When it comes to heavy hitters in not just the DC Universe, but the entirety of comics, Superman is typically seen as the crème de la crème. He's a character who may even seem "boring" to many because it's just difficult to create obstacles and have compelling villains for a superhero that's as strong as Superman. He's a character that can literally reverse time, not by psychic abilities, but by sheer force of will by flying around the planet and changing its rotation.
Superman typically capitalizes on his immense strength, but that doesn't mean that he's invincible. If anything, Superman is a character that can be prone to defeat just because he does have such well-known weak spots. In addition to that, there are just plenty of other heroes that pack a hefty punch, but don't advertise it in the way that Superman does (I mean, even his name...). Accordingly, here are 20 superheroes who could beat up Superman.
20 Green Lantern
Any of the Green Lanterns’ rings offer them wild opportunities, but in this case that ring can easily create the effects of Green Kryptonite and turn Superman completely powerless. Lantern light energy can also be used to viciously impale victims. Granted, this is typically a tactic used by evil Lanterns, like Sinestro, but that's not to say that a Green Lantern couldn't also do it.
19 The Hulk
It may seem kind of anti-climactic to just throw brute strength at itself, but sometimes that's enough. After all, Doomsday was just a strong juggernaut and not some genius, yet he was able to defeat Superman in a very big way. The Hulk really isn't that different from Doomsday and with the right advantages or select environments, the Hulk could easily overpower Superman.
18 Wonder Woman
Superman and Wonder Woman have actually battled a bunch before and she's held her own against him. She also has a bevy of tools at her disposal like the Bracelets of Submission and the Lassos of Truth. Her Sword of Athena is powerful enough to cause a nuclear explosion and has been able to cut Superman in the past. If all else fails, she could just crash her invisible plane into him.
17 The Beyonder
Both Marvel and DC aren’t afraid to get exceptionally weird when it comes to some of their more powerful superheroes. They go so far that it almost feels like their goal is to create something unbelievable. With the Beyonder, he’s the living, corporeal form of an entire universe, which makes him especially hard to defeat. The Beyonder is the Marvel Universe, but put into human form when it got a little curious and wanted to get out and explore. There's no limit to this entity’s powers.
16 Martian Manhunter
Martian Manhunter benefits from how he actually has many of Superman's own powers. If that wasn’t enough, his species also has the added bonuses of regeneration, shapeshifting skills, and most importantly: powerful telepathy. Any of these things alone could take out Superman. Superman has even referred to him as "the most powerful being on the face of the Earth."
15 Jean Grey
Jean Grey is one of the most famous Omega level mutants out there, but it’s for good reason. She’s capable of manipulating Superman in a number of ways before he even understands what’s going on. Jean could probably handle Superman on her own, but if not, bringing the Phoenix Force into play would make this no contest. It’s pure, raw energy that would just tear Supes apart.
14 Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange is another character that’s not going to win against Superman when it comes to brute strength, but he 100% has him beat when it comes to the mystical arts. Doctor Strange could just spirit Superman away somewhere, play with his mind, trap him in a loop, or vindictively sever him with portals. Plus, he’s able to sport facial hair.
Vision one of those superheroes who’s just a solid mix of skills and is super strong in every category. He may have artificial roots, but that doesn’t change that he could likely keep up with Superman in every area. Then, skills like the ability to become intangible, would push Vision over the edge. His supernatural abilities and brilliant intelligence would be too much for Superman to comprehend.
It’s safe to say that Thor could probably also take out Superman under the right circumstances, but his father, Odin, never properly gets his due. Odin is a unique case since he draws his power from the Odin Force. He’s used this power to defeat Thanos, Galactus, and the Silver Surfer, so it stands to reason that Superman wouldn't be much of a threat at all. He'd probably even underestimate Odin.
Sentry is basically a more insane Superman that's just as invincible, but has no real obvious weaknesses. On top of that, one of his skillsets is the manipulation and control of light and solar energy, which allows him to decimate Superman if he wants. When he can tear villains like Carnage in half and fight valiantly against Celestials, it seems like he could handle Superman.
Psychic mutants are always a major threat, but David Haller (aka Legion), the son of Charles Xavier, is a psychic threat that puts even his father to shame. Legion’s skills are nearly unmatched and his many warring personalities make him dangerously volatile. His powers could trap Superman in a fantasy world, make him think he's someone else, decimate his reality, or just pick apart his brain and psychically squash him.
9 Ghost Rider
Here’s another character that wins on a technicality, but if there’s any character that would love that, it’s Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider is subject to a loop hole where he's technically invincible and can't be defeated. Add to that his supreme speed and deity-like abilities and Ghost Rider is on another level. He's defeated Satan, so what chance does Superman stand?
It’s only fitting that Shazam would be able to best Superman in battle since he’s designed as what’s basically a Superman-like character, right down to the look. They also have comparable abilities, but Shazam isn't prey to the same wealth of weaknesses. There's also an infamous moment where Shazam actually punches Superman in the face and manages to knock him out cold, so there's that, too
7 Swamp Thing
It may not seem fair, but Swamp Thing kind of beats Superman in a catch-22 scenario: Swamp Thing can't die unless the planet itself is destroyed, which is something Superman would never do since he loves humanity so much. It's kind of brilliant. Swamp Thing is nowhere near strong enough to actually beat Superman, but he may be able to outlast him in terms of resilience here due to his power reservoir from "The Green.”
6 Black Bolt
Black Bolt doesn’t get enough love in the Marvel universe. He’s lived a tortured life that’s almost Shakespearean in nature and a lot of it has to do with his powerful super skill. Black Bolt is gifted/cursed with the immense power and sound of his yell. It’s destroyed landmarks like Mount Rushmore, demolished entire kingdoms, and broken whole planets. Black Bolt could simply focus his voice at Superman and if it didn’t cause him to explode, he’d at least be incapacitated from the sheer volume.
Ant-Man may not be physically stronger than Superman, but it’s in the superhero’s unique skillset where he gains the advantage. It may seem like a cheat, but Ant-Man could shrink down, enter into Superman’s body, and then enlarge himself to destroy Superman (this was actually a leading theory for how the Avengers might beat Thanos in Endgame). Alternatively, Ant-Man could also just become super big and crush Superman, too.
4 Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch’s abilities are toned down a little in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in the comics she’s one of the most powerful mutant whose full potential hasn't even been fully explored. Her powers are extreme, but her biggest trick is in House Of M when she renders mutants extinct by simply uttering the phrase, "No more mutants." If that's the case, couldn’t she just say, "No more Kryptonians" and render Superman non-existent?
3 Franklin Richards
Franklin Richards may come from a humble, helpful place, but he’s a cautionary tale of how fame and power can change someone. After Richards makes Galactus his herald, he basically proves that he's the puppet master of Earth-616. He can do whatever he wants with it, whether that's turn Superman into a baby, turn himself into Superman, or just implode the universe while he flees away to another one.
2 Captain Marvel
Not only is Carol Danvers extremely powerful in terms of her attacks, but she's also able to absorb energy to an insane degree, which means she could just feed off of any of Superman's energy maneuvers. In addition to her crazy speed and physical strength, Marvel can also manipulate the sun's radiation, which again leaves Superman vulnerable as she removes his source of power.
Spectre is a mysterious superhero that’s so overpowered that he had to be taken out of the picture or only be used on momentous occasions. He's a former angel who's practically invincible and impervious to any physical attacks, plus he fights with the power of multiple universes behind him. Spectre and Superman have fought before and Superman didn’t come out on top.
Sources: ScreenRant.com, CBR.com, DenOfGeek.com