Even with all the superhero movies that came out last year and are still to come this year, 2018 looks to be the year of the superheroes, with over 10 movies and TV shows officially premiering. It’s truly amazing, especially since the cinematic portrayal of these superheroes are getting more comic book-accurate. From casting to wardrobe, networks and studios are finally capturing what made these characters so iconic in the first place— but they are still forgetting something.
Many of these superheroes are immensely powerful, and so great is their power, that they sometimes forget they have a whole arsenal of abilities that they don’t even use. Even in the comics, many of our favorite superheroes tend to forget there’s more to their powers than what they’ve accustomed themselves to, limiting their abilities completely.
Most of the time, if they had used their secret abilities, battles that took hours to end would’ve concluded in mere minutes, or less. And there are other abilities that are so cool and unique, it’s pretty surprising these superheroes have never even used them before.
From DC Comics to Marvel and other properties, here are 15 Superpowers Even Superheroes Keep Forgetting They Have.
15 Superman Can Time Travel
The Man of Steel has proven he can do everything and anything, and time travel is right up on that list. Barry Allen as the Flash is well-known for messing up the timeline, but if Superman was aware of his own time traveling ability, would be messing with the timeline as well. We’ve even seen him do it before, in the classic Christopher Reeve Superman films. When Lois Lane died, Reeve’s Superman flew so fast around the Earth that he turned back time and saved Lois’s life.
Sure, it might sound a bit comical, but Superman doesn’t need to spin the Earth around to turn back time; he can just run like the Flash. Besides other speedsters, Superman is among the only superheroes who can go toe-to-toe in a race against the Flash— and beat him!
There’s been many confrontations in Superman’s long history that could’ve been quickly ended with some time-traveling fun-- take for example the Injustice storyline. Instead of becoming a tyrannical leader after the Joker killed Lois Lane, Superman could’ve channeled his inner-Reeve and turn back time. (Of course, that wouldn’t have made for a great story. But still!)
14 Magneto Can Turn Invisible, Has Control Over Light
Magneto has a very unique set of abilities. The problem is, he only uses two of them. Magneto can manipulate electromagnetic fields, and he uses his power to move metal objects and fly. That’s it.
In fact, since Magneto has complete control over magnetism, he has control over electromagnetic radiation, aka light. By creating a force field around himself, Magneto can bend light and become invisible. This is a power he rarely uses and one that he probably forgot he has.
It’s possible even that Magneto could turn other people invisible and even turn the Hulk back into Bruce Banner because of his control over electromagnetic radiation. Magneto is one of the Marvel Universe’s most keen strategists, and if he had used his power of invisibility in the past, then it’s no question that many of his meticulous plans would’ve easily succeeded.
Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in X-Men: Apocalypse got to taste the range of his abilities when Apocalypse liberated his mind, but never discovered his power to turn invisible.
13 Wolverine Has Night Vision
Wolverine may be one of the deadliest characters in Marvel Comics, but adamantium claws are not the only powers up his sleeve. In addition to his healing factor and berserker rage, Wolverine can also see in the dark, like the animal he shares his name with. Over the years much is not known about Wolverine’s power to see in the dark, but it’s an ability that’s been alluded to in several of the X-Men films, particularly X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine.
In the opening montage of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Sabretooth and Wolverine are able to escape their home and run through pitch-dark Canadian woods with ease. Most of the time, Wolverine chooses to use his sense of smell over his night vision ability, as seen in the samurai fight scene in The Wolverine, when the dojo was shrouded in darkness. The ability could’ve especially come in handy when Wolverine served in the military.
12 Electro Can Mind-Control
Maxwell Dillon worked as an electrical engineer, but when he was repairing a power line, he was suddenly struck by lightning. The accident transformed him into Electro, one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous villains and a member of the Sinister Six.
With the ability to create and manipulate electricity, one of Electro’s hidden powers is the ability to control minds. Theoretically, since Electro can manipulate electric currents, he is able to control a person’s brain by controlling their neurons. Neurons, or nerve cells, are cells in the brain that transmits and processes data through electric signals.
It’s possible that in the attempt, Electro could fry somebody’s brain, but if he focuses just right, Electro could easily be confused for a telepath. One of Electro’s favorite form of attacks is to directly electrocute someone with electric energy blasts, but little does he know that the fight could be over without him breaking a single sweat.
11 Hydro-Man Can Absorb A Human
The highly underrated Hydro-Man is perhaps one of Spider-Man’s most ridiculously dangerous foes. With the ability to manipulate water after suffering an accident in the ocean, Morris Bench, aka Hydro-Man, can literally suck the water out of any human being, instantly killing them. Because the human body is approximately 60 percent water, an abrupt lack of that amount of fluid in the body would stop major body functions, since water is a major component of our internal organs and our blood.
Hydro-Man in the comics has shown to be ruthless, so it’s entirely possible he has already killed a human like this before. One of Hydro-Man’s best forms of committing murder is by creating a ball of water around a person’s head, drowning them in the process.
We saw a version of this attack in Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man when Hydro-Man escaped S.H.I.E.L.D. captivity. In the comics he’s also known for combining his powers with Sandman, essentially creating a mud-like creature.
10 Molecule Man Can Breathe In Space
Owen Reece/Molecule Man is one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful characters. With the ability to create and manipulate both organic and inorganic molecules, Molecule Man is virtually unstoppable. His powers are only limited by his imagination and if he ever were to be stranded in space, with only a thought Molecule Man could conjure an oxygen bubble around his head. (Or even fancier: a spacesuit.) He is so powerful that Mr. Fantastic used Molecule Man’s powers to recreate the Marvel Universe after Secret Wars (2015).
Owen Reece became Molecule Man after suffering an accident at the nuclear plant he worked at. His transformation into the Molecule Man created the portal that allowed the Beyonder to first visit Earth. With almost unlimited power, Molecule Man can warp reality on a multiversal scale. But even more astounding, is that every Molecule Man that exists in the multiverse are like parts of a puzzle; together they form a single entity.
9 Luke Cage Is A Human Match
Luke Cage is famous for his impermeable skin and superhuman strength, but there’s one ability he completely forgets he has. During Netflix’s Jessica Jones, Luke Cage’s bar was destroyed with him inside it, but he walked out of the bar unscathed. Essentially, not only is his skin impermeable, but it allows him to withstand huge amounts of heat. This then allows him to, in a way, create fire, through friction.
Imagine this: if Luke Cage holds, say, a pencil or stick of wood, then by sliding the wood through his hands, the wood would catch fire because of friction. It’s the same premise as cavemen making fire-- or how Tom Hanks made it in the movie Cast Away.
For Luke Cage, though, instead of using two sticks, he just needs to rub his hands against each other. Luke Cage’s ability to make fire can aid him in several situations, even during a fight. (Or perhaps just at the campfire.)
8 Neo’s Mind Is A Shell-hopping Ghost (Can Switch Bodies)
The Matrix is one of our generation’s most distinctive and critically-acclaimed films. College dissertations have been done on the franchise. Though the series spans three films, many fans consider the original to be the best of the three. The main protagonist of The Matrix is Neo (Keanu Reeves), and within the Matrix he is able to control reality at will, essentially carrying the Matrix’s source code.
To enter the Matrix, Neo and others in the real world must hook their minds to a machine. It’s possible then, that since Neo is near-omnipotent within the Matrix, once inside the Matrix he could exit the reality through someone else’s body in the real world; essentially making Neo's mind a body-hopping ghost similar to characters in Ghost in the Shell.
The Matrix franchise itself was inspired by Ghost in the Shell, and there are many elements from the acclaimed anime that transcended into The Matrix; like the divide between the mind and the body.
7 Magneto Can Also Mind-Control
In addition to turning himself and others invisible through his control of electromagnetic radiation (aka light), Magneto can also control people’s minds. He can do this by controlling the iron in people’s blood, and also by controlling people’s neurons. A real-world process does exactly this with magnetic fields; it is called transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Magneto has so much potential, but he doesn’t even know it. Every fight he has ever being part of could’ve ended in seconds, and while he is no Professor X, Magneto’s mind-control ability makes him as powerful as any natural telepath.
Through his mind-control power Magento could even end his war against mankind incredibly quickly. Instead of creating the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Magneto could carry out his missions entirely by himself. Or he could just force people to join his evil fan club at will. It’s surprising that Magneto hasn’t discovered these special abilities in the movies, but even more surprising that he rarely uses them in the comics.
6 Captain America Has Incredible Eyesight
The Super Soldier serum not only granted Steve Rogers a peak physical body, superhuman strength, fatigue immunity, and an enhanced resistance to poisons, it also gave him incredible eyesight. While all of Rogers’s senses received a super boost, it is perhaps his eyesight the most important of them all, and ironically, the most underrated. With an advanced eyesight, Captain America is able to perceive and process the world at a much faster rate, allowing him to be virtually unbeatable in a fight and extremely efficient in a special ops mission.
His enhanced eyesight allows him to see farther than the average human, as well as see clearer and sharper. (No wonder Cap is always the one cleaning the Avengers tower.) Sometimes Captain America is not even aware of his incredible eyesight, but there’s no denying he’s using his special ability at all times. And of course, there’s no way a person can be such a natural with a speedy metal shield if they don’t have super eyesight to follow its movement.
5 The Flash Has Super Thinking
Barry Allen, aka the Flash, is the fastest man alive, but when it comes to defeating his foes, he sometimes makes the most unusual decisions. Perhaps Allen is so focused on his super speed when he is running, trying not to hit any bystanders, that he forgets he can actually think pretty darn fast, able to conjure a solution to any obstacle present.
In the comics, the Flash has shown to run and do practically anything faster than the speed of light, and while he is not yet that fast on the CW’s The Flash, Allen (Grant Gustin) can still think at amazing speeds. In the show, he read entire books and a series of articles in mere seconds. Those readings were on sophisticated science-y stuff as well.
Indeed, the Flash is immensely intelligent, but for reasons unknown, he doesn’t apply his super thinking to the fullest when fighting against one of his villains.
4 Lucifer Morningstar Can Do Anything
One of Fox’s most beloved shows by DC fans and the general viewership is Lucifer. On the show, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) works with Los Angeles homicide detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) to solve crimes. While Lucifer is around the detective, he becomes vulnerable to injury and even death. Despite losing his immortality in the presence of Decker, Lucifer still retains all his divine powers, but surprisingly, always forgets he is the second most powerful entity in the entire DC Universe. Of course, this is what makes Lucifer an interesting show, but there are times in the series where it’s totally practical for Lucifer to use at least some form of his divine abilities.
In the comics, Lucifer has been shown to do everything but create life. From reality warping to instant teleportation, there is nothing Lucifer can’t do. Most of the times, Lucifer likes to experience humanity, but it would be nice to finally see what the Devil can really do.
3 Wonder Woman Can Speak To Animals
Wonder Woman was totally amazing in this year’s live-action film, but there was one super ability we didn’t see Diana Prince perform. She has superhuman strength and she can fly, but did you know Wonder Woman can also speak to animals? We saw this transpire during Lynda Carter’s run as the DC heroine when she was shown speaking with a bird in one episode. This has been a prominent Wonder Woman ability in the comics as well.
Since she's a favorite of Zeus and other gods, these Greek gods granted Diana several superhuman abilities, among them the power to communicate with animals. In the comics, she has been shown to speak with all types of animals, including tigers and lions.
It’s unlikely we’ll get to see Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) speak to animals anytime soon in the DCEU, but despite being a rather obscure super power among fans, it is still pretty remarkable.
2 Spider-Man Can Speak To Spiders
This is perhaps one of Spider-Man’s least known abilities, even though his name pretty much gives it away. After the Disassembled storyline in the comics, Peter Parker/Spider-Man received the ability to communicate with all kinds of insects and spiders. In The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 2 issue 20, he used this ability to gather help from several spiders to defuse a time-ticking bomb. Despite the ability, he never became as good a communicator as Ant-Man, who has almost complete control over ants.
Ever since Disassembled, Spider-Man has seemingly completely forgotten about his gift to speak with spiders, never using it since. Hopefully we’ll see our new Spider-Man (Tom Holland) utilize this special ability once Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7.
He may have special Stark-made gadgets, but sometimes real spiders are all our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man needs to complete a mission. Sometimes his life has even depended on them!
1 Hulk Can See The Astral Dimension
The Hulk is a character full of surprises. In his human form, Bruce Banner accidentally killed his father, Brian Banner. Fearing that his father’s ghost would haunt him, Bruce gave the Hulk the ability to see ghosts, or, in other words, be able to perceive the astral plane. This is a skill set that’s unlikely to manifest in the cinematic version of Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), though it’s entirely possible that with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) now in the MCU, Hulk could be getting a power upgrade some time in the future. Especially since the MCU is about to get even more mystical and cosmic.
The Hulk hasn’t utilized his ability to see ghosts in the comics for a while, but it’s definitely a pretty unique superpower. Entities in the astral plane are ever-present, but with the Hulk’s ghost-seeing abilities, Doctor Strange is not the only superhero guarding us against mystical threats.
What are other superpowers that superheroes forget they have? Let us know in the comments.