The Superpower Wiki is a very useful place if you’re trying to remember what a certain ability is called or if you’re trying to find every hero and villain who manipulates ice, for example. It’s also a useful place to find some of the most terrible, most ineffectual and downright baffling superpowers in the universe — 15 of which we’ve compiled here.
Image: X-Men: The Last Stand, Fox, which had many superpowers but was, itself, lame
When you first see the name, you might think it’s the ability to travel to different universes, like in Sliders. No, this is the ability to slide across surfaces for unusually long distances. This isn’t a power. If it can be achieved with socks and a slightly slick surface, it’s not a power.
2) Annoyance Inducement
First of all, being annoying also isn’t really a superpower. Second of all, if you do have the superpower of making people annoyed, you may be slightly effective against villains, but you are also going to work mostly alone. Third of all, you better hope you have a second superpower, because people are going to try to kill you if you’re this annoying.
3) Cheese Manipulation
There’s probably a reason the ability to “create, shape and manipulate cheese” has only comedies in its list of examples. First of all, it’s listed as a variation of “milk manipulation” and really, if you have to have a dairy-related power, you’d probably hope to have the broadest possible version of it — “milk manipulation” at least includes other dairy products. Second, the limitations include “may only be able to control certain types of cheese” (can you imagine having the power to manipulate only gouda?) and “mould manipulation”, which barely missed being on this list.
4) Balloon Mimicry
I really feel bad for any hero or villain who’s stuck with the power to turn into a balloon.
Image: Pepe Le Pew, WB
5) Stench Generation
Yes, this can be useful. There’s a reason skunks exist. It’s just not the most glamorous of powers, is it?
6) Anosmia Inducement
Better hope that if you have Stench Generation, you don’t come up against the amazing Anosmia Inducer, who is able to prevent people from smelling things. I can only imagine this is helpful against being tracked by smell and against anyone who uses scent as a weapon.
7) Monarchy Inducement
I don’t even know what this means:
The user has the ability to invoke a presence or strength of government over a large radius, ranging from small villages to entire worlds and to create mass authority, subjugation, social order and an absolute reign.
It’s the power to… create a strong government? I guess it’s helpful in putting yourself in charge, but why have this power? How does this work? Why does it work? Why is it different from just being able to control minds?
8) Disease Mimicry
I wish the entry on this told me if turning your body into something made up of disease made you contagious. If so, then this would be a lot less pathetic a power. But the ability to give people disease without having to also experience said disease is still a much better power.
Image: Matter-Eater Lad, DC
9) Matter Ingestion
The ability to eat anything is just not that interesting and is more a curiosity than a great power. There’s a reason Matter-Eater Lad is a joke and not a big time DC superhero.
10) Nail Manipulation
I guess the ability to grow really long nails and make them stronger can be a useful power, it just seems like an overly specific one. Why not just have claws?
11) Sneeze Inducement
The ability to make people sneeze is an OK distraction, but a very lame power.
12) Drink Mimicry
Fear me, for I am literally a tall glass of water!
Image: Parker, Leverage on TNT (This person from a non-superpower show is IN THE ENTRY)
13) Enhanced Thievery
Not a power. Someone who is the best at being a thief is just really good at stealing stuff. It can be cool that they’re able to sneak in places undetected and leave with a priceless artefact, but it’s not a power. If they do use a power in the course of stealing something, that power isn’t “thievery”. It’s invisibility or technomancy or telekinesis or some other power that happens to make stealing easier.
14) Garbage Mimicry
I would be very disappointed if my power was the ability to literally look like garbage.
15) Supernatural Fruit Empowerment
I am fairly certain that if you get powers from eating a supernatural fruit means that the fruit has superpowers and you just had a snack. Also, this is going to be the name of my next band.
16) Anxiety Inducement
I know that an anxiety attack is a real thing that has real consequences and that giving one to an opponent is a useful disabling technique. On the other hand, if someone doesn’t have this power at a certain level, they’re just going to make their opponent mildly anxious, which most bad guys should be able to fight through.
Image: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, 20th Century Fox
17) Goo Generation
The ability to emit an ooze is not only a very gross power, it’s mostly only useful in making people slip. So it’s not even that useful — unless you’re also toxic — but it does make you disgusting. Slugs aren’t really inspirational hero animals.
18) Induce Tickling
Come on now.
19) Appendage Generation
Anytime your power is “grows extra arms”, as useful as that is, it’s going to look very silly.
20) Offspring Detection
On a day-to-day level, I can see how the ability to sense and track your kids could be useful. Definitely helpful when they’re teenagers breaking curfew. If you’re the target of kidnappers, also a good thing. It’s also guaranteed to get your kids pissed at you and yelling something about being smothered. And also, unless your child is a criminal, it’s not really a power for fighting crime.
Image: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
21) Rainbow Generation
This probably looks very cool, but simply creating a rainbow isn’t that useful. This is why the Care Bears have never beaten Doctor Doom.
22) Optimism Inducement
The “inducement” powers sure do have their stinkers, don’t they? The power to make you think things are going to turn out for the best is only harmful if it’s delusional — walking off this cliff will turn out well, for example. But then, just believing everything’s going to be OK isn’t an offensive power unless you can also also put them in a dangerous situation. It’s a defensive power if it props up waning confidence in a team, but that could also just get them killed because they aren’t thinking strategically.
23) Worm Regeneration
The summary on this entry is “The power to regenerate wounds by absorbing maggots/worms.” No. Just… no.
24) Door Manipulation
The ability to “create, shape and manipulate doors and gates”. This is not the ability to summon a portal to anywhere, mind you. Just the ability to summon a buttload of doors to your location. I swear to God one of the examples of the usefulness of this power is “Constructs Creation using doors, including weapons/missiles, walls, armour or allies/servants”. Please let someone be, right now, making a door missile.
25) Death Inducement
Come on. This is just killing someone. Which isn’t a power as much as it is either a crime, fate or defence. The ability to cause death is pretty much part and parcel of most powers.