Food and beverage connoisseurs say that items like cheese and wine get better only with age. While this may hold true for some refined products, it does not necessarily translate to people. We have a looming expiration date. Bodies begin to deteriorate once old age sets in - senses begin to fail and once strong individuals find themselves weakening. The bodies that may have housed one incredibly strong and capable individuals eventually betray them, and gradually begin to decay.
While depressing to think about, the silver lining is that the comic and superhero industry has provided numerous examples of what human excellence can look like. Superheroes are often the peak of physical conditioning, and people strive to live and act like their favorite heroes would. This may be a great ideal, but it poses one simple question - what would happen if superheroes began to age as well? Would a hero with incredible strength and agility find themselves losing the powers that make them special? Or would their superiority remain even though they have increased in age?
Some superheroes will certainly retain their superpowers despite aging - either because they are not human or have an ability which keeps them from aging. However, some heroes have too much humanity left inside them, which leaves them as vulnerable as the average person on the street. It is a novel concept to consider, and makes viewers think what their favorite heroes would be like if they hit golden-age status.
Here are 9 Superheroes Who Became Way Weaker With Age (And 11 Who Became More Powerful).
20 Stronger - Cable
As seen in Deadpool 2, Cable is one of the stronger heroes to enter the X-Men film universe. His military training combined with technological interventions makes him very dangerous.
Even with old age setting in, Cable still maintains his incredible strength and tactical abilities. While his time-travelling antics make it difficult to pinpoint his exact age, Josh Brolin's depiction made him a strong middle-aged man. Furthermore, other comics have explored Cable in the future - The Uncanny Avengers series featured Cable in 2087, and despite his aging body he was still able to join the team to take out The Red Skull.
Given his recent introduction to the wide fa base, hopefully fans will be seeing more of him, as he'll only get stronger.
19 Weaker - Batman
Without any superhuman powers under his (utility) belt, Bruce Wayne is susceptible to everything humans are, including old age. The animated series Batman Beyond addresses what happens when a superhero gets older. With all of his allies and nemesis deceased or retired, an elderly Bruce Wayne has left Batman behind.
The catalyst for Bruce realizing that he needed to leave Batman behind was after having a heart-attack during a fight.
Very few other superheroes have had to deal with this type of vulnerability before, but Bruce's mortality make these issues come to the forefront. While the Batman moniker is taken over by Terry McGinnis in this universe, it does not change the fact that 6e Dark Knight was forced in to retirement for simply getting older.
18 Stronger - Thor
Is it really possible for the God of Thunder to lose any strength? He is a God, after all.
Thor's superstrength is unmatched by most heroes on this list. While he certainly will age like other habitants on Asgard, it is not very likely that he will lose any powers. For immediate reference, look at his father Odin. The former King of Asgard, Odin was able to maintain his powers from when he was younger. Even the strongest men of Asgard are able to retain the strength even when getting older.
Also considering that Thor is already 1,500 years old and is as strong as he is, he is doing alright!
17 Weaker - Spider-Man
Any appearance of Peter Parker in either the MCU or television shows has been as a wise-cracking teenager.
There has only been one screen instance of Parker shown as an older superhero, and it was not a pretty sight.
The Spider-Man Earth series explored what happens to the "web-head" when he has moved on from fighting crime. Unfortunately his life is in shambles at the time, and he is a shell of his former self. Ultimately, he is thrown back into the world of crime fighting but is swiftly defeated by a rogue gallery of his old enemies. Despite enemies like Kraven the Hunter and Venom also aging, they retain their strength and are able to take out the web-slinger.
Parker was not looking for a fight in his old age, but when he found one he was not able to keep up.
16 Stronger - Deadpool
The Merc with a Mouth is not one to downplay his own strengths. With a regenerative ability to rival any other hero on this list, Deadpool is certainly difficult to take out. Which also means that his strength never really deteriorates.
Despite being a human with a life-threatening disease, Wade Wilson's super powers allow him to escape the grave. With his powers keeping cancer at bay, it also makes him nearly indestructible. Want to know more about how strong and untouchable Deadpool is? Just ask, he has no problems talking about it, and will not hesitate to break the fourth wall.
15 Weaker - Wolverine
An older Wolverine is certainly still more awesome than most superheroes, but that does not mean he wasn't stronger than in his youth. 2017's Logan borrowed a story from the comic Old Man Logan, which depicts Wolverine aging ungracefully. Wolverine's regenerative healing abilities have began to fail him due to his Adamantium skeleton slowly poisoning him.
This slow aging process leaves Logan without the abilities he is most well-known for, and gives fans a different look at a once almost-invincible hero.
Watching Logan deteriorate was certainly unpleasant, as fans are used to seeing him at peak physical ability. While he still puts up a great fight during this film, it is certainly not the Logan fans are accustomed to.
14 Stronger - Professor Xavier
There are two types of strength which can be measured - physical or mental. While Professor Xavier's disability has prevented him from being a physically strong mutant, his intellectual and psychic abilities have only gotten better with time.
To compare James McAvoy's portrayal of Professor X with Sir Patrick Stewart's shows a great shift in how the character acts. While McAvoy's youthful portrayal gave Xavier more edge than seen in the past, Stewart's time in the role gave him much more maturity. An older and more esteemed Xavier means a more level-headed and in-control Professor in his senior years. While McAvoy makes several mistakes, Stewart is much more calculated and deliberate. Maturity is a great thing for a superhero, and Professor Xavier is a prime example.
13 Weaker - Captain America
Even though his stint as Captain America began in 1940 during World War II, Steve Rogers has been able to hold on to his immaculate strength. Mainly through the powers of cryogenic freezing, Rogers has been able to fight crime despite technically being the oldest superhero. Does this mean he never ages at all?
The All-New Captain America series explored what happens when age finally catches up to Rogers.
While fans would like to believe that he holds on to his vibranium shield forever, that is not the case. In fact, Rogers recognizes his deterioration himself and passes on the mantle to Sam "The Falcon" Wilson. While a very exciting development for Wilson, it is upsetting to see an aging Captain America ride off in to the sunset. However, we are thankful that he was able to recognize his weakness instead of continuing to fight crime.
12 Stronger - Wonder Woman
She may not look like it, but Wonder Woman is 800 years old in the DCEU, according to director Patty Jenkins. While this is allegedly young for a resident of Themyscira, she does not age like humans do.
Superheroes tend to play by different rules, including how they age. Her comic counterpart is currently clocking in at over 5,000 years old. Considering that there is still no sign of slowing down, it is safe to say that Wonder Woman does not lose any powers with age. This is particularly evident by the other warriors of Themyscira.
While the DCEU has some growing to do, their work with Wonder Woman has been their best thus far. Even if they wanted to continue the franchise for years, it is comforting to know that Wonder Woman will always maintain her strength.
11 Weaker - Daredevil
Matt Murdock lost his ability to see at a very young age. While this has served him as the superhero Daredevil, there comes a time during old age when the other senses start to deteriorate as well.
Following his accident, Murdoch found that his other senses were heightened as a result, giving him an entirely different type of strength. During his time fighting crime, he has used his enhanced sense of hearing and touch to take out his enemies. However, as he gets older it stands to reason that his other senses would begin to lose their special quality as well. Unfortunately, this would leave him without the powers that make him super. Hopefully he is able to retain his senses through the years, but time will eventually catch up to him.
10 Stronger - Superman
The son of Krypton arrived on Earth and became a protector for mankind. Following his first depiction in Action Comics #1 from 1928, Superman has been the star of the DC Universe. However, fans have not seen him age as much as other heroes.
Despite his physical appearance not changing in mainstream comics, he is still aging while on Earth.
The reason for his youthful look is due to his ties to the Earth's sun. Since he is getting constant power from the sun, he is actually getting stronger as each day passes. Which means that as long as the sun is his source of power, Superman will actually continue to get stronger and remain as he did when he began to grown on Earth. There is a reason that Superman has stood the test of time, and it is in no small part due to his continuous strength growth.
9 Weaker - Hawkeye
When superheroes lose the thing that makes them special, it must be an incredibly difficult pill to swallow. Especially if it also means that they have lost a basic human function. Clint "Hawkeye" Barton is the most well-known sharpshooter in the MCU. His ability to take out targets from hundreds of yards away with either a gun or bow and arrow is unmatched. However, once he begins aging his body starts to deteriorate faster than he would like.
During his stint in the comic Old Man Hawkeye, he begins to lose both his eyesight and hearing.
He does take on the initiative during this comic to "avenge" some of his fallen comrades, but his degenerating condition makes this extraordinarily difficult. Watching your skills fall away in old age must be very unfortunate, but thankfully he did not lose his drive to be a hero.
8 Stronger - Hellboy
Hellboy is one of the only superheroes which receives a full origin story, beginning from infancy. While it is expected that a hero would increase their abilities from infancy, Hellboy gets a much longer story arc. During the original 2004 film, Hellboy is shown after having spent sixty years on Earth. Despite being in to his "golden years," he is at his prime, physically. Most other heroes on this list have not reached that age in their comics, let alone stayed at the same physical abilities when they approach it.
While his "Right Hand of Doom" has been present from birth, his ability to harness it only gets better. Hellboy may be a demon, but he is certainly able to hold on to his powers (and even get stronger) despite advancing in age.
7 Weaker - The Punisher
It sounds difficult to believe that The Punisher would ever be considered weak. However, even this mercenary is unable to withstand old age. During the Old Man Logan story, an aging Frank Castle is introduced to assist him with his mission. While a team of these two violent anti-heroes would normally be a powerful team, their combined ages make them less than formidable. Castle is another of the superheroes on this list who is human and relies on his superior military training.
When old age sets in, it hits him hard.
Unfortunately, Castle does not survive the comic as he takes too many hits during battle. A much younger Punisher would not have allowed himself to be wounded this much, but he was unable to protect himself like in the past.
6 Stronger - The Hulk/Maestro
While Maestro is certainly not a superhero, he does give fans a good indication of what Bruce Banner would be like in old age. As expected, he is still one of the strongest beings in the universe. Despite his malevolent tendencies, Maestro has all of the superhero qualities of The Hulk.
Hulk's incredible strength and agility are still intact, despite this story taking place more than 100 years in the future. Since there are few things which can harm him, it is not surprising that he is able to maintain his strength. While Bruce Banner's mortality is always a component, The Hulk monster's strength is not in question. With so much strength that does not diminish, there really is nothing that can stop The Hulk, no matter what his age is.
5 Weaker - The Golden Age Flash
Both Erza Miller and Grant Justin's current versions of The Flash are well-received by fans. What both these actors have in common is their youthful presence. Instead of the youthful Barry Allen that fans are used to, Jay Garrick is a much different Flash. Though he started out as a college student, he was also given a stint as a much older superhero.
The Flash's defining characteristic is his super-speed, and when that is taken away, he is rendered useless.
Garrick's experience as an older superhero shows him unable to handle the high speeds from his youth, making him much less effective.
If he is not able to handle moving at light speeds, is he really The Flash?
4 Stronger - Cyborg
What does a computer look like after being left dormant for years? It retains its shape, and can even run back at full power if tended to properly. Given that technology can always be fixed, that theory also holds true for DC's resident robotic hero.
Though there are still human components in Victor Stone, his mechanical body is the reason he is a superhero. The durability which comes with robotic parts versus human flesh means that he never going to deteriorate. Most of the heroes on the "weaker" side of this list suffer from their human bodies lose strength with age. Meanwhile, Stone will never suffer from this due to his robotic parts. He may need more oil changes than some of the other heroes, he won't need to worry about losing powers.
3 Weaker - Green Lantern
The original Green Lantern has one of the oddest weaknesses in comic book lore. The Green Lantern suit is susceptible to anything that is made out of wood. This certainly has not made Alan Scott a very popular superhero in the eyes of fans, and it does not leave him in a good position come old age.
Any time that Alan Scott did some in to contact with wood his powers would deteriorate very quickly. As some of his final comics explained, he was unable to avoid wood during most of his interactions with villains.
Can Old Man Alan walk with a cane when he is older?
Can he have a wooden coffee table? Sounds like he would be a severely limited super hero in his old age.
2 Stronger - Max Damage
Fans will not be seeming many films coming out of Boom! Studios in the next several years. However, one of their earliest franchises is a prime of example of a hero getting better with age.
Max is an anti-hero who uses any means necessary to complete his objectives. A former supervillain who "breaks good" to become a hero, he uses his increasing levels of strength to take out those who oppose him. The key to Max's powers is that the longer he stays awake, the stronger and more dangerous he becomes.
This power would still continue into old age. Even though he will need to take more frequent naps, he will be a very strong old man once he wakes up.
1 Stronger - Master Roshi (Dragon Ball Z)
Looks can certainly be deceiving, particularly when it comes to those with old age. The automatic assumption is that an older person is weak. That is a very dangerous assumption to make when it comes to Master Roshi.
Despite being in his 400s, Roshi is still one of the strongest characters in the Dragon Ball universe.
With his extensive background in all forms of combat, his should always be considered dangerous to fight with. There are numerous times where Roshi is shown fighting (and faring well) against foes much younger than him, such as Vegeta or the Bio Warriors. Despite appearing geriatric, he is still able to mix it up with the best of them.
What other superheroes get better with age? Let us know in the comments!