Comic book characters, both heroes and villains, are some of the strongest fictional icons ever created. Despite their cheesy origins, their powers are beyond anything we could accomplish as an entire race and they're much larger than life. Even the weaker superheroes and supervillains are much stronger than anything we could achieve on our own. However, in order to prevent the heroes from being overpowered in every issue, their writers had to come up with a few ways of balancing them so that there would some sort of conflict without one side constantly winning over the other. This often came in the form of a special weakness that would often be exploited. In the case of a hero's weakness, villains would constantly use it to gain the upper hand. In the case of a villain's weakness, it's often the only special way that they can be defeated at all.
While there are some weaknesses that make a lot of sense, there are many that are just plain weird. With many items that characters are weak to, it almost seems like some mutated allergy rather than a legitimate weakness. It's a good thing that a lot of those weaknesses have since been thrown out of the comic world, but the moments involving them are so cringe-worthy that we'll never forget them. Get ready to look at the most powerful heroes and villains in a different way as we explore the 20 weirdest comic book weaknesses to ever be put in the pages.
20 SAYING HIS NAME
When Billy Batson was originally referred to as Captain Marvel, it was easy to see how that would translate to him saying "Shazam" and turning into a hero imbued with the power of the gods. However, his name was later changed to Shazam so as to not confuse him with a Marvel Comics character.
The problem now is that his name is the word he says to transform back and forth between a hero and a little boy. Because of this, he can't introduce himself while he's flying around, or he'll immediately transform back into Billy Batson and probably be permanently stopped in the process. Good thinking, DC.
19 THE COLOR YELLOW
The Green Lanterns are some of the strongest protectors in the DC Universe, but they do have one fatal weakness in the color yellow. No we're not making this up. Because the enemies of the Green Lanterns are the Yellow Lanterns, the color yellow is forever tied to them as well as linked to Parallax (and fear itself transitively).
As a result, if a Green Lantern comes into contact with the color yellow, it immediately begins draining their powers, regardless if it comes from a Yellow Lantern or not. Is it worth being a Green Lantern if you can never eat a banana ever again?
18 PAPER PLANES
Daredevil is blind, but that rarely stops him from taking on multiple foes at once. He can sense just about anything with his hearing, smell, and touch. Even Bullseye can't get the drop on him because Daredevil can hear something as light as loading of a gun from a great distance. However, Bullseye decided to try something new.
Putting together a paper plane, he tossed it at the Man Without Fear. Unable to hear the plane until the very last second, Daredevil was unable to dodge it and was struck in the head. Defeated by a piece of paper is definitely not something he'd want to put on his resume.
Superman's weakness to Kryptonite is quite odd, but it's one that's often pointed out. But it's his second weakness, magic, that we felt was more deserving of this list. Kryptonite at least makes some sort of sense, having a tie to Superman's home planet. Magic, on the other hand, practically came out of nowhere.
Superman is an all-powerful alien who has protected the universe from all sorts of evils time and time again. Yet, if someone can tap into the dark arts, the Man of Steel becomes useless. While it's naturally difficult to fight a magic-user with punches, making a character downright weak to it is an odd choice.
Luke Cage has the luxury of bulletproof skin, meaning that he is one of the most difficult superheroes to take down. However, there are a few things that are strong enough that they can deal some damage. One of them is a laser.
Luke Cage needed surgery once and the only way to cut him open was to use a high-powered laser. If he decides that, suddenly, he wants to get out of the streets of Harlem and work with the Avengers, he probably won't be nearly as effective, considering how many big-time villains use powerful lasers to get the job done.
Brainiac is a character that invades other planets. With his superior technology, he usually requires the cooperation of the entire Justice League to defeat. However, he does have one serious weakness: bacteria really gets to him. Normally, he stays in his massive skull ship when he invades other planets, but if he were to leave it an be exposed to bacteria, that would end the invasion then and there.
Considering that bacteria is everywhere on the planet Earth, that puts a serious limitation on his fights with the Justice League. All they had to do is get him out of the ship and rub him in the dirt a few times.
14 MURAMASA SWORD
Wolverine is one of the toughest superheroes ever created. With his Adamantium skeleton and his divine healing factor, he can recover from just about any wound. However, there is one item that can put him down for good: the Muramasa Sword. There were two of these mystical blades put in existence, and their mysterious properties could cut Wolverine and prevent his healing factor from triggering.
One was even made for Wolverine, which he decided to use in rainy situations. He didn't use to end his own life, but he cut off Sabretooth's head after the villain went on a rampage.
DC has done a lot of work to make Aquaman not a joke-worthy character, but there's still a lot of history that will never be completely overcome. Being the King of Atlantis, Aquaman spends most of his time underwater talking to fish. However, there are several times he has to come above ground and deal with matters on land.
The drawback is that if he spends too much of his time above the sea, he will start to get dehydrated fairly quickly and instantly lose all of his powers. That's not the case so much anymore, but there was a time when Aquaman was only a competent hero when he was surrounded by water.
Alan Scott is a bit of a different Green Lantern from Hal Jordan or John Stewart. Instead of just using a Lantern Ring, he has the power of the Starheart, which grants him all of the magic collected by the Guardians. He has a lot more potential in combat than a standard Green Lantern, but he is also presented with another weakness: wood and plant life.
The reasoning behind it is that the green energy that he uses represents all "green and growing things." Because of this, he cannot affect wood, plants, or just about anything else along those lines.
Spider-Man, with all of his spider powers, can climb up walls, shoot web out of his artificially-made shooters, and even use his spider sense to feel danger coming before it actually hits him. However, it also gives him a weakness that all other spider characters have: Ethyl Chloride.
This deadly chemical is so effective against the wall-crawler that several villains have actually used it against him to subdue him. There isn't much that Spidey can do when bad guys start whipping out the bug spray. In a high enough dosage, Ethyl Chloride actually has the potential to kill him.
10 LOW CONFIDENCE
Captain Britain is a symbol of hope across the pond, but he has a lot more powers than Captain America. Being gifted his powers through magic, he can fly, move really quickly, and is extremely strong: all the things that you might expect from a standard superhero. However, his powers are tied to his self-esteem.
The more confidence he has in himself, the powerful he becomes. The less he feels about himself, the less effective he will be in battle. Theoretically, you could have his sister show up and tell him that he's the worst only to watch him lose his next battle.
The Human Torch has a lot of impressive powers that stem from the fact that he can turn into a man that's constantly on fire. He can shoot flames, fly around at high speeds, and hug people to death. However, if there's one thing he isn't prepared for, it's asbestos.
Back in the day, asbestos was a substance that was used frequently until it was discovered that it was actually toxic. Because of this, there were a few times where lame villains would take asbestos and fight the Human Torch. The worst part is that it actually worked and he couldn't do anything about it.
Fin Fang Foom is one of the largest Marvel villains ever created and can destroy entire cities. Being a massive legendary dragon, it takes a lot of effort to bring him down. However, with some quick thinking and a trip to China, defeating Fin Fang Foom isn't that hard.
The reason is that this massive dragon has a weakness to a special Chinese leaf. Put it in his vicinity, and he'll fall right down. As long as that lead is next to him, he can't wake up from his slumber. All Iron Man has to do is keep a stockpile of these at Avengers Tower and that's one problem solved.
Namor the Submariner is one of the toughest characters in the Marvel Universe. Being both an Avenger and an X-Man, he has gotten around quite a bit. On top of that, he tends to be much more violent than his fellow superheroes and mutants, which makes him a bit of a hothead.
However, if you want to get the drop on him, all you have to do is pollute his waters. Polluted waters dampen his powers and render him fairly useless. Considering that he lives on the planet Earth, that seems like an extremely debilitating weakness that would affect him a lot.
Martian Manhunter and the others like him came from Mars after it was practically destroyed. When he came to Earth, he used his superior telepathic and physical abilities to become a member of the Justice League and the keeper of the Watchtower. However, he has one fatal weakness that makes it difficult for him to fight evil all the time.
Martian Manhunter and every other Martian in the DC Universe is weak to fire: a highly-used substance on Earth. Because of this, he is subdued very quickly if anyone shoots any flames around him, leaving the rest of the League to get the job done.
5 NAME SAID BACKWARDS
Mr. Mxyzptlk (often referred to as Mr. Mxy for simplicity) is one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. Being an imp from the 5th Dimension, he has access to all sorts of magic, he can manipulate reality itself to suit his desires. He often toys with Superman, knowing that he could easily defeat the Man of Steel if he so wished it.
However, he does have one weakness: saying, typing, or reading his name backward. If this happens, then he has to return home and leave Superman alone. Believe it or not, this is something that Superman accomplished fairly easily.
Ulysses Klaw's body was transformed when he jumped into a sonic converter device (he was desperate to gain the upper hand against the Wakandans). His strategy worked and he was a being that was comprised of "living sound" and had tons of abilities that made him stronger.
However, he has an innate weakness to Vibranium, as it can make his body composition unstable. What makes this so weird is that he is a villain of Wakanda, which is home to Vibranium. If Klaw decided to fight other heroes in other parts of the world, he would be much more effective.
3 NATURAL MATERIAL
Power Girl has abilities that are identical to Supergirl's and Superman's, being a Kryptonian from another Earth. She has appeared several times in DC Comics history to fight all sorts of villains. However, instead of a weakness to Kryptonite, she possess a weakness to natural materials.
The problem with this is that natural materials are in greater supply on Earth than Kryptonite ever would be. One could essentially poke Power Girl with a stick over and over again and there's nothing she could do about it. She'd just have to accept it.
X-23 is a clone of Wolverine, so you can imagine that she's had it pretty rough since her creation. As such, she behaves similarly to Logan, having the same extreme temper, but with a bit more ferocity. The problem is that rage is her weakness, as it causes her to become uncontrollable and unfocused, leaving her vulnerable to all sorts of punishment (from those who know how to handle her).
It's weird that a character based on Wolverine, who stakes his claim with his temper, has a weakness that revolves around that very same temper. It's unfair to poor Laura.
1 A MINUTE
Thor Odinson is the rightful wielder of Mjolnir, which helps to give him his powers as the God of Thunder. Unfortunately, it does have a caveat. There are times when Thor has to let go of Mjolnir. However, he has to reclaim the hammer within 60 seconds or he loses his powers and turns into a normal human.
What makes this worse is that, if someone else worthy picked up the hammer after that, Thor would lose all rights to it. 60 seconds certainly isn't a long amount of time, so it seems like a very extreme weakness for someone who is trying to protect the Nine Realms.