Superman might be DC’s most powerful hero, but the Justice League’s new villain proves that there are still stronger beings in the DC Universe.
Warning: contains spoilers for Justice League #59
While Superman is the Justice League’s most powerful hero, the team’s newest villain is even stronger. Though villains often threaten Superman by exploiting his weaknesses to kryptonite and magic, this new villain can repel the Man of Steel through sheer force of will.
As the first Justice League story of Infinite Frontier, Justice League #59 from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez introduces a new foe for the Justice League, the extra-dimensional Brutus. Upon arriving on earth, the demonic creature wastes no time attacking the first hero he sees, Black Adam. Though Adam is an admirable fighter, he’s no match for Brutus’ destructive might. After being thrown to the ground, Black Adam prepares to retaliate but is stopped by the Justice League’s arrival.
Superman easily tosses Brutus into the nearby ocean and checks to see if Black Adam is okay. As the villain tries to return the favor to Superman, he’s confronted by a wall of sharks from Aquaman. Before the Atlantean’s friends can devour him though, Brutus unleashes a wave of energy that sends Arthur deep into the ocean’s depths. As he rises out of the ocean, Brutus is met with a smack from Hawkgirl’s Nth metal mace. Brutus realizes that conquering earth will be more difficult than he assumed, and creates a portal back to his home, promising to return better equipped. Superman darts for the portal, catching it as it closes. Despite the power of his flight, even Superman is repelled from the portal, letting Brutus escape to fight another day.
Brutus immediately sets himself apart from other major Justice League foes. While heavy-hitters like Doomsday, Mongul, and Darkseid are all able to march or exceed Superman’s strength, they usually face the Justice League with a determined grimace. In contrast, Brutus genuinely enjoys all the destruction he sows. He smiles and cracks jokes, immediately contrasting him with the stern and arrogant Black Adam. Instead of undermining the seriousness of his threat though, it only serves to make him more intimidating. This is someone so strong that they think Black Adam is a joke, someone who can escape from Superman while making a smug remark.
Adding to the threat of Brutus is his promise to return stronger If he was already strong enough to repel Superman, then there’s no telling how powerful Brutus will be when he returns. DC’s Infinite Frontier combines the new and the old, but with the Justice League’s latest villain, it’s the new that should give Superman pause.