Doctor Fate in DC Comics

DC’s Most Powerful Magic Users, Ranked

Non-magic using DC characters, like Superman and Batman, tend to be the most prevalent faces in the DC universe. Hence, it is sometimes easy for fans to forget how ripe with magic the DC universe actually is. There are full-blown magic-users, those who utilize magical artifacts or weapons, and those who are bestowed powers through magic. When you combine all of these various levels of magic-using individuals, you start to see that there is magic lingering in nearly every corner of the DC universe.

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For example, Wonder Woman’s Sword of Athena and bracelets—those are magic. Black Adam’s and Shazam’s powers—granted by the Wizard Shazam through magic. The Enchantress we see in The Suicide Squad? She’s a powerful sorceress who possesses June Moore. Even Aquaman once gained magical powers from the Lady of the Lake, which gave him the magical ability to change the shape and density of his hand.

Meanwhile, the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is slowly branching into the DC’s world of magic. So far, they have given us the likes of Enchantress in The Suicide Squad, as well as introduced Shazam. Their next feature film will be debuting Black Adam, and Doctor Fate, a sorcerer who has the ability to wield magic. We also got a bigger dose of DC’s magic than ever before with Netflix’s recent TV series adaption of the DC comic book series, The Sandman. Since we’re likely to see more magic-users onscreen in the future, let’s revisit 7 of DC comic’s most powerful magic-users, ranked.

7. John Constantine

John Constantine in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

John Constantine started practicing magic when he was just a teenager. He was quite a wild, rebellious young man who started out performing in a punk rock band before leaning more towards his career as a stage magician. Constantine later became intent on learning everything he could of the occult (under the tutelage of Nick Necro and Zatanna). After years of training, he became a sort of tentative hero. Unfortunately, his first foray into heroism ended in disaster—with him accidentally summoning a demon who dragged an innocent child to hell. But despite the guilt he experienced, he would go on to aid the Justice League and become something of an occult detective.

Constantine wins the label for the most learned magician in the DC universe. His actual magical abilities were sometimes increased in various DC timelines, however, in early iterations, he rarely even had to use his magical powers, leaning more on his extensive knowledge of the occult instead. He knows the purpose of Pandora’s box, can hypnotize others, summon demons, communicate with the dead, perform exorcisms, and is a master of deception and manipulation. In more recent versions of DC comics, he can use magic for necromancy, time travel, astral projection, telepathy, and telekinesis. He may not harness enormous, raw physical power, but his expertise in the occult is matched by few in the DC universe.

6. Enchantress

Enchantress in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

June Moore is a young woman who works as a freelance artist and who can transform into the powerful witch, Enchantress, by merely saying, “Enchantress.” She first became possessed by Enchantress when attending a costume party, and used her newfound powers to fight evil. It wasn’t long, though, before the Enchantress’ more villainous personality started to rear its head. The Enchantress’ power is beyond Moore’s control, making her into a supervillain (who later joins the Suicide Squad).

Enchantress is considered one of the most dangerous magical users in the DC universe. After all, she’s a notorious villain at her worst, and a reluctant anti-hero at her best. Her magical powers include flight, necromancy, telepathy, telekinesis, element manipulation, energy projection, reality manipulation, possession, and transformation. However, she does have a weakness, in that she actually truly needs Moore. If separated from Moore, the Enchantress descends into insanity, thus, requires Moore to keep her grounded.

5. Zatanna

Zatanna in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

Zatanna is a magician whose powers came naturally for her, due to her belonging to the homo magi species. The homo magi are a sub-race of humans who are born with the ability to wield magic. Hence, she is a magician just like her father before her, Zatara. Initially, she started off as a stage magician, until she discovered she had real magical powers while searching for her missing father. Her storyline focused heavily on her finding her father and her mother (who faked her death after Zatanna’s birth), and balancing her career as a stage magician with her duties as a member of the Justice League.

Zatanna is considered one of the most powerful magicians in the DC universe. As a homo magi, she is a magic expert, using a combination of skills she was born with, and those she learned. She casts spells utilizing Logomancy, which is saying incantations backwards to get the desired effect. Among her abilities, she can use her magic to manipulate nearly any element—fire, water, wind, or even shadows—as well as energy and matter. Her magic also gives her the abilities of telekinesis, telepathy, transportation, flight, mind manipulation, and time manipulation. However, her abilities rely heavily on her ability to speak, which foes have used against her at times. Her powers also start to decrease if they are overused.

4. The Wizard Shazam

Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard in Shazam!
(Warner Bros.)

The Wizard Shazam, initially called Mamaragan, is best known for bestowing magical powers to Shazam and Black Adam. However, he himself has a very long history as an ancient Egyptian mage. After all, he was the first individual to bear the powers of the gods, which he summoned by shouting, “VLAREM.” Wielding these powers, he became a Champion himself and protected the ancient city of Canaan. Later, he created, and spent his days guarding, the Rock of Eternity. When he decided it was time to move on, he passed his powers down to Billy Batson and subsequently died.

Mamaragan is one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe. He has mastery of magic and the mystic arts, plus the power of the gods, which gives him superhuman durability, strength, speed, inner strength, and scholarly knowledge. Meanwhile, as the protector of the Rock of Eternity, he also channels the powers of the God-wave and the Greek Lords of Magic, making him nearly omnipotent. However, his binding to the Rock of Eternity means he is confined to it and can only leave for short periods of time. Also, while living over 9,000 years, he does grow weaker as time goes by, hence, his decision to seek a new Champion.

3. Doctor Fate

Doctor Fate in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

Kent Nelson was just a boy when he and his father stumbled upon the tomb of Nabu. In awakening Nabu, Nelson’s father was accidentally killed. Nabu took pity on the grieving boy and taught Nelson in the ways of magic and made him into an agent for the Lords of Order. The god also fashioned three magical artifacts for Nelson to wield and enhance his powers with—The Helmet of Fate, the Amulet of Anubis, and the Cape of Destiny. Armed with the magical artifacts and guided by the spirit of Nabu, Nelson became the superhero Doctor Fate and was a founding member of the Justice Society of America.

Doctor Fate is considered one of the most powerful sorcerers in the DC universe. Few foes can match his mastery of magic and spellcasting. And when combined with Nabu’s artifacts, he has the abilities of flight, superhuman strength, near invincibility, immortality, communication with the dead, and interdimensional travel. When he has his sorcery, Nabu’s spirit, and Nabu’s magical artifacts, he is nearly an unstoppable force. However, he does have a greater dependency on magical artifacts rather than his intrinsic magical powers.

2. Spectre

The Spectre in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

Spectre has one of the most tragic origin stories of any DC character. He was a police detective named James Corrigan, who was happily engaged, when he was brutally murdered by a group of criminals. However, instead of entering the afterlife, a mysterious Voice offered to return him to Earth with superhuman powers to wipe evil from the world. As a result, he was sent back to Earth as a ghost, where he quickly got revenge on his killers. Eventually, the Spectre was freed from Corrigan, his first host, and made an omnipotent being by the Voice, and became the Spirit of Vengeance.

Spectre operated by inhabiting various human host bodies to carry out his vengeance. Meanwhile, when he has a human host, his divine magical powers (granted by the Voice), are nearly limitless. He is nearly omnipotent and omniscient and boasts abilities such as telepathy, telekinesis, metamorphosis, flight, superhuman strength, near-invincibility, invisibility, and energy and reality manipulation. His only weaknesses are his need to operate through human hosts, and the fact that his powers came from a higher power (who could potentially take the powers away). However, when he has a human host and full powers, there are very few figures in the DC universe who exceed Spectre in power.

1. Phantom Stranger

Phantom Stranger in DC Comics
(DC Comics)

As his name suggests, the Phantom Stranger is very much a stranger to DC readers, despite having appeared in comics since the 1950s. No one knows any personal information about the Phantom Stranger, including his real name or origin story. However, the most likely theory is that his origin mimics Spectre slightly, in that he was barred from entering the afterlife and returned to Earth as an agent of a higher power. He would go on to aid such teams as the Justice League (as he specialized in taking out supernatural forces).

Given his mysterious nature, his powers are also a bit mysterious. From what we can tell though, his powers seem to be truly limitless. Though he often claims that he is limited in what he can do by a higher power, he has proven to be immortal and boasts the abilities of teleportation, interdimensional travel, time travel, reality manipulation, telepathy, and magic with no known limits. What speaks most of his power, is the fact that the Spectre even doubted that he could kill the Phantom Stranger. As a result, the Phantom Stranger seems to be one of the few truly immortal and invincible magic users in the DC universe.

(featured image: DC Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.