Posted by inferiorego (22339 posts) - - Show Bio

Since comics have been around, we've seen thousands of super-powered beings utilize their powers to either fight crime or create it. From Superman to Thor to Captain Marvel ( Marvel AND DC's versions), there's two things a lot of iconic characters have in their super-power arsenal: flight and strength. Sure, you can say that originally Superman could only jump far distances or Thor technically doesn't fly. He just throws Mjolnir, but for all intensive purposes, they can both fly.

As I approached my pre-teen years, in the early 90s, I fell in love with characters who had really cool offensive powers: Gambit, Wolverine, Nightcrawler (his power wasn't that offensive, but still cool). I always shunned away characters whose power wasn't flat-out awesome or didn't kick people's butts right away. Sadly, I made fun of Cypher... a lot. As I've gotten older, I've realized that some of the characters I've made fun of, as a child, are not only really cool, but their powers are super-useful. Sure, they may not be insanely flashy or extremely handy on the battlefield, but you couldn't get too much done without these characters. These guys may not have your run-of-the-mill super-powers, but isn't it refreshing to get some heroes out of the ordinary?

== TEASER ==
I owned this card, and I used to make fun of it a lot because I thought his powers sucked.

I mentioned Cypher earlier, a character I relentlessly ripped into. The New Mutant had no place in my "book of favorites" as a adolescent, let alone as a teen. I would constantly pick on the character for being essentially worthless in my eyes. "I'm Cypher. I can understand languages. Whoopty Do." I would say in a mocking tone. Little did I know that since Cypher is a fictional character, he never heard that.

As an adult, I've come to understand that Cypher's power of being able to subconsciously translate and understand any language, whether it be human, alien, or computer, is probably my number one favorite ability of any X-related character. He may not have a offensive ability that can destroy anything around him; however, his ability comes so much more in handy than an optic blast from Cyclops' eyes. The ability to decipher and understand language, strategically, makes him a HUGE asset to any super-team. Luckily, after the events of Necrosha, Cypher was raised from the dead, and he rejoined the New Mutants. We all get another chance to give Cypher another chance. He's not the only hero with weird powers I pooped on (not literally) as a kid. In fact, I may have hated more characters than I liked at the time. I've come around though, and one of these characters has become one of my favorites recently.

Forge is another character whose power isn't right in your face, much like Cypher, but that doesn't mean his powers aren't really cool. For those who are not aware of this X-character, Forge's ability is to understand and build any technology he can conceive. Essentially, he has the ability to build anything he can think of. Much like Cypher, this power isn't something controllable. It's just something that's there, much like Cypher's abilities. Forge also has some pretty cool mystic abilities due to his Native-American blood, but I'd like to focus more on the ability to create.

On the battlefield, Forge is only as good as his inventions. As a kid, you want someone who has the meta-ability to punish their enemies, and Forge can really only do that if he creates something to do so. As you may have guessed, I hated Forge as a child. As an adult, his mutant ability is very appealing because the only boundary is his imagination. I know that sounds really cheesy, like something a high school guidance counselor would say to you, but it's true.

There are just two examples of characters I've under-estimated over the years. Characters who I'm growing to love based on how cool their under-rated powers actually are. Yes, they're both mutants from the Marvel universe, but for me, when I think characters with unusual super-powers that are pretty darn cool, these characters come to mind.

There's probably a few of you wondering, "what about X-Statix or non-mutant characters?" Well, for one, Forge and Cypher are the first characters that come to mind with unusual, but cool, powers, and as for X-Statix, that's a whole other article all together. What are your favorite characters with out of the ordinary powers? What do you like about them?

~Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, teacher, writer, comic store employee, and a member of Force Works.

Follow his complaining on twitter @ inferiorego

#1 Posted by G-Man (38694 posts) - - Show Bio

What about Maggott? 

Cool or lame?
#2 Posted by PrinceIMC (5505 posts) - - Show Bio

I liked Maggott. Maybe not as an X-Man but I wished he'd stuck with Generation X.
#3 Posted by djneked (7 posts) - - Show Bio

Good points made. I felt the same way about characters who didn't have the "boom" "pow" going for them. 

#4 Posted by sora_thekey (8626 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Cypher's powers!
Strangely enough, when I was younger my favorite characters were the ones with the strange powers. By my standards, Spider-Man and Nightcrawler had the weirdest powers! 
Now I am loving characters like Scarlet Witch, Reptil and Firestorm! Or the characters from Umbrella Academy!

#5 Posted by SupremoMaximo (223 posts) - - Show Bio

How the heck did Dazzler get 40+ issues being a strobe light?

#6 Posted by leokearon (1931 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man said:
"What about Maggott? 

Cool or lame? "

100% cool and gross. 
#7 Posted by notoriousbcb (427 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree.  It's not always about your ability to lay the smacketh down.  Brainiac 5 is up there on the list for me as well.  Without his intellect, there would be no Legion flight rings and Mon-El would still be in the Phantom Zone suffering from lead poisoning.

#8 Posted by soundbite (467 posts) - - Show Bio

"intensive purposes"   
for shame Bieber lover, for shame.  ;)
#9 Posted by Alpha_Wolf_Rage009 (5 posts) - - Show Bio

Matter-Eater Lad. This member of the Legion of Super-Heroes could eat anything. ANYTHING. From the strongest alloy steel to that slab your grandmother claims to be fruitcake during Christmas. He was definitely one of my favorite super-heroes with unusual powers.

#10 Posted by Larkin1388 (1826 posts) - - Show Bio

I used to hate a lot of characters when I was younger that I now love.

#11 Posted by crazed_h3ro (1006 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man:  My Dad always loved this character, and I do as well,so yes 110% Awesome!
#12 Posted by Norusdog (206 posts) - - Show Bio

the only answer to this question is.  It depends on the power.
some "unusual powers" may be a kind of "cool flavor" thing goin on with them.
while the power to rocket feces from your nostrils isn't so cool.
and to a matter of opinion..Forge is dumb...mutant power to understand technology and build machines? what? useful..sure...but certainly unusual and kinda dumb as a basis.  But to throw an oxymoron I guess it would be kinda cool to be able to do that...I'd build my own..thing-a-ma-whatzits something...with it.

#13 Posted by MooseyMcMan (136 posts) - - Show Bio

ARGH! You mean, "Intents and purposes," NOT "Intensive purposes"!!!!!! 
Sorry. Sometimes the grammar Nazi in me cannot be contained. 

#14 Edited by TheMess1428 (2211 posts) - - Show Bio

Do aliens even count as having weird powers? I mean, c'mon, they're aliens! They're supposed to be weird! lol 
But I agree with @sora_thekey. I like Firestorm. And his powers are definitely not normal.

#15 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19147 posts) - - Show Bio

"Weird" powers can still be cool powers

#16 Posted by inferiorego (22339 posts) - - Show Bio
@soundbite said:
" "intensive purposes"    for shame Bieber lover, for shame.  ;) "
I'm a Bieber defender, not a lover.
#17 Posted by DeadpoolvIronFist (2573 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" "Weird" powers can still be cool powers "
#18 Posted by YoungFrey (18 posts) - - Show Bio

I stopped doubting Forge's combat usefulness when, while the X-Men were under fire from the Reavers, he cobbled together a sniper rifle and then killed Bonebreaker
#19 Posted by soundbite (467 posts) - - Show Bio
my bad.  have that comment stricken from the record then.
#20 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2471 posts) - - Show Bio
I think its weird how, if you look back at old comics by Stan Lee or
earlier, they will mention a character's amazing and strange new power that totally blows everyone's mind, and today it is considered lame so they have to add to that power.  They have to boost it up, or alter it in some way to make them more powerful.   This may not be the best example, but in Spider-Man Vulture is flying around stealing and people are shocked and dumbfounded that a man can fly around and do that, and no one is safe.
The X-Men as a whole, may not be a great example either, but they
were five normal looking teenagers who had powers but the comic wasn't working out so well, and the X-Men were re-booted (right?) and given costumes and more powerful powers and some even looked mutated, and down the line the mutants and X-men got more and more out there with their powers (compared to the original X-Men).
I am just saying its weird how, what seemed out there back then, isn't seen as out there enough by today.
#21 Posted by kingoftheworld (273 posts) - - Show Bio

The weirder the better. I would rather read weird obscure characters who are powered by radioactive tires or something.  Pure fun.
Until someone uses them as cannon fodder to make someone like Red Hulk or Superman Prime look good in the next crossover.
#22 Posted by MattDemers (662 posts) - - Show Bio

It all comes down to the writers, ladies and gentlemen. Whoever's been writing New Mutants since the latest volume started has definitely got me caring about Cannonball, Sunspot, Magik and Warlock.
Not necessarily "useless powers," but characters I didn't particularly care about.

#23 Posted by Braxxis7 (268 posts) - - Show Bio

great article
#24 Posted by Bestostero (5782 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article, I felt the same...I use to hate characters with unusual powers, i was more into the flashy offensive types like laser beams, thunderbolts, super strength... but as i got older some of the passive abilities like healing factor and phasing were very strategic abilities and good to have... even understanding languages lol

#25 Posted by Icemizer (181 posts) - - Show Bio

Cypher? Really? He is "B" team all the way. His abilites have no use in the rough and tumble world of the super hero. Ok Cypher go ahead and read that door panel so we can op---wait sorry Wolverine already hacked his way in, better luck next---whoops you caught that laser blast right in the forehead. You were a nice guy but your power is pretty useless in the field.  
Now there are some powers that are unusual that are cool but that list is short.
#26 Posted by comicbikerscott (152 posts) - - Show Bio
i love all the x-men charters including jublielee
#27 Posted by CrimsonAvenger (1288 posts) - - Show Bio

Who could not like forge, Firestorm, or Cypher? I would love to be Forge, being able to build anything I want or understand every language in the universe or possibly Multiverse like Cypher. Firestorm has some awesome powers but I'd rather be Forge.

#28 Posted by Soldier zero (256 posts) - - Show Bio

In my opinion weird and cool are two separate factors in character, not 100% independent but not necessarily linked. A character might have the best, most classic power set in the whole comicdom and be horribly lame because of bad writing, not fitting in  universe or simply being boring (yes Sentry I'm looking at you).
At the same time a character might have a odd power set and a good characterization of his other aspects can make him a great classic, Nightcrawler is possibly one of the best known example, even without is teleport gimmick (which wasn't all that common back at the time of his debut), it's characterization makes him a classic.
Aside from that this articel address one of the worst problem with comic-books, pretty much all power sets are meant to be combat first. I know that this is somewhat inevitable, due to the canon of the medium, but really do 90% of the superpowers have to be battle based?

Somehow they have to, since combat abilities are easier to classify and exploit in on panel. Be honest how many people will buy a X-Book just to have Forge working in his workshop?

#29 Posted by inferiorego (22339 posts) - - Show Bio
@mattdemers said:
" It all comes down to the writers, ladies and gentlemen. Whoever's been writing New Mutants since the latest volume started has definitely got me caring about Cannonball, Sunspot, Magik and Warlock.  Not necessarily "useless powers," but characters I didn't particularly care about. "
New Mutants has been really solid this run. But as a kid, I thought Cypher was so useless. As an adult, he's a pivotal member of the team.
#30 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2135 posts) - - Show Bio

Most mutants have lame powers.... but if you join the X-Men, you'll find otu how to be cool. 
its how its done.
#31 Posted by Golden Cod (510 posts) - - Show Bio

Are we back in the 90s again where super-powers were all about how many things you can blow up?   Do we really have to go back to that?   For reference, I will never ever want to read a comic about this guy:

What's sad is that he and the whole Guardians Project has fans on Facebook.   NHL is really failing on this one.
#32 Posted by cpt_linger (2971 posts) - - Show Bio

I think having any form of a "power" would make you pretty cool.  
Even if you power was "excessive sweating" you could still impress people with a simple "watch this" and then go from dry to completely drenched in seconds... That would impress me.
#33 Posted by Screamolad (29 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes B/c They Are Real Super heros Unlike Batman And Others Like Him With No Powers!
#34 Posted by inferiorego (22339 posts) - - Show Bio
@cpt_linger said:
" I think having any form of a "power" would make you pretty cool.   Even if you power was "excessive sweating" you could still impress people with a simple "watch this" and then go from dry to completely drenched in seconds... That would impress me. "
I'd like to say I love you av. Toy Story is the jam
#35 Posted by Meteorite (3479 posts) - - Show Bio

Tony Chu from Chew has to have the weirdest power, but it's used so well!

#36 Posted by cpt_linger (2971 posts) - - Show Bio
Well would you rather be Batman or have super-human abilities? 

Thanks! yes Toy Story is the bomb! But for how much longer?
#37 Posted by JonesDeini (3856 posts) - - Show Bio

I used to mock the flash more mercilessly than I could lay into any other character. Love Cypher/Forge, would love to have either power! I used to think Aquaman was hella lame, folk. But that's changed very much recently. I also thought Namor was lame too. Invisible Woman, until I learned just how she works. I love Elixir's power and think it's a shame he's not being used right now. 

#38 Posted by CasimirAngel (166 posts) - - Show Bio

There's a lot out there.  Especially in the Legion of Super-Heroes or Legion of Substitute Heroes.  Stone Boy.  For most of his story couldn't move in his stone state.  He is just a statue.  I mean his teammates used him as a blunt object on enemies.  Really?  And then there's Color Kid.  He changes the colors of things.   'Nuff said.
#39 Posted by MadComics (272 posts) - - Show Bio

Toad from the Brother Hood.

#40 Posted by EdwardWindsor (14517 posts) - - Show Bio

The more unusual the power the more intresting they can be. The best xmen in my eyes where always the special ones. Telepthas , strong guys etc are two a pennny.

#41 Posted by Oedipus_Rex (41 posts) - - Show Bio
@soundbite said:
" "intensive purposes"    for shame Bieber lover, for shame.  ;) "
Good.  I'm not the only one who noticed.  R.I.P. English language.  We will miss you.
#42 Posted by soundbite (467 posts) - - Show Bio
@oedipus_rex said:
" @soundbite said:
" "intensive purposes"    for shame Bieber lover, for shame.  ;) "
Good.  I'm not the only one who noticed.  R.I.P. English language.  We will miss you. "

meh. I normally don't care, but since it was IE, I figured I would rib him a bit.
#43 Posted by Joe Venom (1290 posts) - - Show Bio
@Doctor!!!!! said:
" Most mutants have lame powers.... but if you join the X-Men, you'll find otu how to be cool. its how its done. "
#44 Posted by jakeeboi17 (4401 posts) - - Show Bio

I will also admit that when I first read about Cypher and everything, I didn't think he had any place on a team of superheroes. But since Necrosha he has grown on me in leaps and bounds, and now I think he has one of the most awesome powers going, as now he is an asset to any team. Just teach him how to use a rocket launcher or some form of weaponry, and he can go on field missions as well. 
Another weird power I quite like is Tag 
And not to mention all of the Morlocks. Who are basically a group of hideously deformed (for the most part) or others who can't fit in on the surface due to their 'weird' mutant gifts.

#45 Posted by Cezar_TheScribe (2772 posts) - - Show Bio

Forge is an interesting character. If he can make any weapon then why has he not created armor or robots?  
An Army of X-Bots would be great.   Or, a suit of armor like Iron Man. 
There are too many characters to list, so here are a few.  

"Blink" Clarice Ferguson


"Tag" Brian Cruz


"Synch" Everett Thomas




#46 Posted by Top Flight Security (152 posts) - - Show Bio

Forge has always been one of my favorites. If you think about it, he can create anything he can think of just like the Green Lanterns, except, he doesn't need a power ring. Forge is the man!

#47 Posted by MutieLover (103 posts) - - Show Bio

Forge invented a gun that stripped Storm of her powers. That alone proves how badass his non-offensive power is.

#48 Posted by Joe Venom (1290 posts) - - Show Bio
@leokearon said:
" @G-Man said:
"What about Maggott? 

Cool or lame? "
100% cool and gross.   "
Totally cool and definitely gross when you consider that's majority of his digestion system on his shoulders, but who else in the MU can say Magneto delivered their babies lol
#49 Posted by They Killed Cap! (2268 posts) - - Show Bio

Some of the coolest random super powered beings are in the Legion of Super Heroes.  
Matter Eatter lad can eat and digest anything (and not get fat haha) 
Dream Girl- Dreams and premonitions about the future 
Boncing Boy- SUper Bounce ability (Amazing) 
the list goes on and have to love unique charecter abilities. 
I have been reading Spawn for the first time. I love how his early incarnation had limited resources and would eventually run out. Makes for good dilemmas in story. Creative charecters really add to stories. But then again when not written well they just seem really lame.
#50 Posted by SuperXAsh (560 posts) - - Show Bio

Aqueduct (aka: Water Wizard) once it was revealed he could control just about ANY liquid, like say... blood. Shame he's been underused.