In DC's Justice League, Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) explains to Bruce Wayne the origins of the Mother Boxes and Steppenwolf.

So Steppenwolf has come before and has been beaten before. But, I am curious to why Superman almost single handedly beat him. Up until Superman turned up, the other members were almost beaten and everything that contributed to the other members of Justice League inflicting any damage to Steppenwolf was directly due to Superman first doing something to weaken him or put Steppenwolf in a compromising position.

So in the first Invasion of Earth that Diana talks about, these are some quick points that led to Earths victory.

  • The Amazonians (who were created by Zeus), Atlanteans and all the Tribes of men formed their own unity
  • Allies from other worlds, including members from what looks like the Green Lantern Corps
  • The Greek gods themselves — Zeus, Ares, and Artemis — came and fought the battle
  • They all combined and joined forces to fight as one to overcome Steppenwolf

In the fight against Steppenwolf involving the Justice League, these are some quick points that led to Earths victory again.

  • They had Diana Prince who has powers given to her by the Gods
  • Aquaman who has superhuman strength
  • Barry Allen AKA The Flash
  • Cyborg with powers given to him by the Mother box
  • Batman, has advanced aids to help him fight well above normal human capabilities
  • Superman, no explanation needed.
  • All came together and fought to overcome Steppenwolf

And from the resurrection scene of Superman,

We see that the other 5 members of the Justice League have no chance against Superman; in fact, it was only Wonder Women who was able to slow him down a little bit and as stated before, she has powers given to her by the gods. But, no-one was even close to being able to stop Superman and from this I concluded that he is way more powerful than any of the Justice League.

So, from that, I was beginning to wonder that, if the Justice League and more importantly, Superman overcame and defeated Steppenwolf with what looked like much more ease in the Second Invasion, then what power was required to defeat him in the First Invasion?

In the First Invasion there where dozens or more of the Amazonians, Atlanteans and tribes of men, plus help from many other aliens such as Green Lantern Corps and some of the Gods who also took up the fight. However, it just took 4 meta-humans, one special human (Batman) and Superman to defeat him as opposed to an army Gods, meta-humans, aliens and humans.

That being said, there needs to be something said about the differences between the first fight to overthrow Steppenwolf and the second fight.

First Fight

  • Looks like the Mother Box unity was complete, so Steppenwolf could possibly have been much stronger at this point.
  • Steppenwolf's army of Parademons seemed to be much bigger
  • There were also other beings there to help him that I can't find anything about.

Second fight (Justice League)

  • Steppenwolf's army of Parademons seemed to be much smaller in size
  • I am not entirely sure that the unity was completed and therefore may have rendered Steppenwolf without his full strength. But there is a scene (shown below) where it does look like the transformation has started like in the first invasion and in fact the unity is complete.

    Scene of possible unity completion

  • There were no other beings there with him to help fight, it seemed like a smaller scale invasion this time around.

So considering all that, was Superman actually more powerful than the Gods?

Or was it just that Steppenwolf was not as powerful as when they first battled him?

  • 2
    @Loki, LOL, yeah, surprised me as well!!
    – KyloRen
    Nov 16, 2018 at 9:01
  • 1
    In Injustice (Y4 #20) Superman briefly fights Zeus and gets his arse handed to him in about a milisecond flat; qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-99aaa3fb61065cbcc847199ea02d603e
    – Valorum
    Nov 16, 2018 at 10:36
  • 4
    One thought I have is that in the 'History' video, Zeus' (who leads the Gods) lightning bolt (arguably his most powerful attack?) isn't enough to knock Steppenwollf off his feet (he stumbles a little), but Aquaman can punch Stepp. backward, and Superman punches Stepp. through the floor. If you took Zeus' lightning as his most powerful attack, then Superman does appear to have more 'pushing power' - I'm not confident that it's enough for a full answer though..
    – Longshanks
    Nov 16, 2018 at 12:17
  • 1
    Given how little we know about the Greek pantheon within the DCEU, I don't think it's possible to answer this question. In Diana's story, we see Zeus fighting, but he is helping the overall effort against Steppenwolf's army, whereas Superman was concentrating solely on Steppenwolf alone.
    – Omegacron
    Nov 16, 2018 at 17:47
  • 1
    Too much of a rock-paper-scissors situation to have a solid answer. All of them have their weaknesses--- the loser is the one whose weakness is exploited first.
    – Kyle Jones
    Nov 16, 2018 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


In the Silver Age (Action Comics no. 351, June 1967), Superman was shown to be less powerful than the combined might of the Olympian gods. We know this because the Greco-Roman gods (looking into the future and mistakenly concluding that Superman was a rival god, who was greatly revered by mortal men in the twentieth century) created the being Zha-Vam (named for having the powers of Zeus, Hercules, Achilles, Vulcan, Apollo, and Mercury) to challenge Superman.


Zha-Vam could activate the powers of other gods by using the letters on his belt. Superman was unable to match the power the Olympians' champion, until he convinced a different faction of the ancient gods to grant him similar equipment in Action Comics no. 353.

  • While I find this interesting, I think that the question was looking for answers relating only to the DCEU version of Superman? Perhaps @KyloRen can clarify?
    – Longshanks
    Nov 16, 2018 at 17:27
  • 9
    Am I the only one upset by the blatant intermixing of the Roman and Greek versions of the names? Or the fact that Achilles wasn't a god? No? Just me?
    – Jeff
    Dec 4, 2018 at 20:09
  • 7
    Jeff, it's been tradition for ages in comics to intermix Greek and Roman names as well as heroes and gods. This is a lot less perplexing than SHAZAM which has Solomon hanging out with a bunch of pagans!
    – El Cadejo
    Sep 7, 2019 at 19:12
  • Which other faction was it? Norse? Finnish? Greek Titans?
    – AJM
    Apr 23, 2021 at 9:59

Long story short, Superman (the original, kryptonite wasn't even a thing) is the man without limits. (nowadays he has a clear limit to his powers) He even ends up becoming God when he breaks the reality wall in superman prime.

in "real life" the main difference between God, and the gods, is that the latter have limits. So this would mean that superman is stronger than greek gods, yes. To be fair, even wonder women fought some of these gods (like hades) and won, and her power is nowhere near superman.

on DCU they clearly gave him limits (he did die afterall) but also made him stronger than the gods

enter image description here for example. here's super (with the help of shazam) lifting the book of existence. it contains the multiverse (aka an infinite dimension, with infinite weight) In this case in particular at least one of them has to have limitless power or they would not be able to lift it. 2 limits never add to infinite (that's math)

  • Can you offer any evidence to back up these bold statements?
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2021 at 1:39
  • The original Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings (not fly!) in a single bound. Not exactly "without limits".
    – user14111
    Feb 2, 2021 at 2:26
  • added an image. but there's ton of examples in the comics
    – raiton
    Feb 2, 2021 at 10:03
  • @user14111you're right, i mean the one from the 40's that the current one is based off. my bad
    – raiton
    Feb 2, 2021 at 10:04
  • 1
    Did they purposely draw that panel in a way that we could possibly watch it with red and blue 3D glass?
    – Clockwork
    Aug 7, 2021 at 19:33

Superman in these films is likely stronger than the gods in a fist fight.

In terms of more esoteric definitions of "power" like creating an invisible island of super women, producing an artifact that reshapes reality with a wish, or conquering a city in hours, their ill-defined magic may be more powerful. But in a fist-fight, their durability, output, and speed seems to be lower.

The Gods (and their equivalents) Are Vulnerable

On the precedent that Diana was intended to- and does- kill gods, it's fair to place demigods like Diana and Hercules on par with the gods themselves, like Zeus and Ares. Moreover, Zeus knew Diana would be raised in Amazonian honor-culture, meaning Diana had to be capable of killing gods in single-combat not one-sided assassinations. So to bear her intended mantel of God Killer, she was expected to be at least equal-to the gods to be killed. Thus Diana is a reasonable benchmark of godhood fighting strength.

As Ares killed all the other gods, we know gods can kill gods; as Diana kills Ares, we know demigods can kill gods. So we know the gods lack omnipotence or invulnerability. Ares doesn't dominate the planet as an unstoppable god even when only mortals are about. Enchantress and Incubus were subjugated by neolithic humans, enslaved by modern ones for a time, and ultimately killed by- mostly- conventional forces (two sets of high explosives deployed by a rag tag ad hoc military unit... incidentally, how did the Kryptonian Faora, a fledgling in her power, fair against military first responders by comparison?).

Diana can be wounded by small arms fire which is why she wears bracelets, armor, and a shield. Shazam could have been defeated by the Sins who exhibit relatively minor feats of strength. Finally, Steppenwolf is presumed dead at the hands of Parademons (if he's not dying, that means a world-ender with boom-tube teleportation is simply escaping to threaten the Earth again!) and those can be taken out even by Batman.

Every one of these vulnerabilities (small arms fire, magical lightning, kicked by super strength, blown up by a man-portable explosive, mauled by minions) are magnitudes less than the force of a point-blank nuclear strike survived by Superman. None of them come close to the scope of instantaneous destruction of mankind's most powerful weapon. Superman is significantly less vulnerable to direct attack than the gods.

The Gods Have Lower Feats

None of the gods demonstrate output that matches Superman's greatest feats- from catching trains (200-tons), derricks (150-tons), and arctic vessels (50-tons), to punching through the World Engine, smashing through a mountain, etc. The top end involve hundreds of tons easily. Not to mention this apocryphal feat wherein he supposedly shifted a tectonic plate!

As basic as his flying punch is, no other character has replicated that kind of direct destructive power. Maybe a lot more of a light show, but nothing as strong. Ares greatest feat-of-strength is containing Diana. Diana's greatest feat of strength is lifting a tank (28-tons). Shazam has the strength of Hercules- a demigod like Diana- his greatest feat of strength was lifting a bus (15-tons). The Amazons are able to hold Steppenwolf back from touching the Mother Box... a New God that stands toe-to-toe with the Earth's ancient ones.

In terms of speed, all the gods fight at fully observable speeds. While Diana is still faster-than-a-speeding-bullet in her fastest speed feat, she is not invisibly so; like when Flash's speed can't be perceived by security camera footage. And yet Superman is able to keep up with that speed.

Steppenwolf Benchmark

The question uses one of the parties who has had the opportunity to compare the two directly (Diana being another candidate but with less experience in both) as a benchmark. While the combined pantheon drove the Apokolians back, in one trailer, Steppenwolf suggests that their combined protection is as good as the Lantern Corp or a single Kryptonian. Quote:

"There are no protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall like all the others."

The implication being that if there were protectors OR Lanterns OR A Kryptonian (singular!)... this world might not fall.

So Steppenwolf, seems to put one Kryptonian on par with all the gods ancient Earth could muster. This shouldn't be surprising because the old gods were basically precursors to the metahumans, not omnipotent deities per se. As Enchantress acknowledges:

The sun is setting . . . the metahumans are a sign of change.

And Diana remarks:

They said the Age of Heroes would never come again.

The time of the gods has set, the Heroes were demigods (like Diana, Hercules, etc)... so the metahumans are their replacement. So it takes fewer superheroes to stop a Steppenwolf and one Superman to replace a pantheon of gods.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.