The time has come, everyone. We’re post-Phase 3 but pre-Phase 4 of the MCU. DC is still trying (and mostly failing) to get its shit together. Apparently everyone and their mom is watching Watchmen. The signs are clear.
It’s time to rank superpowers.
Now, there are a crazy number of superpowers out there in the world. I mean, just think about how many X-Men exist. Even with repeats—which I’m sure there are plenty of—there are just too many powers to possibly cover here. I’m only one human woman, and a plain one at that—no enhancements to be found, unless you count my ability to predict car-related drama in shows and movies. So, I’m taking just the top 10 fairly standard powers and deciding once and for all which one is the best of the bunch*.
Okay. So you’re invisible. Then what? It seems like this is the most pointless power to have if it’s your ONLY power. And clearly everyone knows this, because both Invisible Woman (from the Fantastic Four) and Violet from The Incredibles can do OTHER STUFF. Mostly force-field stuff, but still. If someone is satisfied with only having the power of invisibility, then I know they are 100 percent a pervert. Come to think of it, how many men have the power of invisibility? We shouldn’t trust any of them.
Much like invisibility, this is a power that can only take you so far if it’s the only one you have. This is why Dash is the most boring one out of the Parr family (yes, I take any excuse given to talk about The Incredibles). He basically only exists to help out the rest of his family. He couldn’t protect the family from an explosion, like Violet or Helen; he can’t smash through walls to rescue people like Bob; and while Jack-Jack can’t be extremely helpful right now because he’s an unpredictable baby, when he grows up, he’ll be way more useful than Dash. The only person Dash might be better than, from a powers perspective, is Frozone because, like, how useful can ice powers really be?
I know. You’re probably shocked that this is so low on the list. But here’s why: This is a boring power. People who want super strength are extremely boring people. Would you REALLY want to hang out with Steve Rogers? (And yes, technically he’s got a little more going for him than just super strength, but he is boring AF and you know it.) Having super strength is like telegraphing to the world that the most important thing anyone can offer is how hard they punch and how much they lift. (Do you even have depth, bro?) It is the preferred power of the toxically masculine and the emotionally stunted. See: Batman. Or Bob Parr.
This power is also boring, which is probably why this is never someone’s only ability. Because at a certain point, the novelty of “Hey, watch me get shot in the face and survive” wears off. It’s why Wolverine also has the adamantium skeleton. It’s why Deadpool is a great shot and a quippy queen and pansexual. Because otherwise, rapid healing is a gimmick that only leaves you with the option of being someone’s human shield.
I’ll admit, this is pretty cool. You could do a lot of fun stuff with it. Hence why the Wonder Twin who’s always just some kinda water thing is a fucking loser. But—and maybe I’m just a cynical bastard—this could too easily be manipulated by perverts. You know for a fact that at least one shapeshifter is going to pretend to be the significant other of someone they’re into so they can fuck. Or, as shown in every body-switching scene where a man and woman change bodies, there will be a dude shapeshifter who turns into a woman just so he can play with boobs all the time. Much like invisibility, you just can’t trust this one. But, it is still cool.
Some might call this “relative strength to X,” but I think that’s simplifying things. I wouldn’t say that Black Panther only has the relative strength of a panther, considering he also has agility and coordination. Spider-Man has those things as well, plus the “spidey sense,” which is obviously an embellishment of spiders’ sensitivity to vibrations, but still. I feel like this kind of power could be exceptionally useful, as long as you had the right animal. I mean, sure, everyone makes fun of Aquaman, but you have to admit that it’d be pretty dope to never have to worry about drowning.
I admit, putting this in the top 5 might be a little too “on brand” for me. But are you really gonna sit here and tell me that someone like the fuckin’ Flash is better than Shuri?! You NEED the super-intelligent person on your team, whether it’s the mechanics genius or the physicist or Bruce Banner and his many Ph.Ds. And moreover, this is one of the best powers for making money. I know that’s borderline evil to think, “How can I monetize this ability of mine?” Just look at Lex Luthor, who is the smartest person in the DC universe and also a gigantic motherfuckin’ dick. But, my point is you can live a relatively normal life having super intelligence, with a successful career, and no one would really question if your success was due to some preternatural ability.
This collection of powers is always my go-to when I’m taking a quiz and the question is “Which of these powers would you like?” In this bucket is both telekinesis and telepathy. If I’m being honest, I’d RATHER have telekinesis because people’s minds are terrible, dark places that I wouldn’t want to venture into with impunity. That power can lend itself too easily to evil as well. But, it is an objectively badass power, as is telekinesis. Some people will argue that telekinesis is a lazy power, that you’re basically just Accio-ing without the wand or words. But you could stop things in their tracks, like bullets or speeding cars, and that’s pretty fucking cool. I mean, Scarlet Witch has psychic-based powers, and she is one of the most powerful Avengers. She wrecked the shit out of EVERYTHING in every MCU movie she’s been in, and it was awesome. #ScarletWitch2020. (Actually, no. At one point, she uses her powers to get rid of all the mutants because she’s, like, depressed or something. So maybe let’s not put her in the White House. But she’s still a bad bitch.)
This is telekinesis on steroids. This is what Magneto is packing, and it’s honestly one of the more terrifying powers. What can you do against someone who can manipulate your very atoms, if that’s in their wheelhouse? Not a goddamn thing! Obviously, this is kind of a sliding scale of a power. Technically, people like Frozone or Pyro have matter manipulation powers and, as discussed, there’s only so much you can do with that. But when you crank this bad boy all the way up to 10, then you’re talking some MAJOR power at your fingertips. Which is probably why the creators of X-Men gave it to one of the main antagonists. This power is begging for a bad guy. But it is undeniably awesome.
My husband Lawrence would not let me make this list without including unbeatability. His favorite Avenger—not of the MCU Avengers—is Squirrel Girl, and her whole thing is that, in addition to being able to talk to and have the relative strength of squirrels, she is literally unbeatable. At some point in the comics universe, she beats Thanos. How and why? BECAUSE SHE IS UNBEATABLE. By definition, she cannot be beat. And while this is super hilarious in the world of her comics, where she’s a quippy girl who has a tail, this is obviously a deus ex machina of a power. Saying this is the best power is a cop-out. Of course being literally unbeatable is what you’d want. To never lose a fight, no matter how powerful the other person is? Sign us all the fuck up. But this is SERIOUS JOURNALISM, people. So, at best, I have to give it an honorable mention.
Okay, okay. This seems like it’s cheating as well. But, there are actually legitimate people in the comic book world(s) who are some kinda deity. Were you aware that people worshipped Storm as a fucking goddess because of her powers? Then, of course, I have to mention the (biological) children of Odin: Thor and that sexy psychotic bitch Hela, aka the God of Thunder and the Goddess of Death. Whoever wields the Infinity Stones is, effectively, a god—which is why they should never be in the hands of a fuckboi like Thanos. Then there are the Celestials, which are the oldest beings in the universe and are basically gods because they have the ability to create universes if they so choose. (And yes, I’m leaning heavily into Marvel comics/MCU lore here, but this is a Marvel house for the most part, so fuck you.) Point is . . . Deity powers are where it’s at.
*As always, this list is non-negotiable. You’re welcome.