Superheroes just don’t have to deal with super villains in the comics and movies. Sometimes they also have to deal with losing their powers. Writers often use this gimmick and strip heroes of their powers – sometimes they lose all their powers or sometimes they are depowered significantly. It is usually an interesting story arc when a superhero goes from being extremely powerful, back to being just a normal person.
Of course, some heroes like Batman never have to deal with this problem because they don’t have superpowers to begin with. Some of the most famous comic book story lines have dealt with superheroes no longer having superpowers. Some of theses stories are in cannon and some are not. Here’s a look at ten times superheroes lost their powers or became seriously depowered.
10. Spider-Man No More
In Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker decides he doesn’t want to be Spider-Man anymore after he suddenly loses his superpowers when the love of his life, Mary Jane Watson, becomes engaged to John Jameson. After his abilities are gone, and he throws his costume in the garbage, he returns to a normal non-superhero life without the problems that Spider-Man normally faces as he tries to win back Mary Jane.
Unfortunately, New York City needs Spider-Man, and eventually Peter focuses hard enough to have his powers return to him so he can battle Dr. Octopus. The movie is based on the popular comic book storyline, Spider-Man No More.
9. Superman Deals With A Red Sun
Superman’s abilities come from Earth’s yellow sun. That’s why Kryptonians didn’t have any powers when they were on Krypton – that planet had a red sun. There have been numerous occasions where Superman found himself on a planet that orbits a red sun rather than a yellow one. This of course means all his abilities don’t work.
In an episode of Justice League The Animated Series titled Hereafter, Superman seemingly dies when he is shot with the Toyman’s disintegrator beam, but he was actually just transported to a planet with a red sun. After struggling to survive on the wasteland Superman meets the immortal Vandal Savage and discovers that he is still actually on earth – just 30,000 years in the future.
8. Wolverine Loses His Adamantium
In the 2013 movie The Wolverine, Logan had his adamantium claws sliced off during a battle with the Silver Samurai. This left him with only bone claws. Similar scenarios have happened in the pages of the comic books, too. In X-men #25 Magneto even ripped all the metal from Wolverine’s body.
In The Wolverine, Wolverine not only loses his adamantium claws, but his other power is severely drained, too. The Silver Samurai wants to steal Wolverine’s healing factor so he can regain his youth, and it’s something he nearly achieved as Logan is left severely weakened after his healing factor is suppressed. Wolverine regains his healing factor, but at the beginning of X-men: Days of Future Past he still has his bone claws instead of his adamantium claws.
7. Act of God Renders The Justice League Useless
The elseworld comic book miniseries called JLA: Act of God saw multiple superheroes in the DC universe; including Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter; lose their superpowers. In this three issue miniseries from 2000, a natural event caused a plethora of DC Comics superheroes to no longer be super.
Superman’s loss of his power in this story arc meant he couldn’t stop a dam from bursting – this lead to a town being destroyed. A policeman was shot in the head when the Flash was no longer superhuman and too slow to stop the bullet. All these heroes becoming powerless caused crime rates to spike and non-superpowered heroes like Batman, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold had to pick up the slack.
6. House Of M Makes Mutants Powerless
This Marvel comic book storyline which began in 2005, resulted in numerous mutants no longer being mutants –and since they weren’t mutants anymore they didn’t have their special abilities. Scarlett Witch is one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe. Her ability to warp reality reached a pinnacle in this miniseries, and she was able to completely change the world and create a new reality where Marvel’s heroes had completely different lives.
At the conclusion of the story arc, Scarlett Witch had to stop Magneto from killing Quicksilver, and after she saw how brutal mutants like her father Magneto could be, she warped reality again and created yet another reality where the mutant population was severely reduced. The mutant population went from millions to a few hundred. X-men like Polaris and Professor X became powerless as did Magneto Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch.
5. Thor Is Stripped Of His Powers To Learn Humility
In almost the entire first Thor movie, the titular hero doesn’t actually have any of his powers. Odin deems his son unworthy and banishes him to Earth to learn how to be humble. Thor can’t even pull his hammer Mjolnir out of the ground until he learns that he is not the center of the universe.
When Loki sends the Destroyer to the small town in New Mexico where Thor is, Thor decides to try and save his new friends and the citizens of the town even though he is now a mere mortal and powerless. Luckily, Thor’s powers return just in time, as he is deemed worthy enough to wield Mjolnir once again.
4. Iron Man Becomes The Mechanic
Yes, Iron Man is not super powerful without his suit, but in Iron Man 3 Tony Stark proved he could get by with just his wits and his mechanical ingenuity. After all, that’s how he built the first Iron Man suit in the first place – with limited supplies while trapped in a cave by terrorists.
Though Iron Man doesn’t actually have superpowers, his armor is sort of his version of a superpower. For most of Iron Man 3, we saw Tony Stark become the hero rather than Iron Man. It wasn’t until the end of the movie when Tony Stark got back his armor, and then he led an attack on the Mandarin with hundreds of Iron Man suits.
3. Hulk Becomes Mr. Fixit
The Hulk has had many incarnations throughout the years. The character is the most powerful when he is green, but he has also been grey – and that’s when he’s not nearly as strong. Grey Hulk is still tough, but not anywhere near as powerful as the Green Hulk.
There was even a time when the Grey Hulk became a bouncer at a Las Vegas nightclub and went by the moniker Mr. Fixit. Grey Hulk may not have been anywhere near as strong as the green or Savage hulk, but as the Grey Hulk, Bruce Banner’s had some of intelligence remain intact.
2. Superman Gets Rid Of His Powers On Purpose
In Superman II starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, Superman decides that he wants to be human and spend his life with Lois Lane rather than to continue being a hero. After revealing to Lois that he is in fact Superman, he travels to his Fortress of Solitude where he intentionally exposes himself to red sunlight, which causes him to lose his powers. Unfortunately this happens at the same time Zod is on his way to Earth. Clark must go back to the Fortress of Solitude to try and become Superman again so he can defeat Zod.
1. Superman Can’t Be That Powerful
Superman has gained new abilities through his 75-year comic book run. When Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel first created the Man of Steel he couldn’t even fly – he could only leap tall buildings in a single bound. Eventually he gained the ability to fly and numerous other powers like heat vision and ice breath. Just recently he gained another new power – the ability to create a heat bomb and basically implode himself.
However, this new power is so intense that it causes superman to lose his powers for a period of time. Recently in the pages of Action Comics, Superman went from being all powerful to severely depowered. He still has plenty of super strength, but he can no longer fly like his used to, and he’s much more vulnerable. Rather than fly, he runs or rides a motorcycle. Even worse is that the world now knows he’s Clark Kent after Lois Lane outed him.