In any case, all these superheroes without powers are even more compelling than those who have been granted superhuman abilities, because in being powerless, they’re able to show that heroes (or villains) don’t need to be almighty to be powerful.
10. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl
If you’ve dreamt about becoming a Superhero in your teens, you’re not alone. Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass, was an average teen until he decided to put on a superhero suit inspired by comics. He has no powers, and yet he does his best to defeat evil. And so does Hit-Girl.
Dave isn’t Superman, so he gets beaten the first time he tries to stop some thugs. He ends up in the hospital, and then he tries yet again. Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl show the nitty-gritty life of superheroes. It’s messy and bloody, and in being powerless, you need to come up with unconventional ways of defeating crime. Both heroes need to work out, train, and sweat, and they make lots of mistakes. They end up bruised and have more injuries than they can count.
So, what’s their inspiration for being a superhero without powers trying to make the world a better place? For Kick-Ass, it’s comic books, for Hit-Girl, it’s avenging her mother. Kick-Ass gets his suit on eBay and people contact him on Myspace for help. The reality is that he’s quite mediocre, and yet he becomes a hero. It’s Hit-Girl who is well-trained and a martial arts professional. While their origin stories are different, we can agree that they’re obsessed with the idea of besting evil.
Then, why is a mediocre kid one of the strongest superheroes ever? Because his wish to do good and try to stop villains is stronger than steel, fiercer than anything you’ve come across.
9. Blue Beetle
There have been many Blue Beetles. However, Ted Kord stands out due to his unique way of fighting crime. He has a high IQ of almost 200 and likes to fight using
Expert in Karate and Aikido, he shines due to his intelligence. While villains like Despero respect him, we can’t always say the same when it comes to the general public. He was a member of the Justice League, and despite his heart condition, he continued his quest to fight super-villains.
While other superheroes like him use gadgets to compensate for their lack of superpowers, he fancies a pistol that blinds enemies and forces them into hand-to-hand combat. But it’s not his combat style that makes him one of the most powerful DC characters: it’s his personality. In the shadows, rocking a Beetle armor, he fights to stop bad guys.
8. The Punisher
Frank Castle becomes an anti-hero when he loses his family. He hunts down and kills all the members of the gang that took them away from him. He believes that the means justify the result, and he wants to clean the street of thugs. It’s this trauma that makes him one of the most damaged superheroes and villains alike. He walks the line of what’s heroic and what’s pure revenge for the sake of it. And yet, we couldn’t agree more with him at times.
Image Source: ScreenRant
He was a member of the military, so he’s highly trained and knows how to use a large variety of weapons. His obsession with prevailing over evil despite having no superpowers is tainted by the trauma of losing his whole family to crime. His mental health makes him quite volatile and violent. He will resort to any tricks to kill the thugs that cross his path.
As a vigilante, he’s ruthless, and yet we can’t help but compare him to other superheroes that have tragic origin stories. Think about Batman and the loss of his parents, or Hit-Girl and the loss of her mother. However, they couldn’t be more different. The trauma is still there, but the violence that the Punisher inflicts on his targets is to be reckoned with.
7. Black Widow
Black Widow isn’t just a superhero without powers, she’s a weapon. This is what makes her one of the strongest Marvel superheroes. There are many different versions of Black Widow, but it’s Natasha Romanoff that has stolen our hearts through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Originally trained to be a spy, Russians experimented on her. Despite this, she powers through and fights crime using
Image Source: TV and Movie News
She’s skilled in the art of spying, one-on-one combat, and being sneaky. While in the comics, she can come off as bloody, in the MCU, she can also be gentle and has become one of the few who can calm down the Hulk. Still, she killed many innocents before becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then, she teamed up with Captain America to fight against HYDRA.
Despite enjoying Natasha Romanoff for a long time on the big screen, we still know little about her past. The mystery that surrounds her is one of her best weapons as a spy.
6. Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes is Captain America’s best friend. Stronger and mightier than his friend Steve Rogers, he ends up losing an arm during WWII. Rogers mourned the loss of his beloved friend, but in fact, he was in the hands of HYDRA, who experimented on and brainwashed him, while giving him a new weapon: his arm.
Image Source: Geek Tyrant
We could argue that the Winter Soldier is a powerless, disabled individual who suffers from PTSD, and yet we all agree that he’s extremely deadly. While his artificial limb is a great achievement of technology, it’s his brainwashing and training that
Although he’ll never get over the torture of becoming a killer, he ends up taking Captain America’s place when his best friend dies. He becomes the new Captain America and fights evil the same
5. Captain America
Steve Rogers had a weak physical constitution, a thing that prevented him from joining the Army to fight Nazis during
Image Source: That’s Normal
His biggest foe, the Red Skull, is but a crazy Nazi who creates HYDRA. In the MCU, the Red Skull is undoubtedly a force to fear, so much so that Rogers has to sacrifice himself to save the day. While Captain America is indeed stronger than his peers, he’s still a soldier, and he isn’t perfect. Frozen in time, he’s rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D. He finds his big love, Carter, old and about to die, and the world changed in a way he couldn’t have imagined.
When S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised by HYDRA, he goes rogue without a second thought. He even fights Iron Man for the right of superheroes to be anonymous and not be puppets of governments. But, who watches the superheroes when they go rogue? We have already experienced that in the Watchmen, where powerless superheroes just like him go rogue and take justice beyond the scopes we’re used to.
Captain America is the embodiment of the American people, and we can easily see his disenchantment with the government. No wonder he wants the Avengers to be affiliated to no one.
4. Green Arrow
Oliver Queen is a rich kid that gets stranded on an island, and when he comes back after that traumatic experience, he becomes a vigilante by night. He loses his father and discovers that he was surrounded by villains all along. Thus, he seeks revenge and decides to take them down.
Image Source: YouTube
In the beginning, we have a guy with a hoodie shooting arrows and kicking thugs to near death. He certainly walks the path of Frank Castle, and yet, in the show, we can see that he stops himself from doing it.
He’s highly trained, and he likes to pose as a thoughtless rich kid while making villains’ lives impossible by night. He’s like a modern Robin Hood who emulates our beloved Batman pretty well.
While in the comic books, Clint Barton is deaf, the MCU presents us with a highly trained agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite that, he is as powerless as Kick-Ass. He was introduced as a reluctant villain in Marvel’s Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964), but his status as one of the main Avengers is undoubtfully brilliant.
Image Source: It’s All the Rage
We met him on the big screen as the eye that wouldn’t leave Thor escape. Then, we saw him team up with Natasha Romanoff, and later on, he was an Avenger shooting arrows at Loki. Even if he cannot shift into a green giant smashing things around, his eye and his training are extremely important when it comes to cleaning the streets of aliens, villains, and other foes.
Hawkeye has always been a family man, and we recently saw him turn into a bad boy killing criminals in Avengers 4 after Thanos pulverized his loved ones.
2. Batman & Robin
Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson have been sending super villains to Arkham Asylum in style for years. Bruce lost his parents when a thief killed them. He then adopted the bat figure because of his phobia of the animal. Wanting to inspire fear, Bruce became Batman. He’s highly trained and uses his money as a disguise and means to create more gadgets to fight crime. He has a dual identity that allows him to research different organizations as he pleases.
Image Source: Geek.com
He takes in Robin, Dick Grayson, an orphan who ends up fighting crime alongside him. Like Bruce, Dick lost his parents at the hands of a thug. Under Bruce’s guidance, he becomes Robin. Although there have been many Robins over time in comics, there has only been one Bruce Wayne.
Batman’s superpowers are his intelligence and his multilayered psychology. He’s a master of using fear and phobias to stop villains. However, at times, it feels like he needs the Joker as much as the villain needs him. For the Joker, a Batman without the mask is not worth fighting.
Unlike the Punisher, Batman sends all villains to Arkham Asylum. The Penguin, the Joker, the Riddler, and many others go in and out of Arkham again and again. This poses a great question about the system Batman trusts so much. Does justice really work in the DC universe?
1. Iron Man
Tony Stark is the number one superhero without powers defeating evil. Unlike his counterpart, Batman, he acts in public. Everybody knows Iron Man and his flashy personality. Tony Stark used to be a brat who sold weaponry worldwide. While he thought he was doing a favor to the US government, it’s not until Tony is captured and injured by terrorists in the MCU that he takes a stand, becomes a superhero, and starts fighting villains.
Image Source: Medium
His eccentricity might come from his high IQ, or just from being a privileged rich kid. However, he’s a damaged individual as well. Not only does he have PTSD (terrorists abduct him and he almost dies fighting aliens during the first Avengers film), he also has daddy issues and a massive ego that causes him to make huge mistakes. Maybe it’s the many traumas he experiences before and after becoming a superhero that
In the MCU, the Avengers find in him a comfortable refuge to gather and plan what to do next. He’s also always trying to find new ways to keep people safe. Tony teams up with Bruce Banner, and they create Ultron by mistake. He then sides with the US Government after the S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tony Stark couldn’t be more human and more flawed, and that’s what makes him the greatest superhero without powers fighting evil.
“If we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn sure we’ll avenge it.”
Tony Stark, The Avengers
Can you think of any other superheroes without powers that deserve a spot on this list? What do you think of the ones featured here? Leave your comments below and let’s have a conversation about superheroes that prove you don’t need fancy weapons and/or great powers to keep the world safe.
My passion for pop culture, fantasy books, comics, and Superheroes began with a Hobbit, a Saiyan, some dragons in a dungeon, and setting all phasers to stun.
Fairies and far away worlds from the next galaxy have always thrilled me to the point of wanting to go on an adventure.
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