The Eleven Most Powerful Threats in the DC Universe
The Real Crisis-es Start With These Guys
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
Dead or Alive
Alive at present
The Entire DC Universe
Last seen as a Black Lantern
The Teen Titans
Alive as part of the universal defect
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 Quizview quiz statistics
Who is the most powerful of the group?
Questions & Answers
How powerful is Shazam in the DC Universe?
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.Helpful 11
Would Quicksilver beat Superman in a race?
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.
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.Helpful 6
Who is the most powerful character in the DC universe?
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.Helpful 6
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?
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.Helpful 5
© 2012 Christopher Peruzzi