Detective Comics, more popularly known as DC, is home to some of the most loved superheroes. Through animated TV shows and movies produced by DC Studios, some of the most influential superheroes ever have been brought to people to inspire as well as to make for a role model to look upon. DC is known for its approach towards superheroes keeping in mind what would happen if superheroes and vigilantes existed in the world, hence, getting its signature darker theme. Since DC movies have only made us familiar with some of its vast database of heroes, let’s dive in and check out the top 15 most powerful DC superheroes, both in movies and comics.
15. Green Arrow
Oliver Queen was initially a spoilt, rich brat who was always lost at parties and spending money blindly. Once he was stranded on an island after witnessing the death of his girlfriend and his best friend, he trained himself to be the greatest archer of all time even though he was already good at archery.
He was stranded on the island for a year, and this is the time period when he polished his archery skills. He came back to his city of Seattle with a newfound sense of purpose, fighting injustice and taking up the mantle of Green Arrow. Equipped with just a bow and arrow paired with his extreme agility, he became a feared vigilante.
14. Booster Gold
A superhero from the future, Michael John Carter AKA Booster Gold was born in the 25th Century. He was a celebrated college football star but because of his father, he got involved in betting. Once he got caught, he lost all his respect and was expelled from his college. He started working as a guard for a museum and discovered the golden age of superheroes in the 21st Century.
Using the tech he stole from the museum, he goes back in time and poses as a superhero just for the sake of fame and recognition but later on, a series of events make him live up to the role of being an actual superhero.
The son of a lighthouse watchkeeper and the queen of Atlantis, Arthur Curry aka Aquaman was bestowed with powers he got from his mother and his humanity from his father. Curry as Aquaman first appeared in Adventure Comics #229 in the year 1956. His powers included his ability to thrive underwater, superstrength as well as being able to telepathically communicate with every sea creature.
Later on, as he grew up, he decided to use his powers to become the guardian of the seas and when Darkside threatened the life of every creature on earth, he became a member of the Justice League making him one of the founding members of the DC superhero team.
Gaining popularity from his role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Cyborg became an instant hit among other DC superheroes. Cyborg made his first-ever debut in comics with DC Comics Presents #26 (1980), which was centered around Victor Stone, son of Silas Stone.
Victor was a scientist working on interdimensional materials when Victor came to his office, and at the same time, his office was attacked by Parademons. The attack decapitated Victor almost killing him. Vic’s father used his research to replace Victor’s decapitated body parts with robotic limbs hence turning him into the Cyborg.
He always had a strained relationship with his parents and hated his father for using him for an experiment. His resentment was tried to be manipulated by a lot of criminals but due to his strong moral code, he never succumbed to these manipulations. Later on, he stood by the Justice League to defend the earth against Darkside and continued to be an integral part of the Justice League.
11. Green Lantern
“In the blackest day in the darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight, for those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light.” You might recognize this oath from the movie Green Lantern released in the year 2011, but this oath goes way back than that.
The Green Lantern first appeared in The All American Comics #4 in the year 1940. Most of us know Hal Jordan as the first Green Lantern, but in this issue of comics, the first ever Green Lantern was Alan Scott. He was not associated with the Green Lantern Corps since his power ring was de-authorized by the Guardians.
Later on, when the rights to the Green Lantern were sold to DC, Hal Jordan was introduced as the Green Lantern. Hal is a pilot for the US Airforce who stumbles upon a crashed Lantern, and as the Lantern dies, the power ring chooses Hal Jordan as the next Green Lantern. The Green Lantern can channel his power of will and conjure anything he can imagine with pure energy. Later on, Green Lantern became a member of the Justice League and holds ranks with other heroes of the Justice League to date.
10. Martian Manhunter
A long time ago on the planet Mars, a civilization of green Martians thrived. Due to a genetically engineered plague, the whole of Martian civilization was wiped out including the family of J’onn J’onzz, a Manhunter (police officer) on his planet. To escape the same fate as the other Martians, he followed a beacon set off by Doctor Saul Erdel and ended up on Earth, sowing the seeds for the rise of one of the most powerful DC superheroes. After having a hard time recovering from his trauma. He started settling down here and changed his name to John Jones and even became a police officer.
He would perform his duties as a police officer in the day and would use his powers of flight, heat vision, super strength, and his ability to shapeshift at night to be a superhero naming himself the Martian Manhunter. He later became one of the founding members of the Justice League.
9. Captain Atom
Captain Atom, previously known as Nathaniel Adams was a United States Air Force officer during the time of the Vietnam War. He was falsely accused of a crime that he did not commit and was sentenced to death in 1968. Sometime later, he was offered a chance to avoid his execution if he made himself the victim of certain Government Experiments which he may not survive. If he does survive, he will be granted a presidential pardon for all his accusations. He was made to sit inside the hull of a crashed alien ship while a super nuclear bomb was set off to check the durability of that alien ship.
Against all odds, Adams survived the blast but the metal of the ship melded into his body. The blast contained so much more energy compared to a regular atomic bomb and that excess energy pushed Adams twenty years ahead in time. In that timeline, he was denied his presidential pardon and worked as a government superhero named Captain Atom. His powers were based on quantum energy which granted him abilities such as flight, invisibility, super strength, and metallic armor skin, atomic transmutation, and even time travel.
8. John Constantine
Ever wondered who is Lucifer scared of? Well, it’s John Constantine, popularly known as just Constantine. He is an occultist detective who hunts down demons and devils that escape hell and come to Earth posing as a threat to the people of Earth. He uses his powers of magic to banish them to hell and if they do not comply he uses the scriptures to kill these demons. John Constantine also appeared on screen with a standalone movie Constantine released in 2005 in which Keanu Reeves played the sorcerer.
When we are talking about magicians, how can we not talk about one of the most popular magical DC superheroes? Behold, Shazam. Billy Batson is a young boy who was chosen by a wizard to be made into a champion granting him the powers of thunder, superhuman strength, and flight. Whenever Billy says the word “Shazam,” he is struck by magical lightning turning him into an adult with powers. According to DC Comics, when Billy transforms into Shazam, he takes up the form of his late father since he is an orphan.
Shazam is one of those DC superheroes, who always provide some comic relief due to him literally being a child. After his introduction to comics as well as the movies, he became an instant favorite among the audience. In the DC Animated Universe and Detective Comics, he joined the Justice League after a small conflict with the team.
“I’m Batman” These two words have been terrorizing everyone, ranging from petty criminals to intergalactic supervillains. You must be wondering, “Why is Batman among the most powerful DC superheroes? he doesn’t even have any superpowers” Well, hear me out.
Bruce Wayne (or Batman) is a character known to be a formidable force against any kind of threat in the world. Being the world’s greatest tactician, he has contingency plans against any possible situation that can go wrong. In Justice League: Doom the animated movie, Batman’s contingency plans against the Justice League were stolen and used against them, almost killing the entire Justice League. Batman is the founder of the Justice League and the leader of “The Trinity.”
In the Dark Knight Returns comic series, Batman stood against Superman in a hand-to-hand fight using his tech and combat skills and almost killed Superman. He is the only superhero who literally blackmailed Darkside when he kidnapped Supergirl successfully recovering her. Batman is the only DC Superhero who is worthy of the Green Lantern Ring and the Sinestro Corp Yellow Lantern Ring at the same time.
Batman might not have any superpowers but his intellect and strength of character make him one of the strongest DC superheroes. Other than his superhero feats, Batman is a character that many people look up to as a role model, feeling a sense of strength in their weakest hours saying the two words ” I’m Batman”. Such an iconic character has been brought to life by a number of Batman actors throughout time creating a much deeper influence on people worldwide.
5. The Flash
The Flash is a superhero mantle wielded by a number of speedsters in Detective Comics. The Flash of the Golden Age of comics was Walley West but was erased from existence after the events of the Flashpoint. The most popular Flash is the Flash of the Silver Age, Barry Allen. Barry got his powers while he was working in his laboratory and was struck by lightning making all the chemicals around him burst on him. It caused a chemical reaction in Barry’s body with the thunder strike connecting him to the Speedforce. When Barry discovered his powers he took up the mantle of The Flash.
The Flash became a hero of Central City using his superspeed to fight crime. Later on, after gaining serious popularity, he became one of the founding members of the Justice League.
4. Wonder Woman
Diana Prince of Themyscara and the daughter of Hippolyta is a demi-God, born and raised in a hidden land and her mother is the Queen of Amazons. Amazons were a tribe of women warriors but Diana had a certain different set of abilities. Since her father was Zeus himself, she was bestowed with certain God-like powers paired with her mastery of different forms of combat.
Wonder Woman came to the land of man in the light of World War 2 and decided to stay back to protect mankind from any other such disaster that might occur in the future, turning her immediately into one of the most loved DC superheroes. Later on, she became one of the founding members of the Justice League. She is also part of what DC fans like to call ” The Trinity.”
3. Doctor Fate
Kent Nelson, the son of a famous archeologist Sven Nelson, once went on an expedition with his father to the valley of Ur in Mesopotamia discovering an underground pyramid. Kent released Nabu, an ancient being from the planet Cilia by mistake. Doing so also released a poisonous gas that killed his father.
The trap was engineered by Nabu himself to get a new host for himself and he decided to train Kent in the secrets of the universe making him a part of the Lords of Order. After Kent finished his training, he was given an amulet, a helmet, and a Cloak turning him into a champion named Doctor Fate. He possesses the power of magic and is able to open trans-dimensional portals to teleport through them whenever he wants. He is rightfully one of the most powerful magicians in DC.
Kal-El, a native of the planet of Krypton, was sent to Earth when Krypton fell. When he reached Earth, he was taken in by the Kents who renamed him Clark Kent. As he grew up, he discovered his powers and with the support of his parents, learned to control them and use them for good. He was taught that he was a savior and his purpose was to give people hope. This origin story has been adapted into Superman movies throughout time bringing Superman to the big screen.
Later on, he became a journalist and went to Metropolis. There he lived a double life as a journalist and a superhero using his extreme strength, flight, and heat vision to fight criminals and supervillains. After some time, when a greater threat came upon the people of Earth in the form of Darkside, he joined forces with other superheroes to save humanity and became an initial member of the Justice League. He is also the second member of “The Trinity.” The only problem with Superman’s character is that he holds himself back to prevent causing any damage, thus giving others a stronger hand over him.
A literal incarnation of God’s wrath, Spectre is an omnipotent being bonded permanently to a human soul. He is known to hunt down and kill the truly wicked and evil usually ending his victim’s life in rather creatively brutal ways. If we talk about his superpowers, they are limitless. Since his entire existence is generated out of God himself, he can manifest any superpower he wishes to have and hence has virtually no weakness.
After The Presence, who is also omnipotent, Spectre is the most powerful character since, unlike The Presence, in order to use his powers to the fullest, Spectre needs a human host. Still wondering why he is one of the most powerful DC superheroes?