Because he was essentially the first superhero, Superman has a long and storied history filled with villains. Some of them are iconic, and some of them were complete duds. In that long history, though, Superman has also faced a number of incredibly powerful villains.
After all, because Superman is also one of the most powerful villains in superhero history, he has to face some insanely powerful villains in order to come up against an actual threat. Superman usually wins the fight, even when he comes up against these villains, but the fights are certainly a little close for comfort. These five baddies are not only some of the most powerful villains the superhero has faced in his 84 years of existence, but they are also some of the most fearsome foes that have ever been created.
Superman is known primarily for his strength, which is part of what makes Brainiac such a deadly opponent for him. His knowledge comes from his conquering of cities across the galaxy, which leads him to understand things that no one else knows.
When Brainiac finally does debut his true body, though, we also see that he’s more than capable of matching the man of steel’s raw strength. In fact, if Superman hadn’t been quick on his feet, he would’ve lost his battle with Brainiac altogether.
4. General Zod
Many of Superman’s greatest enemies are in one way or another given similar powers to the ones he possesses. In the case of General Zod, it’s because they are both Kryptonians who have traveled to Earth and gained the powers of the planet’s yellow sun.
Zod, though, is even stronger than Superman because he has absorbed less of Earth’s sun than Kal-El. Zod overpowers Superman from the first time that the two opponents face off. Superman’s sheer grit is the only thing that ultimately allows him to emerge victorious.
Mongul is actually a title more than a single opponent, and Superman has faced a number of different alien foes who bear the title over his long history. The current Mongul is among the most powerful, which is why he’s been such a problem for Superman.
Every Mongul has been able to hold their own against Superman, but the current Mongul may be able to take Superman down. Even if he doesn’t win every fight, though, Mongul proves to be one of the most problematic enemies that Superman comes up against.
Doomsday is not the most creative villain in the history of Superman villains, but he’s undeniably one of the most powerful. He’s a biological weapon that was created by the Kryptonians, and he runs on pure rage and on his desire to destroy everything in his wake.
When Superman finally comes up against him, Doomsday really just obliterates him and is ultimately responsible for his death. Doomsday’s emergence is designed for the explicit purpose of killing the man of steel, and that’s exactly what this weapon ultimately does.
Darkseid is one of the most fearsome villains in the DC universe for a reason. He’s basically a god of evil, and his powers know no real limit. Because of Superman’s incredible power, there are few villains who simply outclass him the way that Darkseid does.
Superman has defeated Darkseid, of course, but he’s rarely done it alone. Superman doesn’t have a chance when he faces Darkseid alone, and that’s because he’s going up against the kind of opponent he’s rarely faced.
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