As far as American superhero comics are concerned, Marvel and DC Comics are certainly the biggest players on the market. The two publishing houses have been around for several decades now and have given us some brilliant stories and characters such as Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Thanos (Marvel) Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Darkseid (DC Comics). Now, with such a plethora of characters, who would win in a direct clash between Marvel’s and DC’s heroes?
DC Comics would certainly win in a direct clash. Sure, Marvel might have the One-Above-All, but DC’s Doctor Manhattan is the most powerful and invincible fictional character ever created, and that is simply why DC Comics would win in this clash, despite the individual differences that might give points to Marvel.
Comparing whole universes is a big deal and something we haven’t really done before, at least not in this scope. The rest of this article is going to be divided into three sections. The first two sections will give you an overview of the two franchises so you know all the necessary information. Finally, we will give you a detailed analysis of the two franchises to explain why DC would win in this one.
Marvel Comics: An Overview
Marvel’s history goes back to 1939, and it’s quite storied. Their take on the superhero genre was quite revolutionary, as they never actually thought of adding much darkness to their stories, opting to create lighter storylines and characters that would attract those readers who viewed comics as a source of entertainment.
This did not lead to a lack of quality as, thanks to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, but also some later authors, Marvel managed to create one of the biggest and most popular fictional universes ever.
DC Comics: An Overview
DC’s publishing tradition is slightly longer than Marvel’s since the company was founded in 1934. And as you might have guessed, their stories were initially completely opposite of what Marvel was doing.
What made DC Comics stand out from other mainstream publishers at the time was its approach to darker storylines and the fact that it accepted much deeper stories than Marvel. In fact, it was Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns that actually launched what we today label as the Modern Age of Comic Books.
Marvel vs. DC Comics: Who Would Win?
The most difficult part of this analysis was determining a proper starting point. Now, this is a “Who Would Win” article, so you can’t really go into the realms of popularity, fanbases, finances, or the like; you have to focus on the powers these universes bring.
In this aspect, we have revisited many of our old comparisons, especially those where we compared Marvel’s and DC’s characters directly, but also with other non-related characters. This has helped us, but there are so many of these characters that we couldn’t really write this article focusing on individual comparisons.
Sure, Batman could beat Captain America. But Thor could beat Batman. But Superman could beat Thor. But Thanos could beat Superman with the Infinity Gauntlet. But Doomsday could beat Thanos. And the list could go on forever; okay, not literally forever, but you get our point. So, this approach was a no-no. What then?
Comparing groups also wouldn’t bring us much good, as there are a lot of powerful characters in both universes that aren’t part of any group, not really. This is why we had to abandon this approach as well. So, what was left? They always say that if you want to scare off a group, just defeat its leader. In this case, its strongest member.
And that is why we decided to approach this by comparing the two most powerful characters from both universes. It was the easiest and most practical way, as the strongest character from each universe tells a lot about that universe.
In Marvel’s universe, the question was clear – it was the One-Above-All, Marvel’s ultimate deity, thought by some to be either Jack Kirby or Stan Lee. The One-Above-All is the all-mighty, omnipotent, and omniscient creator of the Marvel universe and a being that knows no equal.
Still, as one comic book showed us, even he wasn’t able to fix a temporal error created by a maddened Thanos, who actually even managed to absorb the One-Above-All for a while; no, Thanos is not more powerful, but the story illustrated a known weakness of Marvel’s god. This story is also non-canon, so it’s not really a valid reflection of One-Above-All’s powers.
On the other hand, DC was a bit of a mystery. Was it Darkseid’s True Form? The Presence? Or someone else? After much thought, we went in line with our earlier articles and picked Doctor Manhattan, Alan Moore’s omnipotent human/god from the Watchmen universe. The guy created whole universes and life itself and was responsible for literally destroying time; plus, he has no known weaknesses, and the only person who could defeat him was – himself.
This was a heated duel, really, but the arguments go in favor of Doctor Manhattan. In a battle between two omnipotent beings, Doctor Manhattan wins simply because the comics never established a way of defeating him unless he himself opted to do so. This is why DC wins over Marvel in this ultimate clash.