At the end of the Snyder Cut, we see Steppenwolf swing his ax at Superman only to find Superman completely unfazed. Superman annihilates and outclasses Steppenwolf throughout the entire fight.
Steppenwolf is only the soldier of Darkseid, who is the more powerful of the two. So is Superman stronger? Who would win in a fight between them? We will take a look at Superman and Darkseid in the comics and compare the powers and abilities of both and look at instances where they have fought each other. Read on to find out who is stronger!
Superman has rarely fought Darkseid. Darkseid is a cosmic-level threat that mainly comes into play when the entire universe or multiple planets are at stake of being destroyed or annihilated. Superman has also fought Darkseid when the lives of his friends are at stake. Here are a few iconic battles between the two characters:
In "Superman: The Dark Side #3", released in 1998, Superman takes on Darkseid and handily loses. After being knocked out, Lightray, a hero with the power of light, revives Superman by injecting him with his light powers. This charges Kal-El like a sunbath. His costume then glows for the rest of the issue and he goes on to defeat Darkseid in combat.
"The Dark Side" comic is a limited series and takes place in an Elseworld. AKA, it exists outside of normal canon. Therefore, this isn’t the typical version of Darkseid or Superman that we normally see. In fact, Superman is hardly recognizable in the issue.
That being said, the battle teaches us little about which character is stronger. It appears that Superman isn’t strong enough, at least on his own to beat Darkseid.
This is a one-shot comic, which means it is generally considered canon unless DC states otherwise. In this issue, Superman challenges Darkseid to a high-stakes duel (which Darkseid accepts). The fight takes place on an asteroid near Apokolips.
The battle is relatively fair without special buffs or hindrances applied to either character as they meet in battle. Superman takes a nice Sun dip before the one-shot begins, so he is in prime condition. The fight is neck and neck, each trading blows. Superman manages to beat Darkskeid’s face to a pulp, rendering his Omega Beams unusable. In the end, Superman manages to come out on top, proving to be the stronger of the two when it comes to brute force and strength.
This issue confirms that Superman has the power to defeat Darkseid in battle, given he soaks up some sun beforehand and takes out Darkseid’s Omega Beams.
In this dramatic non-canon comic, Supergirl is killed and it is up to Superman to avenge her death. Superman rages against Darkseid. Darkseid attempts to use his Omega Beams, but Wonder Woman deflects them. Kal-el tells Wonder Woman to leave the fight to him after this, as it is a personal grudge after losing Kara (Supergirl). Thus a 1 v 1 battle ensues.
As the fight progresses, they begin circling the sun, which gives Superman a nice recharge. Superman shows off his speed and brute force as he soundly clobbers Darkseid, breaking his arm. He then imprisons him within the Source Wall. Thus, Superman beats Darkseid again.
Who is stronger: Superman or Darkseid? It’s pretty close to a tie. The answer depends on two major factors. They are:
Did Superman get a sun-bath? Virtually every time he has defeated Darkseid, he had to take a sun dip before or during the battle to win.
Does Superman thwart Darkseid’s Omega Beams?
Given that the Sun’s energy is the source of Superman’s power, I don’t consider a sunbath an unnatural buff. Certainly, if he is sitting in the sun for a couple of hundred years, that is an unreasonable buff to call a fair fight. But a short sunbath seems completely fair.
As for Darkseid’s Omega Beams, countering your opponent’s strength should be a part of battle and battle tactics. Superman was completely fair when he beat Darkseid’s face to a pulp rendering his beams useless.
Thus, it’s safe to say that given a sunbath, Superman is stronger than Darkseid and can defeat him. Otherwise, it is somewhat in Darkseid’s favor and his Omega Beams.