Superheroes are all the rage these days as evidenced by the half a dozen movies put out each year by Marvel Studios and Warner Bros/DC Entertainment. Both die-hard and casual fans of superheroes can’t get enough of people with superhuman abilities saving the world. Does this mean we all have a desire to fly, breathe fire, or shoot electricity from our fingertips and stop crazy villains or otherworldly monsters? Perhaps.
But what about those heroes who aren’t actually “super”–the ones who don’t possess the ability to bench press a truck or shapeshift into cool creatures? There’s a number of these superheroes in the Marvel and DC comics’ pantheon. Many of them have gone toe to toe with villains and heroes who possessed superior traits despite their lack of super powers. Although these characters aren’t nearly as powerful as Superman or Thor, they’ve proven themselves to be crucial allies in numerous comic book stories and movies. Without further ado, here are the Most Powerful DC and Marvel Superheroes with No Powers – Ranked!
Frank Castle is an ex-Special Forces vet whose family was killed by the mob. He vowed to avenge them by waging a one-man war on crime through lethal force. Armed to the teeth with every gun and explosive imaginable, Castle proved himself to be a deadly force against random thugs and super villains alike. In his first appearance in “Amazing Spider-man #129,” this ruthless vigilante faced Spidey despite his lack of superpowers. Castle has feuded with heroes such as Daredevil, Wolverine, and the Hulk, but he’s also teamed up with earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers.
Nicholas J. Fury is the penultimate spy in the Marvel universe. As the director S.H.I.E.L.D., he’s handled many super-powered threats and rubbed shoulders with Captain America, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Fury is a veteran of armed and unarmed combat. He’s sparred with Captain America, honing his martial arts techniques. In addition, his role as S.H.I.E.L.D’s director allows him access to high-tech weaponry, jet packs, and even flying cars!
Michael Holt AKA Mr. Terrific is the third smartest man on Earth and is a black belt in six different forms of martial arts. Utilizing his T-spheres, Mr. Terrific can project laser grids, disrupt electronics, generate electric charges, and create explosions with enough force to rattle much stronger enemies. His mask also allows him to be invisible to all forms of technology. Clearly, there’s a reason he’s a valuable member of the Justice Society of America even without superhuman attributes.
Katana is a samurai warrior equipped with a powerful blade, the Soultaker, which also creepily contains the soul of her dead husband. A master sword-wielder, Katana has faced off against super villains as powerful as General Zod and Poison Ivy. Her mystical blade is capable of cutting through just about any surface including Batman’s armor or a Kryptonian’s skin. Even without the sword, Katana is an expert hand-to-hand combatant and an Olympic-level athlete with superior stealth ability that’s caught Batman off-guard!
A master archer and a longstanding member of the Avengers, Clint Barton is no lightweight when it comes to battling tougher foes than himself. Utilizing his exceptional marksmanship, Hawkeye uses a variety of trick arrows to immobilize, electrocute, blow up, or even kill his enemies. Trained by Captain America himself, Hawkeye is proficient in close range combat and can hold his own in a fist-fight. He also has a knack for turning everyday objects like coins, plates, and sticks into melee weapons.
Though DC Comic’s equivalent of a master archer is in many ways evenly matched with Hawkeye, Green Arrow edges out in the ranks for a few notable reasons. First, Oliver Queen has shown exceptional resourcefulness by crafting his own bow from whatever materials he could find while stranded on a deserted island. Second, the Emerald Archer can shoot 29 arrows per minute and catch projectiles out of midair. Third, in one storyline where he was missing an arm, Green Arrow still managed to hit his mark by using his teeth to shoot an arrow from his bow. If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you that Green Arrow is the better archer, I don’t know what will.
Natasha Romanoff was once a Russian spy trained as a martial artist, sniper, and assassin in a notorious KGB facility known as the Red Room. After defecting to the United States and leaving her Soviet past behind, she joins the Avengers. With her wrist-mounted energy shooters, superior fighting ability, and tactical prowess, Black Widow has successfully taken on Elektra,Wolverine, Punisher, Phoenix, Psylocke, and Daredevil. In “Marvel Two-in-One #10,”Natasha fought off 100 armed men all by her lonesome. She’s definitely not somebody you want to mess with.
Dick Grayson is the first Robin to fight crime alongside The Dark Knight. Trained by Batman at a young age, Grayson eventually outgrew the mantle of Robin and decided to step out of the Batman’s shadow as Nightwing. Though he is unpowered like his mentor, Nightwing can handle a multitude of melee weapons like staffs, escrima sticks, and swords with ease. He is an expert fighter who has defeated super-powered rogues in Gotham City and his own city, Blüdhaven. His acrobatic background as a member of the Flying Graysons has also aided him in combat. In the limited series, “Batman: Reborn,” Grayson proved his worth by becoming Batman when his mentor was thought to be dead. Few superheroes can match the skill and fighting ability of this former Robin!
Karate Kid is a member of the futuristic team known as the Legion of Super-Heroes which fights villainous threats in the 31st Century. He has mastered every form of martial arts known to mankind in the 31st century. Kid fought Batman to a standstill and briefly held his own against Superboy. Although he does not possess any form of super strength, Karate Kid is capable of damaging hard materials like stone and steel with his bare fists by finding the weakest spots in an object. He’s also trained his mental senses to resist all forms of mind control and even block out pain from injuries.
A billionaire with limitless resources and a genius-level intellect, Tony Stark has cemented his superhero status by using his technological ingenuity to create highly advanced Iron Man armors to stop the greatest villains in the Marvel universe. A founding member of the Avengers, Iron Man has faced off against just about every villain (and hero) that’s stood in his way. He’s created suits and weapons for almost every combat situation imaginable. His armory boasts suits specifically created for battling stronger opponents like Magneto, Thor, Hulk, and Phoenix. He’s even created an armor for battling gods like the Celestials! All of this powerful technology puts Stark a cut above many of his super-powered teammates.
Batman is the poster boy for non-powered superheroes. Enduring the tragic loss of his parents at a young age, Bruce Wayne set himself on a path to rid Gotham City of crime through his keen intellect, mastery of martial arts, and near infinite wealth. Like many of the other heroes on this list, Batman has fought enemies far stronger than what he is capable of. Very few heroes have fought Superman and won. Far fewer have kept files of fellow Justice League members with strategies on how to defeat each one as was the case in the “JLA: Tower of Babel” storyline. It’s argued that if given enough prep time, Batman could defeat any foe. With a reputation like that it’s hard not to see why he’s one of the most powerful superheroes without powers on the list.
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
Green Lantern might be a controversial top pick for the most powerful non-powered hero, but hear me out. When stripped of his power ring, Hal Jordan is nothing more than a cocky test pilot. In effect, the ring is a weapon to be wielded by whoever possesses the willpower to do so, but the wearer has no innate superpower apart from it. For that reason, Hal Jordan is the most powerful hero without powers. The ring allows Jordan to create any weapon or construct–he’s limited only by his imagination. The Oan power ring grants him flight and above-average durability. Jordan is also a skilled boxer which is why he regularly employs a boxing glove construct against his opponents. But it’s Green Lantern’s indomitable will that drives the awesome power of his ring to both defeat his enemies and save the universe!
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Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK4wW6Sw7Xk&app=desktop, comicvine.com, dc.wikia.com, marvel.wikia.com