10 Marvel Heroes Stronger Than They Appear

split image of Iron Man and Captain America vs a screaming Black Bolt, and Deadpool with Wolverine claws brandished

Marvel’s more “human” heroes aren’t as known for amazing feats of power, but looks can be deceiving. While there are definitely many powerhouses, like the Hulk, Thor, Jean Grey, and the Invisible Woman, most heroes get by on less. Their powers are often fantastic, but their power levels are low. This has caused them to have to become better than they would otherwise have to be, working harder to master their abilities.

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However, there are lots of heroes who are way better than they appear. Heroes from Marvel’s X-Men to Inhumans and everywhere in between have pulled off feats that they shouldn’t have, showing hidden reserves of strength.



10 Black Bolt

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Not every Marvel superpower is beneficial, something Black Bolt learned after his Teregenesis. His voice was the key to his power to control electrons, with his voice becoming the deadliest in the world. This is his most well-known attribute, but there’s way more to Black Bolt than just his voice. For example, he has super-strength and can slug it out with Thanos for a short time.

He can also use the master blow, where he focuses all of his power into one titanic attack. It’s his least known power and makes him way stronger than he appears. It’s a last resort, and Black Bolt likes to hold it back for when it’s desperately needed.

9 Hawkeye

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Marvel Comics' Hawkeye knocks 3 arrows at once

Clint Barton is the most tenacious member of the Avengers, which is saying something. The Avengers are home to several heroes without powers, but none of them can match Hawkeye’s sheer toughness. Everyone is so busy looking at the bow and arrow, that they forget just how strong and skilled Hawkeye really is.

His time as Ronin showed this off perfectly. While he still depended on weapons, they were more close-in weapons. He used his hand-to-hand skills more and showed just how strong he was as a fighter. Hawkeye’s strength and skill means he doesn’t really need his bow and arrows.

8 Black Widow

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Black Widow about to throw a punch while dodging security grid lasers in Marvel Comics

Black Widow is the Avengers’ premiere spy. She’s among the team’s most experienced member, having worked for the Russians since at least the 50s. She was dosed with the Infinity Formula, which slowed down her aging as well as enhancing her physical conditioning. Black Widow isn’t a superhuman, but she’s much stronger and faster than any normal human.

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Looking at Black Widow, though, it’s impossible to tell. That’s a big part of what has made her so successful of a spy and fighter. No one expects her to be as dangerous as she is. Black Widow has lulled many foes into a false sense of security then taken them down.

7 Adam Warlock

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Adam Warlock arrives wielding a staff in Bronze Age Marvel comics

The Fantastic Four have encountered many beings over the years, and some of them are more powerful than others. Adam Warlock was created to be the perfect man, and was first called “Him.” While Adam is certainly a visually striking individual, he doesn’t look like he’s the most formidable person. However, looks can be very deceiving.

While his possession of the Soul Gem gave him a lot of power, he doesn’t really need it. Adam has high level superhuman physical abilities, from strength to durability, is immortal, has served as the Avatar of Life, has powerful mental abilities like telepathy and clairvoyance, powerful energy manipulation abilities, and magic. Adam Warlock can successfully battle Thanos one-on-one, which says it all.

6 Namor

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Namor swimming, trident in hand, in Marvel Comics

Namor has defeated many powerful foes, which is pretty surprising all things told. Namor is the kind of hero who can challenge the Hulk in a fight, which says a lot about just how strong he truly is. However, looking at Namor, it’s easy to think that he’s weaker than he really is. In fact, especially when he’s wearing his scaly Speedo costume, it’s very easy to just see him as a pretty boy, but not as a powerful fighter.

He’s well muscled, but he’s not massive. His ankle wings and pointy ears look pretty silly. For anyone who doesn’t know his long history of laying out powerful foes, Namor definitely looks like a bit of a pushover. However, once he lands that first punch, everyone knows how strong he really is.

5 Cable

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Cable readies his weapons in Marvel Comics' Cable Reloaded

The X-Men have some secretive members, something that defined Cable during his early association with the team. For years, Nathan Dayspring Askani’Son Summers kept the secret of his parentage – Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor – as well as the true nature of his powers. This actually worked very well, as no one ever suspected who he was or what he could really do.

Looking at Cable, it’s impossible to know that he’s among the most powerful psionic talents on the Earth. His telepathic and telekinetic powers are amazing, partly held back by his techno-organic virus. He just looks like a grizzled cyborg supersoldier, but there’s way more power underneath the surface.

4 Gambit

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Remy LeBeau chucking his kinetically charged playing cards in Gambit comics

The X-Men’s weak members are still formidable, each of them bringing something special to the team. Gambit, for example, isn’t a physical titan. He’s lithe and fast, more known for his ability to strike at range and get out of the line of fire. However, Gambit has a secret: he was supposed to be an Omega-class mutant.

Gambit’s powers were supposed to grow into the power to control molecules, but he burnt that ability out battling an alternate universe of himself that had unlocked this power level. Looking at Gambit, no one would have guessed the godlike potential he had. He lost the ability to access that power, yet there’s a chance Krakoan resurrection could unlock it again.

3 Cyclops

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Marvel Comics' Cyclops wearing an x-shaped visor

Cyclops is the X-Men’s most iconic leader. Considered by many to be the Captain America of the mutant race, he’s a brilliant tactician and extremely skilled in combat, having trained since he was a teenager. For years, he was known as Scott “Slim” Summers, but his slender build belied the power that he has.

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Cyclops’s optics blasts are well-known, but just how powerful they are isn’t really known as far and wide as it should be. Wolverine once remarked that Cyclops basically has a nuclear bomb in his head. It’s said that a full power burst of Cyclops’s optic blasts could pulverize a mountain. That’s an insane amount of power and no one would guess Cyclops was that dangerous.

2 Spider-Man

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>amazing spider-man by Zeb Well and John Romita Jr

Spider-Man is often pretty lucky, but luck is only part of why the wall-crawler is so tough. Spider-Man, just on a power level basis, isn’t in the upper echelons of the superhero community. He’s not even the most powerful street level hero, with compatriots like Luke Cage being much stronger. Also, while he’s in great shape, his smaller build isn’t exactly intimidating.

However, Spider-Man is way more than the sum of his powers. For example, Spider-Man has pulled off some feats of strength that should be impossible for him when his life is on the line. Spider-Man’s limits are made to be broken, and it’s easy to underestimate him based on his looks.

1 Wolverine

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Wolverine with claws extended in Marvel Comics

Wolverine has a lot of great powers, and he certainly has an intimidating look. However, when it comes right down to it, Wolverine’s looks aren’t going to back anyone off. Multiple comics have shown Wolverine getting talked down to in bars by much taller men, all of whom rather painfully find out not to mess with him.

Wolverine has gone one on one with the Hulk and walked out with victories. He has won battles against multiple opponents at once, and has taken on the most dangerous mutant villains on Earth. He doesn’t look like much, but he’s got it where it counts.

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