Criminals don’t tend to go quietly and calmly into jail, especially when they’re super-strong or control giant robots. That’s why violence is pretty much the standard in comic books, but not all superheroes rely on energy beams or psychic powers or super-strong fists to get the job done. Some of them need a little help fighting crime with various tools. There are a lot of awesome weapons superheroes use, like Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield and Wolverine’s claws. Then there are a few that are less well-known, and others that are just plumb crazy. It’s the latter we love most, which is why CBR has put together this list of some of the most bizarre superhero weapons ever.
Let’s first point out that we’re not saying that these weapons are bad or useless. Some of them are really powerful, awesome and come in handy. They just strike us as odd, when you think too hard about them, which is what CBR is going to do (so you don’t have to). Some are well-known, and some are more obscure. A few only showed up once or twice, while others have been around since the Golden Age. Get ready to look into the weirdest collection of weapons ever seen in comic books.
15. CAP’S ELECTROSHIELD
Captain America’s shield is one of the most beloved weapons in comic book history, but in 1998, it seemed like Marvel decided Captain America needed an upgrade. In Captain America #451 (Mark Waid, Ron Garney), he was sent into exile, so he was given a new energy-based “photon shield.” That’s basically a force field in the shape of his old shield. It could be thrown and also take the shape of other weapons like a staff, sword or a rope. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t the same. Even though it had more uses, it wasn’t as cool or iconic as a bulletproof star-spangled shield flying around. Captain America himself wasn’t happy with it, and was glad to get his regular shield back. Nothing beats the original.
14. SILVER SURFER’S SURFBOARD
First seen in Fantastic Four #48 in 1966 by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the Silver Surfer is the intergalactic herald for the world-destroyer, Galactus. His role is to find planets for his master to feed on. He of course gets his name from his silver surfboard, which he rides all willy-nilly through space. Yup, of all the arcane cosmic objects Galactus could have made for him, he chose a surfboard.
On the surface, it’s really nothing more than a silver plank that doesn’t provide any protection or support. He could have made a bubble for Silver Surfer to ride in or, you know, a spaceship. Instead, he gave the Surfer a thin board to ride around on, which would be goofy as hell if it wasn’t so damn powerful! It may not have guns, but many times throughout his series, it is seen as his connection to not just the cosmos but his mighty power cosmic. You also don’t want to be on its business end if it’s coming at you at light-speed.
13. THE ULTIMATE NULLIFIER
The Ultimate Nullifier is one of the most powerful weapons in the Marvel Universe. The Nullifier made its first appearance in 1966 with Fantastic Four #50 (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby), where they used it to stop Galactus from destroying the Earth. The Ultimate Nullifier can destroy anything the user wants, from individual beings to entire timelines. It’s said to be the only thing Galactus fears, which is probably why he keeps it on his ship.
This one is kind of on the same level as the Miracle Machine, a ridiculously powerful weapon in the hands of mere humans. The idea of a weapon that blows up anything you want should be an easy gimme for any superhero, but it’s only been used a handful of times in the comics. Part of the problem with the weapon is that it can easily destroy the user as well.
12. GREEN ARROW’S BOXING GLOVE
Green Arrow’s main skill (his superpower, if you like) is his acumen with a bow and arrow. While he can use regular arrows, he’s created a bunch of custom arrowheads or trick arrows for different occasions. He has exploding arrows, rope arrows and flaming arrows, but one of his most popular arrows was the arrow with a boxing glove on the end of it.
Apparently, at one point, he asked himself, “How do you make a lethal weapon non-lethal? What can I shoot at somebody that won’t actually kill them?” The boxing glove was his best idea. Of course, someone could argue he could just run up and punch someone himself. Well, sometimes (as he once put it) he wants to punch someone who’s really far away.
11. BATMAN’S SHARK REPELLENT
On 1966’s Batman TV show, one of the running gags (and occasional plot device) was the idea that Batman carried every conceivable object he could ever need. If you tried to shoot him, he’d break out a Bat-shield. If you tried to poison him, he’d have a Bat-antidote to cure himself. If a shark jumped on him, he had his Bat-Shark Repellent.
In the 1966 Batman movie, Batman was hanging from a helicopter over the ocean when a shark chomped down on his leg. To get it off, Robin handed him a can labelled Bat-Shark Repellent that Batman sprayed on the shark like Raid on a roach. Why would Batman keep a can of shark-repellent on his helicopter? The same reason he had cans of barracuda-repellent and whale-repellent right next to it; Batman’s always prepared.
10. ANT-MAN’S CATAPULT
Ant-Man first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 in 1962 as a brilliant scientist named Hank Pym, who discovered Pym Particles, which allow him to grow and shrink at will. Since his invention, Ant-Man has used his power to fight crime. He’s also used his genius to make other weapons, like his helmet that allows him to communicate with ants, and the robot Ultron. One of his strangest inventions was a simple catapult.
One of the drawbacks to being the size of an ant is that it takes a long time to get places. Sometimes, he would ride on a flying ant, but other times he used his gun-like cannon to shoot himself places he needed to go. The worst part is that he would make a pile of ants to cushion his landing, which probably killed many of them. Cold-blooded.
9. THE ENCEPHALO-GUN
Reed Richards has one of the most brilliant scientific minds on Earth, matched only by Doctor Doom’s combination of genius and sorcery. Doom’s only wish is to prove himself smarter than Reed, and in Fantastic Four Annual #2 (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Chic Stone), Reed suggested ending their feud once with his latest invention, the Encephalo-Gun.
By placing their foreheads against the machine, the gun would read their minds and send whoever was weaker to another dimension. Doom drank a toast to the idea, used the gun, and saw Reed disappear. It turned out that Reed had drugged Doom to make him think he had won. Did the Encephalo-Gun really work at all or was it just a trick? Why would Reed make a gun for thinking someone to death? Who knows. The point is, it was really weird.
8. THE MIRACLE MACHINE
Imagine if Aladdin’s genie could be weaponized. That’s the Miracle Machine. Quite simply, it brings thoughts to life and makes them reality. It was first used in Adventure Comics #367 in 1968 by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan. It was last used in 2009’s Final Crisis when Superman wished for a happy ending to the “story.”
The fact that such a ridiculous deus ex machina exists is the weird part. Imagine if the Miracle Machine was a part of Batman’s arsenal, how he could just wish for all the criminals on Earth to disappear. Unfortunately, it also has a sort of monkey’s paw quality, where it brings all your thoughts to life, including the dangerous or ridiculous things. That’s why it’s been used only four times in the DC universe, and it’s been world-shattering each time.
7. GOLDBALLS’ GOLD BALLS
The year 2012 brought a new hero to the Marvel Universe in Uncanny X-Men #1 (Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo). In the issue, Fabio Medina was being robbed when he manifested a new mutant power, which was to shoot golden balls out of his skin. The balls would fire out with an audible POINK!, bounce around and be absorbed back into his body. After showing his power, he was invited to join the X-Men, where he chose his new name, Goldballs.
The power itself isn’t too bad, since shooting an infinite number of hard balls at people is pretty devastating. It’s just the medium that’s weird. We could easily make jokes about a guy named Goldballs, but obviously Marvel thought of that when creating the superhero. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if that was the whole point.
6. MOON KNIGHT’S GOLDEN ANKH
In 1975, Werewolf by Night #32 (Doug Moench and Don Perlin) introduced Moon Knight as a moon-themed supervillain, but he was so popular that he was given his own comic series as a superhero. He was pretty much Marvel’s Batman; a billionaire playboy who used moon-shaped throwing darts and a moon-shaped helicopter.
In 1985’s Moon Knight #2 (Alan Zelenetz, Chris Warner), Moon Knight was given new weapons from the Priests of Khonshu, including a truncheon in the shape of an ankh. The weird part is that he already used a straight truncheon up until this point. Making it a truncheon with a loop at the top looked cool, but didn’t really add anything. It also turned out the ankh had been made by a time-displaced Hawkeye. That’s a lot of work to go to for a golden stick.
5. BLUE BEETLE’S B.B. GUN
Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, is a superhero who relies on various gadgets in his war on crime, like Batman with an insect fixation. The Blue Beetle gun or B.B. Gun is a non-lethal pistol that’s made to shoot a blast of compressed air or flash a bright light to distract or stop his enemies. He first used it in Charlton Premiere #3 in 1968, and rarely put it down since. While it’s really heroic for Blue Beetle to make a non-lethal weapon for combat, puffing out air or flashing lights in people’s faces doesn’t seem that effective. He could have made a gun that shoots tranquilizer darts or gives electric shocks. Still, the B.B. gun served Ted Kord well and he always kept it by his side.
4. SUPERMAN’S ROBOTS
In the Silver Age, Superman had a lot more gadgets than he has now. Most of them were kept in the Fortress of Solitude, where he also kept an army of super-strong robot duplicates of himself that also had some of his powers. The robots would often be used to defend the Fortress or take care of his stuff when he wasn’t around.
What’s weird is that he rarely used them outside of his Fortress, except when he wanted to fool people into thinking they were really him or there was kryptonite around to be scooped up. Why didn’t he send the robots out to fight crime or save people when he wasn’t around? He also could have given just one of his robots to scientists to analyze and change the world. That makes these inventions not only weird, but also makes Supes kinda selfish.
3. DOCTOR STRANGE’S PINCERS OF POWER
Doctor Strange has a wide collection of items to fight evil, but one of the most bizarre weapons came up in Strange Tales #140 (Steve Ditko). In the story, Doctor Strange was challenged by his enemy Dormammu to a fight. The fight allowed only one weapon: the Pincers of Power. When Doctor Strange accepted, the two got their pincers and had at it. Sadly, we never got to see who won the fight, because Strange was shot before the duel ended.
The Pincers of Power are pretty much what they were called. If lobsters used magic, they would have Pincers of Power instead of claws. That’s not to say that they couldn’t be deadly, but some fans thought the Pincers looked pretty silly. That might be why we haven’t seen the pincers since then.
2. PUNISHER’S ANGELIC MACHINE GUNS
The Punisher is one of the simplest superheroes in comics today, which is probably why he’s so popular. A former Vietnam War veteran, his family was gunned down by the Mafia, leaving him driven to hunt criminals with the skills he learned in the military. The Punisher’s main weapons have been conventional: guns, knives and grenades. In 1998’s Punisher: Purgatory (Christopher Golden, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Bernie Wrightson), the Punisher went through a radical change: death. He committed suicide and was brought back to life as an angel of death.
Lots of fans have said how badly this mini-series messed up the Punisher, but his guns don’t get enough hate. Instead of using real machine guns, the Punisher had spiky glowing guns like H.R. Giger worked for Smith and Wesson. Thankfully, Angel Punisher didn’t last too long.
1. DOGWELDER’S DOGWELDER
In 1997, Hitman #18 (Garth Ennis, John McCrea) introduced Section 8, the worst group of superheroes in the DC universe. One of their most memorable members was Dogwelder, a psychotic crimefighter who’s feared by criminals almost as much as Batman… if not more. That’s because he permanently welds dead dogs to the faces of criminals. That’s it, but it’s truly a horrible thing. Even his own teammates are afraid of him.
Why is his welding equipment on the list of weird superhero weapons? Do we have to say it again? Alright… He freaking welds dead dogs onto people’s faces. There’s not much else you need to say about that being straight-up weird AF. Dogwelder’s seen guns and swords and bombs, and said, “You know what? I’m sticking with a dead dog and a blowtorch.” You have to admire his commitment to a theme.
Are there any weirder weapons that you can think of? Let us know in the comments!