The 5 Dumbest Powers Ever Given to Famous Superheroes
Hollywood special effects are finally catching up with the imagination of comic book writers, and at last, the public at large is getting familiar with the abilities of our favorite superheroes: Professor X reads minds. Thor controls lightning. Batman has lots of money and anger-management issues. But some of those abilities never make it to the big screen. In part because they were phased out by the comics before they hit the big time, and in part because they're underwear-on-the-head stupid.
Superman Can Shoot Tiny Supermen Out of His Fingers
Superman already has more powers than entire rival comic universes combined: flying, X-ray vision, super strength, the ability to shoot homunculi from his hands.
So what? Regular men can also shoot tiny replicas of themselves using their hands, sort of.
Yep, at one point, dwarf tossing was among Superman's official talents. In this classic story from 1958, Superman runs into a space ship that explodes in his face when he touches it, granting him the ability to project miniature Super-replicas to do his bidding. Superman's mini-mes have the same powers as he does, but unfortunately they can't use said powers at the same time, leaving him helpless and resentful of his own finger-children. It doesn't help that all of Metropolis goes completely apeshit with super-dwarf fever:
You heard it: Superman doesn't think little people are human.
As it turns out, that explosion gave Superman another new superpower: the ability to be a cold-blooded motherfucking killer, because he actually tries to murder the little shits with kryptonite ...
"I burned my mouth on soup while you guys used my powers to save those orphans. Fuck you."
... which hilariously backfires when the kryptonite ends up in the hands of some cruising criminals, who catapult it right back at Superman. The mini-me eventually sacrifices itself to save Superman from a (well-deserved) death, and he loses his new power.
"Ha, what a dipshit! Now, let's use this restored X-ray vision to spy on old people pooping."
Of course, the real tragedy here is that we never find out if the tiny Supermen could shoot even tinier ones from their fingers, and if those in turn could shoot even tinier ones -- and so on, down to a subatomic level. There are some things man just isn't supposed to know, we guess.
Iron Man Gets Around on Jet-Powered Roller-Skates
Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are both millionaire playboys and genius inventors, but since Tony was created decades later, he was spared all the ridiculous, campy crap Batman had to go through. No Batusi or Shark Repellent Bat-Spray here -- just serious, gritty robot battles. Why, look how ominously Iron Man charges into battle on his ... roller-skates?
We'll leave the Iron Nipples for another article.
Yep, at one point Iron Man's armor included the ability to pop wheels out of the bottom of his boots. And he used this power over ...
Yes, he invented these before he got sober.
... and over again, completely without shame, even commenting on how much fun it was to go robo-skating.
"Howard Hughes was an asshole."
One thing to keep in mind: Iron Man can fly. Not only can he fly, he has also proven himself capable of rocketing extremely close to the ground while maneuvering through the sharpest of turns. In every way, that is the superior form of locomotion. The only reason he could possibly have for roller-skating through New York City at subsonic speeds is because he likes roller-skating almost as much as he likes Scotch.
Of course, the writers had their reasoning: they said the wheels served as "generators" for his armor's batteries. Because "impossible battery life" violates our suspension of disbelief way more than "bright yellow roller-skating robot man."
"Sure, I'm flying in the least aerodynamic way possible, but that's the sacrifice you make to taint-flash the entire Jersey Turnpike."
Daredevil Can Feel Colors
The entire point of Daredevil is that he's a blind guy so badass that no one even realizes he's blind. Sure, his other senses are heightened to the point where you can incapacitate him if you had Taco Bell last night, but part of what makes him work as a character are his weaknesses. A badass blind guy is still a blind guy, and he can be thwarted by his only weakness: a crosswalk. Except that the writers must get bored doing their jobs, and so they keep coming up with excuses to rid Daredevil of the downsides of blindness. Like here, this is what they came up with to allow him to "see" colors:
He did this with people, too -- until they sent him to sensitivity training.
That's Daredevil putting together his first costume just by "feeling the color" of the fabric. The general idea makes sense: Spider-Man also knit his own duds, Iron Man built his own armor, Hulk routinely tears his own jorts, etc. Of course, those guys had the benefit of seeing what they were doing. Either that was an entire superpower that Stan Lee made up on the fly to excuse lazy writing, or Daredevil is a delusional fucking liar. The latter is a distinct possibility, seeing as how this is the costume he ended up making:
The man without fear ... or taste.
But still, other writers built on the idea, taking it as canon:
It says something that the name "Shades McGraw" is the least ridiculous thing in this scene.
So not only can Daredevil "eyeball" someone's hair color by sensually running his fingers through their locks, he's also a skilled and well-equipped hairdresser. There have been attempts to explain this baffling power, but they generally just make things worse:
"Let me cast out the Bullshit demon that is clearly possessing you."
Yes, Daredevil can "feel" the tone of hair and "touch" the heat that colors give off. You know, all of this is quite easily explained: Matt Murdock probably qualifies for medical marijuana.
Magneto Has a "Magnetic Personality"
Magneto, the X-Men's favorite genocidal terrorist, has the ability to control metal. At first glance, that's an OK power at best. But with a little thought and creativity on the part of the writers, it gets awesome in a hurry: not only can he do the brute stuff, like twisting the Eiffel Tower into a pretzel, he can manipulate the iron in your blood to instantly render you unconscious. That's how you write a superpower. If you know what you're doing, there's no need to start making shit up for the sake of convenience or invent entirely new powers based on stupid puns -- but Lee did it anyway. In issue 18 of X-Men, this is what he pulled out of his ass:
"You will make my McGriddle regardless of time of day! Magneto commands it!"
It's revealed that Magneto is able to control other people's minds simply because the term "magnetic personality" kind of sounds like his name. And then, what, did Magneto forget he had such a handy power in the 50 years since this issue? Maybe he just quit, since he wasn't very good at it.
"Wow, look at how he's staring at you. He wants this too, Blob. Just lean in and go for it ..."
And just to confirm that Lee was completely making this shit up as he went along, another early issue shows Magneto projecting a psychic ghost of himself to battle Professor X in the astral plane ... because ... magnets? Something something polarity?
"Yes, I can travel to exotic locales and meet exciting people ... with the power of my imagination."
Superman Unleashes the Most Terrible Power of All: Super-Ventriloquism
Unlike Superman's dwarf-creating power, super-ventriloquism lasted more than one issue -- it was a staple of Superman stories for decades. And it's exactly what it sounds like: the most powerful being on the planet borrowed a move from the only entertainers less respected than mimes and made his voice sound as though it was coming from another location. Shockingly, he used this power for dickery.
You don't want to see what he does to get Jimmy to stop saying "bae."
How many instances can you think of where being really, really good at throwing your voice would come in handy? In the world of Superman, that number was inexplicably more than zero. Despite the fact that his multitude of other, actually useful powers were available to use at any moment, time and time again Superman would come up with a convoluted scheme so he could show off his rinky-dink carnival trick. And since his dog, Krypto, had the same power as well, obviously Superman wanted to get him involved in this action:
A real-live editor saw this and said: "Print it!"
"Oh, don't back away, Lana. I can find you. I can always find you."
And no, this isn't Superman just being a giant nerd for dummy shows -- it is supposed to be an actual power. Here he is projecting his voice through space.
If you show this panel to Neil deGrasse Tyson, he just starts twitching and foaming at the mouth.
The only explanation is that Superman is creating a tiny wormhole so his voice can travel through "soundless space" to that control room and presumably right back up the writer's ass from whence it came. Tragically, Superman lost this ability when DC rebooted their entire line of comics and threw away decades of continuity. And ventriloquists everywhere lost their absolute best pick-up line.
Matthew Thomas is an amateur writer out of London, Ontario, Canada. Matthew writes for WhatCulture.com and News for Shoppers. He also has a Twitter, where he writes about every movie he sees. Tristan Cooper tries too hard to mask how excited he is when someone follows him on Twitter.