Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash are just a handful of not only DC Comic’s most well-known characters, but some of pop culture’s most iconic figures. These selfless warriors utilize their many abilities for the good of mankind and work to inspire us all. Their countless heroic deeds ensure that they stay as far away from articles like this as possible, for this list features some of the most absolutely useless heroes in the history of the genre.
We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel as this countdown highlights the worst of the worst; the all-time most pointless superheroes from DC comics. You may think you have seen some duds in costume before, but some of the characters featured below could probably serve mankind better by calling it quits and hanging up their respective capes. What lies ahead are a handful of the most hopeless comic book heroes ever penned.
Here are the 15 Most Useless Superheroes in the DC Universe.
15. The Red Bee
First appearing in Quality Comic’s Hit Comics #1 back in the early 1940’s, The Red Bee never quite achieved notoriety but did find new life upon transitioning to DC over a decade later. In nearly every iteration, however, this character was pretty useless. The original alter ego of The Red Bee was none other than Richard Raleigh. Rich was a district attorney in Superior City, Oregon, and when he was not found opposing injustice in a court of law, he was fighting crime in the streets with the help of trained bees.
The original iteration of the character had no powers to speak of, but did use a special “Stinger Gun” and was able to train trusted sidekicks, bees. His grandniece (who later sported the red spandex), however, contained enhanced physical attributes and the ability to “mark” opponents for future tracking. Rich’s aforementioned grandniece Jenna Raleigh was much more of a superhero, but due to an unfortunate mutation, is no longer fighting crime in the line of duty. Suffice it to say, The Red Bee is about as irrelevant as it is useless.
14. Madame Fatal
Much like the aforementioned Red Bee, Madame Fatal got her start with Quality Comics back in the early 1940’s. After DC bought the rights to the character over 15 years later, the hero made a few more appearances in various runs but has been largely unheard from since, which is probably due to the characters somewhat odd gimmick.
Madame Fatale is, of course, a crime-fighting persona, with the character’s alter ego being Richard Stanton. That is right, Madame Fatale is actually a “he.” Richard Stanton is a world-famous actor sitting on a Wall Street fortune, but his love for the theatrics led him to fight crime dressed as an elderly lady – lending him the element of surprise. Being in peak physical condition, trained as a skilled hand to hand combatant, and containing an incredibly high level of intellect serves to make Stanton appear somewhat useful, but his elderly woman prosthetics probably cause more harm than good when fighting crime. Not to mention, while the old elderly woman trick may work once on his various foes, that whole “fool me twice” saying comes to mind, perhaps making the streets unsafe for actual female senior citizens.
Hailing from the planet Exxor, Jayna and Zan are part of a two-person crime fighting duo aptly named the Wonder Twins. Jayna was granted the power to transform into any animal while her brother Zan possessed the ability of hydrokinesis. In other words, Zan can transmute into water, albeit water in any of its three states (solid, liquid, or gas), but water nonetheless. This gag might be good for a laugh or two, but the superpower is hardly all that useful in regard to saving the world or even stopping a petty purse snatcher.
Imagine an enemy approaches, Jayna transforms into a ferocious bear or tiger while her brother Zan becomes a patch of ice in order to hopefully trip an unsuspecting enemy. Zan action figures should come standard with the tagline “bucket not included.” Zan might not be quite the lame duck that we are making him out to be, but it certainly does not help matters that his sister’s powers are incredibly interesting and fun – especially in comparison to his own abilities.
12. Ambush Bug
Ambush Bug has actually spent time as both a hero and a villain throughout the character’s run in DC comic’s, and while he is certainly an interesting and ambiguous individual, he is not all that useful. With the ability to teleport anywhere within the multiverse, one would think that Ambush Bug could potentially be very useful, and that would be true if it were not for the character’s mental instability.
Simply put, Ambush Bug is kind of insane. The character’s alter ego is supposedly Irwin Schwab, but with Ambush Bug not truly capable of grasping reality, his origins could, in fact, be a bit misleading. The comic book character was designed to be a somewhat satirical one, and thusly, generally appears for comedic relief. Nevertheless, Ambush Bug is fairly useless – especially in comparison to his comrades within the DC universe.
11. Rainbow Girl
Some superheroes have the ability to leap buildings in a single bound or fly around the world in the blink of an eye. Other incredible specimens can lift multiple times their own body weight. Yet more might change colors when their emotions change. Wait, was that last one really all that common? Perhaps not.
Rainbow Girl, aka Dori Aandraison, is a metahuman wielding the mystical power of emotions, which apparently results in uncontrollable mood swings. Dori will turn red when she is angry, blue when she is hopeful, essentially acting as a human mood ring. Aside from being a bit sexist, Rainbow Girl serves little purpose as a superheroine. That being said, the hero’s ability to surround herself in a rainbow-like pheromone field does cause Dori to be found irresistible by virtually everyone. All in all, there are worse powers on this list, but Rainbow Girl is certainly not the first DC heroine we would call in dire straits.
10. Infectious Lass
While some entries on this list are humorously pointless, others are simply gross. Infectious Lass falls into the latter category. From the planet Somahtur, Drura Sehpt (Infectious Lass’ alter ego) was the first of her kind to travel from her world to the United States. On her home planet, inhabitants play hosts to millions of microorganisms that humans would consider deadly, or at the very least, extremely dangerous. Somahturians, fortunately, have adapted to these conditions and are now immune to the countless number of diseases they carry. Additionally, they have learned to somewhat control these microorganisms, giving them the power to infect those without immunity. Pretty gross, right?
To make matters worse, due to an insufficient amount of training on her home planet, Drura herself was not the best at controlling her powers. This led to her inadvertently infecting comrades from time to time, and while this gag certainly lends itself to a few laughs on occasion, it certainly proves that Infectious Lass is pretty useless as a superheroine.
9. Bouncing Boy
Bouncing Boy cracks this list as not only one of DC comic’s most useless superheroes, but also one of their least inspired characters. With the ability to – you guessed it – bounce around, Bouncing Boy was essentially a glorified beach ball. In addition to his Tigger-like abilities, Charles Foster Taine (Bouncing Boy’s alter ego) was able to inflate himself, rendering himself somewhat impervious to attacks in that particular state.
Chuck was a regular guy until he unwittingly drank a “super plastic formula” that he mistakenly thought was a refreshing soda. So, in addition to his lackluster abilities, apparently Bouncing Boy was not the brightest crayon in the box either. Bouncing Boy did not just come to invade our comics either, as his alter ego Charles Foster Taine, is, in fact, a reference to the 1941 classic Citizen Kane, whose main character was none other than Charles Foster Kane. That’s right, try watching that film the same way now.
Okay, so maybe Bat-Cow was not a superhero per say – although the farm animal did sport a cape and even went by the alias of Battlin’ Bovine – but with the countless number of animals and pets appearing in various DC comics over the years, we figured that at least one should get a mention here.
In an issue of Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated, Robin encounters Bat-Cow upon investigation of a slaughterhouse. Wanting to keep the aforementioned livestock, Bat-Cow lived out its remaining days on a Wayne-owned dairy farm and even had a heroic adventure or two of its own. Generally speaking, Bat-Cow is more of a friendly pet than a superhero, and as such, is no use in Batman and Robin’s various fights against injustice. Let’s just say that even with DC’s growing slate of feature films scheduled for future releases, do not expect to see the likes of Bat-Cow anywhere near the big screen.
7. Doll Man
Let us be honest, before the Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas-starred Ant-Man hit theaters last summer for Marvel Studios and Disney, moviegoing audiences would have been forgiven for thinking that the idea was a bit silly. A film starring a character with the ability to shrink down to a fraction of his respective size and, with the help of ants, fight nefarious supervillains was doubted even by some in the industry.
Well, if anyone had a hard time buying Ant-Man, chances are Doll Man would be an even tougher sell. Doll Man has gone by numerous aliases over the decades, but the hero was originally known by his alter ego Darrel Dane. Dane possessed the ability to shrink down to six inches, but still, maintains all of the strength and abilities of the character at his normal size. The only problem is that even at six inches, the character is still easily visible, and unlike Ant-Man, Dane was unable to grow past his normal height. Doll Man may not be entirely useless, but he is certainly far from being a top-tier superhero.
We all have that one friend or family member that tends to have a bit too much to drink at social gatherings – see Saturday Night Live‘s “Drunk Uncle” sketch – but imagine if that friend or relative was the leader of a superhero team. Chances are, they would still be more useful in a fight against crime than Sixpack and the rest of Section 8 were.
Section 8 is, of course, a reference to the U.S. Armed Forces designation which, based on military assessment, sanctions soldiers mentally unfit for duty. For those of unfamiliar with this superhero squad by the same name, trust us when we say that the designation certainly applies in regard to Sixpack and his band of misfit super pals.
If Sixpack had a superpower, it was his ability to consume copious amounts of alcohol and remain somewhat functional. In the mind of this character, he believes that he is one of Earth’s mightiest superheroes, but he later comes to realize that these were all just drunken dreams. When actually confronted by villainous foes, Sixpack fights off his various enemies with the necks of broken beer bottles. Good in a bar fight? Maybe. Serviceable as a superhero? Absolutely not.
5. Matter Eater Lad
Aside from having one of DC comic’s least catchy superhero names, Matter Eater Lad is simply one of the publisher’s weirdest characters. Hailing from the planet Bismoll, Tenzil Kem (Matter Eater Lad’s alter ego) explains that food on his home world had become inedible, forcing his race of Bismollians to evolve. This evolution resulted in Kem’s people being able to consume matter in all of its countless forms.
In all honesty, Matter Eater Lad could potentially come in handy on various missions and certainly does serve a purpose in DC’s Legion of Superheroes, but to no one’s surprise, the character is found nearly every issue with a wire fence, giant rock, steel wall, or some other form of gut wrenching food items in his mouth. Tenzil Kem sure tackles tough jobs that no one else seems to want, but even still, the character is far from useful in a fight against the likes of Darkseid, Brainiac, or any of the other countless DC baddies.
Challenging Matter Eater Lad for the absolute worst superhero name on this list is none other than Dogwelder. Dogwelder is, of course, a member of the aforementioned Section 8, because who else would accept a hero by the name of Dogwelder? Even for those of you unfamiliar with Section 8, chances are it won’t take more than a few guesses to identify this hero’s power.
If you guessed that Dogwelder had the ability to weld deceased dogs onto the faces of his enemies, you would be correct. If you are also claiming that this is not, in fact, a superpower, then you would also be correct. Still, that did not stop him (or any of the group’s other members, for that matter), from joining Section 8. This ragtag group of crime fighters were all about as pointless as they come, but Dogwelder stands out as being, not only one of the most useless, but one of the strangest as well.
3. Color Kid
Joining the ranks of DC’s Legion of Substitute Heroes – alongside Infectious Lass and Rainbow Girl – is Color Kid. Color Kid, aka Ulu Vakk, possesses the power of color manipulation, meaning he can change the color of both people and objects. His ability was so underwhelming, in fact, that he was denied acceptance into DC’s Legion of Heroes and instead was forced to join the Legion of Substitute Heroes – essentially the B-team for superpowered crime fighters.
Color Kid’s ability certainly would come in handy as a means to potentially confuse the enemy, but outside of temporary disarray, this hero serves very little purpose, even among the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Dogs and the innately colorblind are among Vakk’s fiercest enemies as this character truly possesses no other real power. The only thing saving Color Kid from landing on the top spot is the fact that this comic book B-list hero can camouflage himself with his manipulation of colors.
Arm-Fall-Off-Boy is about as self-explanatory and uninspired as his name implies. Making his debut in the late 1980s, Arm-Fall-Off-Boy has gone on to achieve very little notoriety and is known in small circles as one of DC’s least successful characters – not that anyone inside DC comics actually believed that Arm-Fall-Off-Boy was destined to become the next Batman or Superman.
With the ability to detach his own limbs and use them as weapons, you could see why this character has not yet launched his own television series complete with his own with film franchise. Still, even in the realm of cult comic heroes, Arm-Fall-Off-Boy has really yet to catch on. The character did get a second chance in DC comics under the name Splitter – which is far more catchy and much less on the nose – but even still, his lack of any useful abilities renders the hero fairly pointless and lands him at number two on the list.
1. Friendly Fire
Snagging the number one spot on this list of the DC universe’s most useless superheroes is Friendly Fire. Yet another member of Section 8 cracks the countdown, as Friendly Fire reigns as arguably the most pointless hero of all-time. Even on a team of completely useless crime fighters, this misfit stands out as being the most hopeless.
With the power to shoot bolts of energy out of his hands, this superhero has the ability to easily be Section 8’s strongest team member, but, as his name would imply, Friendly Fire can only strike his own allies. Despite his countless efforts, this defeatist hero never quite gained control of his powers. In fact, this miserable soul carries the distinction of being the only comic book character on this list to die by his own hand (striking himself with a bolt of energy while trying to hit a target), and due to that fact alone, Friendly Fire stands atop this countdown of hopeless heroes.
Which DC superheroes do you think are particularly useless? Make sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section.