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Famous Superheroes Whose Powers Don’t Work The Way You Think

March 22, 2021 853 votes 177 voters 33.8k views15 items

List RulesVote up the heroes with power origins you didn't know about.

The 18 superhero films that come out each year should maybe focus a little less on the origins of these superheroes and a little more on how superhero powers actually work. Seriously, does anyone not know how Peter Parker got his powers at this point? Yet, almost no one knows exactly how Peter is sticking to those walls. Luckily, even if the movies haven't delved into the details quite yet, the comics certainly have. There have been decades upon decades of pages to fill at this point, so just about all the good hero superpowers have been fully explained. 

To be fair, some of these misconceptions about heroes' powers come from the constantly in-flux nature of superhero comics. A power that started one way may later be explained to function entirely differently. There's a ton of misconceptions about superhero abilities, and it's about time they finally got cleared up. 

  • Photo: DC Comics

    What You Thought His Superpower Does: As the kid-sidekick to Captain America - and later, the man who took over as Captain America - it's reasonable to assume that, at some point, Bucky Barnes was the recipient of the Super-Soldier Serum. 

    What His Superpower Actually Does: As a child soldier fighting alongside Captain America, Bucky had no powers of any kind. That's probably why the inevitable happened, and this junior warrior met a grisly end in battle. Later, when he was taken by the Russians, he was given some amount of super-human strength through his cybernetic arm. Eventually, Barnes would become Rogers's physical equal, but through an entirely different serum. To save Bucky's life, Nick Fury administered a dosage of the Infinity Formula to Bucky. 

  • What You Thought His Superpower Does: These days, it's not too uncommon for heroes to have some sort of a healing factor, but Wade Wilson's is better than average. For characters like Wolverine, their body only generates new cells/tissue after they've been damaged. Even though Wade's powers come directly from Wolverine's DNA (Weapon X experimentation - it's a whole thing), his powers work a little differently. 

    What His Superpower Actually Does: While some heroes regenerate cells only after the damage occurs, Wade Wilson's cells are constantly being reborn. The difference between Wade's powers and Wolverine's is that Wade's cells are constantly being regenerated at a rate designed to combat his cancer. The problem here is if Wade's cancer were to suddenly vanish, the cells would keep generating, and Wade would grow horrific growths all over his body.  

  • What You Thought His Superpower Does:  Thanks to the MCU interpretation of Sam Wilson, it's assumed by many that Falcon's only abilities come from his wing harness. Falcon can soar through the air, but that's about it. 

    What His Superpower Actually Does: Sam Wilson has a mental connection with his pet bird Redwing (which MCU viewers will know as a drone). Eventually, Falcon's powers went through an evolution, and Wilson became connected with all avian life. This means Falcon can use any bird as his eyes and ears, making him incredibly powerful. 

  • Photo: DC Comics

    What You Thought His Superpower Does: It's widely believed Aquaman can talk to and understand all aquatic life as if he regularly calls up a pufferfish for tea time. This wild misconception of his powers would mean all life in the DC Universe is evolved to the point that they are capable of human levels of speech and communication. It's absolutely ludicrous when taken out to its furthest extent (as hilariously shown through the Deep of The Boys fame, who can, in fact, talk to fish). 

    What His Superpower Actually Does: Instead of a very dumb power, Aquaman has a very cool one. Aquaman is able to control all aquatic life with his mind. As king of the sea, Aquaman commands all aquatic life by telepathically sending commands they can't disobey. It's not a conversation; it's an order.