- Note: This is a list of powers/abilities, not a list of superheroes by their power/ability.
Comic book fiction traditionally features characters with superhuman, supernatural, or paranormal abilities, often referred to as "superpowers" (also spelled "super-powers"). Below is a list of many of those that have been known to be used. Some of these categories overlap.
Examples of ways in which a character has the ability to generate an effect.
Powers derived from objects (also known as artifacts), such as armor, jewelry, weapons, and wands.
's Crimson Gem of Cyttorak
or Green Lantern
's power battery and ring
These powers are a direct result of some form of either induced evolution or natural selection in humans beings, usually manisfested during adolescent puberty when other mental and bodily adaptations take place.
* Examples: X-Men or Captain Comet
Examples of methods by which a character generates an effect.
Ability to draw power from large or small but abundant sources of energy, such as turning kinetic energy into physical blasts or converting solar energy into other forms. Sometimes based on proximity to source, sometimes stored for future use.
or The Ray
Ability to use magical forces to varying degrees. Often used to simulate other powers, such as mind control and elemental attacks.
**Examples: Doctor Strange or Doctor Fate
Not all "magical" superpowers are actually supernatural, but are based on alternate or futuristic "science" which is unexplainable Mxyzptlk's abilities, for instance, rely on a set of physics different from our dimension's.
**Example: Mister Mxyzptlk or Impossible Man
Ability to manipulate technology. Manifested as a special form of electrical/telekinetic manipulation, a special form of shapeshifting which allows physical interaction with machines, or even a special form of ESP that allows for mental interface with computer data.
*Examples: Black Box
or Cyborg Superman
Ability to manipulate and control objects with the mind, often in ways not visible to the naked eye.
*Examples: Jean Grey
This section refers to the ability to manipulate superpowers
themselves, not "power" such as electrical power or gravitational power.
Ability to bestow powers or jump-start latent powers.
Power mimicry or absorption
Ability to copy or absorb another's powers or skills.
or Black Alice
Ability to cancel the superpowers
Ability to sense or recognize superhuman powers.
or Nemesis Kid
Personal physical powers
Powers which affect a physical person's body.
Ability to heal rapidly from any injury; the rate of recovery varies from character to character. Can sometimes result in the slowing of aging.
Ability to generate acid, can be manifested through touch or as a spray.
Ability to take on the abilities of certain animals.
*Examples: Animal Man
Ability to control all aspects of a living creature's biological make-up. This includes, but is not limited to, genetic alterations, physical distortion/augmentations, healing, disease, and biological functions.
Body part substitution
Ability to replace one's limbs or other body parts with those of another.
*Examples: Terror Inc.
Ability to manipulate the bones in one's own body. This includes, but is not limited to, the generation of new bone mass, projecting bones out from the skin or rearranging one's own bones.
Ability to create physical duplicates of oneself.
*Examples: Multiple Man
or Triplicate Girl
Ability to bring past and future versions of oneself back to the present.
or Damian Tryp
Ability to determine location of items in the environment by use of reflected sound waves, whether generated by the character or ambient sound. Also known as sonar or radar sense.
Ability to render the user unseen to the naked eye.
*Examples: Invisible Woman
or Invisible Kid
Ability to be immune to one or more forms of physical damage or injury.
*Examples: Champion of the Universe
Ability to absorb forms of kinetic energy into oneself and convert it into physical strength.
*Examples: Strong Guy
or Sebastian Shaw
Ability to consume any sort of matter without any ill effects on the user.
*Examples: Matter-Eater Lad
Ability to temporarily merge two beings into a single being, which results in a completely new and stronger being.
or B'Wana Beast
Ability to generate and control pheromones
which may have various effects.
or Crimson Fox
Ability to assault others with one or more varieties of toxins, with widely disparate effects.
or Poison Ivy
The ability to animate and lengthen one's hair.
or Spider Girl
Ability to develop a resistance or immunity to whatever they were injured by or exposed to. This effect can be permanent or temporary.
Self-detonation or explosion
Ability to explode one's body mass and reform.
Ability to generate vocal sounds of a higher amplitude than a normal human.
or Black Canary
Ability to have a higher resistance to one or more forms of damage before being injured.
*Examples: Luke Cage
or Solomon Grundy
Ability to react faster than a normal human.
Ability to see, smell, taste, feel and/or hear more than a normal human.
or Timber Wolf
Ability to have a level of physical strength
much higher than that possible by a human being in real life
or Mister Majestic
Ability to see more than a normal human.
Ability to project beams of concentrated radiation from the eyes.
Ability to see clearly in darkness.
or Doctor Mid-Nite
Ability to see through solid objects.
or Lar Gand
Telescopic or microscopic vision
Ability to magnify vision to various levels.
or Power Girl
Ability to cling to objects or surfaces by a variety of means. Often related to animal mimicry
Ability to respirate through water in lieu of a gaseous medium. Not to be confused with an ability to go without breathing or to be able to breathe an alternate air supply.
Mental faculty and knowledge-based abilities
Ability to naturally have skills and/or knowledge typically earned through learning.
Ability to understand any form of language, a natural polyglot
. This can be accomplished in various ways.
Ability to know anything and everything.
Ability to have intelligence far above that of a genius level.
or Brainiac 5
The abilities of extra-sensory perception (ESP) and communication.
Ability to separate and control one's astral body
*Examples: Marvel Girl
Ability to detect actions and events in other dimensions
. This is occasionally used in comics as an awareness of the fourth wall
between the characters and the artist or audience.
or Ambush Bug
Ability to read or sense the emotions
and/or control the emotions or feelings
Ability to see and communicate with the dead (ghosts
or Lionel Zerb
Ability to perceive the future
. It may be expressed in vague dreams while asleep, other times it can be clear and can occur at will. It may also be used as a form of "Danger sense" to show the user that they are being threatened and from what direction it is coming from.
or Dream Girl
Ability to relate details about the past or future condition of an object, person or location, usually by being in close contact with it.
*Examples: Adrienne Frost
or Abe Sapien
Ability to read the thoughts of, or to mentally communicate with others.
*Examples: Emma Frost
or Saturn Girl
Domination and mind control
The ability to alter the perceptions of others, and general mind-control.
Ability to cause an astral projection to stay on the astral plane
, usually in one specific place.
*Example: Shadow King
Ability to erase or enhance the memories of another.
*Example: Professor X
or Hatori Sohma
Ability to control the actions or reasoning of another with the mind.
or Maxwell Lord
Ability to take control of another person's body via astral projection
or mind transfer.
Ability to overload another's mind causing pain
, memory loss, loss of consciousness
, vegetative state
after having created a psionic link into that person's mind.
or Gorilla Grodd
Ability to create a weapon of psychic energy that can harm mentally and not physically.
*Examples: Danielle Moonstar
or Wild Thing
Manipulate fundamental forces or reality
These powers may be manifested by various methods, including: by some method of molecular control; by access to, or partially or fully shifting to another dimension
; by manipulating the geometric dimensions of time or space; or by some other unnamed method.
Ability to bring inanimate objects to life or to free a person from petrification.
Darkness or shadow manipulation
Ability to create or manipulate darkness, often by mentally accessing a dimension of dark energy (the Darkforce dimension
in Marvel Comics
, and the Shadowlands in DC Comics
) and manipulating it.
*Examples: Black Death
Ability to increase or decrease the natural density of an object and/or one's self.
or Martian Manhunter
Ability to disintegrate matter through touch or through beams.
The ability to alter chemical elements
, changing them from one substance to another by rearranging the atomic structure. May be limited to self-transmutation.
Ability to manipulate or generate gravitons
, or other types of gravitational interactions
*Examples: Alex Power
Ability to live forever. This may be complete immortality encompassing invulnerability
, partial invulnerability to all but specific events (i.e. decapitation or exposure to a specific chemical such as kryptonite
), the ability to die but become resurrected, or simply an inability to age normally.
*Examples: Mr. Immortal
or Vandal Savage
Intangibility or phasing
Ability to phase through solid matter without harm.
or Phantom Girl
Ability to control, generate or absorb photons
(particles of light
or Dr. Light
Ability to control and/or generate magnetic fields
or Doctor Polaris
Ability to increase or decrease mass in an object or person.
*Examples: Harry Leland
or Star Boy
Ability to mentally manipulate the molecules of objects and/or one's self on a molecular level.
Ability to alter probability, causing unlikely things to happen or likely things to not happen.
or Calamity King
Ability to generate, manipulate or have immunity to toxic radiation
or Captain Atom
Ability to change or manipulate reality itself.
*Examples: Franklin Richards
or Mister Mxyzptlk
Ability to manipulate sound waves
Ability to affect the flow of time
by slowing, accelerating, reversing, or stopping it.
Ability to control or manipulate the classical elements
Air and wind manipulation
Ability to control, generate, or absorb air
*Examples: Wind Dancer
or Red Tornado
Cold and ice manipulation
Ability to reduce the kinetic energy
and thus reduce temperature
, can be used to control, generate, or absorb ice
Ability to control earth
; sand, stone, rock, lava, dirt, or minerals.
Ability to control, generate or absorb electrical fields
or Black Lightning
Fire and heat manipulation
Ability to control the kinetic energy of atoms to generate, control or absorb fire.
or Liz Sherman
Ability to accelerate the growth of, control or animate plant
or Poison Ivy
Water and moisture manipulation
Ability to control, generate or absorb water
Ability to control or mentally affect the weather
. This includes the ability to generate various natural phenomena (rain, tornadoes, lightning, etc.) or control the intensity of the weather.
or Sarah Rainmaker
These powers deal with energy
generation, conversion and manipulation. In addition to generic energy, versions of these powers exist that deal with such things as light, sound, electricity, nuclear energy, and "darkforce".
Ability to generate or transform various forms of energy into a "solid" or concussive beam of energy.
Ability to expel various forms of energy from the body.
or Son Goku
Ability to create complex shapes (such as giant boxing gloves or cages) or even functional machinery (such as fire extinguishers or laser rifles) out of solid energy.
Ability to absorb one form of energy and convert it into another form of energy.
Force field generation
Ability to project powerful fields of manipulated energy.
*Examples: Captain Britain
Transportation or travel
Ability to create wormholes
, portation "discs" or other spatial portals for transport between two non-adjacent locations
Ability to travel through electrical conduits (such as power lines, or telephone lines). Can enter through devices such as televisions
, electrical poles or computers
or Air Wave
Ability to be present anywhere and everywhere always.
or the Source
Ability to summon objects or beings for assistance.
or Kid Eternity
Ability to move at speeds much faster than a normal human.
Ability to move from one place to another without occupying the space in between.
Ability to travel back and forth through time.
*Examples: Kang the Conqueror
The following powers could be manifested in any number of ways.
Ability to lift off the ground, to ride air currents or to fly self-propelled through the air.
*Examples: Fictional characters who can fly
Different forms of flight include:
Energy propulsion methodsCosmic energy control
*Examples: IkarisEnergy aura projection
or LookerGravitational manipulation
*Example: GravityMagnetic levitation
or StaticMolecular manipulation
or GhostSonic repulsion field
or TyrocTelekinetic power
or SuperboyThermo-chemical energy
Physical propulsion methods
**Examples: Wasp or Insect Queen
**Examples: Angel or Northwind
Ability to alter or deceive the perceptions of another. Can be sensory, a light or sound-based effect, or an alteration of mental perceptions.
or Princess Projectra
Ability to change appearance or body structure.
Types of shapeshifting include:
- Animal morphing: Ability to take on animal forms. May be able to take on the abilities of the altered form.
**Examples: Wolfsbane or Beast Boy
- Elasticity: Ability to stretch, deform, expand and contract one's body into any form they can imagine.
**Examples: Mister Fantastic or Elongated Man
- Inorganic: Ability to transform completely into an inorganic substance while retaining organic properties.
**Examples: Colossus or Ferro Lad
- Liquification: Ability to turn partially or completely into a liquid.
**Examples: Hydro-Man or Zan
- Size shifting: Ability to increase or decrease one's size.
**Examples: Yellowjacket or Giganta
- Sublimation: Ability to transform into a gaseous, mist, or fog-like form.
**Examples: Amelia Voght or Mist
- Transformation: Ability to transform into substance touched.
**Examples: Absorbing Man or Amazing-Man or Grunge