Top 10 Non-Super Powered Heroes Of All TimeA column article, Top Ten by: Justin Carmona
Let's be honest, if any of us had the opportunity to gain super powers we'd totally jump at the chance. Imagine the adrenalin rush if you were able to soar high above the city or how amazing it would be if you could catch bullets with your bare hands. Unfortunately for us, that only happens to folks in superhero comics. But, what about those who aren't lucky enough to be born a mutant or get bitten by a radioactive spider, but still have a strong urge to fight the good fight despite their lack of powers? Powers? Who the hell needs stinking powers? Not these do-gooders. I give you the…
Top 10 Non-Super Powered Heroes Of All Time!
10) SHANG CHI
Who needs powers to fight crime when you've been trained in martial arts since almost before you could even walk? The son of a powerful crime lord, Shang Chi also known as the Master of Kung Fu, has been training in the mental and martial arts since he was a child. His first mission was to kill one of his father's rivals when he was just a teenager (yeah, he's that good). Thinking all this time that his father was a good man and not once ever questioning his loyalty to him, Shang Chi's life was shattered when he eventually learned the truth about his father's evil empire. The anger the young master of kung fu felt after years of manipulation led him to declare his own father a mortal enemy, vowing to take down his criminal empire once and for all.
Skilled in every single form of martial arts and with the help of his natural physical speed, lighting fast reflexes and precise technique, Shang Chi has been able to go toe-to-toe with some of the Marvel Universe's most notorious bad guys such as Dr. Doom and Wilson Fisk aka The Kingpin among many others. So if you're thinking of running off to your local YMCA to take karate classes to fight crime, you're a little too late. You should have started when you were fresh outta diapers, big boy.
Sometimes all you need to fight crime is a photographic memory, a keen intellect and knowing how to find information about anything and everything out there. There is no other character in comics who deserves your respect and admiration more than Barbara Gordon. Yes, I'm sure we would all love to see her on her feet again and fight the good fight as Batgirl, but after being shot through the spine by the Joker, leaving her forever in a wheelchair, Barbara had to learn to fight crime a whole new way… with knowledge, as the super computer hacker and information broker, Oracle. When most others would have given in to depression, hate and anger, Barbara played the hand she was dealt and re-invented herself to fight crime in the information age. As Oracle, she is able to assist other heroes in the DCU fight crime by providing them with invaluable intel as she is able to access any database in the world, restricted or otherwise.
But don't let the wheelchair fool you, Barbara works out regularly maintaining great upper body strength and keeping her fighting skills sharp which has come in handy from time to time. Plus, I hear she can play a pretty mean game of Murder Ball.
Not everything is black and white. Sometimes the lines are blurred between right and wrong, and no one knows this better than Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. After losing her parents at a young age, Selina Kyle had to learn to fend for herself which meant learning how to become a master thief. After years of training and honing her body to physical perfection, Selina took on the persona of her favorite animal and became known as Catwoman. Through her career as a master thief, Catwoman has walked the fine line between hero and criminal. But lately she has leaned more toward the side of angles.
With one of the sexiest outfits in comics, cat-like reflexes and the physical prowess of a world class gymnast, Catwoman has fought the good fight many times by assisting Batman on various missions, taking on some of the DCU's most deadly villains and even once rescued the entire Justice League from the hands of the fierce Prometheus. How many non-powered heroes/career criminals can put that on their resume?
7) GREEN ARROW
Some non-powered heroes rely more on traditional weaponry than fighting crime up close and personal. Hence Oliver Queen, the hero known as Green Arrow. At a young age, the spoiled little rich boy was marooned on a deserted island and had to learn to fend for himself by honing his archery skills (a sport he has always had a fair interest in before) in order to survive. After time spent on the island hunting for food in order to survive, Oliver had become proficient with a bow and arrow becoming one of, if not, the world's best archer. Upon returning home Oliver realized that there was more to life than money and wealth and decided to use his newly honed skills to fight oppression.
With his array of traditional and trick arrows, Green Arrow has taken crime fighting to the streets, fighting for the little guy as well as joining up with big boys over in the Justice League to battle global threats on an epic scale. Smart, cocky and sassy as all hell, Oliver ever rarely backs down from a fight no matter how power of a super villain he might be facing. He once even saved reality itself, by putting an arrow through the chest of his former best friend, Hal Jordan who was erasing time itself as the villainous Parallax.
Bros before hoes is one thing, but bros before wiping out an entire universe is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.
"Oh great", you must be telling yourself, "another superhero archer on the list." Yup, that's right. I give you, former criminal, one-time Thunderbolt, current Avenger and all-around hero, Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. Orphaned at an early age and running away to join the circus where he was trained in the skills of archery, Clint was inspired by Iron Man to fight crime, but was mistaken for a criminal on his first heroic outing and ended up having to battle, (yup, you guessed it) Iron Man. So put off by being taken for a criminal Hawkeye actually became one for a short while, until he decided to redeem himself and once again join the ranks of do-gooders as an Avenger. Iron Man even sponsored his membership (helluva guy that Tony Stark).
Even though Hawkeye's weapon of choice is the bow and arrow, he has almost superhuman hand-eye coordination which allows him to master almost any weapon he can get his hands on. This came especially handy when, for a short time, Clint took up the identity of Ronin not long after the assassination of Captain America. As a matter of fact, after Captain America's death, Clint was asked by Iron Man to take up the mantle of the fallen super soldier, which he turned down. That alone only goes to show how much of a badass this non-powered hero really is since not many people out there can fill those reds, whites and blues that only Captain America can don.
5) BLACK WIDOW
In the insect world a female black widow spider is known mating with the opposite sex and feeding off of the male afterward. It can also be deadly to humans with its much feared venomous bite. In the Marvel Universe, the black widow is known as something else entirely. Raised from her youth by Russia's Black Widow Ops program, Natalia "Natasha" Alianovna Romanova became highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat and espionage to become the super spy known as the Black Widow. While Natalia did in fact take a watered down version of the same version of the Super Soldier Serum that gave Captain America his abilities, the effect it had on her was making her the ultimate peak of human perfection without actually granting her any powers that would classify her as a superhuman.
Eventually the Black Widow shunned her old ways and became a respected member of the super hero community, mixing it up with Daredevil, serving as a field leader for the Mighty Avengers and even working as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. With a sexy skin tight black outfit which allows her to cling to walls much like Spider-Man (not to mention drive men crazy), a grappling hook and cable known as the ‘Widow's Line' and her trademark ‘Widow's Bite' which emit powerful electrical blasts via her wrist cartridges, this former sexy Russian spy is practically unstoppable. Now that's one Black Widow I wouldn't mind getting bit by.
4) NICK FURY
No other character in comics is as tough as nails as Nick Fury. This old soldier grew up on the tough streets of New York's Hell's Kitchen during the Great Depression. This helped shape that hard as steel exterior that led Fury to enlist in the military and eventually serve as a Howling Commando. There, Nick as his teammates took on some of the most dangerous missions of World War II. Taking command of this special unit, Fury led his teammates against the likes of Baron Zemo and the Red Skull. He even fought side by side with Captain America and his sidekick Bucky. After some pretty serious injuries that took his left eye as well as almost taking his life, Fury was subjected to the Infinity Formula which saved his life. While he has no super powers to speak of, the Infinity Formula has dramatically slowed his aging process which is what has helped this gruff soldier continue to fight the good fight serving in the CIA and as a Director of the international espionage organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D.
Fury has helped Earths' superheroes battle the likes of Loki, the Hulk and even turned the tide during the Skrulls secret alien invasion of earth by leading a new team of Howling Commandoes made up of young super powered teens. When the chips are down you can always count on Fury to find a way to strike back and pull your ass outta the fire.
Dick Grayson, the former circus acrobat who was orphaned at a young age when his parents were brutally murdered in front of him, was taken in by billionaire Bruce Wayne as his ward. After time, the young child soon learned that his new legal guardian was in fact, the crime fighting vigilante known as the Batman. Under Bruce's training, Grayson learned to hone his natural physical ability, master many forms of martial arts, become one the world's top detectives and perfect his tactical skills as Batman's first sidekick, Robin. After years of fighting crime together as the dynamic duo, Robin decided to strike out on his own joining up with the Teen Titans which eventually led to him creating a new crime-fighting persona for himself in the form of Nightwing.
Able to hold his own against almost any super-powered threat, Nightwing, a born leader (and with no superpowers of his own) has led many superhero teams, including the Teen Titans and the Outsiders to victory time and time again. While all of these teams have consisted almost exclusively of metahumans, none of its members have ever doubted the skills and ability of this great non-powered hero. Well, that and they'd be afraid of what Batman would do if they gave Nightwing a demotion.
2) THE PUNISHER
If you wanna fight crime, but have no powers to speak of and you don't have the time or resources to trot the globe learning to master every single form of martial art out there, the only thing left to do is to load up on a butt-load of guns and bullets. After witnessing the slaughter of this family by mobsters, Frank Castle swore to spend the rest of this life avenging them. With his training as a former Marine and using the latest in state-of-the-art weaponry, Castle has become a deadly one-man army known as The Punisher. As the Punisher, he as taken the fight to every bad guy out there whether they be small-time street-level mobster wannabes or super powered would-be world conquerors.
While The Punisher does focus more on street-level criminals and mobsters, he as tangled with the likes of the Norman Osborne aka The Green Goblin, Doctor Doom, the X-Man Wolverine and even the super-powered hero of Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil. During the superhero Civil war, the government enlisted former villains to help bring in unregistered heroes. This really made Castle furious knowing that criminals were now being used to enforce the law. This led him to take a more active role in taking the fight to super villains. If you're a super-criminal or not, it doesn't make one damn bit of difference to The Punisher. He's gonna pump you full of lead either way.
Okay, like you didn't see this coming. There is a reason Batman is comic's NUMBER ONE non-powered superhero of all time. After Bruce Wayne's parents were brutally murdered in front of him, he made a vow to fight crime and injustice in all its forms. At a young age, Wayne traveled the world over for many years where he trained his mind and body to the peak of human perfection while learning a variety of crime-fighting skills such as criminology, forensics, martial arts, chemistry, escape artistry, man-hunting, ninja stealth techniques and gymnastics. After perfecting all his newly acquired skills, Wayne, through a moment of chance (or was it?), was taken by surprise as a bat flew into his window as he was contemplating a way he could strike fear in the criminal element. Believing all criminals are superstitious cowards, Wayne adopted the persona of the nocturnal creature and began his crime-fighting career as the Batman. In a world full of metahumans, Batman has proved himself time and time again that despite his lack of super-powers, he is one formidable opponent that is not to be underestimated. No one in the DCU is more clever, cunning or driven. He has taken on some of the most powerful villains in the universe such as Darkseid, given Superman a good ass whoopin', gone toe-to-toe against the near unbeatable mercenary, Deathstroke and rescued his Justice League teammates countless times proving that you don't need powers to be a major threat to villains and a superhero to all.
When he was a member of the Justice League, Batman figured a way to take out every one of his teammates just in case they ever went rouge. Unfortunately, his long-time enemy, Ra's Al Ghul stole the Dark Knight's files and used them against his teammates to systematically take them out one by one. Wow. Now that's what I call a badass.
Even though he is merely just a man under the cape and cowl, it is easy to see why Batman is comic's number one non-powered superhero. Period.