It’s no secret that Hyperion is Marvel’s answer to Superman, but if these two powerhouses ever came to blows, which one would come out on top?
Superman has had plenty of copycats over the years; from Fawcett Comics’ Captain Marvel (now DC’s Shazam) to the infamous Homelander from The Boys, it seems every universe has their own take on the Man of Steel, so it’s only natural that DC’s biggest rival would have one, too. Indeed, Marvel’s version of Superman, Hyperion, is about as close to Clark Kent’s carbon copy as you can get, which begs the question – which one would win in a fight?
Superman’s backstory is practically common knowledge at this point – to avoid the destruction of his home world, Superman’s father sent him to Earth, where he was raised by the Kents. Thanks to Earth’s nourishing atmosphere and yellow sun, Superman developed abilities that led him to become one of the planet’s most powerful protectors. Over in the Marvel universe, Hyperion’s origin story plays out pretty similarly, but with a few key differences. Hyperion was also sent from a dying world to Earth in a spaceship when he was just a baby, but depending on the storyline, his life here was quite different. In the Supreme Power series by J. Michael Straczynski, Hyperion’s spaceship was found by the US government, which raised him to become a covert operative. This cold upbringing resulted in a much more unforgiving version of the character than the one seen in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, where Hyperion was raised by a moralistic father similar to Pa Kent.
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Regardless of the storyline, Hyperion’s powers are the same across all his iterations, and they are basically identical to Superman’s. Both heroes have super strength, speed, durability, flight, heat-vision, and enhanced senses. While Kal-El gets his abilities from yellow sunlight, Hyperion is powered by cosmic radiation. As long they have enough of their respective power source, Hyperion and Superman don’t need sleep, food, or even air. Both have also exhibited extraordinary feats of strength – in Hickman’s run, Hyperion is briefly able to hold two colliding universes apart with his bare hands, and in Superman: Man of Tomorrow #12, Superman fills in for Atlas and holds up reality itself. Given all they have in common, it seems this contest cannot be settled by comparing Superman and Hyperion’s abilities, but rather how they use them in a fight.
As mentioned, several different versions of Hyperion have appeared in the Marvel universe over the years, but even the one raised with Pa Kent-style morals is far more brutal than DC’s Big Blue Boy Scout. Hyperion has no compunction about taking lives when he deems it necessary, like when he decapitated Namor and destroyed the entire city of Atlantis. Superman generally avoids killing his enemies and tends to hold back in a fight – at least until he’s sure his opponent can take it. Hyperion certainly could, but Superman would likely show some restraint at first while figuring out what Hyperion can handle, and that moment of hesitation could be enough to give Hyperion the upper hand. Of course, there are also darker, evil versions of Superman that would be more willing to go for the kill, like the one from Injustice, but then the Man of Steel is just trading in the hindrance of restrictive morals for mental instability, so Hyperion could still win by keeping a level head.
The goals of both Hyperion and Superman is to protect humanity. Based on that alone, the two are more likely to be allies than enemies, but if a fight is unavoidable, Hyperion would have a slight edge just by virtue of ruthlessness. Still, Superman has beaten the odds plenty of times in the past, so this fight could truly go either way.
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