Superheroes that can combine their powers with an arsenal of weaponry are typically the best in the biz. Guys like Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff are so well outfitted that their weapons are their superpowers. Good weapons can make or break a hero’s reputation (in some cases, quite literally). But what makes a good weapon for a superhero? If the hero makes it work for them on a consistent basis, there should really be no weak or lame weapons, right? Wrong! Some weapons garnished by not-all-that-super heroes are just a bad thing gone worse or simply bad ideas from the start. Sometimes, bad powers and bad weapons are one in the same.
15. The Ultimate Nullifier
Pretty much the definition of a deus ex machina device, the Ultimate Nullifier is the Marvel universe’s “most devastating weapon,” as it can eliminate any target the user chooses (along with the user themselves if their mind isn’t focused properly). Originally discovered by the Human Torch in Fantastic Four volume 1, issue #50 (May 1966), the Nullifier actually belongs to Thanos. Why a nearly invincible, Godlike villain would need a weapon like this is beyond us, but the real problem with the Ultimate Nullifier is that it’s just a boring weapon, with no explanation given for how it works. Basically, it’s the antithesis to Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet, a device that is very similar in power but actually has some explanation behind it. One can only hope Marvel doesn’t trot this out as a plot hole solution when it comes time for the Avengers to battle Thanos in the Infinity War films.
14. Cosmic Treadmill
While it’s not really a weapon, the cosmic treadmill allows characters with speed abilities like the Flash to travel back in time, so it’s still an important superhero tool. The main problem with the Cosmic Treadmill (besides that it’s way too on-the-nose to give a character who runs really fast have a magical treadmill) is that it’s also a totally unnecessary device. Now canonically, the Flash can jump through time without the treadmill but the device allows him to make more preciese jumps, which means it’s a pretty important tool for the character. That being said, surely there are better ways to give the Flash control of his time travel powers than having him rely on a spruced up piece of exercise equipment? In The Flashpoint Paradox arc, Barry Allen successfully travels to a precise moment of time and no explanation for how he does so without the treadmill is given or needed. It’s honestly much more believeable anyway that the Flash would learn how to control his powers rather than relying on a lame machine anyway. The cosmic treadmill needs to be tossed in the cosmic dustbin.
13. Captain Boomerang’s…Boomerang
We don’t mean to keep picking on things related to the Flash but seriously, what’s the deal with Captain Boomerang? An Australian criminal that (of course) utilizes boomerangs as his chief weaponry, Captain Boomerang is inexplicably regarded as one of the Flash’s greatest adversaries. Unfortunately, all the character development in the world can’t change the fact that a boomerang is a totally lame weapon. Sure, some would argue that heroes such as Hawkeye and Green Arrow fall into the same camp because they rely on bows, but at least those are legitimate projectile weapons. A boomerang is just a fancy Frisbee that returns to the wielder, which honestly seems like it could be problematic in certain circumstances (you can’t tell us that the Captain hasn’t had a few unfortunate run-ins with his own boomerangs at some point). You can add all the explosives and incendiary tips you want, it’s still not going to make throwing a boomerang for a living any less absurd.
12. The Fiddler’s Fiddle
Yet another enemy of the Flash (we’re starting to get the impression that his rogue’s gallery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), the Fiddler uses a Stradivarius violin to hypnotize people and control their minds. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he can also shoot sonic blasts from his fiddle…err, violin (he actually switches from a fiddle to a violin at one point and can’t seem to tell the difference) because, why not? There’s nothing wrong with having hypnotic powers, as they can actually lead to some interesting storylines, but relying on a musical instrument for your villainous schemes doesn’t exactly scream “cool.” Plus, what good is having sound-based powers when the Flash can easily run faster than the speed of sound? At least DC had the good sense to kill of the Fiddler a long time ago and his stupid fiddle/violin/whatever along with him.
11. Welded Dogs
We have to give credit where it’s due: Dogwelder has to be one of the most delightfully idiotic “superheroes” in all of comics and his creators, Garth Ennis and John McCrea, definitely deserve some recognition for that accomplishment. Unfortunately, Dogwelder also has one of the most useless “weapons” in all of comics: pouncing on enemies and welding dogs to their faces. Now, putting aside the fact that having a deranged lunatic in a welder’s mask pounce on you and try to burn a dead dog to your face would be absolutely terrifying, it also makes no sense. For one, how exactly can organic matter be welded together successfully? Do these dogs (and Dogwelder’s enemies) happen to be made out of metal? Something this ridiculous raises so many questions that we feel shouldn’t even have to be asked. We may not see the point of “dogwelding” but we’re sure happy it exists, if merely to gleefully ridicule it as a viable superhero ability.
10. Gambit’s Cards
The playing cards Gambit chooses to throw are perhaps the most tragic on the list because his powers of manipulating kinetic energy aren’t half bad. The bare bones of Gambit as a superhero are good: he’s a skilled fighter, as witnessed in the ’90s X-Men cartoon, where he regularly dispatches bad guys with his staff. And in an early issue of the comics he wins a duel, which hints at him being decent at fencing. But somewhere along the way he threw a card and hit the target and it became the thing he’ll do forever. Yes, it does tie into his whole theme of being Cajun from New Orleans, with the voodoo, gambling and tarot cards, but throwing cards as a weapon is just plain impractical, accurate throws or not. Make the playing cards his go-to gimmick when he’s trying to impress a girl in a bar, but stop making them his weapon of choice. Check out this hilarious video of comedian Pete Holmes making fun of Gambit’s powers. (Warning: The language in this video is NSFW.)
9. Men In Black’s Noisy Cricket
Before everyone flies off the handle, yes, the tiny firearm packs a very noticeable and often impressive punch (of varying results in the comics, movies and cartoon), but what does happen consistently is that the user is sent flying backwards because of the force of the recoil. Power in a weapon is, of course, very important, but equally important is being able to withstand such power so that the one firing is still on their feet. Also, be concerned about how the MIB agents themselves regard the Noisy Cricket: its only purpose is to serve as a way to haze rookie MIB agents. They don’t often reach for it when it’s time to do battle because MIB agents have dozens of other weapons at their disposal, so they opt to leave the Noisy Cricket as a more of a gag gun. Make no mistake, it should definitely be used more, but because it’s so casually tossed away, it’s lame.
8. Green Arrow’s Boxing Glove Arrow
Being an archer could seem impractical when there are heroes from alien planets with mutant powers to measure up against, but the Green Arrow’s arsenal tests the limits of imagination. But that limit could very well have been reached with the introduction of the Boxing Glove Arrow, possibly Green Arrow’s most famous of the arrow collection, even making an Easter-egg appearance on CW’s Arrow. But how does it even work? Is it used to gain someone’s attention before hitting him with a real arrow? Or tap a villain on the chin from a great distance? Wouldn’t the tip of the arrow be too heavy? How much force would the bow need to generate to give the arrow any distance? While there plenty of things in the comic book world that are plenty unrealistic, it is difficult to legitimize this as a serious weapon option.
7. The Kingsman’s Signet Ring
The characters in The Secret Service (which was later adapted into a movie called The Kingsman) are another crew armed to the teeth with gadgets and weapons to spare, from poison pens to grenade lighters to bulletproof tailored suits. Having the signet ring, which is capable of delivering 50,000 volts of electricity without the wearer’s fingers getting even a little warm, is a bit much. Regardless of it being quite fashionable weaponry, the signet ring seems unlikely to help out in a fight, especially since the wearer has to turn it on before it can even begin to work as a stun gun. As protocols go, would the signet stun gun be used before or after the tranquilizer/neurotoxin pen? The argument for the signet ring certainly isn’t as strong as the rest of their weaponry is.
The only way to make a lame idea for a comic, like a corporate comic for the National Football League, even lamer, is to give him an equally lame ally like the Almighty Dollar. Real name J. Pennington Pennypacker, this bit of genius is capped off with the ability to shoot pennies at his enemies from his wrists. While perhaps not as lame as throwing playing cards, it’s not far behind. Matched by an even lamer team, the Happy Campers, is it any wonder that NFL Superpro (the comic book hero catering to the NFL) and all known associates didn’t last long?
5. Batman’s Shark Repellent Bat-Spray
This is the only weapon on this list whose name completely describes its lameness. Even for the silly world that was the Batman movie of 1966 (where sharks seemed to show up on screen a lot), something as asinine as using a spray on an animal that lives in water and claiming it as a repellent is over the top, even by those standards. From concept to realization, how did the idea for this “weapon” get agreed upon? The worst part of the movie isn’t even the shark repellent bat-spray, though it does increase in silliness every time its mentioned. The ridiculousness of this weapon has become iconic.
4. Penguin’s Mobile Umbrella
There’s a moment in Batman Returns before the Penguin dies, where he’s staggering around, about to take Batman down by shooting him in the back with the machine gun umbrella, but instead he pulls out an umbrella that looks like a baby mobile that you’d hang over a crib. It’s in the umbrella holder next to all of his weaponized umbrellas, so it would be assumed that he counts it as a weapon. With that logic, it’s a lame weapon. Even if it’s meant to be used as the kidnapping children umbrella, it sucks.
3. Ma-Ti’s Planeteer Heart Ring
The environmentalist cartoon of the 1990s, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, was also a short-lived comic book. And of that crew, which consists of a representative from each continent, each of whom is given a ring which controlls one of the four elements of nature and one which controlls the element of Heart, the man who draws the short straw is Ma-Ti with the Heart ring. The world definitely needs more empathy and compassion, real and fictional worlds alike, but alas, those things are always late to the fight, if they show up at all. Though the Heart ring does seem to be effective in having everyone feel kind of bad for him, since he’s doomed in a solo fight and has purpose only when teamed with the rest of the Planeteers. The ring’s cause may be good, with efforts like saving the planet, reversing damage done by pollution, and being in tune with the needs of the planet, but a weapon, let alone a useful one, the Heart ring is not.
2. Arm-Fall-Off-Boy’s Arms
The lameness trifecta lives in the name, powers and weapons of Arm-Fall-Off-Boy. He is exactly what he sounds like: A boy who can detach his own limbs, then use them as weapons. The only saving grace for this poorly armed (get it?) fellow is that DC intended for him to be ridiculous. He tried out for the Legion of Super-Heroes and didn’t get in! He’s of the similar train of thought as Matter-Eater Lad, which seems to be one of DC’s dimmer moments in creativity.
1. Green Arrow’s Chili
Legitimately listed as a weapon, ‘Ollie’s Stupendous Chili Recipe’ has made twelve appearances in various Green Arrow–Green Lantern issues as well as solo Green Arrow and Green Lantern issues. Green Arrow’s chili was most famously used in DC Comics’s Trinity event and, long story short, this tremendous chili is the only thing that can bring Batman back to his senses. Batman is also the only one who can stomach it, much less enjoy it. Why it’s listed as a weapon raises enough questions in and of itself, but the frequency with which it appears in the comic book issues is even more perplexing.