Fans can’t wait to hear what DC Studios has in store now that James Gunn and Peter Safran have taken the helm. Naturally, it’s too early to tell how this regime change will truly affect the broader industry and scope of superhero entertainment, however, hopes are high. In particular, the DCU felt quite disjointed and riddled with weird issues as it attempted to follow the MCU’s formula while standing out on its own at the same time. However, one place where DC Comics adaptations have long reigned among the best of the best is animation.
From the days of the DCAU and Batman: The Animated Series to Harley Quinn now, animation has long been where DC characters have shone brightest. Beginning with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and ending more recently with Constantine: The House of Mystery, the DC Animated Universe (DCAMU) was a shared universe of seventeen animated films that adapted several major storylines from The Continuity of The New 52. Covering every corner of DC Comics, the DCAMU has incorporated many important characters, and these are the most powerful among them.
Of course, as one of the most important characters in DC Comics and pop culture as a whole, Superman featured prominently in the DCAMU. The film series hasn’t shied away from showing just how powerful the Last Son of Krypton can be as he takes on some of his most iconic adversaries. Reign of the Supermen, which also introduced related characters like Superboy and Cyborg Superman, featured a depowered Superman, and yet still beat the latter by hand.
Its tenure in the DCAMU and other animated series was welcome for fans as it didn’t get all the attention it deserved in live-action. It strangely appeared that people didn’t know how to deal with his powers, which is why he was shunted. Hopefully, now that Henry Cavill has indeed returned after Black Adam, a Man of Steel sequel can finally happen (something many fans already have theories for).
As originally intended for the DCU, Darkseid was the DCAMU’s big bad. He was first incorporated into the second film, Justice League: War, and then served as the final antagonist in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. Fittingly, Darkseid has proven to be one of the strongest beings in the universe as a whole.
They showed off all of his abilities, including his strange homing eye beams, his Omega Beams. Even when Superman is so powerful, it only takes the combined efforts of the Justice League to only push him into a portal, not actually defeat him.
In Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, there was only one character who could actually pose a one-on-one threat to Darkseid, and that was Trigon. Apt since he’s one of the most powerful characters in comics, a cosmic, demonic conqueror with all sorts of powers, from sheer force to possession and shapeshifting.
In DCAMU, he controlled the Justice League, using them to get his hands on his daughter, Raven, and he’s also responsible for creating the Lazarus Pits, the mystical pools that Ra’s Al Ghul uses to return from life.
The DCAMU features some of DC Comics’ best magic users and supernatural characters, like John Constantine and Zatanna, but the most powerful of them all is definitely Raven. She is half-demon after all, the daughter of Trigon – an empath capable of immensely destructive magic.
The best demonstration of her inherent powers is the fact that she was able to suppress her father, keeping him in check by imprisoning him like the red crystal affixed to his head. His other defining note in the DCAMU was his relationship with Damian Wayne, culminating in one of the best scenes in the DCAMU as the two share their final moments together before The Flash creates a new Flashpoint.
The Death of Superman, the eleventh installment of DCAMU, naturally adapted the iconic comic book arc of the same name and thus introduced Doomsday, one of Superman’s greatest enemies. Unlike the comics in which he was a genetically engineered monster of ancient Kryptonian origins, in DCAMU it was Darkseid and Apokolips who created Doomsday as a weapon to kill Superman and prepare Earth for his invasion.
Doomsday succeeded in his intended mission, nearly killing other members of the Justice League as well, including Wonder Woman. Considering his ferocity, practical invulnerability, inherent super strength, and Kryptonian powers, Doomsday is clearly among the strongest characters in DCAMU.
Etrigan the demon
Trigon isn’t the only prominent demon in the DCAMU, as Etrigan features in all his rhyming glory. Jason Blood was cursed with immortality and a bond with the Warrior of Hell by the legendary wizard Merlin. In modern day DCAMU, he would help other heroes, like Constantine and the Justice League, protect Earth from cosmic and supernatural threats.
As a demon, Etrigan is extremely physically strong and agile, and he can breathe fire like a dragon. He’s also a very capable swordsman, taking down enemy after enemy until he finally meets his end at the hands of someone so strong, Wonder Woman.
Swamp Thing is a major member of DCAMU’s Dark League team, a team more than worthy of joining the DCU now. As the guardian of green, the collective energy force that empowers plant life around the world, Swamp Thing is among the most powerful characters on the planet. As such, his inclusion in the DCAMU was limited until the final battles as he could eliminate most threats on his own.
In Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, when other heroes, such as the Bat-Family and the Teen Titans, had to work together to stop the Apokoliptan technology from destroying the world, Swamp Thing took out one of the devices on its own. .
It’s no surprise as a member of Amazon and the Justice League that Wonder Woman is one of the strongest characters in DCAMU. Sadly, however, she was probably the most underutilized character in the DCAMU, as she only got her own movie, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, which actually showed her best abilities after fourteen other movies, including four movies. Batman.
Wonder Woman has an inherent divine force and throughout DCAMU the vast potential of her powers has been demonstrated. In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, she launched a full-scale assault on Earth, killing major characters including Aquaman and Shazam along the way. Wonder Woman Bloodlines had her take down the legendary monster Medusa, and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War saw her become even more powerful after Darkseid cybernetically enhanced her.
When Darkseid launched his invasion of Earth in Justice League: War, he used his Parademons as his army. The film showed that they are horribly created from the innocent citizens of the many planets conquered by Apokolips. As such, his army keeps growing, and while the Justice League was able to crush them, they were unprepared for their successors the Paradooms. They are hybrids of Parademons with Doomsday, containing all the badness and power of both combined.
A Paradoom’s individual strength is relatively impressive, but together they are nearly unstoppable. They literally tore through many of the strongest heroes Zatanna, Green Lantern, and Shazam, and were also collectively way too much for Superman and Wonder Woman.
While Justice League Dark: Apokolips War effectively ended the DCAMU in 2020, this year saw the universe receive an epilogue with Constantine: The House of Mystery. It has followed John Constantine as he hopes to escape eternal torture for his action in instigating a new Flashpoint. This is all held together by the Spectre, an extremely powerful character and prominent member of the JSA in the comics.
Although the full extent of his powers were not shown in the DCAMU, they are heavily implied. He serves as cosmic judge, jury, and executioner, as close to a truly omnipotent figure as this universe.
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DC Animated Film Universe: The 10 Most Powerful Characters | Pretty Reel
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