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Science has Determined The Best-Equipped Superhero

If we were to completely break down the abilities of comic books’ most iconic and powerful superheroes, who would come out on top? Whether you breathe the smell of freshly printed comic paper more than oxygen, or have just seen a superhero movie or two, you must have considered this at least a million times once.

But instead of the strongest hero, who is the best-equipped? Well, thanks to a seven-year study done by the University of Leicester, UK, we now have an answer. Finally – a use for university!

The suspense!!! Source: Giphy

Over these seven years, the students doing the survey selected and studied 12 superheroes (within scientific parameters of course). After the heroes were determined, they were ranked according to two factors:

1) Powers (energy output, strength etc). Every power a superhero had ranked them  higher.

2) Weaknesses (collateral damage etc). Every weakness a superhero had ranked them  lower.

Example: Mystique has far less versatile powers than The Flash, but also had less weaknesses, which is why she ended up placing higher.

And out of the 12 heroes selected here’s the top three:

3. Thor

UniBar-goers aren’t the only thing getting hammered tonight…Source: WordPress


The Prince of Asgard himself. Whether he’s rocking a silly accent and metal pixie boots in the comics, or Chris Hemsworth flexing his abs bringing the character to life on the big screen, the God of Thunder never ceases to shock his audiences with grand displays of weather and lightning manipulation since his 1951 debut in Venus #12 .

He may have only had three of the thirteen powers listed in the study, but he was the only one of three heroes in the list to not have a weakness listed, earning him third place.

2. Wolverine

Every UOW student during Exam Time. Source: Marvel Wikia

Powers: 4 Weaknesses: 1

Sitting pretty in second place is another kick-ass hero played by an Aussie icon (I see a theme developing). Yes it’s none other than James Howlett, better known as Wolverine. A Mutant with heightened senses, mastery of every combat style on Earth, and a skeleton made of the super-strong Adamantium, Wolverine is a nightmare to evil-doers and metal detectors alike. Since his debut in Incredible Hulk #180-1 (1974), Wolverine has gone toe-to-toe with thugs, super villains and even gods, becoming one of the comic industry’s most popular characters.

But despite his powers and reputation, Wolverine has a tendency to become irrationally angry, making him a double-edged sword to his allies and enemies. But this weakness is offset by his immunity to disease, reinforced skeleton, force exertion and incredible healing capacity. With this much power and tenacity, Wolverine faces no competition for the study’s second place.

1. Superman

Your tutor when you’ve forgotten an assignment is due. Source: DC Wikia

Powers: 7 Weaknesses: 1

Superman – the most overrated  famous comic book superhero in history. With seven powers only one weakness, was there any doubt that the poster boy for DC Comics would be the most well-equipped superhero?

The study certainly thought so, which is why the researchers got down to the core science of what they considered Superman’s most useful powers. They cited Superman’s dense skin tissue (he’s called the Man of Steel for a reason), his speed and incredible strength, but concluded that it was his energy Output/Super Flare power (New 52’s Superman #38) that won him the top spot.

When you order the Guzman y Gomez spicy chicken wrap. Source: DC Comics

The study cited the Law of Energy Conservation in the survey and spent a whole journal explaining the Super Flare power. In short, a Super Flare attack in UOW’s Hope Theatre would incinerate everything between Building 9 and northern Paulsgrove Street to practically nothing.

A Nukemap simulation of Superman's Super Flare ability at the UOW campus. Source:
A Nukemap simulation of Superman’s Super Flare ability at the UOW campus. Source:

Still doubtful of the top three? Leave a comment below!