Many comic book heroes have been seen as incredibly powerful on their own. But put them with a team and there’s something more unique. Just about every comic book universe has at least one major super-team and sometimes more. They can go from the big guns of their universe to smaller groupings, including kid ones. It’s fun to see who can and can’t work as some teams work better than others. It’s not just the heroes either as the bad guys have seen the wisdom in gathering in numbers although the results can be mixed. There are also major organizations like the Green Lantern Corps and others who do massive protection. Ranking the biggest of the bunch is tough but it can be done if you use the right criteria.
The power of the groups is one thing, but it’s also the skill involved. After all, teams of only seven or eight heroes have managed to defeat entire armies and able to show their ability to overcome all odds. To pick the best is tough as it’s not just who is bigger and more powerful, but also how they can beat the odds. Some are incredibly powerful, but can be defeated by other forces. It’s tough to figure the best of the bunch, but here goes. The 15 most powerful teams in comics and how they rank in ability to power and stand among the best alliances around.
15. The Legion of Doom
On paper, this team should be a lot more powerful. Lex Luthor brings true genius and mastery while being backed by some serious heavy hitters: Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, Bizarro, Black Manta, Brainiac, Metallo, Riddler, Cheetah, Solomon Grundy and more. That’s an incredible grouping of sheer villainy, including guys who have fought most of the JLA to a standstill. They’ve worked in comics like the mini-series Justice and showcased themselves able to bring the world to its knees. The problem is the same one you always get when you throw bad guys together: When push comes to shove, they’ll turn on each other at the drop of a hat and their own egos and lust for power will undermine any teamwork. More than once, the Legion has been on the verge of utter victory but make the huge mistake of gloating and fighting each other and that allows the JLA to win. Their power is remarkable but the lack of control is their downfall to prevent the Legion from bringing true Doom upon the DCU.
14. Fantastic Four
They rank lower as there are only four of them. However, the FF make up for numbers in their amazing abilities. Mr. Fantastic has stretching powers that are incredible, able to turn himself into a human slingshot or other strengths. His greater weapon is how he’s the most brilliant man on Earth and that genius can solve any crisis. The Invisible Woman’s force fields are incredibly strong and more than once, it’s stated she’s really the most powerful member of the Four. The Thing has the strength, the toughness and refusal to quit. The Human Torch may be a jokester, but backs it up with flame and flight, much stronger than given credit for. Together, they are a true family and that bond has allowed them to lead the way in the Marvel Universe to take on threats like creatures who have destroyed galaxies. This quartet is amazing in their power and their skill and prove you don’t need to have two dozen or more members to form one very incredible team.
13. The Rogues
The Flash regularly gives thanks that his pack of enemies don’t have much interest beyond robbing banks. Because if they used their powers to the utmost, they would be massive threats. Captain Cold and Heatwave control extremes of their powers. Weather Wizard can control the very weather patterns of Earth. Mirror Master can create amazing illusions and even mirror worlds. Trickster has his joke gadgets, Pied Piper controls minds, even Captain Boomerang can be a capable fighter if he wants to be. They have amazing power on their side, they just lack the drive and imagination to use it for anything bigger than petty thefts. There’s also the newer Rogues like Girder, Murmur, Plunder and others who provide their own skills and power. The Rogues are smarter then they seem (your main enemy runs at the speed sound, you have to think fast) and prefer being low-key to not get attention. But if they wanted to, they could turn into a seriously strong team and the fact they work well together and (unusual for villains) trust each other, makes them among the more dangerous “bad guy groups” in comics.
12. The Imperial Guard
Introduced in X-Men, this pack of aliens are the guardians of the interstellar Shi’ar Empire. Obviously intended as a homage (or rip-off) of the Legion of Super-Heroes, each member of the Guard had serious abilities to match their great power. Gladiator has fought the Fantastic Four to a standstill and said to be unbeatable if he wants to be. You have telepaths (Oracle), shape-shifters (Hobgoblin), size-changers (Titan and Scintilla) and more. They have made numerous appearances with the revelation that when a member is killed, a replacement is ready to take over. That they defend their entire galactic empire shows their power and even when smashed around at times, they keep coming back for more. They’ve grown from simply a take-off to a truly powerful squad in their own right, maybe not as much attention as they deserve, but a team who can stand as the powerhouses of alien worlds has to rank among the most powerful in comics.
11. The Authority
Originally Stormwatch, this was a United Nations backed team of international heroes. When they were crushed in an alien attack, a new team emerged, one that didn’t give a damn about playing nice. With a 50-mile wide spaceship as their HQ, they go after bad guys before they hit and enough power to take down armies. Jenny Sparks was the powerhouse, a century old leader with electrical powers; Jack Hawksmoor can “talk” to cities and control them for attacks; the Engineer can create nearly anything with her metallic body; Swift is a winged huntress; the Doctor can warp and shape reality; Apollo is a sun-powered superman while the Midnighter can win a fight before it starts. Against everything from other-worldly attacks to full-scale armies, the Authority go about and take no prisoners. They even go around toppling regimes and showing how folks with super-powers can truly change the world. They have serious attitude to spare along with their power and showcase how some super-hero teams can be major threats when they stop playing by the rules.
10. Squadron Supreme
For years, the Squadron was comics’ biggest in-joke. A team from an alternate Earth the Avengers encountered, each member was a not-so-subtle take on a member of the Justice League. You had Hyperion, the super-powered sole survivor of his alien world; Power Princess, warrior of a mystical island; Dr. Spectrum, who used an alien gem that created shapes; super-speedster the Whizzer, you get the idea. They elevated themselves with an acclaimed mini-series where they basically take over their Earth to repair damage, but end up just causing more. They’ve been through various incarnations since, including a wild alternate version that showed them more extreme. Given they have the powers of the JLA, they’re naturally among the strongest and skilled although they lack the same trust given their rough pasts. However, they have fought the Avengers to a standstill on more than one occasion and while they may not have the same strength of their DC counterparts, the Squadron has more than enough to make themselves Supreme in most dimensions.
9. The Legion of Super-Villains
In Legion of Three Worlds, Superboy-Prime (an insane other-dimensional version of the hero) finds himself in the 31st century. Outraged at a future that worships Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes and dismisses him as a footnote, Prime hits back. Invading a prison planet, he recruits every single Legion foe to form his own army. Wizard Mordu and dictator Universo have each nearly defeated the Legion on their own. Now pair them up with the Fatal Five, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, Cosmic King, Earth Man, Tyr and two dozen more of the worst criminals of the 31st century. Armed with their own flight rings, this is a serious force of pure evil that take it to Earth and the LSH big time. What ends up defeating them is the fact these villains don’t like or trust one another and Prime’s own instability paving the way for their defeat. However, they give the LSH one of their biggest tasks, one so big that the Legion has to recruit two extra Legions from alternate futures to save the day. That it took three LSH to beat one LSV shows how much power the bad guys had on their side.
8. The Teen Titans
At first just the “kid sidekick team,” the Titans have managed to boost themselves over the years in terms of their power. Nightwing (the former Robin) is skilled, a brilliant tactical mind and a great leader. Donna Troy (in any name) has strength on par with Wonder Woman and her own leadership. Starfire is gorgeous, but also flight and energy blasts while Cyborg has the tech know-how. Beast Boy has the shape-changing while Raven’s witchy abilities are dark, but come in handy. They’ve had many other members over the years like Arsenel/Red Arrow, Kid Flash, Superboy, Wonder Girl and others to boost their numbers. For a time, they had two teams going around as well as teaching teen heroes to help their powers and be heroes. They’ve faced various super-crooks, but also can take on threats like other-dimensional demon Tigron and even managed to beat the Justice League. Don’t dismiss them as “kids,” they live up to the Titans name quite nicely and these teenagers can give any pack of adults a good run for the money.
7. Honor Guard
Kurt Busiek’s acclaimed Astro City has been hailed for being old-school comic books that show a “common man” approach to the storytelling. The Honor Guard was formed in the 1950s and has been the key team for this world since. Unlike other comic book worlds, Astro works in “real time” and thus, several members (like Quarrel and long-time leader Black Rapier) have retired due to age. However, the current membership still packs great power. You have Samaritan and Winged Victory, basically the Superman and Wonder Woman of this universe with great power and strength. MPH brings the super-speed while the N-Forcer is an armored energy being with his own skills. The Assemblyman can make literally any item at a moment’s notice while Cleopatra brings magical power and Hummingbird has flight and sonic scream abilities. Topping it off is the Living Nightmare, long a monstrous creature fueled by fear, but now self-aware and joining the team to learn his place. They don’t get the press of others, but the Honor Guard is among the biggest powerhouses in comics who protect their unique world well.
6. The Defenders
They always insist they’re not really a team yet they keep ending up working together. The original four Defenders alone provided some serious firepower. You had the Incredible Hulk, a monster who has taken on the Fantastic Four and the Avengers at once and won while also crushing entire army tank divisions. Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth whose magical abilities are second to none. Namor, the king of Atlantis and a major powerhouse above or below water. And the Silver Surfer, imbued with the Power Cosmic that has allowed him to defeat alien armadas. Now throw in Valkyrie, a demi-goddess; Nighthawk, a top crime fighter; Hellcat with her own abilities; Hellstrom, the literal Son of Satan; and various other folks who come and go (everyone from Luke Cage to Howard the Duck) and the team can be surprisingly strong. So, while they may call themselves a “non-team,” the Defenders truly rank among the biggest in Marvel…when they’re not fighting each other.
5. The Justice Society of America
The first must rank among the best. The original 1940s JSA had the Golden Age versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash alongside other heroes of the time. For a while, it was explained they lived on an alternate Earth, but it was integrated to them (minus “the Big Three”) living in the 1940s with various magics keeping them from aging too much. In the 2000s, they were revived, now a great idea of these veterans teaching a new generation of heroes the ropes. This JSA had major power on their side with new heroes abounding, at one point expanding to nearly two dozen members. Power Girl, Stargirl and Hourman had the strength, Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite brought the skill and athleticism and the raw energy of the other members helped to push them more. While they don’t exist in the current DCU, the JSA still have to rank among the best as well as the first ever.
4. The X-Men
Once, they were merely a handful of students, showcasing how mutants were a persecuted minority. Today, the X-Men have branched so far, they require multiple teams to handle it all. That said, they come together for common cause and their power is stunning. Eye beams (Cyclops), some of the most powerful telepaths on the planet, Wolverine’s berserker fury, Storm controlling the elements, their powers are varied and almost endless. It’s no wonder many humans are in fear of them as if they wanted, they could control the planet easily. However, they fight for justice for all beings, human and mutant and are true heroes. That said, push them too far and they can hit back hard with enough power to lay waste to armies. True, some take it a bit too far (the more militant X-Force have no qualms with taking the lives of bad guys), but the X-Men prefer helping rather than killing. Even bigger is that long-time archenemy Magneto has now joined them as an ally and having arguably the most powerful mutant on Earth as a teammate just makes them stronger and a force for their own “nation.”
3. The Avengers
When just about every hero in the Marvel universe has been a member of this time at one time or another, you know it’s a huge thing. Their membership has shifted constantly over the years, but remains mostly centered around Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, a seriously powerful trio. Then you have the likes of the Wasp, Giant Man, Scarlett Witch, the Vision, the Black Panther and so many more. Even long-time solo guys like Spider-Man, Daredevil, Wolverine and others have hooked up as Avengers to boost them majorly. That’s not to mention how some lower tier folks (Black Knight, Sersi, Rage and others) have seen membership to get some good attention. They have split at times with West Coast and various other teams, but the Avengers name remains key. Whether they’re defending against alien attacks or facing a variety of villains, the Avengers are a source of pride to the MU and an honor to be included in their ranks. No matter what their nickname or their mission, the Avengers are the major force of the MU and why they rank high among this power list.
2. The Legion of Super-Heroes
It’s one thing to be a team to protect just Earth. Now imagine what it takes to protect a hundred worlds. In the 30th century of the DCU, the Legion is an organization of young folks with various powers who protect the United Planets from various threats. In sheer numbers, they’re huge with 30 regular members, a Substitute Legion and even an Academy to train more recruits. Their powers are amazing: Lighting (Lightning Lad), telepathy (Saturn Girl), magnetism (Cosmic Boy), super-size (Colossal Boy), Superman-style powers (Mon-El) and so many more from super-genius Braniac 5 to shape-changing Chameleon Boy. Even lower rung members have their skills. Bouncing Boy may seem a joke, but can take down a dozen guys at once. Karate Kid can chop rifles with his bare hands and they can beat everything from alien invaders to time-traveling dictators to win. Throw in their flight rings and their top teamwork and the LSH have shown that they can handle anything the future throws at them as well as standing among the strongest teams around.
1. The Justice League of America
Superman. Wonder Woman. Batman. The Flash. Green Lantern. Aquaman. Any team with all of them together is automatically the most powerful around. That’s without the addition of others like Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, Green Arrow, Black Canary and many more. The JLA has been the standard bearer of super-teams, going from a mountain base to the moon and always ready to protect Earth against threats. They have had low points (the 1990s had them as a bunch of third-raters), but when the big guns come out to play, the JLA is tops. The sheer power they bring is one thing, but they trust one another and hang out together, their teamwork tops as Batman can outthink anyone while Superman and the rest back it up. They’ve faced everything from alien invaders to a batch of bad guys, demons, gods and more. No matter their lineup, the JLA are the top tier of heroes in the DC Universe and also rank as the most powerful in all of comics.