With more superhero movies and TV shows coming out than ever before, it’s easy to forget the profusion of superheroes who have yet to make live-action appearances. The DC Universe is positively bristling with superpowered heroes, and while any superpower is probably better than none, it’s hard to deny that some are simply better than others.
But what happens when a single character possess an abundance of awesome abilities? In most cases what you end up with is a superhero who’s just plain overpowered. And after combing through the pages of every DC title (sorry, no DC Vertigo characters here) we’ve managed to come up with this collection of the 12 most insanely overpowered superheroes in the DC Universe.
18. Blue Beetle
There have been three different Blue Beetles over the years but to keep things simple, we’re just going to discuss the most recent and current Beetle, Jaime Reyes. Jaime derives his powers from the Blue Beetle scarab, an alien device that grafts itself onto Jaime’s spine and can manifest a host of different powers by its own volition, although Jaime eventually learns to assert control over it. Some of the abilities the scarab offers include high-tech armor, energy weapons, a sword and shield, grapple hook, and a set of wings that also act as shields, but those pale in comparison to the scarab’s potential, as Jaime claims at one point to possess weapons that could harm the Spectre, one of DC’s most powerful characters, and that are as powerful as an atomic bomb. That certainly qualifies as “overpowered” but the main reason Blue Beetle deserves to be considered one of DC’s most powerful heroes is because of his suit’s ability to adapt to pretty much every situation, as the scarab will automatically react to any threat thrown at it.
Essentially the Wildstorm universe’s answer to Superman, Apollo is now technically a DC superhero ever since the two universes converged following the events of the Flashpoint storyline. Apollo possesses many of the same powers as Superman, but with a few notable differences. Like Kal-El, Apollo possesses superhuman strength, flight, and near invulnerability (he’s able to walk on the surface of the sun if you need clarification on just how impervious to damage he is). Apollo also has the ability to shoot lasers from his eyes (derived from solar energy) but unlike Superman, he can also release this energy from other parts of his body, including his hands and mouth. His only real weakness is that he relies on the sun for his powers, so if he doesn’t get enough exposure, his powers will diminish. But hey, at least Apollo isn’t vulnerable to Kryptonite!
16. Duplicate Boy
As his name suggests, Duplicate Boy has the ability to duplicate any superpower he has ever encountered and use it for himself. While you might think this should automatically make him one of, if not the most powerful superhero in the whole DC Universe, the problem with Duplicate Boy is that he’s kind of an idiot. More often than not, Duplicate Boy will pick the wrong power in a particular situation, such as forgetting that to use invulnerability to stop an attack. He’s also too dumb to realize the benefit of duplicating powers of intelligence (like Braniac’s), which would help him realize which powers would be the most beneficial to use. Still, it’s hard to deny that simply having the ability to absorb and use any superpower is insanely overpowered; it’s just too bad Duplicate Boy has never possessed the intellect required to use his gift effectively.
15. Plastic Man
Often written off as more of a joke character, Plastic Man is actually a formidable hero and possesses a downright staggering array of powers and abilities. Plastic Man’s powers are derived from an unknown industrial chemical that entered his bloodstream during a freak accident, causing his entire physiology to transform. Existing in a state that is neither liquid nor solid, Plastic Man has complete control over his body’s structure, allowing to do incredible things like change his density at will, stretch his limbs to enormous lengths and sizes, change his size from incredibly small to gigantic, turn himself into almost any object, superhuman agility and strength, and invulnerability to many different types of corrosive materials and physical damage from explosions and bullet wounds.
With that kind of power, you would think that Plastic Man would be an unstoppable force in the DC universe, but his the unpredictable nature of his abilities, combined with his limited control over certain aspects of his powers, holds him back from being truly overpowered.
Zatanna comes from a long line of magicians that includes a number notable historical figures like Nostradamus and Nicholas Flamel. As one of the most powerful magic users in the DC Universe, she casts spells by speaking backwards (a tribute to her magician father), but other than the need to speak or read, there seems to be little limit to her magical abilities. She can stop time, move objects, teleport, shoot mystical energy, and create inanimate objects out of thin air. However, her most powerful ability allows her to alter the very nature of reality. Not only can she read minds and erase a person’s memories, she can also manipulate reality to confuse her enemies and give them traumatic experiences. And, thanks to her Justice League training, she’s also a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant.
13. Wonder Woman
Born Diana of Themyscira, Wonder Woman is an Amazon warrior princess who is born from gods. In addition to being one of the most skilled physical combatants in the DCU, she’s as nearly as strong and fast as Superman and is able to telepathically control and communicate with all the soldiers on the planet.
Interestingly enough, Wonder Woman’s indestructible Bracelets of Victory, while usfeful for deflecting projectiles, actually limit her power, which protects her opponents for taking an even more savage beating.
As the son of Darkseid — one of the most powerful and evil entities in the DC Universe — Orion’s allegiance has been called into question on more than on occasion, but surely he’s fought alongside Superman and the Justice League enough times to warrant being called a superhero.
Originally Orion was heavily reliant on his “Astro Harness,” but has since developed a wide range of superpowers. As a denizen of New Genesis, not only is he invulnerable and immortal, but he also possesses a healing factor, and heightened senses, superhuman agility, and super strength to the point that no man-made barrier can contain him. In the past he’s gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Superman and Captain Marvel, and just like the Man of Steel his only physical weakness seems to be a mysterious substance (called Radion) that drains his powers. However, that’s not to say that Orion doesn’t have any psychological weaknesses. Being raised by Darkseid to be a killing machine kind of did a number on him and he often has trouble controlling his temper which can sometimes result in uncontrollable berserker rampages.
11. Doctor Fate
A number of people have taken on the role of Doctor Fate since his inception in the 1940s, but Kent Nelson is the most prominent incarnation having served the longest as DC’s resident magician. He may not be as well known as a lot of the other superheroes on this list but he’s definitely overpowered. To give you an idea, on one of his first missions he intervened in a war between the two rulers of Hell and managed to stop them from destroying the entire universe.
In addition to being immortal, Doctor Fate is a powerful sorcerer who is able to astral project, travel through dimensions, and heal people. He’s magical powers are on par with some of the strongest magic users in the DC Universe — meaning he could probably even take Superman in a fight given the Man of Steel’s weakness against magic. He can cast flame spells at will, generate a concentrated beam of pure magical energy, fire lightning bolts, produce objects out of thin air, teleport to anywhere in the universe, and control people’s minds. He even destroyed an entire alternate reality one time.
Unfortunately, he’s considerably less powerful without his helmet, though still immortal and invulnerable. In fact, his powers pretty much require him to wear magical helmet, cape and amulet at all times. He’s also weakened by the prolonged use of his powers and therefore has been forced to the sidelines on numerous occasions in order to allow his magical energies to regenerate.
10. The Flash
The Flash is the fastest living thing. While he doesn’t have super strength or invulnerability, by tapping into the Speed Force he’s able to gain extraordinary abilities and use super-speed to significantly increase the power of his physical attacks. In fact, he can move so fast that he’s able to move and react by the attosecond. And in case you’re unsure exactly where an attosecond falls on the time scale, an attosecond is to one second what one second is to roughly 31.71 billion years! Meaning not only can the Flash move at immeasurable speeds, he can also run across oceans and phase right through solid objects. Several different people have taken up the mantle of the Flash over the years. Jay Garrick was the first, Barry Allen is the most well known, however, Wally West (originally Kid Flash) is arguably the most powerful because he was the only one able to traverse both time and dimensions under his own power.
9. Green Lantern
The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic police force charged with defending the universe. Their standard issue weapon and the source of all their strength is the power ring, which draws upon the willpower of the user and translates their thoughts and ideas into physical objects and constructs. Meaning a Green Lantern’s powers are only limited by their imagination.
Hal Jordan was the first human Green Lantern, but there have been others since. And different Green Lanterns have demonstrated varying degrees of skill when it comes to building constructs. For instance, John Stewart was an architect, so his constructs were always very well thought-out and extremely powerful. This is in sharp contrast to Kyle Rayner who was an artist and made constructs that were incredibly elaborate and original. Kyle also developed his powers to the extent that he gained control over the entire emotional spectrum, becoming the White Lantern, whose power potential is still unknown.
The only limitations are that the rings need to be recharged periodically but, thankfully, they last way longer than your cell phone and, as long as that trusty lantern is handy, keeping them powered isn’t usually an issue. Also, although it sounds ridiculous it’s worth mentioning that Green Lanterns are weak against the color yellow. Meaning it’s not inconceivable that they could be done in by a flock of canaries or a horde of pikachu’s.
8. Martian Manhunter
J’onn J’onzz, a.k.a. Martian Manhunter, might have two of the most ridiculous sounding names in the whole DCU, but, believe us, his powers are certainly no joke. Though he’s lost contact with the rest of his race, all Martians inherently have a variety of superpowers including super-strength, super-speed, flight, and telepathy. Martian Manhunter’s healing abilities are also unmatched and he has complete control over his molecular structure, allowing him to shapeshift and assume other identities much like the liquid metal T-1000 from Terminator 2. He can also breathe ice and shoot powerful psionic blasts from eyes, which, granted, is pretty generic, but still two of the coolest powers a hero can possess.
As an original Justice League member, J’onzz is said to be among the strongest beings on Earth, comparable to the likes of Superman. He even worked together with Superman and Wonder Woman at one point to physically move the entire planet in order to avert a catastrophe.
7. Captain Marvel/Shazam
Billy Baston was a pretty normal kid until a mysterious wizard took note of his unbridled optimism and altruism and decided to bestow on him the powers of the gods. Now, whenever Billy says the word SHAZAM! out loud, he’s imbued with the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. This is definitely the best secret identity in the DCU since, in a flash of lightning, Billy is transformed from a skinny adolescent boy into a muscular adult superhero.
Though, he was originally known as Captain Marvel, presently the superhero is referred to as Shazam due to a naming conflict with another Captain Marvel from Marvel Comics.
Thanks to the power of Hercules, Shazam has godly strength that at least equal to (if not greater than) Superman’s. He also doesn’t need to eat, sleep, or breathe in superhero form, and he has unlimited stamina. Furthermore, his speed, which is derived from the god Mercury, surpasses Superman and rivals the Flash. And, as if that weren’t enough, Shazam is also invulnerable, resistance to magic, has a healing factor, can fly, and is capable of hurling thunderbolts. The guy is literally six superheroes in rolled into one.
Obviously Superman had to make the list. Some people regard Superman as a “boring character” simply because his strength, speed, and endurance make him so overpowered that nothing poses a threat to him. But this is a bit of an oversimplified assumption. For one thing, the reason why he has all of the most obvious and cliche superpowers is because he’s the original superhero, the archetype, the pure source that all other superheroes are distilled from. There were no comic book heroes with ice breath or heat vision before Superman. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster conceptualized all of those fantastic abilities specifically for this character.
Also, as evidenced by some of the other superheroes further down on this list, Superman isn’t even the most ridiculously overpowered character in the DC Universe. Sure, he’s up there, but he’s been defeated plenty of times and killed by something as simple as monster that had comparable strength to his. And did we mention his weaknesses? Superman doesn’t fare too well against magical abilities. Plus, the entire DCU knows that a little bit of kryptonite will bring him to his knees.
Furthermore, Superman’s immense power is almost completely dependant on the presence of a yellow sun, meaning that he’s only viable as a superhero under certain conditions.
Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, possesses all the same powers and abilities as Kal-El, so she definitely qualifies as one of DC’s most overpowered superheroes. Supergirl and Superman are essentially physical equals, but it’s been argued that Supergirl may be even stronger, as there have been times when villains who have fought both characters have remarked on her greater strength. Of course, as a child of Krypton, Supergirl is also susceptible to all the same weaknesses as her cousin, but she’s definitely more capable than the “girl” in her name and overall supporting role in the DC universe would suggest.
4. Captain Atom
Nathaniel Adam was just a simple U.S. Air Force officer until one day he participated in a military experiment that reformed his body and turned him into an atomic-powered being. As Captain Atom, he exerts complete control over the quantum field, allowing him to absorb and manipulate an infinite amount of cosmic energy. This enables him to do all sorts of superhero things like fly, be super strong, not get hurt, and fire energy blasts. The metallic skin that coats his body and allows him to manipulate the quantum field also means he doesn’t need food, sleep or even oxygen to survive. Which, combined with his nigh invulnerability, means he certainly won’t be killed by any conventional means. Or even unconventional means for that matter, as evidenced by the multiple times he’s survived the destruction of entire universes.
Oh, and did we mention he can fabricate basically anything he can think of. One time replicated the entire Earth, complete with life.
3. Doctor Manhattan
Originally introduced in Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel Watchmen, with the recent events of DC Rebirth, the God-like Doctor Manhattan, aka Jonathan Osterman, is now officially a member of the DC Universe and one of its most powerful beings. Neither a hero nor villain, Doctor Manhattan is a tough character to classify, as the very nature of his powers set him above such concepts as good vs. evil. A former nuclear physicist, Jon was transformed into an all-powerful being after being disintegrated in an Intrinsic Field Subtractor and reconstructing himself as Doctor Manhattan.
His powers and abilities are practically limitless, to the point that it’s unclear if there’s anything he really can’t do. Just a few of his powers include total invulnerability to all harm, reconstruction, awareness of and control over atomic and subatomic particles, teleportation, and perception of the past, present, and future. This in turn means that he is able to alter reality itself, as evidenced in Rebirth when he erases ten years from the DC Universe. In fact, it was Doctor Manhattan’s intervention that caused the New 52 timeline to be formed in the first place and if that’ doesn’t qualify as overpowered, we’re not sure what does.
2. Phantom Stranger
He may have only appeared in a handful of comics since his first appearance in 1952, but every time the Phantom Stranger shows up, you know the s**t is about to hit the fan because the situation calls for something in his seemingly bottomless bag of superpowers.
It’s been said that his magical abilities know no bounds, though they’ve never explicitly been defined. In addition to being immortal, he can generate energy bolts, teleport, travel through dimensions, and dispel magic. He’s also all-knowing, so there’s nothing in the DC Universe that’s beyond his ken. It’s also worth mentioning that his secret identity is Judas. Yes, that Judas. The one who betrayed Jesus and got him crucified. For whatever reason, his part in killing the son of God didn’t prevent him from becoming a god in his own right as he was gifted with immortality and the power to do so, far as we know, pretty much anything.
However, there is once major stipulation that comes with the Stranger’s powers — he can’t directly interfere with a crisis and must only guide other heroes. This is why he’s always seen as more of a passive character who works with other superheroes to stop looming apocalyptic-scale threats.
An aspect of the Presence (the omnipotent entity that created everything in the DCU), Spectre is undoubtedly the most overpowered DC character ever created. Despite the fact that he can only exist when bound to a human host, Spectre has near-unlimited powers as supernatural being on a mission to strike fear into the hearts of all evil-doers. It’s been said he’s capable of any feat he can imagine, which so far has included reality warping, time control, and obliterating entire universes in the blink of an eye.
Though, for the most part, the Presence keeps him on a short leash, when he’s given free reign there doesn’t seem to be anything capable of defeating him. As such, he’s been called upon to deal with cosmic villains like Parallax and the Anti-Monitor, whom even the combined might of every available DC superhero couldn’t manage take down. Meaning that Spectre is more powerful than every other hero in the DC Universe put together. You can’t get much more OP than that.