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12 Strongest Superheroes Outside Of Marvel And DC

If someone told you to think of a superhero, what would be your immediate thought? Chances are that Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, Captain America, or the likes of Wonder Woman, among many other DC and Marvel icons would come to mind. And, honestly, who could fault you? Marvel is a powerhouse these days with a steady stream of big-budget films and TV series hitting screens each and every year since the dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. Despite the DCEU's failings to capture the same lightning in a bottle, the characters under that banner are larger-than-life icons, too. It truly feels like Marvel and DC own a majority stake in the very word "superhero."

However, comic book fandom is actually well-acquainted with countless heroes that aren't part of the two mainstream giants in the industry. Characters like the Todd Mcfarlane-created hellion Spawn or the corrupt, but super-powered, heroes of "The Boys" are representative of a wider, and often-times stranger world of powered beings. The strait-laced heroes who stand for justice are typically riddled with the very clichés they helped to establish in the genre such as tragic backstories. It's up to other creators in the space, whether it be in the movie, television, or comic book arenas, to create characters who are entirely set apart from what fans are used to seeing. Many times, these outliers will tread along the lines of darkness with adult-oriented stories and imagery that are often lacking from the more family-friendly Marvel atmosphere. With that said, let's examine some of the toughest heroes in this space who have created identities for themselves so iconic that they manage to stand apart from the crowd.


Many fans of the comic book medium have been introduced to Spawn at one point or another. The do-good warrior of Hell has had an ongoing series since the early '90s as well as multiple spin-offs with different characters becoming their own version of a Hellspawn. Al Simmons, is the most well-known version. As a special forces commando, he was betrayed and killed during a clandestine mission. His soul was immediately claimed by the forces of Hell in order to add him to the massive underworld army. The only memory that tethered Al to his humanity was that of his wife, Wanda. After being sent back into the world, he recovered his memories and set out to protect Wanda and use his hellish abilities for good in protecting or avenging others.

Spawn has been killed on multiple occasions, even being totally dismembered. But he has always been capable of regenerating himself using his abilities. The demon lord Malebolgia keeps Spawn under his thumb, however, and warns him that using his necroplasmic energy and demonic abilities will draw him closer and closer to a total and complete death, even from the realm of Hell. Spawn often resorts to using the weapons of man, namely firearms and blades to get the job done. He eventually grows in power and kills his master Malebolgia in issue 100 of the series cementing Spawn as a supreme badass not to be trifled with. The character enjoyed his own animated HBO series, a terrifically campy and poorly constructed theatrical film, and made numerous appearances in video games, including his induction into the "Mortal Kombat 11" roster.


Just after the turn of the century, Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic series "The Walking Dead," wrote another series of comics that sought to turn popular superhero tropes on their own head. That comic was "Invincible." Now, the series has been adapted into an animated TV show produced by Amazon Prime Video. The series follows the adventures of Mark Grayson, a high school teen who is on the verge of gaining superpowers like his seemingly heroic father, Omni-Man. Omni-Man is an alien, much like Superman, with a knack for immortality and ungodly strength. As Mark's powers manifest themselves, he finds that he is a lot like his father. He becomes a superhero only to uncover a terrible secret, his father is actually a conniving villain bent on enslaving the human race.

We could tell you to think "evil Superman," but we now live in an age where that very trope is quickly becoming a trope of its own. Homelander is consistently terrifying the population at large in "The Boys." We've even seen an entire theatrical film produced by James Gunn titled "Brightburn," where an alien farm boy much like Clark Kent gains super powers but uses them to murder and destroy.

However, Invincible's name is put to the test. His own father nearly destroys him, as seen in the first season of the show. Those who know Invincible, however, know that he can bounce back with a vengeance.

The Incredibles

With shows like "The Boys" and "Invincible," it's sometimes prudent to ask: why so serious? Thankfully, Pixar has us covered in the totally PG fun-for-all-ages department with "The Incredibles." While this is a list of the strongest heroes, it's difficult to single out a single member of the family. The entire Incredibles quintet arguably make up a solid superhero team that form a sturdy muscle by working together, much like the Fantastic Four. Mr. Incredible is all brawn, while his spouse (formerly Elastigirl) is easily the brains behind the team's escapades. Her ability to impede or wrangle the opposition with her stretchy maneuvers while Mr. Incredible delivers the punishing goods is a winning combination.

Meanwhile, siblings Violet and Dash have equally capable of strengths. Violet can offer the team defensive capabilities while Dash can zip to-and-fro to accomplish anything in a flash. And of course, there's Jack-Jack. While he may not be the most attentive member of the team, he'll surely be a vital crime fighter in the years to come with his ability to morph. Together, the Incredibles have demonstrated across two feature films that they're unstoppable when everyone on the team is doing their job.


What stronger hero is there than one capable of destroying the entire world? Of course, Hellboy doesn't do this, or else he wouldn't fit the bill of a superhero, now would he? But if prophecies are any indication, he was once the one destined to lead the forces of Hell against God's creation – Earth. The Mike Mignola character was adapted from his comic book origins into three feature films. Two of them were directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starred Ron Perlman ("Sons of Anarchy") in the role of the eponymous character. In 2019, Neil Marshall led the charge on an R-rated reboot of the character in film with David Harbour ("Stranger Things") filling the role of the demonic hero. The latter wasn't received so kindly by critics.           

Regardless, the stories tell the tale of a demonic child who enters the world of humankind thanks to Nazi experimentation. He is packing a wickedly rock-solid arm and a bad attitude that would scare the pants off anyone who didn't know any better. Thankfully, the demon child – aptly named Hellboy – was raised by his adoptive father Professor Trevor Bruttenholm as a force for good capable of slaying all manner of strange and mythical beasts who terrorize humanity. Hellboy can certainly take a beating, and when it comes to delivering one, he's got the muscle and the weaponry to get the job done. In both film versions, he is destined to thrust the world into a dark apocalypse, yet he has the fortitude to reject that power. That's a strength that speaks to the heart of the character.


What happens when you get the creative forces of both Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman in a room together? You get a wild comic series under the Image banner entitled "Haunt." Think DC's Firestorm but with a supernatural twist. Instead of two beings coming together to form a nuclear-powered hero, a priest by the name of Daniel Kilgore combines with the spirit of his late brother, Kurt (who led a life as a secret agent) to form the vigilante known as Haunt. Kurt lends his brother a powerful and protective suit made of ectoplasm.

Their partnership, at first, is a tenuous one. Daniel cares very little for his brother and he even disregards his own religion as he engages in prostitution and drugs regularly. Despite being the battle-hardened spy, Kurt wears his feelings on his shoulders and attempts to do the right thing despite his life as an assassin. When the two form Haunt, they have super strength, a measure of invulnerability, and agility. The hero can also form melee weapons and projectiles out of tendrils. Often the brothers argue and fight for control, but after some time, they learn to work as a team utilizing both of their strengths. Kurt typically handles combat, while Daniel tends to lead the duo's strategy. When combined as Haunt, the two brothers are a force to be reckoned with. They exist within the Image universe alongside some of that world's darker heroes including Spawn.

The Darkness

Perhaps, one of the darkest heroes (or anti-hero) outside of mainstream comics is, well, The Darkness – it's all in the name. Considered a powerful entity of cosmic origin, The Darkness preys on all who turn away from the light literally and figuratively. It's demonic by nature and can summon countless demons to do its bidding. In the primary continuity, Jackie Estacado is the unlucky soul who is the vessel for the beast. Jackie has lived a hard life as a boy who was an outcast and regularly abused. He is adopted into the Franchetti Crime family and becomes an enforcer – though, he still harbors a will to do good despite his career. At the age of 21, Jackie is overtaken by The Darkness thanks to his lineage. The entity is passed on through Jackie's tortured blood line and always manifests itself on its newest host's 21st birthday.

Of course, the demon attempts to wrangle Jackie into having control wantonly killing at its own leisure and sowing discord and chaos. Jackie, however, has a far stronger will than the demon suspected and becomes capable of wielding the powers of The Darkness all on his own. He takes vengeance on his own crime family after they murder his childhood friend Jenny Romano. While Jackie typically controls the entity and its power, The Darkness never stays quiet and is always in his head tempting him to unshackle himself and go berserk. Jackie often has to walk a fine line between being a murderous god of chaos and a simple vigilante who wields a weapon of great power.

The Crow

James O'Barr, author of "The Crow" comic book series that began in 1989, tells a tale of crime and justice as seen through the lens of a merciful universe. The comic book was adapted into an even more popular film in 1994. Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, took on the role of the tortured protagonist, Eric Draven, a man who was murdered in cold blood alongside his soulmate. He returns as the Crow, an immortal being tethered to the land of the living in order to right a heinous wrong. Famously, Lee was tragically killed during the filming of "The Crow" after a dummy round was discharged from a prop gun after being trapped in the barrel. The film was later released despite the tragedy and became iconic. The synergy between the film's themes and the tragedy that took hold during filming garnered attention from audiences. Even now, Lee seemingly haunts the film with his performance art embodying the mystique of his character.

Eric Draven sets out to avenge the brutal deaths of himself and his fiancée at the hands of gangsters. He even seeks to aid those who've suffered in the streets. In the film, he's nearly invulnerable. The only link he has to the grave is the actual crow that oversees his immortal journey. Once the gangsters attempt to harm the bird, the resurrected Eric is also weakened. Still, he presents a challenge for his foes and manages to take many of them out one by one. The Crow is not a character you'd want against you. So don't do anything that might bring upon you the swift justice of such a being.

Red Sonja

Believe it or not, Red Sonja is a Marvel original heroine. The bikini-clad warrior was created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith in a Marvel Comics publication in 1973. Her debut was in another primal warrior's series by Marvel, "Conan the Barbarian." However, since 2005 Dynamite Comics has published Red Sonja comics. The history of Red Sonja is a tragic one. As a young woman, her family was slaughtered before her very eyes by a band of miscreants. The scoundrels also forced themselves upon her. She attempted to fight back but found that she wasn't strong enough. She poured her heart out to the heavens and was bestowed incredible combat prowess by the goddess known as Scáthach. She then begins a quest for revenge hunting the men who wronged her.

Red Sonja is a formidable warrior. As far as human physicality is concerned, she is perfect in every way. She's lightning-fast and agile. She's demonstrated the capability of halting projectiles with her bare hands. Red Sonja is even a master of hand-to-hand and weapon-based combat. She can construct her own weaponry and is highly versatile when it comes to her weapons expertise. Red Sonja has also demonstrated peak assassin-like abilities managing to track and stealthily take out the opposition. She possesses a high level of intellect making her extremely resourceful in dicey situations. As far as non-super-powered beings are concerned, Red Sonja is by far one of the most cunning and deadly heroines.


There aren't very many superheroes to be found among "The Boys" comic book and TV series. Sure, the Seven are the premiere Justice League of this world, but they're marketed as heroes for the sake of consumerism. The real beings with super powers are pretty slimy behind closed doors. Homelander, this world's Superman, doesn't hesitate to maniacally murder anyone who offends him while A-Train and the Deep scheme just to get ahead. Starlight is quite honestly the only true-blue hero that dove into the gig simply because she wants to use her powers for good. Unfortunately, she has to walk a tightrope around her corrupt teammates.

As a super-powered being, Starlight might not be able to contend with the villainous Homelander, but she is quite powerful in her own right. Her abilities are rooted in electricity. She can absorb electricity from sources all around her to juice up her powers. She can emit blasts of light that often stun, blind, or knock the opposition out. She can also conduct electricity through metallic objects to use as weaponry. Also, along with her electrical capabilities comes superhuman strength and a measure of invulnerability. These elements enable her to have fast reflexes and be capable of muscling her way through barriers. All of this aside, Annie January, the civilian name of Starlight, is incredibly courageous. She often puts her own life on the line when it comes to defending her loved ones. Starlight is, perhaps, this world's strongest and most determined hero in the universe of "The Boys."

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Beneath the urban sprawl of New York City is a winding sewer system home to a quartet of the strangest heroes the world has likely ever seen. Thanks to a cannister of biochemically altered "ooze," four baby turtles and a rat were mutated into walking, talking creatures. Splinter, the rat, raises the turtles as his sons and trains them in the art of ninjitsu. Naming them after renaissance artists, Splinter establishes a formidable team of pizza-loving, butt-kicking do-gooders out of the four brothers. Much like the Incredibles, the turtles really shine when they work as a team. Traditionally, Leonardo (the eldest brother) leads the team always seeking Splinter's favor. Donnatello's intellect, Raphael's brute strength and aggression, and Michelangelo's penchant for comedy are all elements that balance this team of mutant turtles for the better.

The turtles originated as comic book characters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. Having a team of ninjas who combat the forces of evil with weaponry like sai or kitanas, it's easy to see how the original content of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" storyline was more violent and adult than the fun-loving cartoons and films we're all familiar with. Eventually, the turtles did go mainstream and became a mega-hit. Throughout their adventures, they've combatted aliens from other worlds and dimensions, villains from the past, and of course, the evil Shredder and his foot clan. As a team, the turtles always manage to come out on top making them one of the most fierce superhero forces ever created outside of Marvel and DC fandom.


Alongside "The Darkness," "Witchblade" is another prominent series published by Top Cow comics. In fact, Sara Pezzini, the NYPD detective who is imbued with the Witchblade, often encounters Jackie Estacado in her journey. The two even share a child together. There are strong ties between these two series, especially when it comes to the origins of the gauntlet itself. Still, Sara Pezzini has an entire series all to herself full of her own adventures combating evil in all of its forms. After becoming attached to the gauntlet, a seemingly sentient artifact, it gifts Sara with wild supernatural defensive and offensive powers. It forms armor across her body to protect her from incoming blows and can formulate all manner of melee weaponry. It increases the strength of its host and gifts her with heightened agility. The Witchblade can also heal its host. Eat your heart out, Wolverine, Witchblade would be a deadly match-up for you. Oh wait, that happened!

Throughout the course of the series, the Witchblade has been known to attach itself to several other hosts. While Sara Pezzini is the primary protagonist, the Witchblade is wielded by Sara's successor, Danielle Baptiste. In crossover storylines, characters like Red Sonja, Wonder Woman, and Vampirella have all been known to wield the gauntlet for a time. Just imagine Wonder Woman having that gauntlet on top of her abilities. She'd be an unstoppable force.


"Superior" is a limited series created by Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu. You might recognize Millar as the creator of popular comic series that have been adapted to film like "Kick-Ass" or "Kingsman: The Secret Service." Millar has had a lengthy career that includes plenty of credits across DC, Marvel, and Image comics aside from his original works.

"Superior" is a rather unique story about a young boy named Simon Pooni who is afflicted with multiple sclerosis. One night, an alien by the name of Ormon visits him and grants him a solitary wish. As a superhero fan, Simon asks to become his favorite superhero, Superior. Much like Superman, Superior is gifted with flight, strength, and invincibility among other things. Quickly, it's revealed that Ormon is actually a demon attempting to obtain Simon's soul. Simon must decide whether to give up his wish, or continue as Superior, potentially forfeiting his soul. Meanwhile, Ormon grants one of Simon's bullies the powers of a super villain named Abraxas. Of course, Simon feels the responsibility of sticking around to defeat Abraxas, which is the demon's ploy all along. What happens, however, may surprise you. Check out the story for yourself to see how it ends. However, trust us when we say that Superior is among the best and most endearing heroes outside of mainstream comic books.