In today’s comparison, we are remaining in the realm of DC Comics’ superheroes as we are going to compare two major characters from that realm. One is Wonder Woman, DC’s Amazon warrior, and the other is Superman, Son of Krypton. Both are among the strongest characters in the DC Universe, which is why we reckon it’s going to be a thrill comparing the two of them in this article. So, be sure to keep reading!
The answer is both yes and no. Wonder Woman has beat Superman before, but Superman has also beaten Wonder Woman. Although Superman might be a tad stronger objectively speaking, we’ll put this one down as a clear-cut draw.
In today’s article, we are going to compare Wonder Woman and Superman. Firstly, we are going to give a brief introduction into the two characters, focusing on their respective comic book biographies. Then, we are going to discuss their fights in the comic books, before ultimately giving an answer to the question of who is the stronger among the two of them!
Who is Superman?
Superman is one of the chief characters in the DC Comics universe. Born as Kal-El of Krypton, he was sent to Earth by his parents, moments before the tragic destruction of his home planet. On Earth, he landed in Kansas, near the estate of ones Jonathan and Martha Kent, two local farmers who took him in and raised him as their own child, giving him the name Clark Kent. Young Clark was thus raised in Smallville, not knowing his heritage and the powers he possesses.
As he grew up, Clark Kent became aware of his powers and found out about his heritage, but he decided to accept the Kents as his real parents, even after discovering his true identity. Most of these scenes include him discovering the messages left to him by his real father, Jor-El, through which he learns everything about himself and his heritage.
Later on, Clark Kent becomes a reporter for the Daily Planet, a Metropolis-based newspaper, while simultaneously “working” as Superman, the protector of Metropolis and the Earth. While working for the Daily Planet, Superman meets Jimmy Olsen, a trusted friend and ally, and Lois Lane, a big-shot reporter, with whom he eventually falls in love and starts a relationship. He’s also had an on-and-off relationship with Wonder Woman, but Lois was always his first and true love.
One of Superman’s first opponents was General Zod, another survivor from his home planet, who threatened Earth, before being stopped by Superman. Unlike some other DC superheroes, Superman has a lot of extra-terrestrial enemies, some of the most notable being Brainiac, the collector of planets, and Doomsday, a Kryptonian monstrosity matching Superman’s own powers. Still, his archenemy is a human, a very powerful and very intelligent human, but still only a human. His name is Lex Luthor and he plays a very important role in Superman’s crime fighting career.
Superman’s most famous nickname is the Man of Steel, which symbolises his superhuman strength and abilities. He is certainly the most powerful among the DC Comics heroes, but he also has a very strong weakness – Kryptonite. Those who know this, often used this to their advantage, since Kryptonite can do devastating damage to the Man of Steel.
He has appeared in a lot of derivative material, including a film series starring Christopher Reeve, the DCEU, where he’s played by Henry Cavill and several animated features.
Who is Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman is a fictional superheroine appearing as one of the major characters in the DC Comics fictional universe. She debuted in Sensation Comics #1 in 1942 and was created by psychologist William Moulton Marston and illustrator H.G. Peter, who is usually not credited as her creator. Her real name is Diana, which accounts for her civilian name – Diana Prince.
Wonder Woman was born in the fictional island nation of Themyscira as Princess Diana of Themyscira. Dina is an Amazon warrior and has been trained in the way of the Amazons ever since she was a child. Initially, her origin story included a clay statue made by the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which was later granted life and several superpowers by the Greek gods (the so-called Old Gods). Newer origin stories retconned this and made Diana the daughter of Zeus and Queen Hippolyta.
Wonder Woman is known as one of DC Comics’ most powerful superheroes ever. She was trained by the Amazons and she also possesses some divine powers, along with specific magical artefacts like the Lasso of Truth. Wonder Woman was granted passage out of Themyscira and into “Man’s World” when she had to accompany U.S. pilot Steve Trevor back to his home. Steve Trevor would later become a crucial part of Wonder Woman’s story.
Deciding to stay in “Man’s World”, Wonder Woman took on the civilian name Diana Prince, while secretly working as a superheroine and a member of the Justice League. During the years, she has managed to “accumulate” a fairly large and colourful gallery of rogues, which includes names such as Ares, Cheetah, Doctor Poison, Circe, Doctor Psycho, and Giganta, along with more recent adversaries such as Veronica Cale and the First Born.
Today, Wonder Woman is one of the most important members of the Justice League but also a standalone heroine, a very important factor history-wise, especially given the fact that she was one of DC Comics’ major character in an area where female, characters weren’t. She has certainly helped shape modern DC Comics.
She has appeared in numerous derivative materials. including movies, TV shows and video games. She was voiced by a plethora of actresses before Patty Jenkins made her Wonder Woman, with Gal Gadot starring
How many times has Superman fought Wonder Woman?
Superman appeared in 1938, while Wonder Woman appeared in 1942, that is – five years later. The two characters changed comic books forever and have become the pillars of comic book superheroes, among others. Since both of them are on the side of good – they’re even members of the same team (Justice League) and have been occasional lovers – they usually collaborate, but they have also clashed on several occasions during their shared history.
Now, why did that happen?
It depends on who the instigator was. When Wonder Woman initiated a conflict, it was usually due to ideological reasons or differences in opinion over some major issues. For example, in the 1978 comic All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-54, in the story “Superman vs. Wonder Woman”, the Earth-Two versions of Wonder Woman clash over whether the United States should use the atomic bomb to end World War II. On the other hand, Superman would usually initiate a fight when he was under the influence of some other supervillain or force, like in Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1 (2014), when Superman was turning into Doomsday and Diana had to stop him.
The reasons throughout their shared history were mostly these, with there also being some alternative narratives with different motivations, like the Superman: Red Son storyline, an Elseworlds storyline.
So, how many times did they actually clash with each other?
We have managed to dig through the history of comic books and find a total of 15 clashes between the Man of Steel and the Amazon Princess, and they are:
- Superman: Red Son (2003) – this Elseworlds story focuses on Superman landing in Ukraine instead of Kansas. He becomes a “weapon” of the communist Soviet Union during the Cold War and manages to establish a global dominance of the Soviet Union, with himself as a ruthless dictator. Wonder Woman, who is likewise a politician, is madly in love with Superman but he doesn’t care for her at all. It is only when Superman kills the rebel Batman that she realises the truth and confronts Superman, but her Amazon army wasn’t even able to slow Superman down.
- “The Villain’s Journey, Chapter Three: Atonement” (2012) – set in the New 52 continuity, this story from Justice League #11 deals with the consequences of David Graves’ kidnapping of Steve Trevor. Wonder Woman wants to go save him, but the rest of the League is more cautious. After Green Lantern tries to stop her, she simply punches him aside; Superman intervenes, but Wonder Woman also kicks the s*it out of him before Batman and Cyborg manage to calm the situation.
- “A Tale of Two Satellites!” (1977) – in this old story from Justice League of America #143, Wonder Woman is mind-controlled into taking over the Justice League Satellite. Superman intervenes and tries to stop her, aware that she is not herself, but finds himself impressed by her strength. The two of them keep fighting until the rest of the League intervenes and manages to end the mind control Diana was under. This was the first clash between Wonder Woman and Superman.
- “Madness!” (1999) – in Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #13, Superman has had enough of humanity and its issues and has decided to take over the world and remove all the Earth’s nuclear weapons by throwing them into the Sun. The League warns him against such a move, but Superman sends an army of robot Supermen to attach his teammates. The League do their best – they even recruit the New God Orion – but Superman manages to escape and continues plotting his world domination.
- “Superdoom, Chapter 3: ‘The Promise'” (2014) – in this story from Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1, Superman is turning into the Kryptonian monster Doomsday. If the transformation is complete, the Superman/Doomsday monster would lay waste on Earth and the whole universe. Wonder Woman decides not to let it happen and she confronts the transforming monstrosity. Removing her bracelets, Diana manages to obtain new, godly powers and ultimately defeats the Kryptonian monstrosity. When she is about to deliver the last, fatal blow, Superman regains control and takes over his body, becoming the hero he is once more.
- “For Tomorrow, Part Eight” (2005) – the story in Superman #211 focuses on a bunch of people disappearing thanks to a machine known as The Vanishing Device. Superman takes the device and brings it to his Fortress of Solitude, wanting to use it on himself so he can save the other people. An armed Diana comes and tries to stop him, saying that it could kill him. The two of them fight, with Superman obviously being written as the stronger of the two. The fight ends when Superman says that the Fortress is about to self-destruct and that there are people inside; Diana saves the people, while Superman escapes.
- “Casualties of War” (2015) – the fight occurred in Superman/Wonder Woman #17, while Diana and Superman were fighting Circe, who is Diana’s longtime enemy. Circe used her powers to control Superman and turn him into a mindless beast, and then sent him to fight Diana. Diana, at the time, had the powers of Ares, so she gladly accepted the challenge. This was a battle that was short and sweet, with Diana showing that she would’ve beaten Superman to a pulp had the fight lasted any longer.
- “Darkseid War, Act Three: Gods of Justice – Chapter 1” (2016) – in the cataclysmic event called “Darkseid War”, Darkseid’s daughter instigates a war between her father and the Anti-Monitor, with the former dying in the process. Members of the Justice League are part of the conflict and, at one point, become avatars for different Gods. Superman becomes the God of Strength and all of a sudden, power is the only thing he cares about. He almost kills Steve Trevor and then goes to test his strength against Wonder Woman. She is physically weaker, but she manages to tie Superman up with her Lasso, making him remember who he actually is.
- “Superman vs. Wonder Woman” (1978) – the second clash between the two superheroes happened in the comic book All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-54. This fight was set in 1942 and happened over the use of the atomic bomb, which was being developed as part of the Manhattan Project. Superman was assured that no one would use it as a weapon, while Wonder Woman thought that it shouldn’t even exist. The two of them clashed fiercely, even ending up on the Moon during the fight. The fight was interrupted when they realised that some dastardly villains stole parts of the bomb so they had to work together to stop them.
- JLA: A League of One (2000) – in this one-shot story, Wonder Woman learns from an oracle that a dragon will come and kill her and her teammates. Wanting to save them, she goes to fight the dragon herself, but she has to keep all of her teammates away. So, Diana decides to defeat them one by one, until she confronts Superman. She realises that she cannot defeat him in a fight so she tricks him – she tells him that she has sent the Justice League satellite into an asteroid belt with their teammates inside – so he has to leave her to face the dragon, thereby avoiding his own death.
- “Absolute Power, Part 2 of 5: ‘What Price Freedom…'” (2005) – in this alternative reality, the epic fight is shown in Superman/Batman #15. In this reality, Batman and Superman have become tyrants who rule the world together, mercilessly. Some form of resistance pops up now and then, but it’s always crushed in blood. Wonder Woman, one of the resistance leaders, initiates an attack, eventually killing Batman in the process. Superman is furious and he beats Wonder Woman to a pulp, killing her ultimately with her own Lasso.
- “Different Worlds” (1988) – in Action Comics #600, Diana and Superman kiss for the first time, decide they should just remain friends, fight each other and track down Darkseid. It’s a lot to take in for just one story but it did happen like this. When Diana is summoned back to Olympus, Superman accompanies her but they soon discover that they’re in a different version of Olympus, where they face evil versions of themselves and fight them. What they don’t seem to know is that they are fighting fake versions of themselves (actually Amazing Grace and Kalibak) in a move orchestrated by Darkseid. They are ultimately left to fight themselves as the fake versions disappear, but when their fight leads them to Darkseid’s lair, they reveal that they had been aware of the trick the whole time and that they were just pretending to fight to fool Darkseid.
- “Exiled” (2015) – narrated in Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four #8, this is certainly one of the most epic and brutal fights between the two superheroes. Set in the alternative reality of the Injustice series, this story pits Wonder Woman against Superman. They start off evenly matched, but Superman gains the upper hand and at one point begs Diana to stop. Diana uses that compassion and her warrior pride against Superman, gaining even more strength and tackles him back. She gouges his eyes and then beats him to a pulp, even breaking his arm in the process.
- “The Witch and the Warrior, Part Two: Girl Frenzy” (2001) – in Wonder Woman #175, Circe has transformed all male superheroes into animals or man/animal hybrids. Except for Superman – she transformed him into Doomsday… because, why not? The female superheroes face off against their male counterparts, with Diana being the only one who can face Superman’s monstrous form. She is repeatedly beaten and injured, but her indomitable will triumphs once more as she is able to subdue the Kryptonian monstrosity with her Lasso, bringing Superman back to normal.
- “Sacrifice, Part IV of IV” (2005) – this story, presented in Wonder Woman #219, is probably the most famous clash between the two superheroes. Here, the villain Maxwell Lord has brainwashed Superman into thinking Diana is Doomsday. Superman attacks Diana with everything he’s got, while she defends herself, knowing that Clark is not in control of himself. The fight itself was relatively short. Diana captured Lord in the end and to everyone’s surprise, threw her tiara at Superman, slicing his throat and killing him in the process.
How many times has Superman defeated Wonder Woman?
Now that we’ve listed all of the clashes, let us see how they were resolved and who won:
|1||Justice League of America #143||1977||Draw|
|2||All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-54||1978||Draw|
|3||Action Comics #600||1988||No Contest|
|4||Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #13||1999||Superman|
|5||JLA: A League of One||2000||Wonder Woman|
|6||Wonder Woman #175||2001||Wonder Woman|
|7||Superman: Red Son||2003||Superman|
|10||Wonder Woman #219||2005||Wonder Woman|
|11||Justice League #11||2012||Wonder Woman|
|12||Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1||2014||Wonder Woman|
|13||Superman/Wonder Woman #17||2015||Wonder Woman|
|14||Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four #8||2015||Wonder Woman|
|15||Justice League #47||2016||Wonder Woman|
So, what do the numbers say?
Out of the 15 fights they had, Wonder Woman has won a total of 8, which is more than half. Not all of them were won using her physical strength – she tricked him in some cases – and not all of them were set in the main narrative continuity, but Wonder Woman has won more than half the times. Superman, on the other hand, won four times – half as many times – with two draws and one fake fight we listed as a no contest. Most people would think that Superman is the strongest but the comics don’t show it.
In the following section, we are going to see the arguments for both points of view and analyse their powers in more detail.
Who would win?
We’ve seen that Wonder Woman was more successful in their comic book encounters but a lot of people will state that the comic books were not written objectively. This is why we have decided to analyse their powers and abilities in more detail and see whether Wonder Woman is really more powerful than Superman or not.
First, we’ll give you an insight into Superman’s powers. As far as Superman goes, his powers and feats are well-documented throughout the comics and it is very easy to find precise evidence of his feats and abilities. Superman has superhuman traits like strength, speed, durability and others. He can shoot burning lasers from his eyes and ice from his mouth. He can also fly and is generally able to stand his ground in any form of physical confrontation, despite the opponent. Although he looks like a god from a human perspective, he isn’t one. In fact, on Krypton he would’ve been like any human on Earth, but the Earth’s atmosphere and living conditions enhanced his powers in that environment.
Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is a god. Well, technically she’s not, but she is a demigoddess and therefore has divine powers, something which Superman doesn’t have. She is a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusive Amazonian martial arts. She also has similar superhuman abilities as Superman, although she doesn’t have his special powers (e.g. heat vision, laser breath, etc.). Her actual strength is incalculable, and she also has abilities like nigh-invulnerability, speed, flight, a strong healing factor and semi-immortality. All of this, on paper at least, makes her equally strong, if not stronger, than Superman. In addition to all of this, she also regularly uses different weapons and/or gadgets to aid her, like the Lasso of Truth, the Bracelets of Submission or her tiara. She is also great in weapon-based fights, which is why she can often be seen with a sword and a shield.
So, the big question is – is Wonder Woman really stronger than Superman?
Well, she both is and is not, just like Superman is both stronger than her and isn’t. This is a very delicate question where even the proof we have in the comics doesn’t give us a straightforward answer. Both Superman and Wonder Woman are extremely powerful and their full potential (we’re not including alternative versions of these characters like Superman One Million) if quite possibly incalculable. We do know that both of them can achieve amazing feats when it seems that they are down, and they have proven that on numerous occasions, both when fighting one another and when fighting other characters.
Superman has some special abilities that Wonder Woman doesn’t, but Wonder Woman, on the other hand, is a true warrior and she is certainly more skilled than Superman when it comes to classical hand-to-hand combat. Most of their other powers are quite similar, with the distinction that Superman depends a lot on the environment he is in and the Sun, while Wonder Woman doesn’t.
Comparing their feats will also not lead us very far, since both of them have defeated many strong opponents. Superman has faced off against cosmic threats like Brainiac and Darkseid, while Wonder Woman has fought against Greek deities, like Ares. And they have won.
Simply looking at their comic encounters is not enough. Sure, Wonder Woman might seem stronger when observing these fights, but the context is important. Some of those stories are set in an alternative or Elseworlds reality. In some of them, a character was clearly written to be stronger, so the narrative wasn’t fully objective, while in others – one of the two wouldn’t give it their all because of different reasons. This is why it is very difficult to find a winner here, and that is exactly why our verdict is as follows.
Namely, due to the fact that their powers are very similar and that there is absolutely no doubt that Wonder Woman could beat Superman, and that Superman could beat Wonder Woman, we think that this is a clear-cut draw, as the two of them are on an equal power level.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!
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