A key factor in making super-powered characters stand out in the comics landscape, aside from their design, history, and characterisation, is their array of superpowers. Some of these are so unique they’re inseparable from the character, such as Spider-Man’s web-spinning, while other powers, such as flight, are shared by many different heroes, each with a slightly different spin.
While there are the exceptions of superheroes without any real powers, like Batman and Daredevil, those characters still come with a clearly identifiable set of skills and gadgets.
However, many of our favourite superheroes have experienced brief, sometimes unfathomable additions to their repertoires. These could pop up years after a character’s debut, to try and drum up new interest, or it could be a power that was included from the very beginning but eventually dropped.
Often, these extra superpowers leave readers wondering, ‘why don’t they use this all the time?’ Other times, the ability is so laughable that it beggars belief.
Whatever the reason for their creation and eventual abandonment, it’s probably for the best that these ten ridiculous extra superpowers were phased out of the comics.
10. Superman’s Mini-Clones
Superman is a character whose power levels go so deep that readers have to accept that they will never understand the extent of his abilities. It seems that for every situation he finds himself in, writers are able to come up with a brand new power, tailormade for the task at hand, like his eye-laser reconstruction of the Great Wall of China after it sustained damages during the much-maligned Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
It's tough for the average person to imagine a more bizarre superpower than that, but writer Jerry Coleman and artist Kurt Schaffenberger did so years before that film’s release, in 1958’s Superman #125.
The issue saw Clark lose the majority of his powers in a freak accident, before discovering a new ability to fire a miniature ‘proxy’ of himself from the tip of his finger - with said proxy possessing the Man of Steel's full set of abilities.
The real Superman grows resentful towards his mini-me, as it gets all the credit for his crimefighting efforts. The proxy ends up sacrificing himself to save his master, thereby restoring Supes’ skillset.
As a short-lived joke of a power, it’s charming enough, but would have no place in a more grounded take on the character.