While their movies may be hit or miss right now, the DC superheroes are still widely regarded as some of the most iconic characters of all time. Everything about them is well-known by fans, from their costumes, origin stories and, of course, their superpowers. From straightforward powers like Flash's superspeed and Hawkgirl's flight to Green Lantern and Superman's much larger set of powers, most fans are familiar with what their favorite heroes can do.
Or at least they think they are. Given that many of these characters have been through decades of adventures, being passed on from various writers, reinterpretations, and adaptations, there are quite a few details that have now become forgotten. In fact, many of these superheroes have powers and abilities that they (and the writers) have seemingly forgotten about.
There are various reasons for this, from certain ideas just being abandoned by new writers to a power not transferring to a more popular medium like films and television. There are also quite a few one-shot powers that never show up again, usually because they were really stupid. And then there are the really useful ones that for some reason never came back.
Today, we are going to explore 25 Superpowers that DC Heroes Have, But Won't Use. We're not limiting ourselves to comics, so any weird powers that popped up in cartoons, movies, and video games are fair game. We'll also only be looking at heroes, so don't expect Joker's "Super Sanity" to pop up here. Now let's get right into it.
25 Aquaman Can Speak Any Language
A lot of people like to joke that Aquaman's main superpower is being able to talk to fish. And while he does do that, it actually stems from a much larger superpower. Aquaman is an omniglot, meaning he can speak any language on Earth. A very useful power when your kingdom borders with nearly every other country in the world.
While this might not be one of Aquaman's flashiest superpowers, it's one that does make him more useful than people used to think.
24 Superman's Amnesia Kiss
In Superman II, Lois Lane finally figures out that Clark Kent is Superman. During the course of the film's events, their romantic relationship is deepened. However, due to some unknown need to keep the status quo, Superman decides to give her a kiss that erases her memory of the movie's events!
Not only does this superpower come out of nowhere with no explanation given, but it never pops up again in either the movies or comics.
A shame, since it would've been a great (if questionable) way to get rid of Lex Luthor's grudge.
23 Superman's Mini-Me
Of course, the movies weren't the only place Superman got some weird powers. Sometime during the Silver Age, Superman had so much power he could temporarily shoot a mini-Superman from the palm of his hand. I'm not joking.
Starting with Superman #125's "Superman's New Power," Superman was able to transfer all his powers into a miniature version of himself after a chance encounter with an alien spaceship. Not only did this leave him with no power, but it also felt really redundant, which is why this power didn't last very long.
22 Superman's Brick Vision
The number of Superman's one-shot powers alone could've filled this entire list, but for now, I'll show some restraint by only featuring him several more times. In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Nuclear Man is flying around the world causing havoc. He stops in China to destroy part of the Great Wall.
Superman retaliates by... using his supervision to magically rebuild the Great Wall, brick by brick. If he did that in Metropolis after Man of Steel, maybe Batman wouldn't have been so mad at him.
21 Batman Can Survive The Vacuum Of Space
Batman doesn't have any superpowers, but what he does have is the dedication to train himself to the absolute limit of what the human body is capable of. Remember, this is the man who has made himself immune to certain toxins by slowly poisoning himself over years.
And while he can't actually breathe in space, there was one issue of Justice League of America where he was training himself to survive the vacuum of space for at least a couple of seconds. You don't see the astronauts going that far.
20 Wonder Woman's Projectile Tiara
Wonder Woman may have the super strength and speed that any Amazon warrior is expected to have, but she still relies on her gear. From the Lasso of Truth to her sword and shield to her bulletproof bracelets, Wonder Woman has plenty of useful weapons she uses time and again.
Except there's one weapon she doesn't seem to use anymore: her tiara.
In the older comics, Wonder Woman would throw her tiara at enemies, kinda like Sailor Moon except less magical and more painful. I guess being able to (somehow) shoot beams of energy from your bracelets is more useful.
19 Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane
Another less frequently seen piece of Wonder Woman's arsenal is her Invisible Plane. For those who don't remember, this was Wonder Woman's main use of transport before she learned how to fly. Not only was it invisible to enemies, but it could fly at terrific speeds, silently.
Given that she can now fly on her own, it's understandable why Wonder Woman no longer uses it, though having the perfect stealth jet would come in handy. But the big question is, "How did an Amazon living on a secluded island build an invisible plane?"
18 Superman's Telepathy
The Man of Steel makes it back on our list for another strange and forgotten power. If you thought Superman wasn't overpowered enough, at one point in the comics he gained telepathic powers. Being able to read the minds of villains made it that much easier for him overthrow their master plans.
Of course, comic editors realized that Superman was getting a little too OP, so after a couple of continuity changing ordeals, his powers have become a little more reigned in.
17 Beast Boy's Half-Transforming
Beast Boy is easily one of the most well-known shapeshifters in comic books, as his main power is the ability to transform into any animal, including prehistoric and even a few aliens. However, not many people realize that his shapeshifting allows for half-transformations.
For example, if he needs his hands for an underwater mission, he could easily turn himself into a merman. This should allow for all sorts of Chimera-like possibilities, but he never seems to use it outside of comics.
16 Martian Manhunter's Control Over Magnetism
Martian Manhunter is very much like Superman in that he seems to have a near infinite amount of powers. Along with the standard superhuman endurance, speed, and strength, he's got intangibility, invisibility, and even nine Martian senses. He's got so many, it's no wonder he forgot he could control magnetism.
Like a heroic Magneto, Martian Manhunter could, at one point, lift and bend metal objects, making short work of any robots and power-armored adversaries. Wonder why he never used it against Lex Luthor's Warsuit.
15 Superman Can Time Travel
The Last Son of Krypton's ever-growing list of powers continues. After Lois Lane perishes in an earthquake at the end of the original Superman movie, Superman becomes so distraught, he flies around the Earth fast enough to make it spin backward, which somehow results in him going back in time!
I may not be a physicist, but I'm pretty sure that's not how time works. However, he has proven to be almost as fast as the Flash, who has been known to time travel with and without his Cosmic Treadmill.
14 The Flash Has Super Thinking
And by "super thinking" I don't mean he just thinks about things really, really hard. Being the Fastest Man Alive means the Flash's body is almost constantly moving faster than the average human body. This means that his brain-activity is supercharged, making him able to solve problems in nanoseconds.
Being able to read and absorb entire science textbooks in seconds should make him one of the smartest heroes in the DC Universe, but he only ever seems to use his knowledge for building his Cosmic Treadmill and forensic investigation. His DC Extended Universe version seems even less scientifically inclined.
13 Wonder Woman Can Speak To Animals
Being the amazing Xena-like warrior that she is, people sometimes forget that Wonder Woman is a magical princess. And just like how classic Disney Princesses are always talking to their animal companions, Wonder Woman can also speak to animals. Minus all the musical numbers.
This power was granted to her by one of the Greek gods, and she has used it prominently in the comics as well as in the Lynda Carter TV show in the 70s. But unless she's chasing a villain through a jungle or zoo, it's doubtful this power will show up in any of the movies.
12 Aquaman's Impenetrable Skin
If you still think Aquaman isn't anything more than a glorified translator for the Justice League, consider this: Aquaman lives very deep under the ocean. So deep, in fact, that the pressure would destroy a normal human being not wearing deep sea diving equipment.
This means that his skin is able to withstand extreme forces.
Just like Luke Cage, Aquaman is bulletproof and his skin won't break to anything short of an anti-tank rifle. He also has very high endurance and strength, meaning he can take a super punch and give one right back.
11 Harley Quinn Is A Trained Psychologist
This might not seem like a superpower, but how many superheroes do you know who are qualified psychologists? Many people forget that Harley Quinn not only has a PhD, but she was able to get a job studying the Joker in her first year as a psychiatrist.
Even though she fell madly in love with her patient, that shouldn't erase her years of training. With her knowledge, she should be able to manipulate her opponents into mind games like a comic book Hannibal Lecter, making her a formidable enemy to superheroes and villains alike. Instead, she's a silly clown girl with some oversized guns.
10 Aquaman's Hydrokinesis
We're bringing up Aquaman again because I feel we really need to emphasize how totally not useless he really is. While we know he has strength and endurance to rival that of Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman, many people also forget that as King of the Seven Seas, he can control water through hydrokinesis.
Though this power mainly just appears in alternate continuities of the character, it's surprising that no movie or show has decided to adapt this as part of his powers. It definitely made Aqualad more impressive in the Teen Titans cartoon.
9 Cyborg Can Fly
Speaking of the Teen Titans cartoon, during many chase sequences it was shown that Raven and Starfire were the only ones who could fly, with the boys having to chase the villains on foot or in vehicles. However, in several comics it was shown that Cyborg at some point upgraded his hardware to be capable of flight.
Though Cyborg could always rely on one of his teammates to give him a lift, being able to fly unassisted is definitely an improvement. Wonder why cartoon Cyborg never bothered to build a jet pack or something.
8 Beast Boy Can Turn Microscopic
So, we already know that Beast Boy can turn into all sorts of animals and even half-transform. He can even turn into a literal fly on the wall whenever stealth is needed. But did you know he can morph even smaller and turn into a microscopic protist?
Beast Boy can (somehow) shrink his entire mass into that of a single-celled organism and still retain his mind.
Granted, there may not be much need for that outside of a Fantastic Voyage style plot, but it would make the Teen Titans' health checkups much more comprehensive.
7 Raven Has Telepathy
As the main magic user of the Teen Titans, Raven can do all sorts of things. Though in the original comics she was mainly just an empath, the cartoon added some offensive abilities such as telekinesis. However, one ability of her's that doesn't seem to pop up that much is telepathy.
Being able to sense other people's emotions may give you a subtle sense of their intentions, but just straight up reading their mind is unquestionably much more helpful. Would've helped unveil Terra's betrayal a whole lot sooner.
6 Starfire Can Fly Faster Than Light
And rounding out the Teen Titans we have Starfire. Her flight and starbolts are well-known among fans. Even her superstrength and language barrier-breaking kiss are used often enough not to be forgotten. But something that fans may not know is that Starfire can fly faster than light.
Starfire can fly at supersonic speeds and—in the original comics—was able to cross several solar systems in a few minutes. Though she may not be able to fly in space anymore, she is still fast enough to fly to any situation on Earth where she is needed.
5 Wonder Woman Can Teleport
Now we're back to Wonder Woman. As the first major superheroine, she has a long and storied history. As such, she has had many different powers throughout the years, and not all of them have stuck around. One of those powers was the ability to teleport herself and other people.
Using her belt, she could magically whisk herself and small groups of people to other locations. Of course, with her super speed and flight, teleportation seems kind of redundant, which is why this ability was dropped early on.
4 Wonder Woman Has Super Breath
Wonder Woman's list of barely used powers is surprisingly large and could possibly rival that of Superman's. Coincidentally, many of her early powers resemble that of the Man of Tomorrow. Besides super speed and strength, Wonder Woman also had a "super breath" ability.
Like Superman, Wonder Woman can use her incredible lung power to blow large gusts of air, as well as sucking the air in a room to create a vacuum-like effect. Unlike her teleportation, Wonder Woman's super breath still pops up every once in a while, though not as frequently as Superman's frost breath.
3 Superman Can Throw His Emblem
Superman has had some weird powers during the Silver Age comics, but his most questionable powers always seem to come from the Christopher Reeve movies. We've already seen his "time travel" and brick-o-vision powers, but his strangest one may come from the end of Superman II.
When he's facing off General Zod in his Fortress of Solitude, Zod charges right at him. Superman counters by... throwing his "S" emblem at him, which wraps around him like a net. Seconds later, the emblem disappears and Zod gets up like nothing happened. This is never explained or brought up again.
2 Tyroc Has Every Super Power
If you don't know who Tyroc is, he's a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a teen superhero team from the 30th Century. They've already got some pretty strange superheroes, such as Matter Eater Lad and Bouncing Boy. But then came Tyroc, who could warp reality with his screams.
This pretty much gave him every power under the sun, from teleportation and pyrokinesis to... making it rain glue. He was soon written off, with his reintroduction giving him more conventional Black Canary-like screaming powers.
1 Batman Can Astral Project His Soul
Everyone knows that Batman has no superpowers and his physical prowess is thanks to years of training and conditioning. However, he is a comic book hero, so he tends to stretch the definition of "peak human condition."
Taking a page from Doctor Strange, Batman learned how to astral project his soul.
In an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, he teamed up with Deadman to stop Gentleman Ghost from raising an army of the undead. For this, Batman visited some Tibetan monks to teach him how to walk among the spiritual plane. Bet even Superman can't do that!
Any other hidden powers from DC superheroes we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments.