Nobody’s perfect, not even the superheroes who inspire us on their fantastical adventures and you know what? That’s ok. Wouldn’t it be boring if every superhero was impossible to defeat? There’d be no drama, no risk of the villain ever winning, so it makes sense that comic book writers would choose to knock our icons down a peg or two with some kind of built-in weaknesses.
The problem is that sometimes, these superhero weaknesses are just absurd, like Squirrel Girl defeating Thanos absurd and they’re not even limited to D-list characters no one cares about. Even the likes of Thor and Wonder Woman can be defeated through the most ridiculous methods. You’ve just got to know how to do it.
Comic book enthusiasts and budding super villains, join us as we count down 10 ridiculous superhero weaknesses that will make you lose faith in comics — or just laugh a bit and then resume your day.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1. Superman – Magic
Let’s start with Superman, who many would rank as the . While everyone from Zod to his nan knows that what’s perhaps less known is the alien’s aversion to magic.
Yes, magic, that clearly defined construct comic book writers like to throw in on occasion when the mood strikes them. While there is at least an internal logic to why Kryptonite can be deadly for Superman, zero reasons are given for his weakness to magic, except for — errrrr, it’s magic.
Knives break on impact, explosions are a mere annoyance, but pull a bunny out of a hat and watch Superman fly off faster than a speeding bullet. That’s right, even Ron Weasley could take down Krypton’s Last Son without even breaking a sweat, because — comics!
2. Thor – Letting Go Of His Hammer
Thor is a god. Whether you interpret this literally or simply believe that his power inspired the worship of millions who mistook him for a god, there’s no getting around the fact that Thor is basically immortal. He should be completely unstoppable.
Of course, that would be pretty boring to write about, so Marvel’s writers decided to de-power Thor by containing all of his abilities within his mystical hammer, Mjolnir. If the Thunder God lets go of the hammer for more than one minute, he immediately loses all of his power and turns into a crippled mortal man.
One would think that Thor would be pretty protective of Mjolnir then, as it just so happens to be the source of ALL his power, yet time and time again, the Thunder God would throw his hammer into battle and end up losing it somehow. Not once did he ever consider tying the mystical weapon to some string and wrapping it around his wrist. Instant fix.
3. Captain Marvel – Speaking His Own Name
Being a superhero isn’t all fun and games. Captain Marvel may be a ridiculously powerful member of the DC universe, possessing abilities that rival Superman himself, but the guy just can’t seem to catch a break.
Once upon a time, Captain Marvel was destined to become the world’s most popular hero, even outselling Superman back in the ’40s, but then a copyright lawsuit forced the premature cancellation of his book. In the years since, Marvel also changed the name of their premiere female superhero from Ms Marvel to Captain Marvel, .
This all eventually led to Captain Marvel changing his name to Shazam. Makes sense, but the problem now is that every time he says his own name, Shazam will instantly transform back into the child Billy Batson, making things incredibly awkward at the JLA roll call.
4. Wonder Woman – Misogyny and Bondage
Most of the superhero weaknesses on this list are simply comical, so it may come as a surprise for you to learn that .
Creator Dr William Moulton felt that the perfect weakness for Wonder Woman, a pillar of feminine strength, would be to render her powerless if a man ties her hands together. If a woman tried, then the Amazonian Princess could break free, but if someone with a penis imprisoned her, Wonder Woman would immediately lose all of her vaunted abilities.
Those who like to defend Moulton’s work as simply a product of the time it was written may be surprised to learn that DC didn’t write this superhero weakness out of continuity until the ’80s. The misogynist implications of this are just mind blowing and probably go some way to explaining how we still haven’t seen a female superhero given the solo movie treatment she deserves.
5. Aquaman – Dehydration
Bless Aquaman. The Atlantean King has always been unfairly ridiculed by pretty much everyone, due in large part to his ability to talk with fish, yet sharks can be pretty intimidating and we’re all going to regret making fun of Aquaman (No, really. Check the link.)
One thing that people should rightly make fun of Aquaman for though is his reliance on water. Sure, we all need to drink some every now and again to alleviate hang overs, but the Atlantean King actually needs water on a regular basis or he loses all of his powers.
Most people get headaches when they’re dehydrated. Aquaman becomes utterly powerless, which is not so bad when you’re fighting near the ocean, but what if you’re stuck in a space station or deep under the earth’s surface? A water flask will only get you so far.
6. Human Torch – Asbestos
Despite what the Fantastic Four movies may have led you to believe, the Human Torch is actually a serious force to be reckoned with. At his strongest, Johnny Storm can unleash a nova blast that decimates everything within his local radius, except of course for asbestos.
Back before everyone realised that asbestos caused lung cancer and proceeded to ban it’s use in almost every country worldwide, both Johnny and the original Human Torch used to come face to face with Asbestos themed villains on a regular basis.
When we say asbestos themed, we mean that Asbestos Lady and Asbestos Man — real names, no joke — used to wear an asbestos suit with a flame-proof shield and net to take down the Human Torch.
Turns out though that these lame villains need air to breathe, just like the rest of us losers, so the Human Torches easily defeated them by creating a vacuum that sucked all the air out of the room. That’s it. Pretty lame as far as superhero weaknesses go, but at least this one was quite easily overcome.
7. Cyclops – Opening His Eyes
Cyclops possesses the ability to shoot powerful force blasts from his eyes, but he has zero control over this gift, unleashing a painful death on anyone he happens to glance at without the help of his trusty ruby quartz visor.
Inevitably, most fights with Cyclops involve him losing his visor somehow, blasting a hole in the ceiling before someone finally stops watching him scrabble blindly on the floor and retrieves it for him.
Despite what Daredevil may have led you to believe, it turns out that the power of sight is often the most useful ability that a hero can possess, enabling them to differentiate between friend and foe while avoiding cracks in the pavement and haphazard banana skins with ease.
8. Green Lantern – Literally Anything Yellow
Green Lantern possesses a power ring that enables him to create anything that he can imagine through sheer force of will. With this ability, the intergalactic hero watches over the planet earth, protecting it from alien threats of immeasurable power, unless of course his opponent is coloured yellow. Then, all bets are off,
Due to some kind of yellow impurity in the ring’s power source, all of Green Lantern’s vaunted power is unfortunately no match for the likes of lemons, urine or even yellow coloured pencils.
However, the one great thing about this superhero weakness is that it’s funny as hell, leading to situations where other heroes taunt him with yellow umbrellas or even trap him in an entire room painted yellow, just to show how smart they are.
Yes, you guessed it. It was Batman who pulled that little prank during Frank Miller’s run on “All Star Batman and Robin“, because Bruce Wayne’s an arsehole sometimes and it’s funny.
9. Golden Age Green Lantern – Wood
Some comic book guy must really have it in for Green Lanterns, as the original Golden Age version possessed another superhero weakness almost as dumb as yellow.
Back in the ’40s, Alan Scott’s powers were defenceless against wood. Hilarious erection jokes aside, the worst thing about this weakness is that Green Lantern could stop bullets or fire, but if you threw a twig in his eye, the guy could be blinded for life.
10. Power Girl – Natural Elements
Our final superhero weakness is similar to the one possessed by the Golden Age version of Green Lantern, but, actually, wait. It’s the exact same, but even worse somehow.