Superman Man of Steel - Clark's Most Powerful Enemies
The crux of Superman’s physical appeal for most fans has always been his ability to both take damage and dish it out - as well, of course, of his saint-like, protective image.
Nonetheless, there have been foes of such incredible might, that they’ve been able to inflict the kind of damage on Clark Kent that would level entire teams of lesser super-powered heroes.
Although few-and-far between, these battles have spurred some of the greatest storylines in all of comics, and are often hailed as eventful turning-points in comic-dom.
Here is a collection of a few of the beings with godlike abilities who’ve endured a superhero battle with the Man of Steel Superman and walked away. Some of them have even made it difficult for Kale-El, himself, to walk away.
Out of all the ones to follow, a sufficiently-motivated Clark has raised his power levels enough to make short work of them - save one.
Doomsday was the only one that proved capable of standing toe-to-toe with the Kryptonian Prince of Power.
It made a lot of sense, actually, for we would learn after the Death of Superman that Doomsday was Kryptonian, himself - a genetically-engineered Armageddon made specifically to be the Destroyer of Worlds for a man as powerful as Big Blue.
For true comic fans
Superman used all his power to kill Doomsday; what other hero do you think could kill Doomsday?
Superman vs. Darkseid The Lord of Apokolips
Darkseid is actually not a man; in fact, he isn’t even mortal.
An immortal (well, until Clark kills him someday in an as-yet-unwritten graphic novel that will surely catapult DC to the forefront of comic-book sales for a time) dark god, he rules a planet of sycophants who bow beneath his tyrannical, unmatched power.
Darkseid’s physical strength is on a planetary scale, and his hide cannot be blemished by any weapon of human design; in fact, it’s safe to say that both are on a level comparable to Superman’s.
What he lacks in the Kryptonian’s sheer speed, he readily makes up for with his Omega Beams, which are absurdly-powerful ocular emanations that immediately disintegrate or teleport whatever he strikes with them.
It shows just how impressive Superman the Man of Steel's level of invulnerability is, in that Darkseid’s Omega Effect cannot disintegrate him – although it causes a world of hurt whenever it strikes.
It is one of the few attacks that puts Superman down (sometimes) with one strike.
The down-time is usually quite temporary, as Mr. Sun-Beacon often recovers at superspeed to launch an attack of his own.
Despite being the strongest of the gods (good and bad alike) of his pantheon; it does seem as though Darkseid’s fully unleashed strength takes a back seat to Clark’s.
Furthermore, when Clark has gotten sufficiently angry, it appears that Darkseid cannot match him toe-to-toe.
When Darkseid unleashes his most powerful attack, Superman is one of the very few beings in the Universe who can take the full brunt without disintegrating or being teleported.
Several times, Superman has dragged the mighty behemoth from planet to sky and fought him in front of the sun.
In these battles, the Dark Titan gave the Man of Steel everything he had; yet still, he fell.
Although it might seem from this that Clark needs proximity to his power source to badly bruise Darkseid's nearly impregnable hide, Clark's done it on Earth too - when he's allowed himself to go full tilt.
It seems safe to say that in the ultimate Superman vs Darkseid battle, Superman is in principle capable of the unthinkable: Kal-El could kill the Lord of Apokolips.
This last brings us to a theme we'll revisit when it comes to Superman's strength - he almost never utilizes its full scope.
So, even when he's going toe-to-toe with insanely strong beings and defeats them, he's holding back for fear of destroying the planet as collateral damage.
Superman once lamented that rock, concrete and steel feel like cardboard to him when he's in power-mode.
Who's Your Money on in the Ultimate Superman vs Darkseid Battle?
Imperiex - An Ominous Flaw of Universal Proportions
Probably the mightiest threat the entire DC Universe has ever faced, Imperiex was a timeless being that wielded the power of space-time itself.
In fact, he was so strong that one of his many probes laid waste to the Justice League of America – defeating such mighty beings as Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, Flash and more.
No one could even dent the hide of one of these servant robots – who was thought to be Imperiex, himself, when it first showed up; until they later found out that it was simply a far weaker robot slaved to the master.
As all of his teammates lay battered and beaten, Superman arrived on the scene and became the first one to unleash enough strength to finally crack the armor of the nearly-invulnerable probe. As for power levels, the real Imperiex wielded enough power and energy to destroy universes before he met his end – by his own hand, no less.
The Death of Superman commemorative collector's set. With both titans and the graphic novel, this is one superman vs Doomsday action figure set you don't want to miss if you're a Superman fan.
Doomsday the Super-Kryptonian
Another devastatingly-powerful incarnation of rage and destruction; Doomsday was the ultimate evolutionary killing machine.
This monster was able to adapt to whatever method killed him before and ensure that it wouldn’t work again when he arose.
His first incarnation was strong enough to lay waste to the most powerful members of the JLA with virtually no effort, actually killing several of them.
A relentless force that could not be injured and would not be stopped, it took Clark’s matchless power to finally engage the mighty beast.
They would battle for half-the-day, exchanging blows that rattled mountainsides and wreaked city-wide havoc.
Incredibly, Doomsday’s invulnerability proved even greater than Clark’s in the beginning, until Superman’s desperation to stop the monster resulted in him starting to tally up the damage.
At the conclusion of the battle, both beings would succumb to the injuries they inflicted on each other – they unleashed simultaneous blows that carved out a huge crater and shattered the windows of every building for miles around.
The Death of Superman became the best-selling comic of all-time, as America saw her favorite hero, Superman the Man of Steel, fall at the hands of something mightier – even though he killed Doomsday with a final blow, dedicated to the protection of his charge - before he fell as evening descended.
Who is Superman's Most Fearsome Enemy?
Can Superman Be Killed?
The Death of Superman was such a significant story because it captured everything Superman fans adore about the alien hero.
His power, selflessness and heroism was on full display, as he finally faced a believable threat that didn't really require writers to drastically reduce his inherent power levels to make a plausible battle.
In truth, they did reduce Superman's powers, but the extent was forgivable because of how great the story was.
It's interesting to point a common misconception, driven no doubt by the title of the superman vs Doomsday book. Doomsday did not succeed in killing Kal-El.
The beating he put on the Kryptonian was so bad that his own body placed itself into a healing coma, such that his vital signs were undetectable by human technology.
This begs the question, then: if Darkseid's Omega Beams and Doomsday (who was bred specifically to be able to kill Superman) cannot get the job done, is Kal-El the only truly invulnerable mortal (presumably) hero?