Comics are full of complex, massive universes, and for every hero saving the day with undeniably amazing powers, there are countless others with much sillier skills. Below are nine super-abilities that are pretty damn ridiculous—but that doesn't mean the heroes who have them can't kick butt.
Bees can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you leave the house without an EpiPen, but their use for everyday crimefighting is limited. The Red Bee was a superhero introduced in Hit Comics #1 in the 1940s, who used bees to fight crime and Nazis. He particularly relied on the help of his favorite bee, Michael, who lived inside his belt buckle. Surprisingly, this super power didn’t create a lot of buzz (I’m so sorry), and DC Comics' All-Star Squadron revealed he had been killed by a Nazi during combat. I guess insects aren’t as effective against Nazis as Captain America's indestructible boomerang shield?
Maggott is an X-Man whose entire digestive system is made up of two slugs named Eany and Meany, capable of chomping through almost anything. The slugs don’t just sit in his stomach waiting for him to eat, either—they come out to feed. Once they’ve eaten, Eany and Meany return to Maggott's stomach cavity, where they nourish him and provide him with incredible strength. I’m going to have nightmares about this for a week.
Imagine you’re trapped by a group of supervillains and you don’t have a weapon. No matter! You can rip off your own arm and beat them with it! The imaginatively named superhero Arm-Fall-Off-Boy first appeared in Secret Origins Vol. 2 #46. Although Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was arguably always armed and dangerous (heh), the main uses of this power that I can think of include getting through tight spots and not worrying about awkward arm placement when you sleep.
Shooting Out a Tiny Superman
Even Superman isn’t immune from the scourge of ridiculous superpowers. In the 1958 story "Superman's New Power," The Man of Steel encountered a small spaceship that exploded when he touched it. The explosion gave him the ability to project a mini-version of himself from his fingers because ... it just did. The upside was a cute mini-Superman. The downside was that all his powers were transferred to l'il Supes, causing the real Superman to lose them all. Superman was forced to sit back and watch the little guy take care of all the crooks. He felt so useless that he eventually killed his miniature doppelganger by putting it in the path of an incoming kryptonite meteor. Small Superman sacrificed himself to save the big guy, and big Superman felt guilty for a whole 30 seconds.
Bouncing Like a Ball
Anytime a character gets their powers from drinking something they're not supposed to, it's bound to be ridiculous. Case in point: DC Comics' Bouncing Boy, who gained the ability to balloon into a ball in Action Comics #276 after guzzling some plastic formula that he mistook for soda. Unlike DC Comics' Plastic Man or Marvel's Reed Richards, he can't blow up into other shapes...just a ball.
DC Comics' Matter-Eater Lad is an alien from the planet Bismoll, whose inhabitants evolved to eat matter in all its forms. No matter what, he can digest it. Since his first appearance in Adventure Comics #303, Matter-Eater Lad's memorable meals have included sunbeams, an entire grain silo, and The Miracle Machine, a device capable of manipulating thoughts into reality.
Ever painted a room and then decided that it was the wrong color? Sounds like a job for Color Kid! Color Kid is a DC Comics' character who, after being struck by a ray from an alternate dimension, gained the ability to change the color of almost anything. Color Kid's abilities were deemed useless by The Legion of Super-Heroes, so he instead joined the Legion of Substitute Heroes, a group of powered rejects.
Transforming sound into light
Anytime a character is created for the sole purpose of product placement, their powers are bound to be a little strange. Marvel Comics' pop diva mutant Dazzler, who has the ability to convert sound vibrations into light, is one such example. Dazzler (aka Alison Blaire, aka "The Disco Dazzler") was originally created as part of a cross promotion between Marvel and Casablanca Records, the label at the time behind big names like KISS, Cher, and Village People. The Marvel character was intended to eventually appear in a live-action movie with a Casablanca singer playing Dazzler. The movie , but Dazzler is still seen in Marvel Comics stories, often using her unconventional powers to great effect.
Squirrel Girl, aka Doreen Green—a member of the Great Lakes Avengers, a C-level team of Marvel Comics' Avengers—manages to get pretty far with her ability to talk to squirrels. She's even used her squirrel whispering abilities to take down villains like Doctor Doom! Squirrel Girl first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes Vol. 2, #8 in 1992, and in 2014, got her own series for the first time ever—the critically acclaimed The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl was rebooted with the same creative team in 2015, and follows Doreen's nutty college adventures as she balances her computer science studies with kicking supervillain butt.
Featured photo of Matter-Eater Lad via DC Comics
This article was originally published on February 21st, 2017.