Look, there's one fundamental truth in writing: Every character is exactly as powerful as you need him or her to be for a given story. Anyone can beat anyone as long as the plot serves it. That being said, however, there are some cases where it's just unfair. Like, come on, some of these guys can extinct a universe backhanded, and we're just going to pretend that's not crazy? So here are some Marvel and DC villains who are just The Most Powerful. Like, maybe we need a patch to nerf literally all of them.
Honorable Mention 1: Madcap
You ever make something and then immediately realize it was a huge mistake? AIM did that.
The fine folks at Advanced Idea Mechanics developed a chemical weapon that would grant the power of super healing to anyone exposed. While trying to destroy it, they accidentally exposed a bus full of innocent civilians to its effects. All civilians died horribly, except one. That remaining dude lost his mind over the accident and decided to kill himself, but upon realizing he couldn't die, he went completely insane. He bought a costume and a bubble gun, and soon discovered his other power: the ability to drive anyone stark raving insane.
After fighting various Marvel heroes, including Captain America, Daredevil, She-Hulk, Ghost Rider, and the Power Pack, Madcap ran into Deadpool. They both ran into Thor, who reduced the duo to ash. When Deadpool re-formed, he absorbed Madcap into himself, and the villain became a temporary part of Wade Wilson's mind. Eventually they unfused and Madcap, driven to further insanity by Deadpool's depravity, decided to kill the Merc with a Mouth and destroy his life.
Power Level: Immortal, insane, and incredibly terrifying.
Honorable Mention 2: Onslaught
Look, when two superpowered men hate each other very much, sometimes a baby is made!
During a fight, Professor X of the X-Men used his powers to shut down Magneto's mind. This intense trauma to both parties caused a breakage, and pieces of both mens' psyches broke off and fused together to create a new creature. You might recognize this as not being how literally anything works, but whatever. Onslaught freed himself, and tried to murder all of the X-Men and their band of weird time-traveling buddies, but to no avail. He then stole a bunch of Sentinels and locked off New York City. The Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four all showed up to stop him.
The Hulk bashed apart his armor first, leaving him a purely energy-based being. Thor, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Hulk, and Dr. Doom all entered Onslaught to disrupt him from the inside. The X-Men sat this part of the adventure out. Moments later, Onslaught disintegrated, along with all of the heroes inside him. After that, they all agreed that maybe this idea had been for the best. Onslaught returned to first menace Franklin Richards and then to fight the Secret Avengers and Young Allies. Eventually, he possessed Nomad, who sacrificed herself to stop him once and for all.
Power Level: Time to talk about the telepathic birds and the magnetically charged bees"¦
Don't let that godawful movie fool you. Apocalypse is actually a pretty cool dude.
En Sabah Nur was born in ancient Egypt as the first mutant. Grey skin, blue lips, weird lip protrusions, these did not make him super well-liked. He was abandoned in the desert and raised by raiders. Nur would eventually get into combat with Rama Tut, the future Kang the Conqueror, and this trained him to become a conqueror too. This would lead to stealing a spaceship and fighting a young Thor. Around this time, he took the name Apocalypse. Over the centuries, he traded blows with Vlad the Impaler, the Black Knight, and the Brood, before corrupting his first batch of Horsemen.
In the 19th century, Apocalypse met Nathaniel Essex and impressed him into servitude under the new name Mr. Sinister. Oh, he also fought Dracula. That's important. Eventually, he arose in the present, and fought X-Factor a whole bunch, becoming one of the more famous X-Men foes. He then went out in battle with The X-Men, Avengers, the Sentinels, and his own former servant Ozymandias, trapped forever by the celestials.
Power Level: Is immortal, and beat the crap out of Dracula.
Another goofy-looking dude who got better with time.
Despero began as a telepathic conqueror with a third laser eye and a scrawny body, but he’d drastically shift over the years. When he re-appeared later, it was as a hulking behemoth with incredible strength to go along with his vast mental powers. He even possessed President Lex Luthor as part of a scheme to destroy the Justice League and Justice Society alongside Johnny Sorrow. He was also a superpower hoarder.
Here’s a short list of Despero's powers: Telekinesis, third-eye energy blasting, flight, force field generation, telepathy, mind control, illusion generation, literal magic wielding, possession, projection, limited invulnerability, super strength, super speed, super stamina, regeneration, teleportation, reality warping, matter and energy manipulation, hand-to-hand combat, and superintelligence. I'm sorry, but I don't know how that power set is in any way fair. Like, I call BS on that loadout, Despero.
Power Level: Someone's crappy fanfiction OC.
I've always loved Earth 3. The concept of an alternate dimension in which all of the good guys are bad guys, and vice versa, is too much fun to not play with it.
But the post-Flashpoint version of the Crime Syndicate included a member who was left out of previous versions: Firestorm. Or, at least, his Black Lantern-inspired duplicate, Deathstorm.
Martin Stein was a mad scientist working on reanimating necrotic tissue. He liked to experiment on this by taking homeless people, killing them, and trying to bring them back to life. This was pretty horrific, to say the least. The heroes of Earth 3 asked Stein to help them defeat the Crime Syndicate once and for all. So Stein tricked them, and used their money and technology to complete his final project, which involved fusing himself with a corpse to become Deathstorm, who then promptly joined the Crime Syndicate.
As Deathstorm, he could control molecular density, absorb vast amounts of energy, and output that energy in powerful energy blasts. He could also restructure anything, EVEN LIVING TISSUE, WHICH IS HORRIFYING; phase through solid objects; fly; and regenerate. He was super strong and fast, and didn't need to sleep, eat, or drink, ever. Our Firestorm's molecular abilities were limited to non-living tissue, so Deathstorm’s upgrade made him pretty much omnipotent, to a degree.
Power Level: May actually be a god.
12. Mr. Mxyzptlk
God above, I love Mr. Mxyzptlk. He's such a wonderful character who’s criminally under-appreciated.
Mxy was a fifth-dimensional imp with seemingly unlimited power. He used his power to mess with Superman. Just in terms of practical jokes and foolishness. Because why conquer the universe and kill all your enemies? That would be too easy. Much harder to screw around with the most powerful man on Earth for fun. The only way to beat Mxyzptlk was to trick him into saying his name backwards, a fun little game that everyone enjoyed.
When tricked, Mxy disappeared and had to wait 90 days to return. But don't be fooled, a fully powered Mr. Mxyzptlk who wasn't screwing around was a terrifying thing to encounter. I mean, the dude ruined Superman's life single-handedly in Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, and showed a proclivity for total monstrousness if unleashed. Let's just all be glad he preferred to play games.
Power Level: If we all keep laughing along with him, maybe he won't annihilate the universe.
11. Jamie Braddock
James Braddock, Jr. was the older sibling of Brian and Elizabeth Braddock, better known as Captain Britain and Psylocke.
He found success as a racecar driver and owner of Braddock Industries, which he ran quite well, until he started dabbling in some more illicit money-making schemes. These included murder, the slave trade, and some good old fashioned robbery. He was abducted by Doctor Crocodile, an Africa-centric sorcerer who took issue with Jamie's crimes. Captain Britain refused to save his brother after finding out what he'd been up to, and Doctor Crocodile tortured him until he went insane.
Jamie's insanity awakened his hidden reality-warping powers, which kicked into high gear. He literally had full power to warp reality to an insane degree, which was frightening and (say it with me now) frankly godlike. The only things that hindered him were the range of his powers and his madness. And the fact that he's dead right now, but y'know, who has that ever stopped?
Power Level: You don't have to be insane to remake reality as you see fit, but it helps.
WITH THE INFINITY GAUNTLET ONLY, FOLKS. No normal, namby-pamby Thanos on this list, just the upgraded, powerful one.
Thanos was born with a genetic disorder that made him appear different from his fellow aliens, with discolored skin and a bumpy chin. He became a space pirate, and tore around the cosmos until he met and fell deeply in love with an avatar of Death herself. Trying to woo her by acquiring ultimate power, he set off to capture an artifact. He tried the Cosmic Cube first, but Iron Man and Captain Marvel beat him up and sent him packing.
He eventually came into possession of the Infinity Gems, and used them to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Well, that was certainly a solid starter move. Despite being able to do, well, THAT, he still lost. Mostly due to the intervention of Nebula and Adam Warlock.
Power Level: I mean, he only managed to kill HALF the universe, sooooooo"¦
Look, when your head is made of actual fire, it may be safe to assume you're a little bit OP.
Dormammu ruled over the Dark Dimension for millennia, using the Mindless Ones as minions for his activities. He kept mostly to himself until the year 1666, when Earth caught his attention. He attempted to steal the souls of London through fires and a dimensional gate at Stonehenge, but the resident Sorcerer Supreme banished him back to the Dark Dimension. He did battle with the Ancient One numerous times, as well, making a mortal enemy of him. One such battle involved the Red Skull, Captain America, and Nick Fury, so that was pretty interesting.
Dormammu corrupted one of the Ancient One's disciples, Baron Mordo, and turned him evil, only to be stopped by Stephen Strange. Strange and Dormammu would quickly become deep seated foes, with Dormammu even teaming up with Loki to destroy Strange during the Avengers/Defenders War. Dormammu was dissipated or banished or other such things many times, but always returned to menace Strange, most recently among a gauntlet of his other notable foes.
Power Level: Real hothead.
Born as Uxas, Darkseid soon became the ruler of Apokolips, a fire spewing deathtrap of a planet with an army of Parademons at its disposal. Darkseid cultivated a cadre of minions, all of whom became devoted to his cause of annihilating New Genesis and killing Highfather's New Gods.
Eventually, the warring sides came to a peace agreement. Highfather and Darkseid traded sons. Darkseid's son was raised with love, and became a true hero known as Orion. Highfather's son was imprisoned and tortured, but trained himself to become Mr. Miracle, the greatest escape artist of all time.
Darkseid sought the Anti-Life Equation, a dark and powerful equation that he could use to gain ultimate power. In pursuit of it, he ran afoul of Superman, and eventually the Justice League. He fought the DC heroes for years, until he died, came back, and was killed by Batman and the Black Racer.
Power Level: Darkseid Is.
7. Dr. Doom
I've heard people call Dr. Doom the greatest comic book supervillain of all time, and when you look at his track record, it's pretty hard to argue.
Victor von Doom was a little Romani boy from Latvaria whose mother died in a botched deal with the devil. Like, the literal devil, or as close as Marvel comics comes to the literal devil. Victor was offered a scholarship at State University in New York, where he met Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. He then settled on his ultimate machine: a device that could let him visit Hell and save his mother. Reed tried to warn him about a miscalculation in his plans, but Victor ignored him, and the machine exploded. It ruined Victor's face and got him expelled.
Victor next went to Tibet, where a group of monks built him a suit of armor that would cover his destroyed face. After this, Victor, now christened Doctor Doom, returned to Latvaria, and conquered it.
Doom fought the newly formed Fantastic Four numerous times, using his skills in science and witchcraft to devise new master plans. He also stole ultimate power multiple times, first stealing the Power Cosmic from the Silver Surfer and later taking the Beyonder's reality warping abilities. Dude also took Thor's hammer once.
Power Level: Dictator science warlock who mastered time travel, robot army building, and remade the universe once.
I mean, come on, how was I gonna leave a Norse God of Mischief off this list? Loki was crazy powerful.
Odin adopted Loki, son of frost giant Laufey, as his son, to be raised alongside Odin’s biological son Thor. Loki didn't like Thor. Especially how everyone else liked Thor's bravery and combat skills, which Loki lacked. Loki decided eventually that God of Mischief wasn't enough, and took the formal title God of Evil, which was a step up. He also spent a ton of time trying to murder Thor. Just so much time doing that. These schemes and flim-flams eventually got him turned into a tree by Odin as a magical means of saying, "Hey, knock it off, maybe?"
Loki was eventually freed, and he kicked off a long career as a supervillain. He caused the formation of the Avengers, tried to team up with Dormmamu to pit the Avengers and Defenders against each other, and even helped Odin and Thor repel Surtur during his siege on Asgard for the Twilight Sword. Loki died in Ragnarok, but came back as a lady. She teamed up with Norman Osborn's Cabal during Dark Reign, died, and was reborn as a young boy who joined the Young Avengers and fought for good, minus his older self's dastardly influence. Well, for a time, that is.
Power Level: Final Fantasy secret boss character.
5. Molecule Man
Oh, Owen Reece, how scary powerful you secretly were.
Owen was born in the tiny, rad-named town of Dinosaur, Colorado, but he eventually moved to New York. He grew up wanting to be a magician, but found himself working as a lab tech, instead. The mousy young man endured a freak accident and became imbued with immense super powers, including the ability to control the molecular structure of anything he wanted. Owen was a part of both Secret Wars, but the Sentry and the Dark Avengers later killed him.
He was brought back by Doctor Doom and imprisoned for future use. And by future use I mean, "He used him to make a new reality that Doom ruled, and then he broke free and gave Reed Richards his unlimited power so he could go not be all powerful anymore.” But look, Owen remade the universe. That's some freakish superpowers, right there.
Power Level: Arguably a god.
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy very, very close by, because it was part of the universe that existed before this one, there was a dude named Galan.
Unfortunately for him, his universe collapsed in on itself and exploded in an event that we call the Big Bang. The event infused Galan with huge amounts of energy, while everyone else died. He was immediately reborn into our universe as Galactus, Devourer of Worlds. He drifted about the cosmos, eating planets for sustenance, usually with the help of a supercharged herald and his own Power Cosmic, uh, powers. Eventually, Galactus recruited a man named Norrin Radd as his herald, and remade him as the Silver Surfer. Soon after, he came upon the Earth, and tried to eat it.
The Surfer rebelled against him, and the Fantastic Four used the Ultimate Nullifier, one of the universe's greatest weapons, to repel Galactus. Galactus tried to eat Earth several times, but when the god Thor and Reed Richards saved him from death, the devourer pledged to never again attack the planet.
Power Level: Dude eats planets. That's pretty hardcore.
3. Dark Phoenix
The Phoenix Force is a giant bird made of fire from space that likes to rip its way through everything it touches. And sometimes it likes to possess or replace people and pretend to be them.
Eventually, it found Jean Grey. When she was near death, burning up on a space shuttle, The Phoenix Force replaced Jean and sealed her away in a cocoon beneath the sea. The Phoenix Force also convinced itself it was the real Jean and emerged as Phoenix. Phoenix and the X-Men went on numerous adventures, until mutant villain Mastermind began influencing her telepathically. This turned Phoenix into The Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, a role she held until Phoenix took control again. But when it did, it did so as Dark Phoenix, an unrestrained version with the appetite of a cosmic death bird. So it ate a star and killed billions of life forms.
I'm sorry, but that's insane. Say what you will about some of the other entries on this list, they didn't have billion-person death tolls.
Power Level: ATE A F***ING STAR.
2. The Celestials
Y'know, if most religious deities looked like this, I'd be in church every Sunday.
The Celestials weren’t out-and-out Supervillains, but they sure did enough horrible crap to cement a place on this list. They were basically big multicolored gods, but with that Kirby aesthetic that makes me happy. The most notable example of Celestial activity was the Dreaming Celestial, a rogue deity who just stood around in Golden Gate Park not doing anything until it left to be with its God.
Kang the Conqueror stole Thor's enchanted axe, Jarnbjorn, which had been enchanted so as to pierce even the hide of a Celestial. The axe was used to kill Exitar the Executioner, a Celestial who was planning on destroying Earth. Since then, pissed-off Celestials have just kept showing up in the Marvel Universe. Maybe it's because they murdered one of them, but who can really say?
Power Level: Are gods. Literally are gods. This is not debatable.
1. The Anti-Monitor
It's a dumb name. I will accept that. And his most famous armor kinda had a whale mouth. Like, that weird row of top bristle teeth was definitely made for sucking in krill during his galactic rampages.
The Anti-Monitor was born out of pure energy in the anti-matter universe of Qward. There, he created the Thunderers as an army and the Shadows as a secondary force. When super scientist Pariah decided to go check out the formation of the universe, the Anti-Monitor and his good twin, The Monitor, were set free. The Anti-Monitor thanked Pariah for this by annihilating his universe. This destruction made him stronger, and Anti-Monitor decided to just go and destroy everything else. He was defeated by the heroes of multiple Earths, specifically through the contributions of Flash, Supergirl, and the Superman of Earth 2.
When the multiverse was regenerated during a conflict between Booster Gold and Mr. Mind, the Anti-Monitor was reborn as well, and he found a home with the Sinestro Corps. Fellow member Superboy Prime, who was still mad about Anti-Monitor destroying his universe, betrayed him, and he was killed. He was brought back by the Black Lanterns, but banished back to the Anti-Matter Dimension, where he got right back up to his old schemes.
Power Level: Destroys universes, literally for fun, and gets STRONGER DOING IT.
And there you have it, 15 of the most overpowered supervillains in Comicbookdom. I mean, who could possibly beat these guys? Except literally any character, given adequate storytelling, because that is how writing works.