Superpowers are essential to the genre of superhero comics. In the Golden Age of comics, heroes relied on skill, strength, and knowledge to solve crimes and rescue heroines. The creation of Superman changed that, as he was the first hero to have "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men."
Common superpowers include:
- Flight. This power is so commonplace, that the Legion of Super-Heroes issue "flight rings" to all of their members. Most people with this simply stop walking anywhere. I wonder how they stay fit?
- Invulnerability. This is never absolute invulnerability, of course, as that would make for boring stories.
- X-Ray Vision. The ability to see through objects.
- Super Speed. Faster than a speeding bullet. The ability to run (or fly) absurdly fast. Usually coupled (behind the scenes) with the ability to not get friction burns...
- Super Strength. More powerful than a locomotive. The ability to lift and carry things far beyond the human norm without getting a hernia.
- Telepathy. The ability to send and/or receive thoughts from other people. Also sometimes the ability to read other people's thoughts, with or without their permission.
- Telekinesis. The ability to move physical objects with your mind.
- Mind Control. Making someone do something through the power of your mind alone. Great for getting someone to clean your house!
- Invisibility. Now you see her, now you don't... The ability to remain unseen.
- Intangibility. The ability to walk through walls. Marvel Comics calls this Phasing.
Despite the popularity of superpowered characters, the non-powered hero is still popular in comic books. Such characters as Batman
, the Punisher
, and Nick Fury continue to be popular, using only their wits and skill.