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The Most Powerful Justice League Dark Members

For as many bright-eyed do-gooders the DC universe has to offer, there are just as many shadow-stalking creatures of the night. Sure, they're often heroic, but they're a whole lot creepier to look at than your typical crimefighter. This is part of what makes the world of superheroes so beloved. Goodness and light live right alongside magic and mayhem. You can't read Superman all the time, after all. Now and then, you need an issue of Hellblazer to break up all the sunshine.

Enter Justice League Dark. A loose collection of sorcerers, warlocks, magicians, and otherwise occult heroes, it's there to take on the cases that are too weird, wild, and witchy for any other superteam to take on. Its ranks have grown and shrunk massively since its creation in 2011 as part of the New 52, resulting in a massive pool of characters that have claimed affiliation over the years. Given the team's nature, many of these members have potent powers indeed, but which of them are the heaviest hitters? Allows us to introduce you to the most powerful Justice League Dark members of all time, from the molecule-manipulators to the tamperers of time.

Wonder Woman brings some powerful magic to Justice League Dark

Well all know Wonder Woman, the Amazonian princess, pillar of the Justice League, and roundly beloved doer of daring deeds. Not exactly the Justice League Dark sort, one might imagine, but she is, in fact, as of James Tynion IV and Alvaro Martinez's 2018 Justice League Dark series revamp. The denizens of the DC universe are just as confused by this as anyone — the series opens with Zatanna explaining, apparently not for the first time, why she is averse to joining Diana's "mysterious magic Justice League" — but fate forces the team together when Wonder Woman herself becomes the problem in need of magical solving.

As flashbacks reveal, Diana was "witchmarked" as a girl by Hecate, goddess of magic, who buried a sliver of her own power within the girl's soul. Years pass, and eventually, Hecate comes to take her magic back, no matter the cost or consequence. All of this comes to a boil in "The Witching Hour," an event that sees Wonder Woman fall entirely under the spell of the villainous sorcerers Circe, only to throw it off with the help of the ragtag team she put together. Wonder Woman might not spend much time in the magical margins, but as a demi-goddess Amazon with divinely-endowed powers, she's powerful enough to take anything the occult might throw at her.

Swamp Thing has got that green energy

It's been a long, strange trip for Alec Holland, the botanist who became Swamp Thing. Created in 1972, he began as a creature of horror, desperately seeking a means to regain his humanity. Alan Moore revamped the character entirely when he took the character's solo series over in 1984, remaking Swamp Thing into an elemental being connected to "the Green," or the plane of being that connects all plant life. He's an avatar, a defender, and an anthropomorphization of nature itself. To no one's surprise, he packs an enormous, chlorophyll-powered punch.

As an extension of the Green, Swamp Thing is connected to all plant life on Earth. This means he can inhabit and manipulate all plant matter, whether it's sentient, alien, or thousands of miles away. Because of this, physical damage means little to him. How can he truly be hurt when his consciousness is connected to every single leaf, root, and twig? If anything threatens his power level, it's the general health of the Earth itself. Yet even that's so enormous and diffuse as to present an unreachably high bar for any villain to clear. Swamp Thing's potential is so vast as to be, essentially, unlimited, making him not only one of Justice League Dark's heaviest hitters but one of the most formidable forces in all of the DC universe.

Zatanna is an unstoppable magician

As a stage magician who's also an actual sorceress, Zatanna is one of the canniest characters in the DC universe. Justice League Dark manages to put her through her paces on both fronts, confronting her with magical horror that threatens her act and the primordial chaos from which all magic springs. Luckily, she's more than up to the task of righting what's gone wrong in the magical sphere while keeping her stage outfits as crisply ironed as ever, and if there was ever a female superhero who deserved her own movie, it would be her.

As a member of the homo magi race, Zatanna is genetically linked to magic, which she channels through backwards verbal commands. If Zatanna shouts "tlah," whatever threatens her is forced to halt, and what she commands can be pretty much anything. The limits of Zatanna's power have never been written in stone. She's used her powers to heal, transmute matter, wipe her enemies' minds, teleport, and lob energy blasts, plus there's a vast array of one-off commands. On occasion, her powers have bordered upon godly, as when she predicted the future, opened multiple portals in the space-time continuum, and taken down eons-old deities. Even keeping her from speaking her commands out loud, via gagging or magical mouth-erasing, can't stop her. She'll just write her commands in whatever's available, even if that's her own blood. The depths of Zatanna's powers are, essentially, fathomless. Luckily for the DC universe, she uses them for good.

Deadman can possess pretty much anyone

Deadman is, well, dead. Once a trapeze artist named Boston Brand, he was murdered by the fiendish assailant known only as "the Hook." Yet this wasn't the end for Boston. His spirit fell into the divine hands of Rama Kushna, a goddess who granted his unbound soul life after death — of a sort. 

Deadman is a bodiless spirit, able to possess other living beings while remaining undetectable to all but the most sophisticated psychics. Those he possesses retain no memory of his presence, nor what he did in their bodies as he inhabited them. He can swoop in, do whatever he needs to do to save the day, then split, leaving the person who played a role in his superheroics none the wiser. And hey, even if they did have a sense of something being off, he's invisible, intangible, and able to travel between the realms of the living and the dead — what are they gonna do, give chase? 

Though prolonged possession risks a permanent bonding with the host, the boundaries of this weakness have always been ill-defined. The only real issue Deadman faces is those with particularly strong wills. Batman, for example, has historically been able to throw off Deadman's attempts at possession. Tough luck for the ghostly hero, but then, that's Batman. The wider DC universe is easy pickings, comparatively speaking, making Deadman one of the most stealthily powerful members of Justice League Dark.

Madame Xanadu is an ancient, powerful member of Justice League Dark

Madame Xanadu has a long history with the mystic arts — among the longest of all Justice League Dark members, in fact. Her story begins in Camelot, where she was known as Nimue Inwudu, sister to the Lady of the Lake and Morgaine le Fey. Hers is a long and deeply-lived life, full of card games with Death itself, magical spats with Merlin, and stints in the courts of infamous monarchs. She's a survivor of the highest order, in no small part because her mastery of magic is very nearly total.

Teleportation, precognition (typically via her trademark tarot cards), immortality, and levitation are all within Madame Xanadu's abilities, all of which rest upon the foundation of her epoch-spanning life. Xanadu has seen empires rise and fall, ice ages form and melt, revolutions kindle and smolder. She's not easily swayed, nor easily fooled, especially given the fact that the future is far from opaque to her. On top of that, the heaviest hitters of the DC universe's dark side are all familiar to her, meaning few of them retain their ability to intimidate or frighten her into their doing. Etrigan, Jason Blood, the Spectre — all of these and more are known to her, providing her with knowledge, history, and lingering emotional ties that tend to prove useful in critical moments. Madame Xanadu has age, experience, and raw power on her side, plus a killer collection of magical ephemera on display at her ever-trusty fortune-telling parlor and curio shop.

Shade the Changing Man is both strong and a little insane

As his moniker dictates, Shade's powers lie in change. A creation of Steve Ditko, the character was totally revamped by Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo in their 1990 Vertigo series into a lovelorn alien poet, sent to Earth to deal with the planet's rising tide of madness. Shade, however, isn't exactly the sanest person around, especially when it comes to his trademark M-Vest, the source of his tremendous power.

The M-Vest — also known as the Meta Vest, the Miraco-Vest, and the Madness Vest — is a fabulously patterned coat that Shade can't take off. Seriously, if it's attempted, an explosion of nuclear intensity will take place. Though this means the vest is as much a curse as it is a blessing, its powers cannot be denied. With this article of clothing, Shade can manipulate reality itself. Illusions, constructs, bodies — you name it, he can make it, remix it, reshape it, and destroy it, top to bottom. The downside of this is made clear in Justice League Dark's first issue, where Shade is introduced alongside Kathy, his lost love, in the midst of an emotionally fraught argument. As Kathy begins to melt, she screams, terrified, that she wasn't real at all ... and she's right. She's a construct, imbued with sentience, of the M-Vest. Shade's powers are vast indeed, but the costs can be outright horrifying.

Detective Chimp is one powerful primate

Yeah, you read that right. There's exists a character named Detective Chimp, and he's one of the most powerful members of Justice League Dark. If you're thinking the name might be a clever bit of misdirection, you're wrong. He is, in fact, a sapient chimpanzee, dressed in exactly the sort of Sherlock Holmes-y outfit you might expect. His name is Bobo T. Chimpanzee, and he's not to be underestimated.

To begin with, he's one heck of a detective. Bobo possesses genius-level smarts by human standards, carefully honed by years of study and work. And his communicative abilities don't just cross the human-chimp barrier. Bobo can speak to any living creature in its own tongue, and he can speak every human language. This is impressive enough on its own, but Justice League Dark granted Bobo yet another gift in the legacy of the Nightmaster. A hero of the Dark Knights: Metal event, Nightmaster died protecting humanity and left his magical watering hole, the Oblivion Bar, to Bobo, alongside his Sword of Night, the title of the Nightmaster, and a sworn duty to protect Myrra, a magical realm outside of time. "They weren't thrilled when a talking monkey showed up," Bobo murmurs when pressed about Myrra's opinion of him, but the fact stands: Detective Chimp is now one of the smoothest sleuths in the DC universe, master of the magical world's meeting place, and Myrra's sworn defender.

John Constantine battles demons with magical street smarts

An icon of cynicism, smoke breaks, and rule-bending, John Constantine is one of a kind. His magical abilities are prodigious. Necromancy, time travel, demon-summoning, invisibility, and astral projection are all well within his wheelhouse. Moreover, his human blood is mingled with that of a demon, granting him some immunity to age, disease, and battle damage. This natural defense, combined with sorcerous skill, makes him uniquely resistant to magical attacks, even when they come from some of the most magically-endowed characters in the DC universe. Topping all of this off is his familiarity with stage magic, from prestidigitation to escapology. It might not be much on its own, but with magical might behind it, sleight of hand can mean serious business.

All of this is impressive enough by itself, but what really makes John Constantine the formidable figure he is are his everyday skills. Constantine is a battle-tested detective, a walking encyclopedia of occult knowledge, and brilliant con man, the sort of guy who can get out of any scrape through quick thinking, careful obfuscation, and street smarts. In the world of Justice League Dark, this flexibility doesn't just make him unique — it makes him absolutely essential. How many other magic-users are as comfortable staring down a demon as they are haggling over their bar tab?

Mindwarp's abilities are kind of terrifying

Mindwarp doesn't much care for caution, wariness, or anything that keeps him from living life to the fullest. This doesn't mean he's anything approaching happy-go-lucky. On the contrary, he describes himself as an "existentialist killer," looking to spice up the slog of living with a pot of murder now and again. Mindwarp doesn't believe in life after death, inherent meaning, or really, much of anything beyond his unique abilities and what they can nab him. Which, given the abilities in question, can mean quite a lot.

Mindwarp can project himself beyond his body, in a form he describes as his "seizure soul." While his physical body lies inert, brain spasming between life and death, his soul goes traveling, as intangible as it needs to be, or when a knockout blow is needed, as physically solid. This allows him to grab just about anything he wants, which typically ends up meaning women, expensive watches, and a whole lot animal-print furnishings. He might be a lout, but his grim approach to life comes from an understandable place. Every projection of his seizure soul could cost him his life. A high cost indeed, but one that he's willing to pay, if not typically for the most noble goals.

Doctor Fate is the champion of order

Two Doctors Fate feature in Justice League Dark. There's Kent Nelson and his grandnephew, Khalid Nassour. A veteran and a neophyte respectively, both have been granted fantastic abilities as Doctor Fate by the Lord of Order, Nabu — abilities that border upon godlike. A cosmic being over 10 billion years old, Nabu created the Helmet of Fate, Amulet of Anubis, and Cloak of Destiny to empower his chosen defenders of order against the tempestuous forces of chaos. Chaos is, naturally, a pretty big deal, and so Kent, Khalid, and all others who've taken on the mantle of Doctor Fate have found themselves wielding tremendous power upon donning the sacred vestments.

To start with, Doctor Fate has the full suite of standard superpowers, from flight to super-strength. But in addition to those powerhouse abilities, he can, effectively, rewrite reality. Teleportation, time manipulation, astral projection, telepathy, molecular manipulation, and telekinesis are all in his wheelhouse, to say nothing of the vast knowledge of the arcane and occult both Kent and Khalid have amassed over the years as scholars and explorers. As his 1940 debut in More Fun Comics #55 phrased it, Doctor Fate's powers are "the true conversion of energy into matter, and matter into energy." That makes for a pretty major player for Justice League Dark to have on their side.

The Phantom Stranger might the most powerful member of Justice League Dark

When it comes to the Phantom Stranger, it's all in the name. A mysterious figure wielding nebulous powers, the Stranger is unique among the members of Justice League Dark — and indeed, all denizens of the DC universe — in that he has no specific origin. Many have been proposed, most of which imply that he's an immortal wanderer of the earth, condemned by divine powers to dwell among the humans from whom he stands eternally apart. His powers are similarly ill-defined, to the point that he might just be the most powerful Justice League Dark hero of all. In fact, he's one of the most powerful DC heroes period.

To catalog the Stranger's abilities is difficult. He seems to be able to do, effectively, anything. He can travel vast interstellar distances, transmute matter, manipulate dreams, animate the inanimate, and he appears to be effectively immortal. He's also apparently omniscient, remarking once that "nothing remains hidden to [him]." He walks the line between man and god, his only real weakness being his inability to act directly upon the events of history. He might know how they'll play out, what fates are in store, and what precisely is at stake, but he can only gesture, suggest, and warn those he seeks to help, and even then, often cryptically. Thus fares the Phantom Stranger — effectively divine, cosmically limited.