Skip to main content

The Eleven Most Powerful Villains and Threats in the DC Universe

Chris Peruzzi is a comic book superhero historian who is passionate about how today's comic book heroes are the new mythology for America.

DC Threats: The Real Crises Start With These Guys

DC Threats: The Real Crises Start With These Guys

Which Are DC's Strongest Threats and Most Powerful Villains?

This wasn’t easy. When I originally thought of doing this piece it came naturally as a companion to “The Ten Biggest Threats to the Marvel Universe”. It’s like washing your hands. You wash your right hand and you naturally are going to wash your left. Unfortunately with this topic it wasn’t that simple.

In this case, my Marvel right hand had water soluble stains that came off with just a little soap. The DC left hand was like trying to scrub off some indelible permanent ink with the mild soap they keep at public rest rooms. It won’t get clean immediately and will only fade after it wears off with time.

DC needed time.

When you look at the Marvel Universe, it’s arranged like an onion. There are universal threats and a team of heroes working to address that threat on that level. Where there are mystical threats there are heroes that address them on that level. For example, when Marvel has a threat on a galactic level that occurs somewhere off in the Kree/Skrull area of the universe, we know that it will be addressed by either the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Silver Surfer, Quasar, or the Nova Corps. Whereas, if there are mystical threats in a storyline from the Shuma Gorath or the Dread Dormammu, we can depend on someone like Doctor Strange, Clea, or Brother Voodoo to step up to the plate and deal with them.

Marvel works from galactic level threats, to mystical/dimensional, to planetary, to national, to environmental, to city, and eventually to street and individual menaces. While these threats do exist from one degree to another within the DC Universe, they are not so readily visible as they are within the Marvel Universe.

The primary focus for DC is what happens on Earth.

Sure, we can expect the Green Lantern Corps to surrey forth to address the measures that happen in outer space or lend a hand to Rann and Thanagar. And because we as readers are human beings, we’ll see these threats through the eyes of Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, or John Stewart. We only become aware of universe ending threats when they approach our solar system or come knocking on our door when we can’t avoid them on Earth.

At least, that’s what happens most of the time. Due to the premise of DC’s 52, Earth appears to be the keystone which keeps the DC Multiverse together. So, luckily, we always get a front row seat to the menace du jour.

And we speak of menaces and threats to this universe. Some enemies were old favorites and were easy to see. Some required a bit of research and personal recollection and analysis. However, for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to start with…

Darkseid - Seeking the Anti-life Equation

Darkseid - Seeking the Anti-life Equation

1. Darkseid

Easily one of the most powerful villains in the DC Universe, this character created by Jack Kirby was set up to be THE BAD GUY. As much as I love the Marvel villain, Thanos, he is a carbon copy of Darkseid.

Darkseid exists to eliminate all free will in the universe and to figure out the anti-life equation. The anti-life equation will give the wielder mastery of all thoughts and emotions of every being in the universe. He exists to corrupt the lives of every being in the multiverse.

His chief weapon/power is his omega beams which he emits through his eyes. Once he unleashes the omega beams they will seek out their target and find it no matter where it goes. It is literally the bullet with your name on it. In addition to this, his strength level is on par with Superman's (if not, greater).

Darkseid rules Apokolips with an iron fist and chooses to keep the entire population of the planet in misery with the exception of his elite force who exist to do nothing but to make the lives of everyone below them miserable.

Scroll to Continue
The Anti-monitor - Out to destroy the multiverse with Metron

The Anti-monitor - Out to destroy the multiverse with Metron

2. The Anti-Monitor

When DC does create a really bad guy, they go all out.

In this case, they needed someone so powerful, so evil, so bent on destroying EVERYTHING, that they came up with the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-monitor was created shortly after the creation of the universe and was the counterpart to The Monitor. The Monitor was the positive matter being created by a being called "The Monitor" and the Anti-monitor was the negative version of the "smaller" Monitor (I know, it's confusing - think of it like unleashing a probe that was split into a good version and an evil version).

These two fought each other for a million years before they knocked each other out like something out of a "Three Stooges Coconut Knocking" sound. In any event, they were out of commission for over 9 billion years. When the Anti-Monitor awakened, he went about destroying the original DC Multiverse.

The two biggest deaths/casualties caused by the Anti-Monitor were the original Supergirl and Barry Allen, the Silver-age Flash. There are a whole slew of other heroes and villains that died as a consequence the the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" that he caused.

He is a threat that requires a unified concentrated effort to vanquish.

Trigon - Evil Nasty Demon Megalomaniac

Trigon - Evil Nasty Demon Megalomaniac

3. Trigon

This guy is just plain nasty.

He's a demon from another dimension that has conquered thousands of dimensions and was on his way to ours. He's killed millions and by age sixteen he happily slew his mother. He's cruel, heartless, mean, and demented.

And a bit angry for no real reason.

Oh and, incidentally, he is Raven's (from the Teen Titans) dad.

Trigon is pure evil and a supposed all powerful entity. He's immortal, super-strength, size shifting, energy casting, piece of reality altering bad. He's omniscient. Whenever he makes an appearance, it will take the combined effort of several superteams including the JLA, JSA, Teen Titans... and anyone else they can find, to stop him.

Mister Mxyzptlk

Mister Mxyzptlk

4. Mister Mxyzptlk

We should all know who this guy is.

Mister Mxyzptlk is that imp that annoys Superman almost every ninety days. He gets bored in the 5th Dimension and needs to come here to have a bit of fun. He can pretty much alter reality in almost any way he sees fit. We've seen him make Superman into all different shapes sizes and animals. However, in the end, Superman usually tricks him into saying his name backwards and he winds up going back home.

Okay, I know what your saying. You're saying, "What's this guy doing here?"

Well, I'll tell you.

A couple of years back, DC came up with a storyline called "Emperor Joker". As Mxyzptlk was really bored, he wanted to see what would happen if he gave an almost infinitesimal bit of power to The Joker. The Joker tricked Mxyzptlk into giving him about 99% of his power. With his power, the Joker had the power over life, death, resurrection, and almost brought an end to everything that ever existed. With Myxzptlk's power, the Joker was able to challenge The Spectre himself.

When you can end existence on "an accident" you're a pretty powerful threat.



5. Imperiex Prime

Imperiex Prime has caused millions of deaths on this world and billions or deaths across the universe.

What is the Imperiex? Simply put, it's entropy. It's the force that causes all things to slow down, deteriorate, and stop. The Imperiex is older than the universe and his job is to eliminate imperfections within the universe.

This sends him, of course, to Earth. Among the casualties fighting the Imperiex were Aquaman, Queen Hippolyta, Guy Gardner, and Lois Lane's Dad (all of which were brought back to life through one reason or another).

The Imperiex was eventually defeated when he and Brainiac 13 were sent back in time to the creation of the universe at the point of the big bang. Superman allowed the Imperiex to explode with Brainiac 13. The irony was that the imperfection that the Imperiex had originally sensed within the universe was the Imperiex itself.

Parallax - Fear Itself

Parallax - Fear Itself

6. Parallax

Originally, I was going to show a picture of Hal Jordan as Parallax. But, to be clear, Hal Jordan is not that horrific thing.

DC Readers have known Parallax for decades only they didn't know it was Parallax they were reading about. When the Guardians of the Universe created the central battery on OA, they had used the battery to imprison Parallax. Parallax was what the Guardians called "the yellow imperfection" within the battery. They also stated that without this imperfection that the battery would not work.

This, of course, was a lie.

Parallax's presence within the battery had on specific effect on every Green Lantern who used a ring. It wouldn't work on the color yellow. The reason for this was that yellow was the color for the force of fear in the emotional spectrum.

Personally, I thought this was a great idea from the writers. This harkens back to the old expressions of having a "yellow streak" or being called "yeller" for being a coward.

Parallax is the force of fear. The Guardians knew that the only way to overcome fear was through willpower and fearlessness. That's the reason why every Green Lantern needs those two characteristics in order to work the ring - will power and fearlessness.

Parallax on its own is a terrible force that looks to use its power of fear to dominate the universe. The Sinestro Corps use its power to create fear and panic throughout the universe as a means of control.



7. Krona

Billions of years ago, Krona was an OAn scientist who was seeking to find the origin of the multiverse. According to the Guardians of the Universe, the actual creation of the multiverse should never be seen by sentient eyes.

Well, Krona peeked. He saw the hand of creation make all that is - while he was doing that, his machine (which made it possible for seeing this) exploded.

This action apparently released evil into the universe.

The Guardians punished Krona by changing his body into pure energy and scattering him across the cosmos. Krona, with the help of Neron, was able to reassemble himself and was given the power to take revenge on the Guardians.

Krona is immortal and invulnerable and powerful enough to take out any and almost all forces set against him.

A Sun Eater

A Sun Eater

8. Sun Eaters

Sometimes the name says it all.

"Sun Eaters" are things that eat suns. They are not evil in the sense that a blizzard or a hurricane is not evil. These things are weapons as they are living nebulas that drain all of the energy from a star.

They eat suns.

When you consider how life forms rely on the beneficial stellar energy of suns and stars for light, heat, nutrition, and growth, a sun eater can not only wipe out the inhabitants of a sun, but all of the life forms of an entire solar system.

Neron - The bad guy with the best deals

Neron - The bad guy with the best deals

9. Neron

While there are several beings in the DC Universe that have been classified a pure evil, we still have beings here like Neron.

Neron is the kind of seductive evil we know that is temptation and will give a person his or her heart's desire... if they only do one little thing. This thing will seem trite and ordinary, it will also seems to be quite innoculous.

For example, the hero, Blue Devil, was offered fame and fortune from Neron. The Blue Devil's movie career was going nowhere as his lover/agent could not get his career off the ground. Neron told Blue Devil to simply use his power to abandon a secondary manless power station... and he'd take care of the rest. As it turned out, the Blue Devil's agent was in a helicopter with a new movie deal for him. As she was coming home, her helecopter got caught in power lines, killing all aboard. These were power lines that connected one station to the power station that the Blue Devil blew up. Shortly after the agent's death other agents began to call the Blue Devil, asking him if he needed new representation for the movie deal that his original agent had found.

Neron is extremely powerful and can easily dispose and defeat such enemies as Alan Scott (The Golden Age Green Lantern) and the first Mongul with a fraction of his power. Neron represents more of a force of universal corruption rather than destruction.

But isn't that bad enough.

Mordru versus the LSH

Mordru versus the LSH

10. Mordru

There are stories that say the dark lord, Mordru, was never born and can never die. He is an immensely powerful sorceror who can only be defeated when he imprisoned by entombment.

Although, in the present day, he has made a name for himself as a menace to Earth and the Justice Society of America, in the future, he is a galactic level threat who commands armies and uses nothing but the darkest of magic.

In the future timeline of the Legion of Superheroes, he has fought the Legion countless times and usually can only be defeated by a sorceror of equal power or a team of magic users.

In the present day, his chief antagonist is Doctor Fate in the guise of Hector Hall. Between Hall and the ghost of the magician Nabu, they have used all of the Lord of Order magic to defeat Mordru and show him that despite how powerful he becomes, he will never, ever win against the legacies of the Justice Society.

Nevertheless, he should always be taken seriously before people get killed.

The Great Darkness or The Great Evil Beast

The Great Darkness or The Great Evil Beast

11. The Great Evil Beast

This recent addition to the list is one that I had completely overlooked. I can only write it off as “too bloody obvious to see”.

It’s like asking a fish what water is. If the fish could talk or if you spoke “fish language”, it probably still couldn’t answer the question as water is everything to a fish. It is the same thing when you talk about the Great Evil Beast also known as the Great Darkness.

It is what evil is.

To put this in better perspective, when we talk about God in the DCU, we refer to it as “The Presence”. This is who the Spectre works for. The Spectre, whose job it is to be the “wrath of God”, is an agent of good. The Great Evil Beast is the absolute opposite of the Presence.

The Beast originally was summoned by a mad group of magicians collectively known as the Brujería. When that act blew up in their face, the Darkness was met by Etrigan (The Demon), Doctor Fate, and the Spectre – who also failed to stop it. As it grew stronger with its concepts of evil being… well evil… it continued to Heaven where the Swamp Thing taught it the balance between good and evil and that one cannot exist without the other.

Ironically, when I did my research on the Great Evil Beast, I actually found his first appearance in Swamp Thing’s American Gothic storyline. We see the Great Darkness in an eternal arm wrestling match with the Presence. Thus it is the concept of Yin and Yang balancing one another.

To know the Great Darkness is to know madness – as Mento from Doom Patrol found out when he psychically touched part of it. It is omnipotent as the Presence is omnipotent. It is impossible to say how evil it is when it is, in fact, all evil.

The Great Evil Beast either manifests itself as a great swell of darkness or as a gigantic demon. It is the source of Shade, Obsidian, and other dark force characters.

Darkseid starts his Omega Beams

Darkseid starts his Omega Beams

Final Thoughts

After I'd written the Marvel Threats article, I'd gotten some feedback that some of the characters I gave weren't really threats. I had to gauge this by what I thought would be truly horrible.

For example, I thought the end of "everything that is" was pretty bad. It's one thing to have your cable knocked out and depriving yourself of the season opener of "True Blood" but it's quite another to have your planet blown into cosmic dust.

Then we have the threats to the soul. This is the corruption to everything living. Enemies like Neron represent the temptations we fight every day. If someone told you that you could get rid of that supervisor that gets on your nerves every second of the day if you only sneak a worthless file out of the building, you might do it. When you find out that the information on that file will not only get your pain in the ass supervisor fired, but it will also get your closest co-worker canned as well, you know you've made the wrong turn.

That path always dominates your fate.

These are faults of everyday people. The reason why we read about superheroes, is that they show us the right way to get out of things or, more importantly, they illustrate where the wrong roads are. One turn makes a hero, another - a villain.

That's on the small scale, though.

What else is bad? Well, when an all powerful demon comes from out of nowhere and can kill all of your friends, neighbors, and everyone you've ever known - well, that's pretty bad, too. Death on a massive scale cripples everyone who hears about it. After all, there are still those of us who are still reeling from the tragedy of 9-11 (myself included) as well as the absence of friends that were taken before their time. When we identify a source to that tragedy, it makes it all the more imperative to take them down.

We see powerful evil entities in several different lights. Our reactions vary from "We're screwed. What can we do?" to finding the nearest bomb shelter and convincing yourself that you'll survive anything - whether that's true or not.

While I believe that DC does create some powerful villains, I think Marvel have been doing a better job at making them better known. All I've done is do the research to find where things can go terribly, terribly, wrong and who to watch out for.

In the long run, we'll be reading these to say, "Gee, Chris Peruzzi said this guy was really bad. Perhaps, I should stay and listen to this story."


MenaceMain OppositionDead or Alive


High Father

Alive at present

The Anti-Monitor

The Entire DC Universe

Last seen as a Black Lantern


The Teen Titans


Mr. Mxyzptlk





Alive as part of the universal defect


Green Lantern



Green Lantern


Sun Eaters

The Legion of Superheroes

There are sun eaters throughout the universe


The Entire DC Universe

Last seen trapped in Doctor Fate's Tower


The JSA and The Legion of Superheroes

Alive and kicking

DC Character Trivia Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who of the following was not part of the Legion of Doom in Challenge of the Superfriends?
    • Lex Luthor
    • Bizarro
    • Soloman Grundy
    • The Joker
    • Sinestro
  2. Which of the following characters is not from the 5th dimension?
    • Mr. Mxyzptlk
    • Bat-mite
    • Qwsp
    • Tawky Tawny
    • Yz
    • Lkz
  3. What kind of kryptonite will kill Bizarro?
    • Blue Kryptonite
    • Red Kryptonite
    • Gold Kryptonite
    • Green Kryptonite
    • Kryptonite X
    • White Kryptonite
  4. Who is the leader of the Red Lantern Corps
    • Kyle Rayner
    • Guy Gardner
    • Atrocitus
    • The Star Saphire
    • Sinestro
  5. Which of the following Justice Society members actually died during Zero Hour
    • Hour Man
    • Sandman
    • Wildcat
    • Mister Terrific
    • Doctor Mid-nite
  6. What real life patent did the creator of Wonder Woman (William Moulton Marston) own?
    • The kitchen blender
    • The can opener
    • The carborator
    • The polygraph
    • The lawn mower
  7. What can Plastic Man do that the Elongated Man can't?
    • Stretch his arms
    • Stretch his legs
    • Wiggle his nose
    • Stretch his neck
    • Imitate a flowerpot
  8. Who of the following are blood relatives?
    • Tim Drake and Richard Grayson
    • Iris Allen and Wally West
    • Impulse and Barry Allen
    • Superman and Christopher Kent
    • Hal Jordan and Sinestro
  9. Who of the following is a blood relative to Darkseid?
    • Mister Miracle
    • Orion
    • Supergirl
    • DeSaad
    • Glorious Godfrey
  10. Who of the following did not make a deal with Neron?
    • Lex Luthor
    • The Joker
    • Killer Frost
    • The Blue Devil
    • The Elongated Man

Answer Key

  1. The Joker
  2. Tawky Tawny
  3. Blue Kryptonite
  4. Atrocitus
  5. Doctor Mid-nite
  6. The polygraph
  7. Imitate a flowerpot
  8. Impulse and Barry Allen
  9. Orion
  10. The Elongated Man

Questions & Answers

Question: How powerful is Shazam in the DC Universe?

Answer: He is the amalgamation of 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.

Question: Would Quicksilver beat Superman in a race?

Answer: No.

Question: Can Doomsday kill Darkseid in the DC Universe?

Answer: Yes. I believe that was covered in the Hunter/Prey series when Doomsday beat him.

Question: Isn't Trigon the most powerful being in the DC universe, and isn't he also more powerful than Darkseid since he can change reality, destroy an entire universe or planet, is immortal, and can make you fight your evil self?

Answer: There is no doubt that Trigon is a huge threat to the DCU. In a sense, the DCU has never quite experienced the full consequence of Trigon's campaigns in this dimension.

However, I think there are entities in this list who are more of a threat, and it seems most of the stories involved with Trigon have been with the Teen Titans. You would think that such an all-powerful entity would require the full focus of the JLA not only to fight him but to make sure that he never comes to this dimension.

Once again, he's really bad, but probably not the worst compared to the Anti-Monitor and even the natural force of entropy in the form of Imperiex Prime.

Consider controlling reality. Most of the people on the list can do that, even Mxyzptlk. Immortality? Evil doppelgangers? Planet destruction? Almost everyone on this list can do that.

Don't get me wrong--he is a threat, but there are worse.

Question: How fast is the Flash?

Answer: The short answer is that no one really knows. The slightly longer answer is "as fast as he wants to go". He has been fast enough to not only vibrate through to parallel dimensions but to also break the time barrier into the speed force. As the speed force is literally "speed" as a concept, it's pretty infinite. The Flash seems to be just getting faster. While we have seen scenarios where he's been hampered by Zoom or Professor Zoom, the Flash seems to overcome those obstacles eventually. Most of the time, the obstacle he has is to not run so fast that he goes into the Speed Force or break the time barrier.

Question: Where's Doctor Manhattan? He annihilated Metron with a blink at the end of Darkseid War. And I'm pretty sure that you know that DC is rolling in The Watchmen universe now in the main continuity. That event is going to mess up everything.

Answer: There is a large part of me that despises the fact that the big blue guy is in the main continuity of the DCU. Seriously. I'm not Alan Moore, but I'm sure he's no fan of the idea. Watchmen was meant to be a one-shot - which pretty much tells you why I have not included him on this list.

But let's look at this. What we know about Doctor Manhattan is that he's a pretty dispassionate entity. He doesn't lose his temper often and, outside of seeking knowledge; he really doesn't care about anything. An indifferent god really isn't a threat to the universe at large - after all, that's what we have now.

Let us also examine what we know about Doctor Manhattan and how he observes reality. While there is a human element in the ghost of the man he used to be, his perception of reality really focuses on the big picture. He observes his entire timeline as an outside observer, choosing which part to discover at any particular time. On the one hand, we can say that he definitely is an all-powerful god - on the other, he is the slave to his own destiny and how the universe runs his life. A prime example of this is when the Comedian killed the Vietnamese woman he impregnated. When the Comedian killed her, he accused Doctor Manhattan of doing nothing when he could've prevented the shooting with his power. Manhattan knew it was coming but could not stop the action. Ergo, he must obey how time-space events play out.

While Manhattan is all-powerful, I don't believe him to be a threat. Much like the all-powerful Spectre as the wrath of God is a threat.

Question: Who is the most powerful character in the DC universe?

Answer: That is a really hard question to answer, but I'll do my best.

First thing is first: they are all bad. Really, even Mxyzptlk, when you consider his potential for power in beating back the wrath of God in the form of The Spectre when he accidentally gave the Joker near-omnipotence in "Emperor Joker."

All of them are bad, but who is the worst?

Now, the answer I'm going is give is clearly subjective based on past stories involving the DC multiverse. I believe the greatest menace to the DC multiverse has been the Anti-Monitor.

When you can have one character who was responsible for such wholesale slaughter and who had killed characters who are still dead to this day, not to mention wiping out and rebooting the DC continuity all by himself, that is power and danger wrapped up in one hideous package. You can bet that when I saw the Anti-Monitor's appearance in the Sinestro Wars that I knew there was a huge danger to the lantern corps with him in the mix.

The very presence of the Anti-Monitor in this universe represents a danger that would require the entirety of the forces of good to battle him. He has personally wiped out so many earth dimensions that we cannot look at him without understanding what kind of game changer he is.

Question: In a fight between Superman and Doomsday, who would win?

Answer: Superman.

Question: What is the DC Universe's Joker’s real origin story?

Answer: The definitive story is unknown even to the Joker. In his words, "If I have to have a past I prefer it to be multiple choice."

Question: Who is more powerful between Darkseid and Thanos?

Answer: Too close to call, but I’d lean towards Darseid.

Question: Isn't Braniac a huge threat that brings the justice league together? Should he not be on the list of the most powerful threats in the DC Universe?

Answer: Sorta, kinda, not really. While potentially Brainiac can be a major-league nuisance, usually Superman takes care of him all by himself. Don't get me wrong, he was a problem in "Our Worlds at War", but that was more the Imperiex, Brainiac, Darkseid combo that was the issue than Brainiac alone.

Question: Who is stronger: the strongest DC Gillian or the strongest Marvel Gillian?

Answer: It's so hard to compare gillians. All of them have that removable spine.

Question: Darkseid and Doomsday - who is more powerful?

Answer: If the three-part Superman story "Hunter/Prey" about the origin of Doomsday is any indication of how this would play out, it's Doomsday as he wiped the floor with Darkseid. However, as all these questions play out, it's really up to whoever is writing the story and how it goes through the continuity for whatever circumstance.

Question: Who will win in a fight between Captain Marvel and Superman?

Answer: As always, these questions invite speculation. However, on paper, Captain Marvel has the advantage as his powers are magically based. The strategy for Cap (post Crisis and pre Crisis) has always been the same - say the magic word near Superman and use the speed of Mercury to dodge the lightning to fry Superman. Magic lightning is something the man of steel is vulnerable to because of magic.

That’s it on paper.

That said, Superman has had a pretty good record of beating the world’s mightiest mortal as told in the pre-crisis “Superman vs. Shazam” and in “Kingdom Come”. Superman usually manages to trip up Cap and the lightning hits him and turns Cap back to Billy.

Question: Is there any connection between Mandrakk from Final Crisis, Barbatos from Dark Night: Metal and Great Evil Beast?

Answer: Yes, they’re all evil.

Question: Can the Anti-Monitor die?

Answer: Yes. Although he seems to be immortal, he is not. He is just incredibly hard to kill.

Question: How many universes did Anti-Monitor adsorb?

Answer: I don’t think an exact number has been mentioned. Remember, the title was “infinite earths”.

Question: How powerful is Spectre in the DC multiverse?

Answer: Pretty powerful. How powerful is “the wrath of God”? Think about that. You have the Almighty and the Spectre is essentially his punishing fist. I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of God (or The Presence).

Question: What are the powers of Anti-monitor?

Answer: It is almost better to answer this question with "what can't the Anti-Monitor do?"

Okay, aside from being really big and incalculably strong, there is the standard supervillain energy bolt projection, ominous staring, and reality manipulation. The one outstanding power he has is the ability to absorb the energy of parallel dimensions for personal use while destroying them. He also has the ability to boost the powers of another individual to a ridiculous degree (like he did with the Psycho Pirate during the Crisis). He can also create anti-matter minions that can kill people with nothing more than a touch. This cost the lives of the original Dove (Don Hall), Solivar (King of Gorilla City), the original Green Arrow of Earth-two, and countless others.

© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi


Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on July 15, 2019:

@ Sid,

Brainiac 13 is a dangerous foe. Really, he's bad.

But does he belong with the rest of them on the list? That's hard call. Oh sure, his mischief goes back all the way to the days of Krypton when he shrunk and stole the capital city of Kandor… and presumably before that. Heck, he even killed the golden age Alexi Luthor in the Crisis. Brainiac's evil is so bad that five generations of Brainiac, with Brainiac 5, recognizing how bad his ancestor was, dedicated his life to atone for him.

Brainiac 13 was has caused planetwide chaos especially during the entire "Our Worlds at War" storyline with Imperiex and Darkseid.

But does he rank up with the others on this list. It's a hard call, but I'm going to say "no". The thing is that most of the time Superman can take him out without really breathing hard. Yeah, he's a royal pain in the ass, but when you look at characters like Darkseid and Mordru that continue to cause horrific problems for the Legion of Superheroes from the present day onward and require multiple heroes to stop them, Brainiac typically doesn't cause that kind of alarm.

Brainiac is bad, but I think he's really the next tier down.

Sid on July 13, 2019:

Could brainiac be on this list?

ssejllenrad on January 25, 2019:

It really was perfect for this article.

Please let me know if you have an issue with me using it. I really thought it was the best thing out there.

Send me your info and I will give you full credit for your work. And if you do not wish to see it here, I will replace it.

You do good work.

ssejllenrad on January 22, 2019:

Wow! That's first pic's (the splash page with tons of villains) my artwork! Honored to see it here. I'm on the process of redoing that piece. Would you want me to update you when the piece is done?

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on October 22, 2018:


I couldn’t agree more. Both DC and Marvel power levels are beyond reasonable.

Anonymous on October 22, 2018:

Gotta say, sometimes I wish they just did the "Star Wars-purgatory" on DC too. Just remove all hyper strong characters, different realities etc. (Trigon I think should be close to the strongest being in the characters hierarchy. Going above him will just make another mess).

A fresh start.

Sticking with one universe with basic existing & loved supervillains and - heroes. Going too far and complicated makes the whole brand loose its relatability for the reader (at least for me)

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on July 05, 2018:


I’d put my money on the Spectre. Literally, the wrath of God. Perhaps one of the more powerful Lords of Order like Nabu (Doctor Fate). Even the old wizard, Shazam, might be a contender.

But this is NOT a job for Superman - At least not as he currently is - with his vulnerability to magic.

anonymous on July 05, 2018:

Who can beat trigon in the dc universe beside raven

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on May 31, 2018:


Technically, you're right. Doctor Manhattan is one of those entities that observes the world and the universe from a different point of view and his timeline (for him) is viewed all at once.

However, as I've recently started to review my entire library of back issues, it has caused me to view plot devices - like the idiocy of bringing Doctor Manhattan from the one-shot limited series to the abortion of expanding that character into the main DCU - as desperate and cheap marketing ploys similar to that of the Marvel Clone Saga.

That said, I would urge you to think of two things - 1) would Alan Moore have wanted this? and 2) - Given Doctor Manhattan's detachment to humanity (much like how Captain Atom is viewed within one of the universes of the new 52 as Doctor Manhattan is supposed to be a version of that character from Charlton Comics) what would be the motivation for him to endanger anything so mundane within this world?

No, I don't believe Doctor Manhattan to be a threat just as I don't want to believe that the Spectre is a threat as the "wrath of God". Sure, if the end of the universe is coming by the decree of the Almighty then we should view both as threats - however as both characters seem to be on the side of angels - the term "threat" does not really apply.

(I say this knowing that the Spectre has gone off the rails at least once in this continuity after Countdown)

Doingi on May 31, 2018:

Waiting for the Doomsday Clock to wrap up more details about Dr. Manhattan as I am expecting him to be on this list.

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on May 19, 2018:


You got me. That was totally off my radar.

I've added it to the list. There is nothing more evil than evil itself.

It is too big for any one hero and can only be stopped by The Presence.

If I had a "no prize" you'd get it.

sanith on May 18, 2018:

im sure there is another evil creature u might miss, how about the great evil beast?

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on February 28, 2018:

@ Jacc,

You raise a good point. Officially, Doctor Manhattan is part of the DCU. The big problem with using him in any kind of argument is that he's really limited to the Watchmen Universe (which I guess is part of the 52 according to Grant Morrison).

In any event, a few minor things - He's not really a supervillain. After all, his role prior to him leaving Earth for Mars was to be the deterrent to the Soviet Union against a first strike. After all, the Russians wouldn't have much success if their missiles turned to helium once they were fired.

While no one has actually done a physical write up on what Doctor Manhattan's limits are, we can assume they were God-like. He had immortality, matter manipulation, and a plethora of other amazing skills - although time travel did not seem to be one of them. Personally, I believe that Manhattan's strength and weakness was the ability to observe his own timeline without participating in it. It was one of the reasons why he acted spacey half the time. He's seeing his timeline all at once on a sliding scale. The taccions that interfered with his "time vision" interfered with him seeing his own personal history.

But I digress.

Doctor Manhattan is certainly the most powerful entity in the Watchmen Universe - and I'm certain he's God in the next universe he creates.

In reality, what the Watchmen were was Alan Moore's take on the Charlton Comic heroes that Grant Morrison wrote later on - Captain Atom was Doctor Manhattan, while Dan Dreiberg was Blue Beetle and Rorcharch was The Question.

Jacc on February 27, 2018:

Why nobody lists Dr.Manhattan as the strongest supermegavillian?!

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on October 15, 2015:

I have to disagree with you on that one... about being less invulnerable to magic. No, he's really vulnerable to magic. Mxyzptlk's (and Mxyztplk as well) isn't even real magic and Superman gets screwed by it every time. When we talk about REAL magic - like Doctor Fate and Mordru (the Dark Lord) - Mordru kicks his ass every time (see any PreCrisis story involving Superboy (Superman as a boy) and the Legion). Zatanna, Zatara, Shazam, The Spectre, Felix Faust - they've all got Kal's number.

But the thing is, is that they SHOULD have his number. If you have a hero who is invulnerable to everything, he just isn't fun. There's no drama. You can't expect Superman to go in everytime, kick some ass, and go away unscathed. You need him to sit back for a moment, think on how he can get by this serious obstacle and then outsmart his foe. If it's just kryptonite - no problem... but magic - that can come out of nowhere and magic lightning can fry his ass.

I will agree with you on that, though. If anyone gets zapped by lighting, they'd die. How Superman survives this, is a mystery and I think you're right - he's got some bit of resistance to that bit of magic. However, let's remember the blood that trickled down his ear and the skin burns after his fight with Captain Marvel. That had to hurt.

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on May 26, 2015:

That was at the climax of JLA vs. Avengers (drawn awesomely by George Perez). Superman wasn't only holding Cap's shield but he was also holding Thor's hammer (a temporary proviso written into the plot). After everything was over, Superman was not worthy and fell prey to his vulnerability to magic (which I guess might be a problem when fighting Thor similar to that of fighting the DC Captain Marvel - Would Thor's lightning fry Superman? Hmmmm.) The collected graphic novel (of all four issues) is worth a read.

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on April 23, 2015:

While the thought of the Joker killing Darkseid is amusing and subject to a geekfest debate, I don't believe it happened outside of the Emperor Joker storyline. It can certainly be argued that while the Joker possessed the bulk of Mxyzptlk's power he could beat everybody (including the Spectre - DC's "Wrath of God").

HOWEVER, in the normal scheme of things, the Joker really isn't that difficult a customer if you're ready for his crap. Yes, he crippled Oracle (as Barbara Gordon) after answering her door (nasty - but anyone can be sucker punched). He killed Jason Todd after his henchmen worked him over and then he beat him with a crowbar, AND THEN blew up the building he was in. After they resurrected Todd and he became The Red Hood, Todd lost little time in beating and torturing the Joker at his leisure.

The evil clown bit works for a while and Joker has certainly earned his reputation as a certifiable psychotic (James Jesse, The Trickster, in "Underworld Unleashed" said that when villains wanted to scare other villains, they told Joker stories). However, he does not have the galaxy destroying might to be up with several of the people on this list. He has no powers outside of getting his ass kicked by Batman regularly and surviving. He has some expertise with chemicals (using janitorial chemicals to make a primitive version of his "laughing gas") and has some skill at disguise.

He's a favorite - but he doesn't belong on this list.

Shahrukh Usmani from karachi on April 05, 2015:

where are Braniac and Joker. If i am not mistaken , joker actually killed darkseid in one of the comic books.

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on October 28, 2014:

That is definitely debatable.

A good model for Doomsday is to look at the different incarnations of the Hulk. Throughout the years we've seen different strength levels of that character. The first "gray" Hulk was not as strong or as irrational as any of his successors because he retained much of Banner's intellect. The classic "Hulk Smash" Hulk who had the emotional instability of a five-year old would get stronger as he got angrier. However, when Bruce Banner's personality was removed from the Hulk completely, that Hulk could crack adamantium.

But I digress... Doomsday.

The original Doomsday was a creation made on Krypton with the ability to keep coming back from anything that "killed" it. With each "death" Doomsday would get more and more powerful. Eventually, he became so powerful that he could go toe to toe with Superman and kill him. This was well documented in the three part story "Hunter/Prey". In that story, Doomsday opens an entire can of whupass on Darkseid and beats him.

HOWEVER, Doomsday has since gained an intellect and has learned fear of death (this revelation came right around the time of the Joker crossover storyline "Last Laugh"). As a result, he became less indestructible and Superman could handle him with somewhat ease (Hence the Hulk analogy from before).

Doomsday without intelligence is indestructible and somewhat unbeatable. Doomsday WITH intelligence can be beaten by either Darkseid or Superman.

Dovakat on October 27, 2014:

Doomsday is stronger than Darkseid

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on May 29, 2013:

One of the things I truly enjoy about today's comic book writing is that you can see some of the influences of modern day tactics... or even ancient ones. Where during the silver age we had villains that would mount an attack of being bigger and stronger without much of a story. Today we have characters like Bane who has all of the proper intelligence and a battle plan to get Batman crazy enough to use his entire strength reserves enough to get his back broken.

You wisely indicate tactics that have been effective since the day of Sun Szu. This is where a villain hides his true strength and potential. The story that I think of, especially with this, was the "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" Superman story by Alan Moore. It a great story where all of the Superman Silver-age villains who, in the day, were quite laughable - are now deadly. The mastermind of all of this? Mr. Mxyzptlk.

And you're right... those are the most interesting stories.

EJ Lambert from Chicago, IL on May 29, 2013:

To me the most dangerous villains are the ones who lull you into a false sense of security with their seemingly harmless assurances. Japan before Pearl Harbor. Hitler before Poland. These are examples of people not having to use just brute force, but cunning and guile as well. That is why, to me, Neron and Mxyzptlk are the most dangerous. They have the power, but they take it a step further by using their gifted abilities to manipulate. That is far more frightening than a powerful galactic threat simply because they can do the same damage but the heroes don't pay them the same attention.

Christopher Peruzzi (author) from Freehold, NJ on July 05, 2012:

I was just giving this another read through.

The one thing you have to give to Jack Kirby is that he was not only a decent artist but also an incredibly creative writer. He has created a group of characters in his New Gods that have endured years after his death (let alone the ones he created for Marvel - like the Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four).

His work on DC has been good. It has endured. Were they all home runs like the New Gods... no. We do have Funky Flashman and OMAC - which didn't fare so well (despite the fact that OMAC is a great concept). But no one bats a thousand in this game.

Kirby though gave us enduring legends and a character like Darkseid just begs to be challenged.

Dominique L from Oregon on May 20, 2012:

Sorted! Thanks, One Eyed Dragon. Like I said, I don't actually read a great variety of comics, so I was only passingly familiar with both of them!

One Eyed Dragon on May 20, 2012:

Dominque L;

Apocalypse is a mutant (like the X-Men) born 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt. His original powers were superior strength, stamina, intelligence and some kind of immortality, and he was taller and uglier than any normal human. He later bonded with the technology of the ancient super-aliens the Celestials which gave him techno-pathy, advanced shapeshifting and healing, and a range of other powers. He has demonstrated telepathy and telekinesis on occasion that might be from either source.

Darkseid is a member of the New Gods, a race of gods from another dimension living on two different planets, in his case Apokolips which he rules with an iron fist. All New Gods have strength, speed, stamina etc. comparable to Superman; most sligtly weaker, a few as strong or stronger. Darkseid as enhanced his powers by slaughtering and absorbing the powers of gods from countless other worlds and because of a dark mystical power called the Omega Beams, laser-eyes which let him kill, vaporise, teleport, alter or even ressurect his target, or bring back those the Beams have destroyed. He uses (or is supposed to use, if the writers can remember) an avatar that is slightly stronger than Superman while the real Darkseid is stuck on something called the Source Wall; the real is so vastly more powerful than any other New God that he has the whole of Apokolips worshipping him as God himself.

Apocalypse is mostly a threat to the Earth; Darkseid is a threat to the entire universe. Apocalypse is a Social Darwinist who believes in survival of the fittest, and has created wars and catastrophes throughout human history to weed out the weak; Darkseid is a malevolent control freak who wants to dominate all life everywhere and eradicate love, happiness and free will and make everyone everywhere as miserable as possible.

Apocalypse tends to take defeat well and is impressed by his enemies when they beat him, and lets them live; Darkseid sometimes has this attitude, but more often he'll destroy you for the pettiest of slights, including his minions for trivial offences. Both encourage their underlings to compete against each other and to hate him, but Apocalypse does it because of his philosophy and thinks that if they can kill him then its his own fault; Darkseid does it to put himself above them and does it because he doesn't want their love- he wants them to loath him, but more so to depend on him and for their lives to collapse if he wasn't there.

Apocalypse is one of the strongest physical mutants alive, but there are others more powerful than him; Darkseid is the most powerful New God in existence and is several magnitudes stronger than Apocalypse has ever been. Apocalypse sometimes rules alternate or future Earths and society becomes lawless and chaotic under his rule; Darkseid rules Apokolips, one of the two most advanced planets in the universe, and has ruled for hundreds of thousands of years, if not millions- life on Apokolips is intensely miserable and oppressive, but totalitarian and tightly controlled.

In a fight, Apocalypse would be like a puppy fighting a tyrannosaurus rex; Darkseid has a different personality, a different agenda, a different style of rule, and operates on a vastly higher and cosmic scale, and is far more powerful and intelligent even though Apocalypse is powerful and intelligent in his own right. Both are among the strongest and most dangerous enemies their respective heroes (X-Men for Apocalypse; Superman and the entire DC universe for Darkseid) have to fight, but Darkseid is on a completely different level and aside from looking vaguely similar (though Darkseid is a rock monster and Apocalypse is a flesh and blood cyborg) they are two very different beings.

Dominique L from Oregon on May 19, 2012:

Wow! Well done, sir! I enjoyed reading this a lot. Especially about Neron. I started reading comics right when Underworld Unleashed started.

Though I have to disagree with Lamar a little. I've always felt that Marvel had a much better magical world. My personal favorite Marvel storyline ever is the Midnight Sons cycle from the early 90's. And Blade, when he was around up until the mid-90's wasn't exactly fighting mutants. However, the tables seem to have shifted lately, as when Marvel started phasing that stuff out, DC started highlighting theirs with the "Seven Soldiers" plot line (God bless and keep Grant Morrison). Though the gripe I have is that Marvel actually creates new characters to add to their supernatural world, DC stuff involves some combination of The Spectre/Zatanna/Etrigan. Occasionally we get a Madam Xanadu or a Jonah Hex thrown in, but not often.

I've always wondered this, and maybe you guys can explain it to me, since you read a bigger variety of comics than I do, how are Darkseid and Apocalypse (the Marvel guy) different? They seem really really similar to me.

Lamar Johns from Pennsylvania on May 19, 2012:

Colossal threats for both DC and Marvel have always been the same. A simple way to look at it is by determining whether or not our heroes spanning from many different comics had to team up and fight that one big threat.

DC and Marvel have the big three: Cosmic threat, magical threat, and terrestrial threat. What the New 52 has done is defined those threats more so new readers can easily digest them.

That mentioned, the threats you mentioned are cosmic and magical which pretty much is what the New 52 is striving for.

If you really look at it, Marvel has more cosmic and terrestrial threats, or at least they focus on those more than the magical ones.

Related Articles