If you read my post on Marvel crossover events a while ago, you’ll know that I absolutely love comics and if you’re here, you’ll probably know that I love data and finding ways to analyse it, so what better way to while away another lockdown Sunday than finding out the answer to a burning question I’ve had for a while – what’s the most common superpower?
Over the course of today’s post, I’ll be answering that and a few others using data from SuperheroDB and focusing on the three major publishers: Marvel, DC and Image Comics. Have a read and share if you enjoy it. Hopefully this post will be a useful resource for ending some online fights!
- What Are The Most Common Superpowers?
- Which Characters Have The Most Superpowers?
- Which Publishers Have The Most Powered Characters?
- Wrapping Up
What Are The Most Common Superpowers?
In the graph below (powered by the Visualizer plugin, which is nice, but isn’t the easiest to work with, so please excuse some formatting issues), you’ll see the top 20 most common powers across all three of these publishers and the number of characters that have them.
Unsurprisingly, it’s super strength, with 1268 characters packing that particular power (although that’s obviously a gradating range – more on that in another post). I found the number of characters with super speed quite interesting as that’s a very high number for what I always considered a bit of a niche power.
If graphs aren’t your thing, there’s a table below with those stats.
Marvel’s Most Common Superpowers
Aggregated data across all three publishers is interesting, but us comic fans often want to dig into it a little more, so I’m also breaking them out by each publisher.
Again, in Marvel Comics, super strength is the most common superpower, with durability coming in a reasonably close second with just 86 fewer characters having that power.
At this point though, perhaps Marvel should just give every X-Men character a power that will resurrect them from death within three issues. Oh wait, they did with this seemingly unending Krakoa run.
DC’s Most Common Superpowers
And below you’ll see DC’s top 20 most common superpowers breakdown.
It’s interesting that DC comes in much lower with the power counts than Marvel, especially with super strength rating fourth and more traditional human traits like agility and intelligence taking the crown. The dataset I used had over 100 fewer powered characters for DC than Marvel (more on that later on), but the characters also have fewer powers on average.
Most Common Superpowers In Image Comics
Obviously Image Comics is a smaller publisher than the behemoths that are Marvel and DC, but I’ve got a soft spot for some of their characters and they’ve got some great licenses too, so I decided to include them here.
Clearly we’re dealing with a much smaller character roster here, but it’s interesting that super strength takes the top spot again and this is the first appearance of magic in the top 20.
Now I need to start reading Spawn from the beginning again.
Which Characters Have The Most Superpowers?
As interesting as it was finding out what the most common superpowers across the three publishers, it got me asking which character has the most superpowers? Again, as above, I’ve dug into the data, combining it across all three to answer the main question and then split it out for each publisher.
So there you have it – due to his AI absorption ability, Amazo has the most powers in Marvel, DC and Image Comics, with Black Alice and Thanos from Earth 9047 coming in next. What’s interesting here is that it seems to be a number of alternate versions/ Elseworld-style characters with the biggest power numbers. That makes sense – it’d be difficult to match these power levels in day-to-day series and comics would have to start getting even more ridiculous to match them, which was a big part of why DC killed Superman in the 90’s.
I’m not sure why Super Mario is so mega-powered in Earth 9047 either, but now I’m interested to read it.
Which Marvel Characters Have The Most Superpowers?
Looking into Marvel characters specifically, we see the following top 20.
As expected, Earth 9047’s Thanos takes the crown, with Phoenix and Mephisto coming in next.
I’d not heard of Jemiah The Analyzer before, so I’ll be seeing what I can find on Marvel Unlimited for them.
Also as expected, the Infinity Gauntlet versions of characters appear numerous times in the top 20, since that’s pretty much the biggest boost in all of Marvel.
Which DC Characters Have The Most Superpowers?
Now let’s see the top 20 superpowered characters for DC comics.
Interestingly several versions of Superman show up here, but none of them are the current “core” one, which does highlight the efforts to make him less invincible over the last couple of DC reboots, whereas the “core” Aquaman does make an appearance with 75 powers. No Green Lantern incarnations is also an interesting element I found here.
Which Image Comics Characters Have The Most Superpowers?
I was sure I could guess this one before I wrote a single line of code for the analysis, but it was still worth running.
Yep, no surprises there, with it being Spawn. What is more interesting here is that there are nine separate incarnations of Spawn in there (not counting the Anti-Spawn) and Angela seeming like she’d never have a chance against them with those power numbers.
Which Publishers Have The Most Powered Characters?
It’s come down to this – does Marvel, DC or Image have the characters with the most superpowers?
In order to be included in this, the character had to have at least one power listed on SuperheroDB. Let’s take a look.
As we can see, not only does Marvel have 126 more powered characters listed, they have on average more powers as well. DC does, in my opinion, give their human characters a bit more airtime than Marvel, so that’s to be expected, and Image has a much smaller roster, but a much larger proportion of it has powers and quite a number of them on average.
So there you have it, a lockdown Sunday piece of analysis on comics characters and their powers. Is there any other analysis you’d like to see done on this data? Let me know through the contact form or on Twitter.
I’m working on a new SEO-related article at the moment, so normal service will be resumed soon.
Until next time. Excelsior!