There are plenty of heroes that get overlooked in the Marvel and DC Universe, and some rightfully so. Matter-Eater Lad’s ability is that he can eat any form of matter (which arguably isn’t a superpower), Dazzler is a “highly trained roller skater” who can create balls of light, and Captain Britain is extremely similar to Superman… except the farther he gets from Great Britain the weaker he becomes.
These are just very few examples of heroes that, at first glance, are seemingly useless, but the more you learn about their abilities you start to see that they aren’t as useless as they seem. While Matter-Eater Lad’s ability at first can seem comical, he is also able to eat forms of matter that are believed to be indestructible such as Amazonia and Superman… yes, if he were to choose to he could eat superman. And to further back up this ridiculous allegation, he has the ability of flight granted by his Legion Flight Ring, and he has Metabolic Induced Super-Speed which allows him to eat anything in the blink of an eye. Laser vision? Consumed! Incoming punch? Dodge left, bite fist off.
Dazzler, while her power is substantially less unique, can create light in various forms and intensity. I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out for you, but just in case you weren’t thinking what I was thinking… she can blind her enemies with light. She’s definitely not as strong as MEL, but she could blind him.
And Captain Britain… well nobody complains that Batman never leaves Gotham. I will admit that it is a bit of a waste to give this man godlike abilities just to take them away if he leaves his home country, but at least the crime rate within the country has gone down.
But this article isn’t about any of these “Super Zeros.” Instead, it is about who I believe is the single strongest hero in both the Marvel and DC universe; Barf.
I’m not talking about the Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing gadget from the Marvel Cinematic Universe used by Mysterio. No no no, I’m referring to something- someone far more powerful. I’m referring to Brian McAllister from Earth-616, aka Barf.
Not much is known about Barf so it is hard to gauge the full extent of his abilities and how they could be used. He appears in only 2 editions of Marvel’s Secret Empire in 2017 (and a few other comic series that give little insight into his character), but those two issues give us enough information to see how terrifying Barf’s abilities are.
What are his abilities? Duplication and Elasticity. Barf is able to make an exact duplicate of almost any item he can think of. His body works as a 3D printing, creating the object inside of himself and then barfing up that item. His only limitations at the time were the size of the object, and he claimed he was unable to produce weapons such as guns stating that his powers could only be used for “altruistic reasons.” It remains unknown whether that is by choice, or if it is a stipulation of his ability.
In issue #1 of Secret Empire, we are introduced to Barf when he is able to produce a full-sized Captain America lunch box that he saw a picture of online. His jaw stretches to accommodate the item’s size and then returns to normal after the item leaves his body.
Up until this point, you may be questioning my integrity as a comic book nerd. If he can’t/won’t produce weapons, and he is limited by the size of an object, how could I possibly think he is the strongest character to ever exist?
Marvel’s Secret Empire issue #10. Barf uses his seemingly useless ability to produce a fragment of the Cosmic Cube with zero repercussions to himself. No fatigue. No internal damage. He is not affected whatsoever by producing an object that holds so much power.
I should also note that before this incident he had only produced two known items: a lunchbox and a key. It is also important to note that he had never seen or heard of the Cosmic Cube beforehand, and while having no prior knowledge of the Cube was still able to produce an exact replica of a fragment of the cube.
In every hero’s origin story they are unfamiliar with their powers, and it takes them a while to get used to them. It takes some heroes years to master their powers and discover the full extent of them. It isn’t unreasonable to assume that the first time we are seeing Barf use his abilities are some of the first times he’s ever used them and is therefore unfamiliar with his abilities. It took an Artificially Intelligent Iron Man and Captain America for his to realize he could create something as powerful as the Cosmic Cube. If he is able to produce that now, what will he be able to produce once he gains full control of his powers?
I feel that now knowing his abilities, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine how he could defeat almost any hero from both Marvel and DC. If he is facing anyone in the Marvel Universe he needs only produce one of any of the infinity stones. Or, all of the infinity stones plus the infinity gauntlet. It may kill him in the process of using it, but he could still defeat the person he is using it against.
But take him out of his own universe and let him fight some of the greatest heroes from DC. Superman? Barf up some kryptonite. Green Lantern? Up-chuck some wood. Other Green Lantern? Vomit something yellow.
I could go on and on with examples of what Barf could produce in order to defeat his foes, but I would just be regurgitating the same sentence over and over. Take a hero. Take their weaknesses. Have Barf produce that weakness.
Maybe calling him the strongest hero alive is a little far fetched, but being able to produce any item imaginable has limitless potential, and I feel Marvel could better showcase his abilities. Barf is another hero that Marvel has created that has seemingly fallen to the wayside. While he may not be the most entertaining hero to watch, he is definitely one of the more interesting heroes ever created.
Sure, he may never appear on the big screen, but at least give him some more love in the comics. He could solve so many of the Avengers problems, and I think a mini-series of his own would be incredibly interesting. I’m dying to know more about this incredible character so that I can continue to prove that he one of the strongest heroes ever created.