Comic books are a world of outrageous characters and stories. The minute the reader opens the book they leave reality behind and enter a fantastic universe of superheroes and villains. In a world where men can fly and aliens exist, it’s a very short jump to magical and supernatural beings. While all comic book publishers have supernatural universes, DC has put its characters front and center, having them star in several solo and team up series. The most well known of these is Justice League Dark, which features some of the company’s most popular magical heroes teaming up to take on supernatural threats that the regular Justice League can’t handle. The lineup has changed over the years, with a few mainstays like John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman and Zatanna.
While Superman is widely considered to be the most powerful character in the DC universe, he does have a weakness when it comes to magic, so these characters could possibly take on the Man of Steel. When compared with Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, it’s easy to discount the importance of magical powers, however, only a fool would underestimate the combined abilities of the Justice League Dark. Even Batman understands that there are problems on this Earth and others that he and his friends just aren’t equipped to handle. Recent appearances on screen in animated films and in the Arrowverse have seen characters like Constantine and Zatanna become even more popular. It’s time that these underappreciated beings get the recognition they deserve, so let’s rank the top supernatural characters in the DC universe.
Solomon Grundy started out as criminal Cyrus Gold, but upon his death he was transformed into a zombie supervillain. He has super strength, immortality and is basically indestructible. Grundy has gone up against various heroes including the Alan Scott version of Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.
Despite his invulnerability, Batman, a regular guy with fancy gadgets, was able to defeat him on several occasions. Cyrus was never exactly a genius and Solomon is just an unthinking brute so his plans are rather simple. Perhaps that is why he’s routinely outsmarted by the heroes.
The lead character of the book I, Vampire, Andrew Bennett is an ancient vampire who has all the usual abilities of vampires including super strength, speed, shape shifting, and mind control.
During The New 52 storyline he also gained the power to use magic to bring people back from the dead and counter dark magic. Bennett also has a well-known vampire weaknesses, like as sunlight, which causes him to lose all his vampire mojo. Silver, fire, decapitation and of course a wooden stake to the heart are all fatal to him.
Frankenstein is a comic book version of the classic literary character. Though, in this world he’s a hero who uses his considerable strength and immortality to fight villains. For a time, he even worked as an agent of S.H.A.D.E., the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive.
In the DC universe, Frankenstein is a hero that works with S.H.A.D.E to take down villains, he’s even fought big bads like Solomon Grundy.
Since he’s a monster, Frankenstein has always been portrayed as the bad guy, so it’s nice to see a different version of the well known character. His adventures feature him travelling through time, fighting Black Lantern, Solomon Grundy, and Darkseid. We bet Mary Shelley never saw her monster becoming a superhero.
Asa is a mystical nurse who can heal magical injuries no matter how bad. As a member of Justice League Dark, she created a clone of Swamp Thing and also worked on The Phantom Stranger.
She makes her most recent appearance in the animated web series Constantine: City of Demons, where she helps Constantine diagnose a child whose soul has been stolen. She’s a lesser known character, but her control of the healing of other more powerful characters, makes her instantly interesting.
As the Princess of Gemworld, Amethyst was orphaned on Earth as Amy Winston until she discovers her real powers as a teenager. She then spends a lot of time fighting for the fate of Gemworld and putting everything back together.
Like many before her, once she joins the Justice League Dark she learned pretty quickly not to trust John Constantine. In addition to flying, Amethyst has many magical powers including manipulating energy and matter, as well as, using other magic to make her powers stronger.
Mitch Shelley was created based on the premise of, “what if a superhero had a new power every issue?” What makes him fascinating is that his powers are completely out of his control. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re silly. Meaning there’s the possibility for him to be the most powerful hero in the universe, for a very short time.
Mitch Shelley’s every changing powers had lead him to have interesting abilities, like pyrotechnic butterflies or x-ray vision, that are linked to the way he perished.
He’s also immortal, which as we’ve learned through the years, is a gift and a curse. The character has never really caught on, but it’s still an interesting idea that deserves to be explored.
For an ancient sorcerer of unknown powers, Felix Faust is actually quite weak when compared to other supernatural characters. In his own time and realm he had endless power, but once he became somewhat human, his power was reduced. This leads to his never ending obsession with gaining more magic.
His fighting skills are non-existent since he relies heavily on his magic. His gifts also don’t seem to come as naturally as other sorcerers and witches. Yes, it’s impressive to bend reality and control people, but without his magic, he’s essentially useless.
As a witch who gained power in Arthurian times, Madame Xanadu has lived a long life full of ups and downs. She started out using her magic for her own purposes, but decided to make up for her actions later by using her magical knowledge to help people.
She has a weird relationship with Phantom Stranger, where they seem to always be involved in each other’s lives. Her experience and immortality makes her something of a magical mentor to other supernatural characters. Though the extent of her active magic is up in the air, as they say, knowledge is power.
Like many supervillains, Jason Woodrue is a scientific genius who through a horrible accident is turned into the plant based creature Plant Master. He can control all plant life and often uses this power to try and take over the world.
Plant Master seems to be a male version of Poison Ivy, he is fighting to save the environment.
Even if it means taking out mankind first. He believes mankind is harming the Earth so much, they don’t deserve to live on the planet anymore. He and Swamp Thing have had many battles over who will control and protect the Green. While his cause certainly makes sense, perhaps extinction of humanity is the wrong way to get his message across.
Tim Hunter was created by Neil Gaiman as part of The Books of Magic. He was destined to be a powerful sorcerer, and had access to his magic since he was a baby. As a child, his power made him the target of various supernatural groups who wished to steal his magic for themselves.
His age also causes difficulty when it comes to controlling his abilities, although he seems to know what to do when push comes to shove. Despite all his power, he is still susceptible to all the usual problems of regular teenagers.
Boston Brand is a circus performer who becomes a powerful ghost when he perishes during a routine. Nothing good ever happens at the circus in comic books. As Deadman, he has all the expected powers of a ghost including invisibility, walking through solid objects, and possessing people.
He’s originally granted powers to catch his killer, but continues to use them to help other superheroes. While it’s an advantage to be a ghost in the human world, he’s actually not that powerful among supernatural beings.
Alec Holland was a mild mannered scientist who was turned into Swamp Thing, when he was dumped into a chemical waste infested swamp. Despite the strength and connection he gains with the Green, he spends a lot of time looking for a cure before he finally accepts his new life.
Once Alec Holland accepts his new form as Swamp Thing, after spending time trying to cure himself, he becomes a much stronger hero with an interesting story line in the comics.
This reaction is completely understandable, as he can no longer live a normal life. His acceptance makes him stronger and more interesting as he becomes a pivotal lead in DC’s supernatural universe.
ETRIGAN, THE DEMON
Knight of the Round Table Jason Blood was bonded to the demon Etrigan by Merlin, when the wizard could not figure out how to control him. Cursed with sharing his life with a demon, Blood becomes immortal and decided to try and use Etrigan for good.
Etrigan is a very powerful demon who is pretty much indestructible and along with the usual superpowers, he can use Hellfire. Unfortunately, as powerful as he is, he can still succumb to stronger magic. Luckily, Jason is no slouch and is an experience swordsman and excellent fighter in his own right.
Black Adam was the first person to be blessed with gifts from the gods, but he originally chose to use them for evil. This often brought him into conflict with Shazam. In fact, the two even share the same magical word to access their powers.
The two have similar abilities, with Black Adam possessing the stamina of Shu, the speed of Haru, strength of Amon, wisdom of Zehuti, power of Aton, and courage of Mehen. Along the way Black Adam has transformed into more of anti-hero, finding a better use for his powers.
Of all the characters in DC’s supernatural universe, John Constantine is probably the most well known. The master of the dark arts/demon hunter first got mainstream attention with the big screen disappointment: Constantine.
While Constantine made his first mainstream appearance in a blockbuster flop, his portrayal in the Arrowverse has been a much more authentic representation of the character.
As the star of the titular NBC series and with subsequent appearances in the Arrowverse, the character got a more authentic adaptation. At this point, actor Matt Ryan has become synonymous with the character. Though Constantine is a walking occult encyclopedia with heroic tendencies, his ego and impetuous nature often cause more harm than good.
Every kid grows up imagining themselves as a superhero. Billy Batson doesn’t need to use his imagination, because he actually becomes the superhero Shazam when he says his magical name.
As Shazam his powers match up with the gods he’s named for. Wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury. Since he is still a child in the body of a grown up, the hero can make immature mistakes during battle, but it also gives him a perspective his adult colleagues have long since lost.
Wonder Woman’s longtime nemesis Circe is so magically powerful, she’s practically a god. Despite her frequent battles with the Amazons, they do share a dislike and mistrust of men. On several occasions, Circe has used her powers to hilariously turn men into animals.
With abilities including immortality, magic blasts, mind control, and teleportation, as well as, magically enhanced strength, speed and endurance, she’s one of Diana’s toughest enemies. The one thing that gets in her way is her own pride and emotions.
RA’S AL GHUL
Despite all his well chronicled fights with Batman, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Ra’s al Ghul. As the immortal leader of the League of Assassins, he’s obviously an expert in all forms of combat but he’s spent several lifetimes studying and mastering different forms of mysticism.
Ra’s al Ghul extensive magical knowledge and his obsession with immortality has lead him to become a supernatural figure in DC comics.
The most common use of his magical knowledge is to continue his obsession with immortality. We’ve been told in numerous comics that magic always comes with a cost. Ghul’s repeated use of the Lazarus Pit has made him mentally unstable.
Based on the Pandora myth, the character is a mystical being who first shows up as the only one who notices everything has changed in The New 52. Later, we find out she has been sentenced to roam the Earth alone, branded as evil.
Like many supernatural characters, Pandora is immortal, and her long life has provided her with a wealth of magical knowledge. She’s also very proficient in many forms of combat and weaponry. She recently lost her life, but we know she’ll probably come back. It’s the magical way.
As Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson has influenced several generations of DC stories. Using the Helmet of Nabu, he can see the future. He has spent years studying magic, using it to fight other supernatural creatures. He can fly and has super strength, telekinesis, and a list of other magically related powers.
With abilities this strong, there is always a cost. For Kent, he has met his fateful end several times. It’s not unusual for certain heroes to perish and come back, but it seems to be much more common place for magical characters.
The mysterious Phantom Stranger has affected nearly all of DC’s supernatural titles, coming into contact with various characters including Doctor Fate, Hal Jordan and the Justice League Dark.
Phantom Stranger is a DC character that that doesn’t have a well-known origin, but he has had an effect on most DC supernatural heroes and villains.
He has an often contentious relationship with the Spectre, as the two are mistrusting of the power the other holds. He also has a connection to both Madame Xanadu and Pandora, showing that he does have some real ties to the world. Unlike other characters, he doesn’t have one well-known origin, which makes him a very powerful enigma.
The Spectre began as a spirit set on vengeance against criminals. It was hosted in the body of police officer Jim Corrigan. His acts of punishment have ranged from brutal to overly destructive. He is so powerful he is essentially a god-like figure among other magical beings.
As powerful as he is, the Spectre is not completely indestructible. He can be taken down by magic or objects that are stronger than him. What makes him so threatening to other supernatural characters is that he can override their magic and cause harm throughout the universe.
As the half demon daughter of Trigon, Raven has all the powers of her father, but is cursed with the weaknesses of humans. She must stay in constant control of her emotions to keep her powers from overtaking her and destroying everything.
As a member of the Teen Titans, she has been given a safe outlet to use her abilities for good. However, she is always mindful of the threat they impose. Though she must keep her own emotions in check, she can use her empathic powers to feel the emotions of others, but it’s just not the same thing.
As naturally gifted sorceress, Zatanna must learn to control her magic quickly after her father is taken by dark magic. Her friendship with Batman has led to her working with the Justice League a lot. However, she knows that she really belongs with the Justice League Dark.
Zatanna powers are not always consistent in the comics, her abilities seems to change depending on the situations she’s in.
Other than the usual tricks like spell casting, healing, mind control and energy blasts, Zatanna’s powers seem to change depending on the villain or scenario she is faced with. Her true full strength has never really been defined.
While some supervillains have complicated plans, Trigon’s is pretty simple. He just wants to attack, enslave, and take over Earth. As a pure evil demon, Trigon has super strength and is indestructible. He can also manipulate reality and create false illusions to distract his enemies.
Even with all this power, like many other fathers, his one weakness seems to be his daughter. Despite being defeated by Raven and the Teen TItans countless times, he always finds a way to come back and wreak havoc again.
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