitor, and World Forger. She is a member of The Hand, a group of cosmic entities tasked with creating universes. She’s a being of incomprehensible might, one who could only really be bested by someone like The Darkest Knight.

5. The Spectre

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Image via DC Comics

When Eclipso was cast from Heaven, the Spectre took his place as the embodiment of God’s wrath. The Spectre has taken many hosts, with the Green Lantern Hal Jordan being the most recognizable.

The character debuted back in 1940’s More Fun Comics #52 before undergoing a number of transformations.

But despite the many host changes he has made over the years, The Spectre as a force is nearly unstoppable. As an extension of God’s fury, it is his duty to carry out vengeance as his master sees fit.

4. The Darkest Knight

the-darkest-knight-dc-comics

Image via DC Comics

During the final act of Dark Nights: Death Metal, The Batman Who Laughs becomes The Darkest Knight. He traps Perpetua in rock and crushes her, completing his transformation into the universe’s most imminent threat – and the Justice League’s biggest headache.

He’s an omnipotent force for evil and a being of staggering physical and mental prowess. We haven’t seen The Darkest Knight/The Batman Who Laughs onscreen just yet, but considering DC’s increased output of animated movies, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep an eye out in that sphere.

3. Superman Prime

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Image via DC Comics

Think Superman, but stronger, faster, etc. Superman Prime is Supes from the future with a twist: he lived inside Earth’s sun for 15,000 years and became a hero of unstoppable might.

It’s said that Superman Prime had the ability to transcend time and space, eventually traveling to Heaven, Hell, and other places beyond human comprehension.

2. Elaine Belloc

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Image via DC Comics

Elaine Belloc is the successor to the throne of Heaven. The daughter of Michael Demiurgos, she boasts powers of atomic manipulation, magic, immortality, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. She is one of the strongest inhabitants of the DC Universe, second only to The Presence.

Compared to other characters on this list, Elaine is a newer addition to DC canon. She first appeared in Lucifer #4 (September 2000) and has quickly climbed the ranks of DC’s most formidable characters. She gains even more power after Fenris the Wolf kills her father, effectively making her the ruler of Heaven after the Presence departs.

1. The Presence

the-presence-dc-comics

Image via DC Comics

This entry is a bit unfair, but the internet will eat me alive if I don’t include it. The Presence is DC’s version of the Abrahamic interpretation of God, a peerless figure who gives some of DC’s strongest characters their powers. He is spoken of more often than he is seen, which I suppose is appropriate.

He gave the Spectre his powers, created the DC Universe, and performed other feats that only the creator of existence could. The Presence is second to none, so naturally he needed to claim the top spot here.

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About The Author

Hayden Mears
(9 Articles Published)

Hayden Mears is an autistic entertainment journalist with work featured in over a dozen publications. You can find his work at Starburst Magazine, The Playlist, Screen Rant, the Eisner-winning comic magazine PanelxPanel, and others.

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