Even though superheroes are known as characters who have something special about them that allows them to protect the innocent, sometimes the hero isn’t actually that special. Someone like Superman has innate powers, so there’s no chance of him ever being mistaken for an ordinary guy. But other heroes either don’t really have powers, or have abilities that are totally reliant on an accessory that essentially anybody could use. For characters in that latter group, all you have to do is disarm them and they’re pretty much done for.
In addition to traditional weapons like guns and swords, we’re also counting items that convey an advantage from being worn, like high-tech armor. That doesn’t mean every character without superpowers is helpless, though, since heroes like Batman are master martial artists that are dangerous even without their gadgets.
These are the one-trick ponies who might need to learn some new moves so they can stop being called 15 Superheroes Who Are Helpless Without Their Weapons.
15. IRON MAN
Like we said, characters who use armor to fight are fair game for being considered heroes who are reliant on weapons. Iron Man certainly fits the category since his armors do a lot more than just protect him. In the Iron Man suits, Tony Stark has found ways to stand up against the likes of the Hulk and Captain America. Depending on the suit, Tony can fly, utilize super strength, fire energy blasts, and even missiles.
Outside the suits, Tony is an entirely different story. He’s very rich and very smart, but he’s also quite reliant on technology to get things done. For everyone who compares Iron Man to Batman, those comparisons end once their suits come off. Bruce Wayne is still a master of many different forms of martial arts, but without the Iron Man suit Tony is just an eccentric billionaire genius who has no hope of defending himself in a fight.
14. GREEN LANTERN
It’s definitely weird to think of a ring as a weapon, but it’s accurate in this case. A weapon is something that you can pick up and use to harm other people, and in the case of the Green Lantern Corps, their rings definitely fall into that category. Their rings allow them to fly, create force fields, and make pretty much whatever kind of constructs they want – but none of them are walking around with these powers all the time. If any of the Corps members take their rings off, they lose those abilities.
We can’t say that every person to wear a Green Lantern ring would be helpless without the weapon since so many different people have worn them, ranging from the very strong to the very weak. But in the case of the most well-known Green Lanterns— Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner—take their rings from them and they are just ordinary men.
Anyone who was introduced to Hawkeye through the MCU probably was not too impressed with him at first glance. When the other members of the Avengers team feature a billionaire in a flying metal suit, a guy who turns into a giant green monster, and a literal god, Hawkeye’s archery skills are not that impressive to behold. Hawkeye is a great shot, and is also very strong for a normal human, but he’s still reliant on a pretty bulky weapon to hang with his allies.
One good thing going for Hawkeye is he is smart enough not to limit his ability with weapons to just a bow. He’s known for being able to take any ordinary object laying around and utilize it as a makeshift weapon. It gives him the edge over some of these other heroes who really are confined to expertise with just one weapon, but nonetheless, in an unarmed fight there are far better choices to have on your side than the guy famous for his sharpshooting.
12. JONAH HEX
A cowboy might make for a unique superhero, but his mode of attack is pretty obvious. If someone was out to take down criminals in the Old West, their options were pretty much limited to guns. Just because it’s predictable doesn’t mean it’s ineffective, since firearms worked out great for Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. Well, you can also add Jonah Hex to that list. The problem is those other two guys weren’t going up against superheroes.
To Jonah’s credit, his abilities are somewhat extraordinary with him being an expert marksman and having heightened senses. But without those guns his odds of victory go way down.
He is skilled enough to defend himself in hand-to-hand combat against every day people, and even managed to defeated an injured Batman once. Still, if he’s facing a healthy hero, Jonah is going to get outclassed in an unarmed fight pretty quickly.
11. THE PUNISHER
There is no denying that the Punisher keeps himself in good shape for a normal man, and he does try to train himself to stay in good fighting condition. When it comes down to it, how often does the Punisher actually rely on his hand-to-hand skills? For the Punisher, unarmed combat is a last resort for when all else fails. When he does fight with just his hands, there are plenty of characters who are a lot more skilled than him.
The Punisher’s bread and butter are his weapons. Handguns, sniper rifle, grenades, and whatever else he can get his hands on are all fair game to Frank. The Punisher is never willingly walking into a fight unarmed, and will quickly try to find a weapon even if he does wind up empty-handed. He prefers to be a walking arsenal and relies on his opponents either being less equipped or less trained.
10. GREEN ARROW
Green Arrow’s reliance on his weapon is no secret. When a guy is named after a weapon, his primary form of attack is pretty obvious.
To Oliver’s credit, he put in the work to become a master archer. There is nothing supernatural about his ability to use a bow; it’s just the result of years of training. It’s served him well too, since he is able to fire dozens of arrows a minute and at high velocity. Oliver also usually comes packing multiple kinds of arrows to get him out of a variety of tough situations.
All that being said, Green Arrow’s reliance on his bow makes it a really obvious target for neutralizing him as a threat. Disarm Oliver and he becomes dramatically less effective. To be fair to him, Oliver does know enough about unarmed combat to deal with street criminals. But as far as beating any of the heroes or villains he regularly interacts with if he’s caught unarmed? Forget about it.
Deadpool is a little bit different than most of the other characters we’re mentioning since Wade actually does innately have really good superpowers. His regeneration is so powerful that he can recover from almost any wound and is nearly immortal. The problem is that Wade has become so overconfident in his ability to heal that it has made him a very sloppy fighter. He has pretty much become reliant on being able to take damage just to win his fights. So when he gets disarmed, he often gets destroyed.
Deadpool’s weapons of choice are guns and his sword, and he’s good at using both of them. Without the weapons, Deadpool does know martial arts, but isn’t very good at showing it. In unarmed combat he has been totally demolished by the Hulk, Black Panther, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and even Batman. Wade might survive the beatings, but he does still lose a lot when he’s unarmed.
Normally we would not classify someone who is enhanced by fictional drugs as someone who is reliant on a weapon, since someone like Steve Rogers basically gained a permanent upgrade from the Super-Soldier Serum. After all, you can’t easily just take away Steve’s enhanced attributes, so his serum definitely wouldn’t be a weapon.
When we’re talking about someone whose superpowers regularly wear off unless they routinely take a drug? There’s definitely a vulnerability there for a villain to exploit, so we’d say Hourman qualifies for this list.
Like his name indicates, Hourman’s powers only last one hour before wearing off. He needs his Miraclo Pills to gain any sort of powers, so a smart villain would definitely target getting rid of those pills before he can take them. Within his hour of being a superhero, Hourman is stronger, more resilient, and faster. When off the pills, most iterations of Hourman are just normal guys.
Ant-Man is another character who isn’t known for using melee weapons or firearms, but his suit gives him all the weapons he could need. When Hank Pym or Scott Lang are in the Ant-Man suit, they are capable of shrinking down to nearly microscopic size while still retaining all of their normal strength. We have also seen that they can enlarge themselves into a giant form as well, which makes it pretty understandable that they would not see the need for knowing any hand-to-hand combat.
As we saw in the Ant-Man movie, the Pym technology can also easily be stolen, though. The big issue with heroes who rely on their tech is they need to keep a firm grasp on it or they could not only be disarmed, but they could empower their enemy. Fortunately Ant-Man’s suit also gives him allies to help him in the form of the bugs he can communicate with and command.
Much like Iron Man, Cyborg is another hero whose power stems from being enhanced with technology. One advantage Cyborg does have, though, is that he is not taking off his enhancements at the end of the day.
Tony eventually leaves the Iron Man suit idle to resume his normal life, while Cyborg’s new normal involves being part man part machine all the time. That doesn’t mean the machine part of Cyborg can’t be debilitated, though, and when it is he becomes much more vulnerable.
When Cyborg is fully functional, however, he is pretty much a walking arsenal. The cybernetic enhancements grant Cyborg increased strength, durability, and access to a bunch of different weapons. He probably wishes his robotic parts actually were something he could take off at the end of the day, but as it is, the weapons Cyborg has are pretty much what he has access to for life.
We have talked about other characters who are dependent on their costumes to defend themselves, but those heroes had outfits that were more than just armor. Someone like Iron Man not only gets increased protection from his suits, but also can fire various weapons. Thunderer’s costume is a bit more limited, though. His outfit does not make him stronger or more durable; it simply turns his screams into sonic blasts.
Black Canary has shown that vocal blasts are no joke, but it’s still a bit of an odd choice for an ability to construct a costume around. Even with that power, Thunderer is still not any more durable, so he’s vulnerable even in costume.
Being able to deafen people and cause shockwaves is certainly devastating, but having a melee weapon as a last resort would also be smart. Without his suit, Thunderer does not have any a single power to defend himself.
4. AGENT VENOM
With the news of the Venom movie abound right now, Eddie Brock is the symbiote wearer that everyone is talking about. There is no doubt that Eddie is the most well-known symbiote, but even before becoming Venom, he was still a dangerous guy. Disarmed of the symbiote costume, Eddie is nonetheless crazy strong, but the same is not true of everyone to wear the symbiote.
Flash Thompson gets the same advantages while wearing the costume and becoming Agent Venom, but when deprived of the alien weapon, Flash is nowhere near as tough as Eddie.
One of the big incentives for Flash to bond with the symbiote in the first place was that he had lost his legs. Joining with the symbiote allowed him to have his limbs back as long as he was in costume. But Flash can only wear the symbiote for so long before it starts to effect his sanity, so he has to remove it pretty often. When he does, Flash is still strong, but a paraplegic is obviously not going to be as physically capable as someone like Eddie Brock.
3. DARKWING DUCK
The sad thing about Darkwing Duck is that he is so inept that even with weapons he is still often pretty helpless. Darkwing is not somebody who has powers, his gadgets frequently backfire against him, and his hand-to-hand fighting is nowhere near as good as he thinks it is. He usually just winds up winning his encounters against supervillains due to sheer luck, or else one of his allies salvages the situation for him.
Darkwing Duck is basically a parody of everything a superhero should not be. He’s more interested in being a superhero for the fame of it than for actually helping people. And he takes shortcuts to try and get good at his crime fighting career which usually leaves him in peril when it’s time to test his skills. Unless Darkwing manages to blunder his way into a victory, his villains are usually safe – regardless of whether he has weapons or not.
2. JANE FOSTER
It’s old news by now that Jane Foster was able to lift Mjolnir to become the new Thor. And along with her new title and new look, Jane gained all the typical powers that the original Thor had, such as his incredible strength. We’ve seen many characters manage to wield Mjolnir and gain great power from it, but some of them still lack something that sets the original Thor apart. While wielding Mjolnir does grant the original Thor more abilities, he does still have supernatural traits even without the hammer. However, in the case of someone like Jane Foster, she’s just an ordinary human without the weapon.
Actually in the case of Jane, her situation is even worse than normal because it turns out she is dying of cancer when in her normal form. Suffice to say, when Jane is not powered up as Thor, she is not engaging in any battles. It’s pretty cool that she has a way to still be a hero despite her illness, but if Jane ever loses Mjolnir in a fight then she is going to be in a lot of trouble.
1. ROCKET RACCOON
A raccoon all on its own simply is not a very scary thing. Maybe you don’t want to see one when you’re taking the trash out because you’d be worried about rabies, but that’s about as fearsome as they get. If anything Rocket Raccoon is even less intimidating because he can talk, meaning he’s civilized enough to not be likely to just randomly try and bite your face off. Given that he’s small, furry, and capable of being reasoned with, Rocket Raccoon definitely needs an equalizer.
As anyone who has seen the Guardians of the Galaxy movies knows, Rocket loves guns. He’s also a skilled pilot, and has some tough friends to back him up. But in a one-on-one fight, he’s definitely turning to the biggest gun a small furry animal can handle. That makes him more intimidating than the average raccoon, but still not so tough when he gets disarmed.
Are there any heroes we missed who also belong in this dubious club? Sound off in the comments!
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