"Thor vs Superman A highly debatable argument. We’re literally gonna fight at this geek table. What do you think? Who wins?"
My take on this fight...
Anyone familiar with this matchup knows the players and their power sets. You also know that their powers & limitations have changed over the intervening years. For the purposes of this melee, I’m going with the Superman & Thor from the mid-to-late-90s; the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Superman and the post-Donald Blake Thor. I won’t be giving a blow-by-blow of “how the fight could happen" or “how the fight should have gone down". I’m just going to tell who I think COULD win and why.
A little more background into the players: first, Spuerman.
Superman’s powers had grown monumentally over the years since his creation in 1938, especially in the Silver Age of comics. They’d gotten to the point where writers were telling stories where Superman could read lips while watching a conversation light-years away. Not only that, he could even hear the conversation. Most surprising of all, he was strong enough to move entire planets, if the need arose. The Crisis on Infinite Earths helped to reign in those truly awesome powers. When the DC Universe pieced itself together after the Crisis in 1985-86, it was with a more “believable" Superman. One who couldn’t move planets, but was still immeasurably strong. Whose vision powers were still amazing, but had limitations. It is THIS Superman who will be fighting out of the blue corner.
In the red corner, we have The Mighty Thor, God of Thunder. The Thor of the Marvel Universe has also had his powers and limitations altered over the decades since his first appearance in 1962. For those not familiar with the tragedy of Thor in Marvel comics, let me try to sum it up. Thor is a demigod, the son of Odin, Allfather and ruler of the Nine Realms of Asgard, and Gaea, the Spirit of the Earth, or Midgard. Thor was tasked to be the guardian and protector of the people of Midgard, and, through his mother, gained greater strength and stamina while on Earth. He was also a vain and arrogant man. As a punishment for his hubris, Odin banished him to Earth, and bound his soul to that of human doctor, Donald Blake. Blake was, to use an antiquated term, lame. One of his legs didn’t function properly, thus he required the use of a cane. While in Norway, he came upon a walking stick, struck it against the ground and became Thor, the walking stick becoming the magical hammer, Mjolnir. One of the limitations placed upon Mjolnir at this time was should Thor and the hammer be physically separated for more than 60 seconds Thor would revert back to Dr. Blake. This limitation would be removed some time later, after, presumably, Thor learned the lesson of humility Odin set for him. Thor and Dr. Blake were then themselves physically separated, Thor to live his life, Blake to live his, although this separation would take some years to be accomplished. This is the Thor competing in the matchup.
(I said I’d sum it up. I didn’t say it’d be short…)
Thor has many powers associated strictly with Mjolnir, but he has a pretty impressive, though limited, power set in his own right. Through Mjolnir Thor can open portals to other dimensions (although mostly to Asgard or one of the other Nine Realms), control and manipulate lightning and cause thunder-like sonic booms, and fly (although “fly" might be a bit of an overstatement, he basically throws the hammer and holds on to the strap as the hammer flies through the air with no control, so it’s less like flying, per se, and more like throwing himself to his destination). Now WITHOUT Mjolnir, he is still incredibly strong and agile, having been trained as a warrior-god for centuries.
Now, on to the matchup.
Both men are pretty evenly matched, physically. Both are immensely strong. Both can take a punch from someone as immensely strong as they. Superman, however, has a distinct advantage here, because he has the wider array of powers: being able to move at inhuman speeds, a variety of vision powers (although how x-ray vision®™ helps against Thor is debatable), his “arctic breath®™", and, most importantly, flight. As mentioned before, Thor can’t fly. He just throws the hammer, hangs on for the ride, and then whirls the hammer to slow fall to the ground.
In melee combat, Thor has, I think, the upper hand simply because of Mjolnir. Mjonir is, by nature, a magical weapon. As long as Thor has access to it, he’ll probably come out ahead. He has an even greater advantage if the combat takes place on land. However, if Superman can separate Thor and Mjolnir, and he can take the fight to the air, I think he could pound Thor to unconsciousness. I would give a slight (and I stress SLIGHT) edge to Superman in melee combat, provided he can overcome, or avoid being waylaid by, Mjolnir.
In ranged combat, I think I would give the edge to Thor. While Superman has his vision and breath weapons, neither would halt the advance of a demigod on a mission. Thor, on the other hand has lightning he can call to his aid. MAGICAL lightning. He also has Mjolnir, a weapon as good at distance as it is at close-quarter combat. Although, as before, if Superman can separate Thor from Mjolnir, a ranged combat duel would probably be a moot point.
Overall, I would conservatively give the edge to Thor, simply because of Mjolnir. As long as he has that, Supes doesn’t stand a chance. However, if you’re just looking for a toe-to-toe, bare-handed fist-fight, it’s a win for Superman.