Superman is arguably the greatest comic book hero of all time. If not for his success, #comicbooks wouldn't be where they are today. Superman is a character that we often compare athletes to. "They played like a superman" is a common phrase you hear in sports when a player seems unstoppable and often infallible. In #DC, Superman has proven to everyone that he is what heroes should strive to be. Even Batman has admitted that the Man of Steel is a greater hero than himself.
Beyond all of the goody goody stuff, Superman is NOT to be messed with. Many villains and heroes have learned that testing The Man of Steel is an easy way to end up in jail, the hospital, or both. But Marvel Comics has their share of big strong tough people as well. These are eight characters that could challenge Superman thanks to their immense powers and skill.
Thor's Advantage: Godly Magic
When people think of Thor one thing almost immediately think of his hammer, Mjolnir. Mjolnir gives Thor control over the weather, but it's not just a piece of metal. It is made of an Asgardian metal (uru) in the heart of a dying sun and blessed with magic by Odin himself (on top of the magic he already possesses just by being a son of Odin). With this, he has a move called the God Blast (used against Emma Frost when she had the power of the Phoenix). Superman's extreme vulnerability to magic would leave him badly beaten if Thor was to break out this move in battle. And if this is a Thor that possesses the Odin Force, then Superman has no chance at all.
Sentry's Advantage: Molecule Control
The Golden Guardian of Good vs. the Man of Steel. Pound for pound, Sentry has the physical strength to take on Superman. Not only that, but he also has the ability to control molecules, meaning Superman might not be able to take on a focused Sentry for too long. Then there is...
2b. The Void
The Void is a being of pure destruction or, as Norman Osborn calls him, the Angel of Death. The Void has killed gods. Not one, but two and in the same day. It took the entirety of The Avengers, the Secret Warriors, a helicarrier used as a bullet, and eventually Thor hitting him with the biggest lightning bolt imaginable to take him down. Even then, Robert Reynolds (Sentry/Void's human side) wanted to die. I don't know if the Void can be killed if he doesn't want to die. Superman can pound Sentry all he likes and even throw him in the sun, but if The Void doesn't want to die, than he will just keep coming back. Eventually, Superman will lose this fight.
Ares's Advantage: Fighting Skill Plus Super Strength
Superman is NOT a skilled fighter. When he is confronted by a super strong opponent that is also happens to be a skilled fighter, Superman tends to be defeated (for example Wonder Woman and Batman in Injustice after he took the enhancement pill). Ares is a character that was not given a long enough run in comics to be given a chance to shine. He was a smart-alec, a tough guy, and despite his hard exterior he had a soft spot for his son. Also, in the short time he was around Ares was intimidating. Ares's advantage is his ruthlessness, toughness, and willingness to do whatever it takes to win on top of his superior fighting skill. Superman has a tendency to hold back and doing so against Ares would result in Superman's head being cut off by the magical axe given to him by his father Zeus.
4. Captain Marvel
If there is one thing I have learned from Civil War 2 it's to NEVER count Carol Danvers out. Even before that, she absorbed the power of a nuclear bomb and knocked out the Sentry. That alone should prove her power, but here's something else that is a big deal. Carol thinks and acts like a person of the military. She knows how to fight, when to fight, and, more importantly, never to be cocky. Superman does have the advantage in sheer power, but given the chance, she can absorb enough power to blast a hole right through Superman, especially if it's the rays of a red sun. If she can take on and beat Iron Man in a suit designed to beat her, she can absolutely beat Superman.
5. King Hyperion
King Hyperion's Advantage: Willingness to do what it takes
Hyperion's strength and power might actually be on par with Superman. Both of them have very few physical weaknesses, they both have a source of power get the source of their power from the sun, and they both have been absolute ruler of their planets (Superman in Injustice and Hyperion in his Marvel reality Earth 4023). What is it that makes Hyperion stronger than Superman? Hyperion isn't held back by feelings. Hyperion doesn't need love, lust, or friendship. Even when Superman was at the peak of his rule of the world in Injustice, he still held back his punches when he fought his former friends and actually cared about the people of Earth. Hyperion was always ready to sacrifice someone if it meant that he would gain the world.
Some people may look at Hyperion's lack of feelings as a flaw, but when you are waging a war, your enemy cannot be your friend. Hyperion also doesn't care about people. Even the Injustice Superman cares about civilians. Allow me to say it exactly as King Hyperion said it himself, "You might be man enough, but you're just not mean enough." Superman would have to go to that place he went to defeat Doomsday to beat Hyperion. The problem is, Doomsday has a one-track mind. He NEEDS to destroy Superman. Hyperion is not above using hostages and causing collateral damage to beat Superman. Those distractions are enough to give Hyperion an advantage.
6. Red Hulk
Red Hulk's Advantage: Planning
I will be the first to admit that this is a bit of a force. Red Hulk is not nearly as strong as the Hulk (but who is?), but what the Red Hulk lacks in strength he makes up in planning and skill. You're probably thinking, "In what world can Rulk even CHALLENGE Superman?" Well, lets look at the facts. Ross does something that Superman never seems to do: plan. He studies the people he knows he will eventually have to fight as well as people he may need to team with (Just look at his Thunderbolts team). So he never really goes into a fight blind or at least without some knowledge of the being he up against.
Rulk has the fighting skills and military training to really challenge Superman and Rulk is not against using kryptonite weapons to take him out. While this may be a long shot, Rulk has a better chance at beating him than people would think. Also, in Avengers vs. X-Men, Rulk took a beating (and outsmarted) and beat a Juggernaut, powered up Colossus, and he also knocked out the Watcher in his first series.
Thanos's Advantage: Toughness and Determination
If Darkseid is any indication of the type of person you need to be to defeat Superman, than you can put Thanos right next to Darkseid. Thanos is overlooked among the most powerful because he no longer in control of the Infinity Gems and the Infinity Gauntlet. Even without all that power, Thanos is one of the the toughest and smartest characters in comics. So much so, that a determined Thanos has taken on Hyperion, Thor, and The Hulk all by himself and still managed to hold his own. Thanos has even taken a massive lightning bolt from Thor and looked at him and asked him to do it again. And when he did, Thanos looked up at Thor and asked, "Is that all...or do you have something more?"
Gamora's Advantage: Skill and Ruthlessness
You don't get called the most dangerous woman in the universe for nothing (It also doesn't hurt when you're the daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos). The Gamora you've seen in the movies is a bad-@$$, but she is a pale comparison to the comic book character. Gamora is battle tested and is more than willing to kill her opponent with a moments notice. Like Wonder Woman, she is a skilled and proud warrior with the ability to take Superman apart piece by piece. She's quick, agile, more extremely skilled with multiple weapons, and, above all else, ruthless. Her time in war during the Annihilation War in space is a great example of what Gamora is like when the chips are down. Trust me, you WANT her on your side.
9. World War Hulk
World War Hulk's Advantage: Unlimited and untapped strength
You wanna talk pound for pound who is the strongest? Look no further than World War Hulk. The angrier the Hulk gets, then the stronger he gets, and in this series the Hulk was never angrier, meaning he has never been stronger. So much so, that he took a direct shot from Black Bolt's voice, almost immediately shrugged it off, and beat Black Bolt to a pulp. Not enough? How about the fact that he was in New York and when he stomped the tremors could be felt in Connecticut and Martha's Vineyard? We have never really seen how powerful the Hulk can really be. Where do the limits of his powers stop? Does he have a limit? One thing that for certain is that if there is anyone that can actually overpower Superman it's this version of the Hulk. A Hulk with a vendetta, a purpose, and isn't the childlike Hulk.
I am SURE you disagree with some or all of my picks. So let me know your thoughts on who I selected and who I missed (Juggernaut? Colossus?). Let me know in the comments below.