Superman vs Omni-Man: Who would win?
I was watching a video from Animation Rewind (see below) of who would win in a clash between Superman and Omni-Man, and it got me thinking.
As a comic expert and writer, I'm going to break down this iconic showdown in epic detail using concrete examples of their powers, backstories, victories against other foes, and an in-depth analysis of their abilities and motivations. Forget the clichés - this will be the ultimate crossover battle analysis of two of the most powerful superheroes in their respective universes.
Origins and Backgrounds
Superman has decades of history as one of the most iconic comic creations of all time. First appearing in Action Comics #1 in 1938, Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as the last survivor of the planet Krypton. His backstory and powers have evolved over decades of DC comics, radio serials, TV shows, and blockbuster movies. Known as the Man of Steel, Superman is arguably the most famous superhero in history.
Omni-Man first appeared far more recently in Robert Kirkman's comic Invincible, published by Image Comics in 2003. Kirkman specifically conceived of Omni-Man as an exploration on the Superman archetype, with some key twists - namely, portraying him as a dangerous alien conqueror secretly plotting to take over Earth. The Viltrumite known as Omni-Man has superhuman strength, endurance, and flight on par with DC's Man of Tomorrow.
While Omni-Man was clearly inspired by classics like Superman, he brings a grittier, more violent sensibility. Superman has always been portrayed as a symbol of hope, while Omni-Man descends from a warrior culture bent on domination. Their clashing backgrounds and motivations make this battle especially momentous.
Superpowers and Abilities
Superman's arsenal of superpowers is incredibly vast and formidable, even by comic standards. His Kryptonian biology absorbs yellow solar energy, granting him abilities far beyond human capacity. He has nearly limitless superhuman strength - Superman has shifted entire planets and defeated cosmic beings like Darkseid. His superhuman speed allows him to fly and react at many times faster than light.
Superman can shoot searing beams of heat vision from his eyes capable of matching solar flares and nuclear explosions. His freeze breath can instantly drop temperatures to Arctic levels. He has enhanced senses and can see the EM spectrum from miles away. His invulnerability allows him to withstand nuclear blasts, planet-shattering impacts, and strikes from beings with godlike power.
Omni-Man's Viltrumite ancestry also provides him with awe-inspiring superhuman abilities. He possesses colossal super strength - enough to stop a meteor the size of Texas barehanded or throw his son hundreds of feet through skyscrapers. He can fly at Massively FTL+ super speeds, reaching Saturn's moon in minutes from Earth. Omni-Man's durability allowed him to withstand three other Viltrumites pummeling him at once, leaving craters miles wide on the planet.
Both characters clearly represent the pinnacle of superhuman power. But Superman's versatility gives him the edge. Though Omni-Man's raw power is frightening, Superman has defeated villains using his intellect just as often as brute force. His compassion and restraint are key strengths.
Upbringing and Motivations
Superman's origin story is singular in the comic medium. As the last survivor of the doomed planet Krypton, his rocket ship landed in rural Kansas where he was raised by human parents - the kindly Kents. They instilled him with a sense of empathy, kindness and desire to assist the vulnerable. Losing his birth parents and civilization fuels his motivation to protect his adopted homeworld of Earth.
Omni-Man was sent to Earth by the Viltrumite empire to conquer it from within. For years he pretended to be a heroic champion while secretly plotting world domination. He formed a family and played the trusted hero, only for his true violent motivations to be revealed when he nearly destroyed the planet fighting the Guardians of the Globe. His original goal was not defense, but ruthless conquest.
Though Omni-Man later found redemption, Superman's motivations come from his selfless love for humanity. Omni-Man saw Earth as something to control, while Superman chooses to adopt Earth as his home. This stark contrast in their upbringings informs their actions.
Good Versus Evil Versions
Given Superman's immense power coupled with his moral code against killing, an intriguing question is - what if Superman fully embraced his capacity for domination? Several storylines have explored a tyrannical Man of Steel who overthrows governments and shreds his previous moral limits.
One famous example is Injustice's evil Superman, who becomes a murderous dictator after The Joker tricks him into killing Lois Lane. This version of Superman readily tortures enemies, lobotomizes them with heat vision, and rules through uncompromising force. While inconceivable in main DC continuity, several graphic novels explore this possibility.
Omni-Man already leans towards violence, deception and conquest. But even he finds redemption after the Viltrumite War by defending Earth sincerely. Though Superman is his moral antithesis, Omni-Man ultimately transforms from merciless conqueror to champion. Even the darkest heart has potential for light.
An evil Superman with no moral code would likely be too much for even Omni-Man to handle. A Superman devoted fully towards domination could exploit Omni-Man's pride and family bonds ruthlessly. Heat vision lobotomies, cryogenic imprisonment in space, or translight banishment into the Sun are all feasible for a Superman done with restraint.
Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities
Superman's main weaknesses are Kryptonite radiation from his home planet, red sun energy sapping his powers, and vulnerability to magic. But through resolve and cleverness, he regularly overcomes villains exploiting these flaws. His greatest weakness comes from his refusal to kill opponents - allowing genocidal enemies to live after defeat. This restraint defines Superman's character.
Omni-Man shares Superman's Achilles heel of having his powers dampened. But not with kryptonite but with sound frequencies. He is also prone to having his Viltrumite pride used against him through psychological manipulation. Despite his emotional callousness compared to Superman, even Omni-Man has been unable to kill his son at key moments due to dormant paternal instincts. Neither hero has a clear advantage in weaknesses.
Head-to-Head Battle Analysis
A battle between moral Superman and the conquest-driven Omni-Man originally favors the Viltrumite. Omni-Man will unleash his full, nearly unrestrained strength from the start - hurling tanks miles away and raining devastating blows upon the Man of Steel. Superman initially holds back his power, attempting to subdue or reason with Omni-Man before escalating.
Omni-Man's savage thrashing of the Guardians of the Globe proves how violently effective he can be against even a team of superhumans. But Superman has likewise defeated legions of villains through improvisation and skill. Even against Omni-Man's fearsome power, Superman is a master at outmaneuvering stronger foes. Protecting civilians would be his first priority.
As the battle intensifies across cities, mountains and oceans, even Superman's restraint fades against the unstoppable Viltrumite onslaught. His heat vision capable of stirring the hearts of stars scorches Omni-Man. Freeze breath surpassing arctic winds immobilizes his wings. The force of his blows exceeds nuclear warheads. Superman absorbs more sunlight the longer the fight continues, bolstering his reserves.
Omni-Man dominates through sheer brute power and relentlessness. But Superman's superior speed, allowing him to attack from all angles, makes striking the Man of Steel difficult. Kryptonian physiology means Superman recovers quickly even from Omni-Man's fearsome pounding. In character, Superman avoids fatal force unless he has no other option left.
Ultimate Showdown Conclusion
This epic battle between alien champions shakes planets to their core. But Superman's tireless compassion, versatility, combat experience and relentless drive ultimately overcome Omni-Man's radical ruthlessness. Superman has defeated seemingly unstoppable foes before, often emerging through undying perseverance and guile. His moral compass, so antithetical to Omni-Man's heartless conquest, pushes him to victory.
But the two characters share similarities - the burden of great power and its temptation towards domination. Just as Superman inspires humanity's best self, Omni-Man finds redemption in defending his adopted Earth. Their war represents sapient beings' inner battle between light and darkness. But Superman shows that even godlike power wielded selflessly can save worlds.
This was a truly titanic crossover battle for the ages! What do you think - does the Man of Steel or Viltrumite Warmonger ultimately win this epic superhero showdown? I'm interested to hear your thoughts on my analysis.