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Superhero Powers: Batman vs Superman, Cap vs Ironman. This is How We Know Who Will Win

By December 21, 2015Characters, Comic Books
superhero powers

Superheroes–we all love them and want to be them. Okay, maybe not all of us but you get the point. Since the inception of the genre in the late 30’s, there have been endless debates about who would win when superhero powers clash. Batman vs Superman, Flash vs Arrow, Hulk vs Thor, heck the new Captain America Civil war movie (May 2016) will probably feature a battle royal of superhero powers. Social media has helped exacerbate these debates of superhero powers clashing, with hundreds of YouTube videos, tweets, and forums with people giving their various opinions. Well, I have come up with a way to end (more like fuel) these debates. Putting together a list of attributes and assigning varying weights (all of which add up to 100) to each, I came up with something called the SuperHero Rating (SHR). SHR is a simple, straightforward way of calculating a superhero’s (and supervillain’s) rating/level. Each attribute is further divided into a list of sub-attributes (measured on a scale of 1 – 10). The sub-attributes are summed up (with a formula I will explain later) to give a total for the main attribute. Still with me? If you don’t care about the breakdown you can simply access the custom calculator (rate your own characters or currently existing ones) I created for SHR by clicking the button below:

Superhero Rating Calulator

One last thing to note, the ratings of heroes that require equipment/tech (a suit, armor, weapons, etc.) are calculated based on them wielding said accessories.

Please Note: This is version 1.0 and will more than likely be tweaked as I get feedback.

Here are the classes for SHR (100 being the max):

0 – 50: Civilian

51 – 60: Combatant

61 – 70: Champion

71 – 80: Elite

81 -89: Leviathan

90 – 94: Colossus

95 – 100: Legend

Below are the categories/parent attributes that make up the ratings for superhero powers

Superhero Ratings SHR


When it comes to superhero powers (and supervillains), the physical attributes are what come to mind first: Who can punch harder, run faster or lift the most weight. It is one of the most essential elements for a superhero and frequently the reason we add the qualifier “super” to the word hero. Accordingly, I made these features literally carry the most weight because I believe it’s arguably the most important attribute. The physical attribute is divided into these sub-attributes: Strength, Speed, Durability, Combat Training and Reflexes.


Example characters that dominate this attribute: Superman, Hulk, Luke Cage, Thor, Thanos (probably dominates ALL categories), Flash, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) etc.


MENTAL (25%)

The mental makeup of a superhero or supervillain is critical. More often than not, these characters are required to make life-altering decisions in a split second. And most of the time, the lives at stake are those of innocent people. Heroes rarely have the chance to second-guess themselves. While not readily conspicuous, it is an incredibly valuable and often underestimated asset when it comes to superhero powers. This attribute accounts for 25% of the total and is split into these sub-attributes: Intelligence, Street Smarts (Cunning), Tech Savvy, Fortitude (Mental Toughness).


Example characters that dominate this attribute:  Batman, Iron Man, Loki, Leader, Reed Richards, Cyborg etc.



How many times have you seen a superhero who has no business defeating a supervillain (or vice versa)? More often than not it’s because of a higher psychological make up. It is ranked third in terms of weight, but is crucial for characters with low physical ratings. (As a side note, I’m considering merging this with the mental attribute, but I think for now it should stand on it’s own). The Psychological attribute is divided into: Strategy, Leadership, Wisdom and Stealth.


Example characters that dominate this attribute: Black Panther, Professor Xavier, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Wonder Woman etc.


Energy Fields (15%)

More often that not, when you think of superhero powers, you think fireballs, energy blasts and cosmic beams. I created this attribute to describe such capabilities. However, it extends beyond the examples listed above, so abilities like manipulating the elements (water, fire, earth etc.), telekinesis, psychic powers, teleporting and so on count as well. The Energy Fields attribute counts for 15% and it’s split into: Energy Blasts and Energy Manipulation.


Example characters that dominate this attribute: Magneto, Jean Grey (Phoenix), Monica Rambeau (Spectrum) Silver Surfer, Darkseid, Storm, Green Lantern(s) etc.


Emotional (10%)

Emotional? Hunh?! Wha?! Yeah, that was my reaction when I first considered this category as well. But the more I think about it, the more I think it’s an absolutely necessary component. The emotional attribute is usually that last 10% that separates the good from the great. Quick note: this attribute is not solely for good guys. It’s made up of two sub attributes: Compassion and Passion/Will.

captain america

Example characters that dominate this attribute: Captain America, Spider-man, Rorschach etc.


In order to illustrate this (For those interested) let’s break down one of my own superhero characters (I’m not trying to get trolled by rating superman right now), EXO from the graphic novel: E.X.O. – The Legend of Wale Williams. Again, ff you’re not interested in the math, you can go directly to the superhero powers calculator I created for SHR and have fun/play around with it (disclaimer, it’s beta so it might be a little clunky). You can or rate your favorite characters and/or measure your own created heroes using the sliders.


Breakdown using the physical attribute as an example:

  1. The physical attribute has 6 sub-attributes (10 points each) so it totals to 60.
  2. It has a weight of 30% of the total SHR.
  3. Total each sub-attribute for EXO (see below the points I gave EXO) 6 + 6 + 8 + 6 + 8 + 8 = 42 (out of 60).
  4. Divide the attribute’s weight in percentage (in this case 30) by the sub-attribute’s overall total (in this case 6 sub-attributes for a total of 60) = 30/60 = 0.5
  5. We multiple result in #3 by result in #4 = 42 x 0.5 = 21 (viola! Repeat below)

Physical (30% weight) – 21/30

  • Strength – 6/10
  • Speed – 6/10
  • Durability – 8/10
  • Agility – 6/10
  • Combat Training – 8/10
  • Reflex – 8/10
  • Get total (41 out of 60) then multiply (41 x 30/60) = 21 (out of 30)

Mental (25%) – 20/25

  • Intelligence – 8/10
  • Tech Savvy – 9/10
  • Street Smarts – 7/10
  • Toughness – 8/10
  • Get total (32 out of 40) then multiply (32 x 25/40) = 20 (out of 25)

Psychological (20%) – 12/20

  • Strategy – 7/10
  • Leadership – 8/10
  • Vision/Wisdom – 6/10
  • Stealth – 4/10
  • Total (25 out of 40) | (25 x 20/40) = 12.5 (12 out of 20)

Emotional (10%) 8/10

  • Compassion – 8
  • Passion/Will – 8
  • Total (16 out of 20) | (16 x 10/20) = 8 (8 out of 10)

Energy (15%) 10.5/15

  • Energy Blasts – 8/10
  • Energy Manipulation 7/10
  • Total (15 out of 20) | (15 x 15/20) = 11.25 (11.25 out of 15)

EXO’s total is: 21 + 20 + 12.5 + 8.5 + 11.25 = 73.25 (Elite)

You can try out the custom calculator (rate your own characters or currently existing ones) I created for SHR and superhero powers by clicking the button below:

Superhero Rating Calulator


Things To Consider…

I’m considering adding multipliers to justify why I believe a higher SHR or greater physical & energy manipulating abilities doesn’t necessarily mean victory. This is why Wolverine can battle the Hulk and why Batman can hold his own against superman.

Attribute Multipliers (Batman rule)

If a character gets the total number of points in one category (eg. 25 out of 25 for mental) they get a 1.2x multiplier. I call this the “Batman rule”. Because I personally feel Batman would get perfect scores for the Mental & Physiological attributes. So instead of scoring 25 & 20 respectively he would get 30 for Mental (25 x 1.2) and 24 for Psychological (20 x 1.2).

Terrain Multipliers

This works especially for (but not limited to) characters that manipulate the elements (air, water, fire). Imagine the Human Torch fighting Aquaman in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It would be no contest. Aquaman wins. Not necessarily because he’s stronger or better, but because of the environmental advantage. Another example would be a character with a high ranked stealth power fighting at night, receiving a temporary multiplier (1.2x ) if they fight at night as opposed to during the day. There are also negative terrain multipliers e.g. Superman fighting close to Krytonite, Martian Manhunter fighting a character with fire manipulation abilities.

So what do you guys think? Does it make sense? Is it total crap? Let me know in the comments section. I would really appreciate your feedback 🙂


Cover Image Credit: Timothy Laskey

Roye OkupeBorn in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe is a veteran creative specialist who holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in computer science from The George Washington University. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012, an avenue that would allow him pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. Roye released chapter 1 of his debut, superhero graphic novel titled: E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams, a superhero story set in a futuristic Nigeria. E.X.O. was received with critical acclaim and has since been featured on CNN, Forbes, BBC, The Huffington Post, Mashabe and more!

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Roye Okupe says:

    Hey guys, I recently removed Disqus commenting so if you don’t see your comments any longer I sincerely apologize. To cut a long story short, the WordPress commenting system is just so much easier. I still want to hear your thoughts on SHR so please fire away.


  • Anonymous says:

    As the creator of this formula, what is your breakdown for what each number on the 1-10 scale represents? Say, for a speedster type character what would a 10 represent? a 9? Etc…

    • Roye Okupe says:

      Thanks for the comment. As of now (version 1.0), the scale for each sub-attribute is subjective rather than based on any specific scientific formula. What I do is base the highest number off what I believe is a character that dominates that particular sub-attribute. Take your speedster example for instance. I would rate The Flash, wildly considered to be one of the fastest superhero characters, a 10 for the speed sub-attribute. I would then rate other characters speed based on that scale. Does that make any sense? Everything right now is still experimental and will change based on feedback I get.

  • You beat me to the repost but I definitely appreciate the answer, that’s kind of how I approached it in rating my character. Somewhat related but a bit different- regarding the physical and mental ratings, what would you say would be the limit for peak, non-superpowered human development (think Captain america or Black Panther). i theorized it at a 5 but a friend thought a 3 would make more sense.

  • Roye Okupe says:

    Hey Williams, thanks for the response. To answer your question, it a little tough. Captain america was enhanced with superhero soldier serum and I may be wrong but I believe Black Panther’s suit alters his strength. My SHR rating is based on characters using all their accessories. But if I were to rank a character like let’s say The Punisher, who to my knowledge has no scientific enhancements, I would say peak strength would be around 3 or 4. However I would give the Punisher about 8-9 for Mental Toughness as this has nothing to do with scientific enhancements. Does that make sense?

  • A new fan says:

    I absolutely love this. Headed to my laptop so I can print it and dig into. So happy i stumbled onto you!

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