25+ Most Powerful DC Heroes – Ranked

most powerful dc heroes

The first to come bounding onto the scene of Action Comics #1 was Superman himself. Since then, DC Comics has gone worldwide and beyond to explore an enormous, divergent group of amazing people.

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We secretly broke into the Justice League of America’s headquarters recently (not a simple task), to look through their database and work out the most powerful DC heroes.

Where does your favorite superhero rank in our estimation? Let’s have a look.

26. The Atom

Superpowers: Size-changing, martial art judo.

Ivy Town physicist Raymond ‘Ray’ Palmer was an ordinary guy until he learned that a lump of white star matter he found could be used to shrink things, including himself. After discovering the uses of this space mass for hero work, Ray took on the identity of The Atom, for his ability to shrink down to the size of, well, an atom. 

Year Created: 1961
How he got his Powers: Developed a size-changing belt, powered by white dwarf star matter that fell to Earth.
Weapons: 
Katarthan’s Sword
Did You Know? The Atom once killed Darkseid in Grant Morrison’s 1997 “Rock of Ages” Justice League storyline.


25. John Constantine

Superpowers: Expert of magic and the occult, innate talent in synchronicity; the principle of meaningful coincidences.

With all the super-level icons on this list, it’s impressive this sorcerer from Liverpool can keep up. We say ‘sorcerer’, but unlike Doctor Strange, his greatest arsenal is his knowledge of the occult and its various beasties, bells, wards and charms. Why’s he on the list then? Suppose a master of meaningful coincidences and having the world’s most talented silver tongue has got to count for something.

Year Created: 1985
How he got his Powers: Inspired to practice magic by reading about his family history.
Weapons: 
Moonblade
Did You Know? Rockstar Sting was the visual inspiration for Constantine, according to Moore.


24. Raven

Superpowers: Astral projection, magic control, self/group teleportation, mental subdual, flight and telepathy via astral ‘soul-self.’

Half-demon and raised in an alternate dimension, Raven is one of the iconic members of the Teen Titans. She’s not a powerhouse like many others, but thanks to her half-demon nature, she is formidable with the use of her astral-form. As a half-demon, she can separate her body from this ‘soul-self’, allowing her to perform all kinds of mystic tricks like teleportation, healing, or mental subdual.

Year Created: 1980
How she got her Powers: Demonic heritage as daughter of the demon lord Trigon. 
Did You Know? Raven can cure “some illnesses”, but she can’t “bring someone back to life”, or “cure any major disease” reports Comics Journal #80.


23. Cyborg

Superpowers: Super-strength, enhanced durability, can hack into any system, body filled with advanced alien weaponry, genius-level intelligence, supremely talented hacker.

In most forms of science-fiction, cyborgs are bad or deranged. Not Vic Stone, a long-standing Teen Titan who is actually more well-known for his tricky arsenal and elite hacking skills, than being some kind of knock-off Terminator. Because heavens above, it’s not like there aren’t enough super-strong heroes already.

Year Created: 1980
How he got his Powers: Body was given numerous cutting-edge bionic implants after he was horribly injured by a dimensional horror that broke into his parents’ laboratory.
Weapons: 
Self-created finger laser attachment, sonic cannon, electric shocker & more.
Did You Know? Cyborg’s sonic cannon can shock the ears of his enemies and concentrate blasts of sound to demolish barriers.


22. Atom Smasher

Superpowers: Size-changing, super-strength proportionate to his size, enhanced stamina and speed.

Atom Smasher (Albert Rothstein) is something of an inversion to the idea of disproportionate strength. His main gimmick is his strength relative to his size, and he’s not exactly a small dude either. Normally, he can make it easily to 28 feet tall, and he’d have the same effect hitting a house as anyone would stomping on a LEGO house.

Year Created: 1996
How he got his Powers: Grandfather was the radiation-enhanced superhuman Cyclotron.
Did You Know? During his time as the previous alias Nuklon, Albert was able to phase through walls.


21. Starfire

Superpowers: Energy projection, UV energy absorption, supersonic flight, longevity, super-human strength reflexes and speed.

Beyond her super-abilities, Starfire (real name Koriand’r) is one of the iconic members of the Teen Titans. A princess of a planet in the Vega star system, like a certain other super-powered alien, she fled to Earth after being made unable to go back home. She found Robin and formed the Teen Titans with Beast Boy, Raven and Cyborg. She is not your average oddly-colored space princess, we’ll tell you that much.

Year Created: 1980
How she got her Powers: Natural Tamaranean physiology, enhanced by the experiments of alien scientists.
Did You Know? Those on Starfire’s home-planet are actually descended from cats, which means she has a feline history!


20. Wonder Girl

Superpowers: Superhuman condition, highly-skilled in close combat, flight, long life.

A kind of less powerful Wonder Woman, Cassandra ‘Cassie’ Sandsmark has a very similar heritage, being a proper daughter of Zeus. She’s not as powerful a hero as Wonder Woman though, as she’s in no way as old as the Princess of Themyscira and not as experienced. Her mother was a big Greek Mythology buff, so she didn’t realize she was of divine heritage and initially thought her powers came from various Ancient Greek artefacts like the Sandals of Hermes.

Year Created: 1996
How she got her Powers: Various ancient Greek artefacts (initially), born from Zeus, divine heritage.
Weapons: 
Lasso of Lightning
Did You Know? Like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth, Wonder Girl’s Lasso of Lightning can channel Zeus’ lightning.


19. Batman

Superpowers: Genius-level intellect, peak-level physical condition, exceptional martial-artist, mastery of detective skills.

Gotham City’s Caped Crusader, the World’s Greatest Detective is the iconic story of an ordinary man pushing himself to superhuman levels. Through his amazing intellect and the technological innovations of Wayne Enterprises, Batman punches so far above his weight, he regularly joins forces with the godlike core of the Justice League. But there’s more; Bruce Wayne is such an exceptional individual that Amanda Waller considers him to be a metahuman. Not bad going, Bats.

Year Created: 1939
How he got his Powers: Trained with reclusive monks In the Himalayas in his formative years, developed advanced crime-fighting technology through Wayne Enterprises.
Weapons: 
The Batmobile, Batarangs, Bat-Flamethrower, Kryptonite Grenade Launcher & more.
Did You Know? There’s a Batman-Wolverine Hybrid! The Dark Claw is Marvel and DC’s crossover character!

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18. Green Lantern

Superpowers: Flight, force-field generation and hard light object creation, all generated by a green power ring.

The iconic Green Lantern, Harold ‘Hal’ Jordan was a fighter pilot who was bestowed a green ring of power by an alien who fell to Earth. Becoming a protector of Earth for the Green Lantern Corps, Hal is the definitive version, capable of summoning whatever he imagines by the power of thought, including his costume.

Year Created: 1940
How he got his Powers: Discovery of an alien ring of power.
Weapons: Green Lantern Ring
Did You Know? The Green Lantern has had a few strange sidekicks including a dog, a starfish, a cabdriver, and an Eskimo named Pieface.


17. Aquaman

Superpowers: Superhuman strength, invulnerability, telepathic power over marine or marine-connected life. Energy projection and water manipulation (with the Trident of Poseidon).

The King of Atlantis and therefore, technically, king of 70% of the planet. Aquaman is not much of a joke, really, considering a lifetime surviving under the ocean has granted him immunity to its crushing depths and provided him the required power. He doesn’t actually talk to fish, he commands them and they obey. Dolphins require a bit more convincing, though.

Year Created: 1941
How he got his Powers: Enhanced Atlantean Physiology, rare heritage.
Weapons: Trident of Poseidon
Did You Know? As listed in our list of Aquaman facts, he loses his hand in several variations of the comics. Once, he lost it to piranhas, and another time, his enemy Black Manta cut it off. 


16. Captain Marvel Jr.

Superpowers: Enhanced intellect, superhuman strength, superhuman speed, teleportation, near-invulnerability, immune to exhaustion, magic control, lighting control, immortality, indomitable will.

Adopted son of Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, Freddy Freedman (aka Captain Marvel Jr.) summons his powers slightly differently to older members of this family. Rather than shouting “Shazam!” to summon his powers, he shouts “Captain Marvel!”, calling upon the power of Captain Marvel, rather than the gods the others call for. He’s super-powerful, but not to the extent of Billy Batson.

Year Created: 1941
How he got his Powers: Granted to him by an ancient wizard.
Did You Know? In his human form, Freddy has a lame leg, but as Captain Marvel Jr., he has full use of his legs.


15. Superboy

Superpowers: Flight, super-strength, invulnerability, heat vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, telekinesis using objects he’s touched.

To protect Metropolis in Superman’s absence after the infamous Death of Superman incident, Project Cadmus created Superboy (Conner Kent); a clone of Superman with some Lex Luthor thrown in (for some reason) who upon Supes’ return got trained and adopted under the Man of Steel. He got wiped out during the Rebirth arc, but he made enough of an impression that he deserves to be on this list.

Year Created: 1993
How he got his Powers: Cloned from Superman’s DNA.
Did You Know? Conner was in love and in a relationship with Wonder Girl!


14. Ultra Boy

Superpowers: Superhuman strength and speed, flight, super-durability, enhanced Penetra-Vision that can see past lead.

One of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the 31st Century, Ultra Boy went back in time to discover Superboy’s identity in order to prove himself as an effective member of the team. Theoretically, he’s as strong as Superman, but he can only use one of his powers at a time. So, while he can lift things like Supes, he can’t fly and use his penetra-vision simultaneously.

Year Created: 1962
How he got his Powers: Swallowed by a space whale, exposed to the ultra-radiation inside.
Did You Know? His real name (Jo Nah) is derived from the biblical figure Jonah who was also swallowed by a ‘large fish’.


13. OMAC

Superpowers: Superhuman enhancement, energy generation, regeneration, can alter his body to mimic various metahuman abilities.

Shorthand for ‘One Man Army Corps’, OMAC’s nature is exactly what it says on the tin. Empowered by a satellite called ‘Brother Eye’, OMAC is a cyborg peacekeeper from a future where armies are impractical. Capable of mimicking various metahuman talents, OMAC is a dangerous opponent for anyone on the wrong side of peace and order. How dangerous? A recent incarnation could kick Power Girl and Steel.

Year Created: 1974 
How he got his Powers: Transhuman enhancement via signal by AI satellite ‘Brother Eye’.
Did You Know? Buddy Blank appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode When OMAC Attacks, voiced by Jeff Bennett. 


12. The Flash

Superpowers: Phenomenal near-lightspeed performance, superhuman reflexes, stamina and strength, accelerated healing, can vibrate to phase through objects.

Before a freak accident, Barry Allen was very slow, always late, and absent-minded. When an accident in his forensics lab douses chemicals all over him, Barry unlocks the Speed Force and becomes the fastest man alive. So fast, that many stories and quips are devoted to just how many fractions of a nanosecond he is performing at. In Crisis on Infinite Earths, it turns out the bolt that caused his accident was from his future self. Take that, Superman flying counter to the Earth’s spin!

Year Created: 1940
How he got his Powers: Exposed to chemicals hit by a lightning bolt, unlocking his access to the Speed Force.
Did You Know? The Flash has raced Superman to see who is the fastest and it ended up in a tie.


11. Donna Troy

Superpowers: Super-human condition, flight, near invulnerability, immortality, formidable close combat skills.

Donna is a bit hard to describe. Originally created as a younger Wonder Woman, she eventually became a character of her own. To fill in the gaps, she’s been everything from a child of the mythical Titans to being an evil copy of Diana, designed to destroy her, and eventually a heroine. DC doesn’t really know what to make of her, so she’s mostly a lower-level Wonder Woman.

Year Created: 1965
How she got her Powers: Divine heritage, but varies wildly with adaptation, frequently related to Diana in some way.
Weapons: Amazonian Weapons, Lasso of Persuasion
Did You Know? Donna is actually the original ‘Wonder Girl’ and was Wonder Woman’s original sidekick.


10. Supergirl

Superpowers: Flight, super-strength, invulnerability, heat-vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, numerous other ‘super’ abilities.

Kara Zor-El did not have the familiarity with her power possessed by Superman or his other Earthbound relatives, thanks to only leaving Kryptonian soil when she was a teenager and being one of the younger Els. But Supergirl is no slouch in the super-department. She’s just not as experienced with being under a yellow sun as her uncle Jor-El’s son is.

Year Created: 1959
How she got her Powers: Natural Kryptonian physiology
Weapons: Rogol Zaar’s Axe
Did You Know? Supergirl is occasionally (but wrongfully) dubbed as “stronger than Superman”, because she actually grew up on Krypton and doesn’t hold back when it comes to her powers.


9. Power Girl

Superpowers: Flight, super-strength, invulnerability, heat vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, numerous other ‘super’ abilities.

When Superman is your cousin from an alternate universe to yours, it’s hard not to be ranked well on this list. Unlike Supes, Power Girl is actually immune to Kryptonite. Why? Because Kryptonite only harms those who come from the same reality and this heroine actually came from another earth. She also appeared long after Superman’s bout with power creep, so she doesn’t have all the super-silly skills like sensing who is calling you on a phone. Overall, though, Power Girl is in no way ‘stronger’ than her cousin, but certainly more powerful than Supergirl.

Year Created: 1976
How she got her Powers: Natural Kryptonian physiology
Did You Know? At one point, Power Girl had the ability to spit acid from her mouth.


8. Big Barda

Superpowers: Near-godlike superhuman condition, immortality, superhuman strength, stamina and durability; expert close combatant.

Big Barda is one of the New Gods – phenomenally powerful beings with close ties to the fundamental nature of the universe. Barda’s role was as the captain of Darkseid’s elite guard. She later rebelled and fled Earth, but her nature as a New God and being raised an elite soldier of Darkseid’s, means she’s pretty close to Wonder Woman when push comes to shove.

Year Created: 1971
How she got her Powers: New God physiology, trained under Darkseid’s Female Furies. 
Weapons: Mega-Rod, spear, shield
Did You Know? Big Barda’s Mega-Rod can shoot huge energy blasts, strong enough to take down a God and also creates boom tubes for fast travel.


7. Martian Manhunter

Superpowers: Superhuman condition, flight, regeneration, shape-shifting, invisibility, telepathy, telekinesis.

An alien from the planet Mars, but also a good one. Martian Manhunter’s crime-fighting history was one of the more straightforward – ends up on Earth and figures he’s best off passing the time by fighting crime. It’s a good thing the Martians as imagined by H.G. Wells aren’t anything like J’onn J’onzz, because this guy isn’t actually empowered; apparently all Martians can phase through walls, have x-ray vision and shape-shift.

Year Created: 1955
How he got his Powers: Natural Martian physiology
Did You Know? Superman considers Martian Manhunter “the most powerful being on Earth”.


6. Mary Marvel 

Superpowers: Enhanced intellect, superhuman strength, superhuman speed, teleportation, near-invulnerability, immune to exhaustion, magic control, lighting control, immortality, indomitable will.

Much like Billy Batson, Mary Marvel can call upon the power of the gods to become Earth’s Mightiest Mortal. With one teensy drawback that the pool with which all this energy comes from is finite. So the more Marvels there are, the less powerful they are individually. It’s not much to worry about though, as when she’s empowered with Hercules’ superhuman-strength, she can rival that of Superman. Unlike her brother Billy, she’s been tempted by other sources like Black Adam or Darkseid.

Year Created: 1942
How she got her Powers: Granted to her by an ancient wizard (initial). Has gained power from the likes of Darkseid and Black Adam.
Did You Know? Mary is the twin sister of Billy Batson AKA Shazam!


5. Wonder Woman

Superpowers: Super-human condition, flight, near invulnerability, immortality, indestructible bracelets, formidable close combat skills.

Daughter of Zeus, or fashioned from clay by Hippolyta? Doesn’t seem to matter. Thanks to her formidable fighting prowess, her demigod-like natural abilities and her millennia of combat experience, Diana of Themyscira is by far one of the most potent women of DC’s hero roster. She’s easily one of DC’s heavy-hitters and has even managed to give Batman’s brilliant mind such a run for his money, the Bat has no clever counter should she turn rogue.

Year Created: 1941
How she got her Powers: Formed from clay, blessed by Zeus. Raised within the warrior culture of the Amazons.
Weapons: Magical Sword, Shield of Alcippe, Sword of Exoristos, Themysciran Shield
Did You Know? Wonder Woman was the first major superheroine in mainstream media, which also includes Marvel.


4. Captain Atom

Superpowers: Energy manipulation, faster-than-light flight, super-strength, super-durability, can survive in space, enhanced reflexes, symbiosis with an alien metal ‘dilustel’.

A falsely convicted criminal, transformed into an all-powerful master of reality and longstanding face of the Justice League – this is Nathaniel Adam, who served his country and now fights injustice wherever it sprouts. The Dilustel Armor that envelops his body protects him from injury and he can alter matter on a molecular level, regenerate, manipulate energy, nullify magic, and time-travel.

Year Created: 1960
How he got his Powers: Took part in a military experiment where the military dropped an atomic bomb on an alien spacecraft with him inside. Came back 16 years later with the metal of the alien ship bonded to his skin. 
Did You Know? The metal that covers his body makes Atom weigh three-quarters of a ton! 


3. Shazam/Captain Marvel

Superpowers: Enhanced intellect, superhuman strength, superhuman speed, teleportation, near-invulnerability, immune to exhaustion, magic control, lighting control, immortality, indomitable will.

The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. Combined and when called forth by shouting “SHAZAM”, meek little boy Billy Batson transforms into Earth’s Mightiest Mortal and one of the strongest in the DC Universe! He was so popular one time that he’s actually been a peer to Superman in his popularity.

Year Created: 1939
How he got his Powers: Granted to him by an ancient wizard.
Did You Know? In the original Captain Marvel comics, Billy Batson had a highly intelligent tiger from India as a best friend and side-kick.


2. Superman

Superpowers: Flight, super-strength, invulnerability, heat-vision, x-ray vision, freeze breath, numerous other ‘super’ abilities.

The Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton. He has a dozen names, but the second most powerful DC hero is most widely known as Superman. Supes is the beginning of DC Comics, and one of their icons alongside Batman. Sent to Earth by his parents moments before their home planet explodes, Kal’El always felt different. After all, most Earth kids can’t jump a three-story building. Inspired by his two fathers, his foster father and his real father, Kal’El swears to be a defender of innocence and justice.

Year Created: 1938 
How he got his Powers: Natural Kryptonian physiology with long-term exposure to Earth’s sun, which is brighter than Krypton’s parent star.
Did You Know? Other than Kryptonite, Superman’s weakness is psychic power. He has been mind-controlled by psychic villains in the past including Darkseid, Poison Ivy and Lex Luthor.


1. The Spectre

Superpowers: Immortality, infinite strength, space and time manipulation, cosmic awareness, precognition, matter control.

Tippy-top of the list is the Spectre, and for good reason. An entity created by the all-powerful Voice (God, essentially), the Spirit of Vengeance is a cosmic manifestation of the desire for the vanquishing of evil and the ending of revenge. It is given a host (normally Jim Corrigan) for which to fight evil and bring justice. As something created by the Almighty itself, the Spectre is by all accounts indomitable and unstoppable, and thus the most powerful DC hero ever in our eyes. 

Year Created: 1940
How he got his Powers: Jim Corrigan was murdered and denied entry into the afterlife, granted the spirit of vengeance as the Almighty’s chief weapon against evil.
Did You Know? The Spectre has defeated the Joker by granting him “fleeting moments of sanity, where the weight of the guilt of his sins crushes his sanity, leaving him in a catatonic state”.

The JLA’s archives are nothing short of exhaustive. We did our best, but given the varied timelines that are in play, this list isn’t necessarily a definitive one.

If there’s a powerful DC superhero you think could fit in the list, or maybe you’d rank someone up or down, let us know below.

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Tale Teller
Mark S

Mark S

Mark Stamp has a head for writing, whether it's short stories, logs, journals or the latest news. When not deep in exploring a new tale or world he is on the lookout for movie, video game and TV news. What brings him back to the narratives are often the deeper or hidden philosophies in great works, niche publications and new releases. Mark also enjoys sharing discoveries, answering queries or pondering an implication or two.

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