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The Most Powerful Comic Book Characters Ever, Ranked

Updated March 11, 2021 102.2k votes 15.5k voters 6.0m views73 items

The problem with ranking the most powerful characters in the history of comic books is that writers always want to top the top dog and add a more powerful character. Many of the characters on this list (and even some that aren't) have been called "the most powerful being in the galaxy."

Though new and more powerful characters are sure to be written in the future, as of writing, this list represents a ranking of the most powerful comic book characters ever - from villains like Thanos and Darkseid to heroes like Superman and Captain Marvel. From the strongest DC characters to the mightiest of Marvel characters, this list has them all. 

These beings possess more than mere physical strength. Instead, they wield the broader ability to make, destroy or influence worlds. Many of them achieve their goals without lifting a finger and have never needed a weapon. Others excel at long-term planning or finding and wielding the strongest weapons. No matter how they achieved their power, each of them has earned a place on the list of the comic kingdom's most powerful players. Have a favorite character? Vote them up!

Want more? Check out 15 small comic book characters who are super strong.

  • Photo: Michele Lamberti / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    First Appearance: Doctor Strange #13

    The One-Above-All is the creator of everything in the Marvel omniverse. He represents all of the creators (or the efforts of all the creators) who have contributed to the Marvel legacy. In his rare appearances, he's been drawn with an appearance similar to that of legendary artist Jack Kirby.
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  • Photo: Dave Gibbons/DC Comics

    First Appearance: Watchmen #1

    In the world of Watchmen, Doctor Manhattan is the only super-powered character and it's the implications of his powers that make him so frightening. The most shocking of his powers is on display after his body is disintegrated and he is able to reform his atoms in under a minute. He can also teleport, manipulate matter with his mind, project energy, disintegrate people, duplicate himself, and exist outside of time. He can do almost anything except identify with the rest of humanity. 
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    #80 of 174 The 100+ Best DC Comics Heroes of All Time, According to Fans#162 of 297 The Best Comic Book Superheroes Of All Time#1696 of 3,517 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

  • First Appearance: Strange Tales #57

    The Living Tribunal is Marvel's cosmic arbiter and subservient only to The One-Above-All. He is responsible for judging realities and enforcing justice throughout the Marvel multiverse. Though he doesn't appear very often he is feared and revered enough that he doesn't even care if his three-faced head is connected to his body.
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  • 4. Superman Prime One Million

    Video: YouTube

    First Appearance: DC One Million #4

    Superman Prime One Million is a version of Superman who spent 15,000 years inside Earth's yellow sun, meaning he is much more powerful than the traditional Superman. In addition to amplified Kryptonian characteristics, he can bend reality, give his powers away to future Supermen, and does not die. He is also more tan than the traditional Superman.
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