DC Comics: The Greatest Superheroes of All Time

DC Comics is home to a countless array of heroes and villains, including many of the most iconic characters to ever grace the comic book page. However, even within that vast universe of mythic figures, a few heroes have managed to soar above the rest, whether due to their compelling backstories, visually interesting powers, or — perhaps, in most cases — a combination of the two.

So, let’s take a look at our definitive list of the top 10 DC Comics superheroes.

10. Booster Gold

Booster Gold, smiling and jumping to the left of the frame

Booster Gold | DC Comics

Booster Gold may not have the name recognition of his Justice League contemporaries, but he’s no less important (and awesome) all the same. His comic series infuses some much-needed comedy in the otherwise grim DC canon, as a time traveler from the future utilizing his advanced technology to become a celebrity superhero.

Warner Bros. even has plans for a standalone movie, that many theorize will be DC’s answer to Marvel’s wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy saga.

9. Green Arrow

The Green arrow in his super-suit, preparing to fire an arrow

Arrow | The CW

Much in the same way Marvel entrusted the future of their fledgling streaming universe to Daredevil, DC tagged the Green Arrow to launch their TV empire on The CW. It’s a move the paid off in spades too, featuring the green-hooded archer in all his broody glory.

Originally, DC was content to have him basically act as a Batman clone that used a bow and arrow, but in the years since his creation, Green Arrow has taken on a personality of his own, pushing the Justice League into a progressive, forward-thinking mindset.

8. John Constantine

Constantine with his arms out, and flames coming ut of both hands

Constantine | NBC

John Constantine plays an integral role in the DC canon, as the gatekeeper for all things supernatural. The skilled magician and resident demon-fighter leads the “Dark” iteration of the Justice League, and is known for his trademark brown trench coat, snarky quipping, and frequent chain-smoking.

He wonderfully embodies the seedy underbelly of DC’s world of heroes, protecting the planet from the spawn of hell itself.

7. Aquaman

Aquaman posing, set to a downtown city background

Aquaman | DC Comics

Aquaman’s powers may not always be useful in a land-based battle, but there’s no denying his importance in the larger DC universe. As the King of the Seven Seas, he shoulders a good deal of responsibility, while watching over all the creatures of our planet’s oceans, big and small.

He’ll soon get even cooler, marked by a portrayal from resident Hollywood badass, Jason Momoa in 2018.

6. Martian Manhunter

Martian Manhunter firing red lasers out of his eyes

Martian Manhunter | DC

A strong argument can be made for why Martian Manhunter is the most powerful hero in the entire Justice League. Possessing a wide range of psychic, physical, and sensory abilities, he’s a valuable ally for the side of good in the DC comic universe. Beyond that, he also acts an intriguing foil for Superman, as a fellow alien who was forced to watch as their society came crumbling down around them.

You can see him on The CW’s Supergirl, a live-action depiction he rightly deserves.

5. Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman wielding her golden lasso and smiling

Wonder Woman | DC Comics

Probably the most famous female comic book hero, Wonder Woman is the only member of the DC Comics’ “Trinity” — that is, alongside Superman and Batman — to never star in her own film.

That all changed recently with Gal Gadot playing the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman in 2017. Considering she is as powerful as Superman, Wonder Woman — whose origin story is steeped in Greek mythology — deserves to be just as popular as her male counterparts. Casual fans will finally learn just how fascinating a figure she really is.

4. Green Lantern

Green Lantern with his fist clenched, looking menacingly into the camera

Green Lantern | DC Comics

Don’t let that 2011 Ryan Reynolds film fool you. Green Lantern may have yet to be effectively translated to live-action, but the character has a long-standing history of being among DC’s most powerful heroes.

Like Flash, a number of men have wielded the magical ring that is the signature of the intergalactic law enforcement group known as the Green Lantern Corps. However, all have proven to be strong additions to comic book lore — from Hal Jordan to John Stewart. It appears to be just a matter of time until the character’s name and the imaginative source of his powers finally achieves redemption in the eyes of casual superhero fans unfamiliar with his many successful appearances in comics and animated adaptations.

3. Flash

All the various iterations of the comic book Flash, running toward the camera at full speed

The Flash | DC Comics

Flash may not have the same marquee value among non-comic book readers, but the character is catching up with his fellow Justice League members fast (after all, he is the fastest man alive). Often depicted as more fun and relaxed than most other top DC heroes, the character has long been a staple of the comics and has recently broken into the mainstream, thanks to the hit series on The CW.

Flash has also undergone loads of evolution over the years, with different men donning the suit. Regardless of which version of the character appears, the Flash is always a highlight, and his world — which frequently dabbles in time travel — never fails to create new and surprising stories.

2. Batman

Christian Bale in Batman Begins, scowling at the camera and crouched down

Christian Bale in Batman Begins | Warner Bros.

Undoubtedly one of the most popular heroes of all time, Batman serves as the perfect counterpoint to Superman in the comic books, offering a conflicted sense of darkness and brooding commitment in place of Superman’s clear view of the planet he serves.

Classic works like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke perfectly capture just how morally complex and endlessly thrilling Batman’s world can be, thanks in part to his stunning rogues gallery of memorable foes.

The Caped Crusader has also seen financial success, with his collected theatrical films bringing in $2.4 billion to date.

1. Superman

Christopher Reeve with his arm extended, flying through the air as Superman

Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie | Warner Bros.

Perhaps the most recognizable superhero ever created, Superman is probably also the one responsible for the explosion of the genre in the first place, as he predates virtually all of the heroes we love today.

A paragon of truth and justice, the character is known for his unyielding sense of righteousness, and although he has largely been difficult to capture on the big screen — at least, since Christopher Reeve donned the red cape. Even fans who criticized Man of Steel continue to stand by the last son of Krypton, whose tragic origin has yielded many epic comic book tales over the years.
Additional reporting by Nick Cannata-Bowman.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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