The debate over who would emerge victorious in a hypothetical battle between Superman and Thanos has been a topic of intense discussion among comic book fans for years. Both characters possess immense power and have proven themselves to be formidable opponents in their respective universes. While Superman is known for his incredible strength, speed, and ability to fly, Thanos is revered for his exceptional combat skills and his possession of the Infinity Stones. In this article, we will delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each character and attempt to answer the ultimate question – in a face-off between the Man of Steel and the Mad Titan, who would come out on top?
Thanos would win in a battle against Superman. He has more powers and abilities at his disposal and excels at both unarmed and armed combat, which was never Superman’s greatest strength. But the thing that truly makes all the difference when it comes to Thanos’ and Superman’s fight is the fact that Thanos has no weaknesses and is ready to go all the way. He is ruthless and intelligent, and it wouldn’t take him that much time to figure out how to utilize Superman’s many weaknesses to his advantage.
Now that we’ve concluded that Thanos is more powerful than Superman, it’s time to analyze exactly why. We will analyze both characters’ powers, abilities, strength, speed, and durability until you can see why we made our conclusion. It’s also important to note that we will analyze both characters’ comic versions, not their respective cinematic versions. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Powers and abilities
Superman is one of the most powerful characters who ever graced DC comics’ pages. Most of his powers and abilities stem from the fact that he is not technically human but rather a Kryptonian individual with the ability to absorb and utilize solar energy exceptionally.
The fact that he can store and utilize solar energy affords him many abilities that are beyond the reach of many of DC’s superheroes.
Superman can project powerful shock waves, manifesting as sonic booms with nothing but the clap of his hands. Those sonic booms are powerful enough to level buildings and can be heard from great distances. Due to his exceptional mastery over controlling his own molecular structure, he can vibrate his molecular for various effects such as time travel and vortex creation.
However, his most famous powers and abilities remain the many ways he can utilize highly concentrated energy, creating heat beams from his eyes capable of great destruction and even releasing stored cosmic energy through extremely powerful (and destructive) AoE blasts.
Superman likewise has many types of vision that help him navigate and identify the world that remains unseen by regular human beings. He can utilize electromagnetic spectrum, infrared, microscopic, telescopic, and x-ray vision. His breath is also powerful enough to produce freeze waves.
Thanos, like Superman, is not human. He is an Eternal with a Deviant gene, making him one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. Since birth, Thanos’ parents were aware of his great potential and dangers. Due to his unique physiology, Thanos has many powers and abilities that are off-limits not only for human beings but for representatives of his own species as well. Most people like to focus only on Thanos, who wields Infinity Stones, but he really doesn’t need those to assert himself as an extremely powerful supervillain in the Marvel Universe.
Even without Infinity Stones, Thanos can utilize many forms of energy to create force fields, alter matter and even distort reality to a limited degree. He can manipulate others as he excels in psionic abilities and madness manipulation. He also has limited abilities when it comes to elemental manipulation. Thanos likewise often employs his mystical abilities to enhance his other powers.
With everything said, it’s clear that both Thanos and Superman are extremely powerful. However, Thanos’ powers and abilities are mostly magic-based, which is one extreme weakness of Superman. Due to this, I’m confident that Superman would have a hard time countering them. The point goes to Thanos.
Points: Superman (0:1) Thanos
Strength and Stamina
Due to his Kryptonian physiology and his ability to draw strength via solar radiation, Superman’s strength might as well be limitless. He is extremely strong and capable of lifting around two billion tons! Like his strength, Superman’s stamina is nearly limitless. As long as he has a source of solar energy in any form, he will fight at his top performance. Superman doesn’t require sustenance, and he was frequently depicted as not needing oxygen as well.
Thanos’ exact strength cannot be calculated. He can lift well over 100 tons easily, which makes him one of the strongest characters in the Marvel universe. This is due to his hybrid Eternal/Deviant physiology, making him far more powerful than an Eternal. Like Superman, Thanos can empower himself using mystical energies. Due to Thanos’ alien physiology, he likewise creates almost no fatigue toxins, allowing him to fight and use his powers indefinitely with little or no rest.
Both Superman and Thanos are superpowered when it comes to raw strength. Due to this, the point goes to both of them.
Points: Superman (1:2) Thanos
Superman is incredibly fast and capable of moving at least 186,000 miles per second. If needed, he can go well beyond that. It’s said that Superman can move so fast that time slows down around him while he is moving. This incredible speed transferred to his reflexes and reaction times, and he is well beyond any human being. Superman can utilize his incredible speed while he is flying, and if needed, he can quickly access teleportation to traverse truly great cosmic distances.
Thanos is much slower than Superman as he can, on average, achieves speeds up to 700 miles per hour. It’s important to mention that he was shown to sometimes reach speeds greater than the speed of light, but due to those occurrences being rare, we’re not taking them into account, and we’ve decided to follow official sources instead. He can likewise fly and teleport himself to cover vast distances quickly. Like Superman, Thanos’ great speeds are reflected in his combat reflexes and reaction times, making him one of the finest hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe.
Even though both Thanos and Superman are fast, Superman’s speed is vastly superior. The point goes to him.
Points: Superman (2:2) Thanos
We’ve already mentioned that Superman is capable of self-sustenance due to his connection to solar radiation, but due to it, he is likewise nigh-invulnerable. This invulnerability counts whether both physical attacks or other massive extreme energy forces attack Superman. However, Superman is extremely vulnerable to both magic and kryptonite, which can somewhat lessen his invulnerability. But in any other case, Superman is highly immune to conventional damage and most human ailments, including poisons and toxins.
Thanos is like Superman, capable of withstanding extreme attacks and forces. He was seen walking away uninjured from some of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. If something manages to hurt him, his rapid healing factor will likely repair the damage in mere seconds. What makes Thanos different from Superman is his lack of weaknesses.
Thanos is not vulnerable to magic or the equivalent of kryptonite in the Marvel Universe. It’s possible to kill Thanos, but he likely wouldn’t stay dead for long as Death herself banned him from dying.
Superman is tremendously durable, but he simply has more weaknesses than Thanos. The point goes to Thanos.
Points: Superman (2:3) Thanos
Superman has highly advanced senses. He even thinks faster than a regular human being; thus, his senses make him perceive the world differently. Superman is considered a super-genius, but it’s not a trait he often uses, as most of the storylines completely ignore this fact. He is a strategist and tactical master, but let’s face it, when it comes to brains in the Justice League, most people relate those to Batman.
On the other hand, Thanos has intelligence that is considered his most deadly trait. Ever since childhood, most people around him recognized that his intelligence was completely on another level. He is cold, calculating, capable of, and willing to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses in unimaginable ways. He is a master strategist with loads of real-world experience in warfare. He excels at reading the intentions and motives of the characters he surrounds himself with; thus, he can discern who he can manipulate and who is a proper threat to him.
Thanos correctly predicted that Titan would fall, and although his tactics can be considered cruel, we can’t deny that they are effective. Thanos also has incredible knowledge of various weapons and technologies.
Superman and Thanos are super-geniuses, but only Thanos legitimately uses his intellect. The point goes to him.
Points: Superman (2:4) Thanos
Superman is an excellent hand-to-hand fighter due to being trained his whole life in various fighting styles, martial arts, and weapons. Superman is skilled in boxing, Jujitsu, Krav-Maga, wrestling, stick-fighting, and swordsmanship. BUT! He admitted that he is far from the best fighter in the DC universe. This is once again something that most people associate with Wonder Woman and Batman. Superman is likely more capable of combat skills than most characters in the DC comics, but he is far from the best.
Thanos started training in armed and unarmed combat at a young age and is ancient. He has loads of experience and loads of formal training, and he led war campaigns single-handedly. He excels in almost all known forms of armed and unarmed combat and can be considered to be the best brawler in Marvel Comics. However, his most notable combat skill is the one with his double-bladed sword.
Points: Superman (2:5) Thanos
Superman vs. Thanos: Who is more powerful, and who wins?
With everything analyzed, it’s obvious that Thanos is more powerful than Superman and would win in a fight even without Infinity Stones. Thanos has powers and abilities that can be considered Superman’s great weakness. He is a more capable combatant and has no morals and qualms when it comes to hurting, even killing, his opponents. Thanos is more likely to use his brain to analyze Superman’s weakness to bring him to his knees. With enough planning, characters far weaker than Thanos managed to defeat Superman, and the Mad Titan is famous for his meticulous planning and taking down the strongest characters ever created.