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Look, we get why superheroes need weaknesses. You can't just have them going around doing as they please without any limitations or every crisis would be over in five minutes.

But for whatever reason, comic book writers ran out of weaknesses that make any kind of sense at all right around the time that they decided the Green Lantern's weakness is the color yellow.

6
Wonder Woman: Having Her Hands Tied by a Man

dccomics

Wonder Woman, besides usually being the only thing that keeps the Justice League from turning into a complete sausage party, has transcended comic books and become an enduring symbol for feminism. She's always been portrayed as a badass Amazon warrior who doesn't take shit from anyone and, unlike Batman, she isn't afraid to break a neck or two when she has to.

comicvine
"Guess I'm in quite a snappy mood today, haha ... but no, seriously, that's murder."

Why do you think Gotham City gets all the great villains? Most of them are too afraid to go near Wonder Woman's turf.

The Ridiculous Weakness:

Of course, originally Wonder Woman was created as, well, pretty much the exact opposite of what we just described. We've mentioned before that her creator believed bondage was the key to a healthy relationship and tried to include as much as of it in his comics as possible -- what we didn't tell you is that he also made it so all of Wonder Woman's amazing powers were rendered completely useless if her hands were bound by a man.

toplessrobot
"I'm a normal woman now! What fate could be worse?"

And yes, it only works if a man does it, so when you think about, the real weakness here is scrotums. However, her one weakness was also apparently the only thing keeping her destructive tendencies in check: If Wonder Woman's Bracelets of Submission were broken, she would "launch into an uncontrollable rage."

This wasn't just in the '40s, by the way -- the same ridiculously offensive weaknesses were still being used as recently as the late '70s, while the live-action Wonder Woman TV show was on the air:

dc.wikia
"I CAN NO LONGER CONTAIN MY HATRED OF TRUCKS!"

It was only in the '80s that DC Comics started ignoring all that crap. Fortunately this still gives us 40 years of material to take out of context and make fun of.

yesbutnobutyes
A henchman chipped her nail in issue #45 so she just sat down and waited to be shot.

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5
Thor: Letting Go of His Hammer for 60 Seconds

marvel.wikia

If Wonder Woman is about feminism, The Mighty Thor is all about how wonderful it is to have a penis. It would be silly to pretend that comic book writers are completely unaware of the phallic nature of Thor's hammer -- it's, uh, kinda hard to miss. He even gave it a nickname ("Mjolnir") and has been known to flaunt it in front of the ladies.


"Too easy." -Cracked Caption Department

With his super strength, flight, control of lightning and (at this point) superfluous magical abilities, Thor is possibly the most powerful superhero ever. All those powers are derived from his massive dong-like hammer ... you can probably see where this is going.

The Ridiculous Weakness:

As explained in the early Thor comics, if he lets go of his hammer for more than a minute he loses his god status and becomes human, while the hammer itself turns into a flimsy walking stick.

Marvel Team-Up #26 (1974)
Though he does gain the new powers of walking away nonchalantly and filing his taxes.

To make matters worse, Thor's secret identity (med student Donald Blake) is basically a younger version of the main character from House, right down to the crippled leg, the scrawny physique and the annoying god complex (though in this case it's somewhat justified). Think about it: Thor is the mightiest hero ever, but he can't even fall asleep without firmly clutching his hammer under the covers and oh God the penis similarities keep coming. But all of that is beside the point. This weakness wouldn't be so much of a problem if Thor's main crime-fighting method didn't consist of throwing the hammer great distances.


"Really should have thought that through."

Usually Mjolnir comes back by itself, but the only thing his enemies have to do is make sure it doesn't and Thor is completely fucked. This happened more often than you'd think.

supermegamonkey
It slid under his car one time and he got all muddy and flustered while retrieving it.

Oh, and if anyone else happens to pick up the hammer while Thor is rushing to reach it, if they "be worthy," they gain all of his powers. Eventually, Thor's laughable 60-second limitation was removed through complex mystical methods.

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4
Venom: Tiny Amounts of Fire

marvel.wikia

Venom is one of the deadliest and most terrifying villains in comics (at least when he's not being played by the guy from That '70s Show). If Spider-Man's powers are a drawn-out metaphor for Peter Parker going through puberty, Venom represents that one time Pete became addicted to hard drugs and ended up mugging his own aunt for crack money.

Wikipedia
His ensuing mental breakdown was covered extremely sensitively in the third movie.

Venom started out as Spider-Man's powers-enhancing black costume and later turned out to be an evil alien entity with a mind of its own. Spidey hasn't "used" Venom for about 20 years, but he's been cleaning up after that mess almost every day since. So how do you stop a merciless killer who knows everything about you, routinely bonds with your worst enemies and hates you with the passion of a scorned lover?

The Ridiculous Weakness:

Fire, and we're not talking flamethrower here. We're talking matches. According to Marvel's website, Venom is "extremely vulnerable to heat" (and also loud noises), and they're not kidding. Check out the time Venom was about to kill Spider-Man ...

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #16 (2000)

... only for some random guy to save him with a cheap lighter. Lucky for Venom he wasn't also carrying an air horn.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #16 (2000)
"Why would you be so mean, Spider-Man?!"

At this point Venom completely loses his shit and his clothes literally jump off his body out of sheer terror. Over a $1 lighter. The real question here is why Spider-Man doesn't carry one at all times.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #16 (2000)
Wow, the writers just went full on meta here and admitted they repeat themselves a bunch.

Think about the implications of this. The guy wearing the Venom costume typically must keep it on at all times, so cooking with anything other than a microwave is impossible. The Fourth of July must be terrifying, as he could be held at bay by any group of 8-year-olds with sparklers. Even the other Spider-Man villains make fun of him because of it.

4thletter
"Come on Electro, Kraven and Fishbowl Helmet Guy, let's leave this silly motherfucker alone."

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3
Power Girl: All Natural, Unprocessed Materials

calgaryexpo

Power Girl is a fan-favorite DC Comics superhero and Superman's sometimes cousin from another reality. She's best known for her strong personality and leadership skills, which are also the key to her popularity.

comicvine
Pictured: Strong personality and leadership skills.

So her powers are more or less the same as Superman's, minus the vulnerability to kryptonite (since she comes from a different version of planet Krypton). Surely the writers have made up for that power imbalance in a way that makes sense. Right?

The Ridiculous Weakness:

Actually, they replaced it with something even dumber: a weakness to "natural elements." What does this mean, exactly? Well ...

Supergirl #16 (1997)

We have to question the effectiveness of any superhero who can be knocked down with something as simple as a tree branch. In the same comic, she explains that she's vulnerable to "any raw, unprocessed natural material," which would presumably include things like water, dirt or, you know, air. She can stop a bullet, but throw a rock at her face and she's dead. Basically, the whole planet Earth is "earthonite" to her.

Supergirl #16 (1997)
"Thanks, identical twin! Maybe someone should come up with more varied character models!"

The message here is pretty transparent -- take a close look at Power Girl again:

dc.wikia
Take your time.

Does she look "all natural" to you? Are the writers telling us that she has so much plastic in her body that the mere presence of something not made out of silicon makes her sick? Maybe not, because they've completely ignored this weakness for the past decade (you're probably starting to see a pattern there).

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2
Thanos: A Desire to Lose

Marvel

Earlier we said that Thor is the most powerful superhero in comics, but not the most powerful person -- that's because some of these villains aren't even in the same league. Take Thanos, a guy so insanely powerful that at one point he became the "living embodiment of the universe."

Wikipedia
We are but microbes in Thanos' butt crack.

Even when Thanos isn't obliterating entire galaxies at whim, he still has other powers like matter manipulation, time travel, teleportation, telekinesis and, oh, immortality. He's also a super-genius in all fields of science, because what the hell, at this point he might as well be. And yet every time, the good guys manage to defeat him and undo the damage. How come?

The Ridiculous Weakness:

"A subconscious desire to lose." Is it just us, or are these getting more and more abstract? Is there a superhero whose weakness is "any action that is described with an adverb?"

Anyway, this means Thanos "arrange[s] for himself to defeated" because deep down he knows he doesn't deserve to win. It's the same reason he can't maintain an erection.

Infinity Gauntlet #5 (1991)
"Stop thinking about me in bed. It's weird."

Surely the mighty Thanos responds to this ridiculous accusation by vanishing the orange person from existence, right? Actually, he sorta stands there mumbling excuses like his mom just found his hidden porn folder.

Infinity Gauntlet #5 (1991)
Sometimes naming the folder "Boring School Stuff" isn't enough, Thanos.

Like the orange guy said, this has happened several times, and the revelation does bring his older stories under new light:

goodcomics
There's also that time he was defeated by a Hostess Fruit Pie (we're guessing).

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1
Captain Marvel Jr.: Saying His Own Name

dc.wikia

Captain Marvel Jr. is the junior sidekick of Captain Marvel (duh), and also the inspiration for Elvis' haircut and fashion sense.


He hasn't got much else going for him, sadly.

Captain Marvel gets his powers by shouting the word "SHAZAM," which grants him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules and the "who the fuck is that guy" of Azamoncules. His junior version, in turn, must say "Captain Marvel" to activate his fantastic powers. He's exactly like Captain Marvel Sr. in every other sense, except for the fact that he's shorter, bluer and ...

The Ridiculous Weakness:

He can't say his own name.

Power of Shazam #14 (1996)

That's his weakness. He can't introduce himself at parties. Or at all.

It's like the small print at the bottom of the contract or the legally required health warning at the end of an ad, except wholly unnecessary and bizarre. If Captain Marvel Jr. says "Captain Marvel Jr." he transforms from a shimmering beacon of muscly justice into a crippled orphan, which can be a huge inconvenience since superheroes tend to fly everywhere (whereas crippled orphans do not). This can lead to uncomfortable situations ...

titanstower
"... Wolverine. Call me Wolverine."

What's even more ridiculous is that, instead of using the opportunity to ditch his stupid name, modern writers decided to work around this issue by shortening the name to CM3, since he's the third most important member in the Captain Marvel Family (which also includes Uncle Marvel and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny).

Of course, CM3 is a profoundly stupid name, too. His problem now isn't losing his powers, but feeling like a douchebag every time he says it.

suplementy
Also being mistaken for food supplements.

J. F. Sargent is the managing editor of PCulpa.com. He also teaches poetry to youth in jail, and you can read their work and send them comments here.

For more comic book insanity, check out 6 Superheroes Who Completely Lost Their Shit and 9 Superhero Powers That Would Be More Trouble Than They're Worth.

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