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The 11 Best Supervillain Superpowers

Posted: 05/05/2012 9:18 am

When fresh faced youngsters approach me, or I should say my alter-ego, supervillain mastermind King Oblivion Ph.D., and exclaim, "I want to be a success in professional super-evil! Where do I start?" I always tell them the same thing. Or I would if it ever really happened:

"Slow down, there, hot-shot," I'd say. "These things take time." Then I'd give 'em a quarter and tell 'em to scram. Later, the quarter would come to life, steal their parents' wallets and bearer bonds and so forth, and bring it all back to me. (A supervillain should have a plan for every scenario.)

Even though I'd gleefully be setting those kids up for some thievin', the advice I'd give them is spot-on: Rushing the process of becoming a comic-book bad guy is sure to set you up for a life of obscurity fighting D-list superheroes like the 3-D Man. You can't just wave your hand and be the top dog (unless you can, and we'll get to that in a minute). You've got to hit all the right (wrong) notes with your name, your costume, the location of your hideout, and maybe most importantly of all, your superpowers, if you choose to have them.

First, you figure out how you're going to acquire your powers. That's a topic I dig into deeply in my new book, The Supervillain Handbook [Skyhorse Publishing, $12.95]. For instance, have you considered taking a bunch of drugs all at once and seeing what happens? I understand that's how Jim Morrison acquired the ability to speak to reptiles for a short period.

Of course, Morrison went with one of the more esoteric powers. In your path to supervillainy, you may want to aim for a popular superhuman ability, and you know what? That's perfectly fine. They're popular for a reason, after all, though you should note that what's most-liked among the superheroic set isn't always what the evil community goes for. (Flight, for example. Bad guys don't need the ability to fly. They've got platforms and suits that can do that for them.)

In the following slides, you'll find 11 villain-friendly superpowers worth considering. Good (bad) luck!

Super Intelligence
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Who has it: The Leader, Brainiac, Dr. Doom

Why it's handy: Sure, Iron Man and Batman may be brainy fellows, but there's a reason why supervillains are the ones who earn the appellation "mastermind." They are the planners. They are the ones who craft a plot or a scheme or a convoluted series of machinations and carry it out, only to be impeded by some flying, heroic loaf's fist. As such, enhanced intellect (or, in the case of your Lex Luthors and Green Goblins, just plain old high-falutin book smarts) are a key component for many supervillains. You can't turn Australia upside-down with just a high school diploma, folks.
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