15 of the Most Powerful DC Characters, Ranked

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Adam Hughes / Michael Kaluta / "Justice League: War" / DC Comics

When it comes to DC Comics, quite a few of the heavy hitters are ones that go a bit unnoticed, which might be due to the fact that Marvel has really taken the superhero world by storm with their films over the last 10 years. That's not to say that DC doesn't have a massive amount of incredible characters to cover—it's just that we haven't been given the sort of access we have with Marvel. Blending the more well-known choices with those who have less of a spotlight, we've ranked 15 characters who are just scraping the surface of the most powerful in the DC sphere. These superheroes and supervillains are widely considered to be the most powerful DC characters of all time.

RELATED: Who is the Most Powerful Marvel Character? The 30 Greatest Heroes and Villians, Ranked

15. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)

green lantern
Ethan Van Sciver / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Showcase #22 (October 1959)

Let's kick off this list of the most powerful DC characters by acknowledging one of the galaxy's greatest protectors. Hal Jordan AKA Green Lantern is one of the most recognizable faces in the DC sphere, as he was first created in 1940. Through his ring, Green Lantern can project different forms of energy, create force fields, and fly through multiple different parts of space without the need for a ship. On top of this, he of course has an insane amount of strength—the only catch is that he basically needs his ring to be able to do most of these things.

14. Supergirl

Warner Bros. Television

First Appeareance: Action Comics #252 (May 1959)

Of course, there's Superman, but let's not leave out THE girl, Kara Zor-El, AKA Supergirl. To some, she might seem like an inferior friend to Superman, but she's actually quite the opposite. She receives her powers from solar energy and with that, has various types of vision, including x-ray, microscopic, and electromagnetic. Her strength stems from electromagnetic fields, which makes her extremely strong (though not as strong as Superman—but still).

13. Martian Manhunter

Ivan Reis / Joe Prado / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Detective Comics #225 (November 1955)

Aside from having one of the best real names in DC Comics (J'onn J'onzz), Martian Manhunter is exactly what you'd think he'd be like. With his massive stature, he has an insane amount of strength on top of the abilities to shape-shift, become invisible, and use telepathy—he's actually known as the most telepathic character in all of DC.

12. Lex Luthor

lex luthor
Dave Stewart / Lee Bermejo / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Action Comics #23 (April 1940)

Lex Luthor has played both sides of the coin over the years in relation to Superman, serving both as a foe and an ally to him—he's basically a major frenemy. Though some might mix him up with Professor X from Marvel, Luthor is definitely not as kind-hearted; actually, Luthor is pretty selfish. Luthor's power is doubled when he puts on his suit, as his main source of power is through his brain, as he has a genius level of intellect. Luthor can travel through matter, shape-shift, and regenerate—that's in addition to being able to astral project through his telepathic powers.

11. Captain Marvel aka "Shazam"

"Justice League: War" / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940)

There's a fair chance that you've caught the Shazam! movie at this point, so you might already be familiar with his insane abilities. For one, he can activate his powers at any point by saying "Shazam," which is basically a direct call to the beings who he received his powers from. Known for his ties with electricity, his power stems from Zeus' thunderbolt, which—as you can imagine—is pretty strong. Not only can he manipulate electro blasts and other types of energy, but he can also cast spells.

10. Wonder Woman

Movies Gallery JusticeLeague2017 WW 59f8be1fcea248.19685240
Warner Bros.

First Appeareance: All Star Comics #8 (December/January 1941/1942)

As her powers hail all the way from Greek goddesses, it's tough to match the kind of strength that comes from Wonder Woman. She's practically invincible aside from the fact that smaller projectiles can injure her. So, sticks and stones may break her bones, but they probably won't even get the chance because Wonder Woman's incredible agility and powers will be able to stop that before it even happens.

9. Spectre

Gene Colan / DC Comics

First Appearance: More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940)

Channeling the vibes of our friend Doctor Doom from Marvel, The Spectre works below the Presence as one of his agents. He has no limit to his power, which aids him in his other abilities to travel through multiple dimensions, create various types of energy, and transform his shape. With his main weapons being the energy blasts he creates, the Spectre switches things up by using different types of energy including both pyro and thermal blasts.

8. Flash

Christian Duce / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)

Not only does Flash have one of the coolest suits out of all the DC characters, but he's also one of the universe's strongest heroes. As kids, we simply thought of him as the superhero who could run really fast; it turns out that there's quite a bit more to him than that one feature. That very speed also powers his overall strength, as the more speed he racks up, the more powerful he'll become in a given instance. In addition, Flash can also manipulate electrical energy and forces to work to his advantage.

7. Captain Atom

captain atom
Imaginary FS PTE Ltd. / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Space Adventures #33 (March 1960)

Energized by the Quantum Field, Captain Atom is basically a walking science project gone right. With his entire body comprised of an alien-originated metal as protection, he controls the flow of different types of energy, including atomic transmutations and matter generation, as well as having the capability to time travel.

6. Lucifer Morningstar

lucifer morningstar 1
Christopher Moeller / DC Comics

First Appeareance: The Sandman #4 (April 1989)

There's just no messing around with a guy named Lucifer Morningstar. The name alone can scare off most enemies, but his powers are manifold compared to that. He's a bit more chill than his brother and his abilities include manipulating various forces and blasts, a heightened level of magic spell casting, and he can travel through the depths of space without a ship—oh, and he's also immortal.

5. Michael Demiurgos

demiurgos jpg
Christopher Moeller / DC Comics

First Appeareance: The Books of Magic #1 (December 1990)

As the twin brother of Lucifer Morningstar, you'd think that the two would be fairly equal when it comes to their power levels. A large part of their differences comes from the fact that Demiurgos ended up becoming more of a leader, as he was at the center of the angels' operations when his brother led a massive rebellion. He also has a daughter named Elaine who just might be a bit stronger than him.

4. Superman

Alex Sinclair / Jim Lee / Scott Williams / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Action Comics #1 (Cover Dated June 1938, Published April 18, 1938)

Is having Superman not in the number one slot wrong? Well, not really. Here's the thing: Superman is extremely powerful—we know that. But a few characters do come out on top in comparison with their more energy-based powers. As Superman relies mostly on his abilities involving strength and flying, it limits him from being considered the most powerful character around. Even though he's not at the top of this list of the most powerful DC characters, he's very well deserving of being placed within the top five.

3. Elaine Belloc

elaine belloc
Michael Kaluta / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Lucifer #4 (September 2000)

A fairly unassuming girl, right? Wrong. Elaine Belloc, daughter of Michael Demiurgos, is also the main God in charge of going with the canon that has the Presence giving his spot to her. An archangel, she has many of the same powers as the Presence, though not to the extreme extent that he does. She can warp matter, use magic, and is immortal. Oh, and she also has wings.

2. Doctor Manhattan

dr manhattan
Adam Hughes / DC Comics

First Appeareance: Watchmen #1 (September 1986)

Ah, Doctor Manhattan, our best blue buddy. Aside from the fact that he walks around without clothes on, Dr. Manhattan is killing it in every other part of the game. Existing across all universes and within the past, present, and future at the same time, he has major control over the flow of energy, can use magic, and also has the ability to reconstruct molecules.

1. The Presence

Presence 01 jpg
Peter Gross / Ryan Kelly / DC Comics

First Appeareance: More Fun Comics #52 (February 1940)

Okay, so maybe this one is a bit of a cheat given that The Presence is, you know, basically God. While he dresses like an old-school news reporter, his powers exceed his style, as the Presence is truly capable of anything given that he's omnipotent. Given his immortality, he's unable to be defeated, and with other strengths like the powers to take on new forms and travel through various dimensions aiding him, The Presence is the ultimate force and is recognized by the most hardcore of DC fandom as the top of the food chain when it comes to the most powerful DC characters.

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