There’s two main reasons why superheroes get super hammered: because they hate their life or because they love their life. On one hand, cool powers, adoring fans, great bodies, and friendly teammates make it a fantastic gig. On the other hand, being a superhero can be super lonely, because not everyone understands what the job entails. It’s not enough to have abnormal abilities, because having those abilities can just as easily get you ostracized from society as praised by it. Often times, people dislike what is different. They don’t trust it, because it isn’t something that they regularly encounter, and the change makes them uncomfortable or even fearful.
Beyond that, there’s guilt around not being able to save everyone every time, the deaths of friends, and sordid pasts or personal histories. For whatever reason they choose, superheroes hit the bottle, hard, and some of them fare better than others. Sometimes super healing abilities hinder getting a good buzz going, and it requires some concerted effort. Sometimes, super abilities won’t even happen unless a good buzz is going. Imagine if your powers depended on you getting absolutely obliterated? CBR explores the 15 superheroes that can’t hold their liquor quite so well, and what super fails happen when they don’t.
Superhumans have a hard time getting super wasted, and if you’re Wolverine, it’s even harder to maintain your buzz. He has a crazy fast metabolism/healing power, but that doesn’t stop him. In every film adaptation and in the vast majority of his comics, Wolverine is seen beer in hand or at a bar. Like Jessica Jones, it simply takes more to get him drunk, and he’s a mean drunk.
You’d be a miserable drunk too if you’d been living through several World Wars, and been brutally injured in a variety of excruciating ways. And it comes in handy, as in the Astonishing X-Men series, where Wolverine’s mind is psychically attacked by the Hellfire Club. The only trigger to help him remember who he is becomes a damn can of beer, which he chugs like Popeye and a can of spinach, before dealing out a can of butt-whooping.
14. IRON MAN
Tony Stark has it all — the tech, the million-dollar mansions, the girls, the Iron Man suit. So what could possibly cause him to throw back one too many martinis? In “Demon in a Bottle”, his rival Justin Hammer attempts to kill him while simultaneously hacking into the Iron Man suit and frame him for murder with a carefully aimed repulsor blast.
The death of an innocent causes him to drink excessively, electrocute a Hammer Industries guard for merely suggesting he hydrate, and handle the Iron Man suit with all the care of a Hulk in a china shop. He misses personal engagements, verbally abuses Jarvis, and starts sleeping around. Things get really bad when in a case of flying while drunk, he unleashes chlorine gas all over some policemen. He uses that genius IQ to eventually lay off the sauce.
They say an Irishman is either born to drink or driven to it, and spending your days hunting down metahumans and demons might just give the likes of Tommy Monaghan, assassin-for-hire, a taste for it. Born in Gotham’s impoverished Irish quarter (the “Cauldron”), he came by his alcoholic ways by being attacked by a parasite and having it trigger his metagene.
This gave him X-ray vision and some telepathic powers, which he uses (along with considerable mental aptitude) to go after big contracts. Using his powers for extended periods of time drains him of energy and leaves him feeling pretty crappy, which is where the booze comes in. It’s during Hitman #1, while trailing a supernatural threat, that he encounters Gotham’s Dark Knight and, after a slurry introduction, barfs on the Bat’s boots.
Some could say it’s unfair that some superheroes can’t get buzzed at all (i.e., Captain America), but some can really let loose while having the same command of their powers. Thor outmatches Captain America’s powers in every way, yet has a similar large, muscular appearance. Like a cautionary tale against steroid usage, the Super Soldier serum that gave Cap a similar physique increases his metabolism so much that no amount of alcohol would affect him.
However, when Odin took Mjolnir away from Thor, he was able to get drunk on Earth because his powers were much less potent, whereas in Asgard he would require Asgardian ale. Thor regularly engages in drinking contests with his fellow superheroes, some of which, such as with Hercules, cause him to regret it.
11. JESSE CUSTER
Despite his higher calling, Jesse Custer spends the vast majority of his time shuffling between bar and holy house. In the opening scenes of the Preacher series, he rises from his bed, stumbles half-drunk to aright the sign on the front of his church, and prepares to give an extremely hungover sermon written decades before by his famed preacher father. By the end of the pilot episode, he’s gotten into a barfight with a local and enjoyed himself.
One might wonder why a cynical drunkard remains a preacher? Well, being imbued with an otherworldly entity and believing your soul will literally burn for all eternity if you don’t do the good Lord’s work might make the choice easy. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, and the flawed dynamic of having a vice while trying to live without sin is one of the most compelling aspects of his character.
10. CAROL DANVERS
Once a valued member of the Avengers, Ms. Marvel’s powers began to deplete and, not wanting to be shown up by her peers, she hid this fact from them. What she couldn’t hide, however, was a growing drinking problem, one which Tony Stark could immediately spot. She became reckless and sloppy, determined to prove her worth but hindered by her secrets. It ultimately resulted in her being court-martialed, and her quitting the team just as the Avengers went up against a rebel faction of Kree.
Though she desperately wanted to help them, she didn’t have the capabilities to join the fray. Soon after, she was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. In a fit of drunken rage she’d almost taken out a plane full of innocent people, almost killing herself in the process — she’d hit rock bottom. After accepting her alcoholism and attending AA, she was permitted to rejoin the Avengers.
9. THE THING
Ben Grimm is known for hosting the drinking and poker nights of his superhero friends (along with Jarvis!), in which the Thing (who resembles a pile of inanimate objects) is often reduced to a huge can-can dancing marionette. Their “floating” poker parties are legendary, pulling in the likes of Nick Fury, Wolverine, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, etc. In fact, on one occasion involving plenty of drinking, Thing and She-Hulk remain the last ones at the table swilling beers.
After some cat and mouse flirtatious games, in which Thing is too plastered to understand She-Hulk’s hints, and She-Hulk is too plastered not to find a pile of rocks more attractive after each beer, She-Hulk decides to throw caution to the wind and make out with him. Clearly the booze tempers any chafing that would occur from such an action.
8. THE INTOXICATOR
“I’m never drinking again.” says everyone, ever, after a long night of tying one off. Too bad it can’t be that way for valedictorian Elwood Johns who, after being caught up in an explosion involving the experimental Ax-Cell-Erator, gains powers based on whatever happened to be on his mind at the moment. Since that happened to be getting his first drink, he became The Intoxicator, able to share his buzz with anyone, incapacitating them to such an extreme extent that they can be easily overpowered.
This requires him to, by varying degrees, get absolutely blackout drunk, and often times suffer extreme hangovers for the good of fighting evil. Obligatory drinking in order to have his powers takes a lot of the fun away from it, especially since the only way to incapacitate others seems to be to incapacitate himself.
7. THE PUNISHER
Though Frank Castle is against all things criminal, he still has his vices. The massacre of your family might make you want a beer or five, and in Punisher: War Zone #3, it’s just how Thor chooses to approach the vigilante. After the Avengers have already sent Black Widow and Spider-Man after the man now placed at the top of their “Most Wanted” list, it’s the God of Thunder that decides the best approach is to fight him and then, drink with him.
Since we all know a fight ends in feasting and drinking with Thor, he’d prefer to get to that part with Frank and perhaps offer an olive branch. Their rooftop battle ends with them cracking open a few cold ones, and Thor dispensing a few truths that hit the Punisher like a lightning bolt. “You have made war so you can murder.”
6. GIN GENIE
A member of the X-Statix and a mutant, Gin Genie basically has the same problem as The Intoxicator. She has the ability to generate massive seismic waves, but they’re only equal to the level of alcohol in her blood at the time. If she, say, mixes her alcohols, she can get tremors, which aren’t all that conducive to her controlling her seismic powers and helping her teammates.
Because she’s an abusive alcoholic, she’s quite a nasty drunk, and often times, she’ll aim her own seismic waves at her peers. Not only does she have the pressure to act the part of a superhero, but the X-Statix team were specifically designed to be media stars, much like members of a reality show. She doesn’t always handle the television appearances well, and turns to a bottle for help.
Matt Murdock is something of a brooding drunk. In the series Daredevil, he spends equal time between the local bar and his apartment, which is more often than not littered with beer cans. There are many reasons he would drink; living in a city that makes you feel abjected, feeling alone in your blindness, or feeling like you can’t save everyone.
In Daredevil #220, his engagement to Heather Glenn is called off (unbeknownst to him it’s because of a rouse involving Foggy and Black Widow) and, being a proud man, he won’t go to her when she calls out of the blue begging for help. When he does finally go to her apartment, she’s hung herself, and though he goes after some random mob goons thinking it’s a murder, you know that he feels deeply responsible. Drinking provides some solace, but it can’t drive all his devils away.
Perhaps one of the most famous drunk superheroes, Hancock shows what happens when a reckless, perpetually intoxicated superhuman costs his city millions of dollars with his antics. Criticized when he comes to crime scenes and jeered when he offers to help anyone, one wonders why he doesn’t just lay off the hard stuff and straighten himself out.
Everyday he wakes up angry at a world that has no answers for why he has the superpowers he does, and why he can’t remember where he got them. Because of the isolation he feels from being the only superhuman like himself, he turns to alcohol for comfort. Only when he discovers there are others like him, does he begin to turn away from it, but it raises questions about the inherent loneliness a superhero experiences as they choose a path few can follow.
Since the Thing and She-Hulk were fond of getting wasted together and making out, they decided to go ahead and make it official. When they finally go on a legitimate date (because making out after all your superhero friends leave the poker party doesn’t count), She-Hulk orders a “double Black Jack on the rocks” but holds the rocks. The Thing isn’t used to this brash, confident, assertive woman in his life and is pretty uncomfortable most of the time.
In She-Hulk #1, it opens with her and Thor having beers, and she spends the majority of her time drinking and looking for work after she gets fired from her fancy lawyer position. While it doesn’t make her out to be the confident, ballsy chick she was in the mid ’80s, it keeps her love of whiskey alive, and she stops when it may cost her her next job.
As an Englishman, there’s almost always a pint in Constantine’s hand. It’s the only way he can get handle having his soul essentially up for grabs to either Satan or the Almighty. If he performs enough exorcisms to cleanse the world of demons, though, he has a shot of going through the pearly gates. He spends his time hanging around the aptly named Father Hennessy, who is both handy in a fight and as a drinking buddy.
Even in the start of the Hellblazer series, when Constantine packs up his life in the UK and moves to NYC for a fresh start, the first place he goes to is a bar. On one occasion there, drinking a beer laced with something special from Papa Midnite makes him hallucinate so much he’s running up to monstrous looking pedestrians and screaming at them as if they’re demons.
1. JESSICA JONES
Blended Scotch and Jessica Jones are as inseparable as Wolverine from his adamantium claws. In the series, a bottle of Teacher’s or Cutty Sark is never far from her nightstand, and trusty Jim Beam is a constant companion on many a midnight stakeout. She’ll occasionally class it up with some Hudson’s or some Maker’s Mark, but by and large she’s going through it so fast, why waste the good stuff on an enhanced human being who, much like Wolverine, will burn through its effects too fast to enjoy it?
While she may be a functioning alcoholic, often selecting entire bottles of booze, overeating and sleeping, it’s just a mechanism that allows her to carry out her everyday life. Though it isn’t addressed, if she ever stopped, would she be engulfed by the depression caused by a life of one traumatic event after the other?
Are there any other heroes that would be a drag to drink with? Let us know in the comments!
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