My @Quora answer to Who would win in a fight between Superman Prime and Galactus? Why?
Disclaimer: As I have said in other mashups, pitting characters from one universe against another is juvenile and pointless as neither company would want to have their character lose to the other.
With that said:
- On the left, we have the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton, and the Man of Tomorrow all rolled up into one, The greatest and most powerful hero in the DC Universe, Superman Prime!
- On the right, we have the Devourer of Worlds, the Scourge of the Spaceways, the Last Survivor of the Previous Universe, the terrifying, the awe-inspiring, the mighty Galactus!
The Tale of the Tape…
Before you get to see who takes this battle, you need to know who the players are, so without further ado, let's get to know our space gods, up close shall we?
WHO IS SUPERMAN PRIME?
(Not to be confused with Superman-Prime, yes a hyphen makes a world of difference – we'll explain later.)
Superman Prime (One Million) is arguably one of the most powerful versions of Superman to have ever existed (canon or not). He was so powerful, he was responsible for lending a portion of his fantastic powers to his descendants to utilize across the solar system to protect Human endeavors.
- As to his connection to DC canon, the character appears in a what was dubbed "a possible future". The Justice Legion came back in time to the canon DC Universe to recruit the Justice League, so his canonical nature is deterministic at best. That possible future was erased with the previous DC Universe, so this version of Superman currently cannot exist under canon.
- Superman Prime (Kal-El) left Earth after the death of Lois Lane and traveled the Universe for 700 years before returning to Earth. During his travels, he acquired vast abilities and skills from every being he met and gained perfection over all the abilities he received. He left the Earth defended by his descendant who was dubbed "Superman Secundus".
- It is believed Kal-El broke through the Source Wall during his travels and training and studied under the Source itself, meaning he could have a portion of the Source's power or more, the true extent of abilities he received from the Source are unknown. (The Source is believed to be the originator of metahuman ability in the DC Universe and the center of the power of Jack Kirby's New Gods line of heroes.)
The Source Wall, the boundary to the DC Multiverse and believed to be the source of metahuman abilities in the DC Universe. Beings who seek its power and are deemed unworthy become part of the wall adding to its protection.
- When he returned he forged a covenant with his descendants, he would bestow upon them a small fraction of his power as long as they served for truth and justice. He also gained the abilities of his lineage and magnified them with his own power; ie. the Superman of the 67th Century married the queen of the 5th Dimension, GZNTPLZK, which in turn gave Superman Prime the abilities and powers of a 5th Dimension Imp. (See: Mr. Mxyzptlk) After the covenant he left and returned to his Fortress of Solitude in the center of the Super Sun."
Superman Prime's Fortress of Solitude is inside what was now dubbed the Super Sun. All of his descendants draw their power from it and must recharge regularly or lose them after only a few days.
- Kal-El is the creator of the Superman Dynasty which protected Humanity in his absence. During is absence, the Superman Dynasty added to their powers by adding to their genetic heritage over the centuries. Superman Prime was still more powerful than they were, even after their genetic improvements.
In addition to the entire suite of superhuman abilities (super-strength, invulnerability, speed, vision powers, etc) common to the most powerful versions of Superman, Superman Prime had several advantages which pushed his powers to a level unforeseen by nearly any version of the character:
- Vast Energy Absorption Powers: Superman Prime remained in the Earth's sun for 15,000 years. It was theorized there was no upper limit to his powers at this point. Given his feats after only a few decades of living on Earth, this extended time "sun-dipping" increased his powers to a level that dwarfed his incredibly powerful descendant, Kal Kent, who was already more powerful than the gravitation pull of a collapsing star and capable of traveling faster than light. Kal Kent is considered the equal of the most powerful canon version of Superman known up to that time: The Superman of Earth-One.
- Reality Alteration: Shown as capable, with the aid of the Superman of the 5th dimension, of turning a fragment of DNA inside-out through time into a full-fledged human being with the soul of the original individual, presumably among other capabilities.
He resurrects Lois Lane giving her an immortal and probably superhuman physiology from a strand of DNA.
He also restores Krypton, almost as if he snatched it out of Time itself.
- Power Bequeathment: Superman Prime is noted as being capable of sharing a portion of his power with his descendants, this fraction alone itself being a degree of power "far beyond any held by any metahumans ever" (though tying them inextricably to the Super-Sun that Prime inhabits as the source of their powers).
Kal Kent is the distant descendant of Superman and the leader of Justice Legion Alpha in the 853 century AD.
- Immortality: Superman Prime has not visibly aged since the late 20th/early 21st century. It is this version of the character which gave rise to the idea that Superman might age slowly or not at all as long as he was exposed to solar radiation.
- In addition: Superman Prime also had access to what is believed to be the last Green Lantern ring and had the capability of powering and using it.
This version of Superman is reputedly the apotheosis of everything Superman could ever hope to become, saving the Universe many times over, leaving a cosmic legacy of defenders across the galaxy, reaching and accessing the Source, moving through time and restoring/saving his entire doomed planet and species, and losing and finding his one true love. This version of Superman has the power to alter reality, courtesy of his access to Fifth Dimensional energies and thus is arguably more powerful than any version of the character to have ever existed.
- It is rumored that the vastly powerful Superman Prime is the same version of Superman who appears in All-Star Superman and is a possible future version of the character. Kal Kent (or someone who looked suspiciously like him) claims to be from the far future and appears in All-Star Superman #6.
- Superman Prime (One Million) is also not to be confused with the canon character Superman-Prime aka Superboy-Prime (whose real name is Clark Kent) hailed from a Pre-Crisis reality (Earth-Prime) where superheroes didn't exist and were just comic book characters.
- When the Pre-Crisis DC Universe collapsed, he was one of the few survivors. Unfortunately that happy ending was not to be as he returned to the Post-Crisis universe as a power-mad despot with powers rivaling that of the Earth-One Superman (making him the most powerful version of Superman since that Silver Age, Pre-Crisis powerhouse.) He was responsible for the deaths of Conner Kent/Kon-El (Post-Crisis clone-Superboy) and Panthra of the Teen Titans among many others before his imprisonment in the Source Wall.
WHO IS GALACTUS
Galactus is a force of nature that wanders the Universe feeding on a select energy, the potential for sentient life deep within the surface of certain planets. His is a name feared throughout the Universe and his most common appellation is the Devourer of Worlds.
- When Galactus feeds from a world, it will either be barely capable of sustaining life in the future or it will be a destroyed husk reduced to rubble in space, depending on how hungry Galactus is before he feeds.
Galactus doesn't miss meals well. A hungry Galactus is a grouchy one, too.
- When his Herald finds a world rich in the sustenance he craves, he calls his starship and drains the world of all of its energy. There is no canon answer as to what specific type of energy Galactus is feeding upon when a world is selected by a Herald.
- Depending on the writer, the medium or the continuum being described, Galactus has used a variety of energy forms to survive on from nebulous and ill-defined "life-force energies" to the anti-matter energy of the Negative Zone or the background energy of the universe itself (perhaps vacuum energy), which may be just another way to describe the Power Cosmic.
He is a mystery to most of the Universe but here's what we do know:
- Galactus (as the humanoid Galan) was a survivor of the previous universe. He survives the cosmic crush of the Universe with the help of the Phoenix Force and is reborn as a fundamental/abstract being in our Universe. He is reborn from the Cosmic Egg as a brother to Eternity and Death. He is seen as a force between the two challenging all life in the Universe.
- Galactus does not have to completely destroy a world he has fed upon. If he is able to set up and use his Elemental Converter, he can leave a shred of life energy so that world can barely support lower level life (lichens and their ilk).
- He is able to draw the lifeforce from the world without his Elemental Converter, but if he does, the planet is often completely destroyed and unable to support life in the process. This is not his desired method since it wastes precious life-force energies.
- In a conversation/confrontation with the Phoenix, Galactus indicates both of them utilize the same energy, he using the spent remains of a civilization or barren life-bearing planet, and she the energies of life as yet unborn.
Even at his earliest stages, he was a power almost without equal. Discovered by one of the first most advanced races in the universe, a Watcher is horrified to discover how powerful Galactus was.
The Watcher after studying Galactus flees when he, as was the want of his people refused to destroy the potential threat he correctly perceives Galactus to eventually become. As Galactus leaves his incubation chamber, he consumes his first planet without technology leaving it a husk unable to support life, forcing its inhabitants to become the first Wanderers (beings forced from their world by Galactus).
Despite his humanoid appearance Galactus is a being who defies description, his powers are dwarfed by his physical appearance, which is now more than anything a construct perhaps in homage to his previous humanoid appearance. The Enchantress describes him: "What we normally see of Galactus is the merest tip, he's an iceberg of cosmic dimensions. No. Worse. He HAS no dimensions. No boundaries at all."
- He is equated on the same level of cosmic necessity as the other great conceptual powers of the Universe, including Death, The Living Tribunal, The Inbetweener, and Epoch, to name a few. Within his energy-filled body lives the destructive force of Eternity, Abraxas. Only the Other Cosmic/Abstract beings or the Celestials have proven to be his equal. In a confrontation against three Celestials however, Galactus was defeated (Fantastic Four #602, #603, #604) and rescued by a future Franklin Richards.
- The life force that Galactus feeds upon does not appear to need to be sentient, for Norrin Rad (the Silver Surfer) made it his duty during the time he served Galactus to find him worlds filled with the potential for life, but having no sentient life upon them. In the Marvel Universe, planets can have life-force like energies which can lead to beings such as Gaea/Jord (Earth-616) coming into existence and leading to an explosion of lifeforms over time. Perhaps it is this energy upon which he feeds.
- Galactus' recent death and resurrection implies Galactus' continued existence having been restored by the "beyond Omega-Level" powers of Franklin Richards and the threat of the Mad Celestials defeated. Galactus was re-powered by Franklin Richards who has no known connection to the Phoenix Force. Galactus was restored to full strength and was capable of destroying a Celestial after his renewal.
SPECULATION ON GALACTUS' EATING HABITS
- Considering Galactus' transition from the previous Universe to this one was through the interaction with the Phoenix Force, it may be he requires the re-infusion of Phoenix energy to sustain himself.
- The Phoenix Force is considered to be the unbridled energy of life in the Universe. Since his life was recreated by the Phoenix after the death of his Universe, he may be lacking a particular universal constant which is not available in our universe.
Taa's civilization was one of the last still in existence. Lethal radiation caused by the "Big Crunch" this universe was experiencing was wiping out all life across the universe. Galan, a space explorer, was dispatched to travel through the cosmos to find a means of saving Taa, but he found none.
The radiation eventually killed off all but a tiny fraction of the population of Taa. Knowing their deaths were inevitable, Galan proposed to the remaining survivors that they die gloriously by piloting one of their starships directly into the heart of the "Cosmic Egg."
As the starship containing Galan and his fellow survivors approached the focal point of the Big Crunch, the heat and radiation killed all the passengers except Galan, who strangely found himself filled with new energy.
At the moment Galan's universe met its end, the Phoenix Force amassed the positive emotions of all living beings in the cosmos to preserve them from eternal damnation, enabling the Sentience of the Universe — the previous universe's equivalent to Eternity — to meet with Galan.
Within the "Cosmic Egg" the Sentience of the Universe revealed itself to Galan and informed him that though they both would die in the final moments of the universe, they would both survive through a joint heir born into the next universe. The Sentience of the Universe merged itself with the mortal Galan and thus Galactus, the devourer of worlds, was conceived. —Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Galactus Entry
This is as close as we have gotten to seeing what's on Galactus' menu.
- It may also be that containing the destructive element of Abraxas within his "body" may require an infusion of life energy (Phoenix Force) to maintain his prison. In the very early years, Galactus could go for extremely long periods of time without feeding. This may have been due to his primal exposure to the Phoenix Force after the Big Bang. As the Phoenix Force dissipated and possible collected with worlds, it became harder for him to harvest from the background radiation of the Universe and he was forced to seek it out.
- Noting that Galactus has complete control of all normal electromagnetic phenomenon, the energy he is seeking must be very subtle or very unique, otherwise he would simply feed from stars or other highly energetic objects in our universe. If a star cannot feed his powers, he is seeking a very rare energy indeed. Since the Phoenix Force can manifest anywhere, it is possible he is seeking planets whose potential of that energy is still in an abundance enough for him to replenish his supply.
- It is noted that Galactus can utilize energy from the EM spectrum and can harvest the power of a star to replenish his cosmic energy for combat. He has also absorbed energy from a Protector of the Universe (Gravity) completely draining him of his powers but was able to temporarily sate Galactus enough to spare the Cosmic being Epoch from Galactus' hunger. It is possible Galactus can feed on alternative energy sources, but this varies from writer to writer just as his power level does.
Galactus possesses the immeasurable Power Cosmic and is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, having near-limitless godlike powers.
- He was once referred to as "the most awesome living entity in the cosmos."
- Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet ranked him around the same level of power as Odin, Zeus, the Celestials, and the Stranger, but well below Master Order, Lord Chaos, Mistress Love, and Sire Hate, who in turn are well below Eternity and Infinity, who are well below the Living Tribunal.
- As such, Galactus is able to employ the cosmic energy within him to produce virtually any effect he desires. After devouring four planets, Galactus has been shown capable of fighting four Mad Celestials, and destroying one of them, although when they fused together into a powerful Voltron Celestial he was defeated.
- A few of the abilities he displayed are:
- Immortality: Galactus is said to be the oldest living entity; therefore people consider him as an ageless being.
- God-level Strength, Stamina, and Speed: Nearly matchless levels of superhuman strength and stamina. Despite his size, Galactus can fly at speeds that greatly surpass the speed of light.
- Invulnerability: Galactus is immune to all diseases, ailments, and toxins. In addition, he is enormously resistant to damage, but was almost killed by a planetary impact, despite being nourished at the time.
- Energy Discharges: After absorbing the energy from several planets, Galactus proved capable of destroying at least three solar systems. It has been speculated that Galactus might be able to destroy entire galaxies utilizing the Power Cosmic to destabilize them.
- Energy Absorption: Arguably his most viable power, as his survival depends on absorbing the Life Force from planets or stars. During his fight with Mephisto, he showed that he is even capable of absorbing an entire domain.
- Size-Alteration: Galactus's base height and weight will diminish when he is greatly in need of life-giving energy. Galactus has the ability to increase his size and mass at will, the extent of which is unknown. He once grew to a stature so great that he could wrestle with the Wraithworld sun.
- Adapted Appearance: Although Galactus is usually represented in humanoid form, each sentient being perceives him having a form resembling their own. Hence, humans see Galactus as an enormous armor-clad humanoid, while an amoeba-like species, for example, would perceive Galactus in an enormous amoeba-like form. Although as Galan, Galactus was indeed a humanoid, his true current form is unknown.
- Molecular Restructuring: Galactus can manipulate, reshape and rearrange the molecular complexions of any organism, allowing him to rebuild or redesign things internally.
- Matter Transmutation: Being a cosmic being, Galactus can control matter in any object which allows him to turn something tangible like lead, into something intangible like water.
- Teleportation: Galactus can make himself, other people, and objects appear anywhere in the entire universe that he wishes with a mere thought. He has even teleported the planet Galador from one galaxy to another.
- Force-Fields: Galactus can erect near-impenetrable energy shields.
- Interdimensional & Intradimensional Portals: He can create wormholes between dimensions and within dimensions.
- Telepathy: Ability to read or communicate with other minds across universal distances.
- Telekinesis: Ability to move enormous amounts of mass through mental concentration.
- Cosmic Awareness: Galactus can sense disturbances or changes within the cosmic ether on a universal scale.
- Resurrection: He can raise the dead.
- Creation: Galactus can create complex, sentient, biological or bio-technical life-forms from nothing.
- Soul Control & Manipulation: Galactus can control and manipulate the souls and spirits of living beings at will. He uses this power to alter the memories and emotions of others.
- Recreation: Being a cosmic being, Galactus was able to recreate the entire planet Zen-La, including population, etc. in every detail.
- Power/Ability Bestowal: Galactus' heralds, whom he has endowed with a minuscule fraction of his cosmic power, are able to manipulate matter and energy in ways that are far beyond human comprehension.
- Vitakinesis: Galactus is able to heal himself and others from physical wounds although this may simply be molecular reconstruction.
Galactus is now thought to be a Herald of Franklin Richards (this is implied from a statement from Nathaniel Richards, Reed Richard's father) after a confrontation with the Mad Celestials in which Galactus appears to be defeated and potentially mortally wounded. He is resurrected and restored with the powers of Franklin Richards. Whether this is hyperbole or a statement of fact remains to be determined. It is also noted Franklin and Galactus will be aware of each other for billions of years in the future. Stand by for your moment of awesome:
Galactus being raised from the dead by Franklin Richards. Fantastic Four #604
We're gonna sum it up right now…
- With the potpourri of powers heaped upon Superman Prime despite Galactus' long, incredible and storied history, the Scourge of the Spaceways would inevitably fall before Superman Prime range of fantastic abilities.
- What ability would take its toll upon the Mighty Galactus? The powers of the 5th Dimensional Imps. Beings from a higher reality, the Imps of the 5th dimension are able to alter reality in our dimension the same way you and I could wad up a piece of paper and throw it away. Or set it on fire. Or change it into something else with technology.
- The Imps simply do this because they are able to see our dimension, our state of being as something able to be manipulated and controlled the same way we do to things in our 3-dimensional space. Three of the most well known of these beings are Mr. Mxyztplk, Bat-Mite and Yz the Thunderbolt.
- The obvious question is why or how could beings so powerful as to be able to alter reality (from our perspective) at will, ever be stopped by normal metahumans? Because they want to be. For them, our universe is the equivalent of a game of Call of Duty or World of Warcraft.
- They interact with people because it gives them something to do. They were generally meddlesome and being all powerful was boring to them, so they usually handicapped the interaction in some way to make it more interesting to them.
- In Mr. Mxyztplk's case, he would torment Superman until the Man of Steel could make him say his name backward. Then he would retreat back to the 5th Dimension for 90 days.
- Bat-Mite's admiration for Batman was so great, he would come to follow his idol on missions, often getting in the way with his admiration by increasing the threat level on missions forcing Batman to be more inventive to escape. Trust crafty Batman to turn the little menace to his use from time to time.
- Yz the Thunderbolt actually worked for the good guys as a partial member of the Justice Society. His handicap? He could only do what he was told. Literally. His first handler Johnny Thunder wasn't the brightest light in the box but he meant well. Later handlers put him to better use but his literalness meant he could be as much a hazard as a help.
- Superman Prime would acquire access to these powers when his descendants would marry members of a 5th Dimensional family and transfer their powers to him.
Does this mean Galactus just rolls over and takes it?
Hardly. In his early literary career Galactus was THE original name on the block. He was one of a trinity of beings whose existence predated the Marvel Universe itself. As a member of these fundamental beings, Galactus can be attacked, damaged, and even apparently destroyed, but somehow the Universe will find a way to restore his existence. He is, an as yet undisclosed but necessary part of the Marvel Universe.
His powers have few equals though writers have taken liberties with his powers reducing them significantly so that he might take part in events in the Marvel Universe and experience a little stress in the doing so.
In his heyday he was so powerful, he didn't even interact with lesser beings, leaving the light work to his magnificent creations, The Heralds of Galactus. His greatest herald, the Silver Surfer's Power Cosmic bequeathed to him by his master, is more than a match for most sentients in the Marvel Universe.
Is there any way Galactus could come out on top?
Absolutely. Remember that old adage: "Old age and treachery can overcome youth and skill."
A battle between two such cosmic-powered beings would surely destroy any world where such a titanic struggle could take place, so it might be best done somewhere far from any civilization. Such a struggle might actually take place not only in space but through time as well and possibly even in lower and higher dimensions we wouldn't even be privy to.
To be fair, Superman Prime and Galactus are so powerful, neither would likely confront the other because at their power scales, they are more likely to destroy sections of the galaxy around them before they seriously damage each other.
(Galactus had to teach this lesson to the Phoenix when the two of them battled. Phoenix was more powerful but her powers utilized life energy from the Universe, destabilizing the balance between Life and Death.)
Since the powers of the 5th Dimensional Imps would not be native even to the incredibly old Superman Prime (from his perspective he is from the 853 century on Earth), he might be reluctant to use them and this may give Galactus an advantage.
Galactus is billions of years old and his mastery of the Power Cosmic is absolute. While Superman Prime holds the capacity for greater power, he has had his powers FAR less long and could find defeating the ancient space god, more difficult than he might imagine. One mistake might be all it took for Galactus to come home a winner.
*Parts of this essay have come from earlier essays I've written on these two characters on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Stack Exchange.
Is the Golden Superman Canon and What are His Powers?*
What was Galactus feeding on in planets?*
What, of the planets he consumes, provides Galactus with sustenance?*
Superman Prime (One Million)
How Powerful is Superman Prime?