There are a lot of ridiculously powerful characters in comics. When you’ve got a world where the villains get bigger and badder, you gotta up the ante with the heroes too. After all, comic book readers want to see super cool impossible feats. But sometimes it can get a little…overwhelming and you see heroes so powerful you begin to wonder how any villain can possibly stand a chance against them. So let’s look at some of the most overpowered characters in comics. Note that this list isn’t trying to say they’re bad characters- just that we’re beginning to wonder why there’s any crime at all with them around.
Which hero do you think is the most overpowered? Are there any characters that come to mind that we missed? Say so in the comments!
Wolverine is an interesting case when it comes to being overpowered because how powerful he is seems to coincide directly with how popular he is at the time. At first, his healing ability had a hard time dealing with major wounds. But by the time he was starring in then billion titles in the early 2000s, he was able to survive being completely incinerated and even being blown up on an atomic level. Which makes him functionally immortal (especially considering how he doesn’t age), so there’s really no tension in the fights anymore at that point.
In addition to that, there is of course his unbreakable adamantium claw/skeleton, his ability to completely resist psychic manipulation, superhuman senses, strength and stamina, and to top it off he knows every martial art ever.
The Hulk (Marvel)
The Hulkis so powerful that at one point several superheroes felt they had no choice but to just shoot him into space, since there was no way to stop his rampages. The Hulk’s level of super-strength has been outright stated to be limitless. He can easily destroy planets if he’s angry enough. He has an extremely long lifespan- it’s not known how long, but seems to be hundreds or thousands of years.
He’s also invulnerable enough to withstand nuclear explosions and can heal quickly from almost everything. He can resist magic and mind control and absorb radiation to get even more ripped. He’s also been known to punch holes in dimensions and timelines to travel between them. Hulk smash indeed.
Superman’s really the one people always turn to when talking about overpowered characters, but as you go down the list you’ll see he pales in comparison to a lot of these guys. He also has more significant weaknesses than a lot of them (Kryptonite and magic).
Superman’s powers were at the height of their ridiculousness in the Silver Age (1950’s-60’s) where writers would just randomly make up powers as they went along- he was known to just move Earth out of the way of incoming threats (the natural devastation this would cause was not portrayed, obviously) and could even use “super-hypnosis”. There’s also the power he demonstrated in the Superman movies to just fly around the earth and reverse time, which kind of led to wondering why he didn’t just undo every problem that way.
Green Lantern (DC)
The Green Lantern ring is capable of creating anything, full stop, making it such a ridiculously powerful weapon you have to wonder how any of them are even defeated. These days the ring's main powers are mainly defined as being able to make constructs (Hal Jordan was even able to create Kryptonite with his once). But in the early days it was even more ridiculous- the rings could basically do whatever the hell they wanted, from shrinking stuff to turning things invisible.
Even now though, their limits are often ill defined- one infamous storyline has a girl artificially age her body using her ring. They can also grant flight, allow the user to survive any environment, remove the need to eat, sleep or perform other bodily functions and translate any language.
It’s often bandied about the DC Universe that the reason Hal Jordan can’t just instantly take out any opponent is he lacks the brains and creativity. However, the other Green Lanterns don’t really have that excuse.
Black Bolt (Marvel)
Black Bolt shows us the rough side of being overpowered. The dude can level an entire city just by speaking a word and at full volume and strength his voice can destroy planets. As a result, Black Bolt has had to constantly and vigilantly train himself to never even let out the softest sound, lest he kill the poor sap standing next to him with a small peep.
Being able to destroy the Earth with a good yodel isn’t enough for Black Bolt, as he also has super strength, speed, energy powers that allow him to create force fields, concussive blasts and the ability to create spy probes and transportation. He can also fly and resist telepathy (and has limited telepathic powers himself). That stuff oughta make him feel better about the not-being-able-to-talk thing.
The Scarlet Witch (Marvel)
When a hero can drive an entire race to distinction and rewrite the universe in three spoken words, you know they’re ridiculously powerful. The Scarlet Witch started out as just being able to do short-range hexes and manipulate probability a bit, but as the comics went on, her powers grew more and more. She was revealed to be the focal point for all magic within the Marvel Universe. She was able to rewrite the whole universe into one where everyone had their heart’s desire fulfilled, affecting multiple universes in the process. Then later, she only had to whisper “no more mutants’ and 90% of mutants lost their powers. This level of power makes Dr. Strange and the Avengers being able to defeat her earlier seem downright implausible.
While Wanda was once overpowered, this seems to no longer be the case- in the Children’s Crusade event, it was retconned in that the level of power she displayed previously was the result of another magical source.
Martain Manhunter (DC)
Martian Manhunter is another of those heroes who just won the superpower lottery. He can fly, he can shapeshift into anything and anyone, he can read minds, manipulate them and even erase them completely, he has superstength, he can turn invisible and intangible, he’s close to invulnerable, he can regenerate from injuries, he has telekinesis and also…laser eyes. Superman called him the most powerful being on Earth, that’s how nonexistent his limits seem to be.
His only weakness is to fire, though there was a time in comics where he overcame it and only “psychic fires” could harm him. Currently, that weakness is actually a psychological one bought on by PTSD related to witnessing his race burn to death.
The Phoenix (Marvel)
Don’t let X-3 fool you, Jean Grey’s Phoenix self is way more powerful than the movies made it out to be. When bonded with the Phoenix, her usual telepathy and telekinesis get gonzo-sized. She’s able to effortlessly destroy planets, rearrange and destroy on a subatomic level, survive almost anything, transport herself to anywhere in an instant and manipulate any sort of energy. She can suck the life-force out of folks or resurrect them and heal them. And, famously, she resurrects herself as well, multiple times.
The Sentry (Marvel)
The Sentry is one of those characters where, when asked about his limits and weaknesses, the writers tend to basically shrug and say “I dunno”. He was capable of reforming himself even after being destroyed on a molecular level, has resurrected himself multiple times and was able to survive even flying into the heart of the sun. He can resurrect his loved ones with a touch. He has unspecified mental powers that let him implant memories. He’s physically strong enough to fight guys who slice planets in half, can teleport, project energy capable of destroying planets, has superspeed, has supersenses, can emit light and is completely invulnerable. Both SHIELD and Iron Man can’t find any weaknesses within him. One of the more ridiculous moments with the Sentry was at his funeral (he came back, as you can expect) when Rogue revealed she slept with Sentry, due to being unable to hurt him with her powers. So much for that eternal character conflict!
The Silver Surfer (Marvel)
The Silver Surfer wields the Power Cosmic, which is another one of those vague superpowers that can basically do anything. This includes: almost limitless super strength, super endurance, super senses, energy manipulation, the ability to travel at light speed, time travel, the ability to create black holes, healing powers, making organisms evolve, casting illusions, intangibility, interdimensional travel, telepathy, emotional manipulation, the ability to “see through time” and he can control the astral plane, whatever that means. Oh, and his surfboard is indestructible. Talk about catching some wicked waves!
Franklin Richards (Marvel)
Reed and Sue Richards’ son is another one who can warp reality to ludicrous levels. He can make any wish or desire he has come true and even created his own little alternate universe once. He can rearrange molecules to create pretty much anything. But that’s not all- he can also read minds, predict the future, use telekinesis, project himself anywhere and use energy blasts. And he’s like…8? 10? Nobody really knows, but he’s itty bitty, is what I’m saying. It’s only his young age and lack of control that prevents him from ruling the Marvel Universe as a god. In one future timeline it’s implied he is immortal and will be around to witness the birth of a new universe.
The Spectre (DC)
How powerful is the Spectre? Well, he’s God. No, that’s really what he is, he’s the conduit of the God of the DC Universe. If he wants something to happen, it will happen. He can make you drop dead just by thinking about it and he can also create a new timeline in the time it takes to blink. Whoever gets to be the Spectre’s human host wins the superpower Jackpot, but being a human host does come with vulnerabilities.
Dr. Manhattan (DC)
Dr. Manhattan, meanwhile, isn’t God, but he might as well be. He suspects he can create life and he sees the past, present and future all at once. He’s immortal, completely invulnerable, can control atomic and subatomic particles, can teleport, create anything, reverse decay, phase, clone himself, disintegrate anything and can use telekinesis. Currently, he appears to have been responsible for rewriting the DC universe’s timeline. What a rascal.
The Phantom Stranger (DC)
The Phantom Stranger is basically omniscient. He’s completely immortal, knows everything and seems pretty much capable of anything with his magic. His power is so limitless that he could solve virtually any problem, but he says he’s not allowed to directly get involved in mortal affairs. Convenient.