DC Heroes who could destroy the world if they wanted to

By | August 14, 2023

The world of DC is home to some of the most powerful characters in comics, from cosmic gods to super speedsters. As much as the villains of the DCU pose an ongoing threat to the world—and sometimes the cosmos—some of the heroes could give them a run for their money if they chose to. Whether it’s brute force or technological terror, some of DC’s flagship heroes can just as quickly end the world as save it.

DC’s heroes all balance a range of powers and motivations, and acting as heroes against the forces of evil keeps people safe from destruction. But some stories have also explored how dangerous these characters could be if they turned to the side of evil. Some of DC’s heroes pose a threat, even in their quest to do the right thing, with some of their plans turning deadly.

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10 Batman

Greg Capullo's Batman battles a swarm of villains in Arkham Asylum.

Batman may not have the super strength or god-like abilities of his Justice League comrades, but his resources and wealth could pose a real threat to the planet if driven to evil. From the technology he develops to his ruthless exploration of the multiverse, Batman is a real danger.

Stories like Infinite crisis saw how Batman’s private plans, namely the Brother Eye satellite, could become a real, existential risk to humans. What was meant to provide the world with a security system could just as easily have ended life on Earth. Even when driven to do good, Batman is a classic example of how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

9 Captain Atom

Captain Atom ignites a nuclear explosion

Captain Atom’s destructive power has been explored through stories such as Kingdom Come, Interceptedand DC vs vampires as his body was used as a living weapon, both on purpose and by accident. Created from a military experiment, a hero’s walking nuke has super strength and can absorb harmful energy and radiation.

Captain Atom’s energy storage and expulsion abilities can make him a literal ticking time bomb. The full breadth of his energy capacity has never been tested to the limit, and if he were so inclined, it is likely that he could cause Chernobyl-level radiation poisoning around the world.

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8 Firestorm

DC Comics' Firestorm releasing nuclear energy

Firestorm was created through a scientific accident that joined Ronnie Raymond’s body with the mind of a scientist, Professor Stein. Together they form the hero fans know and love, possessing the abilities of flight, heat projection and matter rearrangement.

Doomsday clock showed that Firestorm has the power when pushed to turn people into glass, as he did when some Russian superheroes attacked him. The fact that he could effectively wipe out a city of people in an instant means that if he were to ever turn villainous, he could become one of the deadliest enemies in DC.

7 Atom

Ray Palmer as the Atom

Whether it’s Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi, the atom’s power to shrink and grow gives him the ability to kill anyone or anything he chooses without even being seen. Given the knowledge of the physicist himself and his acumen with technology, his threat may extend beyond his Atom powers.

If he wanted to, Atom could dismantle or reprogram technology like nuclear weapons without anyone even knowing he was there. Not to mention a risk of him creating his own black hole, something he could probably manage with subatomic technology.

6 Cyborg

Cyborg on the cover of DC's Cyborg #1.

Cyborg was created when the body of Vic Stone merged with the powerful New Gods technology in a Motherbox. With the power to generate Boom Tubes – tiny wormholes in space – Cyborg can transport beings across the universe, possibly allowing invaders to enter Earth from afar.

Cyborg’s powers could, if he so desired, cause the meltdown of financial systems, the destruction of the world’s energy grid, and the direction of weapons and armaments. The hero could easily cause nuclear war and act as DC’s answer to Skynet. No wonder Batman on Injustice Earth uploaded a virus to Cyborg’s system the day they met.

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5 Aquaman

Aquaman surrounded by monsters while holding his trident

Aquaman may have spent much of his existence being considered DC’s coolest hero, but he’s actually one of the Justice League’s most powerful members. Arthur Curry’s power extends through his leadership of Atlantis, his ability to communicate with aquatic creatures, and the monsters he can control.

Aquaman’s destructive abilities were demonstrated in the Flashpoint timeline, where he led the armies of Atlantis in a war against the surface world, particularly the Amazons. If Aquaman wanted to, he could unleash creatures like the Kraken on Earth or use technology to submerge the planet under the sea.

4 Swamp stuff

Swamp Thing stares at the reader

As the living avatar of the Green, Swamp Thing is imbued with the powers of an elemental god. Charged with protecting the natural world, the hero has power over life in the green, such as swamps and forests, and can bend the flora to his will.

Swamp Thing could easily use the green to destroy the machinations of modernity and pull the world into a more primal, natural state. Should Swamp Thing ever team up with Poison Ivy, the two could usher in a world of plant dominance that will cause humanity to become extinct.

3 The lightning

The two blink in the middle of the battlefield

The Flash’s power to break the world has been more than proven through the Flashpoint arc alone. There, his desire to save his mother from her previous murder inadvertently changed the timeline (with the interference of Eobard Thawne). Any hero who can travel back in time has the ability to destroy humanity.

The Flash’s speed gives him the ability to murder millions in an instant, not to mention all the damage he could do through timeline interference. An evil Flash could travel back to the dawn of life on Earth and wipe out the emergence of the first organisms.

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2 Superman

Superman reveals his S-shield in DC Comics Superman Vol.  4 DC Rebirth

Superman is one of the strongest beings in the multiverse. As a Kryptonian enriched by Earth’s yellow sun, he can move planets, hold black holes in the palm of his hand, and endure the heat of the stars. It would be no real challenge for a truly evil Superman to simply push the Earth into the sun.

Superman’s story is an extreme contrast between the god-like hero of unparalleled strength and a man who chooses to live a life of good and even normalcy. Even stories like Injustice that sees him turn to evil often follows a restrained version of him, but a truly evil Man of Steel could easily tear the world in half.

1 Doctor Manhattan

Doctor Manhattan frowns in DC Comics

Doctor Manhattan’s ability to end the world isn’t just theoretical – it effectively served as the basis for the entire DC continuity from 2011 to 2018. It was revealed that the creature had been secretly manipulating the events of the universe throughout history, causing things like deletion of the Justice Society.

Had the all-powerful being who freely moves between alternate universes been so inclined, he could have an uncreated existence in an instant. Actually at the end of Doomsday clockthat’s basically what he did as he reversed everything he had done and restored the pre-Flash point timeline.

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