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Is Thor stronger than Superman?

Ah, the age old question of who beats who in a fight: Thor vs Superman edition. 

Marvel vs DC is not a new argument by any means. Fans of the two franchises have long debated the finer points of which DC hero could kick which Marvel hero's ass, and vice-versa. They were even given the chance to weigh in officially in 1996, when the two comics titans jointly published DC vs. Marvel, an event which allowed readers to vote on the outcomes of such epic battles as Spider-Man vs. Superboy and Batman vs. Captain America.

Few fans of any stripe, though, would argue with the assertion that Marvel's Thor Odinson and DC's Superman are among the most powerful heroes in all of comics lore, and there are more than a few similarities between the two. Both are from other worlds, both are able to harness a strength from within to defeat villains even more powerful than themselves, both can fly, and they both wear long red capes (okay, we know that last one is a little thin). Your opinion of who is the more powerful of the two probably depends on whether you're a bigger fan of Mighty Marvel or the Distinguished Competition, but there is certainly comic book and movie lore that can help to settle the debate, at least in part.

There are, of course, a number of different factors to consider in a fight between the God of Thunder and the Man of Steel. After all, this is not a simple arm wrestling match in a bar (although we would honestly pay good money to see that). Let's dig into the finer points to try to determine: is Thor stronger than Superman?

Can Thor match Superman's brute strength?

When it comes to sheer strength, one might think that Superman would have the upper hand. Big Blue has dragged planets around, bench pressed the Earth, moved the sun, and punched people into orbit on more than one occasion during combat. In the DC universe, his strength is virtually unmatched; according to canon, he's capable of lifting around 2 billion tons, a volume that we puny humans can barely fathom. To at least attempt to put it into perspective, though, consider that the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world — has an empty weight of about 500,000 tons. That's right: theoretically, Superman could lift 4,000 Burj Khalifas all at once. 

Thor's raw strength is nothing to sneeze at, though. The God of Thunder has lifted the World Serpent, which weighs the same as the Earth; he has battled the Hulk a number of times, destroyed an entire planet during a fight, and stopped Godzilla from pushing over the Empire State Building by applying equal force to the building's opposite face. He also has the ability to temporarily achieve Warrior's Madness, a state during which his strength increases tenfold. If pure strength were the only criterion by which the fight were being judged, this would probably be a very tight contest.

When it comes to weaknesses, Thor has the advantage

For the sake of argument, let's assume that Thor doesn't somehow have a stash of Kryptonite lying around in his bedroom closet to bring to the fight. That eliminates Superman's most well-known weakness. But what Thor does have is magical ability, the Man of Steel's lesser-known weakness. It's not that Supes is more vulnerable to magic than other heroes, but he has no specific defense against it — which would spell trouble in a fight with Thor. 

The Asgardian is rarely without Mjolnir, his magical hammer, and let's face it, no one wants to be pounded by that thing, not even the last son of Krypton. Add to that the fact that Thor has the ability to summon magical lightning, and we're left with the possibility that Superman might end up super-fried by the millions of volts Thor could throw his way. 

Unlike Superman, Thor doesn't have any known weaknesses. He is susceptible to neither cold nor heat, so the Man of Steel's freeze breath and heat vision wouldn't necessarily give him an edge. Having battled both Frost Giants and Celestials, Thor would have experience with hardcore temperature extremes, and would have no trouble withstanding them. 

Thor has no answer for Superman's speed

Speed is the one area in which Superman has a real advantage over Thor. Superman could fly around the earth and arrive back in the same spot before you would be able to blink. The only hero in either universe who is faster than Superman is (of course) the Flash — but while Superman has super speed, it's not like he would be able to catch Thor off guard by just flying at him. The comics have seen Thor detect incredibly fast moving objects, so he may still be able to see Supes coming. 

Even with Superman's speed, it's well documented in the comics that Thor is able to throw Mjolnir at the speed of light, and his magical abilities mean he can also spin it at twice the speed of light. He may not be able to fly at the same speed as Superman, but the Man of Steel may have to watch out for flying hammers that pack quite the punch if he tries to catch Thor off-guard with the old "around the world in the blink of an eye" gambit. 

Of course, one also has to factor in the fact that Thor has been protecting multiple universes from insanely powerful threats for centuries, and quite successfully, no less. His experience in combat would count in his favor if he were to be faced with fighting Superman. 

All of these things considered, we believe there's only one reasonable conclusion to be reached. Sorry, DC fans, but it looks like realistically speaking, the God of Thunder seems to have an unmistakable edge over the last son of Krypton. That's not to say that Superman wouldn't put up one heck of a fight — but for our money, in this battle of the titans, Thor wins.