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Bizarre Superpowers The Avengers Have In The Comics But Not In The MCU

Comic books have long thrived through the genre of superhero stories, each attempting to outdo the last with new and innovative concepts. Since the arrival of Superman, original characters have been appearing with different origins and an array of unique abilities. They range from Hellcow, a vampiric bovine with a lust for blood, to Arm-Fall-Off Boy seen in James Gunn's "The Suicide Squad" and whose powers are self-explanatory. Even the founding Man of Steel has a few forgotten superpowers that are more bizarre than useful, like creating clones from his hands or causing amnesia through a kiss.

Interestingly, when these god-like heroes hit the mainstream of big-budget feature films, filmmakers opt to omit some of their more obscure talents. Despite dispelling a certain amount of belief to adapt titans and wizards, the Marvel Cinematic Universe does its best to ground its stories in some resemblance of reality. Therefore, many of the most popular heroes of the MCU tend to avoid using some of their more outlandish powers.

With many of the Avengers having decades of content available, they are certain to have a few skills that have either been forgotten or were far too weird for their big-screen debuts. Continue reading to discover some of the most bizarre superpowers the Avengers had in the comics that never made it into the MCU.

Spider-Man can communicate with spiders

Famously bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker was gifted a wide range of arachnid-adjacent abilities. Aside from being able to effortlessly climb walls, Spider-Man possesses enhanced strength, speed, agility, and a natural affinity for web-slinging. Dissecting the wall-crawler shows that the character has a wide range of unique abilities. However, that has not stopped Parker from picking up some new talents along the way. He has been known to grow extra arms, produce his own webbing organically, and even became a Hulk for a short period. Still, Spidey has experienced an even stranger side-effect to being bitten by a mutated arachnid — he can communicate with the other half of his namesake.

In the 2005-06 story arc "The Other: Evolve or Die," the friendly neighborhood hero was nearly defeated by the universe-jumping, Spider-hunting Morlun. In the aftermath, Parker recovers by sleeping in a cocoon where he learns to connect more with his "spider" self and less with his human side. Awakened and reinvigorated, Spider-Man discovers he has a cache of new powers, including night vision and the strange ability to talk with spiders. Not only could Spidey communicate with arachnids, but he was also able to rally them into helping survivors of a collapsed building. Subsequently, this discovery and many of Spider-Man's adventures were retconned as part of the controversial 2007 "Spider-Man: One More Day" event. Sadly, Peter Parker has seemingly forgotten about his most creepy superpower. But hope is not lost — Doctor Strange helps him spend a nice afternoon chatting with an eight-legged buddy in "Doctor Strange #390".

Wanda's forgotten hex powers

In the MCU Wanda Maximoff has remained a dark horse in the competition for the most powerful Avenger. Her witchcraft and magical abilities have grown and adapted throughout her numerous appearances. Most recently, the Scarlet Witch went on a rampage of showcasing her copious skills and talents in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." However, what the films neglected to cover was where she and her twin brother Quicksilver gained their superpowers.

As most comic fans are aware, Wanda Maximoff started her comic book career in "The X-Men" #4 as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and was later revealed to be the mutant daughter of the formidable team leader, Magneto. Yet her powers were far different from how she is represented today. When first introduced, Wanda utilized "hex power," essentially affecting probability and the luck of those around her. As time went on, she discovered new skills — like projecting bolts of energy that would cause enemy attacks to malfunction — as she learned her abilities were linked to a specific type of chaos magic. In 2016's comic series "Scarlet Witch", it was revealed that she was never a mutant. Instead, her talents with chaos magic (the kind utilized by the MCU) were inherited from her mother's genetics. Since then representations of the Scarlet Witch have avoided her original ability to have bad luck befall her opponents.

Thor's hammer can do so much more

Undoubtedly, one of the most effective weapons introduced in the MCU was Thor's mighty hammer, Mjolnir. Apart from bashing enemies, the powerful hammer helps its wielder summon lightning, open portals, and fly. Of course, its most notable ability is to only be lifted by those who are worthy, a trick utilized by Captain America that helped start the first climactic turnaround during the final battle of "Avengers: Endgame." Regardless of Mjolnir's importance throughout the film franchise, this version of the hammer is highly underpowered compared to its source material counterpart.

First appearing in the fist of Thor's right hand in 1962's "Journey Into Mystery" #83, Mjolnir has showcased a wide range of abilities throughout its long history. Aside from manipulating lightning, the hammer can project extreme energy, either in a "god-blast" or an "anti-force," the latter of which is strong enough to destroy planets. In the more bizarre and unexpected end of Mjolnir's gifts, the wielder can turn himself invisible or intangible at will, as showcased in "Avengers" #300. Additionally, the hammer has been known to suck the life force from enemies, create force fields, and tap into the power of the Nether World. Perhaps the most impressive thing that Mjolnir can do — and it would have certainly helped Thor in the MCU — is the ability to time travel.

Shang-Chi can duplicate himself

Shang-Chi, portrayed by Simu Liu in the MCU, is the latest inductee to the Avengers, being enlisted in the group during the post-credits scene of his self-titled film. Traditionally a formidable martial artist, Shang-Chi has become even more dangerous with the enhancement of the Ten Rings. Admittedly, the hero is still new to the MCU and has yet to stretch his proverbial wings and showcase all of his talents. However, Shang-Chi does have one unique skill from the comics that is rarely used but can be extremely useful should the situation ever arise.

During the "Avengers: Time Runs Out" story arc, Shang-Chi was mutated by an evolutionary accelerator known as an origin bomb, granting him the ability to duplicate himself. Unfortunately, following the massive 2015 "Secret Wars" comic-book event that transpired shortly after, Shang-Chi seemingly forgot his new ability. One of the character's co-creators, Jim Starlin, agrees that this talent makes him tactfully overpowered in the superhero world. "He has additional powers now, which is he can duplicate himself. If this duplication's endless, well he could take on anybody," Starlin said in an interview with ComicBook. "If he was being able to break into infinite copies of himself, well, that sounds like he could take on the world."

Hulk can see ghosts

With a reputation for being the strongest there is, the Hulk hardly needs any additional powers. Still, as one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, Bruce Banner and his alter ego have adopted a slew of new skills through an illustrious career. As an unstoppable monster with unlimited strength, Hulk's additional skillset includes being able to survive in the vacuum of space, resistance to mind control, and manifesting other versions of himself such as the Grey Hulk. Beyond physical attributes, the green machine has one particularly unique talent — he can see spirits.

Although Hulk's ability to see ghosts is not one displayed very often in comic books, he has had it for a long time, which has assisted him in multiple team-ups with Doctor Strange, who has an affinity to travel in his astral form. There are many examples of the green goliath utilizing this skill throughout the years, including one adventure which put him in the middle of an entire ghost town. Yet, it was Bruce Banner's darkest secret that brought his ghost vision to the forefront. After facing his suppressed memory of murdering his own father in "Immortal Hulk" #33, he would often be haunted by the ghost of Brian Banner.

Quicksilver can fly

Out of all the Avengers portrayed in the MCU, Quicksilver, also known as Pietro Maximoff, had the shortest run. The speedster arrived in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and, unfortunately, did not survive past the conclusion of the film. As such, he is one character whose powers did not receive much exploration. Admittedly, Quicksilver does not maintain many skills beyond running at superpowered speeds — however, comic books have expanded upon his talents inferring that he has a heightened metabolism and internal navigation.

More relevantly, Quicksilver has been able to adapt his supersonic speed for stranger talents, such as vibrating objects so fast at a molecular level that they fall apart at his touch. Still, one ability that even comic writers have forgotten Pietro possesses is the ability to fly short distances. Established in "Avengers" #43, Quicksilver can vibrate his legs at such speeds that he can take to the skies. Repeating the talent in "Uncanny X-Men" #44, Pietro details how he can only "remain airborne for but more than a few seconds," as the more talented flyer Angel got the better of him. As Quicksilver has passed in the MCU, it is doubtful the skill will ever be portrayed in Quicksilver's big screen appearances. But even modern literary iterations of the character have seemingly forgotten that he can take flight.

Loki's sword of truth

Loki has certainly lived up to his title of God of Mischief throughout his many appearances in the MCU. Unabashedly dishonest, Loki has rightfully stood between the lines of good and evil, more often playing by his own set of rules. He was the reason the Avengers originally banded together yet has also faced some of their biggest threats as an ally. Still, he has done it all without his most powerful weapon from the comics: his answer to Thor's Mjolnir, the Sword of Truth, Gram.

"A sword of ancient magic, bathed in Dragon's blood... A sword of truth. To suffer the blade is to suffer all the truths you deny yourself," is how Loki describes his weapon in the "Loki: Agent of Asgard" miniseries. Essentially, the amount of pain inflicted by Gram is relevant to the degree and amount of lies the victim has spoken. Of course, the irony is not lost on the fact that the God of Lies would wield a weapon that reveals the truth. However, much like Thor's weapon of choice, the Sword of Truth has bestowed the same magic that makes it only for Loki — should he be worthy. Unfortunately, the blade has been destroyed in the comics, but it is still deserving of a mention in the MCU.

Captain Marvel's seventh sense

Captain Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers, is still relatively new to the MCU. With one feature-length film and an appearance in "Avengers: Endgame," the extremely powerful Captain has yet to showcase the full extent of her abilities. With a sequel film, "The Marvels," set to be released in November 2023, Danvers will undoubtedly expand upon her set of overpowered cosmic capabilities. However, there is one power that Captain Marvel has in the comics that may prove difficult to adapt to live-action: Danvers has her own version of Peter Parker's spider-sense that does more than help her out in a fight.

When Carol Danvers first became a superhero originally known as Ms. Marvel, many of her exploits took place while sleeping. Called her "seventh sense," her alter ego would save the day while the mortal Danvers would remain unconscious. As the character morphed, so did her seventh sense, becoming more akin to spider-sense but with more accuracy and precognition. However, after the power-sucking mutant Rogue absorbed Ms. Marvel's powers, way back in 1981's "Avengers Annual" #10, the heightened awareness disappeared from Danvers' list of powers.

Black Panther, the king of the dead

Understandably, the MCU version of Black Panther has remained relatively grounded. With a Vibranium-powered suit and an enhancement from the heart-shaped herb, T'Challa kept himself to protecting his homeland of Wakanda. However, his literary counterpart has accomplished so much more, including becoming the king of an entire Intergalactic Empire. Further, T'Challa's reign has expanded realms to include the underworld, as he has recently become the monarch of Necropolis, the Wakandan City of the Dead.

Bestowed the title of King of the Dead by Bast, the Panther Goddess, T'Challa gained the power, knowledge, and skill of every Black Panther that came before him. Additionally, owning the crown of the City of the Dead came with the added benefit of commanding an army of zombies. His attachment to Necropolis has paid off in other ways, such as giving him a place to imprison formidable supervillains like Thanos and Terrax. Finally, the King of the Dead is also able to summon weapons from the underworld, creating spears out of spiritual energy.

Sam Wilson's avian connection

Debatably, no superhero in the MCU received more rewrites from the source material than Sam Wilson, also known as The Falcon, or the new Captain America. Almost all of Wilson's origins were recreated to fit the parameters of the MCU storyline. To begin with, it was not Tony Stark who gave Sam his flying technology — rather it was Black Panther who built the flight suit back in "Captain America" #170. Still, the biggest difference between the cinematic lacks from the source material is The Falcon's love for birds.

From the character's earliest introductions, Wilson has been accompanied by his loyal pet falcon, Redwing. Through a battle with Red Skull and the Cosmic Cube, Wilson developed the ability to telepathically communicate with Redwing. Over time, he extended this power to be able to communicate with all birds, including mutated bird people. It is a strange power for the new Captain America to have, but it separates The Falcon from other flying superheroes. It is doubtful that the MCU will turn around on Sam Wilson's abilities now, and we may never see The Falcon talk to his bird buddies.

Black Widow can lift Thor's hammer

One of the most famous scenes from the "Avengers" franchise is when a majority of the team takes their stab at picking up Mjolnir. It paid off heavily in "Avengers: Endgame" when Captain America was able to lift the magical hammer in the fateful battle with Thanos. However, there was one character who wouldn't even take a shot at Mjolnir: Black Widow. Natasha Romanoff mentions in the films that her past is enough to tell her that she is not worthy. However, it is possible the filmmakers decided to keep Natasha from touching the hammer because it would have had major implications.

"What If? Age of Ultron" was a five-part miniseries released by Marvel in 2014. One of the reimagined tales of the "Age of Ultron" comic event includes the untimely death of Thor. In it, Black Widow picks up the hammer and becomes the God of Thunder. Of course, comic fans are aware that stories from the "What If?" universe are non-cannon. It was Thor's partner Jane Foster picking up Mjolnir that resulted in her becoming Thor in comics and in film. Understandably, the MCU would have to do a lot of explaining if they decided to make the dark and brooding Widow as worthy as Thor and Captain America, so it was easier to have her reject attempting to lift Mjolnir in the MCU.

Doctor Strange can do it all

With a host of magical spells and abilities, an amulet that allows him to travel time, and a connection to the multiverse, there is seemingly nothing that Doctor Strange cannot do. As a master of the mystic arts — and sometimes Sorcerer Supreme – Stephen Strange has a wide array of capabilities. However, sometimes he needs to accomplish something that is beyond his wheelhouse. Thankfully, Doctor Strange has one ability that makes him as formidable as any other superhero: He can steal other people's powers.

Although he tends to do this as a final resort, Strange has been known to channel the powers of other beings, including god-like entities and demons. Understandably, the MCU has decided to skip over this special talent as it would have easily turned the tide in battles with Thanos or Scarlet Witch. But the "I can do anything you can do" ability does put Doctor Strange in a tier all to himself as one of the most powerful characters in comic books.