• Total Nerd

All The Superman Rip-Offs In Marvel Comics, Ranked

List RulesVote up the Marvel characters who are clearly copying the Man of Steel.

When seeking out the Marvel Superman equivalent, it’s not really a question of looking that hard - it’s more about choosing between the many, many candidates for the title. The fact of the matter is that Marvel Comics has often borrowed inspiration from its distinguished competition over at DC, and so of course it has a few Superman analogues kicking around the Marvel Multiverse.

Strangely enough, however, even the strongest Superman rip-offs aren’t exactly household names in the Marvel Universe. Maybe it’s for the best that those characters who most closely resemble DC characters stay out of the spotlight for the most part - at least until a job comes up that only a Man of Steel can handle.

  • 1

    Hyperion And His Many Iterations Are All Intentional Superman Parodies

    Superman-esque Qualities: When the Squadron Supreme was created, it was an obvious “parody” of the Justice League that the Avengers could beat up on to assert Marvel’s dominance over DC. A fake Justice League needed its version of Superman, and that role fell to Hyperion. Though the first take on the character was malevolent, subsequent Hyperions have been far more heroic, with one even joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for a brief spell.

    In any form, Marcus Milton’s similarities to the Man of Tomorrow are undeniable. He always escapes to the Marvel Universe as the last son of a dying world/timeline/dimension, usually as an infant. He sports a flowing cape and a big, yellow logo on his front to indicate where he draws his power from: the solar radiation of the sun. Those abilities all closely mirror those of Superman, right down to the X-ray vision. Hyperion even manages to ape Clark Kent’s cornball personality when he’s not too busy blasting through cosmic threats.

    How Super Is He? In any form, Hyperion is one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe, and he’s proven himself the equal of even Thor and the Hulk on occasion. He can lift more than 100 tons, survive the vacuum of space, and fly at light speed. His eyes are a veritable utility belt of Kryptonian powers, including X-ray vision, telescopic vision, and an atomic vision capable of melting through pretty much anything. On top of all that, Hyperion’s special brain grants him a “hyper-intelligence” resembling that of a super-computer.

    Obvious rip-off?
  • Superman-esque Qualities: Back in the Silver Age, young Superboy spent a lot of his time in the 31st century palling around with the Legion of Superheroes, a team of do-gooders compiled from various alien races all united under a common goal of bettering life across space.

    The Marvel Comics character known as Gladiator is essentially what would have happened if Supes had stayed in space and stuck with the Legion full-time instead of returning home to Earth. As Praetor and later Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire, Gladiator has long been the head of the Imperial Guard, a group suspiciously similar in its makeup to the Legion. As their name might suggest, they’re a little less benevolent.

    There are the surface-level similarities, too. Gladiator flies through space with his red cape flapping around behind him, and occasionally with his eyes flashing a deep crimson in anticipation of heat beams to come. His real name, Kallark, is also a thinly veiled combination of “Kal-El” and “Clark.”

    How Super Is He? Gladiator is one the most powerful mortal beings in the Marvel Universe. That means he’s not quite on par with the Thors of the world, but he does have a power set that very closely resembles that of the Man of Steel: Hulk-like strength, supersonic speed, nigh-invulnerability, those aforementioned ocular heat beams, and even a freezing “super-breath.”

    Obvious rip-off?
  • 3

    The Short-Lived Sun God Is Just A Superman Pastiche 

    Superman-esque Qualities: During a period of time in which universes were crashing into and destroying one another, Marvel’s Illuminati got into the nasty habit of visiting alternate Earths and blowing them up before they could collide with Earth-616. One such world was basically the DC Universe in everything but name - complete with its own Justice League, and its own Superman. 

    Zoran was an alien from another dimension who found himself on Earth-4920001 and became its greatest hero, operating under the name Sun God. As that moniker might suggest, Sun God borrowed the usual suite of Superman-esque powers by absorbing the local solar energy into his body. Speaking of his body, the cape, the logo, the boots, and the broad shoulders all screamed “Man of Steel” - even if Zoran’s name more closely resembled that of Kal-El’s cousin.  

    How Super Is He? The Sun God was essentially as close in power level to Superman as possible without making him an impossible threat for the Illuminati to handle. He beat the pants off of the Hulk in single combat, pummeling him with heat vision and super-punches until the jade giant lapsed into unconsciousness. Immediately thereafter, however, Sun God was brought down by Doctor Strange when he unleashed a demonic spell that left Zoran bereft of solar energy and incapable of protecting himself when Earth-4920001 exploded a short time later.

    Obvious rip-off?
  • Superman-esque Qualities: Though he didn’t debut in the Marvel Universe until 2000, the Sentry arrived with a retroactive backstory stretching about as far back as Superman's. The idea was that the Sentry – and more specifically the Void, his evil other half - was so powerful that he had to erase himself from the memories of everyone in the Marvel Universe, including himself, and go into hiding for decades.

    Unlike most Superman clones, Robert Reynolds was once an ordinary human before he stole and imbibed the Golden Sentry Serum. That allowed him to draw immense power from the sun, and while his abilities generally presented themselves in Superman-esque fashion, they were all tied to either molecular manipulation or straight-up reality-warping. Speaking of fashion, it’s no secret where Sentry's creators drew inspiration from, given his cape and prominent "S" logo.

    Of course, the Sentry’s evil other half represents a major drawback that clearly distinguishes him from the Big Blue Boy Scout and prevents him from ever joining the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the long term.

    How Super Is He? There’s a real chance that the Sentry could be even more powerful than Superman, if only he weren’t limited by his own fractured mind. Through his molecular manipulation, Sentry can bench-press thousands of tons, fly at greater than light speed, and tear literal gods limb-from-limb - and that’s just the basics. The Sentry can essentially do anything he decides to, including turn invisible, lend his powers to others, or even raise the dead.

    The only thing he can’t seem to do is rid himself of the Void.

    Obvious rip-off?