In the comic book landscape, DC’s Superman is considered the ultimate power machine. That status remains despite many characters actually having been proven to exceed his power levels. While the Marvel Universe generally has weaker characters, even here one can find those who can beat Superman.
These aren’t the obvious picks like Thor or Hulk either, and there are other superheroes, villains, and supporting characters who have a great chance. Some of these are inherently strong but their lack of either feats or mainstream appeal has led to fans considering them as weak. However, these 10 characters can most certainly overcome the Man of Steel.
Portrayals of Rogue have generally veered toward showing her as a scared and cautious person under the watchful eye of Professor X and his team. This has resulted in her not showing off all of her powers, especially the extent of her absorption abilities. Against Superman, in a do-or-die scenario, all it would take is one touch.
Sure, Superman has an enormous set of powers and absorbing them will require a whole lot of work. Yet, that doesn’t mean Rogue can’t pull it off, and with her draining Superman of his abilities, it would be a matter of time before he’s completely powerless while she’s the empowered one.
9 Molecule Man
People like to sleep on this guy’s powers based on how he’s relatively unknown in mainstream depictions and because of his appearance. And yet, there might not be much of a fight before Molecule Man defeats Superman.
His powers have to do with being able to transform and control any molecule. In fact, he can alter reality itself if he wants to. His death would be cataclysmic, to the point where the universe can explode. Against Superman, Molecule Man would only need to move around the former’s molecules, causing him to combust, lose his powers, or even disappear.
Cable was born with both telepathic and telekinetic powers, and these have presented sporadically over the years. However, it’s preparation skills that can allow him to beat Superman. Cable’s tactics are such that they can be considered in the league of Batman.
With this kind of strategic skill, there’s no doubt he can acquire Kryptonite and synthesize it into his weaponry. The same way as Batman has beaten Superman using creative techniques, so can Cable. He has the even greater benefit of time travel, which can be used to potentially kill off Superman as a child.
The argument that Ant-Man could defeat Thanos is a viable one. This is because shrinking also gives way to creative thinking, something that will contribute in beating the big guys, including Superman. With his powers, Ant-Man can move around Superman without the latter being able to catch him.
The easiest way he can beat the Man of Steel would be by shrinking Kryptonite with him, taking it inside Superman, and then causing it to enlarge. There are whole other creative ways too, meaning people mistaking Ant-Man jovial nature for incompetence is a deadly wrong assumption.
6 Blue Marvel
There have been many characters similar to Superman in the Marvel Universe, with the popular ones including Sentry and Thor. This makes people underestimate Blue Marvel as an inferior version, yet he might have the key to beating Superman.
Along with having essentially the same strength and power levels as Superman, Blue Marvel has the benefit of fighting skills due to his military background. However, the main advantage for him is his molecular manipulation, which could, in theory, allow him to transmute something into Kryptonite. This way, Blue Marvel can easily overpower Superman by using both the latter’s weakness and his own abilities.
Due to her rather meek nature, Meggan is severely underestimated. However, with the ability to control people’s emotions using her powers of empathy, the ability to shapeshift into whatever size she wants, and more importantly mimic other powers, Meggan can easily overcome Superman.
In Excalibur (vol. 1) #25, Meggan went so far as to grow into the size of Galactus! In #39 of the same story, she became a copy of the Silver Surfer. Of course, the shapeshifting aspect also enables her to fool Superman into believing she is something she’s not, and her other psionic abilities range from elemental powers creating forcefields. These are far too much for Superman to contend with.
4 Black Bolt
The see-saw portrayal of this character in the critical dud that was the Inhumans TV series has led to fans taking Black Bolt lightly. As far as strength is concerned, Black Bolt isn’t really at Superman’s level. However, it’s his sonic scream that can spell doom for the Man of Steel.
This ability is so enormously powerful, that at the full blast the scream is capable of destroying entire planets, as told in Inhumans vol. 2 #6. Superman has previously had difficulty in facing extreme sound-based attacks, and Black Bolt can take advantage to come away with the win.
3 Nate Grey (X-Man)
As his status as an alternate version of Cable, X-Man is underestimated in the same regard. It’s also because he lost many of his powers that the focus goes away from how he once was a bona fide force to be reckoned with.
Nate Grey was considered an Omega-level mutant, with his telekinesis being so potentially powerful that he could even move liquid matter. He could also control multiple minds at once, and make himself go through super speed. Superman could probably contend with the physical attributes, but the telepathic powers would be out of his area.
There’s a catch when it comes to Gladiator using his powers; they can only increase if he has a purpose to use them and if his confidence is high. Since the question is of beating Superman, the prime Gladiator is certainly capable.
He has all the powers of the Man of Steel and then some, having feats including taking direct hits from Mjolnir, being in the center of supernova and planetary explosions. The feat he displayed in Thanos: The Infinity Relativity of ripping apart a black hole, though, is the one that places him as a character than overcome Superman.
1 Squirrel Girl
It’s hard to imagine someone whose powers have to do with squirrels being the one to beat Superman. However, Squirrel Girl has actually beaten villains more powerful than the Man of Steel. In GLX-Mas Special, she beat Thanos, of all characters. In Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2, #8, she even beat the super genius Doctor Doom.
The funny thing about her victories is that these happen to take place off-panels, although it’s heavily implied her squirrel hordes allow her to overwhelm her opponents due to them underestimating her. Based on feats alone, Superman’s loss should be a given and fans probably won’t even get to see it.
Superman is one of the most powerful DC Comics characters but he's not undefeatable. Here are 10 Marvel characters who could beat him.