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Superman Man of Steel - Clark's Most Powerful Enemies

Updated on October 31, 2015
Yes Clark; yes, you are.
Yes Clark; yes, you are.
On equal terms
On equal terms | Source
mindless evil incarnate - bred to kill a Kryptonian
mindless evil incarnate - bred to kill a Kryptonian
uploaded by doomnaut on comicvine
uploaded by doomnaut on comicvine

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.

Superman vs Darkseid battle above Apokolips
Superman vs Darkseid battle above Apokolips | Source
The dark god himself
The dark god himself | Source

For true comic fans

Superman used all his power to kill Doomsday; what other hero do you think could kill Doomsday?

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Darkseid, the Dark Lord of Apokolips
Darkseid, the Dark Lord of Apokolips
Superman's Heat Vision versus Darkseid's Omega Beams
Superman's Heat Vision versus Darkseid's Omega Beams

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?

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The Man of Steel beats Darkseid
The Man of Steel beats Darkseid
Superman vs Imperiex : One shall fall
Superman vs Imperiex : One shall fall | Source

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.

A conqueror from the dawn of time
A conqueror from the dawn of time | Source
Superman: A Hero for the Ages
Superman: A Hero for the Ages | Source
Unequaled strength and blind rage
Unequaled strength and blind rage | Source
Superman DC Direct Collector's Set Superman Vs. Doomsday
Superman DC Direct Collector's Set Superman Vs. Doomsday

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?

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The gloves come off!
The gloves come off! | Source

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?

How hard is it to kill Superman on a scale of 1-10?

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Imperiex, himself.
Imperiex, himself. | Source


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    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 3 years ago

      Superman is a god amongst mortals and often has to fight god like creatures to make a battle interesting. Great picks. I would also like to give Mongul and Zod a shout out.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 3 years ago

      Very good picks, but I would like to give a shout out to Brainiac too, as he deserves a nod.

    • Tonyx35 profile image

      J Antonio Marcelino 3 years ago from Illinois, USA

      I've never heard of this Imperiex character. definitely going to look for more info.

    • seigfried23 profile image

      seigfried23 3 years ago

      Very good suggestions, guys. Makes me realize I need to get back to work lol....thanks for the kind words

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 3 years ago from Chicago, IL

      These are all excellent choices but I'm one of those people who believes true power does not just lay in physical strength. I believe intelligence and cunning hold a place in that instance too. That's why I think Lex Luthor should get his due on this list. While he is human and not physically up to par, his brilliance, single-minded will and ruthlessness make him the one adversary Superman should fear the most.

    • seigfried23 profile image

      seigfried23 3 years ago

      Good point; however, I've always thought it isn't Lex's intellect that saves him from Superman, but Superman's unmitigated regard for human life - even that of a sociopath like Luthor. No matter how smart he is, he is still human and Superman moves faster than the speed of thought!

      Great comment and thanks for stopping by.

    • seigfried23 profile image

      seigfried23 22 months ago

      I disagree, mestre ioda. Superman has a level of invulnerability that even Charles X;s mental abilities cannot touch. Remember, the Man of Steel's skull is invulnerable and protected by a force-field of a similar power level as the rest of Superman's abilities. More importantly, Professor X thinks at the speed of human thought, and Superman's far, far, far faster than that so he could stop any attack immediately after it happens by speed-blitzing Charles. Especially if we're talking about Superman Prime - see his powers here: I mean, Clark is a cosmic entity at this point, and he was already pretty darn close before. Thanks for stopping by though!

    • Alex Sherman profile image

      Alex Sherman 17 months ago

      Great list! Darkseid, Imperiex and Doomsday are certainly the most powerful in terms of sheer strength. A few other villains I believe deserve honourable mentions include General Zod who, as a Kryptonian, wields most of Superman's powers, Brainiac whose incredible intelligence is among the highest in the universe and Mr Mxyzptlk whose ability to warp reality itself is almost second to none.

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