Thanos is Marvel’s most most feared villain. Superman is DC’s most iconic hero. In a fight to the death, who would emerge victorious?
As one of the most fearsome villains in comic book history, it’s hard to keep track of all the heroes Thanos has killed in Marvel Comics over the years, but what if he set his sights on the world of DC? Could Superman, DC’s ultimate hero, defeat the Mad Titan, or would the Man of Steel become the latest to fall before Thanos’s might?
While Thanos has committed an abundance of atrocities, he’s best known for The Infinity Gauntlet limited series by Jim Starlin, the creator of the character, which loosely inspired the MCU’s Avengers: Infinity War. The plot centers around Thanos collecting the Infinity Gems and using them to wipe out half of all life – no small feat, but Thanos has plenty of superpowers without the stones, as well. Born to a race called the Eternals, Thanos innately has super-strength, durability, and stamina, as well as energy projection and immunity to virtually all poisons and diseases. Thanos is also well-versed in the mystic arts, granting him some magical enhancements. However, perhaps Thanos’s greatest asset is his intellect. The Mad Titan built his intergalactic army from the ground-up and has proven time and again to be a genius tactician. All this to say, Thanos is just as likely to outwit his opponents as he is to overpower them, making him incredibly dangerous.
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As far as superheroes go, there may never be another character more iconic than Superman. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938, Superman was made to be basically unbeatable. In fact, the Man of Steel’s feats in the Silver Age were downright ludicrous, like when he destroyed an entire solar system by sneezing. Modern comics have brought the character more down to Earth, but make no mistake, Superman is still insanely powerful. In addition to his plethora of abilities, Kal-El is among the fastest and strongest characters in all of DC, and as long as he has yellow sunlight, his power is essentially limitless. In All Star Superman, Clark actually went into the sun itself to absorb more solar energy, and when he came out, he was able to lift upwards of 200 quintillion tons – a number so high it’s difficult to even fathom. However, Superman also has some easily exploitable weaknesses, including kryptonite, red sunlight, and magic. His moral code also makes him hesitant to unleash the full extent of his power, which could be detrimental in a fight against Thanos.
Determining who would win in a fight between Superman and Thanos depends largely on the circumstances of said fight. In a straight-up brawl, Superman would likely win pretty handily. Thanos is certainly no slouch, having taken out two powerful marvel heroes with one slap, but Superman’s strength outclasses almost everyone the Mad Titan has ever fought, and the kryptonian has too many tricks up his sleeve for Thanos to counter. His biggest advantage would be magic, something Superman is vulnerable to, but the Man of Steel has fought much more powerful magic users in his day and come out on top, so it’s unlikely that alone would turn the tide in Thanos’s favor. However, if Thanos had time to plan, things could go much differently. As a master tactician, Thanos could figure out how to lure Superman into a trap, and if the Mad Titan obtained some kryptonite, it could be game over for the Big Blue Boy Scout.
As mighty as they are, neither Thanos nor Superman is immortal. Both have been killed in the past, meaning neither is unbeatable. However, Thanos would need an ironclad plan to trap and defeat the Man of Steel, because if it comes down to plain old fisticuffs, Superman is definitely going to win.
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