After years of binge-worthy Netflix shows, you might think that you know The Defenders’ powers, skills and special features by now.
Charlie Cox’s Daredevil has radar vision and mad martial arts skills, Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones has super strength and a powerful liver, Mike Colter’s Luke Cage has unbreakable skin and an ever-replenishing collection of hoodies, and Finn Jones’ Iron Fist has a glowing hand and stacks of cash.
However, in the comics-- where all of these characters have existed for a lot longer than their Netflix counterparts-- their skill sets have grown over time.
Matt Murdock and his super friends have displayed more abilities in the comics than the Netflix wing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been able to convey.
In the years to come, fans may well get to see some of these abilities enacted in live-action form. Only time will tell on that front.
However, for now, these lesser-known abilities are only for comic book readers to witness. So, if you’d like to know a bit more about the heroes at the heart of The Defenders, and their abilities that Netflix hasn’t shown yet, you only need to read on.
Go forth and discover the 15 Powers You Never Knew The Defenders Had.
15 Iron Fist Can Deaden Himself To Pain
Jones’ Danny Rand is always banging on about the benefits of focusing his chi, and fans have seen proof of this in his abilities to punch hard and heal injuries. However, things go a bit deeper in the comics, where Danny’s chi has many more tricks up its sleeve.
Danny has the power to take full control of his nervous system, which has all sorts of useful benefits.
He can use this ability to deaden himself to pain, for example, stopping his nerve endings from sending pain-based info to his brain. That could come in handy in future seasons of his show.
Being able to control his nervous system also allows Danny to manipulate his heart rate. If he ever needs to lie to Matt Murdock, that’s all Danny has to do to hide the truth.
14 Daredevil Can Read Printed Words With His Finger
Matt Murdock might be blind, but there’s still an awful lot he can do. If you’ve watched Daredevil, you’ll know that his other senses are heightened to off-the-charts levels, allowing Matt to perceive environments around him as a "world on fire."
He seems to use sound the most, although some fun moments in The Defenders give Matt's sense of smell a chance to shine.
Viewers haven’t really seen Matt’s sense of touch explored in detail as of yet. In the comics, it’s established that his fingertips are so sensitive that he can read printed words by scanning his fingers over the ink.
He doesn’t really need to use brail at all, but it would raise suspicion if he went around fondling books all the time.
There’s a downside to this ability, though: if the page Matt is trying to read has been laminated, this power is completely redundant.
13 Jessica Jones’ Psionic Protection (Gifted By Jean Grey)
Fans of Jessica Jones will remember all too well the turmoil wrought by David Tennant’s Kilgrave. The comic book version of Purple Man was similarly sinister, and Jessica wound up in a coma at the end of his reign of terror.
She was awakened with help from Jean Grey of the X-Men, who also managed to share a bit of her power with the superhero-turned-sleuth.
Jean helped set up mental blocks within Jessica’s mind, gifting her with a telepathic resistance that would allow Jessica to resist Purple Man’s commands if he ever returned to the scene and tried to control her.
The TV version of Jessica has had no such assistance, and Jessica had to figure it all out on her own.
12 Luke Cage’s Accelerated Healing Factor (If He Ever Does Get Injured)
As season 1 of Luke Cage explored, it is actually possible to injure Luke Cage. Normal weapons and fists can’t do it, but special substances can.
On TV we had Judas Bullets made by Hammer Tech, and in the comics, it’s been established that Adamantium and highly powerful lasers can break Luke’s skin.
However, even if Luke does get injured, he’s got enhanced healing abilities to fix him up. He couldn’t regrow a limb like Deadpool or Wolverine, but any regular injury would heal fast. Luke can heal in approximately one-third the time it would take an ordinary person.
Luke’s healing powers haven’t been fully established on TV as of yet, but they could well get a mention in Luke Cage season 2.
11 Iron Fist Can Travel Between Dimensions Using Chi
As aforementioned, the art of chi mastery offers a lot of abilities that TV’s Danny Rand is yet to even scrape the surface of.
The first season of Iron Fist touched upon this; Danny stumbled onto a video of a previous Iron Fist igniting both fists for a drawn out period of time. However, as it stands, Danny can only really get one punch out of it.
In the comics, chi can be used for all sorts of things. It’s been established that chi manipulation can create nexus points between dimensions.
Under the right circumstances, and with the right level of focus, Iron Fists can use their chi to open gateways and travel from one dimension to another.
The Netflix branch of the MCU is some distance away from exploring this sort of thing, but if the worlds of Iron Fist and Doctor Strange ever collide, it could be an interesting thing to bring up.
10 Luke Cage Can Jump Like The Hulk
Mike Colter’s Netflix version of Luke Cage doesn’t seem too interested in pushing the limits of his powers.
The fact that he has super strong legs hasn’t been explored half as much as it could be. The show mostly deals with Luke’s upper body strength and his bulletproof skin.
However, in the comics, Luke’s leg strength is highly impressive. Using his enhanced muscles, he can jump in a similar style to the Hulk.
Although the Hulk is stronger and can jump further, Luke can still achieve some impressive feats. He can leap multiple stories and long distances in a single bound.
Interestingly, the Netflix version of Jessica Jones seems to have this ability as well. In the comics, Jessica can fly, but in live-action form, she’s more into jumping. Go figure.
9 Daredevil And Iron Fist Can’t Be Tricked By Magic Or Illusions
Although the Netflix MCU has shown fans some incredible and unnatural things, it’s yet to delve into magic or illusions.
If these shows do eventually tackle material like that, it will become apparent that Matt Murdock is basically immune to being fooled by tricks.
After all, most illusions tend to focus on visual stimuli, which Matt can’t be phased by. Using his other senses, he can easily determine what’s real and what’s fake.
In the comics, it’s also been established that Danny Rand’s senses enter a heightened state when his chi is focused. This is not necessarily a superhuman advantage like the one that Daredevil has, but it’s still impressive.
Additionally, in a crossover story, Doctor Strange’s mentor The Ancient One gifted Danny with a costume that makes him immune to magical attacks.
Obviously, that hasn’t happened in the Netflix continuity, but magical opponents could well be in Danny’s future, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares.
8 Jessica Jones Is Impervious To Certain Injuries
Jessica Jones isn’t just strong. She’s also highly durable and resistant to certain sorts of injuries.
Obviously, she’s not quite as immune to pain as Luke Cage, but she’s made of really tough stuff nonetheless. She’s gone up against other super-powered beings in the comics, and only received superficial damage.
She’s taken a punch in the face from The Vision and lived to tell the tale. She’s fought people on Mutant Growth Hormone and bested them with ease. She also once took a "Venom Blast" from Spider-Woman and recovered from the pain within moments.
The comic book version of Jessica has also fallen from great heights, during botched attempts at flying, and she just dusted herself off and got up.
It’ll be interesting to see if Jessica Jones season 2 shows off her durability a bit more.
7 Iron Fist COULD Manipulate His Chi To Power Up Weapons
This is a power that Danny Rand has never learned in the comics, but previous holders of the Iron Fist mantle have proven that it’s possible.
Orson Randall and Wu Ao-Shi, both former Iron Fists, mastered the ability to channel their chi into ranged weapons like guns and bows. This process makes the weapons more powerful and accurate.
It’s also possible for the Iron Fist to channel his chi as an energy blast, offering another way for Danny to use his abilities for long-range attacks.
It’s probably more likely that Danny will learn this skill on TV, because giving him a chi-powered bow would only add more fuel to the "Iron Fist is an Arrow rip-off" fire.
Perhaps, in the seasons to come, fans will get to see Danny mastering his chi powers more fully. Chi energy blast projection could look very cool on screen.
6 Luke Cage Is Incredibly Fast
He’s not a speedster, but Luke Cage is pretty speedy. He couldn’t win a race with Quicksilver, but he could best any human athlete.
Luke was an impressive athletic specimen even before gaining his powers, and his enhanced musculature allowed him to become even faster after the experiments.
The Netflix universe is yet to show Luke being particularly fleet-footed. This is probably because the powers-that-be don’t want to make any of the Defenders seem overly powerful.
They each have one or two things they can do, and that’s about the right level to keep the shows grounded in some sort of reality. If Luke was sprinting around faster than Usain Bolt, things might start to feel a bit too weird.
Luke's strength has been downplayed a bit on Netflix, as well. In the comics, he once carried a truck on his shoulder for seven blocks. He’s yet to do anything that audacious on the screen.
5 Jessica Jones MIGHT Have Concussive Blasts
In the comics, Jessica Jones was once shown fighting the Defenders in a dream sequence. In the dream, Jessica is under the control of Purple Man and she uses some hitherto unmentioned abilities – namely some purple concussive blasts that emanate from her fists.
Artist Mark Bagley, who also illustrated all the flashbacks to Jessica Jones’ era as the superhero Jewel during this comic book run, drew the dream sequence.
This caused some fans to believe that the dream could actually be a flashback, harking back to a time when Jessica-as-Jewel was under Purple Man’s control. Did Purple Man unlock a power in Jessica that she never uses herself?
It’s fairly certain that Jessica will never develop these abilities on Netflix. There are enough glowing fists going around as it is, but still, it's cool to think that she could have powers that she hasn't discovered yet.
4 Iron Fist Can Hypnotize People
Orson Randall, another version of Iron Fist, once gave Danny an important book in the comics. The Book of the Iron Fist taught Danny how to cast illusions and hypnotize people, and Danny went on to use these skills in his battles.
He could trick enemies into not being able to see him, or make them see a whole army of soldiers when really it was just one man.
There’s no denying the fact that the Netflix version of Danny would find these skills handy, especially when he’s highly outnumbered – which seems to happen a lot.
However, using techniques like this might not go down too well with Danny’s new teammates.
After all, Jessica Jones has seen the horrors that mental manipulation can cause up close. She’d surely warn Danny against using such powers, however pure his motivations are.
3 Luke Cage’s Martial Arts Skills
As things currently stand, Netflix's Luke Cage doesn’t have much of a fighting style. Along with his powers, he’s gained the luxury of not having to duck, dip, dive, or dodge in order to make it through a battle.
He takes the hits, begrudges the holes in his clothes, and then delivers a quick beat-down where necessary.
However, at the end of Luke Cage season 1, he nearly met his match. Luke noticeably struggled in his fight against Diamondback, who had his own enhancements courtesy of Justin Hammer.
He can take down any number of generic thugs, but Luke struggles against people with similar size and strength to him.
In the comics, to remedy a similar situation, Danny Rand taught Luke Cage martial arts.
Now, when he comes up again an opponent that’s physically a match for him, Luke can whip out some kung-fu moves to get the job done. The Netflix version of Luke would really benefit from this sort of training.
2 Iron Fist MIGHT Be Ageing Slower
Danny Rand likes to call himself the "immortal" Iron Fist, in the comics and on Netflix. However, his powers don’t actually include immunity to death.
He can use his chi to heal injuries, but he is capable of being mortally wounded and experiencing death. The "immortal weapon" thing is more of a title.
There is, however, a possibility that the Iron Fist powers are giving Danny an elongated lifespan. Orson Randall, Danny’s predecessor in the Iron Fist role, aged at a decelerated rate. (He also fired chi bullets from a pair of handguns, and fought in The First World War. Cool guy.)
It’s unclear if Danny’s Iron Fist powers are giving him the same slow aging and longer life that Orson had, and it’s quite a random thing to expect Netflix to address, but maybe fans will find out one day.
1 Daredevil's Taste Buds Are Ridiculously Heightened
Another of Matt Murdock’s senses that Netflix doesn’t seem too interested in is his taste.
As you’d expect, Matt Murdock’ taste buds are just as ramped up as his hearing, smelling, and touching powers. However, there just aren’t many engaging ways for Matt to nibble or sip his way to justice.
Matt’s sense of taste is so far off the scale that he can tell you how many grains of salt are on a pretzel.
He can also identify every ingredient in an edible item, as long as there are twenty milligrams of the substance to work with. These are cool party tricks, but they don’t bring much to Matt’s crime-fighting game.
Of all the little-known powers on this list, Matt’s taste buds are probably the least useful, but perhaps they will be the topic of a joke or two in Daredevil season 3. That could be fun.
Can you think of any other secret powers that The Defenders have? Let us know in the comments!