Science Determines Who The Best Superhero Is

Final Superpower Chart
(Photo: Mohan Harihar, University of Leicester)

Determined to prove that their opinion is hard, scientific fact, a group of researchers used math to decide who is objectively the best superhero.

Shortly thereafter, those same researchers discovered (albeit anecdotally, rather than scientifically) why they rarely get invited to parties.*

To be fair, that's not exactly what happened. Students at University of Leicester "used scientific principles to examine the feasibility of the powers behind renowned comic book superheroes."

What they determined is that of all the powerhouse superheroes, Superman probably has the best chance at winning in a "real-world" throwdown, simply because his pros and cons are weighted heavily toward the "pros" column and he has a number of powers that could be plausibly explained.

The findings were released on Friday, ahead of "Superman Day," which takes place today. The Superman Celebration is taking place in Metropolis, Illinois, this weekend as well.

Here are a number of the study's key findings:

  • Seven years of student-led research into superheroes between 2009-2016 suggests Superman could be the best-equipped superhero of all, with a number of abilities including the ‘Super Flare’ attack and possession of high density muscle tissue
  • Wolverine, Thor and Mystique are also in the upper-tier of superheroes, having accelerated regenerative abilities, high energy output and being capable of gene manipulation
  • Black Bolt is likely the single most destructive superhero based on a high energy output capable of resulting in planetary annihilation
  • Student calculations suggest the most ill-equipped superhero could be Batman, who would struggle to survive a landing after gliding due to the velocity of his movement

You can see a higher-resolution version of the graph above here.

The release concludes a series of papers published between 2009 and 2016 in the University of Leicester’s Journal of Physics Special Topics and Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics, in which student research was used to determine "whether or not the seemingly superhuman abilities used by the famous characters in films and comic books are in fact possible."

*Apologies to Douglas Adams.