By Adam Chitwood

It’s a debate as old as time itself—which superhero would beat all other superheroes in a fight? Everyone has their own answer (with caveats galore), but now we’ve got an objective, definitive answer to the question that has perplexed philosophers and scientists for decades.

Students at the University of Leicester (via Gizmodo) have unveiled the results of a seven-year study into the age-old superhero question, and the answer is clear: Superman is the best-equipped superhero of all time.

[caption id="attachment_2636" align="alignleft" width="584"] photo copyright: Warner Brothers. DC Comics[/caption]
Using calculations to explain the feasibility of the powers behind the most famous superheroes in comic book history, Superman came out ahead thanks to a calculated stored solar energy output of 7.07×105 Joules per second for his “Super Flare” attack. Moreover, the higher muscle density gives him a major leg up against most other superheroes.

While Superman landing the title isn’t exactly a shock—he can do basically anything—the runners up may surprise you. Wolverine and Mystique both made solid cases, with Wolverine’s regenerative capacity cited as a major benefit, and Mystique’s mastery of manipulation to aid in disguise working in her favor. Thor also ranks considerably high thanks to the God of Thunder’s energy efficiency—1 throw of Mjolnir can have an energy output of 5.97×1018 J. Inhumans member Black Bolt, meanwhile, likely holds the title of the single most destructive superhero given the energy output that results in planetary annihilation.

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