In the world of comic books, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. There are those superheroes that are blessed with special powers that seemingly defy the laws of physics. There are those that can fly, run super fast, have more strength than a god and even possess all the powers combined.
However, there are also those vigilantes and heroes that don't have physical powers to stop crime and save the day. For every super-powered Superman, there is a vigilante like Batman. Those heroes rely on their skills, brains, and more importantly, their gadgets and weapons. It's those gadgets and weapons that we focus on with this list. For every cool gadget, such as the Batmobile, there are a dozen strange, crazy, and downright stupid ones that really make comic book fans go "Huh?" Here we look at 15 comic book gadgets and weapons that we can't believe someone thought of let alone put it within the pages of the comic books.
15 Captain America's Magnetic Shield
We start our list with one of the most iconic items in any comic books. Captain America's shield is a symbol of everything he stands for; not just the patriotic paint job but it's strong, tough, and simple. It gets the job done without being flashy or loud, just like the good Cap. Add in the fact that it's pretty much indestructible, then you have one pretty amazing weapon.
However, over the years, comic book writers have tried to mess with Captain America's shield and one of the worst things they did to it was give Cap a magnetic strip so he could call back his shield whenever he threw it. There's nothing wrong with that as such, we just feel that one of the best and coolest things about Captain America is the fact that he has total control over his shield and how he throws it, so therefore he doesn't need any gadgets. As Cap is usually adverse to new tech, it's even more unfaithful to the character that he would use this type of gadget.
14 The Ultimate Nullifier
Our next entry is supposedly one of the most, if not the most, powerful weapons in the entire Marvel universe. The Ultimate Nullifier was first introduced way back in the 1960s when this ultimate weapon was found by The Human Torch. As it turned out, the Ultimate Nullifier belonged to the overlord Thanos, and this is where we have a problem with this weapon.
Thanos is famed for having immense power and also being the proud owner of the Infinity Gauntlet, which has an equal amount of power as the Ultimate Nullifier. So why would he have both? Also, why does he constantly forget that he has two devastating weapons at his disposal? The Infinity Gauntlet, along with the Infinity Stones, have been a major storyline within the Marvel universe and has a detailed and intricate history whereas the Ultimate Nullifier is just a powerful weapon. There's no explanation to how or why it works, it just does. Which to us is a big lack of imagination and storytelling.
13 Captain Boomerang's Boomerangs
Next we come to possibly one of the worst villain weapons, and possibly even one of the worst villains in all comic book worlds. Captain Boomerang is an Australian petty criminal that doesn't have any special powers, or seemingly any brains, but what he does use is an array of boomerangs. Not only is this a bit of a bad stereotype that Australians would use boomerangs, but everything about this character is just bad.
The lack of character depth and focus always makes Captain Boomerang seem more of a bumbling idiot rather than one of the Flash's greatest foes, which he is often regarded as. However, the most ridiculous thing about Captain Boomerang is his boomerangs. Not only is it a pointless weapon, but it's also not very practical.
12 The Encephalo Gun
Next we come onto one of the weirder and more bizarre inventions by The Fantastic Four leader Mister Fantastic. During one of his many battles with his arch enemy Doctor Doom, Mister Fantastic had enough and wanted to end his spat with the mad dictator. So, at an event in which the two were attending, Mister Fantastic proposed a toast and then pulled out his Encephalo Gun. Essentially, The Encephalo Gun tested the mental abilities of those involved and the one with the strongest mind would win and the other would be sent into oblivion.
The most amazing thing about this weapon is why on Earth would Mister Fantastic invent such a thing? And why would he use it on one of the smartest beings in the Marvel universe? What if had lost? The whole storyline and the weapon seemed like a pointless waste of comic book pages.
11 Cosmic Treadmill
Our next entry goes on to the top of the "completely unnecessary" superhero gadget pile. In The Flash's universe, most beings with speed, or speedsters as they're called, can run fast enough to travel in time. There's The Flash, all versions of him, Zoom, Reverse Flash, and so on. Because of this, the timelines and storylines of The Flash's world can be a bit all over the place which actually makes for compelling and exciting reading.
However, one gadget The Flash really doesn't need is his Cosmic Treadmill. The Treadmill is supposed to help The Flash travel back in time, which he can do anyway, but it's also supposed to be a more precise method of time travel. Yet many times, especially in the Flashpoint Paradox, The Flash managed to time travel to an exact moment in time all by himself, so what's the point of the Treadmill?
10 The Plastimold
Our first question about our next entry is "What were they thinking?" The next question that comes to mind is "How did this 'gadget' ever make it into the comic books?" The Plastimold appeared in the Superman spin-off comic books focusing on Lois Lane. In this story, the intrepid reporter wants to do an exposé on racism. After spending most of her time being ignored by the people that she's trying to interview, Lois has the great idea that she needs to be black in order for people to talk to her. But what can she do?
So Lois turns to her boyfriend Superman and he pulls out this Kryptonian gem of a gadget and turns Lois into a black woman. The Plastimold also begs the question to "Why would Superman have this device in the first place?" The mind boggles!
9 The Bat-Tector
Over the years, Batman has been the main source of gadgets throughout the comic book world. The Dark Knight has put his brilliant mind, as well as his multi-billion dollar company, to good use in his war on crime. However, throughout the years Batman has been a victim of some seriously ridiculous and stupid gadgets. One of those is the Bat-Tector.
Trying to make his crime fighting detective work as easy as possible, Batman pimped out his Batmobile with a device that could detect if crimes were being committed. Not only that but the Bat-Tector soon got an upgrade and not only could it detect crime but it could also monitor heartbeats from a distance. Now that's just lazy crime fighting.
8 Gambit's Cards
We've already mentioned on our list that some villains can have terrible weapons, Captain Boomerang's boomerangs are one. Now we turn to the world of X-Men and in particular Gambit's playing cards. The sometimes superhero, member of The X-Men and antihero, Gambit has lots of tricks and skills. As a character, Gambit is excellent at hand to hand combat, he uses his staff to great effect, and has the attitude that every cool mutant needs. But then he pulls out his playing cards and all of that falls away.
This gimmick that Gambit picked up seems to have stuck with him, not only that but it seems to be the one thing that everyone thinks of when they think of Gambit. But the fact is that throwing cards is just a terrible and lame weapon, no matter how good you are with them.
Over the years Hawkgirl and Hawkman have had a few reboots. Most of the time they are shown together and are a partnership. One of their introductions had them as a married couple that came to Earth from a different planet. In order for them to learn everything about Earth, they attached themselves to an electronic brain and used telepathy to give them insight into our ways.
The idea of the gadget itself isn't a bad one, it's just a bit unnecessary and an easy way for the writers to quickly get information to the two Hawks rather than making them work for it. Needless to say, the writers soon came to their senses as The Absorbascon has never been seen again in any retelling of the Hawkgirl and Hawkman story.
6 The Spider-Wave Transmitter
Now we come to the side of stupidity that often crops up in comic books. In the early days of the Marvel universe, a few silly ideas and storylines came up that obviously managed to slip through the cracks before anyone noticed. One such storyline involved The Fantastic Four's arch enemy Doctor Doom. After Doctor Doom had seen some reports on Spider-Man, reports that paint Spider-Man as a menace and a bad guy, Doom decides that the Web Slinger could be a great friend to him and could help him defeat The Fantastic Four for good.
Just as luck would have it, Doom happens to have a giant spider laying around and through some trickery and gadgets, Doom manages to create a Spider-Wave Transmitter and tap into Spider-Man's "Spidey Sense." The whole thing is silly and just how Doom knew about Spider-Man's Spidey sense is a mystery.
5 Anti-Magnetic Inverter
Speaking of Spider-Man, we delve back into his world with our next entry. The Anti-Magnetic Inverter came about when the science genius that is Peter Parker worked out how The Vulture managed to fly. In those days, The Vulture powered his wings by magnets which aided his flight. Parker put his mind to work and came up with The Anti-Magnetic Inverter which managed to cancel out the magnets in The Vultures costume and made him unable to fly. So Parker managed to create a gadget that cancelled out magnetism, which is a pretty astonishing feat. However, he forgot about it soon after which is weird as this kind of gadget could have been put to better use.
Incidentally, Spider-Man has also had his fair share of ridiculous and pointless gadgets. There's been The Spider Bike, The Spider Car, and The Spider Signal to name just a few.
4 Iron Man's Roller Skates
In the very early days of Iron Man, you may well be surprised to learn that Iron Man travelled around on roller skates. Admittedly they were rocket powered skates, but still, to see Iron Man chasing down the bad guys on skates is pretty laughable. Although in the early days of Iron Man, his suit wasn't as advanced or as light as it is today, he did still manage to fly, so why the skates? We're still not sure and not only that but his rocket skates have made a few appearances over the years and still pop up today. This truly is ridiculous!
As well as Iron Man, a few other heroes have donned the roller skates over the years. The most famous of these is The Dark Knight himself. Batman may have the Batmobile but why use that when you can skate? It's fair to say that not even the coolest of heroes can make skates work for them.
3 The Truth Chamber
It's fair to say that over the years, Batman has done some pretty questionable things in order to clean up the streets of Gotham City. Although he never, or at least vary rarely, crosses his one rule and doesn't kill, but he does sometimes blur the line between crime fighting and outright vigilante.
One such "gadget" is his Truth Chamber. The Truth Chamber is essentially a room within the Bat Cave but it's been tricked out so that The Dark Knight can interrogate and terrify the criminals into talking and telling him the truth. So basically Batman puts people he's picked up off the streets and tortures them in his special room until they tell him what he wants to know. Even for Batman this is a step too far on the dark side of being a hero.
2 Most Of Green Arrow's Arrows
The number two entry on our list of ridiculous comic book gadgets and weapons comes from the many arrows to be used by The Green Arrow. It's fair to say that being a hero that has to face criminals, super powered beings, and aliens, with a bow and arrow isn't really a realistic concept. However, we don't actually have a problem with Green Arrow's choice of weapon, we think it actually works within his story and the DC universe.
However, what we do have issues with is his constant and overuse of his "trick arrows." Although the likes of Marvel's Hawkeye has been know to use trick arrows, it's nothing compared to Green Arrow. Over the years, Green Arrow has used Boxing Glove arrows, Router arrows, which can hack computers, Flame arrows, Syringe arrows, Zip Tie arrows and they even used a Chimney sweep arrow that cleaned chimneys. They just get sillier and sillier and defy any kind of basic science.
1 Batman's Shark Repellent Spray
The number one entry on our list of ridiculous comic book gadgets and weapons has to be the most ridiculous and stupid of them all. Ok, so we must point out first that Batman's Shark Repellent Spray didn't actually first appear in the comic books, although we're sure by now it's made an appearance somewhere. This now infamous weapon first appeared in the 1960s Adam West-lead Batman movie.
When Batman and Robin head out over the water in order to save some people, Batman dangles from a ladder with a giant shark attached to his leg and it's certain doom for The Caped Crusader. But wait, Batman calls out to the Boy Wonder and asks him to pass the Shark Repellent Spray and the shark rushes back to the sea. WTF!5