The Sentry, Hyperion, and Gladiator are all some of Marvel’s strongest powerhouses, but one of these Superman analogues is in a league of their own.
If imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, Superman might be the most flattered hero in all of comics. While every comics publisher seems to have its own answer to Superman, Marvel stands out with three characters who owe quite a bit to the Man of Steel.
The Sentry, Gladiator, and Hyperion have all carved out their own place in the Marvel Universe, and these heroes all share Superman-esque powers and even more Superman-esque capes. Now, we’re taking a closer look at these men of tomorrow to see which one of Marvel’s Supermen is the strongest.
As the most powerful being in the Sh’iar Empire and leader of the Imperial Guard, Gladiator has a costume with the very familiar color scheme of red, blue, and yellow. He sports a near-identical powerset to Superman that includes flight, the ability to shoot energy blasts from his eyes, freezing breath, near invulnerability, and incredible strength. Created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum and debuting in X-Men #107, Gladiator is capable of going toe to toe with the heaviest hitters in the Marvel Universe, from the Fantastic Four to a brood-possessed Thor.
He was seen lifting the entirety of the Baxter Building in John Byrne’s Fantastic Four #249, and he defeated the team’s heaviest hitters — the Thing, the Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch — in fairly short order. The only thing that saved the team was Reed Richard’s using a force field to block the Gladiator’s blows while making him believe Mr. Fantastic wasn’t feeling a thing. This made Gladiator doubt himself, which allowed the Invisible Woman to knock him out. Kallark’s powers are tied into his confidence, so if he ever doubts himself or loses faith in his abilities, his powers diminish. This makes him a formidable opponent in a straight fight, but a canny adversary might stand a chance if they engaged in some trash talk and got inside his head.
Created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in Avengers #85, Hyperion was Marvel’s original homage to Superman. As a member of the Squadron Supreme, Hyperion possesses abilities similar to Superman and even has a weakness to an element called argonite. But unlike the Man of Steel he’s not truly an alien. He’s one of the Eternals of his particular reality, Earth -712, home of the Squadron Supreme, where he fought for truth and justice alongside heroes like Power Princess, the Whizzer, Dr. Spectrum, and the Amphibian. Over the years, this hero, and other versions of Hyperion, have alternatively been some of the Marvel Universe’s greatest saviors and biggest threats.
Since Hyperion and the Squadron were essentially created for occasions when the Avengers would fight the equivalent of the Justice League, they were particularly vulnerable to telepathy and mind control. As a purely physical opponent, however, Hyperion has fought the Avengers on several occasions and proven himself a formidable adversary. He’s withstood punches from Gladiator himself, repeated blows from Thor’s hammer, and can return powerful punches in his own right.
Created by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, the Sentry is the greatest Marvel Universe hero you’ve never heard of. Debuting in The Sentry #1, the Sentry is Robert Reynolds, a seemingly ordinary man who slowly discovers that he was Marvel’s answer to Superman and the heroic inspiration that inspired many other Marvel heroes. But in addition to being the most powerful hero of Marvel Earth, he’s also one of its most powerful villains.An unknown after-effect of the circumstances that gave him his powers split Bob Reynold’s psyche, creating a perfect heroic figure in the form of the Sentry, and an absolute monster in the form of the villainous Void. He was out of circulation for a time but this being comics he eventually returned to the fray with the Void not far behind. As the result of a chemical experiment that attempted to improve the super-soldier serum, the formula gave Robert “the power of ‘a million exploding suns.” The Sentry superficially has a similar power set to Superman: flight, superhuman strength, invulnerability, and the ability to fire energy bolts. However, Robert Reynolds also seems to be able to warp reality to his every whim, which gives him frightening levels of power.
WHO’S THE STRONGEST?
While these three heroes could have an intensely epic battle that would likely decimate worlds, the Sentry simply stands apart from the competition. While Gladiator and Hyperion are immensely powerful beings who would put up a hell of a fight, the battle would have to go to the Sentry.
On top of having his Superman-esque abilities, the Sentry’s molecular manipulation abilities almost making him a walking Infinity Gauntlet. When the Void is in control, the Sentry is basically Chtulhu with a cape. At full power, the Sentry might even stand a decent chance against the entire Marvel Universe.