Top 20 Most Powerful Comic Book Characters Ever

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
You don't want to tangle with these insanely powerful characters. For this list, we'll be focusing on physical power and awesome physical abilities, as opposed to cunning, wealth, or weapons and tools that provide physical advantages. Our countdown includes Scarlet Witch, Galactus, Mister Mxyzptlk, Eternity, The Presence, and more!

Top 20 Powerful Comic Book Characters

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Powerful Comic Book Characters.

For this list, we’ll be focusing on physical power and awesome physical abilities, as opposed to cunning, wealth, or weapons and tools that provide physical advantages. That means you won’t be seeing any characters that are pretty much just physically strong - we’re talking real, raw POWER here.

Which character do you think is the power to beat? Tell us in the comments below.

#20: Scarlet Witch

This is the very first entry on our list, and we can already hear people furiously typing in the comments. Depending on the specific time period that we’re talking about, Wanda could arguably be placed significantly higher on this list. More so than most of the characters on our list, however, Wanda Maximoff’s powers have been portrayed very inconsistently. Much like it took until “Wandavision'' for her to reach her full potential in the MCU, the Scarlet Witch has spent entire decades in the comics underperforming. At her best, however, this one-time Avenger can harness her chaos magic and use it to rewrite reality itself. As the Nexus Being of Earth-616, she’s a key figure in keeping the multiverse in balance.

#19: Thanos

The fact that this character only comes in at number 19 is a real testament to the sort of stakes we’re dealing with. This isn’t the big league—it’s the biggest league possible. Because he was at the heart of the most epic cinematic crossover event in history, Thanos’ influence often gets mistaken for power. He snuffed out half of all life in the universe, sure, but that was using the Infinity Gauntlet. Minus that handy accessory, Thanos still scores top marks for strength and speed. He’s also up there in terms of durability. Thanos is considered to be the most powerful of the Eternals of Titans—and that’s saying a lot. Over time, his various enhancements and upgrades have made him nigh invulnerable and a threat to the universe itself.

#18: Spawn

In the gritty ‘90s, this Image comics icon was seemingly everywhere you turned. While he may have retreated from the spotlight, he remains as powerful as ever. Who else on this list can claim to have banished both god and the devil? That’s the nice thing about Spawn playing in a smaller sandbox than Marvel and DC characters, he can do things that rock his universe to the core. Over the course of his lengthy comic book history, Spawn has repeatedly seen his powers depleted, changed and seriously upgraded. His body is composed of the necroplasm that fuels him, and he can essentially channel this magic into any ability his mind can conjure up—from breathing fire to raising the dead and more.

#17: Galactus

Galan, the Devourer of Worlds, the Great Destroyer, Planet Killer, The Hunger That Does Not Cease—Galactus is known by many names across the cosmos. Some of his titles have surely been lost to history, having been given to him by one of the many civilizations that he has wiped off the galactic map when he consumed their world. In terms of the power grid, Galactic maxes out pretty much all the metrics. He’s not much of a fighter, but who needs to be when you’re this big? A survivor of a previous incarnation of the multiverse, Galactus possesses the “power cosmic”, which gives him the sort power that it’s difficult to quantify. When he fights with a cosmic being of comparable stature, reality itself is affected.

#16: Phantom Stranger

Now the world of DC comics enters the fray. Though he might look like your run-of-the-mill caped hero circa 1952, this unique character is working with far more than your typical utility belt. Shrouded in mystery, the Phantom Stranger has a number of conflicting origin stories, but they all take him back to biblical times, heaven itself or a previous version of the universe. His early exploits in the comics were relatively trivial efforts—common mysteries and minor magical threats. Over the years, however, he’s revealed himself to be immortal, a traveler of time and various dimensions, and capable of awe-inspiring magical feats. With these various god-like abilities, and having once been described as neither living nor dead, the Phantom Stranger defies categorization.

#15: Dormammu

While the Sorcerer Supreme certainly took the piss out of him in 2016’s “Doctor Strange”, Dormammu is not a figure you should take lightly. He hails from an alternate dimension populated by powerful beings called the Faltine. Here, he consumed matter until he became the most powerful sorcerer of his kind. Those who are power hungry, however, are rarely satisfied, and he was eventually cast out to wander the multiverse. Over the millennia, he eventually became the ruler of the Dark Dimension and his incomprehensible powers have only continued to grow. He would probably rank even higher if those powers were not diminished outside the dark dimension.

#14: Franklin Richards

Okay, so you know how Galactus has had various heralds, like Silver Surfer, Firelord and Nova? Well, Galactus became the herald of Franklin Richards. So… that gives you an idea of the sort of power we’re talking about here. The son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Franklin got his powers from the same Cosmic Radiation that gave his parents their mutations. In his case, however, the radiation resulted in him being born an “Omega Level Mutant”. His classification has since been upgraded a few times over, to the point where it almost doesn’t matter. Franklin draws his energy from a dimension composed entirely of raw power. Even as a small child, his reality-warping abilities have made him among the most powerful beings in the universe.

#13: Sentry

Had things turned out differently, Robert Reynolds would have been Marvel’s greatest superhero. In many ways he feels like the Marvel version of Superman, right down to the fact that he draws his power from the sun. Department K’s golden sentry serum aimed to increase the results of Captain America’s super soldier serum 100,000 times over. As Reynolds discovered, it worked. Initially, the newly christened Sentry lived up to his potential as a hero of incomparable power, forming close bonds with other heroes and even mentoring Spider-Man. Unfortunately, there’s a dark half to the Sentry called the Void, which uses those same limitless powers to devastating effect. There are few characters in any dimension that he cannot overpower.

#12: Nekron

Bringing back all the friends and allies that comic heroes have lost over the years to serve as his Black Lantern Corps? That’s a move that earned Nekron a spot in comic book history. His servant, Black Hand, was the face of this landmark Green Lantern crossover event, but Nekron was the power behind Blackest Night. First introduced in the early ‘80s, Nekron is death incarnate, a cosmic force that serves as the antithesis of life. He is connected to all that which is not life—the endless darkness. He can raise the dead to serve as his minions and pulls strength from every life he takes. Throw in reality manipulation, immortality and his dark lightning, and he’s not a force you want to find yourself facing.

#11: Phoenix Force

The higher you get on this list, the more complicated the characters become. Some, like the Phoenix Force, are better described as entities or sentient forces than actual characters. Comic book readers were first introduced to the Phoenix Force when it bonded with Jean Grey to make her the Dark Phoenix. As one of the most powerful telepathic and telekinetic mutants in history, Jean already brings a lot to the table. But when she’s serving as avatar of the Phoenix Force, she becomes a cosmic threat. The Phoenix Force, by itself, is among the strongest entities in the Marvel universe. The center of all psionic energy, its powers include mastery over all of existence and nigh omnipotence. With the right host, it’s unstoppable.

#10: Mister Mxyzptlk

This list is populated by an assortment of awe-inspiring beings with designs to match. Mr. Mxyzptlk, by contrast, is just about the most underwhelming looking villain in Superman’s rogues gallery. Be that as it may, he is not to be underestimated! An imp hailing from the Fifth Generation, he’s kind of Superman’s perfect foil. Blessed with seemingly limitless magical abilities, old Mxy can rewrite matter and reality to suit his needs, even twisting the logic and function of the multiverse. As such, he makes it very hard for Superman to punch or zap him. Thankfully, Mister Mxyzptlk is more interested in mischief than any overt acts of destruction. But don’t mistake his lighthearted ways for low risk. If he wanted to, he could bring about calamity.

#9: Doctor Manhattan

While many fans had mixed feelings about Doctor Manhattan being brought into the mainstream DC continuity, it came with certain perks. Finally, we were able to see how Dr. Manhattan stacked up against the greatest heroes of this reality. Unsurprisingly, we learned that he’s playing on a totally different level. Even Mister Mxyzptlk has admitted that he can’t hold a candle to the big blue guy. Doctor Manhattan was retroactively credited with both the Flashpoint event and the creation of the New 52. A post-human god born of a lab accident involving atomic physics, Jonathan Osterman became Doctor Manhattan. He is a quantum being who is effectively all-powerful and all-knowing. Traveling between time, dimensions and altering reality as he sees fit, Doctor Manhattan just does his thing.

#8: Molecule Man

You wouldn’t know it from his relatively low profile in pop culture, but Molecule Man is among the most powerful villains in Marvel comics. If anything, it’s his earth-shattering powers that often force him onto the sidelines. With our modern understanding of science and matter, his abilities make him a nonstarter for the average rogues gallery. In the 1960s, he was simply using his molecular manipulation to craft force fields, open portals and deliver concussive energy blasts. And so he was perfect for duking it out with Fantastic Four or Iron Man. Nowadays, he can rewrite reality on a multiversal scale. Galactus has recognized that Molecule Man could end him “with a thought”. Realistically, the label “Molecule Man” doesn’t do him justice.

#7: Spectre

Often spoken of in the same breath as the Phantom Stranger, Spectre is another DC character who prefers to stick to the fringes. Shrouded in mystery, this cosmic being is god’s vengeance given form. Rather than getting involved with conventional superheroes, the Spectre is bonded with a human soul and tasked with punishing the wicked. Various humans have donned the mantle over the years, but the responsibilities of being the Spectre (and the perspective that comes with it) often results in a rather consistent, detached mannerism. Given his divine mission, Spectre typically uses a fraction of his powers. But as shown when he occasionally gets involved with cosmic threats, God has granted him nearly limitless magical abilities.

#6: Lucifer Morningstar

Like the biblical figure with whom he shares a name, Lucifer is a fallen angel who ruled over hell after his rebellion against god. Unsatisfied with his dominion however, and forever drawn towards the human world, he chose to abandon his kingdom and today spends the majority of his time living a life of indulgence on the mortal plain of earth. Don’t let his casual demeanor fool you. Lucifer Morningstar maintains all his god-given powers as an archangel. The only one who can really give him a run for his money is angelic brother, Michael Demiurgos. Together, they’re capable of creations on the scale of the DC multiverse itself. Lucifer is a born rebel though, and so he flexes his nigh omnipotence more readily.

#5: Eternity

Comic book superheroes and villains give themselves all manner of cool, self-aggrandizing names. Considering his sister is Infinity, however, it quickly becomes clear that Eternity is more than just a name. Consider yourself warned… now that we’re in the top 5, things are going to get weird. Across the Marvel Multiverse, there is an Eternity in each reality. Altogether, however, they also make up a single entity known as Eternity. This is the true Eternity, a character who encompasses the current iteration of the multiverse in its entirety. As such, it’s been hypothesized that Eternity technically has all the abilities of all your favorite characters in the Marvel universe and its various dimensions.

#4: The Beyonder

Once upon a time, the Beyonder would have been at the top of this list. He was said to explicitly have been more powerful than all remaining Marvel characters to be discussed. Hailing from an Ancient race that exists outside of the multiverse, the Beyonder is utterly unlike any other character within the Marvel universe. Every being and entity within the multiverse is an incomplete part of a larger whole. In the Beyonder’s reality, however, every individual is said to be the be-all-and-end-all of their own reality. As such, he was able to see, understand and manipulate the multiverse as a whole. Over the years, however, the Beyonder has repeatedly had his powers downgraded, but he remains a master manipulator or reality.

#3: The Living Tribunal

Co-Created by none other than the late, great Stan Lee, The Living Tribunal is a force that even the most powerful Marvel characters dare not challenge. This three-headed entity exists within the multiverse itself rather than any single dimension. As old as the universe, the Living Tribunal functions as a check and balance for the multiverse, ensuring that magical forces never destabilize the cosmic balance. One universe amassing too much energy, a gross imbalance of good and evil in the multiverse—these are the issues with which the Living Tribunal is concerned, not the conflicts of earthly or galactic villains. We’re talking about a being with power on an incomprehensible scale. Though, for what’s it’s worth, the Living Tribunal apparently isn’t much of a fighter.

#2: One-Above-All

That’s the sort of name that says it all. In the Marvel universe, it does not get any more powerful than the One-Above-All. The term “nigh omnipotent” has appeared a number of times on this list because… well, we’re dealing with a lot of gods, godlike beings and cosmic entities. The One-Above-All, however, is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—no ifs, and, buts, qualifiers or caveats. This is the entity that created all life, in all realities, in all iterations past and present of the Marvel universe. In a more meta sense, the One-Above-All is seemingly the embodiment of the Marvel creators and editors. And at the end of the day, all these characters only live by the grace of the pen and scissors of these mighty beings.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Doctor Strange
The Sorcerer Supreme, With His Mastery of the Mystic Arts, Is Not to Be Underestimated

Master of the Antimatter Universe, This DC Villain Is Committed to Destruction

Professor Charles Xavier
This Powerful & Influential Alpha-Level Mutant Is Earth’s Greatest Telepath

#1: The Presence

Within the world of DC comics, there is no entity more powerful than The Presence. The god or creator of all existence, it has taken on various forms and titles over the course of comic book history. When dealing with the Spectre, The Presence is often referred to simply as The Voice. The Hand, a literal giant hand, is said to have been seen by various characters at critical junctures in time, including the DC universe Big Bang. Given that the Presence is everywhere and everything, this entity simply cannot be destroyed, as proven in “JLA: Paradise Lost”. As such, this being has also been referred to as The Source, for all things emanate from this entity of incomprehensible power.