Top 10 Most Powerful Black Characters in Comics

Written by Fabian Wood

February 25, 2022

With power levels off the chart, the Black characters on this list are some of the most powerful – if not the most powerful – beings in their respective universe. Whether it takes a cavalcade of characters or an uncanny McGuffin to beat, these ultra-tier entities don’t go down without a real close-call fight (if they can go down at all!). We’re not going to quibble over the Superman palette-swaps like Val-Zod and President Superman, or imitations like Icon or Blue Marvel. Also disqualified are transient characters like Crispus Allen/The Spectre and Tamara Devoux/Captain Universe; or gestalt characters like Jason Rusch of Firestorm.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Mightiest Black Characters in Comics!

10. Sphinx / Anath-Na Mut

Publisher: Marvel Comics

First Appearance: Nova #6 (1977)

Created By: Marv Wolfman & Sal Buscema

Powers/Abilities: In possession of the Ka Stone, Anath-Na possesses vast ergokinesis; Limited telepathy; Flight; Super strength, speed, durability and stamina; Immortality

Once the arch-mage of the court of Pharaoh Ramesses II, Anath-Na Mut clashed and lost to the biblical Moses. Exiled for his failure, Anath-Na came into contact with the Ka Stone, which imbued him with his powers and immortality. Throughout his prolonged lifespan (5,000+ years), he led a pretty much unintrusive existence in man’s history, until he decided to turn to super-villainy one day and called himself “Sphinx – The Dreaded One”. A foil of the Fantastic Four, Sphinx was originally defeated when Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, annulled his pact with the planet-eater Galactus for his help in taking him down. Sphinx was then trapped in a time loop, forced to relive his life. However, a loophole allowed him to return.

Now the Sphinx, being an ancient Egyptian, makes him as old as Apocalypse (*more on him later); however, it’s never implied they know/knew of each other. And while most of his powers are derived from a “shiny mysterious doodad”, he still retains a measure of control over them without it.

Sphinx made sparse appearances since his debut, with lackluster fanfare to really take advantage of his potential. He last appeared in 1996 where he went against the New Warriors, though is still technically active. Honestly, if Reed Richards (one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe) didn’t vouch for him being a “Cosmic Class Threat”, he would have easily been overlooked.

9. Cloak / Tyrone Johnson

Publisher: Marvel Comics

First Appearance: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-man #64 (1982)

Created By: Bill Mantlo & Ed Hannigan

Powers/Abilities: Vast umbra-kinesis; Teleportation through darkness; Can absorb things into his pocket-dimension self; Intangibility; Empath; Superhuman strength

Half of the monochrome crime-fighting duo of “Cloak and Dagger”, the dower Tyrone is the eerie darkness to Dagger/Tandy Bowen’s brilliant light. Gaining their powers through forced experimentation of an untested narcotic, Tyrone became a living embodiment of darkness. The two started out and pretty much remain street-level crime fighters who have tag-teamed with other Marvel vigilantes over the years, and they have managed to keep their heads out of more world-ending events or cosmic affairs. Nevertheless, Tyrone’s underestimated powers deserve mention as he’s pretty much a conduit to an infinite void; which has come to be known as the extra-dimensional “Darkforce”.

Tyrone made a more prominent appearance outside of comics in the short-lived “Cloak & Dagger” (2018-19) live-action series, played by Aubrey Joseph.

8. Cyborg / Victor “Vic” Stone

Publisher: DC Comics

First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (1980)

Created By: Marv Wolfman & George Perez

Powers/Abilities: Xeno-cybernetic enhancements and bio-mechanical augmentation grant vast technopathy and mechano-kinesis; Adaptive metamorphosis; Self-sustenance; Nigh-invulnerability; Vast energy projection and absorption; Enhance/Extra sensory inputs; Regeneration; Teleportation via Boom Tubes; Super strength, speed and endurance; Jet-propelled flight; Genius-level intelligence

Suffering a near-fatal and tragic accident, athletic and academic prodigy Victor Stone was saved by his estranged father, who fused him with high-tech bleeding-edge technology, creating the world’s first ‘cybernetic-organism”, or “Cyborg”. In the original continuity, Victor’s cybernetic parts, built from Promethium (DC’s adamantium), were the result of his father’s scientific genius. In the New 52 rebooted modern continuity, Cyborg’s components are from New God tech called a “motherbox” (or “fatherbox” depending on the medium). This extra-dimensional xeno-device is a sentient super-computer.

A founding member of the “New Teen Titans”, Cyborg has gradually become a DC mainstay since the acclaimed “Teen Titans” (2003-06) animated series (voiced by the talented Khary Payton), and the follow up “Teen Titans Go!”. More so, under the New 52/reboot continuity, he was a founding member of the “Justice League” (effectively replacing ‘Martian Manhunter’ on the initial roster). Cyborg has also appeared more recently in the “Young Justice” series last season, and as a key player in the “Justice League” (2017) film by Zack Snyder, where he was portrayed by Ray Fisher. He is also a main character on the current live-action TV series “Doom Patrol”, where he is played by Joivan Wade. Cyborg, who has headed three short-lived self-titled volumes, has quintessentially become the “face” of Black superheroes for DC Comics alongside John Stewart, and to an extent, Black Lightning.

Now, while his powers on paper do not seem all that fantastical, the 4-hour Snyder cut of “Justice League” greatly exemplifies why he deserves to be on this list. The internet is Victor’s play thing. He can crash the economy or launch every nuke on Earth with a thought. Nothing is “unhackable” for him and he is un-hackable my mortal methods. He is a god of the cybernetic/information realm that most take for granted. And as humanity becomes more integrated and dependent on technology, Cyborg becomes more omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. While he can also tussle in the big leagues, with his array of impressive physical prowess, he can also attack on a psychic level (technologically speaking). He has even been known to stave off an invasion from Apokolips (Darkseid’s homeworld) with his control over Boom Tubes.

7. Harvey Dent

Publisher: DC Comics / Tangent Comics

First Appearance: Tangent Comics: The Superman (1998)

Created By: Mark Millar & Jackson Guice

Powers/Abilities: Vast psychic powers which include telepathy, mind control, astral projection, psycho-kinesis, techno-pathy, post/precognition, psychometric, super-genius level intellect

As part of the “Tangent” line of comics created by Dan Jurgen from 1997-98, the premise was to develop novel and divergent characters who only shared the names of famous DC characters. The line succeeded as any one Tangent character is a far cry, if not wholly unrecognizable, from the mainstream namesake. To that end, we have Harvey Dent, the Super-Man.

When a clandestine organization called “Nightwing” was trying to create super-humans, it laced a populous with an experimental genetic accelerant. Harvey Dent’s mind hyper-evolved, granting him vast intellect, telepathy, telekinesis and technopathic powers. Seeking to solve the world’s problems with his extraordinary gifts, Dent was hailed as the “Super-Man”. Of course, Dent was a bit overzealous, quickly sliding into being a self-righteous dictator with a Messiah-complex (complete with a shepherd motif).

Basically, Harvey Dent is if “Watchmen” Ozymandias had the vast psychic powers of Marvel’s Professor Charles Xavier. Even with a cabal of super-powered opposers, Dent took over his Earth with ease. He eventually tried to conquer DCU proper in the “Tangent: Superman’s Reign” (2009) event before he and his forces were stopped and sent back to their Earth. He’d be higher on the list if his repertoire of powers included a bit more variety and scope; but as he stands, he’s still not a pushover by any means.

Of note, both Harvey Dent’s origin, and the title of “Superman’s Reign” were a nod to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s original prototype concept for “Superman”, where a maniacal (bald) madman gains incredible mental powers through a chemical formula and takes over the world.

6. Nightmask / Adam Blackveil

Publisher: Marvel Comics

First Appearance: Avengers #1 (2012) [gestating] / Avengers #3 (2013) [fully formed] / Avengers #6 (2013) [as Nightmask]

Created By: Jonathan Hickman & Jerome Opena

Powers/Abilities: Techno-pathy; Energy Halos; Portal creation; Energy blasts; Matter manipulation; Genius-level intelligence; Trans-dimensional travel; Cosmic awareness; Immortality

An artificial being created by Ex Nihilo (your typical super-powered ET with “good intentions”) as the “perfect human”, this biological automaton known as “Nightmask” or “Adam Blackveil” (depends on who you ask) was endowed with cosmic powers. He was recruited by the Avengers shortly after his creation and aided the heroes in subverting the “White Event” (a sort of Marvel multiverse “Crisis”) threatening Earth 616, which became a universe-hopping adventure with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Although he died, in true comic book fashion, was resurrected when the universe restarted. Since his debut however, Nightmask has since fallen into obscurity, preferring to not get involved in the run-of-the-mill cosmic super-heroics.

With powers comparable to Starbrand, Nightmask may be on the same level as the Power Cosmic/Uni Power, which imbues most (if not all) of the more god-like cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe. The full extent of his potential, I feel still needs exploration.

5. Apocalypse / En Sabah Nur

Publisher: Marvel Comics

First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #17 (1985) [unnamed] / X-Factor #5 (1986) [full reveal]

Created By: Bob Layton, Louise Simonson & Jackson Guice

Powers/Abilities: Immortality; Super strength, speed and durability; Teleportation; Size-alterations; Telekinesis; Telepathy; Technopathy; Adaptive metamorphosis; Regeneration; Power bestowal; Celestial energy manipulation; Super-genius level intellect; Self-sustenance

Born over 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, En Sabah Nur was the first mutant. Raised by a desert marauder, En Sabah Nur ended up being entombed alive. But for his mutant power of longevity and self-sustenance he did not died and was eventually unleashed into the modern era. The extensive/exhaustive history of this character is too long, even to summarize effectively; but suffice to say, he is the #1 mutant menace of the X-Men. He’s pretty much the Ultron of the Avengers. Driven by the philosophy of “survival of the fittest”, old Apocalypse tries to bring about the end of humanity to cull the weak from the strong (man or mutant alike). The X-Men often have to go all out to take down this baddie, and have often teamed up with other X-villains to do so. There was even an alternate timeline called “Age of Apocalypse” (1995) dedicated to his reign over Earth. He’s often accompanied by a quartet of “mutated” mutants (often coerced or brainwashed) based on the Four Horsemen in the biblical book of Revelation; although the actual Horsemen changes with each new appearance/resurgence of Apocalypse. I haven’t even touched on his alien armor being derived from esoteric cosmic god-like beings called “Celestials”!

This guy has been resurrected more than once, took down Dracula, singlehandedly took on the entire roster of X-Men several times, scarred/traumatized many of its founding members over the years, and then some. He’s still a current player in the X-Books so watch out – there is no stopping the Apocalypse!

En Sabah Nur was voiced by Lorne Kennedy in the original “X-Men” animated series back in the 90s, and portrayed by Oscar Isaac in the ill-received, self-titled “X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016). Apocalypse was also a prominent antagonist in numerous X-Men videogames. Out of all the characters on this list, even though he isn’t thee most powerful, Apocalypse is certainly the most maleficent.

4. Black Racer / William “Willie” Walker

Publisher: DC Comics

First Appearance: New Gods #3 (1971)

Created By: Jack Kirby

Powers/Abilities: New God physiology grants incredible physical prowess and immortality; Trans-luminous speeds with cosmic skis (which double as a pair of scythes); Self-sustenance; Teleportation; Death Touch; Possession

Kirby’s “Fourth World” is a higher plain of existence known as the “Sphere of the Gods”, that lies just outside the realm of the physical multiverse. It is occupied by a fractured race of warring new-age personifications of immutable and immortal gods. In the DC hierarchy, New Gods are the most powerful and technologically advanced beings in the physical universe. They are only surpassed by The Monitor/Anti-Monitor (*more on them later) and “The Source” (DC’s “One Above All”).

Of course, death has always been an implacable inevitability, that even eternal gods must bow to. Enter The Black Racer, death on skis! He represents the foreboding finality of all things. As such, the Black Racer is a neutral entity. The Black Racer was reincarnated into the body of a paralyzed Vietnam vet named William Walker, who transformed into the harbinger of death whenever he was summoned by fate or “The Source”. This leaves the Black Racer with virtually no agency, but is a being even DC’s biggest bad Darkseid gives pause. Since he can kill essentially anything, even his nigh-unkillable brethren, with a touch, and can keep up with the likes of The Flash (who can run faster than light), the Black Racer is in a league all his own, even among his kin.

If you’re confused about the cosmic skis, Jack Kirby is the same guy who came up with the Silver Surfer and his shiny cosmic surfboard.

3. Spawn / Albert “Al” Francis Simmons

Publisher: Image Comics

First Appearance: Spawn #1 (1992)

Created By: Todd McFarlane

Powers/Abilities: Regeneration; Reality manipulation; Proficiency with weapons; Superhuman physical prowess; Flight; Prehensile cape and chains; Eldritch energy blasts and magic; Resurrection/Immortality; Exceptional martial artist, tactician and strategist; Teleportation; Shape-shifting

Singlehandedly ushering in the gritty, uber-violent anti-hero craze of the early 90s, Todd McFarlane’s “Spawn” was a multi-media juggernaut on the level of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. From the mature comics, R-rated animated series (voiced by Keith David), lackluster live-action movie (where he was played by the underrated actor Michael Jai White), numerous videogames, and plethora of action figures, no superhero in the modern age has been so monumental or influential as “Spawn”. Outside of maybe “Invincible”, Spawn is arguably the most famous non-DC/Marvel superhero.

As the story goes, Al Simmons was a top-tier, amoral mercenary undone by his employers and sent to Hell. There, he was reincarnated as demonic cannon fodder, an infernal generic foot soldier known as a “Hellspawn” or just “Spawn” whose handler was the sadistic fiend “Violator”. Al became the puppet of various higher order forces in the war between Heaven and Hell for many years, sometimes without Al’s knowledge until it was too late.

Tired of being a pawn in someone else’s game, Spawn took matters into his own hands and killed his creator, effectively becoming king of Hell. To top it off, Spawn even clashed with God and Satan (“Armageddon” arc), effectively trapping them in their own universe, while Spawn created a new universe and started anew. Spawn’s extensive thirty-year resume of opponents, powers and accomplishments solidify him as one of the most powerful Black characters in comics. The only reason he’s not higher on this list is the fact his godhood (like his stint as Omega Spawn) often fluctuates and is depowered frequently for story reasons, or as the plot needs. Spawn has also historically been known to not have an inexhaustible power supply.

Lately, Spawn is a playable cameo character in the highly successful “Mortal Kombat X” (2015) videogame by NetherRealm Studios, where Keith David reprised his voice acting role. Currently, a revamp live-action movie is in the works, having escaped development hell…maybe.

2. Divinity / Abram Adams

Publisher: Valiant Entertainment

First Appearance: Divinity #1 (2015)

Created By: Matt Kindt & Trevor Hairsine

Powers/Abilities: Virtually omnipotence, omnipresence and chrono-kinesis; Reality warping; Ergokinesis; Matter manipulation; Immortal and Self-sustenance

At the height of the Cold War, the USSR attempted to win the space race by secretly sending a lone cosmonaut farther into the unknown than anyone had gone before. That (un)lucky guinea pig was Abram Adams. Coming into contact with an enigmatic planet at the end of the journey, exposure to the bizarre atmosphere granted Adams god-like powers. Decades later, he returned to Earth as “Divinity” and tries to use his powers for the good of mankind. Unlike other persons who may find themselves in such a serendipitous predicament, Adams remains a genuine person with his humanity intact and has a balanced sense of responsibility and consequences.

Essentially, Adams is the Black Dr. Manhattan; his powers are so vast that the character is rendered unable to participate or influence events, such as his non-involvement during the subsequent “Harbinger War 2” (2018) mini-series event. Nevertheless, we cannot deny this guy is incomprehensibly powerful, only outdone by our #1.

1. Mar Novu / The Monitor & Nix Uotan / Super Judge

Publisher: DC Comics

First Appearance: New Teen Titans #21 (1982) / Countdown to Final Crisis #21 (2007)

Created By: Marv Wolfman & George Perez / Paul Dini, Sean McKeever, Keith Giffen & Jamal Igle

Powers/Abilities: Virtually omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent on a multiverse level; Vast ergokinesis; Trans-dimensional teleportation; Immortal and Self-sustenance

The guardian of the infinite multiverse during the industry defining “Crisis on Infinite Earths” (1985-86) event, The Monitor (later named “Mar Novu”) rallied superheroes and villains from multiple Earths to aid him against his evil brother and antithesis, The Anti-Monitor (later named “Mobius”). As immortal beings that existed before the creation of the DCU, both the Monitor and Anti-Monitor, and later their third sibling Alpheus, represent the Hindu Trimurti of Creation (Brahma = Alpheus the World Forger); Cultivation (Vishnu = Mar Novu the Over-Monitor) and Death/Destruction (Shiva = Mobius the Anti-Monitor). As such, Mar Novu and his siblings supersede everything and every being in the DC Omniverse. They are only overshadowed in hierarchy by “The Hand”/“The Source” (essentially in a meta-contextual sense the creative minds, writers, artists, executives, etc. at DC Comics) and the immutable family known as “The Endless”. Mar Novu made his biggest non-comic/live-action appearance in last year’s Arrowverse crossover, itself a direct homage to “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, portrayed by LaMonica Garrett.

Nix Uotan was part of the Monitor “race” that came into fruition post-“Infinite Crisis” (2005-06) who monitored the severely limited new multiverse which was trimmed down to just 52 Earths. At the end of “Final Crisis” (2008-09) just one year after his debut, Nix Uotan became the last of his kind, taking up the monumental role of his predecessors as the “Super Judge”. It is fair to say that Nix was/is on the same level as Mar Novu; but he hasn’t made an appearance since the OG Monitor made a comeback in “The Batman Who Laughs #1” (2018).

Needless to say, if a Monitor is involved then all of existence is in for an irrevocable universe-ending shake-up and reboot.

Hailing from the eastern-most Caribbean island of Barbados, Fabian Wood has long since been fascinated by the power of storytelling to inspire and invoke emotions – whether in film, comics or videogames. No longer content to be just an avid comic book reader and videogamer, he’s eager to exercise his literary acumen as an aspiring writer and reviewer.

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