Love them because they’re fantastical, or hate them because they’re often corny and don’t help push the narrative along a logical path, superpowers are more popular than ever. No longer sitting in the back row to other forms of hero stories, superhero movies are at the forefront of Hollywood. There are multiple superhero-based MMOs, and television has been dipping into the super-powered formula for quite a while now.
What we don’t normally see, though, are superpowers that are downright silly. We rarely have (worthwhile) super-powered comedies, so it’s a little tough to see ridiculous powers that are canonical to a story. They exist — don’t you worry — and we’ve got ten of our favorites right here.
Back in a time when comic books were innocent and had their heroes seriously say lines like “Yum, yum,” there was a hero — if you can call him that — named Matter-Eater Lad. He was a lad, and ate matter.
He’s actually an alien from the planet Bismoll, where all the citizens can eat all forms of matter. Bismoll’s inhabitants found that microbes rendered their food inedible, so over time, the species adapted the ability to eat all forms of matter in order to survive — rather than adapted to just eat whatever made the food inedible in the first place.
Lad doesn’t get used enough (for obvious reasons) to be able to sufficiently map out the logistics of his ability, but there doesn’t seem too much to it anyway. He can eat stuff.
The Blimp is part of the superhero parody troupe The Inferior Five, similar in theme to Section Eight. The Inferior Five were created as a parody of super-teams that were composed of heroes so powerful that any individual hero in the team could have solved a problem on their own.
Think of how The Avengers has Thor, a literal thunder god, as a member. The Blimp had the power of flight, except — like a blimp — he could only really move where the wind took him, and could only slowly float along.
In the BBC delinquents-with-superpowers show, Misfits, a one-shot episode featured a man named Brian with the power of lactokinesis — the ability to control lactose-based products. Being able to pour milk from a bottle into a bowl without having to touch either object might seem kind of useful (I guess?), but considering the nature of Misfits, Brian had to go rogue and become a maniacal murderer, hellbent on putting an end to any and all that stood before him.
He’d manipulate the lactose product inside a person, such as causing eaten yogurt to move from the stomach back into the trachea, choking his victim. He was even able to make milk move through a ventilation shaft to attack his victims. Amusingly, Brian’s arch nemeses consist of lactose intolerant people, as they don’t have lactose in their bodies for him to manipulate.
As part of the Hitman series, written by Garth Ennis, the Defenestrator (seen above holding the window, as his name suggests) is part of Section Eight, Ennis’ superhero parody team. Led by Sixpack, who harnesses the superpower of drunkenness, Section Eight is Ennis’ dislike of superpowers manifested into a hilarious B-team. Filled out with members such as Dogwelder, who spot welds dead canines to villains, and Friendly Fire, who can shoot power energy bolts but only ever seems to hit teammates with them, Section Eight could fill out this list by itself. However, we’ve chosen to focus on Ennis’ parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger from Terminator 2, the Defenestrator. He holds the superpower of carrying around a window and throwing people through it.
You may remember Dazzler from the old X-Men arcade game, where she bounced around the screen throwing pretty lights at enemies. Dazzler was actually created as a cross-promotion with Casablanca Records. She essentially had the powers of disco, and was amusingly created around the time disco died. She’s a mutant with the ability to turn audio vibrations into energy and light that just so happened to convey a trippy look reminiscent of a club’s dance floor.
Though she started out as a disco queen, Dazzler eventually dabbled in other genres of music, such as rock and — believe it or not — adult contemporary. Yes, Dazzler not only harnessed the power of disco, but if adult contemporary is blaring through the air, bad guys beware.
Being able to harness the power of prescience would be a dream come true for just about anyone. You could predict everything that would happen, and know exactly what to do in order to get a desired result. Unfortunately for Captain Hindsight, he only knows exactly what should have happened after it already happened. Cruise ship crash into an iceberg? Probably shouldn’t have pushed the boat to its very limit and perhaps also kept a better watch of the ocean. Lose a ton of money gambling? Probably should’ve bet it all on black instead of red. At least Captain Hindsight helps us study the past so we’re not doomed to repeat it.
A trusted friend — and technically henchman — of Dr. Horrible’s, Moist has the superpower to make things somewhat damp. Unfortunately for Moist, the power to make things wet simply manifests as him seeming like he’s sweaty all the time, leaving stains on his clothing and fingerprints on anything he touches. He actually suffered from dry skin as a child, but when his father bought him a humidifier powered by plutonium, Moist was infused with the powers of dampness. He may not be able to send a tidal wave surging in your direction, but he can at least make your clothes kind of uncomfortable until you dry off later.
Meg’s fingernail growth
In the Family Guy episode “Family Guy Viewer Mail #1,” one of the three stories involves the Griffins gaining superpowers after being exposed to toxic waste. While Stewie developers telekinetic abilities, Lois develops super strength, Peter becomes able to shapeshift, Chris can invoke fire, and Brian obtains super speed, Meg gains the ability to grow her nails somewhat longer than they naturally are. They don’t get harder or sharper, they just get a little longer. It wouldn’t be Family Guy if Meg didn’t get the shaft, but at least she can reach a little farther down her back and squash the villainy of hard-to-reach itches.
Yes, this is a legitimate comic book villain. Mr. Badwrench hails from the Marvel universe, generally seen battling the Punisher for — presumably — comedic effect. You might notice in the picture that one of his hands is actually a wrench. His hand was replaced, and the wrench was connected to his nerves and muscles so he could use it like a normal hand. Aside from having a wrench-hand, Badwrench’s power is that he is a somewhat above average mechanic, outfitting taxis with weaponry.
To (hilariously) summarize, there is a villain in the Marvel universe named Mr. Badwrench, whose superpower is that he has a wrench instead of a right hand, and he is exceptional at affixing weapons to taxis. Cower in fear.
And we’d be remiss not to take note of the fact that Mr. Badwrench would be much more of a a threat if he was just a man holding a wrench. In that case, he’d have a greater reach, he’d have more mechanical leverage while wielding the tool, and he’d be able to throw the wrench. Now that’s a superhero.
El Guapo, part of Marvel’s farcical X-Statix squad, isn’t just a rad hero with a cool bandanna and righteous skate skills, but is a mutant that has a symbiotic relationship with a sentient skateboard. If his life that weren’t ridiculous enough, his death is just as silly. As part of a curse, his sentient skateboard ended up going rogue and impaling him — through the heart. Superpowers are great.
Some of these powers are clearly intended for parody, and some are from either from a misguided time or a byproduct of marketing gone awry. Whatever the case, though, they’re much more interesting than a standard power of flight, or some generic super strength. At least when Dazzler shoots otherwise generic energy blasts, it’s because she’s feeding off the mighty power of disco or adult contemporary.
Ps. Support a struggling genius boy wonder artist by buying his highly collectible NFTs.