Superhero Alien Races: Ranking the Top 5

There Are Starmen Waiting in the Sky

Shepard:If you want a problem talked to death, ask an Asari. If you want a problem shot, ask a Turian. If you want a new problem, ask a Salarian. But if you want a problem solved, ask a human.

Mass Effect 2

Every superhero eventually visits space. It’s a right of passage up there with getting an archnemesis or dying and coming back to life. But space is a big place, and humanity is not alone. It never takes long to encounter aliens.

Aliens have varied responses to humans. Some see Earth and want to claim our resources. Others view us as a curiosity, barely evolved monkeys who need the green man to uplift them. While rare, you may find friendly or heroic aliens who ally with humanity. So what are the top 5 Superhero Alien Races? Let’s find out.

#5 Superhero Alien Race: Thanagarians

Universe: DC
Homeworld: Thanagar
Heroes: Hawkman, Hawkwoman

[Vixen is interested in Hawkgirl’s ex]
Vixen:I’m surprised you haven’t made your move before now.
Hawkgirl:I’m still trying to figure out the right Earth protocol for this situation. It’s not like I can assassinate you in your sleep or poison your water… I miss Thanagar.

Justice League Unlimited, “Ancient History” (Season 3, Episode 12)

It’s an unspoken rule that every fictional universe needs a warrior race. Doesn’t matter if they’re soldiers or barbarians, they just need to be a species that shoots first and asks questions never. Our first Superhero Alien Race resembles flying Klingons.

Thanagarians are humanoid aliens ruled by a military dictatorship. They discovered Nth Metal, which projects an anti-gravity field and negates magic. Soldiers, police, and aristocrats are given Nth Metal harnesses attached to wings that allow them to fly. Some incarnations of the Thanagarians are born with wings.

The Thanagarian Empire has conquered many worlds and mistreats their vassals. Flying police called Wingmen enforce order. Two Wingmen, Katar and Shayera Hol, were sent to Earth to study human police work. Their Wingmen uniforms were mistaken for costumes, leading the media to dub them Hawkman and Hawkgirl. They rolled with that story and joined the Justice Society of America.

#4 Shi’ar

Universe: Marvel
Homeworld: Chandilar
Heroes: Lilandra, Gladiator, Imperial Guard

Helek:Sharra and K’ythri are the gods in marriage, the gods who didn’t want to marry, but were forced into it. In marriage they found strength and in strength they found love. That’s what the Shi’ar Imperium does. It marries other cultures. Shotgun weddings.

Starjammers #1

DC isn’t the only universe with war-like bird people. Our next Superhero Alien Races features mulitcultural Romulans instead of flying Klingons.

The Shi’ar Imperium is one of Marvel’s largest space empires. The Shi’ar are lordly, condescending, and consider honor a life or death matter. They annex less-developed worlds into their empire, Roman style. The Shi’ar only respect civilizations that have been integrated or proven themselves in combat.

The Shi’ar Imperium is ruled by a senate, praetor, and an emperor. The politicians practice cutthroat diplomacy in the most literal sense. These tendencies are slowly being curbed by Empress Lilandra, a kind, strong-willed Shi’ar and ally of the X-Men.

The Shi’ar Empire has strong heroes, not famous ones. The Imperial Guard are warriors from conquered worlds who are loyal to the throne. Just the throne, not the leader. The Guard is led by Gladiator, Marvel’s premier Superman knockoff.

#3 Superhero Alien Race: Kryptonians

Universe: DC
Homeworld: Krypton
Heroes: Superman, Supergirl, Power Girl

Jor-El:I built this rocket hoping it could carry our people to safety. Now, it will carry my son. The Last Son of Krypton.”

Superman the Animated Series “The Last Son of Krypton” (Season 1, Episode 1)

The most famous Superhero Alien race includes DC’s greatest hero, Superman of Krypton.

Kryptonians lived in a technological utopia. Originally idealistic and compassionate, they explored the galaxy. Surrounding worlds had less advanced civilizations, and Krypton recalled their explorers believing there was nothing to learn from other species.

Krypton became isolationist and xenophobic. The people wanted for nothing and became creatively stunted. An uprising led by General Zod drew attention away from frequent earthquakes. Only Jor-El recognized that Krypton’s core was unstable enough to explode. He built a rocket and sent his son, Kal-El, to a distant planet called Earth as their world died.

Despite Superman’s title as the Last Son of Krypton, there were many survivors. His cousin, Kara Zor-El, survived the explosion and was also sent to Earth. General Zod and many Kryptonian criminals survived in The Phantom Zone. Superman also rescued the Bottle City of Kandor from alien criminal Brainiac. It contains an entire Kryptonian city shrunk to microscopic size.

#2 Superhero Alien Race: Kree

Universe: Marvel
Homeworld: Hala
Heroes: Captain Mar-Vell, Captain Glory, Lauri-Ell The Accuser

Morag:We must begin again, as we did on the moon, to master what is now ours–so that someday we can destroy all the craven Skrulls and reign as undisputed masters of the stars! It is a great task for a great people!

Avengers #133

The Kree are neither reasonable, nor heroic. Consider them Space Nazis.

The Kree, an undeveloped species encountered the more advanced Skrulls, who tasked them and a species named the Cotati to create something extraordinary. The winner would be allowed to join the Skrull Empire. The Kree lost and massacred the Cotati, also killing the Skrulls’ contest judges. They stole Skrull tech to create their own empire and fought a millennia-long war with the Skrulls

Krees prize racial purity and military might above all else. The blue-tinted Kree consider the pink-skinned minority inferior. The government is ruled by The Supreme Intelligence, a gestalt of thousands of Kree minds the civilization worships. Draconian laws are enforced by The Accusers, who wield sledgehammer-shaped Universal Weapons.

Captain Mar-Vell is the Krees’ greatest hero. He was assigned to defend Earth from Skrulls, but eventually rebelled after embracing Earth’s ideals. Captain Marvel has taken on his mantle, joined by a heroic Accuser named Lauri-Ell.

#1 Skrulls

Universe: Marvel
Homeworld: Skrullos
Heroes: Super-Skrull, Lyja, Hulkling

Director Keller: [examining a dead Skrull] “Wow. They’re ugly bastards, aren’t they?
Coroner:Yeah, well, he’s no Brad Pitt, sir.” [turns away]
Keller: [leans down and whispers] “Safe journey to the beyond, my friend. I will finish what we started.

Captain Marvel (2019)

The Shi’ar and Kree are major players in galactic politics, but there’s one empire that ruled before either had left their homeworlds. The Skrulls are our greatest Superhero Aliens.

The Skrulls began as a benevolent merchant empire that used their innate shapeshifting to smooth over negotiations until The Kree’s betrayal drove them to militarize. The war waged for thousands of years before stalemating.

Skrulls are expert geneticists and fond of manipulating their DNA to grow stronger. They’ve created many Super-Skrulls, each possessing the powers of Earth’s superheroes in addition to shapeshifting. The Skrulls have some limits, and loathe their dark magic-wielding sister species, The Dire Wraiths.

The Skrulls have produced several superheroes. An infiltrator named Lyja joined the Fantastic Four and eventually married the Human Torch. A Young Avenger called Hulkling learned that he was the son of a Skrull princess and Captain Mar-Vell, giving him legal claim to lead both empires. Hulkling ended the Kree-Skrull War, united the empires into an Alliance, and was crowned The King of Space.

Which Superhero Alien Race is your favorite? Is there one better than these? Tell us in the comments.

Image: (Right): Ben Mendelsohn as Talos in Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL.

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