The comic book landscape has certain characters that are timeless, and these are the ones who define the genre’s popularity. We’re all aware of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the like because we know who they are and what their powers involve.
Still, there are DC characters out there that the mainstream audience is aware of, but can’t understand just exactly what their abilities can do. This is because these characters are generally out of focus, or because their true powers have never been given the right platform to shine. Sometimes, these powers are only used sparingly in order to make their actual use a more incredible event. Here are 10 such characters from DC comics whose powers are explained.
10 Plastic Man
This guy’s been treated as more of a joke than anything else in recent times, but public perception might change since it was reported a Plastic Man movie might be out somewhere down the line. His powers aren’t actually something to be shy about either.
He can change sizes, shapes, density, and be completely creative with his physiology. His density variation means he can turn himself thin as liquid or hard as a rock; he can change his appearance completely and take on the face of another person. Not only are his powers physical based, in JLA #88, it was mentioned that he can’t be harmed telepathically. Finally, in a Justice League story that took place 3,000 years in the future, Plastic Man was revealed to still be alive by distributing his molecules at the bottom of the ocean.
9 Darkseid (Omega Beams)
He’s the greatest villain in the DC Universe for sure, but Darkseid’s true powers have always been a thing of wonder for fans not intimately familiar with him. You know his powers of super strength, genius, and invulnerability, but it is the matter of his Omega Beams that have stumped people on more than one occasion.
To put your doubts to rest, Darkseid’s Omega Beams are unique in that they can bend to his will. Once locked on a target, the Beams will chase them endlessly no matter what twist or turn the target might take, unless they hit something else along the way. The Omega Beams also serve as a temporary death; this means that should Darkseid disintegrate someone, they can be brought back to life by him once more. The Omega Beams can also be used to teleport someone.
In the DCAU, this android kept evolving itself to such a degree that there were apparently no limits to it. We’re not even kidding, AMAZO was so powerful he could make a planet disappear from orbit just by thinking it.
However, the confusion surrounding him is what exactly his powers include. The clear answer is that he can just take any attribute of a super-powered being, and replicate it. Whatever gives someone power, it will be emulated by AMAZO. The only limitation to his power so far has been chaos magic, which is something that can repel back any attack against it. Other than that, if you can think of any power AMAZO could have, then he does have those powers.
7 Mister Mxyzptlk
You might have heard about this character in superhero forums, where comic book enthusiasts use him as the ultimate example of a powerful character. This one has been called the Bugs Bunny of the comic book universe, since his powers allow him to do anything – yes, that quite literally means anything.
His reality warping powers are unparalleled. Basically, if you’ve seen Looney Toons, you’ll have an idea about what those characters can achieve, which is bringing anything to life and not be restricted by physical limitations – this is what Mister Mxyzptlk’s powers are. His only weakness is having him say his name backwards, which is easy to achieve since the character is kind of an idiot.
6 The Question
Just looking at the Question makes you step back in shock seeing that the man doesn’t have a face, but you need to delve further into his character to understand who he is. For those scared of his appearance, you don’t need to be; the Question has no powers and does have a face.
He hides his appearance using a substance known as Pseudoderm, an artificial skin that plays the role of a mask and has air filters that also allow him to see. His “power” comes from being one of the greatest detectives in comic book history. His detective skills are on par with Batman, meaning you can’t hide anything from the Question and he’ll always get you if you’re guilty.
If you think he doesn’t look like much, then get this: Orion is the son of Darkseid. Being the child that was traded to Highfather over to New Genesis, Orion was raised as a good person, but his natural darkness that he inherited from his biological father makes him have emotional turmoil that has destructive potential.
Thus, Orion makes use of Mother Boxes to keep his powers in check, and these boxes are also implemented to grant him healing abilities and interdimensional travel. As far as “powers” go, Orion uses an energy known as the Astro Force. He has utilized these on his wristbands to act as a shield or repulsor – these are so strong, that Orion was able to stop Darkseid’s Omega Beams by creating an Astro Force shield.
4 Vandal Savage
Comic book characters rarely have just the one power of immortality, and have several other abilities to supplement this feature; however, Vandal Savage’s only power is the fact that he’s eternal. You probably caught him across various media, and it seems strange how he can challenge guys like Superman, leading you to be confused about if there’s more than meets the eye with Savage.
But immortality really is his sole power, which actually allows him to blend in extremely well in the world and manipulate events to his will. Unlike other characters, Vandal Savage is a true immortal, meaning he really can’t die by anything. In an episode of Justice League, Vandal Savage was shown to be the only survivor in the world after 30,000 years.
3 Doctor Fate
In all of his mainstream appearances, Doctor Fate is hardly seen casting magic powers, which makes you think he’s probably ridiculously powerful and is holding back. The truth is, he’s not all that powerful, at least not like Doctor Strange; if that’s who you were comparing him with. Doctor Fate’s abilities come from possessing the Helmet of Fate, something that makes him the sorcerer he is.
His brand of magic, though, is based on energy, a kind of ability that allows him convert matter either way as he wants it to be. The Helmet also gives him powers of flight, telepathy, super strength, and telekinesis, along with minor reality bending. However, one has to remember it is the Helmet of Fate providing him with these powers.
2 Solomon Grundy (DCAU)
This version of Solomon Grundy might have been the most powerful being we saw in the DC Animated Universe, had he not had the weakness of Hawkgirl’s mace. This Grundy was consumed by chaotic magic, something that confuses the viewer as to what his powers are.
His main ability here was absorbing energy. This was seen when Superman punched him, only for Grundy to catch that punch, absorb Superman’s energy, and render Superman powerless. He did the same against AMAZO, whose attempts at throwing Grundy in the sun were futile, as Grundy’s chaos magic absorbed and repelled AMAZO’s powers. All in all, he could absorb one’s energy and cast it back, and the only thing that could stop him was the mace, since it had Nth metal that negated magic.
1 Doctor Manhattan
As the Watchmen aren’t very popular, people don’t know what to make of Doctor Manhattan. If we’re being honest, this guy’s so boring that he doesn’t hold interest for too long. However, this boring personality hides the fact that he might be the most powerful creation from DC Comics.
You’ll be surprised to that Doctor Manhattan has been confirmed to be more powerful than Mister Mxyzptlk. He’s completely invulnerable, with nothing being able to harm him. He can disintegrate and reconstruct himself in seconds; he has no need of food, sleep, or even breathing; can teleport limitlessly anywhere; can see across time; he can just touch someone or something and destroy them; has telekinesis; can walk on the sun, and can create life. And these aren’t even all the powers he has! The only drawback is that he’s so uninteresting.