Superheroes with unique ability sets

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Ares
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Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ares » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:21 am

So I was thinking about random nonsense, as I often do, and I started thinking about superpowers, superheroes, and about how some superheroes are more unique than others.

Like, you can name dozens of bricks, flying bricks, speedsters, mystics, telepaths and the like, but there's some people with really unique powers, ability sets or aspects to them.

Like, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense. I have a hard time thinking of any other character who has an ability that is literally "I sense danger". Sure, everyone from Superman to Wolverine has some flavor of enhanced senses, but Spider-Man's Danger Sense is pretty unique by comic standards.

Taken further, Spider-Man's got one of the best and most unique ability sets in all of superherodom. He's strong and durable to have epic moments, but not so strong and durable that normal street crooks can't still be a threat. His reliance on speed and agility makes for incredibly dynamic fights. His webbing is extremely versatile as a fun means of travel, a non-lethal weapon/snare, and has tons of creative applications. His ability to crawl to walls is similarly pretty rare.

Then you take it to another level by having Spider-Man be a genius inventor and scientist who can design gadgets, outwit his opponents, and develop an amazing skillset of science, detective work, stealth, infiltration, etc.

On a different end, Iron Fist's chi abilities are extremely unique in Western superheroes, where the idea of supernatural martial arts still isn't very widely used. Danny's techniques and chi not only let him be a dangerous opponent to superhumans, even very powerful ones, but also do things like healing, which is another rare comic book power.

And lastly for this opening post, Captain Marvel's whole schtick of transforming via magic word is also pretty unique. Outside of Cap, the Marvel Family and some of their villains, someone saying a magic word to change from normal to superhuman form is almost unheard of, likely because of how obvious the parallels would be. But it's a super easy way to create tension, as the ability or inability to speak suddenly makes the difference as to whether or not someone can access their powers.

So what about the rest of you? Any unique superhero abilities you can think of?

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by RUSCHE » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:18 pm

Ares wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:21 am
So I was thinking about random nonsense, as I often do, and I started thinking about superpowers, superheroes, and about how some superheroes are more unique than others.

Like, you can name dozens of bricks, flying bricks, speedsters, mystics, telepaths and the like, but there's some people with really unique powers, ability sets or aspects to them.

Like, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense. I have a hard time thinking of any other character who has an ability that is literally "I sense danger". Sure, everyone from Superman to Wolverine has some flavor of enhanced senses, but Spider-Man's Danger Sense is pretty unique by comic standards.

Taken further, Spider-Man's got one of the best and most unique ability sets in all of superherodom. He's strong and durable to have epic moments, but not so strong and durable that normal street crooks can't still be a threat. His reliance on speed and agility makes for incredibly dynamic fights. His webbing is extremely versatile as a fun means of travel, a non-lethal weapon/snare, and has tons of creative applications. His ability to crawl to walls is similarly pretty rare.

Then you take it to another level by having Spider-Man be a genius inventor and scientist who can design gadgets, outwit his opponents, and develop an amazing skillset of science, detective work, stealth, infiltration, etc.

On a different end, Iron Fist's chi abilities are extremely unique in Western superheroes, where the idea of supernatural martial arts still isn't very widely used. Danny's techniques and chi not only let him be a dangerous opponent to superhumans, even very powerful ones, but also do things like healing, which is another rare comic book power.

And lastly for this opening post, Captain Marvel's whole schtick of transforming via magic word is also pretty unique. Outside of Cap, the Marvel Family and some of their villains, someone saying a magic word to change from normal to superhuman form is almost unheard of, likely because of how obvious the parallels would be. But it's a super easy way to create tension, as the ability or inability to speak suddenly makes the difference as to whether or not someone can access their powers.

So what about the rest of you? Any unique superhero abilities you can think of?
hard pressed now that you took the cool ones, but Green Lantern comes to mind. He can mimic ANY powers/abilities . Then if you go Alan Scott you have the mystic covered. Green lanterns can be incredibly broad in terms o power use . Given the right imagination and will that can be different from one another as not to be scrap off the serial number type of character.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by M4C8 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:56 pm

Does someone like Maggot count? he's not really a superhero but his abilities are pretty unique(ly weird)

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ares » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:08 am

M4C8 wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:56 pm
Does someone like Maggot count? he's not really a superhero but his abilities are pretty unique(ly weird)
That would definitely count.

I'd also say that, while Bricks themselves are probably amongst the most common powerset in comics, the Hulk's "madder / stronger" factor is pretty unique to him as well, and makes a good case for his "strongest there is" statements.

I did like how guys like Gladiator and Captain Britain went with a variant of it, where instead "madder = stronger", it was more about how their abilities were fueled by willpower and confidence, with a lack of confidence resulting in a lack of power, making them more vulnerable.

Green Lantern's another good pick, as since while there are a lot of them, the "energy constructs" thing is still pretty rare in comics, so much so that just having someone like Quasar draws obvious parallels.

Sue Richard's actually pretty unique too, combining invisibility and invisible force fields, when a lot of characters would tend to have just invisibility, or visible force fields.

Going back to Spider-Man, it's kind of annoying how whenever someone wants to create a new Spider-hero for Marvel, they feel the need to basically try and make them a "better" version of Spidey's powers. Miles Morales seems to have every power Peter does (I'm not sure if he has Spider-Sense or not), but in addition to the powers he does have in common with Peter, he also has the ability to turn invisible and to send out bursts of energy. Jessica Drew likewise has all of Peter's powers save for the Spider-Sense, no webbing (I think) but can fly (?) and shoot energy beams.

There was also a fairly unique character in Milestone named Flashback, whose powers included flight (for some reason) and the ability to travel back in time 3 seconds, allowing her to potentially undo tragic scenarios with a bit of future knowledge.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Shock » Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:53 pm

I'm going to nominate Cloak. Teleporting is hardly rare but sending enemies to another dimension through your body is unique, as far as I know. And his hunger for the "light" of others is something you don't see other heroes having to deal with (even if they end up making it a plot point a little too often).

To a lesser extent, Dagger's ability to burn away poisons and addictions within someone isn't the kind of thing you see every day either.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by M4C8 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:19 pm

I only read Marvel so while there are characters with abilities I think are unique (such as Chamber and the Aquarian) for all I know they might be quite common across the industry.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by RUSCHE » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:40 pm

I know this is about Heroes, but the Villian The Spot with his personal Gateway abilities are unique.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ken » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:27 am

The ability to detect that one is a comic book character, used to be VERY unique when it was Ambush Bug. Became less unique when She-Hulk started doing it. Now Deadpool does it, and everyone thinks it's a new thing.
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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ares » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:34 am

Ken wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:27 am
The ability to detect that one is a comic book character, used to be VERY unique when it was Ambush Bug. Became less unique when She-Hulk started doing it. Now Deadpool does it, and everyone thinks it's a new thing.
Ambush Bug, She-Hulk, Animal Man, Deadpool, Gwenpool are all comics versions, while Batmite does it in the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon, and Foxbat does it in the various Champions products.

Of the bunch, Gwenpool is the one that annoys me the most, since with the rest of the characters they can either just be considered someone being insane or being silly. Gwenpool uses actual comic book tropes as if she's actually in a story in a way the others don't. Like, she gets released from jail, not because of any escape, but because "Villains never stay in jail for a long time". It just . . . kills the immersion for me. Which yes, probably sounds silly when I'm talking about a superhero setting, but it just bugs me.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ken » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:07 am

While size changers have been around as comic heroes for decades, I thought the particular twist of Micro Lad (the Threeboot version of Colossal Boy) was unique. He was a giant, from a city of giants, who had the ability to shrink down to the size of a normal Terran male.
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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Ken » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:10 am

Letter Man, who besides being faster than a rolling 'O', being more powerful than Silent E, and able to leap capital T in a single bound, had the ability to transform things, but only into things that are spelled almost the same but are only one letter off.
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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by RainOnTheSun » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:48 am

Ares wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:08 am

I'd also say that, while Bricks themselves are probably amongst the most common powerset in comics, the Hulk's "madder / stronger" factor is pretty unique to him as well, and makes a good case for his "strongest there is" statements.

I did like how guys like Gladiator and Captain Britain went with a variant of it, where instead "madder = stronger", it was more about how their abilities were fueled by willpower and confidence, with a lack of confidence resulting in a lack of power, making them more vulnerable.
The Hulk's angry-power is the main thing I think of for unique powers in comics. It seems tailor-made for internet "my guy can beat up your guy" fights. "He isn't strong enough to win? Well, he gets more strong, and now he wins!" I can understand not giving it to any other heroes, since it kills any sense of danger or tension, but it seems like it would be a good power to give to villains.

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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Woodclaw » Tue Oct 23, 2018 10:20 am

Ares wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:34 am
Ken wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:27 am
The ability to detect that one is a comic book character, used to be VERY unique when it was Ambush Bug. Became less unique when She-Hulk started doing it. Now Deadpool does it, and everyone thinks it's a new thing.
Ambush Bug, She-Hulk, Animal Man, Deadpool, Gwenpool are all comics versions, while Batmite does it in the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon, and Foxbat does it in the various Champions products.

Of the bunch, Gwenpool is the one that annoys me the most, since with the rest of the characters they can either just be considered someone being insane or being silly. Gwenpool uses actual comic book tropes as if she's actually in a story in a way the others don't. Like, she gets released from jail, not because of any escape, but because "Villains never stay in jail for a long time". It just . . . kills the immersion for me. Which yes, probably sounds silly when I'm talking about a superhero setting, but it just bugs me.
That kind of stuff was actually pretty typical of the first Sensational She-Hulk issues by John Byrne. There were momets when Jen moved from place to place jumping through the panels and so on.
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Re: Superheroes with unique ability sets

Post by Spectrum » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:36 pm

Can I put forward pretty much any character in the Grant Morrison version of Doom Patrol? I loved how completely bizarre they took each character.

I think that the coolest was the first Brotherhood of Dada

The Fog
Byron Shelley gained the ability to turn into a psychedelic death cloud capable of absorbing people. The people he absorbed could still communicate, and the voices started to drive him mad. After he absorbed Doom Patrol member Crazy Jane, she and her multiple personalities traumatized the people inside him. He was apparently named after Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Frenzy
Lloyd Malcolm Jefferson was an illiterate man whose mother had abandoned him. He wore a garish outfit covered with symbols, a top hat with a green flower, and two bicycle wheels on his back. He could turn into a living cyclone.

Sleepwalk
Holly McKenzie was a British girl who had tremendous power, but only when she was asleep. To avoid waking, she took sleeping pills and wore headphones that played Barry Manilow. She had the outlines of two faces painted around her eyes.

The Quiz
A Japanese woman with a fear of dirt, The Quiz had every power you hadn't thought of. To make her lose a power, you had to think it. Because of her fear of dirt, she wore a long gown/gas mask that was decorated with question marks similar to the Riddler's outfit. The powers she exhibited were: flight, mimicking appearances, turning people to glass, turning back time, dematerialization, making things large, turning people into toilets filled with flowers, and the power to make escape-proof spirit jars.
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