ByMatthew Bailey, writer at
Husband. Father. Gamer. Cinema Lover. Mix it all together, and there I am. I love all things pop-culture and coffee; but coffee is the best.
Matthew Bailey

The debate over who will win in a battle between any of the following will ALWAYS rage on (to the point of nausea at times):

  • Superman vs. Batman
  • Superman vs. The Hulk
  • Wonder Woman vs. Superman
  • Thor vs. Superman
  • Goku vs. Superman
  • Goku vs. One Punch Man

And honestly, the list could and would probably go on forever because it's always going to come down to the die-hard fans that love their favorite characters. There's no real clear cut answer to who could defeat who, because honestly there's always going to be some new skills that a character develops, or their backstory gets revamped and now they have access to something that they didn't have before. It's always going to change, that's the essence of character development. There ultimately is no true winner in a battle between heroes. Or maybe we will get some answers in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice... maybe?

Yet, there are characters in comics that are often overlooked in the 'who is the strongest conversation' because either their skill sets are offbeat or they are just not a mainstream fan favorite. Whatever the reason, I hope to shine light on 5 characters who are either shamed, shunned or just plain overlooked; so let's begin.

1. Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider is the alter ego, of sorts, of the famous stunt motorcyclist, Johnny Blaze. Thanks to a familial curse, the demon Mephisto has his eyes fixed on the first born child of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale: both stunt performers in the Quentin Carnival. Johnny Blaze is filled with, at first, an ancient demon which was bound as a Spirit of Vengeance. His power was immense as it was pure intensity and had near boundless power which could not be hurt, killed or turned away once the spirit took control. It was later that Johnny was filled with a pure Spirit of Vengeance (after the demon escaped his bond). Johnny had full control over this form, ultimately making him infinitely more powerful. In this form he has the trademark abilities of the Penance Stare, flaming chains, Hellfire manipulation and a pure mission of vengeance from a major deity - the Jedeo-Christian God, Yahweh (who may or may not be the cosmic One-Above All).

Ghost Rider is often over-looked for a couple reasons: his overall popularity which the lackluster films starring Nicolas Cage didn't help to expand his notoriety.

The second reason is primarily because he won't fight unless the adversary deserves God's vengeance. So it's hard to judge his strength level, but Ghost Rider has proven to be one of the strongest - even showing the ability to best The Hulk in his Green Scar persona. Ghost Rider left the battle field once he deemed the people that The Hulk was tormenting as not being innocent.

2. Starfire

Starfire is an alien princess from the planet Tamaran. She is the middle child of three sisters and is in line to take the throne after her older sister is deemed unworthy to rule (as she is unable to take flight by harnessing ultraviolet light). Starfire's elder sister is bitter and seeks alliance with her family's enemy, the Citadel. After an invasion, Starfire and her now betrayed sister are subjected to six years of torture and experimentation to discover how much energy a Tamaranian body could absorb before exploding. Through the experimentation, Starfire gains the ability to channel the energy into destructive blasts called 'starbolts' as well as unleashing all her stored up ultraviolet energy into a nova-blast of sorts.

Starfire is overlooked mostly because of her overly-sensuous appearance. She is often portrayed as the romantic interest rather than expanding on the no-nonsense warrior aspect of her culture. Her warrior side is truly nearly limitless as it is similar to Superman gaining his strength from the yellow sun. She even has the ability to absorb that energy from other life forms who require the same radiation... ahem ahem Kryptonians.

3. Namor

The original prince of Atlantis, Namor has had a history in the comics spanning over 70 years, sometimes considered the first mutant (at least in publication terms). He was the son of Princess Fen of Atlantis and Leonard McKenzie (the captain of a ship, Oracle, in search of vibranium near the at-that-time-unknown Atlantis). The two fell in love and were to be married before King Thakorr sent his soldiers to bring the princess home and attack the crew of the ship. When Namor grew up, he fought in World War II alongside Captain America and the Android Human Torch. Namor has spent a great deal of his life attempting to avenge the loss of Atlantis (several times).

Namor is overlooked in the same way that his DC counterpart, Aquaman, is. Regardless of his superhuman strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, durability and flight. Namor can heal himself naturally faster than humans or Atlanteans, and while immersed in water his healing is accelerated. Namor is an underrated hero because of his 'aquatic' life (as is Aquaman), but that is only one facet of his powers and not a reason to be overlooked.

4. Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter (a.k.a. J'onn J'onzz) is from Mars, the last survivor of a genocide on the planet. He escapes to Earth and attempts to blend in. J'onn spent a great deal of time on Earth attempting to remain hidden, not wanting his Martian heritage to be revealed (which considering how we've seen aliens treated - seems a valid fear). J'onn had been an integral part of the Justice League for decades. Although relatively unknown, was also recently introduced in CW's Supergirl.

The Manhunter is often overlooked mostly because he doesn't fit the standard heroic mold. J'onn J'onzz is more similar to Batman than other heroes because throughout his character history he is shown as being highly intelligent and deductive. That alone should put him on par with Batman. Add in his strength and ability to alter his molecular structure (shapeshifting & invisibility) as well as his telepathic powers and he's definitely one of the strongest there is.

5. Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl (a.k.a. Doreen Green) is a mutant who, as you can guess, has squirrel-like powers. Doreen has enhanced strength, speed, agility, reflexes and can leap several stories. Along with her enhanced attributes, Doreen has razor sharp claws in place of her fingernails, knuckle spikes and a semi-prehensile tail. She can also communicate with legions of squirrels. Her powers (according to Marvel's powergrid) are at the same level as the Living Tribunal, yet she's never been actually accepted as a true superhero despite defeating Thanos, Terrax, M.O.D.O.K, Fin Fang Foom and Doctor Doom to name a few.

Squirrel Girl is pretty much the epitome of overlooked, mostly because of her quirky abilities and her general appearance. It also doesn't help when you're hired by Jessica Jones/Luke Cage to be their baby's nanny. She has defeated countless villains with ease and yet she's still the most under-appreciated hero basically in all of Marvel comics.

There are so many characters in the comics, and so many heroes that are infinitely popular, which makes the "who is the strongest" debate so much fun to have. Yet, most often only include the 'popular characters' and the characters listed above always seem to miss out on joining in the fray. Which is disappointing considering that these 5 characters in particular are more than worthy of going toe-to-toe wit Marvel's and DC's best!


Who do you think is the most overlooked hero?


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