[[quoteright:240:[[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ColorKid.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:240:[-[[Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} He's the best there is at what he does,]] [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative if that's any consolation.]]-] ]]

->''"Heart!? ''Heart''!? They get fire, wind and water, and I get fucking heart!? What a ripoff! Why can't I get any flashy powers? Heart? Are you kidding me!? What a fucking coup! I mean, you can't do anything with heart. What, you make people feel better? Who gives a shit!? I mean, this kid totally got ripped off."''
-->-- '''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic''' on [[TropeNamers Ma-ti]] from ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers''

This refers to a special ability of someone on a team such as a FiveManBand who is [[CastSpeciation so specialized]] as to [[BlessedWithSuck seem useless in most situations]].

Good writers can make this [[InverseLawOfUtilityAndLethality work for a character]]. They may have a power (such as it is), but it's not the ''real'' reason they're in the group. Some characters end up being TheHeart (the social and moral compass), TheFace (diplomat and spokesperson), TheSmartGuy or the BadassNormal. Often said character is TheCaptain - superpowers would be just a tiny bonus to his real ability: [[MagneticHero leadership]]. TheCaptain tends to be specifically written to have ''no'' superpowers, in fact.

Not every character is this lucky. It is a fact of life that leadership tends to favor the badass, [[WhatMeasureIsANonBadass even if their level difference has been no fault of the weaker character himself]]. [[CantCatchUp Soon they will be ignored in favor of other, more interesting characters]] and eventually [[TheLoad people will even question why they are still on the team at all]]. They may even turn into TheScrappy.

There are a number of ways to fix this. If the character [[JokeCharacter still seems ridiculously underpowered]], they can still be RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap by [[RePower giving them additional powers]] or responsibilities. A common method is to have the [[MagikarpPower the character suddenly "evolve" to a higher power level]]. WeakButSkilled characters might take advantage of the RequiredSecondaryPowers. [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower Maybe there ARE more potential uses for this power]], it's just that the writers have somehow ignored them this far. Sometimes the character will uncover a devastating new use and become the dreaded LethalJokeCharacter. Maybe there's a trade off; for instance, powerful beings tend to look freaky, while those with more subtle powers look normal and are better able to deal with mundane society. The easiest device is to just crank out a good old PlotTailoredToTheParty, so that the character can make his seemingly useless superpower seem useful. In fact, characters who do nothing but gripe about their uselessness in battle might be a sign of bad writing. Couldn't they just carry a gun?

Named for an [[MemeticMutation Internet meme]], itself referring to Ma-Ti's ring power in ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers''. While the other team members could control the raw elements with visually impressive feats, he could just [[SpeaksFluentAnimal talk to animals]] with a SpiderSense. No doubt it was useful - his telepathy bailed them out a lot, as did the ability to get nearby animals to help, and it seemed to ward off the IdiotBall - but it lacked the total [[ElementalPowers elemental]] "badass" quality of the others. Then there was the fact that the one BigBad he bothered to use it on was invulnerable to its powers because "You have no heart!", and [[MindOverManners the other villains never merited an attempt, for some reason]]. Ironically, since his power involved a form of limited mind-control, [[FridgeLogic he probably could have been]] the [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower most devastatingly powerful]] [[StoryBreakerPower of all the Planeteers]] if he weren't a pacifist. Plus it's hard ([[Anime/CodeGeass but not impossible]]) to have dramatic tension when the hero [[GameBreaker can just command the bad guys to shoot themselves in the head]].

Often the result of overdoing CastSpeciation. Easier to take in a HeroesUnlimited series, where not every character has to be in every episode. For Video Games, compare QuirkyBard and PowerupLetdown; see also CripplingOverspecialization.

SuperZeroes often suffer from this. If they won the SuperpowerLottery and still have one of these powers, it's FlightStrengthHeart. If he's suddenly in a situation where the power is useful all by itself, it's ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman. If he's able to hold his own in a fight through good old training and determination, he FightsLikeANormal.

For the (sometimes classified as {{elemental|Powers}}) power of Heart (or Love) itself, see ThePowerOfLove and HeartBeatDown. Compare TheTeamNormal and StoryBreakerTeamUp. Contrast HeartIsAnAwesomePower and LethalHarmlessPowers when these abilities are used more... ''creatively''. See also the InverseLawOfComplexityToPower, which states that the broader a power is the more potent it is (and which often isn't used at the same time as this trope).



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Shippo in ''Manga/InuYasha'': Although a skilled magician, he can only create harmless illusions. He can also transform himself into various other forms, but these transformations only last a limited amount of time. Because of this, his powers rarely have any real use in combat.
* Almost all of the Aasu sisters in ''Anime/PuniPuniPoemi'' are victims of this trope, which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't make up the ''entire team''. "Super breakfall" (the power to never be injured if you're knocked off your feet), anyone? {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d during a fight scene when they realize they can't fight the bad guy since none of them have offensive powers.
* ''Anime/SailorMoon''
** In the third season, Sailor Chibi-Moon assumed the "useless member" role; as a Senshi-in-training her "Pink Sugar Heart Attack" was shown to be so weak and pointless that it mostly only annoyed the villain (it also occasionally just didn't do anything period, and on at least one occasion backfired on her). She got ''[[PowerupLetdown demoted even further]]'' in the fourth season, replacing that attack with one that summons the pegasus Helios to power up Sailor Moon for her final attack - in other words, she had no powers of her own, reduced to merely being able to call someone else to empower yet someone else. It was later revealed that she ''could'' still do her Pink Sugar Heart Attack with the bell for summoning Helios... for all the good that attack ever does.
** This is averted in the manga, where the Pink Sugar Heart Attack is actually effective and can do real damage.
** In ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal'' '''Sailor Moon herself''' basically laments that she doesn't have flashy elemental powers like the other Sailors, apparently not quite realizing ThePowerOfLove is incredibly powerful in her genre.
* [[{{Meganekko}} Yukino Kikukawa's]] CHILD in ''Anime/MaiHime'', Diana, is a MagicalSecurityCam. In certain plots this is quite useful [[spoiler:like the time she uses it to locate kidnapped or missing people and then tell the others where they are, like in the cases of Natsuki and Takumi]], but given how everyone [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne is expected to battle to the death]], when it's time to fight this turns out to be useless.
* ''Manga/{{Cyborg 009}}'''s [[TheChick female member, Francoise aka 003]] had non-offensive, surveillance-oriented powers (though she could still use a laser gun).
* ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'':
** Gomamon, whose rookie "attack" is to control fish and is only seen actually battling ''twice'' over the entire series. Yet this becomes an inversion when you realise that it works in other situations while the Rookie attacks are only effective one time in the entire series (and Gomamon was helping out for that one too, tripping the monster)
*** Not to mention Gomamon's fish-summoning power has no end of uses: saving the team from a plummet, functioning as a makeshift raft, pushing an island back to shore, distracting the enemy, saving the 'mons from a net. And it even works when Gomamon is in places like a gym, a swimming pool, or a colosseum in the middle of a freaking desert.
** Also, at the end, after the complete monster reduces the digi destined to ones and zeros...Yeah. The power of heart, or more accurately, the crests in their hearts.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'', there were many, many magic spells... from the earth-shattering Giga Slave, to the Ferious Breed, the spell that ''summons pigeons''. But Lina did find a use for the pigeon-summoning spell twice: first time, to break a hole in a pocket universe, second time, to knock off Pocota, who is not much larger than a pigeon.
* Played with the Jusenkyo transformations in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': when the Musk Dynasty warriors Lime, Mint, and Prince Herb run into a forest full of murderous monkeys, the latter sense the aura of the martial artists and perceive a mighty tiger, a swift wolf, and an all-powerful dragon. They know they can't beat these great beasts, and wisely keep away. But when Ranma, Ryouga, and Mousse pass by, the monkeys see a small girl, a tiny piglet, and a nearsighted duck. They can win! (The monkeys then proceed [[BigBallOfViolence to gang-pile the trio]], who escape entirely covered in scrapes and bruises.)
* ''VisualNovel/DaCapo'': Junichi, [[WitchSpecies grandson of a witch]], has two powers: uncontrollably viewing others' dreams (which he emphasizes is incredibly boring in practice and only makes him lose sleep) and making Japanese sweets appear in his hands. On the plus side, though, the latter ''is'' useful with the little ladies, and he himself remarks that it is a good way to lose weight, since the required calories are drawn from his body. He can't [[spoiler:read minds, shapeshift, talk to the dead, or warp reality]], but whatever.
* ''Manga/ShugoChara'': First, Amu and Rima were the only ones in the group of the Guardians who could do Chara Transformations and it was always depicted as something amazing and powerful. When the remaining members of the Guardians finally access their own Chara-Naris, everyone of them gets a cool weapon, like Kairi's Katanas or Tadase's holy scepter of doom... Yaya gets Ducks.
* In ''Manga/ProjectARMS'', three of the four ARMS protagonists are fitted with incredible bionic limbs in either their arms or legs, letting them fight bad guys effortlessly. The fourth member is fitted with bionic eyes which lets her foresee events and analyze battles to figure out strategies, but is mostly useless in actual combat (a fact she laments). She is later revealed though to have the incredible power to [[spoiler:kill all ARMS born of Alice (as well as Alice), including herself, though she is unable to go through with it)]].
* ''Seikon No Qwaser'': The title qwasars have the ability to control a single element. Joshua ended up with element number 111, roentgenium. To put it in perspective, roentgenium does not exist naturally on Earth, and if it did, its very short half-life would quickly render it not roentgenium (and therefore useless).
* From the ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' manga and anime, we have the alien girls Sugar, Ginger and Pepper. Sugar has the power to blend with the background like a chameleon; Ginger can [[FauxDeath feign death]] at will; Pepper can shed her whole skin (while still wearing a set of cloth underneath) to escape grapples. Said capabilities could sometimes be handy, but the trio has a much-inflated opinion of their usefulness. Especially compared to the powers of those they consider their "rivals": Lum (who can {{fl|ight}}y and shoot [[ShockAndAwe lightning bolts]]), Oyuki ([[AnIcePerson an Ice Maiden]]) and Benten (a {{Super Str|ength}}ong ActionGirl fond of {{BFG}}s). The fact that Sugar, Ginger and Pepper are morons doesn't help.
* In ''Anime/{{Canaan}}'', Yunyun revealed that her superpower was having two appendices. In fairness, she is more of a comic-relief character.
* ''Manga/ZatchBell'' had the Majestic Twelve, an American team of superheroes who seemed to really have super powers, but were comically inept at using them (though that's only in the anime; the manga gives less than no indication that they are not as competent as they are portrayed to be). The only one who demonstrated any prowess in battle was Big Boing, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin whose powers are self-explanatory]]. Her greatest power was chopping her "boing" to distract the enemy.
* The ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' filler villain Koga's power is to control the Zanpakuto of other {{Shinigami}}. Now, this in itself is an [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower incredibly powerful ability]]. The problem is that Koga is a {{Shinigami}} himself, and is part of a larger {{Shinigami}} military force. Therefore, his ability would only be useful against his allies, and when fighting [[TheHeartless Hollows]], he would be forced to rely solely on [[FunctionalMagic Kido]] and his own [[ImplausibleFencingPowers basic swordsmanship skills]]. On the flip side, this power came in very handy when he took part in a Shinigami civil war and later decided to [[FallenHero rebel against the Shinigami himself]].
* The comedy manga, ''Manga/BananaNoNana'', takes place in a world where everyone has superpowers, which range from the typical but powerful, like water manipulation, to the situational but useful, like superhuman leg strength. The title character has the power to manipulate... bananas. If you look at HeartIsAnAwesomePower, you'll see that her power is actually the most useful (especially since people with superpowers have to perform a ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack''-style ritual to retain said superpowers. The water-manipulation person, for example? Has to sit in a bathtub for 20 hours a day, every day. The title character? Just has to eat a banana, peel included.)
* Subverted in ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure''. No matter how stupid or ridiculously limiting a Stand power seems, the user will find a way to make it an advantage. Meaning the answer to the trope question is "the kind that can kill you."
* ''Anime/TheFantasticAdventuresOfUnico'':
** Averted, as ThePowerOfLove enables Unico [[spoiler: to turn into a full-grown unicorn and kill a 50-story tall demon by charging through its torso]]. A rare instance where it doubles as a CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
** Unico's power to stop all wars is nothing to laugh at either. This power forces the gods to get rid of him because it seriously messes with their plans.
* In the world of ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' where the focus is on corporate sponsorship and crowd-pleasing masked heroics, Origami Cyclone's ability to copy other people's appearances--which would be great for undercover police work or espionage-- is unfortunately not very marketable and therefore almost useless to him. And he's still got it better than some of the other students at the Hero Academy, whose powers include being able to stretch their skin or sweat a lot.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': Even though HeartIsAnAwesomePower is frequently in play, this trope can come up now and again. WordOfGod is that there are joke powers out there;
** "Iron Mace" Alvida ate the Slip-Slip Fruit, which made her body...slippery. So far, the only uses her powers have shown is causing shrapnel to slip off of her (Causing no damage) and turning her from a {{Gonk}} to MsFanservice...oh yeah, and letting her slide across the ground while barefoot. However, this is useless against Smoker's Smoke-Smoke powers, and she can't slip out of Seastone nets, and because she's been OutOfFocus for ''[[LongRunners 17 years]]'' now, we have yet to see whether or not HeartIsAnAwesomePower.
** Filler character Apis ate a Devil Fruit that gave her the ability to telepathically talk to animals. While this does have its uses, it's probably the only Devil Fruit in the entire series that has absolutely no combat ability and does not fit into Paramecia, Logia or Zoan types. Her power is made especially useless when Luffy spontaneously gains the ability to do the exact same thing in that arc. The next member to join the crew, Chopper, also has this ability because he happens to be an animal and his Human Human Fruit ability enables him to speak human languages.
** Newly introduced character Kinemon has the ability to disguise himself or anyone else any way that he chooses. Thus far, this has only been seen by materializing clothes from nothing, that will vanish when removed, meaning that his power has no clear combat potential. Good thing Kinemon is a bad-ass Samurai that can use [[PlayingWithFire fire attacks,]] so he doesn't need a Devil Fruit power to be effective in battle.
** Subverted with Brook's Yomi Yomi no Mi that allowed him to come back to life...once. And his disembodied soul had to manually find his body, which took a year, meaning that his body had wasted away to being a skeleton by the time he found it. At first, it seems to be less combat-oriented than the other Devil Fruits, but then we see that he has a major HealingFactor [[PowerUpFood from drinking milk]], and as a skeleton, he's much lighter than everyone else allowing him to [[WalkOnWater run on water]] and jump incredible heights, and that's saying nothing for his YouAreAlreadyDead sword techniques.
*** And it gets even better after the two-year TimeSkip; he can use his spirit energy to [[PullingThemselvesTogether pull himself together]] if his bones get knocked apart. Plus, he can use astral projection and [[GhostlyChill channel the chill of death]] into his blade.
** There's also Gan Fall's steed Pierre, a giant bird who ate the Horse-Horse Fruit, allowing him to turn into a really goofy-looking pegasus, and has no real advantages since he was already a perfectly serviceable mount as a bird.
** Flashback character Corazon ate the Nagi Nagi no Mi (Nagi, meaning "calm" in Japanese), which basically gives him the power to be a...soundless human. To be specific, he can create an invisible bubble around him from which no sound can escape- no one outside can hear him, and those inside the bubble can't hear the outside. While it's very good for stealth, it has no obvious combat applications. Although, Corazon does use it effectively for an action sequence where he effectively ambushes a pirate stronghold without making ANY sounds, including fire burning, glass breaking, gun firing or EXPLOSIONS.
* Bossun's Concentrations Mode when he puts on his goggles in ''Manga/SketDance''. While admittedly very useful in solving problems and aiding his aiming skills with the slingshot, its often called out for not being very cool for the main hero.
* In ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'', Kazari Uiharu is an esper like [[ShockAndAwe Mikoto]] and [[{{Teleportation}} Kuroko]], but her power is rather underwhelming: she can maintain an object's current temperature so long as she's touching it. However, she can only tolerate touching the usual range of temperatures a normal human can, and she doesn't seem to be able to affect her own body with it either. She usually uses her ability to keep takeout food warm or stop ice cream from melting.
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', Komugi has the ability to improve rapidly at gung-gi, a fictional board game, and is the only superpower thus shown in the series with no proven combat or support use. That being said, she does, albeit accidentally, put her gung-gi skills to use in such a way as to stir up some respect from the BigBad of the arc she appears in. This newfound compassion causes him to shift his priorities in favor of the heroes and to hesitate in battle just long enough for [[spoiler:Netero to inflict radiation poisoning on him]].
* In ''LightNovel/UnlimitedFafnir'', Yuu is able to manifest a handgun from anti-matter. But according to several of the girls, they wonder how useful that is against a gigantic dragon. He later sees what kind of powers the girls have compared to what he summoned such as his sister with an EnergyBow.
* In the setting of ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'', 80% of people have some sort of power, known as a "quirk". While a lucky few have abilities worthy of a SuperHero, the majority fall into this category instead.
** The main character is a similar case to some members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, such as Fire Lad or Polar Lad, below. His (newly-acquired) power is not useless at all, being a ridiculous level of SuperStrength. However, as he has zero control over it, every time he uses it he cripples himself. As time goes by he finds ways to use it more effectively.
** Minoru Mineta also sees his Quirk (generating sticky balls from his head) as this, but it's actually fairly useful for weighing opponents down and locking them in place.
* In ''LightNovel/MagicalGirlRaisingProject'', every Magical Girl is given one special skill at random. Some get strong powers such as [[HealingFactor regeneration]] or [[MakeMeWannaShout sound manipulation]]. Others are far less lucky.
** Nemurin has the ability to enter dreams, and is practically a god in the land of dreams. Unfortunately for her, she needs to be helping people in order to earn Magical Candies, and candies earned in dreams don't carry over to the real world. The most she can do is comfort people in their dreams and give them advice.
** Ruler can give a command to anyone that must be followed, which should be a powerful ability. However, it comes with so many requirements (she must stand still, call the opponent by name, point her scepter at them, be within 5 meters of her target, and has to be understood) that it's difficult to use it practically.
** Pechika can transform anything into delicious food after touching it for 5 minutes. The 5 minute factor makes it nearly useless in a fight, and she's trapped in a game world where she has to do a lot of fighting. At least everyone appreciates her food.
** Detick Bell can create faces on buildings, allowing her to talk to them. It comes in handy for her job where she's a detective, but in the game world none of the buildings are willing to give her any information, making it rather useless.
** Rionetta can control puppets in a humanoid shape, which is powerful under specific circumstances, but hard to use when she's trapped in a game world where most of her enemies are creatures that don't qualify as puppets. [[spoiler:Subverted as she can also control dead people with her power, something she doesn't want to advertise.]]
** Prism Cherry can change what is reflected in mirrors. She can create entire scenes and environments in them. Cute, but rather useless since it doesn't change anything in reality. She frequently lambasts how bad her ability is. [[spoiler:It takes her awhile to realize that it is actually the manipulation of reflected light, which is a little more useful, though still not particularly powerful.]]
** Kafuria can see who dies earliest. The person who will die next has a floating skull above their head that only she can see. It doesn't tell her when or how they will die, just that they're next. She can interfere and change their fate, but without knowing the details she can't do much. She is friends with other Magical Girls with useless powers: Negino (generate the smell of green onions), Kokuri-chan (move a single coin at the speed of a fast-walking human), and Auro (maintain a perfect afro).

[[folder:Audio Play]]
* Creator/TheFiresignTheatre's Captain Equinox, from the album ''Pink Hotel Burns Down'': his powers are unspecified, but true to his name, he is only Captain Equinox twice a year.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' has an assortment of cards like this too.
** A prime example is "Anti-Raigeki", a trap card designed to counter one particular magic card that ended up being Forbidden anyway. "Raigeki" allowed you to instantly destroy your opponent's entire field, leaving them completely defenseless until they could set more cards on the field on their next turn.
** Even worse are cards like "Senet Switch", which allows you to move one monster to an adjacent space... Something which is practically useless 99% of the time.
* Similarly a number of ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' cards are so situational as to be useless. One of the best examples of this is the [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1615 Great Wall]] enchantment. Landwalk is an ability that renders a creature such that it can't be blocked if it's attacking an opponent who has the correct type of land (swamps for swampwalk, forests for forestwalk and so on). It's usually not that useful itself, since much of the time your opponent won't be playing the right kind of land so the ability does nothing-- unless it targets a whole subgroup of lands, like, say, [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=96848 Dryad Sophisticate]] and her nonbasic landwalk[[note]]which means as long as your opponent has a land that isn't one of the basics, she can't be blocked[[/note]]. The rarest of the basic landwalks is plainswalk, mostly due to FridgeLogic over how you stealthily move through a wide open plain anyway. Not a single card with this ability has ever been considered a threat in any known ''Magic'' {{Metagame}}. The Great Wall enchantment's sole effect is that it allows creatures with plainswalk to be blocked.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Wheeler actually mocks Ma-Ti in the comic book adaptation of ''Captain Planet'' #3, directly invoking the trope, "What kind of useless power is heart?" Of course, we then learn Ma-Ti can read minds. He then makes fun of Ma-Ti pacifying guards and making them go to sleep. Ma-Ti can also talk to animals - basically having Franchise/{{Aquaman}}'s ability, but with all animals and not just sea life. His power has the ability to have the target look into their own ''soul'', which Wheeler also mocks. The main weakness of Ma-Ti's ability is that it has to be used ''indirectly'' against villains, unlike all of the others. When Ma-Ti tries using any of above JediMindTrick powers on the ArcVillains or the MonsterOfTheWeek, it never works because they're either too evil or too powerful. Also, if there's no living thing around for him to use his powers ''on'', then he's basically BroughtDownToNormal and can at best act as MissionControl for the team.
* In the comics, Aqualad developed concerns similar to ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}'s (see WesternAnimation below) about feeling useless as a member of the ComicBook/TeenTitans, which became so severe that he later developed a psychosomatic illness. Once the cause of his problem was realized, Aqualad decided to relegate himself as a Titans reservist, who participated with the team only when they had a mission in the sea. He later got a costume change, a power upgrade and TookALevelInBadass, becoming "Tempest". Then he died. In the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' cartoon he was far more formidable too, being able to control water telekinetically. (Still, it did seem that the writers always "conveniently" placed him somewhere where he could make use of that; even indoors, there was always sure to be a large amount of plumbing nearby...) The second Aqualad was given the ability to create hard-water weapons and generate electrical blasts because the creators of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' wanted to have an Aqualad who had powers that would be of use when ''not'' in the ocean.
* ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'':
** The Invisible Woman originally only had the power to… be invisible. It got so bad that one issue's main story was made shorter to allow room to ''try to justify Sue's existence'' after all the letters they'd gotten. The best [[Creator/StanLee The Man himself]] could do is "a pretty girl inspires the boys to fight harder." (They also pointed out that one time she invisibly tripped a lone, fleeing Skrull. They forgot to mention that her male teammates had each dispatched several fighting-mad Skrull.) After it became obvious that she was useless as an action hero in her current form, creators Stan Lee and Creator/JackKirby gave her the additional powers of making other objects/people invisible and projecting telekinetic force fields (making sure to call them ''invisible'' force fields instead of merely force fields every time they're used to try making it less obvious that it's got little to do with invisibility.) Wasn't until the Creator/JohnByrne period that she found [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower many different uses]] for the force fields, such as powerful attack (suffocating an enemy inside a force field, creating a field ''inside'' an enemy and expanding it until they explode, etc,) and as a mode of transportation. As such, Susan is now usually considered not only the most powerful member of the team, but one of the most powerful characters in the entire Franchise/MarvelUniverse, and her personality has [[TookALevelInBadass changed accordingly]], as she realized she didn't need to bow to anyone.
** For that matter, Reed's stretching powers can seem a tad useless in a lot of situations (he's never displayed the kind of limitless shapeshifting abilities of, say, ComicBook/PlasticMan). But Reed's ''real'' super-power is being [[OmnidisciplinaryScientist the most brilliant scientist on Earth]]. It's actually been implied a few times in different continuities that his stretching is related to his super-genius: by contracting the neural connections in his brain, he can actually think and learn ''faster'' than a normal human brain should be capable of (he was already a genius, but his powers make him a ''super''-genius). [[ReedRichardsIsUseless This is still only of limited usefulness]].
* Every [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] team had [[TheSmurfettePrinciple a token female]] that was as useless as they could possibly make her, it seemed, and Comicbook/TheWasp, of ComicBook/TheAvengers fame, takes the cake. Her power was to become very small. She had wings in her small form, and stingers that, well, stung, but didn't really stop the enemy. She was about as useless fighting villains as her namesake insect, and spent most of the time begging for help, needing rescue more often than civilians. Her tendency to go small right away means she can't even qualify for BadassNormal. Worse still, she was always right alongside her boyfriend [[Comicbook/AntMan Hank]], who also could become small, and more usefully, ''large,'' going from Ant-Man to Giant Man and swatting villains like bugs. His intelligence means bug-size was ''useful'' for him, as he knew how to sabotage villainous weaponry, and he had his bug-control helmet. Hitching a ride on bug-back means he can ''pretty'' much fly, too. This made Wasp's uselessness even more glaring. Wasp's being good at unarmed combat and deductive reasoning came later, and she's ''still'' more remembered for her many costumes than for actually ''doing'' anything. However, like many on this list, she was made non-useless decades later: She eventually became a great fighter in her own right and she even led The Avengers for a time. She also gained the ability to grow.
** This is completely {{averted|Trope}} in ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'', where she is capable of taking down villains by herself.
** And in [[ComicBook/UltimateMarvel the Ultimate universe]], where her neurological knowledge means that she can attack people's brains. In addition, in Ultimate Canon, she is a mutant and can do the "Wasp Stings" innately at full size, where they are painful and cause nerves to go numb.
** She was, for reasons never made clear, on the superhero team in ''Comicbook/SecretWars'' (a godlike being, the Beyonder, made the most powerful heroes and villains fight against each other for his amusement). Feeling useless next to a literal god ([[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]), the master of magnetism (Magneto), and various others, she spent at least one issue sulking about how lame her powers were. She did manage to singlehandedly beat the Lizard in that issue by basically being too small for him to be able to hit her.
* It was established via {{retcon}} that the reason Hank Pym abandoned the Comicbook/AntMan identity to become Giant-Man was because he felt his shrinking abilities were a little useless on a team that included ComicBook/IronMan, [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]], and the Comicbook/IncredibleHulk.
* The ''Comicbook/{{Hawkeye}}'' solo series deconstructs this. Clint is shown to be quite the badass in his own right with his ImprobableAimingSkills and {{Trick Arrow}}s, but the narrative makes a point of showing how just how out of his element he can be in superhero battles. For instance, he's immediately taken out during a battle with AIM that Franchise/SpiderMan and Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} easily win without him, and Clint himself points out that his archery abilities are completely useless when it comes to rescuing victims of a hurricane.
** Not that Hawkeye didn't fight a few ''villains'' that fit the Trope, like Oddball. His power? He could juggle. He could juggle really well. (Sure, he juggles spheres that contained stuff like tear gas and liquid adhesive that he used like throwing weapons, but it was kind of lame. To make this worse, he actually formed a team of other villains who used juggling as their MO (seriously, he did) called the Death Throws, each of which specialized in a different type of juggling: Tenpin (juggled clubs), Ringleader (juggled rings), Bombshell (also juggled spheres, but preferred ones that exploded), and Knickknack (who could juggle objects of dissimilar sizes and weights, a difficult trick if you're a performer, yes, but as a villain, still lame).
* The ''ComicBook/XMen'' had their fair share of members who's powers were pretty useless.
** For a ''lesser'' example (which just goes to show how bad these situations ''could'' be), when we first met Comicbook/JeanGrey, her powers were only good for levitating as much as she could physically carry. She was considerably more useful than day-one Sue and Wasp, but compared to Beast, Comicbook/{{Cyclops}}, and Comicbook/{{Iceman}}, her powers weren't so great. Even Angel ''made'' more of a non-combat power (having flight alone ''should'' make you a bullet sponge, but with incredible agility, high flying speeds, and super-strong wings, he could kick some ''serious'' evil mutant posterior even pre-Archangel.) to the degree that Jean fell behind. However, she had incredible precision with her powers, and the 'school' theme means, like her teammates, she became stronger and more skilled with her powers as time went. Eventually, she became so powerful that she reached HumanoidAbomination levels...at least before the {{retcon}} hit. But even after that she's still one of the most powerful mutants.
** ComicBook/KittyPryde takes this role later. Having the ability to walk through walls is great and all, but she lacked any offensive capabilities. At one point, she joined the rest of the ComicBook/XMen to save the Morlocks from the Marauders, and realized that while her powers meant that the Marauders couldn't hurt her physically, they still seemed to be able to hurt her by taking out her friends. She TookALevelInBadass as well, being trained as a {{ninja}} and adding swords, guns and a dragon to her arsenal. Starting with Alan Davis' run on ''Comicbook/{{Excalibur}}'', she developed the ability to phase through one opponent while striking another. She also gained the situational useful ability/side effect of causing electronics to malfunction when she phased through them. Kinda rough when your secondary power is only occasionally useful.
*** In the classic "Comicbook/DaysOfFuturePast" story-line, when her future-self is in control of her past-body, she gives a few indications of the more practical and dangerous applications of her powers, such as partial phasing while leaping through an assassin in order to disorient, disarm, and incapacitate him (She was once able to use this focus to remove the metal shard that threatened [[ComicBook/IronMan Tony Stark]]'s heart). Young Kitty herself puts on an impressive display earlier, walking straight through her first Danger Room scenario (even ''over'' a PitTrap) without a scratch. The senior members of the team are laughing their asses off while watching, thinking about how much time and effort Prof. X had invested trying to create a challenge for the rookie.
*** Ultimate later upped the ante, having Kitty specifically train herself (off panel) to control her phasing ability; her theory that, if she can make her atoms ''separate'' enough to phase through things then she could ''condense'' them to gain invulnerability and super strength. This incidentally being what Comicbook/TheVision has done with his own intangibility in the main Marvel Universe all along.
** ComicBook/{{Rogue}} has the ability of PowerCopying any mutant she comes in contact with, and even with non-mutants can gain some of their memories and any special skills they may have (like playing football or martial arts) for short time. While this sounds cool in theory, Rogue's ability also has the side-effect of harming her target, which can range from knocking them out to killing them outright, regardless of whether said person is a friend or an enemy. As such, it's not uncommon for Rogue to remain almost completely covered up to prevent accidental use of her powers, and even otherwise, to rarely want to use her powers in fear of actually hurting someone she didn't intend to. Her powers are often shown as being so inconvenient that the only way writers seemed to have to make her useful to the team is for her to accidentally permanently kill someone and use ''their'' powers instead, like with Comicbook/MsMarvel or Sunfire. While sometimes Rogue's powers change to be more useful on their own (like when she could, for a short time, recall ''any'' power she had previously absorbed regardless of how long she touched her target), her abilities always seem to default back to the "almost kill to gain their powers so I never want to use it" method. To be fair, Rogue's powers are only lame ''because'' she doesn't want to kill and has no control over them to keep from killing; the ability to copy anyone's power in a world populated by superheroes, supervillians, and mutants would be an awesome power otherwise.
** Subverted with Cypher/Doug Ramsey, whose power is to understand ''ANY'' language, even body language, or code, making him now quite the badass as he can even foresee his opponents' movements (as long as he can "read" a pattern), or find the weak point of architectural structures. Any "language" was also shown early on to include computer languages, making him the best computer programmer the X-Men have ever seen. He's a character who was vindicated as TechnologyMarchesOn. Originally, he was an {{Omniglot}} without the skill or MadeOfIron-ness to let him be a BadassNormal. [[HumongousMecha Sentinels]] versus the ability to speak French without having to buy Rosetta Stone is ''every bit the CurbStompBattle you'd expect,'' to the point that in the end it was decided that he was much more useful to the plot as a [[ILetGwenStacyDie fallen friend to occasionally angst over not having been able to save]]. However, all forms of computer code being a language he knows instinctively is much more useful since he was brought BackFromTheDead in TheNewTens than it was back in TheEighties (he stopped Master Mold in ''Second Coming'' just by communicating with his source code - and that was while the Mold was attempting to ''swallow'' him!), and also, BadassNormal via body language reading is more often used. He just came along two or three decades too early, but ''now'' his time has come. Unlike the others on this list, he didn't need his powers changed to [[TookALevelInBadass take a level in badass]].
** Angel has similar problems to Comicbook/{{Hawkman}} and Aquaman. His power to fly is fairly useless in a superhero context. He was variously given razor-sharp metal wings, the ability to shoot poisoned metal pieces from his wings, and a healing factor to make him more powerful. The current version is physically powerful for a similar reason as Aquaman: to actually fly with his wings and survive hundreds of miles per hour winds, he [[RequiredSecondaryPowers must be very strong and resistant to damage]]. Angel was largely rescued by Marvel in an issue of ''Comicbook/{{Thunderbolts}}'' where he flies rings around them in their own comic in an awesome "Taking them back to school" moment. Angel also has a little-remembered ability of extraordinarily keen eyesight, comparable to a hawk's. That may not sound like much, but being able to spot movement from a rabbit when you're flying half a mile up is no small feat.
** [[Characters/XMenBrotherhoodOfMutants Toad]]. He originally had the power to jump high, period. He actually made good use of it (mainly as a distraction to set you up to be nailed by the more powerful Brotherhood members, but he was able to kick fairly hard with those leg muscles) and like many of these characters, has since received a beef-up (He's now mainly known for his prehensile tongue and the ability to spit slime at his enemies, on top of having very strong leg muscles). Although back in the day, the reason Magneto recruited him was more so he could have an expendable lackey than because of the usefulness of his powers.
** Wraith (Hector Mendoza; there are a few other Marvel characters named Wraith, who all have more useful abilities) had the ability to turn his skin invisible. That was it. He later found that he could transfer this power to turn skin invisible to other people, but seeing the muscles of other people is still just as useless as showing your own.
** ComicBook/{{Jubilee}} has been a mainstay among the X-Men for a long time, often being paired as Wolverine's sidekick just because he's a badass and she's not. Her ability to shoot firework-like plasmoids from her hands rarely ever proved useful. Sure, they kinda burned like fireworks, but at the most they were only good as a signal flare or as a quick distraction. Also, since birth, her brain has always generated a natural psionic shield, which made her naturally invisible to telepaths unless they knew exactly what to look for when searching for her. She eventually lost her firework powers as a result of [[Comicbook/HouseOfM the M-Day]] and left the X-Men. As a member of the New Warriors, she used PoweredArmor to give her super strength. This made her rather useful and effective in combat, but she eventually gave that up just to move on with her life. She would later be infected by a virus that turned her into a vampire. [[OurVampiresAreDifferent This gave her all the strengths and weaknesses typical to vampires]]: Enhanced strength, agility, speed, stamina, reflexes, fangs and claws, and the ability to turn into mist. By regularly feeding off Wolverine's blood, she temporarily gained his healing factor and could withstand limited amounts of sunlight. Whether she can use her fireworks again, after the Scarlet Witch has been brought back from exile and started to rectify what she did, is yet to be seen, though.
*** Ironically enough, Jubilee's original powers were actually a ''subversion'': she limited herself to only using the fireworks because her full power was ''far'' more destructive, and she feared hurting someone with it. Comicbook/EmmaFrost once stated that had she ever utilized them to their full potential, she could detonate matter at the ''sub atomic'' level. This made Jubilee a ''[[PersonOfMassDestruction walking fusion bomb]]''.
** Poor Barnell Bohusk, aka Beak. His mutation was less a "power" and more a freak deformity. Basically, he had avian physiology in all the wrong ways. On top of being legendarily ugly (his face was a horrific mishmash of human and bird), he also had light and hollow bones, like birds, making him quite frail without the ability to properly fly to compensate (he could glide and sorta fly, with very great effort, though it is possible that he could have become able to fly properly later on). At least he had enhanced eyesight and dangerous talons he could fight with, but none of that really made up for his weaknesses.
* The Legion of Substitute Heroes is composed of rejected applicants to ''[[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} The Legion of Super-Heroes]]'', who banded together in an effort to show their powers were not useless. Some members included Chlorophyll Kid, who has the power to make plants grow super fast (he also says he can communicate with plants; he can't, but that doesn't stop him from talking to them); Color Kid, who can change the color of objects; Infectious Lass, who spontaneously generates infectious diseases; and Stone Boy, who has power to turn into stone (at which point he becomes completely immobile. Eventually, he undergoes hypnotherapy in order to move in his stone form.) Surprisingly, several members managed to prove their point and "graduate" into the LSH proper. Considering some of the heroes the Legion ''did'' admit, like "Bouncing Boy" and "Matter-Eater Lad", you have to wonder just how ''bad'' your powers had to be for them to actually ''reject'' you.
** Matter-Eater Lad is one of the ones who sounds useless in theory, but in practice... well, if there's anything you need to break into, or any dangerous item you need to dispose of, the guy who can eat his way through, and digest, ''anything''... he's your man, er, lad.
** Likewise, Bouncing Boy is extremely useful because of one of his RequiredSecondaryPowers; dude's good enough at physics and trig to ricochet off walls and into bad guys, which is pretty damn hard to do quickly.
** Some of the applicants were written so obviously planned-to-fail that it boggles the mind what made them think they'd be a contributing member in the first place. Double Header opened with the remark "Two heads are better than one!"... and immediately started bickering with himself. And Arms-Fall-Off-Lad could detach his arm and use as a club, apparently not considering that blunt instruments aren't that difficult to obtain.
** One of the Substitute Heroes eventually ended up as ''leader'' of the Legion of Super Heroes. That would be Polar Boy, whose powers (control over ice and temperature) were always pretty useful; he just sucked at controlling them. After training for a few years and mastering his powers, he became a powerful and respected hero.
** One of the Substitute Heroes' founders, Night Girl, had strength and durability roughly equal to Superman's. While this ''is'' impressive, she was rejected from the Legion of Super Heroes because her powers only worked in the dark, making them rather impractical. She compensated by learning martial arts, and is quite effective if she teams up with Shadow Lass, who can [[CastingAShadow generate darkness]], or fellow Substitute Color Kid (see below), who learned to tweak his powers to manage the same effect. She also has the RequiredSecondaryPowers of being able to see in the dark. Night Girl eventually became a respected hero.
** Stone Boy has also shown that he ''can'' fight reasonably well. It helps that all Legion members get a membership ring that allows them to fly--he can get right above a foe, turn to stone, and drop down on them.
** FridgeLogic enters the equation with Color Kid. He poses a major threat to the [[Franchise/GreenLantern Green Lantern Corps]]! They should have recruited him--if not to bear a ring, then as a supporting player who could nullify the color yellow whenever necessary. In one story, Color Kid's power actually proved vitally useful. He saved Superboy's life by turning a chunk of deadly green Kryptonite into harmless blue Kryptonite ... which, by the way, was a completely nonsensical plot development. There is no logical reason why changing the color of a radioactive substance would alter the type of radiation it was emitting. Nevertheless, it happened.
*** Even more FridgeLogic enters the equation when you realize that, at least in organic substances, color comes from [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugated_system the number and configuration of conjugated double bonds in a compound]]. In other words, Color Kid, at the very least, can create and destroy double bonds at will. A bit of creative application of this, and he could effortlessly kill anyone by ''changing them at the molecular level''.
** One Legion story was all about this trope. Dream Girl whose dreams are always prophetic was in an attempted mugging against herself and Karate Kid. She contemplated leaving the Legion because her power is useless in a fight. She is reminded of the value of her power the following night when she [[spoiler:saves Karate Kid's life because one of her prophetic dreams warned her that he was going to die, of wounds he unknowingly suffered in the attempted mugging]].
** Fire Lad was a rejected member who joined the Substitute Heroes; his powers were not lame at all; the reason he was rejected was because they were ''dangerous'' and, like Polar Lad, he had a hard time controlling them. (And true to the fears of the bona-fide Legionnaires who rejected his membership, he caused almost as many disasters as he prevented.)
** Chlorophyll Kid also suffered from the same problem, really. His ability to "grow plants really fast" was powerful enough to let him create [[ManEatingPlant giant botanical monsters]], but his inability to control them led to them becoming a threat to allies and enemies alike.
* Tyrone Jessup of the teen paranormal group [[Comicbook/TheNewUniverse Psi-Force]] had the ability to [[AstralProjection leave his body in intangible astral form]]. While this was useful in some situations, it still looked pretty weak next to abilities like [[MindOverMatter powerful telekinesis]], [[PeoplePuppets mind control]], [[HealingHands healing everything short of death]], etc. A later writer made a point of [[TookALevelInBadass powering him up a bit]].
* The Top Cow Productions comic book series ''Freshmen'' has a team full of this. Each character's ability is based on what they were thinking of when a Mad Scientist's machine blew up. While some powers are more traditionally useful (the ability to control other people's minds, the ability to cause earthquakes) some are hard to use particularly well (for instance, the Drama Twins: Renee can telekinetically pull stuff and Brady can telekinetically push stuff; to actually use telekinesis effectively requires them to be touching each other and coordinate), or have disastrous side effects (the Intoxicator can cause everyone around him to be as high or drunk as he is). Then there are things like the ability to understand and talk to plants (while being a vegan), the power to make someone fall in love with you, the powers of a squirrel (a weird haircut, a constant desire to hoard nuts, and a limited ability to glide), having an incredibly sticky body, having a 15-foot-long indestructible penis, and an incredible ability to build dams and having super-intelligence... while being a beaver. However, the team's "leader", an incredibly nerdy comic book fan named Norrin, has no abilities (except for a fairly useless utility belt): he was out getting a pizza when the machine exploded. Surprisingly, at least once in the first story arc everyone's power is put to use. Except the GagPenis. And we can all be thankful for that.
* Played straight in ''Comicbook/{{normalman}}''. Everyone on the planet [[SdrawkcabName Levram]] has superpowers, but not only do some of them never figure out just what their power ''are'', some people can, for example, turn toast green.
* ''ComicBook/TheUmbrellaAcademy'':
** The Kraken's power is apparently the ability to hold his breath forever. It probably makes him the world's best swimmer and a top athlete, but it doesn't quite compare to, say, re-shaping reality at will. He compensates with excellent knife-fighting skills, to the point where he takes down a pack of Vietnamese vampires with a pair of knives. [[WordOfGod Gerard Way]] actually said in a lecture at SVA that he made him "fucking useless" on purpose, but at the same time also said that, in a world where no-one else had super powers, something as simple as that is a big deal. Hargreeves, for all his intense dislike of the boy, ranked the Kraken as #2 among the children, placing him right under his favorite pupil and above the RealityWarper, the psychic, the time traveler, the boy with a LovecraftianSuperpower, and the [[spoiler:White Violin]] in that order.
** Vanya has the power to... play the violin really well. She ends up [[IJustWantToBeSpecial being so upset over this]] (plus a good amount of ostracization and emotional abuse from her peers and father figure) that she eventually [[spoiler:becomes the main villain and, using a deadly violin, becomes a MusicalAssassin powerful enough to destroy the world]].
* Turner D. Century. With the amazing power of hating young people, plus a flying bicycle and an umbrella that shot fire. In keeping with his "let's be nostalgic for 1901!" gimmick, Turner rode a flying bicycle ''built for two.'' But he had no one to ride with, so the second seat was occupied by a life-size doll dressed like a woman. Is being pathetic a super power? It is when you are ''this pathetic''.
* The Ten-Eyed Man. With the amazing ability of having eyes in his fingertips.
** His appearance in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' ([[WorldOfHam the only show a villain like this could appear on]]) is one big lampshading of how ridiculous the character is and [[WeaksauceWeakness how easy it is to defeat him]]. We see Batman following him only for Bat-Mite to show up, start reciting Ten-Eyed Man's origin story, express [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall his appreciation for obscure characters getting the occasional nod]] and throw a cactus at him which he grabs rendering him completely helpless. Total time: about 3 minutes.
** And even the cactus is overkill. ''Anything'' it hurts to have in your eyes (therefore, ''anything period!'') can stop him. The plant he was tricked into grabbing in his original comics appearance was a totally unremarkable one. Made sillier yet by CharacterShilling: TB&TB plays him as a ridiculous villain with much LampshadeHanging, but the comic pretended he was ''super-dangerous.'' He's gotta have his hands imprisoned in a box or "breaking out of here will be child's play for him." No, he hadn't been established as some master escape artist before; his almighty power of ''normal vision at the cost of the ability to touch stuff'' makes him a terrifying threat to humanity. Yeeeah.
** He was brought into Grant Morrison's Batman run, where Bruce Wayne defeats him using Shrimp Scampi sauce, which burns his fingers. He was only hyped a threat only by his apparent lack of sanity and general oddity.
** ''Comicbook/FiftyTwo'', also written in part by Morrison, featured the Ten-Eyed Men of the desert, who were explicitly shown to have trouble against opponents. Their ability was mainly played up for BodyHorror.
* Comicbook/GreatLakesAvengers: The entire concept of this group is that they are ''LAME''. ''SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}}'' and ''ComicBook/SquirrelGirl'' notwithstanding.
** Mr. Immortal's ''only'' power is to come back to life. Something Deadpool takes advantage of, to the extreme, whenever the two are together. Before Deadpool joined the team, [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman he was able to make good use of his power]] when the villain Maelstrom invented a machine that would destroy the entire universe. Mr. I convinced Maelstrom that if he destroyed the universe, then nobody would be left to study whatever may remain. Maelstrom became depressed by this, contemplating suicide. Mr. I formed a SuicidePact with him, shooting himself in the head to show he was serious. Maelstrom shot himself afterward, then Mr. I woke up and shut down the device. He can also instantly heal any persistent injuries by killing himself.
** Doorman: The power to become a portal, but only into the next room. Unfortunately, that means while his power can let his teammates into a room, ''he'' can't follow them. (He's also a psychopomp with vaguely described powers.)
** Flatman: with the power of being two-dimensional. (He can also stretch à la Reed Richards.) With the addition of how his costume looks, he's quite often confused for Reed Richards too.
** Big Bertha: with the power to become really, really fat. (With accompanying strength and durability à la Blob.) She has to [[{{Squick}} throw up her fat to get rid of it]], but in her normal form she's a very famous supermodel. Her career funds the GLA, so there's that too.
** Tippy Toe: Comicbook/SquirrelGirl's sidekick squirrel, and a full member of the team. He's just a squirrel. A [[BreakingTheFourthWall talking, fourth-wall breaking]] squirrel, but a squirrel all the same.
* In the Howard the Duck section from ''Civil War: Choosing Sides #0'' we have the man that can grow a full beard in a minute!!
* Angelo "Skin" Espinoza from the Comicbook/XMen comic ''Comicbook/GenerationX'', whose power was... extra skin. He wasn't much of a RubberMan because his bones and organs didn't stretch with it, and it couldn't change color either, so he couldn't really shapeshift. On top of ''that,'' having extra skin hanging off of him made him none-too-pretty, and if he stretched it too far or otherwise overtaxed it, he could be in agonizing pain for a considerable amount of time after. He made a few creative uses of his power in combat, but still got the short end of the SuperpowerLottery compared to his teammates.
** One of his teammates was Synch, whose 'synchronistic aura' let him [[PowersAsPrograms borrow other people's powers]]. However, proximity was needed, so he has [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment exactly the same power as the guy next to him]]. Sometimes it was more useful for ''finding'' certain mutants by using his aura as a sort of power detector. He once was put in critical condition by being beaten up by ''non-powered mundane thugs'' when not accompanied by superhumans. However, he could sometimes use the powers in ways the original users hadn't worked their way up to yet, and it was ''theorized'' that he'd eventually learn to retain powers, but that never happened before he died (as in [[KilledOffForReal dead-dead]], not [[DeathIsCheap comicbook-dead]].)
** Prodigy from ''Comicbook/NewXMenAcademyX'' had similar limitations. He could absorb the knowledge of those around him, ''but not actually retain any of it'' once they left. He later learned that his mind had psychic blocks in place to prevent him from keeping any of the knowledge he absorbed, for fears that [[WellIntentionedExtremist it would cause him to become an amoral tyrant]]. However, once he lost his powers following ''ComicBook/HouseOfM'', the Stepford Cuckoos removed his blocks, allowing him to access all of the knowledge he'd absorbed beforehand.
* Played with by the villains in Mark Gruenwald's ''Comicbook/SquadronSupreme''. Some, like Pinball (can inflate his jumpsuit into a ball and roll into people) and Remnant (generate flying fabric from thin air) were pretty useless. On the other hand, Inertia, whose only ability was to transfer momentum from one place to the next, facilitates the epic beatdown of the CaptainErsatz equivalents of Superman, Flash, ''and'' Wonder Woman at the same time.
* ''ComicBook/TeenTitans: Year One'' has this as a frequent point of contention between Aqualad and Kid Flash, both of whom think the other's powers aren't up to snuff. "Go talk to a fish!" "Oh, like running fast is really all that!"
* This is also a bit of an issue in ''ComicBook/{{Invincible}}'', where Shrinking Ray feels he is often neglected by his teammates in the Guardians of the Globe because of his powers seeming less than formidable. This isn't exactly helped by the fact that he barely ever gets any lines or character development beyond this frustration.
* In the ''ComicBook/DoomPatrol'' Doom Force Special, a parody of ''X-Force'', Shasta the Living Mountain agonizes over the fact that his power, turning into a mountain, has ridiculously limited application. This is probably also a parody of how in team books at least one member tends to have a complex about the perceived poorness of their powers. Since he's the SacrificialLamb, he dies, but since his teammates are DarkerAndEdgier, they not only don't mourn, they're actually ''happy'' he's dead because of his stupid powers.
* Independent character Dishman has the power to telekinetically clean dishes. He has yet to find a practical use for this beyond impressing women with the fact that he actually does household chores, but still seems to think it's interesting enough to base his hero identity around it.
* Usually, being able to shrink is an okay power so long as you have something to back it up; [[ComicBook/TheAvengers Ant-Man, the Wasp]], [[ComicBook/TheAtom the Atom]], and [[ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}} Shrinking Violet]] have all had moderately successful careers. However, Doll Man was a guy who had the shrinking ability and nothing else. Often, adventures involving him were the type where his specific skills were required. While he was a moderate hit for Quality Comics in [[TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks the Golden Age]] (enough to earn himself a love interest sidekick, Doll Girl) interest in him waned quickly. (DC Comics has tried to revive him a few times by upgrading his powers, but interest has yet to be rekindled.)
* The Man O Metal was the brainchild of H. G. Peters, co-creator of ComicBook/WonderWoman, and his powers, while not lame, were kind of limited. Originally a blue-collar worker in a steel mill, an accident where molten steel was dumped on him somehow gave him the ability to turn his skin to blazing-hot metal. The problem? It doesn’t last long, and he needs to contact open flame to use it. One would think this guy would carry a cigarette lighter with him, but for most of his heroic career (which wasn’t long, as Peters had little time to expand it once Wonder Woman became a smash hit) he relied on accidental sparks from radiators, ovens, backfiring cars, and cigars, among other things.
* The team of the Red Shadows of the USSR in ''Comicbook/SuicideSquad'' is treated as a joke -- for good reason. The most prominent and ridiculous member is called ''Bolshoi'' -- a ''failed'' dancer who couldn't make it into the Bolshoi ballet and instead tried to become a BadassNormal in the Cold War superhuman scene. Since he got horribly maimed and nearly killed by ''[[ButtMonkey Captain Boomerang]]'' of all people, you could say Bolshoi failed epically in his quest.
* In ''ComicBook/AvengersTheInitiative'', Dragon Lord's power of conjuring and controlling dragons by mixing potions in his cauldron is derided by the Taskmaster as "not a superpower, son, that's ''home economics''", and the fact that his teammates have to provide cover for him while he prepares for summoning is cited as one of the reasons his squad of trainees is ineffective. After his death, the Irredeemable Ant-Man is amused that the cremated Dragon Lord is "mixed up in a little jar" because "he'd like that."
* The original Eel in Creator/MarvelComics' sole gimmick in his early career was being really slippery. Eventually this was deemed too low-key to make him a believable danger to guys like Captain America and Daredevil, so he was given electric powers as well. Similarly, C-tier Franchise/SpiderMan villain Slyde wore a full-body suit that made him super-slippery and allowed him to run at up to 30 MPH. Unlike the Eel, he's never been augmented or redeemed in any way.
* ''Pantheon High'' is about the sons and daughters of deities attending high school. The main character has the power of luck. But he is also a typical teenage male, so this translates into sexual situations (i.e. seeing boobs). In one instance, two of his female allies were pondering whether the luck powers would allow them to put the smackdown on the baddies or he would end up "somehow making out with both of us at once".
* In ''Comicbook/{{Wildguard}}: Casting Call'', some of the first round auditionees were… not very impressive. Adhesor sticks to things, for instance. Toughlon, while strong and durable, also has the useless ability of being non-stick like teflon (hence the name). The dolphin-like Dorsal Head complains about being pigeonholed as "only useful in a 'water' situation" despite this not being the case. Little Miss Sunshine can emit rays of light that aren't harmful to anything but vampires.
* Members of the newest incarnation of Comicbook/InfinityInc tended to fall into this, due a depowering at the hands of ComicBook/LexLuthor not quite sticking. Gerome [=McKenna=] went from having nuclear powers to being able to create a single duplicate of himself, while Erik Storn ended up with the power to turn from a stuttering man to a confident, self-assured woman.
* The Blimp of the ''InferiorFive'' has the ability to fly…very, very slowly. Actually, he can only float in midair. He needs a stiff breeze to push him in any kind of direction. [[TheWoobie Just redefines the concept of "useless", doesn't it?]]
* In ''ComicBook/SergioAragonesDestroysDC'' we are introduced to a lineup of would-be super heroes with useless powers, such as [=DejaVu=] Lad, who has the power to make events repeat themselves. He gets to do his intro six times before they throw him out.
* In ''Mad House Comics Digest'' #5, there's a story where intellect-challenged superhero Captain Sprocket decided to get some respect by forming his own team. Unfortunately, all he could get were grade-Z superheroes like Roller Surfboard Man, who could do any roller surfboard trick in existence, and Super Pizza Pie Man, who could hit his target with a pizza of any size at a 50-foot distance.
* The Herder from ''ComicBook/BazookaJules'' can emit a sound that only sheep and cows can hears and that's it. He can't communicate with them nor can he control them. Jules and her boyfriend are less than impressed when he explains his powers to them.
* Discussed in ''ComicBook/RisingStars''. The "specials" are 113 people who were all conceived or ''in utero'' when a meteor detonated over their town. They all got powers, some flashier than others: a couple had [[FlyingBrick super-strength and flight]], a few others had various energy manipulation powers, and some had more specialized powers like [[NighInvulnerability complete invulnerability]] or SuperIntelligence. One woman, however, displayed absolutely no powers, even though she had been born at the same time as everyone else. The possibility is raised that she simply never happened on the situation where her powers would manifest. For example, maybe she could make roses grow, but ''only'' roses, or maybe she could telekinetically control butter knives.[[spoiler: Ultimately subverted when it turns out she can bring people back to life and merge animals and people into hybrids.]]
* In ''Ordinary'', an event occurs that gives [[EveryoneIsASuper superpowers to everybody]], barring the protagonist. Many of these powers are completely useless. For example, the main character's best friend becomes a talking bear, the thoughts of the president of the United States are broadcast for all to see during his speeches and a news reporter's teeth glow to unnatural levels. One minor supporting character is discovered to have the superpower of creating pints of beer.
* Deconstructed in ''ComicBook/{{PS238}}''. Since colour-changing powers or the ability to make rocks edible aren't useful in fighting crime, [=PS238=] hosts the "Rainmaker" program for metahumans with noncombat powers. They are taught how to apply their powers towards civilian projects and working in the private industry. And then deconstructed again when we learn how the Rainmaker program got its name: During the Cold War, the US took the first non-combative metahuman they could find (who could create rain) [[PlayingWithSyringes and turned him into a test subject to learn what creates metahuman powers]].
* In IDW's ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'', the rather unfortunate Ambulon's alt-mode is the leg of a Combiner. ''A single leg.'' So he never bothers to transform. When it comes to the crunch, he can help look after the sick, and it helps Ratchet figure out that Red Rust lies dormant until somebody's first transform after catching it.
** Rewind turns into a memory stick. After several million years of ribbing about an alt-mode that has to be carried everywhere, he's kind of sensitive.
-->'''Rewind:''' This is how it starts. Let's all have a go at Rewind because he turns into a memory stick, and not a - a super space tank or whatever!
* The X-Men miniseries "Worst X-Man Ever" is about a boy who learns that he is a mutant with the power to explode at will, which would kill him if he uses said power.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Parodied in one arc of ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'', where the [[TheDitz crocodiles]] form a "Franchise/FantasticFour" out of three crocs (since they're bad at math), which consisted of Paper Jam Boy, Stapler Head, and Doorstoppo; their powers are [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Exactly What They Say On The Tin]]. Paper Jam Boy then proceeds to be "defeated" by a printer that was out of ink.
* Cartoonist Michael Kupperman parodied this in an issue of Nickelodeon Magazine with such characters as Mannister, the man who could become a bannister (thereby keeping people from falling off the stairs if some villain were to steal the bannister rail for some reason). As noted in his introductory strip, "This ability was useful some of the time, but not most of the time."
* The old ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie'' comic strip from ''Magazine/{{Dragon}}'' once had an episode about superheroes, which included a panel about the need to have powers that are actually useful: "Gazebo Boy finds his singular power of metamorphosis useless against the evil Termite!"
* ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'' features an in-universe example of this when the Knights play a variant of their usual superhero-based tabletop game that focuses on this trope. In the first session, Dave's Pot-Lid Boy (power: creative use of kitchen utensils; his lid armor was as strong as Kevlar) and Bob's The Screecher (power: cripplingly-strong nails-on-a-chalkboard power, plus an inability to be touched by human flesh) were soundly defeated by Shrink-Wrap Man, Edward Tire-Iron-Fingers, and the Human Sprinkler (ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin).

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''WebVideo/PotterPuppetPals'' in the live show at least. Dumbledore describes the awesome power of:
-->'''Dumbledore:''' ... The spell we know as love.\\
'''Harry:''' ''Lame!''
* Marik from ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' can use his [[ArtifactOfDoom Millennium Rod]] to control minds. Unfortunately, it only works on people called Steve. Although having people's names legally changed makes them susceptible, as Joey and Tea finds out. This also applies to people whose middle names are Steve, as Marik was able to control Bandit Kieth because his middle name was Steve, and presumably people whose last names are Steve. He also pointed out that, if he felt like it, he could have Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin kick your ass.
* [[TheLoad Sailor Mercury]] from ''WebVideo/SailorMoonAbridged'' is not only utterly useless, in one episode [[spoiler:she even causes the people to die by using her powers, hence blocking their views and prevent them from fleeing the scenery]].
* Kroko gets this in ''Fanfic/APosseAdEsse''. While his fellow inmates get things like emotion-controlled weather, limited gravity manipulation and [[spoiler:the ability to pause time for 30 seconds]], Kroko... can fly seven feet in the air. (Granted, he is 19cm tall, but still.) And he seems to have to constantly flap his arms to maintain this flight.
* ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6302431/1/Just-Check-Both Just Check Both]]'':
** Manga/{{Naruto}} has inherited a kekkei genkai from his father that causes him to [[GenderBender change genders at semi-random intervals]]. [[WholesomeCrossdresser Haku]] is severely creeped out by the idea of someone who changes genders having a crush on him.
** Gaara from the same story has the power to set his hair on fire.
* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' rehabilitates one or two people who have previously lame or underdeveloped powers.
** Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee is mostly famous for screaming at people to knock them down or at the ground to (somehow) fly. The story delves into some of his lesser-known powers and the lesser-known properties of sound -- for instance, he's got a powerful CompellingVoice, he controls sound in a small area around him, so he can move in complete silence, he's got a form of superhearing that allows him to use his own footsteps as sonar and he can shatter anything if he hits its resonant frequency. Including wands, bone and diamond. Fairly formidable, even before you take into account the fact that he's had [[BadassGrandpa nearly fifty years]] to get very, very good with his powers. He's also [[OlderThanTheyLook physically about thirty]] due to a NoodleIncident involving [[ShoutOut 'a living island,]] [[ComicBook/XMen name of Krakoa']] and a badass of note, who's prepared for his powers being nullified by training in hand to hand. Natasha notes that he's a particularly skilled practitioner of Aikido.
** Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel uses the codename of his SuperpoweredEvilSide (Wisdom theorises that it's a response to his rejection by his family) and possesses deadly sharp metal wings, which are arguably even more dangerous than in canon -- they're made of some kind of supernatural/alien metal that means that Warren's speed is not exactly constrained by normal physics (he's seen comfortably breaking Mach 1, maybe even Mach 2, when he really gets going), low level superhuman physical abilities and a HealingFactor that would make Wolverine blink. He's essentially a LivingWeapon and is bitterly aware of it.
* ''Fanfic/OriginStory'':
** Louise Fulford, Alex Harris's partner, is a mutant with the power to change her hair color at will. She can change it to any range of color she can imagine, and even can change it to a rainbow-like combination of colors. Alex at one point jokingly assigns her the superhero code name "Lady Clairol." Rather than be embarrassed by this, Louise actually calls herself Lady Clairol at one point as a matter of pride.
** A lot of the residents of the homeless camp at which Alex and Louise take shelter fall under this trope. Aaron's power is to see infrared light, Oz can shapeshift, but only to the four primary characters of ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' (Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion), without actually gaining any of their abilities. Jan was a teenager with oversized jaw muscles and superhumanly strong teeth. And Debby's skin is transluscent. The Avengers these people aren't.
* Rambar in ''Fanfic/TheMotleyTwo''. As a ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' troll, he's got PsychicPowers, but rather than something useful, they just make him into a FourthWallObserver who can hear the mysterious voices that are the [[InteractiveComic readers' suggestions]] and argue with them.
* In ''FanFic/TheEyesHaveIt'', Kurenai Yuuhi has a doujutsu that let's her slightly (1.5x) magnify objects she's looking at. According to her, it's mostly useful for reading fine print.
* Both [[GravityMaster Xander]] and Franchise/TheFlash have a secondary power born from "having become one with an aspect of reality" in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5237318/1/Crush Crush]]'': the power to sense where breasts are with larger ones being easier to detect. When Batman questions why Flash never mentioned said power, he points out that having breast radar is [[UselessSuperpowers basically never useful]], even in search and rescue operations since it doesn't help him find men (or young girls). Though apparently both Flash and Xander can detect [[BoobsOfSteel Powergirl]] anywhere on the planet.
* ''FanFic/ThisBites'': A Devil Fruit that allows you to turn into a human child would be pretty much useless for anyone. [[spoiler:Unless they happen to be an inanimate object, like a ship.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/BrotherBear''. The older brothers are mocking the main character for having a "love" totem. It's hard to say if being changed into bear counts as superpower, but it's obviously not natural.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* All of the ''Film/MysteryMen'' are D-list superheroes with bizarre powers, ranging from the goofy but cool (Spleen's [[{{Fartillery}} super farts]] and Bowler's [[EmpathicWeapon haunted bowling ball]]) to the useful but poorly utilized (Blue Raja is so committed to his theme he refuses to use his ImprobableAimingSkills for anything other than forks and Sphynx is more interested in being mysterious than cutting guns in half with his mind) to the "so conditional it's useless" (Invisible Boy can only turn invisible when no one is looking, and the level of angry Mr. Furious has to be for his SuperStrength to kick in is nigh-unreachable, especially for someone as passive-aggressive as him). Not to mention The Shoveler, a BadassNormal with a [[ShovelStrike relatively lame theme]].
* ''Film/XMenTheLastStand'': Kid Omega's power is [[http://cdn-www.cracked.com/phpimages/photoshop/5/3/8/1538_slide.jpg?v=2 retractable spines all over his body]]. Onscreen, we only see him use them to ''hug'' a lady to death. However, it's played like his powers should be at least mildly intimidating to the X-Men, who can regenerate, shoot lighting, etc. When Magneto holds his meeting for mutants, he points out that there are a lot of weak mutants with powers that just make them unusual or have what amounts to aesthetic differences - a lot of them don't have much in the way of powers, but still get singled out for being different at all.
* ''Film/TheSpecials'' features [[Creator/JordanLadd Night Bird]]. Even though she's applying for a middle-rung superhero team, she's bashful about her own power, which turns out to be laying eggs (and good hearing). She can't talk to birds, either, though they do "have an understanding." At the end of the film she discusses her role in the team's first battle - she hid in a dumpster. She commiserates with Minute Man (pronounced my-noot), who can make himself "minute" in size.
* ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie'': When the Rangers get their new [[GratuitousNinja ninja]] AnimalMotifs, Tommy gets [[NobleBirdOfPrey Falcon]], Rocky gets [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys Ape]], Billy gets Wolf, Aisha gets {{Bear|sAreBadNews}}, and Kimberly gets Crane. Adam is [[MyNewGiftIsLame less than impressed]] that he gets a frog.
* Deconstructed in ''Film/SkyHigh2005'', where the StartOfDarkness for the BigBad was that she was a Technopath before that became a well respected superpower, so she was relegated to sidekick, unable to show how powerful she really was. The deciding factor for whether one is a Hero or sidekick? The coach, based on his first and only impression. More generally, the sidekicks' powers tend to fall under this, with plenty of "heroes" who contribute little.
* In 2006 Israeli movie Giborim Ktanim (Little Heroes), one girl is blessed with the power of being able to hear people from a distance. Sweet.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** Before ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' came out, many jokes were directed at the inclusion of ComicBook/BlackWidow and ComicBook/{{Hawkeye}} because they are the only {{Badass Normal}}s on a team with far more powerful members. How much this applies in the film is debatable (most of Hawkeye's most effective actions, like a hacking-arrow that shuts down the helicarrier, are done [[spoiler:while brainwashed by Loki]]), but Black Widow makes effective use of psychological warfare.
** The idea that Hawkeye brings nothing of value to the Avengers has been joked about in everything from sitcoms to stand-up comedy.
-->'''Creator/PattonOswalt''': They have a guy with a bow and arrow. I'm not kidding. What are they, recruiting at sporting good stores? 'Hey, you jump rope really fast! How would you like to be an Avenger?'
** Lampshaded throughout ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'', particularly with regards to Hawkeye.
--->'''Hawkeye:''' [[spoiler:The city is flying]], we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow.
** At one point, Black Widow playfully ribs Hawkeye by saying that he's important because the other Avengers have to work together to humor him into thinking he actually contributes something. She's probably joking (after all, she's not really [[HypocriticalHumor one to talk]]).
** Also subverted in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'' which shows [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower that he is a man who never misses, regardless of what he is using.]] And that he is TheHeart of the team, grounding the resident god, supersoldier, rampaging monster, and Billionaire Playboy in reality somewhat by not letting their power go to their heads. He's also the only one to beat ''both'' Maximoff twins through his own efforts, whereas none of the other Avengers ever really beat even one on their own (Cap strikes Quicksilver down, but only when he was disoriented).

* Averted and lampshaded in ''Literature/FindingGaia''. A female GreenThumb is generally the least powerful in any group of superbeings, but Anna is legitimately more powerful than Jason, her [[spoiler:life-stealing]] male counterpart.
* {{Averted|Trope}} in the ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series. What kind of lame power is "thread-magic?" While it's not quite as spectacular as, say, Tris' [[ShockAndAwe lightning magic]], Sandry still uses it to tear several villains apart, [[spoiler:escape a kidnapping]], and [[BoringButPractical make really durable clothes]].
* Some of the magical talents in Creator/PiersAnthony's ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' are so widely useful and powerful that their possessors are known as Magicians and eligible to rule the magical land. And on the other hand are those with the power to make a small colored spot appear on the wall, play a magic flute, or make people in the vicinity age slightly faster. Much is made in the series out of finding real uses for even the feeblest talents, and a lot of crappy powers turn out to be surprisingly powerful, at least when facing [[PlotTailoredToTheParty the right plots]]. The spot-on-the-wall talent, for instance, can be used multiple times in order to make pictures, often quite convincing ones. The ability to make people age faster comes in handy when an important character is accidentally exposed to water from the FountainOfYouth and regresses to an infant.
* Tim Burton's ''Oyster Boy and Other Stories'' features a whole array of kid heroes with this trope, one being Stain Boy whose only power is to make nasty stains.
* Played with by Brandon Sanderson in ''[[Literature/AlcatrazSeries Alcatraz Versus The Evil Librarians]]''. Most of the main characters have magical "talents" that seem useless, even laughable at first, but turn out to be very useful. For example, one character's talent is arriving late to everything--which includes stepping into a certain spot ''just too late'' for a bullet to hit him.
* The ''Literature/{{Fingerprints}}'' series features characters with a variety of PsychicPowers: some awesome, some... less so. Lampshaded when the main character Rae, who has the ability to read thoughts from fingerprints, tries to fight a villain with a much stronger psychic power, who laughs at the uselessness of Rae's ability.
* In the ''Literature/ApprenticeAdept'' series, the Tan Adept has the totem of the Evil Eye, granting him (later ''her'') the power of mind control -- much the same as [[Anime/CodeGeass Lelouch's Geass power]], with similar limits (only targets one person at a time, only if they make eye contact, and only works once on the same person). Still sort of nifty, until you realize several of the other Adepts (Blue, Yellow, and Red in particular) could work spells to achieve much the same effect. Along with about a thousand other things which Tan ''can't'' do. In Tan's first appearance (''Juxtaposition'' -- the last book of the first trilogy), Tan had all the versatility of the other Adepts, limited only by line of sight. Piers Anthony apparently didn't read up on his own creations.
* In ''[[Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet A Nightmare on Elm Street: Suffer The Children]]'' Freddy gives several teenagers powers, with his plan being to manipulate them into being his servants in the real world. FinalGirl Alex gets empathy. She even states near the end of the book that this "power" just sucks compared to the ones her friends got, which included the likes of pyrokinesis, telekinesis and mind control. She tries to find a silver lining by thinking it could at least help her sense Freddy's presence. Reading her mind, his disembodied voice responds with "Don't count on it, bitch."
* In ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'', some vampires gain genuine supernatural powers, while others just have a natural trait magnified. The latter circumstance tends to suck. Carlisle got stuck with compassion, Esme with ThePowerOfLove, Marcus can see relationships, and Rosalie with beauty. Renesmee can show her own thoughts to people she touches and who can't be blocked out from anyone.
* In Creator/LawrenceWattEvans' ''[[Literature/TheLegendsOfEthshar With a Single Spell]]'', the orphaned apprentice's eponymous lone firestarting spell is useless and laughable the entire book, until it plays a deadly role in the end. Also, when the protagonist is trapped in a dead mage's extraplanar castle and is going through all the spellbooks for a means of escape, he casts the badass but extremely lame spell "Jalger's Jar Opener". This spell summons a 9-foot silvery spike-covered demonic entity. To open a jar for you. After which it disappears...
* In Creator/MichaelGrant's ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' series, a lot of kids who were left in the FAYZ develop superpowers. Some of these are powerful and useful, such as telekinesis, shooting powerful beams of light, SuperSpeed, or HealingHands. Others... not so much. Astrid has a vaguely defined ability to sense the "potential" of people. In the second book, Duck has the ability to alter his mass and density. He can use this to sink into the ground, float in the air (just float, since he has no way to propel himself), and that's about it. This is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d when immediately after discovering his power, he says, "I'm a moof with a really sucky power!" [[spoiler:That said, at the end of the book Duck uses his power to defeat the BigBad. By increasing his mass as he drops on said BigBad, burying himself alive in the process. Yay?]]
* This trope appears often in William Boniface's ''The Extraordinary Adventures Of Ordinary Boy'' kids' novels, set in a city where everyone has super-powers (except for the eponymous protagonist). Said powers range from the typical FlyingBrick and MindControl StockSuperpowers to the less-than-useful -- Puddle Boy can create puddles beneath his feet, Melonhead has a melon-shaped head and spits (ordinary) watermelon seeds, and Whistlin' Dixie can whistle any song perfectly.
* ''Franchise/{{Mistborn}}'':
** The [[FunctionalMagic magic system]] is allomancy. People with [[SuperpowerLottery all allomantic powers]] are called Mistborn, but many people, called Mistings, just have the ability to use one of eight abilities, such as the ability to repel metals, the ability to manipulate emotions, and so on. Some are much more useful than others. For example, one type of Misting, "seekers," have the ability to detect the use of allomancy. That's it. Allomancy is already rare and tightly regulated, and if you're a seeker, you just have the ability to tell what other people are doing. It gets worse: smokers can create "copperclouds," which block allomantic pulses--that is, it makes it so people can't sense allomancers. If seekers didn't exist, smokers would be ''completely'' useless.
** Subverted when it turns out that the Steel Ministry is highly interested in recruiting Seekers, since [[spoiler: [[BloodMagic Hemalurgy]] can make them strong enough to pierce copperclouds, something the rest of the world thinks is impossible]].
** And smokers do get one other perk: burning their metal makes them immune to the metals that manipulate your emotions.
** In ''Literature/TheAlloyOfLaw'' novel, one of the main characters has the ability to create a bubble around herself in which time moves slowly compared to the rest of the world. She considers this basically useless, because who wants to move more slowly then everyone else? [[spoiler: Then at the end of the book, our heroes need to stall for time...]]
** Several allomantic abilities are useful for Mistborn, because they are "meta-powers," enhancing other ones such as temporarily supercharging them, but do nothing for Mistings, for whom that is their only power. One ability associated with aluminum is useless even for Mistborn, because it just burns away their reserves of metals to no benefit. Though it is implied that aluminum could also be used to purge unwanted spiritual influences, and it can be used to safely dispose of bad metals (An allomancer can get very sick or even die if they burn an impure metal, and some of the allomantic metals will poison you if not burned off).
* In ''Literature/MaximumRide'', while some members of the flock are developing awesome super powers such as super speed or mind control, Iggy gets the ability to feel color and see if everything is white, Fang has invisibility that only works if he is standing still and Nudge becomes magnetic.
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Thom Creed and his teammates in Creator/PerryMoore's ''Literature/{{Hero}}''. Thom's powers of healing may be cool, but team medic doesn't appear to be the most glamorous role for an aspiring teenage superhero.
* ''Literature/TheLongDarkTeaTimeOfTheSoul'' has a brief appearance by a girl with supernatural knowledge of stock prices… by the time they've already appeared in the newspapers. Since she's reduced to perpetually mumbling stock prices and is confined to a mental institution, this could count as BlessedWithSuck.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', the Powers of the World have different spheres of influence. One has mastery over the sky, one over metals, one over the ocean, etc. Some of the female Vala are lame, though. Nessa is "The Dancer," Vairë weaves, and Vána is the ever young, whose power is the ability to make birds chirp and flowers bloom by her presence. Even one of the Aratar (the most powerful of the Valar) Nienna, is the Vala of Grief and Mourning.
* Deuces in ''Literature/WildCards'' are all about this trope. There's Mr. Rainbow, who can change the color of his skin to any color (solid colors only, no patterns); a woman who can levitate, but only when she's sleeping; and a man who can stick his hand into a tub of water and make it boil in just under 8 minutes.
* ''Abby Carnelia's one and only magic power'' lives this trope. The premise is a bunch of kids have very lame, but still magical, powers. Abby can make a hardboiled egg spin if she tugs her ears. Another girl can float about a half inch off the ground. One boy can fog up glass for a second and another can turn white paper gray...and yet, somehow, these all end up saving the day. (Who knew, right?)
* In ''Literature/ThePaleKing'', Claude Sylvanshine has Random Fact Intuition, which is ESP with nothing but useless facts.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Peeta jokes that the only thing he's really great at is icing cakes; Katniss, understandably, doesn't think that's likely to help him in the arena. [[spoiler:[[HeartIsAnAwesomePower In fact it makes him freaking boss at camouflage, which is great news for the NonActionGuy.]]]] In addition he is [[UnskilledButStrong actually quite strong]], even compared to the careers just without any real combat training. Though this is less true [[spoiler: In Catching Fire after he has been injured in the first games]].
* The ''Sidekicks'' series by Dan Danko and Tom Mason parodied this a ''lot'', having such superheroes as Pumpkin Pete (his head is a pumpkin), Exact Change Kid, Spice Girl (she smells nice), Boom Boy (he can blow up...but only once), and Haiku Boy. In fact, when Speedy jokingly asks, "Where's Bar-of-Soap Boy when you really need him?" [[RuleOfFunny it turns out]] [[ContrivedCoincidence there ''was'' a Bar-of-Soap Boy on the team]], but he moved away to a place "where it didn't rain so much".
* The first power Michael develops in the ''Literature/KnightAndRogueSeries'' after getting magic are an ability to see magic in nature, while he could already sense it if he was close enough to the magical object, and he treats this like [[{{Wangst}} the end of the world]]. He's even less pleased to discover his ability to make water wetter (let that one sink in) because of what it ''can'' do. He only calms down when Fisk points out that, actually, having water that's extra wet isn't really that useful.
* In Kristin Cashore's novels ''Literature/{{Graceling}}'', ''Fire'', and ''Bitterblue'', a "Graceling" (an individual gifted, or cursed, with an unusual/superhuman ability) doesn't automatically know ''what'' their Grace is, and has to discover it through experience. Some of these Graces, once identified, turn out to be pretty useless. Among the examples given are the Grace to eat rocks and not get sick, the Grace to open your mouth so wide your face gets turned inside out -- good only for grossing people out (Beetlejuice-inspired, perhaps?) and various nice but limited Graces such as knowing exactly what food will satisfy someone at the moment.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', plenty of people ("minor talents") have smidgens of magical power, oftentimes so slight that they might not even recognize that it's a magical ability. A good example is Abby from ''White Night'', who is precognitive, but can only see about two seconds into the future, making for some very confusing conversations.
* In ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'', Magrat's magic wand only seems able to turn things into pumpkins (because she doesn't know how to use it). However, she finds some good uses for this as the story progresses, turning it into HeartIsAnAwesomePower.
* In ''Literature/OfFearAndFaith'', Phenix’s [[CoolSword Testament]] is called Love, and the others briefly make fun of it for this reason. Even Phenix himself doesn’t understand the logistics of having a ''weapon'' called "Love".
* The main character of ''Literature/TheCasterChronicles'', Ethan Wate, is a Wayward - a mortal whose destiny is essentially intertwined with that of a specific Caster. Waywards are also essentially a guide or compass for their Caster, and instinctively know where they need to go and what they need to do, especially when Casters are about as lost as the next person in the room. Needless to say, this only ever comes in handy when all other options have been exhausted. Comes with plenty of LampshadeHanging that explicitly references Aquaman and his usually useless powers.
* In ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'', Claire's "super-cuteness" powers aren't really all that effective against anyone other than Penny. They're a mild distraction to anyone else.
* The ''Literature/{{Temps}}'' novels include a man who can turn into a human-sized frog, with all the weaknesses of a frog, but can't swim very well, a man who can channel beer from elsewhere in the pub into his own pint, a woman who spontaneously generates rubbish when she's stressed (although she gets to show that HeartIsAnAwesomePower), and a man whose ShockAndAwe abilities are limited to very slowly building an electrostatic charge on a person or object, as long as the target isn't earthed.
* In Marcus Sakey's ''Brilliance Trilogy'', about 1% of the population is born with some sort of savant mental ability, for which they face a frankly ludicrous level of discrimination. Some of these gifts are legitimately powerful, such as the financial genius who made $300 billion on the stock market, or the KnifeNut assassin who perceives everything 11.2 times slower than everyone else. The vast majority, though, are pretty pointless, such as the guy who's really good as estimating large numbers of objects, such as people in a stadium or jelly beans in a jar. Being able to play any song by ear is considered one of the more powerful abilities.
* Lampshaded in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. In the sixth book, Harry learns about the prophecy foretelling he has the power to defeat the BigBad Voldemort. Throughout the series, Voldemort already made it clear his magical abilities are way above Harry's. And then Dumbledore finally reveals that Harry's power to defeat Voldemort is...his ability to love and care for others. Harry expresses his disappointment about this revelation, treating it as this trope.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'':
** [[spoiler:Kyle Baldwin]] in season 4 gains an ability where he sees an independently sentient being who regularly tells him what to do next. That's it. However, the writers managed to make it a cornerstone of Jordan Collier's cult.
** Shannon Reese's (S4 E05) ability to be a super-therapist is not something most people would consider to be special. Luckily she was a therapist before taking [[AppliedPhlebotinum promicin]] so it had value to her nonetheless.
* ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'':
** Parodied in a recurring sketch which features the exploits of the crime-fighting duo BMX Bandit (who can ride a BMX bike really well) and the Angel Summoner (who can summon a horde of celestial superbeings to do his bidding); each adventure would begin with BMX Bandit suggesting an over-complicated strategy to use his BMX skills to defeat the villains, only for Angel Summoner to reluctantly point out that it'd be a lot easier if ''he'' just summoned a horde of angels to do it instead. Needless to say, the latter usually proves a lot more useful... which gives Bandit a severe inferiority complex. When the duo faces a particularly dangerous criminal group, Angel Summoner insists that BMX Bandit get to participate. The suddenly less-optimistic BMX Bandit ends up getting killed. One suspects that BMX Bandit's replacement, Gymkhana Girl, is similarly useless.
** Also parodied in a sketch about a man with telekinesis -- but it only works on biscuits. Downplayed by the fact that his companion thinks it is an ''awesome'' power (after all, ordinary humans ''can't'' cause biscuits to fly around with their mind), and that the man's problem with the power isn't that it is lame, but that he [[DeusAngstMachina tends to inadvertently kill people when using it]].
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'':
** Alejandro, whose sole displayed power is the ability to absorb and stop [[CreatorsPet his sister's]] killing power. Which she learns to do by herself anyway. And then loses her power permanently. Sylar kills him and doesn't even bother to try to learn how he does it.
** The boy Claire met, whose power is only to breathe underwater. Nevertheless, it was apparently an issue of vital importance to national security that he be locked up.
** Sylar collects a few of these and never uses them. This includes his first conscious power: liquefying small metal objects.
* Parodied in ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' in which Crow creates a superhero identity for himself. While he concedes that his super power is completely useless, he jumps into the role of superhero wholeheartedly, even creating a super costume and announcing himself in a deep booming voice. His name? Turkey Volume Guessing Man. His power? To estimate how many turkeys could conceivably fill any given space. Mike then immediately takes the wind out of his sails by demonstrating that he has the same power.
* This trope is the entire point of the ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'' game "Superheroes". From just [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzt26K40JtY one playing]]: Suicide Boy, Yodeling-Pogo-Stick Man, Captain Bloodloss, and Cowboy Stunt-Rider. Other examples include Caught-In-A-Wind-Tunnel Boy, The Jitterbug Kid, Captain Coward (who promptly hid behind the other superheroes) and CaptainObvious, among many others.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dW8p1bQ9So This one, with guest star]] Creator/RobinWilliams, features heroes Run Away From Danger Man, Paranoid Man, and Captain Pork.
** An explicit lampshading when Colin Mocherie was brought on as "Ballerina Man". He performed a pirouette before realising "Oh, I'm no use at all" and walking off again.
* In ''Series/NoHeroics'' we get Fuseboss whose power is fusing two things together. To make the matters worse, he also has a nervous tic that forces him to create new words by fusing two existing, hence we get jems like "bews" (bad news), "prules" (pub rules) and "blob" (...take a wild guess).
* Before achieving national fame as "the Science Guy", Series/{{Bill Nye|TheScienceGuy}} was a member of the Seattle-based comedy-sketch show ''Series/AlmostLive''. One of his reoccurring characters was a superhero named [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e6h4zLC5U8 Speed Walker]] who fought crime "while maintaining strict adherence to the regulations of the International Speed-Walking Association!" (Heel toe! Heel toe!!)
* The primary conceit of ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'' is that the title hero can [[PowerCopying use the powers, techniques, and weapons of every previous Kamen Rider]]. Because [[Series/KamenRiderDenO Den-O]] relies entirely on the combat skills of the [[DemonicPossession Imagin]] who possess him, his powers look kind of useless, leading to a hilarious scene when Decade first uses Den-O's powers and discovers that the attack cards simply make him perform the Imagins' {{Catch Phrase}}s. Later on it's shown that he also gets the ''traits'' of Den-O's forms, such as Ax Form/Kintaros' SuperStrength, making it look a lot more useful.
* ''Series/KamenRiderSuper1'' subverts this and plays it straight at the same time: Gold Hand is a radar... yeah, not very useful until you get to the fact it can be used as a missile launcher.
** Super-1's SpiritualSuccessor Series/KamenRiderFourze has the exact same kind of deal; of his forty different equipment modules, one is a radar gauntlet on his left arm. All it does is increase the accuracy of his ranged weapons (like his missile launcher and Gatling) and let him communicate with MissionControl. Of course, Fourze has also [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower completely defied this trope]] a couple of times...
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' had an episode where it was revealed that Ross, as a child, used to write comics about his own superhero, '''Science Boy!''' Blessed with the powers of... a super human thirst for knowledge.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'':
** A sketch featured "The Interesting Four": Weather Woman, who could change the air temperature of the room she was in by up to ''eight degrees'' in either direction; Staple, whose thumb was a stapler; Seiko, who, by pressing a button on his watch, would go back in time by one second one second one second one second (this continued until someone else snapped him out of it); and Mister Wonderful. He doesn't have any powers, he's just Mister Wonderful!
** Another sketch had more conventional superheroes, where Franchise/TheFlash was clearly underwhelmed by Comicbook/AntMan's powers.
* Creator/DavidLetterman made a top 10 list about this trope:
-->10. Super spelling
-->9. Lightning-fast mood swings
-->8. Really bendy thumb
-->7. Unusually natural smile when posing for photographs
-->6. Ability to calm jittery squirrels
-->5. Power to shake exactly two aspirins out of a bottle
-->4. Ability to get tickets to Goodwill games
-->3. Power to score with other superheroes' wives
-->2. Ability to communicate with corn.
-->1. Magnetic colon
* One of the players on ''Series/{{Survivor}}: Samoa'' made a direct and detailed reference to the original ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' instance of this trope in describing his feelings of weakness and fatigue.
* ''Series/OutOfThisWorld'': On her 16th birthday, Evie is told by her father Troy that she can gain a new power from ten different choices. One of the choices is the ability to change shoes quickly. Troy admits "We don't get a lot of requests for that one..."
* The BBC character profiles for ''Series/RobinHood'' lists [[FauxActionGirl Kate's]] specialized weapon as [[http://www.bbc.co.uk/robinhood/characters/kate.shtml "her imagination"]]. In the eleven episodes in which she appeared, the most imaginative thing she ever did was to use a sword to drag a key toward her whilst she was locked in a cell. So not only is it a Lame Power, but it's an InformedAbility as well. In case you were wondering, she was indeed TheScrappy.
* Stringfellow Hawke from ''Series/{{Airwolf}}'' has super-hearing (possibly equal to or greater than his dog), which only comes in useful in that no-one can sneak up on him.
* Subverted in an episode of ''Series/{{House}}''; a patient who at first appears to have the amazingly useful power of perfect memory recall is later discovered to suffer from OCD and actually can't forget bad memories and grudges. TruthInTelevision. It's called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperthymesia hyperthymesia]], and one of the only 20 documented cases is that of actress Marilu Henner of ''Series/{{Taxi}}''. Yes, it's believed to be a form of OCD. Yes, it includes the inability to forget bad memories or to push out "bad thoughts" (which is what OCD actually is compared [[SuperOCD to the version you generally see in fiction]]).
* ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' likes this, although several of them prove to be much more useful once they get used to them. But Alisha's power is to [[PowerIncontinence uncontrollably]] make any guy who touches her try to have sex with her. [[spoiler: Nikki]]'s ability to teleport would be good if she could control when it happened or where she went, but as is, is nothing but a liability. The girl who can make people go bald. Still, all of them pale beside the guy whose "power" is to mentally become a dog. This brings no enhanced abilities at all, and is just an especially embarrassing form of sleepwalking (i.e. naked and impersonating a dog whilst running around the streets of London). Subverted with a character who had the power of telekinesis, but only for milk (he called it Lactokenesis). After being roundly mocked, the character found he was able to [[LethalHarmlessPowers kill people by filling their wind pipe and lungs with dairy from their own stomach.]]
** There was one guy whose power was that he became a tortoise. A completely normal, non-powered tortoise. And he couldn't change back on his own.
** Taking ecstasy reverses the effects of a person's powers, often turning them into this and BlessedWithSuck. For example, anyone who touched Alisha irrationally hated her, Kelly's reversed telepathy made her verbalize all her thoughts, and Nathan's immortality transformed so that he was even ''more'' mortal than the average person.
* Played with in ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'' with Morgana's [[DreamingOfThingsToCome precognitive dreams]]. For a long time she doesn't understand them, and it's up to Merlin and Gaius to heed their warnings, whilst everyone else treats her as TheCassandra. In later episodes she understands them, but can't do anything to prevent them from unfolding (as in her FlashForward dream to Guinevere being crowned Queen). If she ''does'' take action, they usually turn into a SelfFulfillingProphecy.
* ''Creator/StanLee's Superhumans'', a program on the History Channel (US) is all about this trope, including your basic human calculators and the like, along with a Discovery Channel documentary entitled ''The Real Superhumans'' which featured, among others, a man whose heightened core metabolism has left him nearly impervious to cold, which he sought to prove by running a half-marathon nearly naked barefoot in the Arctic. [[spoiler:He made it]]. It also featured a man born with skin so smooth and sleek that objects can be stuck to it as if his belly was a suction cup.
* ''Series/MutantX'', an action show that obviously was based on X-Men, has a guy who can shoot [[ShockAndAwe lightning from his hands]], a girl who is [[AnimalThemedSuperbeing crazy cat-like]], a dude who can either [[{{Intangibility}} ghost himself]] or make himself [[TakenForGranite as hard as a statue]] and a girl who... has weak [[TheEmpath telepath powers.]] The last is often kept back at base. In later seasons they all get upgrades, and the telepath gains a weird "mental missile" attack that does manage to take out whoever it hit (but having no effect on the surrounding area); she still gets left behind, though. Emma's powers eventually grows to the point where she can erase memories with a thought and ca keep an army from discovering a weird-looking jet in a jungle clearing. As she explains to Jesse, to do this she has to remove all safeguards from her mind, meaning she won't be blocking anybody's thoughts. While she's saying that, she's wearing an outfit with lots of cleavage, which Jesse just happens to look at. Her reaction to his thoughts shows that she's not pleased. Apparently, the writers thought this made her too powerful, requiring a [[DroppedABridgeOnHim bridge to be dropped]].
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'': While Phoebe's power of premonition is certainly not useless, she does experience some angst early on at not having an active power that she can utilize at will. This is what inspires her to learn martial arts. She later gains the active power of levitation, becomes an empath, and learns how to summon premonitions at will. [[spoiler:And then she loses all of her powers. How sucky for her. And kinda only gets them back at half power (and empathy not at all)]]
* ''Series/TheAlmightyJohnsons'': A lot of the gods' powers are like this, since none of them have full access to their abilities.
** Ingrid is Snotra, goddess of wisdom. Her primary ability? She's good at organizing stuff, and automatically knows things that it would be prudent to know. For example, when she stays at a hotel, she instantly knows where all the fire exits and vending machines are.
** Ty is Höðr, god of everything dark and cold. His ability to survive virtually any temperature extreme, put out any fire, and freeze things with a touch would be awesome... if this were a combat show. Which it's not. He mostly uses his intuitive understanding of cold to fix refrigerators.
** Poor Stacey is Fulla, handmaiden to the goddess Frigg. Her "power" is that she obeys powerful goddesses. That's it, as far as anyone can tell.
* Parodied in a one-time sketch on ''Series/TheAmandaShow'' which features a [[AcademyOfAdventure class full of teenagers with superpowers]]. The students include Lisa, a girl who can [[{{Seer}} see the future]], Reggie, a boy with the power of "super-burps" (which, while disgusting, are extremely powerful seismic events), an unnamed boy with [[MindOverMatter telekinesis]]... and Billy, with the gift of "super-rhyming." What makes this even worse is that Billy has [[PowerIncontinence no control over his power]] -- he is compelled to speak in rhyme even when he has nothing to contribute to the conversation:
-->'''Lisa:''' You're giving us a pop quiz?\\
'''Billy:''' If you spill a soda, you have to... [[PainfulRhyme mop... fizz.]]
* It's hard not to feel this way about Riley Blue in ''Series/{{Sense8}}''. While the rest of the sensates contribute various skills (fighting, acting, police experience, kick-boxing, hacking, scientific know-how) to the group, Riley's special skill is music. This creates some of the deepest and most profound moments of bonding between the eight sensates (who share a sort of hive mind with each other) but it's no coincidence that Riley is the one who ends up the DamselInDistress in the final episode, contributing nothing to her rescue while all the others have pivotal roles to play.
* The December 1st, 2015, ''Series/TheDailyShowWithTrevorNoah'' opened with Trevor Noah delivering a rant about Heart being the lamest of the Planeteer's powers.
* On ''Series/HeroCorp'', a lot of the heroes' power are this, from design or from power degeneration.
** Captain Shampoo can squirt shampoo from his hands. The kind that doesn't even sting the eyes. He used to squirt acid previously, but he had lost this power and only regains it through recovering confidence.
** The mayor, Cecil, can take the appearance of someone unknown. Useless in a fight, naturally. However he uses it very efficiently to [[spoiler:take control of Hero Corp]] by impersonating [[spoiler:a recently deceased tycoon]] who none of the others knew personally.
** Stan, a.k.a. Mental, has the power of persuasion. But he claims it only works if the subject agrees with him. He's certainly the closest to having no power at all. [[spoiler:Season 3 reveals that it does work, but he has first to built a complex imagery around the suggestion, which can take some time.]]
** Araignée Man's power is "being mean", because spiders (''araignée'' in French) are mean.
** Chauve-souris Man (''chauve-souris'' is the French for bat) is revealed to have the awesome power of... living at night and sleep during the day. But he still needs to sleep at night somehow. And he also seem to have the visual abilities of a bat....
** Dan is a half-man half-chicken mutant, which means his "power" is having feathers growing out of his lower backside.
** Fourmi Man (Ant Man)'s power is to carry bread for his pals. And to not be tall.
** Jennifer is revealed to be a mermaid, which means she gains webbed hands and gills when taking a shower... and can hold her breath underwater for a full 14 seconds.

* Comedian David O'Doherty has a song called "Very Mild Superpowers".
-->'''O'Doherty''': Sometimes when I'm cycling with my headphones on, I know exactly where I'll be at the end of a song.
* Music/TheyMightBeGiants did an album for children called "No." One song is titled "John Lee, Supertaster." It is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* [[http://thedoubleclicks.bandcamp.com/track/worst-superpower-ever-3 "Worst Superpower Ever"]] by the Doubleclicks explores powers like the ability to create an invisible chair or predict people's clothes.

* {{Discussed|Trope}} at considerable length in the "Aquatic Justice" episode of Creator/KevinSmith's podcast, which features much maligning of poor Aquaman.
--> "I mean, does anyone actually ''choose'' to be Aquaman? If you could be like, the ''Flash'', would anybody opt for ''Aquaman''?"
* This trope is played with in series 2 episode 4 of ''Podcast/PappysFlatshareSlamdown'', when that episode's Flat Games required the panelists to inhale helium. Josh Widdicombe's voice stayed the same, no matter how much he inhaled, leading him to joke that "when you discover your superpowers, sometimes, it's disappointing".
* The ''Podcast/PlumbingTheDeathStar'' episode "How Effective is the Film/SuicideSquad?" tests the Squad's mission statement, defeat villains with superpowers, by grading how each individual member would fare against ComicBook/{{Superman}}. Of the nine members, seven get less than a one out of ten, because their incredible powers of [[ImprobableAimingSkills shooting]], boomerangs enthusiasm, sword enthusiasm, acrobatics, climbing, [[{{Muggle}} humanity]], and ordinary cannibalism don't really mean much against an [[LightningBruiser unkillable flying bullet]] that can vaporize you with a glance if you're taking him alone. But with the Squad together:
-->'''Zammit''': Now, they're all gathered there on the lawn of the White House. There's evil Superman coming down like 'I'm going to kill the President.' They're there in a line; what happens?
-->'''George Dimarelos''': Okay. Firstly, is Superman concerned?
-->'''All''': *wild cackling*

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}''. Scott and Virgil get to fly planes, Gordon gets a nifty submarine, John is in charge of the spy satellite and Alan gets a spaceship. Sounds like Alan had the plum role, except people getting into trouble in space is a lot rarer than land- or sea-based rescues so Thunderbird 3 gets left gathering dust in the hangar while everyone else goes off on missions.

* BBC radio comedy show ''Radio/TheBurkissWay'' had a ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'' sketch where the team are irritated by an applicant trying to claim the ability to stand up from a sitting position as a super-power. ("I can do it quite quickly...") When this fails to impress them, he claims to have the ability to move from place to place at will -- by getting on the bus. They try and throw him out, so he reveals he has one last super-power: The ability to stop any comedy programme at will.
-->'''Team Leader:''' Really? Well I don't bel--
* Eighties radio comedy ''Radio/SonOfCliche'' featured ''The League of Stupid Heroes'', principally Captain Invisible and his trusty sidekick the Seethru Kid. One episode began in the local barbers with a very careful hairdresser demonstrating one of the drawbacks of invisibility.. at the end, Captain Invisible and seethru are both wounded and immobile and trying desperately to get the local police and ambulance service to locate them...
* ''Radio/ThatMitchellAndWebbSound'' - Angel Summoner and the BMX Bandit. One can summon hordes of immensely powerful angels. One rides a BMX. Any guess as to whose power tends to get used?

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the tongue-in-cheek roleplaying game ''TabletopGame/InNomineSatanisMagnaVeritas'' (American Tropers might better know its DarkerAndEdgier remake, ''TabletopGame/InNomine''), character powers are assigned at random from a rather long list. If you're lucky, you can wind up with lightning bolts, holy dancing swords, mind control or even limited time travel. If you're ''not'' lucky, you're going to be the guy on the team who can control molluscs, or whose "power" is to have materialized on Earth in the body of a famous rock star (considering most scenarios involve [[{{Masquerade}} discreet investigations among Muggles]], this is all kinds of BlessedWithSuck). There's also the unbalance of domain powers, granted by the Archangel/Demon Prince you serve (and by extension, the virtue/sin they embody). Again, some of those are powerful -- petrification, turning people into pillars of salt, nightmare curses... but lust demons get [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Deadly Orgasm]], which while [[RuleOfCool somewhat awesome]] ([[{{Squick}} YMMV]]) is not exactly useful in a fight. Meanwhile, sloth demons get a power which makes any physical exertion impossible to anyone in a 100m radius... demon included. Not to be outdone in the lameness department, some angels get the power to ''speed up crop growth''.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The School of Divination gets this treatment sometimes. After all, knowing about stuff doesn't seem to be as cool as throwing fireballs. More experienced players are all too happy to demonstrate how the ability to [[GenreSavvy legitimately metagame]] [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower beats the ability to set stuff on fire 9 times out of 10]]. In a little MythologyGag, in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'', the [[TheMagocracy Thassilonian Empire]] utterly dismissed Divination as worthless, instead focusing on the other seven schools instead.
** The Illusion and Enchantment schools, on the other hand, are a weird case of having this viewpoint be ''enforced''. As with Divination, both schools provide spells and effects that are, while not as flashy as blasting someone with FireIceLightning, still incredibly powerful. GameBreaker powerful even. However, whereas Divination slipped under the radar, and continues to bedevil [=DMs=] to this day, the designers realized just how powerful a skilled Illusionist or Enchanter could be, and responded by slapping down immunities to these effects on something like 90% of all the creatures in the game. Thusly, an Illusionist or an Enchanter is all but worthless outside of certain very niche campaigns, and every other player perceives the schools as worthless.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' naturally has many feats, spells, and class features that are excessively situational or simply pointless; some carried over from Dungeons and Dragons, some brand new.
** Several witch hexes fall into this. One grants the ability to sniff out creatures, which would be fine from a flavor and balance perspective, but apparently someone decided that wasn't sufficiently witchy and made it useless with the caveat that it only works on [[EatsBabies children]].
** The baffling Scrollmaster wizard archetype allows wizards to wield magical scrolls as weapons - which are incredibly easy to break, really expensive, and you're a ''wizard'' and suck at fighting why don't you just unroll it and read the spell?
** Poisoned Egg is an often-mocked spell which transforms a single whole egg so it contains one dose of an incredibly weak poison for a few minutes - it doesn't even work through consumption, the egg has to be broken and its contents applied to a weapon. It also comes with the odd note that once the spell expires it reverts back to egg, which is harmless unless the poisoned creature is [[WeaksauceWeakness vulnerable to eggs.]]
* In the post-modern horror game ''TabletopGame/UnknownArmies'', a significant magical ritual (that is, an effect of Authentic Thaumaturgy usable only by Adepts, not by normal people unless they HAPPEN to know the incredibly rare and costly Harmonious Alignment minor-charging ritual) is called "Scurvy Livestock". This ultra-rare power, which can be cast ONLY on a full moon night and which requires yellow phlegm from a sick woman with at least one living child, mixed with wine and honey which must be boiled (while saying magic words) in your opponent's field, causes livestock owned by the target to sicken: cows give sour milk, sheep get patchy, and piglets fail to thrive. Some, as the spell notes, will die. The book explains: "Sure, this doesn't seem particularly impressive today. But in the Middle Ages it was one of the all-time greats."
* This can happen if you get the wrong [[SuperpowerLottery randomly drawn]] Alpha Mutations in ''TabletopGame/GammaWorld''. Giant Clown Feet anybody?
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the daemon 'Flamer of Tezeench (sic)' can breath random 'fires' at enemies. This can result in burning them to ashes in seconds; burning all their clothes off, but touching nothing else; or drizzling them in a fine mist of red wine (amongst other things). Pink Horrors have been noted as finding events like the last two an endless source of humour.
* The obscure RPG ''Stuperpowers'' is basically if somebody made a whole game based around this trope (with a dash of ThisLoserIsYou). Its premise is that for every superhero who gets "real" superpowers, there are a dozen more who get such endlessly useful metahuman abilities as making it rain nachos, summoning mariachi bands, turning yourself into modern art, turning things plaid, and moving things with your brain (that is, by having your head actually pop open and your brain physically jump out and manipulate something). Those "dozen more" being the ones run by the players, of course. Meanwhile the characters they're meant to oppose tend to have "real" powers like strength, invisibility and death-beams, even if their concepts are almost as ridiculous as the players'.

* The short play ''The League of Semi-Superheroes'' is about a group of heroes each acknowledging the uselessness of their powers as they deal with a financial crisis.

* ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'''s Gali, a Toa of Water, complained to her trainer that she cannot think of a way to make good use of her [[MaskOfPower Mask of Water Breathing]] as an offensive ''or'' defensive item, especially since the training took place in a desert. Later on, though, she moved to a watery area and also gathered five other masks, so it was all good. Actually, a lot of mask powers in the Bionicle Universe may seem kind of awesome at first, but when you remember that often these are the only masks their user has access to, they may find themselves in hairy situations.
* Franchise/{{Bratz}}illaz dolls all have pretty cool powers according to their advert. Yasmina sees the future, Cloetta has transformation powers, Meygana can fly (and apparently grants wishes), Sashabella communicates with animals, and Jade... fixes broken hearts.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Rebecca Chambers in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil0''. Though she is technically the main character of the game, Billy is far more useful in combat due to his ability to take more damage. Rebecca's only unique talent is her ability to mix herbs, which is only useful because Billy is the only character in the entire franchise who can't do this. In all the previous Resident Evil games, every playable character had this ability.
* While other characters in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' got things like swords, spears, bows, black magic, and axes, Edward's weapon is a harp that shoots lines of music at enemies. His special ability is singing, which often fails to work on regular enemies, while bosses are immune to it.
* The Forgotten Beasts in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' will sometimes have one of these. The random nature of their breath attacks means that, while sometimes they have dust that'll cause bleeding on every surface it touches, at other times they'll have a mild numbing vapor, which is essentially a painkiller dust. (Though, even the painkiller dust will wreck the player's day by [[RealityEnsues ruining their framerate]].) The web-shooting ability is glitched to complete unusability for Forgotten Beasts.
* The first ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' game has an example with Decoy Octopus, who can imitate another person perfectly, even down to the blood. While it ''sounds'' good and is certainly useful, it just can't compare to the likes of the FourthWall-shattering Psychic, the hulking shaman wielding a {{BFG}} commonly found on ''fighter jets'', the ColdSniper skilled enough to hit you in a ''blizzard'', and the clone of the greatest soldier ever who is [[MadeOfIron Made Of Frickin' Titanium]]. He only one-ups the sharpshooting BadassNormal... but who acts mostly [[ManipulativeBastard behind]] {{the|Chessmaster}} [[TheManBehindTheMan scenes]] instead of in the battlefield.
* The Eyeclops helmet in ''VideoGame/KidChameleon''; in an irritatingly NintendoHard game, its primary application is to... fire harmless green beams that reveal invisible blocks, which is useless most of the time (as power up blocks are either clearly seen or easily found without the helmet). Its ''attack'' function is its ''crystal power up'', which fires a brief white beam of kill energy that only takes off one hit from normal enemies, doesn't damage bosses ''at all'', yet eats gems like candy per use. The only real advantage it gives you over your normal, unpowered self is an extra hit point (which any of the other helmets can get you, themselves). There are actually several levels which make creative use of this helmet, as the blocks the beam reveals form a temporary platform.
* The Sleep power up in the ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'' series; all you do with it activated is, well... sleep for a while, not healing or becoming invulnerable or anything, just... sleeping and being a sitting duck. Enemies or powerups that grant Sleep are actually used as obstacles later in the series for just that reason; likewise, it's a {{Zonk}} when two or more powers are absorbed at the same time ("Mix"). This was later subverted in one game, where a treasure lets Kirby use Sleep to heal his health bar. In several games, Sleep ''does'' give you invulnerability; there was even a level in one game where you had to sleep through a conveyor belt filled with invulnerable spiky enemies to reach a secret door. Although, to be honest, even with the scroll to give it healing abilities, Sleep is still useless. You'd probably be better off with any other healing item.
* VideoGame/CaptainNovolin's "superpower" is [[InspirationallyDisadvantaged diabetes]]. No, he doesn't cure diabetes. No, he can't ''give people'' diabetes either. He ''has'' Type 1 Diabetes, and as an exaggeration of the real-life condition, dies instantly upon either eating too much or when he touches junk food. Other than that, his only other "power" is the ability to jump slightly higher than average- and suddenly, the likes of Ma-Ti and Aquaman don't seem all that bad. You would ''think'' that the last person in any position to fight off an invasion of evil sugary donuts would be the ''one'' person who dies instantly from just ''touching them'', but there you have it.
* The game ''VideoGame/SuperheroLeagueOfHoboken'' is built on the subversion of this trope. Set in postapocalyptic Hoboken and surroundings, the protagonists are superheroes with... really weird powers. And names. And backgrounds. Such as Captain Excitement, so boring that he can cause animals to fall asleep at will. Treader Man, half man, half boat, who is really good at treading water. Breadbuster, able to vanquish any baked goods. Madame Pepperoni, able to instinctively know the content of any pizza box without looking. (Only pizza boxes, though.) The list goes on. Yet, almost all of them make use of their powers one way or another, either to solve a quest (a hostel is swamped with unfolded road maps; fortunately, Princess Glovebox's power is specifically the ability to handle this), or to assist in combat (causing animals to fall asleep is REALLY useful when you're attacked by Albino Rhinos). In fact, the only hero whose power is NOT useful in some way is [[spoiler: Crimson Tape, the main character... and the only one you can't remove from the party]]. Fortunately, you can give heroes secondary powers to round out the group.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', the various deities you get your powers from are the gods of things like fire, restoration, water, etc. The cat, Kabegami, however, is the God of ''Walls'', and while being able to walk up vertical surfaces may seem pretty handy, in practice it's limited to a few very specific paths marked by Kabegami statues and pawprints. Oh well. The power is mainly only useful for HundredPercentCompletion.
** This might be the case for only Ammy, though, because she gets the distilled versions of the powers at first (for example, she cannot shoot lightnings like Raigami before the power gets upgraded) and we never see what the "upgraded" version of Kabegami's power is like.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLastRemnant'', most (if not all) of the characters that can be recruited into your party have, in addition to their usual complement of standard "RPG Attributes", a single custom attribute which can also increase through combat along with everything else. This attribute can have interesting names such as 'bravery' and 'love', but also non-sequiturs like 'gluttony'. However, they all actually have the exact same use, i.e. they determine that character's Base Reaction Value - which among other things determines how it behaves in combat when you give the "Play it by ear" command (which lets that particular unit/union to choose an appropriate action by itself).
* The InteractiveFiction series ''The Frenetic Five'' features a group of superheroes in a world where not all powers are awesome. The player character, Improv, has the power of "thinking ''Series/MacGyver'' was a rank amateur," (a power which doesn't actually have any effect on the game -- the player himself is expected to provide that power in the form of solving puzzles through improvization). His teammates are:
** "Pastiche", each of whose body parts has a different power (her hand, for example, can phase through solid matter, but her KryptoniteFactor is ''rope'' and anything wheat-based);
** "Lexicon" knows every word in the English language (Not their meaning, though, as he's not a dictionary);
** "Newsboy" has a mystical ability to receive news headlines remotely;
** "The Clapper" can make objects beep by clapping (in one episode, The Clapper is replaced by Medic Alert, a hero with the power to beep loudly until help arrives).
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', the two starting contacts for heroes of the Mutation origin are both also mutants, but their powers aren't exactly super-heroic. One can instantly solve any math problem, the other can see into the infrared and ultraviolet areas of the light spectrum.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheBizarreAdventuresOfWoodruffAndTheSchnibble Woodruff and The Schnibble of Azimuth]]'', after you go back in time and save an injured bazouk, a Chinese-stereotype "guru" (whose existence you've caused) will periodically show up and give you such powers as... the ability to control your hair growth. Subverted when Woodruff asks what use these powers are and is told, [[spoiler:"Individually, they are useless. But once you have mastered them all, you will gain the ability to levitate!" And indeed, levitation is necessary to complete the game]].
* ''Franchise/StreetFighter''. In exchange for all of Dan Hibiki's inferiorities, he gains an ability unique to him that allows him to... taunt without limit. Other characters can only taunt once per round. Lucky bastard! It got even worse for him. In ''Capcom Vs SNK 2'', taunting charged your opponent's power meter. One of Dan's hypercombos was a non damaging series of rolls while taunting repletedly. Yeah, he could completely drain his power meter and leave himself wide open to an opponent's attack for a very long time... in order to make his opponent more dangerous. Way to go, Dan.
* In ''VideoGame/ComicJumperTheAdventuresOfCaptainSmiley'', Paper Lad from "The Improbable Paper Pals" has the ability to turn himself into different types of paper. Naturally, Smiley and Star mock him for this, and Paper Lad admits he's useless without his partner, Origami Kid.
* Lampshaded in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVI'': after a nun states that Lord Zenith's power comes from the hearts of people, Amos wonders if he wouldn't be happier with the power of fire or wind.
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' contains some of the [[SuperpowerLottery most horrifically powerful individuals]] in existence, [[TimeAbyss epic, ancient beings]] or [[PersonOfMassDestruction monumental powerhouses]] that could obliterate continents or subdue planets. And then there are the... others:
** Rumia, with the power to create darkness around herself that [[RequiredSecondaryPowers she can't even see out of]]. While conceivably useful, she's also a complete moron who never uses it for anything interesting.
** Lily White, with the power to announce the arrival of spring.
** The Prismriver sisters can play their instruments without touching them.
** [[TheOneGuy Rinnosuke]], with the power to identify the name and purpose of any object [[KnowNothingKnowItAll without knowing HOW to actually use it]].
** Shizuha Aki, the [[OddJobGods goddess of autumn leaves]], has the power to turn leaves red (by [[PaintingTheFrostOnWindows painting them manually]]) and making leaves fall from trees (by violently kicking the tree).
** Renko Usami, who has the power to accurately tell time and location by looking at the night sky, which would be more useful if she didn't live in a future version of the outside world.
** Orin has the ability to carry away corpses. Not to supernaturally gather them or instantly transport them, simply to pick them up and take them away on her cart.
** [[OurMermaidsAreDifferent Wakasagihime]] becomes stronger in water. And she's still a stage 1 boss. During an incident that empowered the weak.
** The Tsukumo sisters, being personified instruments, have the listed ability of performing without players.
** And then there's [[AxCrazy Yuuka]] [[TheGadfly Kazami]] who has the power to [[GreenThumb make flowers bloom and turn towards the sun]]. Yeeeaaah. She's also [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld older than sin]] in a setting where non-humans get StrongerWithAge, [[FlightStrengthHeart effectively making her]] the [[WorldsStrongestMan World's Strongest Woman]], so that is fun, too.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' Yarne initially finds the his race the Taguel's ability to turn into [[HairRaisingHare giant rabbits]] rather lame compared to the ability of Manaketes such as Nah to turn into [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]], though she manages to convince him that it's useful in its own ways. [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower It proves true in gameplay]], with the former filling a semi-viable FragileSpeedster role, while the latter serve as {{Mighty Glacier}}s.
* At the very end of ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'', after the final battle, one of the [[spoiler:newly empowered beastmen in Belinsk]] claims to have the power to... calculate compound interest.
--->"It's remarkably handy, actually."
* In ''VideoGame/SouthParkTheStickOfTruth'', Scott Malkinson boasts that he has "the power of diabetes." Unlike the game's other silly superpowers, like the Dovahkiin's {{Fartillery}} and the Jew class [[CriticalStatusBuff gaining power through his people's suffering]], this confers no benefits.
* Present in the backstory of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII''. The great sage Noah had three immortal students - Doga, Unei, and Xande. He gave Doga incredible magical power. He gave Unei complete control over the world of dreams. He gave Xande... the ability to die. [[ImmortalsFearDeath This didn't sit well with Xande]], who is responsible for most of the major problems faced in the game in trying to avoid Noah's "gift."

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/HalloweenOtome'': When looking at a list of her teammates skills, Emma’s is the only one without an impressive list of skills (stating simply, unknown). Mr. Bandages comments on this a few times.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* On ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'', in the Strong Bad Email "super powers", Strong Bad reveals his secret super-power: removing caps (bottle-caps, beanie caps, etc.) with the power of his mind.
* The WebAnimation/{{Animutation}} ''[[WebAnimation/ColinMochrieVsJesusHChrist French Erotic Film]]'' by Creator/AndrewKepple, where various animutation characters contribute elements and finally "spleen!" -- with "What kind of lame-ass power is 'Heart' anyway?" written in the background.
* The flash animation by Egoraptor ''WebAnimation/GirlchanInParadise'' has Maytag, a woman with a price gun. Nobody seems to see this power as physically dangerous, yet everyone keeps reiterating they have no idea how to beat such a power, and The Green Guy comes to the conclusion [[spoiler:he has to use a suicide attack and blow himself up with her]].
** Pretty much every Bushido Blaster (except [[spoiler: Swirly Glasses]]) could count. There's the Bushido Blaster who's superpower is [[ManOnFire lighting himself on fire]], and...that's it (he's even defeated by a bucket of water.) He still manages to beat Yusuke, though, thanks to his strategy of [[LeeroyJenkins attacking everything head-on]], and everyone except Kenstar giving up immediately after that. And after that is the artist Bushido Blaster who's superpower is apparently owning a giant pencil (granted, the party fights him in a giant white void that might be linked to his power, but the series doesn't bother to explain anything.)

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/LeagueOfSuperRedundantHeroes'' IS this trope - some, like Buckaress, have no identifiable powers at all, and Good Girl's abilities are… well, we don't know what they are.
** Gyrognome is really good at punching people in the balls. Justified since he's at the perfect height for it.
** Laser Pony can shoot immensely powerful laser beams from his eyes... that he can't ''aim'' because the lasers ''burned out his retinas.''
* Subverted by [[http://buttersafe.com/2007/09/27/the-power-of-love/ this]] ''Webcomic/{{Buttersafe}}'' comic, in which love is [[spoiler:the source of energy which powers eye lasers]].
* In ''Webcomic/TheBMovieComic'', Mopey hasn't been a MagicalGirl for more than one minute, and [[http://www.bmoviecomic.com/?cid=229 she already asks that very question]].
* [[http://www.man-man.org/?comic=&date=20050331 Basilica]] in ''[[http://www.man-man.org/ Man-Man]]'' has possibly the most ludicrous power ever invented. He turns into a basilica, then the resident priest tells you to knock off what you were doing. Worse, ''other people'' can trigger the transformation.
* In the ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' parody webcomic ''Webcomic/TheLastDaysOfFoxhound'', we have The Chinaman of the [[QuirkyMiniBossSquad Dead Cell unit]]. In a team consisting of a giant explosives expert, a superb strategist, and a vampire who can see in the dark, run up walls, walk on water and pin people to the ground by their shadows, The Chinaman is... a special effects expert and a navy swimming champion. Who can also hold his breath for a really long time. Did I mention that he's currently stationed in a ''desert''? Because of all this, he ends up trying ''way'' too hard.
-->'''Chinaman''': I know what you're thinking. "What could a navy swimming champion and special effects expert possibly be good for in an anti-terrorist squad? Especially in a desert where there's no water to swim in?"\\
'''Raven''': You're a navy ''swimming champion''?\\
'''Chinaman''': ''And'' a special effects expert, don't forget that! But I've got news for you Jack -- I just spent four hours under the desert sun in a wetsuit! Pretty stupid huh? But I did it to prove I could, and now I'm gonna pass out!\\
''(passes out)''\\
'''Jackson''': It's for the best. He was about thirty seconds from challenging you to a breath holding contest.
** Dead Cell also has "Old Boy", whose "power" is...being a 100+ year old former Nazi General. Why are these two even in the comic you ask? Because they were originally ''going to appear'' in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' before being axed and incorporated into other characters (The Chinaman's water running powers were given to Vamp and Old Boy was reworked into [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater The End]]).
* Parodied in [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=164 this installment]] of ''Webcomic/VGCats''.
* A short arc in the ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' BSideComics "Bikini Suicide Frisbee Days" dealt with the main characters getting powers like these. Riff gained the power to make sound effects, Torg gained the "power" of having his life narrated, and Zoe gained the ability/curse to speak a different language each time she opens her mouth (but never English). Gwynn's the only one who got a useful superpower: the power to create an anti-climactic ending, causing all the other useless superpowers to fade away.
* Lampshaded in [[http://www.leasticoulddo.com/comic/20080912 this]] strip from ''Webcomic/LeastICouldDo''.
* Subverted in [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=499 this]] strip from ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal''.
* Apparently the entire point of ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'''s "Supers" theme. For ''both'' heroes and villains.
* This trope is the ''entire premise'' of the furry superhero comic ''Psychic Dyslexia Institute'' (PDI), where a "psychic dyslexia" is an exceptionally odd superpower; characters include, among many others: a girl who can create completely convincing illusions, but only of clothing; someone who has the power to tell whether or not a building contains cheese; a boy who subconsciously generates a field around him that makes anyone who enters it suddenly feel an irrational overriding hatred towards him, and an anthropomorphic chicken whose eggs glow in the dark. They actually find fairly creative ways to use these abilities, especially with the addition of a team member whose ability is to reverse the ability of any powered character he touches. Pathos, for example, generates a field that makes people become absolutely enraptured towards him while touching Reverso, generally used as an extremely effective distraction.
* ''Webcomic/SuperTemps'' has this apply to the entire 'non-super' civilian populace. Everyone's got a power, just most suck -- although some 'non-supers' do have LethalHarmlessPowers.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' Andrew's etheric ability is to subconsciously impose order, or as Parley puts it,[[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=385 "his super power is to make everything boring!"]] [[SubvertedTrope That being said]], it gradually becomes more useful as Andrew becomes more competent at using it and eventually develops into borderline RealityWarping thanks to being able to manipulate probability and subtly produce beneficial results for Andrew and anyone he's close to. His ability just isn't as flashy as, say, Parley's [[FlashStep teleportation]] or Annie's [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinesis]].
* During the super hero story arc of ''Webcomic/DragonTails'', [[ExtremeDoormat Lemuel's]] alter ego gained the ability to manipulate emotions and make people happy. Not only did he gain these powers while playing a villain, he couldn't actually stop people from doing things, merely [[http://www.dragon-tails.com/comics/archive.php?date=020202 change how they feel about doing those things]].
* Noah of ''Webcomic/APathToGreaterGood'' has, at the start of the series, the magical power to ''not see his own reflection''.
* In [[http://www.qwantz.com/archive/001479.html this]] ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'', T-Rex imagines bizarre superpowers for himself and his friends. "Your super power is shooting sunscreen out of your eyes." "What do yours do? Dribble out salty water, but only when you're sad?"
* [[http://www.captainexcelsior.com/index.php?id=81 Average-Man]] is the world's most average superhero. He's okay at flying.
* The premise of [[http://www.optipess.com/2008/12/05/amazing-superpowers/ this]] ''Optipess'' strip.
* Hamsterfall from ''Webcomic/BobTheAngryFlower''. When he wills it, hamsters drop from the sky.
** Also Plantae. He has the power to control plants. In comic books this is typically a reasonable power, but that's because it implicitly [[RequiredSecondaryPowers gives the plants the ability to move]]. The only plant that can move in this comic is Bob himself (and possibly Stumpy). Needless to say, the uses of commanding a flower with anger issues are limited.
* Almost the entire cast of ''[[http://superslackers.com/ Superslackers]]''. For example, Invisible Right Leg Lad's power is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin having an invisible right leg]]. One of the few characters with a useful power [[DeathByIrony dies in a somewhat ironic manner]] exactly two panels after his first appearance.
* ''Fletcher Apts.'' [[http://www.fletcherapts.com/archive/20070521.html In here]], Ma-Ti gets an upgrade to his Heart powers. A giant monkeywrench to smash people in the face with.
* In the ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' Midnight Crew Intermission, The Felt are a gang of mobsters specializing in time-related magic. Most of the powers are pretty useful, but a few of them are rather pointless. Sawbuck's power is that whenever he gets hurt, he and everyone around him will jump to a random point in the timeline. Biscuits believes that his "magical" oven can teleport him into the future. He's technically correct, although it only moves at a rate of one second per second, so he's essentially hiding himself in a completely mundane box until the timer rings. Doze has the power to speed up time around him, giving himself super-slowness, which causes him to be constantly be captured yet practically impossible to interrogate.
** Later {{subverted|Trope}} when the power of the Hero of Heart is elaborated upon by [[spoiler:Calliope]], the Guardian's [[spoiler:Cherub]] guide. Apparently Heart is effectively the same as [[spoiler:Soul]], which, combined with the powers of the Hero's class, makes the often thought innocent lolcat and fangirl parody Nepeta the [[spoiler:[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Stealer of Souls]]]] and [[spoiler:Dirk Strider, the Prince of Heart, the [[AwesomeMcCoolname Destroyer of Souls]]]]. Later he is shown being able to [[spoiler:rip the soul from someone's body which apparently is very painful]].
** Also Biscuit's oven is apparently BiggerOnTheInside, which makes it handy when you need to ferry the entire Felt around.
* Bob's power in ''Webcomic/TheWayOfTheMetagamer'' is to "fail at building demolition".
* In ''Webcomic/APathToGreaterGood'', Noah's power is ''the inability to see his own reflection''. It later gets upgraded to [[spoiler:travelling between two parallel worlds, but he often materialises dozens of feet in the air or surrounded by man-eating dinosaurs]].
* Many fans of ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' initially felt this way when [[{{Ninja}} Junpei]] pointed out that {{Magical Girl}}s gain their [[ThePowerOfLove power from love]], [[AvertedTrope but…]] just head over to HeartIsAnAwesomePower and you'll get the idea.
* ''Luke Surl Comics'' has [[http://www.lukesurl.com/archives/1294 one more view]] on Ma-Ti.
* Lampshaded in [[http://survivingtheworld.net/Lesson237.html this]] Webcomic/SurvivingTheWorld strip on superpowers.
* [[http://www.metaleeto.com Metaleeto]] has total power over O-shaped metal. Rings, washers, certain foreign coins, and maybe possibly nuts are completely under his thrall!
* [[http://woodsforthetrees.comicgenesis.com/d/20110214.html "Heart doesn't win any awards, Reuben, it just tastes of iron... or in Jess' case, cholesterol."]]
* In ''Webcomic/WrightAsRayne'', Misty Smid's superpower is the ability to sense when people are looking at her and where they're standing. [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower This can make her a decent spy]], but it's useless in combat, especially when you consider her best friend is a witch.
* Lampshaded in ''The Clone Wars'' Online Web Comic ''The Valsedian Operation'', which features a scene where a washed-out ex-Jedi student (now part of the Agricultural Corps), with extremely limited Force abilities, is working with a competent Clone Captain to hunt an assassin through a city. When the Clone (who is used to working with full-fledged Jedi) asks her if she can sense anything, she replies all she can sense is that there are no plants around. The Clone confidently replies, "Well, think of it as a strength looking for a situation!"
* ''Webcomic/TerrorIsland'''s [[http://www.terrorisland.net/strips/130.html Obvious Dentist]]. His power is that [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin everybody knows he's a dentist.]] He's not, but everyone knows he is all the same.
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'':
** When Ellen and Elliot start developing magic, Ellen gets the variation of TransformationRay turning the target into a [[HelloNurse very impressive]] human female, the first being a TransformationRay turning ''her'' into the target's clone. Elliot starts off able to transform into a girl, and then develops the ability to turn into any girl and change outfits. The first "really useful" spell he eventually gets is the one turning him into [[spoiler:a stock [[FlyingBrick superheroine]]]].
** Some of the other spells and powers of characters count too. Nanase has a disguise spell that only works on her hair and a spell that allows her to exchange a clothing item she's wearing with another clothing item. Sarah almost gets the ability to turn into a guy before she was foiled by her own brain. [[spoiler: Susan's]] only known spell lets her summon magic hammers at any time, but they don't leave any serious injury and are mostly intended for gag purposes. Magus can slightly amplify emotions (This has yet to be of ANY use). And [[spoiler: Rhoda and Dex]] have the powers to, respectively, make things larger and to summon a fairy companion. However, the former ability winds up saving the user's life and the person with the latter ability just wants companionship, so it works out in the end.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'': [[http://xkcd.com/1010/ Etymology-Man.]] It actually notes that, ironically, even Aquaman would be more useful in those circumstances.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' Krosp I, Emperor of all cats, has the power to command other cats. The intent was to use cats as spies, but unfortunately cats aren't that bright, get distracted easily, and don't understand most of the things humans do. Even if they don't just forget what they're supposed to be doing, the chance of them coming back with any usable information is low, and Krosp was nearly killed off as an embarrassing failed experiment.
** Later, it turned out that Krosp was [[spoiler: actually supposed to command his creator's army of bears]].
* ''Webcomic/{{Wondermark}}'' features [[http://wondermark.com/534/ "The Adventures of the Superhero Whose Left Ear Is Bulletproof"]]. [[spoiler:He got shot once in his left ear and assumed his whole body was bulletproof. His superhero career after that point was very brief.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Paranatural}}'', Max gets magnet powers from his possessed bat. It would be pretty cool, except all the enemies in the comic are intangible ghosts and spirits, so throwing around a bunch of metal stuff isn't really as useful as you'd think.
* In a ''Webcomic/SavageChickens'' [[http://www.savagechickens.com/2014/05/revenge-of-aquaman.html webcomic strip]]: "What good is Aquaman, nothing ever happens in the ocean."
* Selan Pike's ''Webcomic/EvilFTW'' has a girl who is psychic, but only when it comes to vending machines; all but Selanio, Xeno, Professor Pain, Reza, Damon Lords, and Apogee are BlessedWithSuck in some form in this series. One might try to argue that Selan is different -- right up until she faints from hypoglycemia. She can't use her powers while tired.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Pulse}}'' possessors of such powers are classified as E-Class: "A person with unconventional or ineffective powers."
* In ''Webcomic/{{Henchgirl}}'', Mary's roommate, Tina, reveals she has the power to make carrots come out of her wrists. Later in the series, she finds out she can animate them.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'': Linkara deconstructed the {{Trope Namer|s}} himself in his review of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|AndThePlaneteers}}'' comic; said deconstruction can be found in the Western Animation section. He also deconstructed this trope as it applies to Aquaman. When the subject came up at one point, he went on a lengthy tract pointing out all of the legitimately badass aspects of Aquaman's character and powers (He's King of the Ocean -- the entire thing, 70% of ''the planet'', mind you -- and controls the Atlantean's navy, all of the SuperStrength, NighInvulnerability, and SuperSpeed that being able to survive, much less swim really fast, in the crushing depths of the ocean entails, as well as being able to summon the likes of sharks, whales, and '''Cthulhu''' to lend a hand if he felt like it), and noting that he ''is'' badass in virtually every media in which he appears... with the '''[[NeverLiveItDown sole exception]]''' of ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'' (and parodies written by people who seem to only know Aquaman ''through Super Friends'').
* Dr. Horrible's roomie Moist from ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' apparently has the power to make things... moist. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d when he laments that at his most badass he can make people feel like they want to take a shower. A prequel comic actually shows that it's not a superpower so much as a condition he developed when his father bought a plutonium-powered air humidifier to deal with his dry skin.
* There's an [[http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/14274590/ archived thread from /tg/ about this]]. Although, some of the powers listed therein can also tend towards HeartIsAnAwesomePower
* The web game ''[[http://www.ftwgame.com/lite For the Win]]'' lampshades this. The "Pantheon" figure "Heartia" (based on the lesser-known Greek goddess Hestia), pretends to be a MagicalGirl with the power of heart. It's revealed at the end of her description that it's all a lie, but she goes along with it because "what kind of power is 'Heart', anyway?!"
* In the online novel ''[[http://www.furaffinity.net/view/610837/ Dangerous Lunatics]]'', Victor is a skunk boy who can control his flatulence to a musical degree, among his newfound friends with more traditional superpowers such as [[spoiler:super strength, bendiness, speaking to the dead, and immortality]]. However, [[spoiler:later on he finds out he can, in addition, actually blast a veritable tornado of force from his rear, and saves the rest of the team by doing so at a critical moment]].
* ''WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment'':
** Spoony references this trope while decrying the weak plots of the ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series. ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'''s plot, about the four elemental orbs: "The only way this plot could be gayer is if there was a fifth orb for Heart!" (Cue StockFootage from ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|AndThePlaneteers}}''.)
** There's also [[Film/BattlefieldEarth Terl]], who has the ability to intuitively know how high above sea level any location on earth is, and concludes that because of this, people should [[AGodAmI worship him as a god]]. When Spoony counters that you could just look it up on Wikipedia, Terl responds "Well, yes. But only a lowly man-animal would need to."
* In the ''Roleplay/LeagueOfIntergalacticCosmicChampions'' Mr. Obvious had the power to see the obvious!
* [[http://superuseless.blogspot.com/ superuseless superpowers]].
* ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'':
** The "Crimestoppers" campaign is made of this trope. The team consists of: Doctor Destiny, a sometime-clairvoyant who gets visions of the future with the aid of his magic 8-ball; Mister Excitement, a hero who gains his super-strength through adrenalin rushes, but who has no control over when those rushes occur; [[TalkingAnimal Rex the Wonder Dog, a talking American Mastiff]] (that is his power, he's a dog that talks); Silly Putty, a shapechanger who has to be physically manipulated to change his shape, and cannot change his color; and The Tagger, who possesses the power to spray any color of paint he wishes from his fingertips.
** Also the mysterious Mister Easter (not a member of the Crimestoppers), who has the power to change water into wine, multiply a single fish and a single load of bread into many fishes and loaves of bread, walk on water, completely cure leprosy, blindness, and a very small range of disabilities that prevents people from walking. Plus, if he is killed, he rises from the dead after three days.
** The setting also features the Flower Lady, who can project a spray of rose petals from her fingers. Mr. Rainbow can change the color of his own skin, but only to one of the seven prismatic colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, or Violet). The Great and Powerful Oz can [[ShapeShifting shape-shift]], but only into one of the characters from the 1939 musical version of "The Wizard of Oz". Soundtrack has the power to cause any piece of music (be it a song or an orchestral piece) ever used in any film to play out of thin air around him.
* A good chunk of the superpowers in ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' [[AlternateUniverse Evolution]], which include black-mould growing saliva, choking up smoke, transparent skin, regrowing lost teeth, and glow in the dark eyes.
* In the ''Webvideo/TGWTGYearOneBrawl'', resident ButtMonkey Ma-Ti gets his ass handed to him by everyone while shouting "Heart" as his battle cry, then subverted as it suddenly becomes more badass when he repeats while repeatedly firing a gun. "Look out, Ma-Ti is packing heat!" Turned UpToEleven in their 3-year anniversary, where heart [[spoiler:is the only thing that can beat the evil wizard]].
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': students with weak or highly limited powersets are almost as BlessedWithSuck as those with [[BodyHorror severe GSD]], both at [[AcademyOfAdventure school]] due to the massive power differentials and the large number of bullies, and outside, because of FantasticRacism against {{Mutant}}s. While the school does its level best to find MundaneUtility for even the most minor powers, its priority of helping the students survive means that a lot of the time all they can do is teach them to keep their heads down.
** Generator (Jade Sinclair). In a superhero universe, at a SuperheroSchool, Generator has the power to... animate a blanket or a toy for an hour or so. She eventually turns this into HeartIsAnAwesomePower.
** On the other hand, plenty of Whateley Academy kids stay lame. Lightweight has the ability to make an object weigh 5 pounds less. Glass has the ability to turn transparent. Not invisible, just transparent. Bluescreen has the ability to mess up some electronics. Hoarder has the powers of... the hamster!
** The entire school club The Underdogs is made of kids in this category. Kamuro can shoot sparks out of her hands. Not lightning blasts or anything dangerous. Just sparks. And don't ask about Miasma.
* Most of the "powers" on [[http://dailysuperpower.tumblr.com/ The Daily Superpower]] are pretty lame, alright.
** 'Bigfoot footprints'
** 'Ability to turn pennies into sushi'
** 'Electric fan head'
* Creator/FreddieWong brings us [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=1eFDra1XimA Milk Man]], whose superpower is vomiting milk. [[LethalHarmlessPowers However...]]
* The Metokur Chimera as created by former internet troll site "Metokur" has blue smoke breath and can turn people into "penis-headed monsters" or into inanimate objects by clicking its fingers. The kicker... the chimera doesn't even have a real appearance at all or isn't even a real threat.
* ''WebVideo/WhatTheFuckIsWrongWithYou'': Tara has declared herself to have the world's worst superpower in the ability to unwittingly give Nash the perfect segue into the next news story.
* In the web-novel ''Literature/{{Domina}}'', some of the superpowers are SuperSpeed, [[BarrierWarrior force fields]], [[DishingOutDirt the ability to manipulate rock and stone]], [[PlayingWithFire pyrokinesis]], and... [[LivingLieDetector lie detection]]. Not even particularly ''good'' lie detection, either; [[MetaphoricallyTrue half-truths]] slip right by.
* ''Series/FlandersCompany'': Most of the time, the candidates Hippolyte receives have the most useless and ridiculous superpowers the writers can imagine.
** Lose-man can absorb the ambient "Lose"... which makes him incredibly unlucky. Sure, when he has absorbed enough, he can release it all at once in a powerful energy blast. This, he can do about... once a month.
** In an episode of the third season, Hippolyte '''must''' engage a man saying that he can cause a deluge by dancing wearing a duck rubber ring and a tutu on a techno/space opera remix of ''the Lake of Swans''. Seriously. (Poor Hippolyte lost it...)
** The alternate universe has its own lame applicants too. One seems to think he can become a superhero with the sole power of creating flower bouquets. Hippolyte suggests he should create roses, with lots of thorns, and [[AssShove demonstrates how to use them offensively]]...
* ''WebOriginal/TrueFacts about the Cuttlefish'': This is [=ZeFrank's=] opinion of the cuttlefish's ability to perfectly change color to match its background in complete darkness. Amazing but... in what context would that ever be useful?
%%* Hannah, in Literature/HeroesSaveTheWorld, can make coins disappear in a setting full of more conventionally-scaled powers, like controlling fire or seeing the future.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Played in ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'', when Ron unwisely mocks Burns' number-crunching abilities. Other examples occur throughout. "Mathter and Fervent" has Mr. Stoppable use his own math-based brain power to take on the Mathter and win to show that [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower math is an awesome power]].
* Played in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' with Mint-Berry Crunch, with the combined powers of Mint and Berry with a tasty crunch! Then subverted when he's the one who saves the day. The same three-episode arc brings us Captain Hindsight, who arrives at a tragedy only after it happens and tells people what they ''should'' have done to prevent it. Then he flies away.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'':
** Parodied and subverted with the character of Sewer Urchin. A useless comic relief hero most of the time, often seeming [[TheDitz less than bright]] with Rain-Man-like speech patterns and frequently [[ButtMonkey the butt of jokes]] about the way he smelled, one episode suddenly takes place in the sewers. All of a sudden, we learn about a huge subterranean ecosystem in which Sewer Urchin is an intelligent badass and his aboveground friends are reduced to bumbling FishOutOfWater. By the end of the episode, the Tick and Arthur have even picked up Sewer Urchin's "normal" speech patterns of stuttering shy bewilderment and Sewer Urchin has begun referring to them with the benign condescension he receives on the surface.
** Most of the superheroes in the show (and the comics) were like this, with stars like Baby Boomerangutan (a man in a headless orangutan costume who threw exploding baby dolls), Captain Lemming (who liked to leap off of high things... without having SuperToughness) or Crime Cannibal (who had the power to [[ImAHumanitarian eat human bodies really quickly]]).
* Lampshaded in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. The ShowWithinAShow "Knightboat", itself a parody of KnightRider, is a crime solving boat with ArtificialIntelligence. However, being a boat, it requires water. [[ContrivedCoincidence Lisa and Bart complain about how every time it's chasing criminals, it seems to encounter a canal, inlet, or fjord]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'':
** The much-maligned Aquaman, who often needed episodes [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman specifically written to utilize his powers]] without the audience wondering why another character couldn't handle the situation just fine. (In one episode they actually [[ArtisticLicense put a very large lake in Death Valley]] simply to give him something to do when the team went there.) A mantra of sorts that people use to describe Aquaman's powers is "Swim fast, talk to fish". What worsened (or perhaps initially caused) the entire problem was the level of censorship -- ''far'' beyond the modern state of "be as DarkerAndEdgier as you like, but just [[NeverSayDie don't say "kill"]] and use [[FamilyFriendlyFirearms futuristic guns]] to the same effect normal ones." When ''no'' use of force can be shown, Aquaman suffers a great deal: aside from "swim fast, talk to fish," he has SuperStrength and [[MadeOfIron durability]], has a magic trident that shoots lightning, and is the literal King of Atlantis -- all things they could not make much use of. Basically, it sucks to be ''anybody'' in that series except for Batman or Superman -- Bats has plenty of bat-gadgets to stop enemies without full-on hitting or blasting them, and Superman has bigger things than {{Mooks}} to deal with, like pushing ''planets'' back into place.
*** Lampshaded in a Cartoon Network promo in which Aquaman and Wonder Woman are tied up over a vat of acid.
---->'''Aquaman:''' My ability to talk to fish is of no use here, Wonder Woman!\\
'''Wonder Woman:''' ''(rolls eyes)''
*** Lampshaded and subverted on ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'', where Aquaman's abilities have been useful on some of their adventures on Land, Sea, bloodstreams, and on the jungle floor. One adventure had Aquaman [[FantasticVoyagePlot shrunk to the size of a single-celled organism and he used his "talk to fish" powers to befriend a lymphocyte]], while another had him stretching the definition of "fish" with wrangling a pair of silverfish. No, really. And because he's a bit of a cheesy Silver Age superhero, he's also over the top in his [[http://youtu.be/yE8C1WWixgc rousing songs of heroism]].
--->'''Aquaman:''' I call it "Aquaman's Rousing Song of Heroism!!!" ... You don't look roused.
*** Averted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Flashpoint}}'': in the original timeline, his way of disarming a bomb attached to one of Flash's Rogues gallery is to ''chuck the guy into the sea''... and then tell ''millions'' of microbes to literally eat away at the bomb. His Flashpoint counterpart, on the other hand... ''oh boy''.
*** Aquaman's uselessness was parodied -- and then subverted -- on an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndTimesOfJuniperLee'', where a device brought a team of comic book heroes to life in order to fight a team of villains (summoned by the same device). One of them was an aquatic hero named Fishmonger who at first seemed even ''worse'' than Aquaman; he could barely even walk on land, and at first could only wait on the beach while the others went to fight the bad guys. ''However'', when the villains started to get the upper hand, he was able to turn the fight around ''in spades''. (You never know when a guy who can summon a tsunami will come in handy...)
** Likewise, though not as widely bemoaned, the ''Super Friends'' version of Hawkman is almost as useless. He can fly... and that's it. Almost every other hero on the show have this ability ''and'' their namesake superpower. To add insult to injury, his wings aren't even ''real''. Again the inability to show force kicks in. He can use nothing more lethal than a net, and his powers (strength, flight, eagle vision) are redundant with Franchise/{{Superman}} around.
** The ''Super Friends'' also has the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna. While Jayna could turn into any animal (including a few alien ones), Zan could only [[ElementalShapeshifter turn into some form of water]] (like a wave, or an ice sculpture).
*** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iOcxSXiw7I This was spoofed in a Cartoon Network promo]] where Zan interrupted a mock-PublicServiceAnnouncement to complain about how lame his power was: "I could get beaten by a sponge! It wouldn't even have to be an evil sponge!" At the end of the promo, Zan is mopped up by a janitor, with an indignant "Hey!"
*** In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' Zan is shown to be legitimately threatening, since "Turns to water" could be used to drown people or blast them with high-pressure streams. This lasts ''right'' up until he actually has to fight Aquaman, who can breathe water, has super-tough skin, and is made of almost solid muscle. As Aquaman mocks him:
---->'''Aquaman:''' ''King of the Sea'', remember?
*** Also parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', when Timmy's parents get the same powers as The Wonder Twins, his mother turns into a shark, while his father turns into a bucket of water. He looks at the screen and says, "Uh...beware my power?"
*** Zan's uselessness was the focus of a ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' episode where The Wonder Twins try-out to join the Teen Titans. While the Titans are impressed with Jayna's ability to turn into animals, they are less impressed with Zan's ability to turn into water and ice. Jayna is chosen to be on the team and Zan is instead made the Teen Titan's receptionist and only choose to keep him around since Jayna needs Zan to activate her powers.
** And on the villain side of the spectrum, we have The Riddler from the Legion of Doom. The Riddler is basically a guy with OCD who was smart but not as smart as Batman, and regularly revealed the Legion's plans.
** As lame as his powers are, Aquaman's arch-nemesis on ''Super Friends'', The Black Manta, is even lamer. As [[http://seanbaby.com/super.htm Seanbaby's article on The Super Friends]] points out, his main power is that he ''owns a boat''.
* Superhero parodies may deliberately saddle their hero with a lame or useless power just for comedic effect. Meltman from ''WesternAnimation/ActionLeagueNOW'' had the utterly useless ability to melt himself; even ''he'' bemoaned its uselessness. In fact, the only time he's ever observed melting is during the intro, when he's clearly under a magnifying glass, suggesting he can't even melt himself as much as he can be willingly melted by ''others''. Or that his superpower is simply the fact that he's been melted.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", the Griffin family all get superpowers. As the ButtMonkey of the series, Meg is saddled with being able to extend and retract her fingernails. When she scratches someone with her fingernails, it doesn't even draw blood.
* The original ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'':
** You'd think that the BigBad would have the biggest, baddest vehicle mode, right? The Decepticons turn into jets for the most part, so the main villain should turn into the deadliest thing on wings, right? ''Wrong.'' The original Megatron's alternate mode was ''a gun that someone else had to fire.'' That someone was usually [[TheStarscream Starscream]], who incidentally is the [[TropeNamers namesake of the trope]] about wanting to betray/kill/usurp your leader. ''And'' Starscream usually has lousy aim.
** Still, at least Megatron turns into something that can be useful. Many transformers have vehicle modes that are completely useless most of the time, such as Perceptor's transformation into a telescope. There are also the cases of Blaster and Soundwave, who turn into cassette tape players. These modes really serve no purpose, since Soundwave and Blaster can still play recording from their tape-soldier minions while in robot form.
** This issue was spoofed on an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' which featured a clip of an unknown transformer criticizing Megatron's battle plan. Megatron replies "I'm taking this from a robot who turns into a Canoe?", to which his critic replies "when there's a battle on a gently moving river, you'll want me."
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' has an episode where the babies watch a superhero show called ''Mega Hyper Heroes'' and act out an episode of it -- Tommy playing the shapeshifting Changeling, Phil and Lil playing Spitball Boy and Dotted Line Girl, and Chuckie playing the part of Stinky (who smells as strong as two babies). Who turned this into HeartIsAnAwesomePower by being able to beat the big bad just from his stench, when she had VillainSue-d her way into taking out every other character's powers. Probably played straight for Dotted Line Girl.
-->'''Lil:''' How did you see me? I'm just a dotted line!\\
'''Angelica:''' Any idiot can [[VisibleInvisibility see a dotted line]].
* Referenced and spoofed in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends''. ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} and Odie end up in a superhero cartoon. The hero team includes {{Expy}}s of Cyclops and Beast, a superstrong woman... and Curdman, who can manipulate cottage cheese ("all the good superpowers were already taken") and is "laughed every year at the superhero Christmas party." But he later earns self-confidence by discovering his powers work with yogurt. [[spoiler: He also ends up helping Jon get rid of the yogurt salesman that was about to scam him during the B plot]].
* Odd in ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' had a special power in the early part of the series in which he could see tiny snippets of future events. However, the power came at random, [[YouCantFightFate functioned as an absolute vision]], and once resulted in him getting taken out by [[TheGoomba a Kankrelat]] immediately following a vision. While reprogramming the avatars of the Lyoko Warriors in the later season, Jérémie noticed the uselessness of this power and removed it, much to Odd's disappointment. He isn't useless, though -- he has the only projectile weapon of the group until Aelita gained energy blasts, and even then his could fire faster and more accurately. He also has cat-like agility, {{wall crawl}}ing and a personal {{deflector shield|s}}.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', Dexter and his friends are playing a tabletop RPG called Monsters and Mazes, and Dexter is stuck with the least useful power: burrowing.
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'':
** One episode features a number of mutants who gained their powers by being born and/or raised near an industrial site. Among the many varieties of mutant is an accountant born next to a banana plantation who can transform into a banana. That's it, he just turns into a banana. He isn't proud of it either.
** [[VillainousHarlequin Quackerjack's]] "power" is his "wackiness", and apparently, that actually counts as a super-power, because Nega-Duck is able to absorb it in the episode where he steals the powers of the Fearsome Five. Of course, what ''truly'' makes Quackerjack a dangerous villain is his arsenal of lethal toy-based weaponry, some of them on the level of AppliedPhlebotinum, such as a TimeMachine resembling a giant toy top -- and he wouldn't be able to come up with such diabolically clever inventions if he weren't at least a little crazy, so there's something to be said for "wackiness" after all.
* In ''WesternAnimation/WorldOfQuest'', the magician-in-training Anna specializes in bringing inanimate objects to life. In the beginning, no matter what spell she tries to do, she ends up bringing things to life by accident (although considering she brought A MOUNTAIN to life and then it helped them in a fight, even though the fight was almost over, it might not be so lame). After a while, it seems she has started to be able to do other spells, but animating stuff is still about 80% of her powers. Although, being a parody of fantasy campaigns, most characters are pretty one-sided. Way just shows the way, Prince Nestor can only rarely shoot some energy balls but usually just sucks in a fight, Grair only flies... and most of the other characters only fight. But considering most of those can actually fight well, only Nestor would count as lame.
* The rather obscure franchise ''WesternAnimation/StoneProtectors'', about a group of very untalented musicians who gained super powers from a bunch of {{Mineral MacGuffin}}s has some examples. They all gained stronger bodies, but each also gained an additional special ability. One guy became a skilled samurai, one a wrestling expert with super strength, and one became a skilled soldier who could turn anything into a weapon. THEN we have the guy who gained skill at [[RollerbladeGood using in-line skates]] and the guy who gained the ability to climb things. They also all gained actual musical talent, which, while helpful for a band of crappy musicians fighting music hating enemies is not the most awe inspiring power.
* ''WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim'':
** The cartoon has one episode with a new superhero auditioning for the Galatic League of Superheroes. Her power is to spontaneously combust whenever she sings. Sadly, she does not possess the ability to control or withstand her own flames. When one character asks what use that is, another simply replies, "Well, at least it's better than Lower Back Pain Man." The scene then cuts to Lower Back Pain Man himself, insisting that he'll be okay in a minute.
** It's hardly unique to these two, either. Jim is the main hero in the universe because, honestly, most of the other superheroes available are pathetic. Jim may be a {{Cloudcuckoolander}}, but he is MadeOfIron, has SuperStrength, and carries a ray-pistol with enough of a punch to destroy spaceships. The only other superheroes we've seen who approach him in competence are the CuteMonsterGirl Princess Whats-Her-Name (SuperStrength, being an ActionGirl and generally smarter and more levelheaded then Jim), the Mighty Hamsternator (who has [[StomachOfHolding Cheeks of Holding]] and maybe SuperStrength), and Peter Puppy (whose power is not having a SuperpoweredEvilSide that comes out whenever he's hurt, scared or angry, as it typically only wants to attack Jim, but being intelligent, rational and levelheaded). In contrast, the other heroes of the universe include the Space Crickets (actual insect-sized crickets that ride on space-bikes and carry laser pistols), Whooping Cough Boy (a permanently sickly teen whose coughs are gale-force blasts of wind), A Shadow (an elderly man with a preternatural knack for making shadow puppets), Mr. Forehead Being (a man with an oversized cranium and two ugly arms growing out of his head), Zantor (a normal-looking bald man who can make his toupee hover in the air by straining hard), and Johnny Dactyl (a nerdy man who dresses up like a humanoid pterodactyl and is such a momma's boy he still lives with her and does whatever she says).
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', the second SuperheroEpisode had Heloise become [[BubbleGun Trouble Bubble Girl]]. Jimmy and Beezy laugh...until Heloise shows her powers off.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Unicorn ponies can use magic (most notably telekinesis) and pegasus ponies can fly and control weather (and walk on clouds and such). We need WordOfGod to even know that the "regular" ("earth") ponies also have some kind of a special power, some kind of connection with the land, meaning plants and animals and such. In case of the main characters, for Applejack this seems to involve being good at picking apples, and for Pinkie Pie it doesn't have any apparent manifestation, though she has her own set of what [[BreakingTheFourthWall could be called powers]] derived from being [[FunPersonified unnaturally cheerful]]. Applejack is far from useless in a dangerous situation, but it isn't because of the apples (though she ''can'' use them as [[EdibleAmmunition projectiles]]); it's just because [[BadassNormal she's just that tough]]. Ironically, it's Fluttershy, a pegasus, who at least once makes good use of being a FriendToAllLivingThings (theoretically normally associated with Earth ponies) to calm a dangerous monster. This all said, it's obvious the situation came about when Pinkie Pie's and Fluttershy's original concepts were switched from Pinkie being the pegasus and Fluttershy the earth pony.
** These "earth powers" finally appear more impressive in "Hearth's Warming Eve", where a story from the past when the different types of ponies lived apart and grudgingly exchanged services reveals that the earth ponies, though appearing poorer and dirtier than the unicorns and pegasi, were the only ones who could grow enough food to feed all three societies.
** Applejack has been shown on occasions to be rather strong for a pony her age (her human counterpart has even been shown to lift a table with one arm that needed two boys to carry). Whether this applies to merely Applejack or is a connection to her being an earth pony as to be said as no other ponies has been shown to carry an odd sense of strength minus her brother who towed a house along when in a love-struck stance. Cheerilee, an earth pony ''elementary school teacher,'' actually smashed her way through walls, doors, and barricades (in the same LovePotion episode) to get at Big Macintosh. Ms. Peachbottom, an earth pony ''middle-aged tourist,'' also got a juggernaut moment like that. Pinkie's sister Maud can pulverize boulders into dust with her bare hooves. Because of moments like that it has long been generally accepted that earth ponies are stronger -- finally explicitly stated in the season four finale.
** In addition to that, we find that unicorn magic isn't all it's cracked up to be: every pony has a special talent that his or her "cutie mark" personal symbol is based on, and a unicorn will have ''one'' magical ability in line with their special talent. Twilight Sparkle, whose special talent ''is'' magic, is one of a kind - outside [[PhysicalGod the princesses]], the strength and variety of her abilities is far from typical, maybe even ''completely'' unprecedented. Rarity's spell is to find gems (the kind that make clothing prettier, not the kind that make you super-rich.) and we've seen it in action ''twice.'' Trixie basically creates special effects, making her stage performances that much snazzier (something Rarity also did, once.) Also, unicorn telekinesis has never been seen moving anything heavier than ponies of other races easily carry (again, unless you're Twilight or an alicorn. Or if more than one unicorn was moving it.) In a combat situation, you'd probably rather be as strong as Cheerilee than have your average unicorn's single-use magic.
** Princess Cadance, in spite of being an alicorn princess, has amazingly specialized magic: Love magic (this is likely having to do with [[ExecutiveMeddling Lauren Faust having meant her to be a unicorn]]). Mostly used for mending broken hearts, she does however turn her talent into HeartIsAnAwesomePower when she uses her love for Shining Armor to power up his bubble shield magic. She's been seen using other spells more often lately, though.
** It is worth nothing that the series as a whole averts the whole idea of this trope: "Heart" (specifically, Friendship through the Elements of Harmony) is ''the strongest force in the entire series''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyAndFriends'', the 80s series, also gives unicorns single-use magic - the most useless-seeming is Fizzy with her bubble powers. However, WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer was in full effect, and the ditzy, childlike pony was actually the ''best'' at figuring a way to make her power useful. However, the basic unicorn ability is ''teleportation.'' However, its usefulness is {{Nerf}}ed by the fact that you can only teleport through open space - even a ''net'' is too much. Teleportation is most useful in that series when cheating at hide-and-seek.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SabrinaTheAnimatedSeries'' Harvey's comic book superheroes {{lampshade|Hanging}} their own lame powers (including the villain). They include Gazebo Boy who turns himself into a gazebo to trap people in, Mega Girl with "Atomic Tantrum Power" (though that's arguably more effective than she makes it out to be) and Shoe Horn who has gadgets that appear to be monster shoes. There's also Calamari Queen who can shoot squids out of her hands (though it's helpful when the artist runs out of ink necessary to finish the story).
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', Will's power is literally Heart. While the 4 other girls have elemental abilities, Will merely controls the [[TransformationTrinket Heart of Kandrakar]] that turns them into their guardian forms, making her basically useless once the battle actually starts. This is averted later in the series when she gains lightning powers. This is only true in the cartoon -- in the comics, she has the ability to talk to devices that use electricity (which ''sounds'' like it falls under this trope, except that it can make appliances work with no source of power ''and'' it allows her to talk security systems into ignoring her) and fire energy blasts. In the show she doesn't get the like until season two. In both series, the electric power turns out to be part of something bigger: "Absolute Energy" in the comic and "Quintessence" in the show is the power of ''life itself'' and the ''strongest'' element. However, [[BigBad Nerissa]] has the same power and a few decades more practice...
* In ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'', Tecna's specialty is technology. Compare to the other main cast members, whose powers include music/sound (Musa), nature (Flora), stellar energy (Stella), a liquid element similar to water (Aisha), and the power of the source of all good in the universe (Bloom), all of which have been played to devastating effect in various parts of the series. It's never come up as a major benefit for as long as Tecna's been in the series (which is probably why she's never gotten her own individual episodes, or even drawn the ire of any villains unless it's against the whole group), and for most of the first season her only combat spell was an energy shield that covered her arm ("Digital Firewall"). Most of the time she is used more for her intelligence (and she's not even the best at that, at least when it comes to schoolwork) and acting as tech support for the rest of the group instead of doing anything involved with her element.
* In ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' there was Mekanek; his power, as he explains it in ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse2002'', "I can stretch my neck and look at stuff." Of course, he was always kind of lame compared to the other good guys, but as the quote shows, he was sadly aware of his limitations in the more modern version. In the same episode he said that, his ability [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman proves very useful]], and a [[YouAreBetterThanYouThink pep talk from He-Man]] at the end gives him some confidence.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': B'Wana Beast was specifically called out on this in a series that gives Aquaman no crap. His power ([[MixAndMatchCritters merges two animals into a single creature that he controls]]) isn't actually that useless, and even ends up becoming a plot point, but most characters in the series find it weird, impractical, and gross... except [[Comicbook/{{Shazam}} Captain Marvel]], who thinks [[FreakyIsCool it's really neat]].
* This was [[InvokedTrope done intentionally]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' episode "Super Zero". After watching a superhero cartoon that was big on ProductPlacement (for yogurt) Billy wanted Grim to make him into a superhero; however, when asked what powers he wanted, he wanted to be green, and to squeak (yup, that's what he said) and to be able to shoot yogurt out of his armpits. (Mandy convinced Grim to give him some {{Stock Super Power}}s like SuperStrength and the ability to fly, preferably as far away as possible.)
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' episode "Nuthin' Special," Buttercup vainly tries to show off a power she can call her own, only for Blossom and Bubbles to duplicate it. Defeatedly and defiantly, she sticks her tongue out at them, curling it as she does. Blossom and Bubbles are dumbfounded by this and try to curl ''their'' tongues, to no avail. Nobody else in Townsville can either, which overjoys Buttercup to no end. Her sisters and the narrator don't see what the fuss is about since it's not a power per se, but Buttercup still finds victory in being able to do something nobody else can.
-->'''Narrator:''' That's it? ''That's'' her special power? It's lame!
* While the ''Franchise/{{Ben 10}}'' franchise has quite a lot of characters ([[VoluntaryShapeshifting or forms]], in the hero's case) being shining examples of HeartIsAnAwesomePower, supervillain Nyancy-Chan from ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'' is quite infamous in the fandom for being ridiculously weak. Her sole ability is to control felines, which ''could'' have been an actually useful ability in another setting. Unfortunately for her, she lives in the Ben 10 universe, where the hero has possibly the most overpowered MultiformBalance in fiction and takes on alien invaders on regular basis. [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman The only time she was allowed to be even close to a threat was when he accidentally turned into the single feline form of his arsenal]].
* Wheeler of ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|AndThePlaneteers}}'' actually ended up just useless as Ma-Ti, the {{Trope Namer|s}} himself. On the surface having a flamethrower available to use at will sounds like a fantastic power... until you realize that he's on an edutainment show that is very strictly monitored by [[MoralGuardians broadcast standards and practices]], and thus he too was never allowed to use his power to its full extent.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edDGGenzxmw This guy]] has super strength. He worked as a smith in England during '70s but he uses it now to... crack nuts with his fingers!
* A documentary aired on the Discovery Channel that examined people with savant syndrome and super-human memory featured a man who, after being struck by a softball at a young age, gained the ability to remember the day of the week and the weather conditions of any date following the incident. His crime-fighting career has yet to take off.
* And just to add insult to injury, mathematician [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Horton_Conway John Conway]] ''also'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_algorithm has that power]], but still gets to be one of the world's greatest living mathematicians.
* There is an {{Urban Legend|s}} that Jaqueline Priestman could change TV channels without touching a remote or the TV because [[ArtisticLicensePhysics her body had a larger than normal voltage]]. Several equally silly UrbanLegends attribute similar powers for similar nonsensical causes to various other people.
* Some people have more taste buds on their tongue than most people, making them "supertasters." Their power is disliking foods that have very strong or lots of different flavours. Alternative forms of these make great sommeliers.
* The Vice President of the United States of America is supposed to be the second most powerful job in the US government, right? But usually the only thing he does that isn't ceremonial is cast tiebreaking votes in the Senate. Unless the top spot suddenly becomes vacant, VP is a pretty powerless position. The office of VP was even used as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians (as the job for handpicked successor at the time was Secretary of State), and quite often the VP was kept in the dark about important things, such as what was going on while the nation was at war. This has seriously backfired a few times, like when the unwanted politician (UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt) inherited the top job, or when UsefulNotes/JohnTyler suddenly gained it despite only being expected to scoop up southern votes. It's a case of CommonKnowledge. The President was never intended to be the "most powerful job in the US government" nor the Vice President be the "second most powerful job." The executive branch was set up to be the ''weakest'' branch of the government. The purpose of the executive branch is to enforce the laws. However, UsefulNotes/AndrewJackson realized the veto power given to the president when he believes a law is unenforceable was a valuable bargaining chip, which every president has since used to pass their own agendas. The only reason the Vice President's office exists is to create a clear line of succession to a person that has no major duties in the government. [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} That, and protect the space-time continuum. Read the Constitution]]. The Vice President was, until the passage of the 12th amendment, awarded to the loser of the Presidential election. The lack of power was by design, in those days. Though by "loser," it was less often the candidate of the opposing party, and instead the candidate of the SAME party. Electors voted for two candidates, and one elector would abstain from voting a second time. Then they realized this was dumb, and changed it so that the Vice President would be on the same ticket of the President. The irony of this is, the House Speaker is ''third'' in line for the Presidency, and ''his'' job has ''far'' more formal responsibilities than the Vice President.
* Two rare diseases, Naegeli syndrome and dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis, cause people to have no fingerprints. This can cause lifelong problems with background checks and other identification-related tasks.
* Some people who have had their corneas replaced with plastic corneas can see slightly farther into ultraviolet.
* Some women have a genetic mutation that allows them to see a fourth color of light, probably yellow, as it's sensitive to wavelengths between red and green. It gets worse: the why of the mutation that means only women can get the 'power' means their male children run a high risk of colour-blindess.
* A few people, such as the Egyptian-born [[http://www.damninteresting.com/retired/hadji-ali-and-the-regurgitators/ Hadji Ali]], have been "gifted" with a talent for voluntary regurgitation, i.e. the ability to swallow and then upchuck various items and substances at will. About the only use any of them were ever able to make of this admittedly visually impressive ability was a career alongside sword swallowers and the like in circus sideshows--[[NauseaFuel and for best results, not during their dinner shows]].
* Pick up the latest copy of the ''Literature/GuinnessWorldRecords'' and turn to the "Human Achievements" section; the record holders there hold records for things that are certainly ''interesting'' (like say, wheelbarrow racing, shaving, and riding non-stop on a merry-go-round) but not exactly stuff that looks good on a resume.