Superman fans consistently claim that because the Man of Steel was the first comic book hero, he could not possibly be defeated. Well, I hate to break it to the fans, but that is not true. The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Avenger all precede Superman. I can hear the fans scream, “Oh, but those were pulp magazine not comic books.” Well, if that is the case, Dr. Occult, The Clock, and Sheena: Queen of the Jungle all debuted before Superman, so let’s eliminate that useless theory all together.
In fact, Superman started to steal powers from characters like the original Fawcett Comics creation Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam) and Namor the Sub-Mariner (who was also the first hero to fly). Originally, Superman could only leap, bend steal, and had heat vision, but his writers slowly stole powers from other characters, so much so, that the Fawcett Comics sued DC Comics.
That being said, Superman has more weaknesses than fans want to let on and, granted, different writers experimented with different variations. For arguments sake, let’s look at some of the things that are actual weaknesses or have hurt Superman: magic, Kryptonite, pure energy, radiation (nuclear, etc.), alien technology, and red sun radiation.
Now, using these weaknesses and not allowing for Elseworld contamination, I will show you who could defeat the Man of Steel:
Venom- I actually have proof of this one. During the infamous DC/Marvel crossover, they did a lead up to the Amalgam in the pages of Access. In one issue, Venom accidentally crosses over into Metropolis and handily defeats the Man of Steel. Spider-Man arrives to assist, but Venom’s pure rage and strength overcome both of them. Access has to use a sonic weapon to blast Venom before he is apprehended.
The Powerpuff Girls- Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup could not take Superman individually, but as a team, the Man of Steel does not stand a chance. These girls have all of his powers and more and have no known weaknesses. No matter how hard they get hit, they just keep coming back. Granted, Superman does as well, but these girls, there is no stopping them.
Goku- I’ll be honest, I am not into anime like I should be, but Goku from Dragon Ball Z just keeps getting stronger and stronger while Superman peaked in the Silver Age. Goku can destroy planets, travel at top speeds, can teleport with his “instant transmission,” and has come back from the dead, twice. Superman has only done that once.
UPDATE: Those Death Battles with Goku used a combination of various forms of Superman giving the Man of Steel ridiculous advantages meanwhile completely ignoring facets of Goku’s powers. I will write an article debunking both videos some day.
Icon- Originally published in Milestone Comics, this character was merged into the DC Universe, though he has yet to be seen in the New 52. He once fought Superman hand-to-hand with Superman even admitting that he had never been hit so hard by another hero.
Wonder Man- Made of pure Ionic Energy, he has superhuman strength that is on par with several of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe. Aside from strength, he can heal, fire energy blasts, and even reform after being blown up. He has more than enough power and strength to take on the Man of Steel.
Nexus- The classic character created by Mike Baron and Steve Rude, his powers include super strength, flight, stealth, telekinesis, cosmic awareness, energy absorption, and manipulation. He even gains strength from stars, but unlike Superman, red suns do not make him loose his powers.
Namor- Granted, this is a bit of stretch if Marvel’s first mutant was away from water, but put Superman in a position where there is water and Namor would have his number. His strength has been shown to even be on par with the Hulk. It one issue, he was able to throw a giant cruise liner effortlessly.
Prime- No, not Optimus Prime, but Prime from the Ultraverse. He has all of the same powers and abilities of Superman, plus, he was given the ability to create a new prime body due to his surroundings or the enemies he is facing making him able to adapt to Superman’s powers and abilities.
Super Sonic the Hedgehog- Yes, everyone’s favorite old school Sega game star Sonic the Hedgehog. Not in his normal form mind you, but in his Super form. When he’s combined with the seven Chaos Emeralds, he becomes so powerful, nothing can seemingly stop him. The question would be, could he hold out long enough before his power drains. My guess, depends on where they fight. If they fight on Sonic’s turf, yes, but in Metropolis, Superman wins.
The Hulk- Okay, so not Professor Hulk or Joe Fixit, but the Savage Hulk, whew, I’m sorry, but Superman could not stand a chance. He might hold out for awhile, but after tasting the Hulk’s savageness and sheer brute force, he would wear out. Also, Hulk emits low levels of gamma radiation and we’ve seen countless times that various forms of radiation do weaken Superman to an extent.
That is my list of characters that could defeat Superman. Do you have any of your own? Comment below and you might see them in a future list, so be sure to subscribe.