Let’s face it, most superheroes tend to exist in an eternally youthful state. No matter how many life events Spider-Man goes through, it seems like he’ll always be remembered as a high school kid. Outside of alternate realities and possible futures, Superman is always somewhere between his late-20s and mid-30s. Honestly, one of the refreshing aspects of the interconnected MCU has been watching characters like Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark age, grow, and evolve over the last decade (though not always in the best ways).
But there are some superheroes who aren’t so young. Actually, the characters on this list are seriously old — as in, so elderly that they could easily be picking up senior benefits, or subscribing to AARP — but from looking at them, you’d never think that they were a day over 30. Now, some folks like Professor X show their age, but there are plenty of other characters who seem to take daily baths in the Lazarus Pit. The reasons that these old men and old women look so young varies from person to person, between anti-aging serums, alien physiologies, cryonic freezing, and healing factors, but let’s take a look at these 15 Ridiculously Old Superheroes (Who Look a Lot Younger).
15. Wonder Woman
How old is Diana Prince? Well, since DC has been through so many reboots, the answer varies.
In this year’s Wonder Woman, Diana’s youthful exuberance and lovable naivety masked the fact that the woman was, according to director Patty Jenkins, about 800 years old. This would line up with most versions of the comic book continuity, which depict her as being somewhere around 1,000 years old or more. Either way, she’s seriously ancient, though due to her sheltered upbringing on Themyscira, some would argue that her “adulthood” only really began upon her leaving of the island.
However, it is worth noting that many recent depictions of the comic book character have portrayed her as being in her mid-20s. As with most DC heroes, the details depend on which reboot we’re talking about.
Sure, this year’s critically-acclaimed film Logan has turned the concept of an aging superhero into major box office success. But aside from that notable exception, let’s not forget that in the present day, Wolverine is usually depicted as looking no older than his 30s or maybe 40s, depending on the artist. All things considered, that’s pretty good for a guy who fought both in World Wars, survived an atomic bomb, has had his skeleton ripped out, was experimented on… and, oh yeah, was born in Canada in the late 1800s.
Logan is well over 100 years old, but even on his bad days, you’d never know it. The reason for his incredibly slow aging is his healing factor, the mutant power that both allows him to recover from any wound – and also halts the aging process in its tracks.
Eric Brooks, the vampire hunter better known as Blade, is probably the biggest Marvel character whom the general public doesn’t realize is a Marvel character (yet). But what many people also don’t realize — including even many comic book fans — is that this vampire-slaying badass, made famous by Wesley Snipes, is an old man.
Believe it or not, Eric Brooks was actually born in London, England all the way back in 1929. When Blade’s mother was pregnant, she was fed upon by her doctor, the vampire Deacon Frost, an act which accidentally passed along many of Frost’s vampiric abilities on to the unborn infant, turning him into the so-called “Daywalker.” One of these powers included a greatly slowed lifespan, resulting in Blade’s still youthful appearance today.
The star of this year’s Thor: Ragnarok may look like a young man in his prime, and he has the rippling muscles to match, but there’s probably no one who is too surprised that Thor is a lot older than he looks. After all, before the God of Thunder was a Marvel superhero, he was a mythological Norse deity. While Marvel canon may position these gods more as humanoid aliens than true deities, this still makes Thor at least a couple thousands of years old, and probably older.
An exact figure on Thor’s age is complicated by the Marvel version of Ragnarök, the eternal cycle of death and rebirth in which all of the Norse gods die and are reborn, again and again. Regardless, Thor is one old dude.
11. Nick Fury
Nick Fury is one of the most important figures in the Marvel Universe, but he is also a man who keeps a lot of secrets close to his chest. His past is full of shadows and demons, the details of which are mostly classified. One thing we do know, however, is that Nick is a lot older than he appears to be. Back in World War II, Nick led a unit of U.S. Army Rangers usually referred to as the Howling Commandos, and he’s stayed pretty active in the decades since then, despite the fact that he’s probably about 100 years old.
How does he do it? Shortly after WWII, Fury became a test subject for an experimental drug called the Infinity Formula, which keeps him from aging. The only downside to the formula is that it requires Nick to receive a new dose every single year, in order to prevent him from rapidly aging to his death.
If there is one character who we can count on to never be who she appears to be, it is the mutant shapeshifter named Raven Darkhölme, better known as Mystique. Mystique’s motives are often as mysterious as her name, and she’s worked on many sides of many conflicts. Her power to assume the shape and appearance of any person means that there is almost no way to deduce her true age, since she can make herself look however she chooses to.
However, what we do know is that Mystique is a lot, lot older than she appears. There is evidence that Mystique was alive as early as 1900, and she even had a brief fling with Wolverine back in the 1920s, which ended badly.
9. Captain America
Now in this instance, here is a character whose old age is actually one of his most distinctive qualities. Steve Rogers was a kid from Brooklyn during World War II, who decided to volunteer for a special procedure that would turn him into a super soldier. What Rogers could have never predicted is that he would end up being frozen in time, his enhanced abilities allowing him to survive, preserved in ice, only to be awoken decades later in the present day.
Because Captain America is a man of his time, he always seems out of place in the present day. His jokes are corny, his taste is old-fashioned, and everyone he knew is dead. Despite his age, he’s still in the physical shape of a man many decades younger. But Cap isn’t the only man of his era that’s still pulling off such a youthful look…
Until fairly recently, James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was believed to have died a long, long time ago. Back in World War II, Bucky was Captain America’s loyal partner and best friend, but a tragic incident left him seemingly killed in the line of action. When Steve Rogers awoke in the future, he believed that Bucky was dead… only to find out, some time later, that Bucky had been preserved, modified, and transformed into a cyborg weapon known as the Winter Soldier.
During the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st, Bucky was kept on ice during any periods in which he was not being used as a weapon. As a result, he has only physically aged a few years since the 1940s.
7. Miss Martian
Okay, so in all fairness, it seems that the Martians we see in the DC Universe — the most notable of which is J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter — age at a significantly slower rate than Earthlings. But still, since the character of M’gann M’orzz, AKA Miss Martian, is most known for being a member of the adolescent superhero teams known as the Teen Titans and Young Justice, we think she earns a mention.
The actual age of the comic book M’gann isn’t so clear, but when it comes to the popular version of the character who appeared in the cult-favorite cartoon Young Justice, we do have some specifics: Miss Martian is 48 years old, in Earthling years, though as far as Martian biology, this still makes her a teenager within her race. Still, she looks a lot younger than our 48.
One of the most secretly elderly characters around is the original, current, and most popular Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew. Her arachnid powers stem from the scientific experiments of her father. As a little girl, young Jessica was poisoned by frequent uranium exposure; her father, desperate to save her life, injected her with an untested serum derived from spider blood. Though this serum began healing the damage done by the uranium, it did so at too slow of a rate. In order to ensure Jessica’s survival as the spider serum slowly healed her, her father placed her in a so-called “genetic accelerator,” which slowed down her aging while her mind was in suspended animation.
Jessica woke up many decades later, now possessing spider-like abilities, and her body aged to being a teenager. While this is older than she was when she first became ill, her physical age is still a great deal younger than she actually is.
Okay, so we all know that Magneto’s backstory is firmly tied to the Holocaust, which places him in his 80s. Now, Ian McKellen is almost 80, so he’s actually pretty close to the age of the comic book character, making the idea of an elderly Magneto familiar to most audiences around the world. However, while the Magneto in the comics still has white hair, he looks a lot younger. Many artists even depict him with superhero-sized bulging muscles, the kind you don’t tend to see on most octogenarians. What’s the deal?
Well, in the comics, Magneto actually has had a bit of a weird experience in regard to aging. His creation Alpha the “Omega Mutant” rebelled against him, de-aging the Master of Magnetism into a mere baby(!). The infant Magneto was then placed in the care of Moira MacTaggert, until an encounter with the alien Shi’ar Erik the Red resulted in Magneto being re-aged. However, luckily for Magneto, Erik only aged him back to his physical prime, which accounts for his youthful appearance today.
4. Jason Blood
Etrigan the demon is a creature that was born in the depths of Hell, so it’s no big surprise that he’s ancient. But Etrigan’s human host, noteworthy Gotham City demonologist Jason Blood, is a serious old-timer as well. You’d never guess it, considering that the only sign of aging on Jason’s body is a little streak of white hairs, but he’s been around since Medieval times.
Jason Blood is immortal, rendering him immune from death, disease, and wrinkles. Long ago, Jason was actually one of King Arthur’s knights in Camelot, until he was bonded to the demon Etrigan thanks to the dark magic of the wizard Merlin. Having all those centuries pass by while being tied to a demon isn’t necessarily the most pleasant way to spend eternity, but Jason does the best he can.
The Sub-Mariner is an antihero, and while he cares a lot about the condition of the oceans, he’s not always the most pleasant guy to come across. Seriously, he makes Aquaman look jolly in comparison. When Namor is not busy protecting the seas or teaming up with the X-Men, he’s also been known to commit such acts as flooding the cities of us hated surface-dwellers, or allying himself with charming villains like Doctor Doom.
Despite the fact that Namor often acts like a raging teenager ready to punch out anyone who gives him a dirty look — and despite those rock-solid abs he’s always eager to show off — he’s actually a pretty old dude. The Sub-Mariner was born in approximately 1920, meaning he’s closing in on the big 100. Don’t say it too loudly, though, because he might not take the news too well.
Frank Castle’s age has been something of a sticking point for a long time. Like Captain America, the Punisher‘s origins have traditionally been based in a real life conflict: while Steve Rogers fought in World War II, Castle served his time in the military during the Vietnam War. Vietnam has played a huge role in many Punisher stories, particularly Garth Ennis’s Born, which makes for something of a confusing timeline — because if Castle really fought in Vietnam, he’d probably be in his 60s.
…and yeah, he definitely doesn’t seem that old. Considering that the Punisher has no Infinity Formula or super soldier experiments in his history, his age really doesn’t make a lot of sense.
1. Black Widow
You’d be forgiven for assuming that Natasha Romanova is the age she appears to be. After all, she doesn’t make any dated comments like Captain America, she doesn’t have any real superpowers, and while she does have that duplicitous background as a spy, she can’t change shapes the way that Mystique does.
But let’s not forget, Natasha was an agent for the KGB during the Cold War.
Natasha was actually born in the early 1940s, so believe it or not, she’s in her 70s. From her early childhood onward, she was raised in the infamous “Red Room” of the Soviet Union’s Black Widow Ops program, where she and other young girls were brainwashed, trained, and biologically enhanced — the latter being the reason why she’s aged so slowly over the years.
Any comic book old-timers that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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