Superheroes are often judged by their super powers. It’s always about who is faster than whom, or who is stronger than whom. Or who can shoot laser beams from their eyes or create wind with their thoughts. That’s what makes them super right? Wrong! So many of the best heroes and villains do not have any powers whatsoever. They go into the battlefield armed with nothing but their regular strength, agility, and thoughts. This got us thinking about who the most powerful characters are that have 0 super powers.
Rules: The character has to have no extra enhancements. This means no alien interference, no mutations, no experimental medical treatment that alters the human body, and no magic. Technology is fair game, as long as they were the ones to discover said tech.
Now we unveil the 15 most powerful comic book characters who do not have super powers.
This assassin has come a long way from his initial roots as the tuxedo wearing, wannabe vigilante, thwarted by the Dark Knight for trying to run the crime scene in Gotham. In his own way Deadshot always wanted to do good, he just wanted to profit off it. Through his time working as a member of the Suicide Squad, Deadshot blossomed into the anti-hero that we know today. While he has received some technology to help him in the field, at the end of the day he is just a man with a gun, no extra powers to help him out. Often referred to as the top marksman in the DC Universe, Deadshot often brags that he “never misses,” which is the real factor in his rivalry with Batman (the only target he has ever missed). Deadshot will remain in the public eye with Will Smith playing him in the upcoming Suicide Squad.
While many non-super powered heroines have dawned the name Huntress, we specifically are talking about Helena Bertinelli. This is not to knock Helena Wayne, she just doesn’t measure up with Ms. Bertinelli and her crusade on evil. When she was a child, Helena went through a traumatic incident that put her on the road to being the Huntress. Each of her origin stories is slightly different, but this event often has to do with her family being murdered in front of her. While some characters are able to stay calm and collected about their troubled past (at least on the surface), Helena becomes ultra violent, often putting her at odds with friends and allies. Many storylines have her being disbarred from the Justice League for her rash and violent actions. Either way she is one of the more powerful characters in the DC universe single handedly taking down factions of the mob and going toe-to-toe with the likes of Green Arrow and Nightwing.
The little girl from Kick-Ass truly kicks ass. She is arguably the most powerful character in the Kick-Ass story, both comic-book and movie form. Artist and creator, John Romida Jr., said it best when asked about the character, “What's so badass is, how can a little girl become such a force? And I likened it to parents that turn their kids into super athletes. Even against their own will. They become unconscious athletes, almost to a fault. They become hardened.” Most heroes, at some point or another, chose the line of work they are in; Hit-Girl did not. From a young age her father forced her into combat and weapons training. She doesn’t know anything other than that life, and is so young that she can’t even process the childhood she is missing. Hit-Girl is strong enough to make the list as a 10-year-old. Give her a few more years of hyper-violent training and she can rise to the top.
12 Human Target
Christopher Chance is not the most well known comic book private eye, but he may be one of the best. Originally, Christopher was created to be featured in Superman’s Action Comics in the 70s, but comic book publishers Vertigo recognized the potential for the character giving him a mini-series and eventually his own run of comic books. The character shares many qualities with other heroes, which has hurt his popularity and left him with a niche but dedicated group of fans. He may be best remembered from the two failed TV shows based on the comics, but any fan of The Human Target knows what he is capable of.
11 The Joker
The Joker is more than just a “dog chasing cars,” as Heath Ledger’s Joker describes himself. He’s one of the most brilliant tacticians to ever grace the comic page. It’s just too bad that the genius is too deranged to ever do any good with it. The man is able to create chemical compounds beyond what an average chemist can imagine, he can hold his own in fights with the likes of Batman, and his plans work out way more often than the Batman can foil them. We’re talking about the man who beat Jason Todd to death, paralyzed Barbara Gordon, and has escaped every maximum-security prison (multiple times).
10 Dick Grayson
There are very few characters that we as comic book fans get to watch grow from child to full grown badass. One shining example of one that we do get to watch is Dick Grayson. Fans originally got to know him as the original Robin, but he slowly transitioned from sidekick to full-blown hero when he became Nightwing. From the beginning, Dick is a talented acrobat, but through years of tutoring from Batman he learns how to become an extremely talented fighter and detective. Always trying to distance himself from his tutor, Nightwing relies on his acrobatic skills as opposed to strength, which has often gotten him into trouble with enemies that he simply can’t out-jump. Either way Dick Grayson has proven how powerful he is time and again, not only as Batman’s sidekick, but also as Batman’s replacement in more recent comics.
Fast enough to evade lasers. Able to kick though brick walls. Strong enough to snap steel with bare hands. No this isn’t Superman or Captain America, it’s Elektra. She really is that good. Many people associate her with the crappy movie that needs no more description, but in the comic books Elektra cements herself as not only one of the most badass women in the Marvel Universe, but as one of the best heroes. Compared to the average (or even above average) super-powered heroes, Elektra is totally able to hold her own. She’s been known to go toe-to-toe with aliens and even catch bullets if need be. To save the world, she doesn’t need gimmicks like adamantium claws or a serum that gives her super strength; she just needs her hands and maybe her trusty sais.
8 Hawkeye/Green Arrow
This is pretty rough. When creating the list, we couldn’t pick between the two archers as who should be represented on this list. Then the answer came that they both should. From a character standpoint Hawkeye and Green Arrow have significant differences, but at their core they're both just dudes who are really great at archery. So good in fact that all their friends want them to come along on every mission, even if they are fighting robots made of impenetrable metals. Both are highly skilled tacticians and have the uncanny ability to never miss a shot. They can save the world or their cities with just some wood and string.
7 Black Widow/Black Canary
These two share more than just a similar theme in their names. They are two of the best hand-to-hand fighters in their respective universes. The biggest difference between the two is their job description. While Black Canary is a true Vigilante, fighting the criminals that terrorize her city, Black Widow is more of an anti-hero, fighting for whoever currently employs her. Either way, both women have what it takes to be a vital part of the most powerful super team ups in comic book history based purely on their combat skills. As with the archers that these ladies are so synonymous with, picking between these two is like splitting hairs.
6 The Punisher
Frank Castle isn’t really a hero, he’s just not a villain either. Like his name says, he’s a punisher — he goes around punishing people for crimes they’ve committed. He often gets compared to other heroes, such as Batman, who have no true superpowers, but the similarities cut out there. The Punisher is more likely to shoot The Joker in the face than work to send him to prison. In fact, Batman is the only reason he isn't in a Marvel/DC crossover. Castle is an expert marksman and extremely talented fighter. He is one of two characters to run the gauntlet and kill everyone in the Marvel Universe. The other person to achieve that was Deadpool, who can grow his own head back (and has to) and is able to break out of reality. Respect the Punisher.
5 Black Panther
T’Challa, the King of Wakanda. He has the strength of 3 men, is able to dodge bullets, and can even tank hits from The Hulk. While most superheroes work to keep one city safe (and they often need help), Black Panther has successfully kept his entire country safe for years! He single handedly fights off foreign invaders, criminals, and even destructive wild animals (elephants, lions, and rhinos). To put it in perspective, Batman needs a whole team of allies just to keep Gotham slightly safe. Black Panther does not get the respect he deserves, partly because of his lack of a movie. All that may change soon when the public gets to see him in not only the upcoming Civil War, but the standalone Black Panther scheduled for 2018.
4 Lex Luthor
Luthor is so powerful purely because he is so damn smart. If he doesn’t feel like he is strong enough to do something he will just create something that will be able to do the job. That’s how the DC universe ended up with a number of heavy hitters including Superboy and Bizzaro. He is able to take alien technology (that no one can figure out) and create weapons of mass destruction out of them. If you're not counting his brilliant mind, then you have a man who was trained in combat by the amazons and has an unlimited fortune at his disposal. All in all, Lex Luthor is one powerful dude. Oh and he cured AIDS at one point, so he’s not always all bad.
Who was it that killed millions (potentially billions) of people? Who’s the non-powered individual who was able to catch a bullet shot point blank? Who successfully figured out how to dupe Dr. Manhattan, the most powerful being in existence? All the above were the achievements of Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias. Watchmen is filled with heroes with no powers, all of whom arguably could have made this list. That being said, Ozy outclasses all of them, by a landslide. Even Rorschach, the biggest badass amongst badasses, admits that he’s terrified when heading to face his old friend. What may be most impressive is Veidt’s ability to read his allies so well he knows what they will do before they even think. Whether it’s by fighting off Nite Owl and Rorschach armed with a fork and dinner plate, or calling a hit on himself to rule him out as a suspect of the Comedian’s murder before anyone even thinks there may be a link.
2 Iron Man
This one isn’t really all that fair. Without his suit of armor, Tony Stark is nothing. Tony Stark isn’t the one breaking Captain America’s shield, or the one blowing up alien ships with a laser beam shot from his chest. That’s Iron Man doing those stunts, Tony Stark is basically just a glorified pilot. However, when you give Tony the suit, he is able to do things no one else can. No matter how many times someone else jumps in his suit, villains and heroes alike, they can't replicate the remarkable control that the inventor has. If you want proof, just look at the company he keeps. As one of the few members of the Illuminati, Stark surrounds himself with, amongst others, one of the world’s most powerful telepaths, the master of all things magic, and a man who can shatter the earth by whispering. Yet they all turn to him as the leader of their all-powerful team-up.
If you've paid the slightest bit of attention, it is no shock that the Dark Knight tops this list, because he's by far the best. Batman is not only the most powerful superhero with no super power; he may top the list of most powerful hero. With enough prep time the dude can beat Superman, Darkseid, Doomsday, pretty much anyone that the writers wants to throw his way. Almost all the non-powered vigilantes in the DC universe owe everything to Batman, either because he trained them, or he saved their lives. He saved everyone’s life at sometime or another, all without killing anyone. The Caped Crusader deserves this spot hands down and if you don’t believe me, go ask the Justice League who their biggest threat is. Batman is the only thing able to beat them all.
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