It seems that the knowledge a superhero obtains as he or she gets older will make them stronger, but, eventually, that is offset with the effects of age on their body. While many heroes and villains may believe that they can still do anything they want no matter how old they are, in many cases that is nowhere near the truth -- even in the world of DC Comics, where many of the heroes are god-like beings. Age catches up with all mortals, so unless the characters are supernatural beings, there is a good chance that these heroes and villains will start to falter as time starts to catch up with them.
However, at the same time, there are those god-like beings -- the supernatural DC Comics characters -- who not only don't weaken with age, but also become stronger and stronger. There are also the characters who started out as younger, weaker heroes but eventually grow into their roles as powerful heroes as they age, becoming possibly even stronger than the heroes who mentored them. These characters just seemed to keep powering up the older they get in the comic book world.
With that said, here are the 8 DC Heroes Who Became Weaker With Age (And 12 Who Got Even More Powerful).
20 Weaker: BATMAN
Batman Beyond continued the story of Batman from Batman: The Animated Series, but takes place far in the future. Bruce Wayne retired as Batman due to heart problems. He was struggling to save the daughter of a friend and had to use a gun in self-defense, breaking one of his only rules. As a result, he decided to just quit rather than risking any innocent lives and the went into seclusion when his own company was bought out in a hostile takeover.
Bruce Wayne was a hero who realized that he couldn't keep fighting -- no matter how much he wanted to -- when age caught up with him and robbed him of his strength and stamina. Luckily, he found a new hero to mentor in Terry McGinnis, who became the new Batman. However, it was sad to see the once proud Bruce Wayne no longer able to continue his role.
19 More powerful: SUPERMAN
Superman has one clear advantage over just about every other superhero in DC ComicsL he gets his powers from the yellow sun. Though this wasn't a good thing in one specific Elseworlds storyline, for the main Superman, he is the closest there is to a god in comic books -- outside of actual gods.
A perfect example of this comes with Superman One Million, a story in which he outlived all of his loved ones. He became depressed and ended up leaving the Earth. When he returned over a century later, he was stronger and smarter than ever before and was even able to bestow some of his powers on his descendants. He lived on the sun, and since he gained his powers from it, he became extremely powerful.
18 More powerful: WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman is not human. She was created out of clay on Paradise Island and raised as a princess. She has powers granted to her by the gods and is therefore basically immortal. Over her career as a superhero in DC Comics, Wonder Woman was a source of light and good, although there are a few moments during her life that saw her turning to a darker side.
A look at her power as an older heroine was shown in the pages of Kingdom Come. She lost her way slightly, and though she remained a hero, she became a little more violent when she saw that the world was falling to chaos after Superman retired. Despite her change in tactics, though, she became even more powerful and strong, and was still one of the strongest warriors on the planet during her later years.
17 Weaker: JAY GARRICK
Jay Garrick was the first speedster who used the Speed Force. He was one of the world's first superhero warriors. He was a member of the Justice Society of America and was one of Earth's mightiest heroes. Though he eventually disappeared with the rest of the JSA, he later returned to help Wally West.
However, Jay Garrick had grown much weaker when he returned in his later years. Garrick was unable to handle the top speeds that he could when he was younger, which made him one of the weakest versions of Flash. His only real power is his super speed, which means that when he loses it, he loses his effectiveness as a hero.
16 More powerful: SHAZAM
Shazam is arguably the strongest character in the futuristic Kingdom Come storyline. Sadly, while heroes like Superman still fight for truth and justice, Shazam became nothing more than a lackey as he grew older. However, though he was a lackey, he was still an extremely strong lackey.
While Shazam had the power of the gods that the letters of his name signified, he was still a young boy who turned into a superhero. This means that as he got older, he became smarter and stronger because he matured. Shazam worked for Lex Luther and equaled Superman in strength by this time in his life. Though he ended up becoming evil later in his life, he was the one who ended up saving the world in the end.
15 More powerful: HAWKMAN
Hawkman is immortal. He was originally Prince Khufu in ancient Egypt. He gained the powers of Hawkman thanks to an alien element called Nth Metal. Whenever he perishes, the Hawkman mantle then gets passed on to a new person and his story continues -- we saw this most recently with the identity of Carter Hall.
Hawkman was reincarnated many, many times in different eras and at different locations. Because of this, he kept learning, becoming more and more powerful. As he becomes older and learns more, Hawkman also gains more powers -- including the ability to bless objects and divine empowerment. Considering the fact that Hawkman has been around for over 4,000 years, it's clear that he has become even more powerful after being reincarnated so many times.
14 Weaker: ALL-STAR SUPERMAN
While Superman was able to grow to infinite levels of strength while living on Earth, there was one Elseworlds story, All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, where this did not happen. In this story, Lex Luther finally succeeded in taking down his nemesis by overwhelming his body with solar radiation.
As a result, Superman ended up with intensified levels of power that was slowly ending his life -- and there was no cure. The story then followed Superman as he prepared for his end. By the end of the story, Superman left for good. He was no longer strong enough to protect the Earth, as he was overpowered to the point that his increasing powers were weakening him. He did commit one last act of heroism by saving the sun, though.
13 More powerful: WALLY WEST
While many of the characters on this list gained or lost powers in the future of the current timeline, there are also some heroes who became stronger as fans of DC Comics watched them grow up. One of these is Wally West -- someone who many comic book fans prefer over the more dominant Barry Allen version of The Flash.
Wally started off as Kid Flash and was one of the founding members of the Teen Titans. He was just like Barry -- but on a smaller level. However, after Barry gave his life to save the world in Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wally took on the mantle of The Flash. As he grew older, he became stronger than even Barry, becoming arguably the greatest Flash of them all when he tapped into the Speed Force.
12 More powerful: DEADMAN
Heading to the world of Kingdom Come, there might not be a more drastic change to a character than Boston Brand, also known in the DC Comics Universe as Deadman. In the main comics, he was a former trapeze artist who perished and returned as a spirit that could take over anyone else's body, operating as a superhero when needed. He also was involved in a lot of mystical things over the years with groups like Justice League Dark.
However, as time went on, Deadman started to change. By Kingdom Come, he was just a skeleton under his costume. However, during this time, he become more powerful than ever before and ended up watching the events fall alongside The Spectre and Norman McCay.
11 Weaker: MARTIAN MANHUNTER
The fate of Martian Manhunter by the time that Kingdom Come occurred was tragic and sad. Looking back at J'onn J'onzz originally, he was very powerful on Mars, and when he ended up coming to Earth, he was on par with Superman when it came to his powers. There were few beings more powerful than the Martian Manhunter
However, by Kingdom Come, that all had changed. J'onn made the huge mistake of opening his mind up to everyone on Earth. He had become so powerful that he might have seen himself as immortal. However, this was not the case. With age comes arrogance, and by opening up his mind, he was driven insane. By the time all was said and done, J'onn couldn't even read the mind of Lex Luther.
10 More powerful: DICK GRAYSON
When Dick Grayson started out as a superhero, he was a kid and went by the name Robin. As the first Robin, he was simply Batman's sidekick, helping the Caped Crusader fight crime. He even said himself that he mainly was just there to deliver bad puns and one-liners during fights. During this time, Batman did everything he could to protect Dick and keep him out of harm's way.
However, as Dick got older, he started to want more. He left Batman, started the Teen Titans and ended up changing his moniker to Nightwing. By the time he was an adult, Nightwing was not only a strong and capable superhero, but he also ended up becoming even stronger than Batman when he thought Bruce Wayne had passed on.
9 More powerful: CYBORG
This one should be obvious to anyone who has followed Cyborg over the years. Victor Stone started out as a football star who was in an accident and ended up as the superhero Cyborg, becoming half human, half machine. He was a member of the New Teen Titans and, over the years, he ended up mostly as a funny character alongside his buddy Beast Boy.
However, when Victor and Garth grew up and became adults, Cyborg began to become more and more powerful. Since he is a computer more than he is a human, he continues to garner knowledge -- and with knowledge comes power. He can constantly upgrade himself. Because of this, there will probably be a day when he overpowers almost everyone on the planet.
8 Weaker: GREEN ARROW
It seems like most future stories involve Oliver Queen, aka the Green Arrow. He played a nig role in both Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom Come, and in both stories, time had taken its toll on the DC Comics archer. In Kingdom Come, Oliver was part of Batman's group as they opposed Superman and his new Justice League. He was someone who still loved to fight -- he went undercover for Batman -- but he was nowhere near the hero that he once was.
Things got even worse in Dark Knight Returns. By this time, the archer had taken one of the worst injuries that he could -- losing an arm many years before and blaming Superman for the injury. He still fought the best he could, though, using his teeth to grip the arrows. He fought to the end, but in both stories, it was his inner fortitude that carried him on despite his lessened fighting skills.
7 More powerful: DOCTOR FATE
Doctor Fate is immortal, invulnerable, and there is no one more powerful in the DC Comics Universe when it comes to the power of the occult than this hero. At the end of the day, this means that Doctor Fate can possibly live forever and nothing can really hurt him. The bonus of having magical powers is that he just gets more powerful the more he learns.
Kent Nelson is an accomplished magical user on his own, but with the Helmet of Fate, he is almost untouchable. Throughout the years, as he has become older, Kent trained and learned more and more, mastering many different aspects of magic. Because of this, he became more powerful as the years went by.
6 More powerful: AQUAMAN
By the time that Kingdom Come came around, Aquaman had chosen not to protect people on the land anymore. It wasn't even because of his power -- he grew stronger and stronger when he started spending more time in the water. Instead, as he said, there were hundreds of heroes to defend the land while he protects and defends 70 percent of the world by himself.
It was a bug statement to make, letting everyone know that he was able to defend 70-percent of the world without any help, so he didn't see why every other hero on Earth needed help with their own problems. Of course, Arthur didn't leave the land with no help, as he promoted his one-time sidekick Garth to become the new Aquaman in his place.
5 Weaker: GOLDEN AGE BLACK CANARY
The Golden Age Black Canary is one of the DC Comics heroes who showed what age can really do to a superhero. Much like Batman in the Batman Beyond storyline, age caused problems medically for the once proud superheroine. Dinah Drake ended up returning in the regular DC Comics timeline before succumbing to cancer after a battle alongside the Justice League against Aquarius.
However, as her own powers as a superhero were dwindling, she was able to do something that would carry on the name of Black Canary for a new generation. She had a daughter named Dinah and was able to transfer her memories onto her daughter before she passed away. Dinah Lance became the new Black Canary, replacing her mom.
4 More powerful: DOOMSDAY
According to Doomsday's origin story, he becomes stronger as he grows older. Doomsday was created on Krypton and was meant to be an ultimate weapon. Doomsday's creator did this by sending the monster out as a baby to instantly perish. Every time it fell, the alien would use its remains to create it again. Because of this, whatever had taken it down before could not hurt it again.
This meant that every time something -- or someone -- defeated Doomsday, whatever they used to win would never work against the monster when he returned again. This happened thousands of times before it ever showed up on Earth to fight Superman. Every time it falls and returns to life, it becomes stronger than ever before. This means that the longer Doomsday exists, the stronger he becomes.
3 Weaker: ELONGATED MAN
If there is one character in DC Comics who has the most tragic stories surrounding him, it is Ralph Dibny, aka the Elongated Man. Infinity Crisis saw him lose his wife and his purpose in life. Then, New 52 saw him join his love on the other side as ghost detectives, which actually worked out well for him, considering the alternatives. He later returned as a Black Lantern, which was par for course since DC never allowed him to be happy.
However, look at what happened when he grew old in Dark Knight Strikes Again. While some heroes became even stronger (Superman), Elongated Man's age destroyed him. For Ralph, he lost his desire to even be a hero anymore. Instead of fighting crime, Ralph was just making TV commercials about male enhancement drinks.
2 More powerful: ALAN SCOTT
Alan Scott has an interesting story. For a long time, the original Green lantern grew weaker as he became older. See, Lantern had a strange weakness. He lost his powers around wood, and since 30% of the Earth's land is forests and 45% of the carbon on Earth comes from forests, Green Lantern had a weakness that was sure to get worse when he visited Earth.
With that said, he managed to find a way around it. Alan Scott tapped into the Starheart, which was a collection of energies which was very different from the Power battery that other Lanterns used. He then merged with the Starheart, which slowed his aging and made him even more powerful as he grew older.
1 Weaker: KID PSYCHO
The Legion of Super-Heroes had some of the strangest characters in DC Comics history. Bouncing Boy was a hero who could be inflated into a giant human beach ball and Matter-Eater Lad had the power to eat anything. However, there was one member of the futuristic team of superheroes who had a power that was tragic... and fatal.
Kid Psycho was born with psychokinetic abilities. This was a side effect from his parents fighting radioactive space-squids before he was born. Because of this, he is able to move things with his mind and he could even time travel. However, there is one major problem: every time he uses his powers, he loses one year of his life. Because of this, he becomes older (and closer to perishing) every time he uses his powers.
Are there any other DC heroes who became stronger or weaker with age? Le us know in the comments!