10 Most Powerful DC Comics Villains, Ranked
Pretty soon, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) will be releasing Black Adam. This origin story film will focus wholly on one of DC’s most powerful anti-heroes/villains, Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson). This anti-hero is the fallen champion of Shazam who wields the power of the Egyptian gods. As the film explores his return after 5,000 years of imprisonment, fans will hold their breath as they decide whether this man, who is no hero, chooses to either save or destroy the universe.
However, the concept of those besides heroes wielding immense power isn’t uncommon in the DC universe. While Superman has often been considered one of the most powerful characters in DC comics, some may be surprised to see there are plenty of villains who actually surpass him in power. From cosmic deities to powerful metahumans, there are some serious dark forces in DC comics.
The powers of each character on this list vary greatly in nature. However, each has an incredible array of powers that can cause some serious damage (and that often render the character nearly immortal). Here are 10 of the most powerful villains in DC Comics, ranked.
10. Eobard Thawne
Many are familiar with Eobard Thawne (a.k.a. Reverse Flash) due to his appearance in CW’s The Flash. He is the arch-nemesis of Barry Allen and one of the fastest speedsters in the DC universe. Thawne gained his powers in the 25th century, when he found a time capsule containing the Flash’s suite. Using a Tachyon device, Thawne amplified the suit’s speed energy, giving himself speed powers and engaging in a crime spree. When he was defeated by the Flash, he sought revenge, traveling back in time to kill Allen’s loved ones. Additionally, Thawne gains his powers from the corrupted Speed Force, giving him powers that users of the original Speed Force don’t have.
Even before Thawne became a speedster, he boasted a genius-level intellect. Meanwhile, after gaining his powers, he gained the ability to travel faster than the speed of light, time travel, run on water, create afterimages of himself, and create a vacuum. His connection to the corrupted Speed Force also allows him to manipulate time and change the past almost without consequence. In modern iterations, he can also create shockwaves and engage in dimensional travel. He’s one of the fastest men alive and can alter time, making him an especially elusive and powerful foe. However, he is still very much mortal, and was even initially killed by the Flash before being resurrected.
Parallax is an ancient parasitic deity that was the embodiment of fear itself. After driving civilizations to destroy themselves out of fear and paranoia, the Guardians of the Universe succeeded in imprisoning Parallax in the Central Power Battery on Oa. However, thousands of years later, it was freed and used Hal Jordan (a.k.a. Green Lantern) as its host. It spent years mounting Hal’s self-doubt, making his hair turn white, and increasing his grief over the destruction of Coast City. For some time, it gains almost complete control over Hal. Over the years, it would have many other hosts including Kyle Raynor and the Scarlet Speedster.
Parallax’s greatest power is that of inducing fear and mind control. He can cast fear so great that it can incapacitate and control even the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman. When attached to a host, it can almost completely control them through fear. Additionally, the parasite was known for destroying whole civilizations with the terror it invoked. However, Parallax has a major weakness, which is willpower. Willpower is the opposite of fear and those such as Hal Jordan were eventually able to defeat Parallax by exhibiting this trait.
Brainiac, sometimes known as Milton Fine, is an extraterrestrial cyborg known for his high-level intellect. Originally, Brainiac was a Coluan scientist of the planet Colu, but his history was eventually retconned to make him an android from Colu. He became an archnemesis of Superman after encountering him while shrinking cities with a shrink ray. Brainiac had intended to replenish the planet he ruled, Bryak, by shrinking and stealing cities from other planets. Later, he would strike up a bond with the almost equally-intelligent Lex Luthor and the two would become partners in taking down Superman. However, they also frequently deceived and betrayed one another, as well.
Brainiac’s major power is his intelligence. He is depicted as having twelfth-level intelligence, making him one of the smartest beings in the universe. Hence, he has an enhanced memory, enormous mental calculation capacity, and is an expert in physics, engineering, and the sciences. Additionally, he has various mental powers that allow him to possess others, absorb their information, transfer his consciousness, and manipulate technology. Brainiac can also create massively powerful weapons, such as force field projectors and shrink rays. On top of his advanced weaponry and impeccable strategy, he is also usually depicted as having enhanced speed, durability, and strength. However, at times, he becomes too reliant on technology, rendering himself quite powerless without it.
7. Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul is a terrorist mastermind, as well as one of Batman’s most formidable villains. His age is unknown, but most stories place him upwards of 600-years-old. Ra’s life changed when he discovered the Lazarus Pit, which grants immortality to those who bathe in it. Using the Lazarus Pit to live hundreds of years, Ra’s became skilled in many forms of combat and formed a team named the League of Assassins. Ra’s has a skewed outlook on the world, believing he can solve its problems by eliminating a large portion of Earth’s population.
Unlike most villains on this list, Ra’s isn’t an extraterrestrial being, deity, or metahuman with superhuman abilities. Instead, he gained the majority of his skills through practice. He became adept in martial arts, military strategy, weaponry, and science. He also boasts a photographic memory that allows for the accumulation of his skills. However, his biggest asset is the Lazarus Pit, which makes it nearly impossible to kill him. Not only that, but his assassins and large following make it difficult for his foes to reach him. He’s powerful because he has tapped into immortality and utilized an impeccable strategy to succeed, but he’s weak in that he is actually just a regular man outside of the Lazarus Pit.
6. Black Adam
Black Adam was originally an ancient Egyptian named Teth-Adam who was chosen to be the champion of the wizard, Shazam. He become Black Adam and gained the powers of the Egyptian gods. However, he became corrupted by his power and killed the Egyptian pharaoh so that he could appoint himself ruler over Egypt. As a result, he was imprisoned for 5,000 years. Upon his return, he becomes the archnemesis of Billy Batson, the new champion of Shazam, and also seeks to gain his reputation back.
As the champion of Shazam, Black Adam gains enormous powers from the Egyptian gods. He bears the stamina of Shu, the swiftness of Horus, the strength of Amon, the wisdom of Zehuti, the power of Aten, and the courage of Mehen. This means he is immortal and has superhuman strength, speed, flight, durability, and intellect. Additionally, he is more reckless and unrestrained than Shazam, giving him an edge over his archnemesis. He frequently stalemated with Superman during fights, though, meaning his powers don’t exceed the level of Superman’s power.
Trigon is one of the most powerful, and also one of the evilest, forces in the DC universe. He was formed thousands of years ago by a sect of pacifists living in the inter-dimensional world of Azareth. These pacificists exorcised all evil from their souls and cast it into space. However, this evil energy took on a physical form and had a child with a woman of Azareth. She then gave birth to the immensely powerful Trigon. Upon birth, he killed everyone in his vicinity, and by age 6, had destroyed an entire planet. As an adult, he moves from universe to universe, spreading corruption and sin, and holding dominion over millions in his dimension.
Another version of Trigon’s origin has him as a leader of an unknown planet, who was approached by the Divines (who wanted to cleanse his soul of evil). Hence, they brought the Heart of Darkness to him to feast on his evil soul, but Trigon actually managed to consume the Heart of Darkness, and, subsequently, the collected evil of 100 galaxies. This gave him immense power, including immortality, interdimensional travel, hellfire manipulation, telepathy, telekinesis, and omniscience. However, he is not free from weakness, as his daughter, Raven, succeeded in defeating him (with help of the souls of Azareth). Trigon could’ve defeated her, and her allies, the Teen Titans, but his arrogance and underestimation of his foes led to his demise.
Doomsday started out as a nameless creature artificially created in prehistoric Krypton. During these days, Krypton was a harsh, uninhabitable planet. Hence, Doomsday’s creator, Bertron, set out to create the ultimate life form capable of surviving in those hellish conditions. He did so by sending out his creation to be killed over and over again, then harvesting its remains to build a better and stronger version than the previous. Over the course of a thousand deaths, Doomsday finally grew strong enough to satisfy Bertron’s desires, but also had learned to hate and desire destruction. As a result, he killed his creator before escaping Krypton and setting off on a rampage through the galaxies.
Doomsday’s creation method of being killed and then evolving, gave him the ability to cheat death. Anytime Doomsday dies, he regenerates and comes back to life evolved so that he is immune to whatever it was that killed him before. He also has the power to heal himself from any other non-fatal injury, as well. Additionally, he is nearly invincible and has superhuman strength, speed, and stamina. As a result, he is virtually undefeatable. The only force he ever could not overcome was entropy, which he met when stranded at the End of Time.
Anti-Monitor is the embodiment of all anti-matter and evilness in the Multiverse, in contrast to his brother, Monitor, who embodies all positive matter and goodness of the Multiverse. Upon his creation, Anti-Matter set out to destroy all of the positive matter universes in an attempt to gain further power. He is pretty much a featureless monster who seeks nothing more than destruction. At one point, he managed to absorb the entirety of the anti-matter universe and traveled to the beginning of time in a bid to prevent the positive matter universe from ever existing. He has destroyed thousands of planets and is responsible for the most deaths of any DC villain.
Anti-Monitor has the devastating ability to absorb enormous amounts of energy, allowing him to destroy entire planets. He also boasts extraordinary superhuman strength and durability, as well as the ability to manipulate energy and warp reality. In various storylines, he was also responsible for killing Supergirl and The Flash. While not immortal, as long as the anti-matter universe exists, the world will simply recreate him if he is killed. Hence, there is really no stopping Anti-Monitor’s destruction, though he certainly has been killed and defeated multiple times by various villains and heroes alike.
Nekron is the personification of Death and the ruler of Land of the Unliving. His origin is unknown, but he has remained trapped in his own realm for the majority of his existence, though he thirsts for the living world. Despite being banished, there have been rifts and breaches several times in which Nekron has managed to unleash a bit of his power into the world of the living. In instances of these rifts, he has summoned armies of the dead, slaughtered the Guardians of the Universe, killed Anti-Monitor, and created his own Black Lantern Corps, formulated wholly out of zombies.
The limits of Nekron’s powers are unknown. He has only been able to express his power through breaches or unstable links to the physical realm. However, from what he has shown of his powers, he is one of the most powerful forces in the DC universe, drawing power from the souls and spirits of all those who ever died. He can raise and command the dead, wields dark lightning, can kill the likes of the Guardians and Anti-Monitor, and is immortal due to his lack of a soul. He is virtually undefeatable, with the only thing holding him back being imprisonment in his realm, which he has nearly escaped multiple times.
Darkseid was initially born as the Prince Uxas, second in line to the throne of Apokolips. He sought to seize control from his older brother, Drax. When Drax attempted to gain power from the Omega Force, Uxas killed him, claiming the Omega Force himself. As a result, his skin turned to stone and he renamed himself Darkseid. He spends much of his existence struggling to unravel the Anti-Life Equation, which could give its user complete control over the minds and thoughts of every living being in the universe. At one point, he did discover the Anti-Life Equation, using it to destroy the Fourth World and temporarily conquer Earth.
Even without the Anti-Life Equation, though, the Omega Force makes Darkseid one of the most powerful beings in the universe. He is immortal with incomprehensible strength, as well as telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to shoot Omega beams from his eyes. He also exhibits god-like powers, such as possessing the minds of entire populations, absorbing information from other minds, and projecting one’s fears as reality. If he is ever fatally wounded, he can rejuvenate himself by draining the life force of other godly beings. Darkseid’s powers truly have no limit and, while he can be defeated, he only causes more destruction by killing gods and demigods to bring himself to full health again.
(featured image: DC Comics)
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