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The 10 Greatest Disabled Superheroes of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 211.8k views10 items

List RulesComic book characters with disabilities

As Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker, "With great power comes great disability." Wait, hang on. It was something like that. Anyway, the tradition of superheroes with disabilities goes back a long time, which makes sense if you think about it. Some people discover amazing, super-human powers only when they are forced to abandon other skills or senses. (Like blind people who develop super-hearing!) Often, the disabilities are tied directly to the character's power, like Daredevil's radiation blindness or Misty Knight's Super Robot Arm of Wonder.

While the early superheroes often seemed invincible and invulnerable - your Supermans, your Batmans, your Wonder Women - over the years, the characters were humanized by giving them real human frailties. (Spider-Man is a nerd, Iron Man has a weak heart and a drinking problem, The Spirit is undead, Storm is played by Halle Berry, and so on.)

Are there any deaf superheroes? Are any major superheroes disabled? Have no fear - even if you're blind, deaf or unable to walk, there still might be a motorized seat for you in the Justice League, so long as you stand for Truth, Justice and the American Way. (Provided, that is, you can stand at all. Hey now!)

Take a look at this list of superheroes who happen to be disabled. Whether it be a blind superhero or a superhero confined to a wheelchair... and many more!
  • Charles Francis Xavier (also known as "Professor X") is one of the world's most powerful mutants, a very effective telepath, as well as a scientific genius, and globally respected expert on genetics and mutation. Xavier is typically depicted as a paraplegic confined to his iconic wheelchair, though, the actual reasons for his disability are rarely discussed.

    In the film X-Men: First Class, a misdirected bullet into the spine fells Xavier and is the cause of his later handicap. However, in the comics, he is crippled by the alien Lucifer, who is on Earth while doing some scouting for a potential future invasion. Which feels kind of clumsy for an invading alien race, sending individuals down ahead of the rest of the group to drop stones on powerful telepaths. Just stay on the mothership and nuke us from orbit, right? Who's with me?

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    While trying to save a blind man from an oncoming truck, Matt Murdock is blinded by a radioactive substance that splashes on him. Let this be a lesson to all of you: never try to help people. Fortunately for Matt, though he could no longer see, the radiation heightened his other senses, giving him the human equivalent of a bat's sonar and making him fairly tough to kill in a fight, as a series of B-level Marvel Universe villains - including such kind of almost memorable adversaries as The Owl and Stilt-Man. (Has there ever been a less menacing-sounding comic villain than Stilt-Man? Shouldn't be too hard to knock him to the ground, right?)

    Daredevil's blindness did cause him one enormous disadvantage, however - the inability to pick out a halfway-decent looking costume. He started fighting crime in his father's yellow-and-black boxing robes, looking more like "Bee-Man" than a Man Without Fear (as Daredevil would come to be known). Later, he settled on this red leather number that makes him look kind of like a cartoon devil that ran off to join Cirque de Soleil. If Batman's persona is designed to strike fear into the hearts of villains, perhaps Daredevil's throws them off-guard by making them think they've stumbled into a fetish club? If so, mission accomplished.

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    After retiring from being Batgirl, Barbara Gordon was sought out by The Joker in Batman: The Killing Joke. The Joker ends up shooting and paralyzing Barbara in an attempt to drive her father, Commissioner Gordon, insane. A version of this story was told on short lived television show "Birds of Prey."  Barbara doesn't let her handicap let her down, and continued to fight crime a different way, by serving as the head of operations for the Birds of Prey team, renaming herself Oracle.

    Years later, Barbara got back in the Batgirl costume, fighting crime how she use to, when DC rebooted the comic universe. The events of The Killing Joke still happened, and she still became Oracle, but rehabilitation was her friend this time around. 
  • Captain Marvel Jr. was introduced to the Marvel Family of superheroes in DC Comics back in the '40s. (Yes, he's a DC character named "Captain Marvel." Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics character "Captain Marvel." And they wonder why people who don't read a ton of comics sometimes find them inaccessible!)

    Initially, he was a newsboy named Freddy Freeman who dreamed of one day moving to Santa Fe before starting a labor movement against the greedy Joseph Pulitzer. Actually, hang on, that's the plot of Newsies. Freddy Freeman was a newsboy who, while on a fishing trip with his grandfather, got caught in the midst of a battle between the original Captain Marvel and Adolf Hitler's favorite superhero, Captain Nazi. (Can't imagine why THAT character ever faded into obscurity.) Interesting side note: there was also a character named Bulletman present at the time.

    Anyway, granddad dies, but Captain Marvel is able to save the now-crippled Freddy by taking him to see the wizard Shazam and transferring some of his powers into the boy. Freddy could now turn into the non-disabled superhero Captain Marvel Jr., though his Freddy persona never fully healed and walked with a limp for the rest of his life. Who knew Shazam was such a troll?