Let's face it, superheroes are gimmicky. It's kind of the basis of the superhero idea. Superheroes' powers, costumes and/or origins are usually based on a theme of sorts. A theme or a gimmick is a good place to start when coming up with a superhero, it makes for a base for the outfit and powers. However, most of the good superhero ideas were used up pretty early on into the superhero boom. Thus, we ended up with a lot of strangely-powered and themed characters who were doomed to future obscurity. To put it simply, they can't all be winners.
To be fair, it's not always a superhero's strange gimmick that makes them a flop, sometimes they're just unlikable. Some heroes are insufferable selfish crybabies or are just plain jerks. But, as terrible or ridiculous as some of these heroes are, they have their merits. In fact, if you look close enough, some of the most hated superheroes are actually pretty cool. In other words, don't judge a comic book by its cover! CBR decided to look into these lesser-loved superheroes and find some of their coolest traits to prove that even the most hated heroes can be awesome.
Let's start off with an obvious one. Aquaman has been the butt of countless superhero jokes and is, in most cases, thought to be one of the lamest DC characters. Sure, we might be getting a metal version of him in the upcoming Justice League movie, but most people still hate Aquaman. And who could blame them? He's useless out of the water... or is he?
Aquaman's Atlantean physiology is built for water, yes, but on land, he is just as, if not more powerful. Aquaman is super strong and nearly indestructible to combat water pressure, and the whole "talking to fish" thing that people find so lame? Bet they wouldn't think its lame if they were suddenly attacked by a horde of sharks. Plus, let's not forget that Aquaman is King of the ocean, you know, that thing that makes up over 70% of the world? Hail to the king.
Cyclops is pretty well-hated in most circles, and for pretty good reasons. He's a bit of a whiny jerk and isn't the greatest leader of the X-Men. Not to mention he's watched his wife die like 10 times and has slept with most of his female teammates. It's not hard to see why Cyclops is hated by most X-Men fans, but maybe we can convince them otherwise.
Cyclops as a concept is interesting because his character represents a lack of control. He had no control over his parents' deaths, he cannot control his power and he is the leader of the X-Men, who must thus always be in control. Cyclops might not do a whole lot to make himself well-liked both to his team members and comic readers. However, in terms of writing, and all of the evolutions he has gone through -- from straight-laced teacher's pet to hard-lined revolutionary -- Cyclops is a great character, a cool take on tragedy and control in superhero storytelling.
A tired joke amongst comic readers (and even lovers of the '90s X-Men cartoon) is that Jubilee's power is to "shoot fireworks." Yes, her powers look like shooting fireworks, but there's a lot more going on with the mutant's abilities. Some may think of Jubilee as a joke, but her powers are actually insanely cool. What look like fireworks are actually balls of plasma energy, of which Jubilee is capable of controlling the intensity, direction and speed.
Jubilee can use her "fireworks" to blind people, completely destroy something or even simulate a stroke by shooting them into people's brains. Does that sound lame to you? Didn't think so. Plus, Jubilee got even cooler when she was turned into a vampire after losing her powers, gaining abilities like super strength, super speed and turning into vapor.
As cringe-worthy as The Flash has made "vibing" sound, the comics version of Vibe is actually pretty awesome. Despite being a somewhat goofy, ridiculous character, Vibe's powers and history are pretty interesting. For one thing Vibe, A.K.A. Cisco Ramon, was a gang leader before he was a superhero and just straight up decided to be a hero after learning there was a new Justice League forming.
On the subject of Vibe's powers, who ever thought they were lame?! The guy creates massive shockwaves that can shatter steel. Sure he might dress kind of goofy, what with his dated breakdancer motif, but Vibe is actually incredibly powerful. Not only can he manipulate seismic activity, he can create interdimensional rifts by vibrating the very fabric of spacetime. That gives him a measure of control over the very nature of reality -- not bad for a joke!
Gwenpool originally started as a variant cover gag, but eventually evolved into a full-fledged character with her own series, even if it was an attempt to cash-in on the popularity of Spider-Gwen and Deadpool. Though she has no actual relation to Gwen Stacy besides her variant cover origins, Gwenpool's popularity sky-rocketed after her initial one-shot comic. However, there's definitely a detestable quality about the character that rubbed many fans the wrong way.
Despite this, Gwenpool's origin is actually super interesting and as a concept, she's a lot of fun. Since she started as a gag, writing a real origin for Gwenpool resulted in some pretty creative storytelling. Gwen Poole was a person from the "real world" (aka, our home dimension) who somehow travelled to the Marvel Universe; however, not wanting to be just a background person, she commissioned a costume and became a mercenary. Armed with all kinds of weapons and insider knowledge of comics makes her very powerful and very, very dangerous.
10 MATTER-EATER LAD
Okay, we know that Matter-Eater Lad is kind of lame, but hear us out on this one. Sure, Matter-Eater Lad's power -- to eat pretty much anything -- sounds ridiculous on paper, but think about how useful it really is. First, his origin story: Tenzil Kem hails from Bismoll (yup), a planet of aliens who developed the ability to eat all form of matter after their food become inedible.
Like all his people, Matter-Eater Lad — boy that name is a mouthful — can chew through and digest nearly any substance in the universe, even materials that are thought to be indestructible. Yes, you read that right, M-E-L can chew threw indestructible matter including Kryptonians. Sure it might not be the most applicable skill in a fight, but Matter-Eater Lad's power definitely has its uses... though its practical application might be equally haunting.
9 THE WONDER TWINS
It might be a bit of an exaggeration to say the Wonder Twins are hated, but they're not exactly everyone's favorite superheroes. Zan and Jayna are alien superheroes with shapeshifting abilities who were created for the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends cartoon. The Twins haven't appeared in much since Super Friends, possibly because their powers are sometimes perceived as being lame, but we can argue differently.
There's no need to argue that Jayna is awesome, since turning into animals is already a cool power. Her brother Zan on the other hand, can turn into different forms of water, usually transforming into a bucket of the stuff for Jayna to carry into battle. In later interpretations, however, Zan is shown transforming into floods, monsoons and tsunamis that are capable of destroying entire cities. Now that's one serious upgrade.
8 BOUNCING BOY
Matter-Eater Lad isn't the only Legionnaire on this list, and frankly, most superheroes in the Legion feel like "bottom of the barrel" ideas in the superpower department. One of the more ridiculous members of the Legion of Superheroes is Charles Forster Taine, also known as Bouncing Boy. One of the few non-alien Legion members, Bouncing Boy has the ability to inflate/shape-shift his body into an orb capable of bouncing at high-speeds, becoming somewhat invulnerable while doing so.
Bouncing Boy is essentially a human beach ball, and while that sounds pretty useless, it's kind of a great combination of offense and defense. Think about it: Bouncing boy can attack by pounding on enemies, then dodging a counter-attack, only to bounce back down with his own retaliation. Plus, gaining enough momentum could turn him into a giant human cannonball!
7 INFECTIOUS LASS
Speaking of the Legion of Superheroes, one of their many rejects (they have a lot of weird rules and bylaws) is Drura Sehpt, otherwise known as Infectious Lass. Drura is a Somahturan, an alien race whose bodies play host to a wide collection of microorganisms. In other words, Drurua is a walking petri dish of disease colonies. With little control over who she does and doesn't infect, Infectious Lass was rejected from the Legion of Superheroes.
But Infectious Lass isn't useless, she's just not great as a hero. Drura could unlock her full potential in being a mercenary, or even a full-fledged villain. She could use her powers to take out powerful people with painful illnesses or she could even rule over the world by acting as the only provider of the cures for her many diseases. Maybe she was meant to be an antagonist all along?
Before we even get into this one, can we all agree that Cypher is an amazing superhero/mutant name? Okay good, moving on. Doug Ramsey is a Mutant who premiered as one of the New Mutants and has the ability of omnilingualism, meaning he has the ability to understand and communicate through all forms of language, including alien and even computer-based languages. However, most foreign enemies and aliens in comics tend to just show up already speaking perfect English.
This makes Cypher's powers pretty useless, not just because there is no need for them, but also because they don't really have combat applications. But, this realization is what made writers get creative with Cypher, giving him unique twists on his linguistic powers. By understanding body language, Cypher became a master martial artist, by understanding the language of computers, he became a master hacker and he can even "read" the structural integrity of buildings. Sounds pretty awesome to us -- intelligence and offense.
Speedball first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22 and would later become a long-standing member of the New Warriors. However, he wasn't the most popular hero on the team, and his inclusion in the book turned some people away. But, writer Fabian Nicieza managed to make the character popular enough for his own mini-series.
Yet, Speedball still wasn't anyone's favorite, especially when he became Penance after the Stamford disaster of Civil War. Penance was much darker, punishing himself for the Stamford victims with spiked a costume that stabbed him constantly. As overly emo as that might seem, it's what makes him such an interesting character. He's a superhero who loves being a superhero, something you don't see often, and after the thing he loved cost so many lives, he had to find a way to pay for his sins while still doing what he loved.
4 MISTER IMMORTAL
Sure, "Mister Immortal" is a pretty lame and uninspired superhero name, but Craig Hollis is actually pretty cool. Mister Immortal is the founder and leader of the Great Lakes Avengers, a notoriously bad superhero team that is openly mocked by other Marvel superheroes. He formed the team after dying during his first outing as a solo superhero, only to come back right after. While the GLA are kind of lame, Mister Immortal is awesome.
Mister Immortal's power is, you guessed it, true immortality. He does not age, he does not get sick, he heals from any injury and can come back to life after death. By all purposes he is a being who has truly escaped death. Immortal has been described as being a kind of "super-mutant," meaning his mutant ability goes beyond being the "next step" in human evolution and is instead the "final step."
Dazzler might have her fans, but she's considered to be ridiculous and lame by some, especially for her strange powers and disco-inspired costume. Nowadays, Alison Blaire has been written to be cooler and less gimmicky, but she never needed the "upgrade." Dazzler's power is to convert sound into light, which sounds lame when put so simply, but theres more to it than that.
Initially, Dazzler used these powers to skyrocket her singing career, presenting dazzling light shows to go with her singing performances. Eventually, Dazzler found herself using her powers to fight alongside the X-Men. Though she dresses like a disco queen at times, Dazzler is much more than her outfit. She's not only an accomplished singer and dancer, her power is strong enough to produce massive lasers of light energy from even the smallest sounds.
Maggott is one of the grossest mutants ever to grace the pages of any X-Men comics — second perhaps only to Glob Herman. A mutant born and raised in South Africa, Maggott's abdomen houses two slug-like creatures that act as his digestive system, eating through any solid object at super speeds before returning to Maggott's body to give him the nutrients and a super-powered boost. While this power might be insanely gross, Maggott is not as weird as he seems.
Okay, he is weird since he's eccentric and flamboyant, but he's not lame. For one thing, Maggots are gross, but they also sound metal AF. Literally, the description of his mutation reads like lyrics to a death metal song. Furthermore, Maggott's slugs can actually enhance his abilities by feeding him mass nourishment to make him much stronger and faster.
1 B'WANA BEAST
B'wana Beast was once Mike Maxwell, a college graduate who planned on becoming an animal preserve ranger in Africa. On the way there, Mike's plane was struck by lightning and he was forced to take shelter in a cavern on Mt. Kilimanjaro. In the cave, he drank irradiated rain water that increased his strength and size and allowed him to defeat a mutant red ape. The ape then gave Mike a helmet that let him communicate with and control animals, which he used to become the protector of Africa.
With such a strange and convoluted origin story, it's no wonder B'Wana Beast faded into obscurity, but there is one thing that makes him incredibly awesome. One of the powers that B'Wana Beast gained was the ability to merge animals together into chimeras. This means the guy can make a crocodile-shark and command it to attack you! Yes, we agree, that is the coolest thing you've heard today. You're welcome.
Can you think of any other superheroes who don't deserve the hate? Let us know in the comments!