There's nothing worse than an unstoppable villain. Earth's Mightiest Heroes have certainly dealt with their fair share of overwhelming foes. An insurmountable foe with little to no remorse is the last thing anyone needs. While there are heroes willing to stand for what's right, sometimes they're outdone. However, not everyone is as powerful as they seem, and there are many ways to overcome an imposing foe. A lot of the villains in the Marvel Universe are restricted by caveats in their powers or as a result of their environment. These limitations can be leveraged by heroes, or even fellow villains, to topple the villainous individuals. Given the nature of super-villains and their tendency to return again and again, it's important to know their combat specifics.
In more extreme cases, the limitations on power not only hinder villains, but keep them alive. Self preservation is a big part of being able to continue being a scourge on the Marvel Universe. Technology that imbues a villain with power or keeps a villain together, limitations can be technologically enforced. Heroes sometimes have a hand in the limitations of their nemesis, an accident following a confrontation or a villain's imprisonment could curb them indefinitely. This can lead to even more restrictions, as a heel becomes set on revenge, narrowing their worldview and focusing their potential entirely into an old vendetta. No matter where the limitations come from, CBR takes a look at some of the vilest villains to find out what caps their power.
20 JUGGERNAUT'S POWERS CAN BE TAKEN AWAY AT ANY MOMENT
Known as The Unstoppable Juggernaut, it's hard to believe anything could limit Cain Marko. His gargantuan frame and destructive ability are notorious among the behemoths of the Marvel Universe. The only issue is, Marko's power is not entirely his own, and herein lies his limitation. Juggernaut's power is given to him through the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak.
This gem acts as a conduit for the Chaotic being, Cyttorak, to choose his avatar in the Marvel Universe. At any time, should he will it, Cyttorak can take the power back, granting it to another individual. In order to keep being unstoppable, Juggernaut must create a sufficient amount of chaos to keep Cyttorak happy.
19 THANOS IS A SUCKER FOR LOVE
Thanos is ultimately limited by himself and his own motives. His desire to please Mistress Death and his obsession for this endeavor have been his undoing. Without his need to please the one he loves unrequited, the Mad Titan could have dominion over all the known Universe. His love has cost him on more than one occasion, even when he's at his most powerful.
His need to keep escalating his shows of power to impress Mistress Death caused him to lose the Infinity Gauntlet. Furthermore, in the story-line "Thanos Wins" when he had almost defeated everyone in the cosmos, Mistress Death still spurned him. His fruitless pursuit of unattainable love will always see him fall short.
18 RED HULK RUNS THE RISK OF OVERHEATING HIMSELF
Thunderbolt Ross hated the Hulk, admonishing his destruction and his danger to the planet. In one of his more foolish endeavors to stop the Hulk, he turned himself into a Hulk. This version of the Hulk was Red Hulk, and though he did put up a good fight, Red Hulk came with its limitations.
One of Red Hulk's greatest assets is also the window to one of his restrictions. He absorbs radiation of different types, making him stronger as a result. However, if Red Hulk absorbs too much radiation and exerts himself immensely, he can overheat. This overcharging of sorts weakens him to a point where he can be defeated more easily.
17 GALACTUS' HUNGER KEEPS WEAKENING HIM
Galactus is one of the most feared beings in the Marvel Universe. Several of Earth's heroes, as well as heroes of the cosmos, have had run ins with the World Eater. Usually heralded by a powerful servant, Galactus uses his wellspring of cosmic power to subjugate and consume entire planets.
Though he is rightly feared, he is a victim of a seemingly endless hunger. It was revealed that he is part of the cosmic balance, and that his culling of planets is part of that balance. Regardless, his need to feed is what propels him through the universe, and without regular meals, this cosmic titan would weaken.
16 MEPHISTO'S POWERS DWINDLE IN THE REAL WORLD
Mephisto is the silver-tongued, deceptive being reminiscent of the devil that exudes his influence is the darkest places of the Marvel Universe. Without spending too much in the proper universe, he has managed to corrupt and trick various individuals into hellish situations. He's even responsible for the presence of the Ghost Riders in the Marvel Universe.
One very important thing to note about this fiery fiend, is that he isn't nearly as powerful in the regular universe as he is in his native dimension. With god-like dominion in his own realm, he can do just about anything. One day, Mephisto hopes to bring his hell dimension forth to consume all other reality, so that he can enjoy his power everywhere he goes.
15 SCORPION IS TRAPPED INSIDE OF HIS SUIT
Like a few of his super-villain peers, Mac Gargan is limited by the very thing that gives him his powers. Unfortunately for the Sinister Six alumni, he's trapped in the suit he utilizes. Part of an experiment, Mac was fused into the Scorpion suit, unable to take it off when he'd like to. This is probably why he is always so angry.
A long-time thorn in Spider-Man's side, Mac would get some reprieve during Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. Finally freed from his Scorpion suit, he was instead made to wear the Venom Symbiote. His time as Venom was also painful for the villain, as consuming human body parts as the symbiote hungered, left lasting mental scars on him.
14 EMMA FROST'S BRAIN CAN TURN OFF
The White Queen of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost has straddled the line of hero and villain for years. Most recently, she set in motion a plan to forcefully take control of the Hellfire Club, and succeeded. She was also partly responsible for the Inhuman/Mutant war, which enacted a heavy toll on both sides.
What makes Emma so dangerous is that she is an incredibly powerful telepath. However, her vast telepathic ability is only usable when she is in her regular form. Her secondary mutation allows her to change her skin to a diamond-like substance, near impervious. When she is in her diamond form, her mental abilities are not active.
13 THE PHOENIX FIVE CAN'T STAY A TEAM OF FIVE
Coming into contention over the Phoenix, the X-Men and Avengers clashed in Avengers Vs. X-Men. To complicate matters, Iron Man inadvertently fragmented the cosmic being, with its essence empowering five of the X-Men. They came to be known as the Phoenix Five, and brought the Earth under their supposedly benevolent leadership.
When the first of their number fell, it was revealed they received the fallen member's power. This showed their power to be limited by their number, and that to truly be powerful, only one could remain. Eventually they were all defeated, save Cyclops, who inherited the full power of the Phoenix Force.
12 MORBIUS IS NOTHING WITHOUT BLOOD
Morbius has had a difficult relationship with humanity, even before his vampiric transformation. Living with a physical condition that gave him an undesirable appearance, his brilliant mind led him to science. In an attempt to cure himself, he turned himself instead into the Living Vampire. Named a living vampire, as he isn't actually undead, like a traditional vampire.
The similarities with vampires in the major ways are still apparent, though. Morbius requires feeding on blood to keep himself alive and healthy. Though he can survive on bovine blood, it is nowhere near as nourishing as human blood. Without feeding on humans, Morbius cannot enjoy the full extent of his abilities.
11 TASKMASTER IS JUST AS PREDICTABLE AS THE ATTACKS HE PREDICTS
Taskmaster is one of the most incredible hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel Universe. The mercenary has the unique ability to adapt to his opponent's fighting style, as well as replicate it almost perfectly. He's squared off with everyone from Captain America to Spider-Man, adding to his extensive combat knowledge each time.
However, Taskmaster is limited by his reliance on his ability and his opponent's predictability. In order to replicate his opponent's fighting style, they need to fight consistently. He has been known to be defeated by heroes who are smart his his tricks and switch up their style entirely mid-fight.
10 SEBASTIAN SHAW WILL NEVER WIN A FIGHT AGAINST ENERGY
Sebastian Shaw has an interesting way of gathering power. In order to activate his enhanced physical abilities, he must be on the receiving end of large amounts of kinetic energy. This means if you were to punch him in the face over and over, he'd just get stronger and stronger. He's been known to steal a lot of energy from the physical power of X-Men like Colossus.
Shaw is limited by this power, however, as without sufficient kinetic energy, he's no stronger than a regular person in decent physical condition. He can instead be easily dispatched with energy-based attacks or mental assaults.
9 SHADOW KING IS PRONE TO BEING TRAPPED
The Shadow King is one of the most malevolent mental manipulators in the Marvel Universe. He's intimidated some of Earth's most powerful telepaths including the legendary Charles Xavier. He is able to control others, allowing him to have his influence and corruption spread to the physical world.
Herein lies his greatest limitation, without sufficient physical bodies to exert influence over, he can be contained. The Shadow King has been trapped in mental cages, bested in mental chess matches and confined to the Astral Plane. Although, the sinister being is tenacious, always finding new ways to seep into the minds of the waking world from his various prisons.
8 GRANDMASTER ISN'T ALLOWED TO LOSE EVEN ONCE
The Grandmaster is an incredibly powerful being, existing in the cosmos of the Marvel Universe. He also belongs to a group known as the Elders of the Universe, a powerful collective akin to a pantheon of gods. En Dwi Gast, specifically, is the Master of Games, having the power to use individuals across the universe as pawns in his games.
The limitation on his power comes in the conditions he earned it under. In order to retain his power, he must be victorious in all of his games. If he is defeated, the victor becomes the new Master of Games. Grandmaster isn't above cheating to keep that power, either.
7 SELENE NEEDS TO MAKE USE OF UNREALISTICALLY SHORT BURSTS OF TIME
Selene has existed for centuries in the Marvel Comics Universe. While not truly immortal on her own merit, her powers afford her an extended lifespan. the powers in question involve her ability to take the life force from other beings and add them to her own, similar to how a vampire consumes other humanoids.
It is also possible for Selene to ascend to a god-like being once she consumes enough beings. Mutants, in particular, bolster her life force the most. The limitations on her powers mean she can only ascend if she absorbs a large amount of beings at once, within a short time. It is also possible that without any food source, she would finally perish from old age.
6 THE VOID CANNOT BE CONTAINED
The Void is a devastatingly powerful entity that resides inside Robert Reynolds. This beings thrives off of annihilation and fear, and is powerful enough to keep Sentry on his toes. Being one in the same as the entity, Bob must fight at all times to subdue this malicious presence from becoming the dominant on in his body.
If left unchecked, the Void would escape from the Sentry, destroying everything it touched. The only thing that limits its power is Sentry himself, either by concentrating a large portion of his power to keep it within or refusing to use his powers at all for fear of its emergence. Recently, Bob found a way to have both his aspects work in tandem, how long this lasts is anyone's guess.
5 KING HYPERION AND RADIATION DON'T MIX
King Hyperion was a dictator in his own Universe, defeating everyone from street-level heroes all the way up to Galactus. He would set his sights on other realities, hoping to bring them all under his rule as King Hyperion. This powerhouse of an Eternal had a regenerative healing factor, shown to be able to reassemble parts of his body that were damaged.
Despite his seemingly limitless power, he had a very simple limitation. King Hyperion, much like most Hyperions, is vulnerable to Argonite and Argonite radiation. It would be a more constant limitation during his time on the Thunderbolts, where he had remote nanites injected into his body, capable of releasing Argonite into his body if he went off-mission.
4 CUL BORSON IS ONLY DANGEROUS TO THOSE WHO FEAR HIM
The brother of Odin and the Asgardian God Of Fear, Cul is a foe to be, well, feared! Mimicking his brother's creation of Mjolnir, he himself bestowed hammers on several individuals who he deemed worthy. The issue was, the worthiness depended on their aptitude for spreading fear throughout the realms.
Once enough fear had been generated, Cul was granted enough power to become his final form, The Serpent. This legendary creature, born of fear, was said to defeat Thor and doom the Nine Realms. The limitation, however, is that without a decent level of fear and panic inspired in his name, Cul is shown to become withered, weak and old.
3 NEMESIS' SUIT IS A WALKING WEAKNESS
Nemesis is said to be the son of Apocalypse, and is capable of ferocious destruction. While under the employ of Apocalypse's successor, Archangel, Nemesis destroyed an entire town in America to clear out a staging ground for their villainous plans. He is resistant to most telepathic attacks and utilizes searing hot plasma for offense.
Though he is one of the scariest of Apocalypse's servants, he has one very visible limitation. His form is volatile and unpredictable by nature, so he needs to wear a hulking suit to keep himself together. Nemesis can achieve a physical form without the suit, but it requires the life force of other beings, acquired at a fairly consistent rate.
2 LIVING MONOLITH NEEDS CONSISTENT COSMIC ENERGY
The Living Monolith has the ability to convert himself into a gargantuan powerhouse. This ancient villain has been active since ancient Egypt, sometimes working alongside the infamous Apocalypse. In order to achieve his Monolithic true form, he requires a large influx of cosmic energy.
At one time, he was able to manipulate the powers of Alex Summers of the X-Men as a conduit for his ascension. He has also been turned into a version of his monolithic form when given the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. However, without sufficient cosmic energy or the artifact of a deity, he remains a less powerful, regular sized version of himself.
1 MICHAEL POINTER IS HUBRIS PERSONIFIED
Michael Pointer has had a troubled relationship with heroics. Once part of Alpha Flight, the would be hero has a sinister side, linked to his power. In order to reach his power ceiling, he must absorb the power of others. This has sometimes led to Michael being obsessed with the power he received. On one such occasion, he was recruited by Norman Osborn to be one of his Dark X-Men.
Using a device made for him called the Omega machine, Michael was using the converted power of mutants to power himself. He got a buzz from the sudden constant influx of power, especially when he stole the power of Nate Grey. However, his potential is limited depending on how much power absorption he has access to.