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Weaksauce Weakness / Comic Books

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Weaksauce Weaknesses in comic books.

  • Pick someone, hero, villain, or somewhere in between with electricity based powers, chances are their weaknesses are, among other things, rubber and water.

  • In the earlier Aquaman comics, the King of the Sea himself, for all his prowess in the ocean, could not be out of the water for more than an hour or he'd dry out and die. He probably got this from Namor the Sub-Mariner, whom he was initially a Captain Ersatz of. Aqualad has a less-extreme version of this weakness in Young Justice. There isn't any set time limit, but he succumbs to exhaustion and dehydration far quicker than his teammates after they get lost in the desert.
    • This weakness kind of came and went over the years largely based on plot convenience. In the New 52 series, DC mandated that Aquaman could be out of the water indefinitely with no ill effects, presumably because editorial realised that Arthur Curry dying if he didn’t regularly go underwater yet also growing up on land unaware of his Atlantean heritage was kind of a plot hole. He almost died of thirst in the desert once, but, well, wouldn't you?
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  • One version of Ocean Master, Aquaman's arch nemesis, gets his powers from a magical trident he traded his soul for, and when he isn't holding it he feels intense pain. Even The Joker finds this funny:
    "Sounds like the deal of the century, Flipper! And everyone says I'm the crazy-"
  • One Archie Comics strip feature an alien race who can hypnotize people at will, but immediately dissolves when in contact with mustard.
  • This was once parodied in the British comic The Beano, in which the character Calamity James is rescued by a superhero and offers him a Jelly Baby by way of thanks. Guess what the hero's one weakness is!
  • Echo from Daredevil and New Avengers possesses photographic muscle reflexes which makes her nearly unbeatable in hand-to-hand combat. She's also deaf, which means she is unable to hear her opponents. Daredevil takes advantage of this by fighting her in a locked, darkened room, rendering her helpless.
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  • The Darkness, phenomenal cosmic/demonic power. But can't operate under a 60 Watt light bulb.
  • Marvel's Valkyrie, in her early Defender years, was unable to fight against any foe that was feminine, even if she was alien or a robot. The Enchantress specifically places this in her as a failsafe if she turned against her.
  • In one story from Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink, the Planet Eater Ginormous spares Earth after he learns that it's high in carbohydrates (from all those fields of grain).
  • Eclipso's weakness during the Silver Age was blinding light, which would give control back to Bruce Gordon.
  • Empowered is a self-admitted Fanservice exploration of this.
    • The main character is a curvy babe who derives her powers from an extremely skintight suit, that's laughably easy to rip and weakens her powers dramatically when damaged. Her tendency to end up naked (or nearly so) makes her the laughing stock of the local superhero community. Her tendency to get Bound and Gagged while doing so makes her a living fetish. The suit's ability to be torn seems to fluctuate with Empowered's confidence level. Since she has zero self-confidence anyway and the regular humiliations related to her crappy suit only compound them, it is very rare that she has the confidence to use her powers properly. But when she does, she's a one-woman army.
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    • It's been shown that the weakness is not even due to the suit, but to Emp herself. At one point while training Ninjette secretly rips the suit so Emp doesn't notice, but she's utterly unaffected until the damage is pointed out to her. Other occasions have her becoming an unstoppable dreadnought even when the suit is in tatters. In essence, Empowered has the weakest of weaksauce weaknesses: she's only gets weak when the suit is damaged because she thinks she is.
    • Emp doesn't get the distinction of the weakest-sauce weakness, either... That honor goes to The Lash, a supervillain with a debilitating phobia of fabric stores due to childhood trauma. (He likens it to being put in a sensory deprivation tank.)
    • Also, while not a weakness per se, on two separate occasions a supervillain has shown themselves to be unable to tie a knot, which is a vital career skill in this setting. Think about it: being the only villain in the world not being able to tie up the one superhero with a reputation for always ending up bound and gagged by the lowliest of thugs.
  • Epic Superteenage Wasteland may feature one of the most pathetic of all weaknesses; Eric Ardor has the standard Flying Brick powerset, but it completely craps out on him if he so much as looks at an attractive girl.
  • The DCU also had Firestorm, whose weakness is organic materials. All of them. He can't affect them with his power, or he'll suffer painful consequences. So...he could be foiled by a stick. Or a leather wallet.
  • Gladiator, Praetor of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Strong enough to shatter planets. Able to fly at many times the speed of light. Can withstand the heat of a star or the blast of a supernova. Has Eye Beams of unimaginable heat, and they can see particles on a subatomic level. Truly a being of such infinite power can only be defeated by... making him feel bad about himself. Somewhat justified in that his powers are explicitly psionic/mental in nature. If he believes that they won't work or that he can't complete a task with them, they won't work and he won't be able to complete that task. This means you don't actually need a weapon powerful enough to beat him, only something which you can convince him is a weapon powerful enough to beat him, which Rocket Raccoon exploited. Alternatively, bringing anything to the table that can disrupt psionic powers works just as well, as Nova showed when he beat Xenith — another Strontian — in just one punch after messing up her psionic powers with a headbutt from his psionic-dampening helmet.
  • Green Lantern is infamous for having silly weaknesses:
    • Almost every Green Lantern from The Silver Age of Comic Books onward had the color yellow as his main weakness. Any criminal could waltz past him by wearing a yellow suit and stealing only gold, and shoot yellow painted bullets from gold plated guns. That being said, a clever person could find a way around it. Such as using the ring to pick up something not made of yellow, and hitting the criminal with it. There have been various explanations such as programming bugs or a deliberately-induced Fantastic Fragility, but the currently-accepted explanation is a combination of yellow representing fear, the enemy of the Heroic Willpower energy the Lanterns wield, and the fact that a yellow fear monster had been imprisoned in the Central Battery, tainting the power source. The weakness can now be recognized and overcome, and adaptations tend to downplay it into almost nothing.
      • One Green Lantern story subverts this, however. A yellow robot attacks the Justice League. GL responds by picking up mud from a nearby swamp and dropping it over the robot's body, completely coating it. With the yellow hidden, he quite easily rips it open.
      • The yellow weakness was especially weaksauce in The Silver Age of Comic Books because of the fact that every other villain seemed to emit some kind of "infra-yellow radiation", contain a "yellow compound", be surrounded by "invisible yellow" or have some other completely ridiculous piece of pseudoscience in place to stop Green Lantern destroying them in five seconds flat. For those curious: "infra-yellow", in a sane world, translates as orange.
      • This was a very situational weakness, as sometimes Hal's constructs interacted with Sinestro's yellow ones, creating a blue haze that negated both. Other times, Lanterns responded by using variations of Car Fu with whatever they could throw at an opponent, or even remembering that an opaque construct around a target meant only green light got through — and turning any yellow inside the construct into green due to reflective properties of the color yellow.
      • The yellow weakness was used in a clever fashion in "Ganthet's Tale", a Green Lantern graphic novel by Larry Niven and John Byrne. Hal Jordan's opponent in this one was a renegade Guardian, who could wield Green Lantern energy himself. The solution was for Hal to fly away from the Guardian at near-light speed, and while flying fire a bolt of energy from his ring. By the time the energy bolt connected with the Guardian, it red-shifted, its visible light wavelengths compressing down the color scale, from green to yellow.
    • The original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, was almost as bad — his weakness was wood. Since so few people knew it as later Green Lanterns became famous, however, he in many cases seemed more powerful than the new Green Lanterns because, for example, the Sinestro Corps yellow power rings couldn't even make him flinch.
      • This was parodied in the Justice League Golden Age Affectionate Parody episode "Legends", with his stand-in version "Green Guardsman", who had a weakness to aluminum. Either way, you've got a superhero who could appear on the news after having been beaten to death with a baseball bat — and considering that one of his foes was the Sportsmaster, who did wield a baseball bat... it's pretty darned weaksauce.
      • It didn't hurt that wood, while very common when Alan Scott first hit the scene, had become rarer in civilization by the time The Silver Age of Comic Books hit. Villains in The DCU tend to decorate in metal, plastic, and Zee Rust by then, which means even less to block that strange ring with.
      • This actually becomes a problem for him in the Elseworlds story Kingdom Come. Like most of the other original heroes, Green Lantern Alan Scott's powers have progressed to a ludicrous level - he keeps watch over the Earth in a massive emerald Space Station, constructed himself a suit of impressive armor, and carries around a sword made out of pure energy - all from his power ring. None of it helps very much against Green Arrow in the final battle, since this Oliver Queen's arrows are made out of wood.
      • This was the main reason that Solomon Grundy was such a threat to Alan. Being drowned, soaked in and resurrected in a swamp, his body was filled and covered with plant matter, rendering the ring all but useless in directly affecting Grundy (Swamp Thing even explained that Solomon Grundy was now a plant-based elemental of sorts like he was).
    • Occasionally, a story will tie both the yellow and wood weaknesses together somehow (or at least Lampshade both at once:
      • The Elseworlds story Superman & Batman: Generations Handwaves the odd Green Lantern weaknesses by having the Guardians explain that all weaknesses are mentally-imposed. Alan was weak to wood because a thug surprised him with a baseball bat and he assumed the ring didn't work against wood, while Hal was told that the rings were ineffective against yellow and thus added the weakness himself. Kyle, who gets his ring without hearing the explanation, lacks any weaknesses. (This is not, to be clear, how it actually works in continuity.)
      • Another story, detailing the ring's story and Alan Scott's backstory (for readers in The '90s, at least), the guardians, in a long story involving one of Earth's first Green Lanterns, retcon the weakness. Because he was almost killed by a yellow monster, the weakness was removed from his ring. He became mad with power, so the Guardians gave him the wood weakness so primitive humans could club him to death. However, instead of dying, he put his soul into the power ring and battery, which collided with a Meteorite, becoming the Starheart. Alan Scott got his ring from the Starheart. Seriously.
      • According to Word of God from Greg Weisman, Green Lanterns in Young Justice do not have a weakness to yellow and original Green Lantern Alan Scott did not have a weakness to wood either.
      • The absurdity of the Silver Age and Golden Age GL weaknesses was lampshaded in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold:
        Guy Gardner: You're supposed to be one of the most powerful Lanterns ever, but your ring is vulnerable to wood? What happens if a guy comes at you with a pointy stick?
        Alan Scott: The same thing that happens to you if he paints it yellow!
    • Outside of the Green Lanterns, when various other Lantern Corps were created, the Blue Lanterns were also given a major weakness. Blue Lanterns are incredibly powerful even by Green Lantern standards, but can't use anything but the bare minimum of their powers unless a Green Lantern is in the vicinity. The idea is that where the Green Lanterns use Heroic Willpower, Blue represents the power of Hope. Hope and Will reinforce each other, but just hoping for something alone won't do anything.
  • The short-lived hero Gunfire had the power to turn anything into a gun by charging it with explosive energy. Anything (except, oddly enough, an actual gun). Enter the Hitman story where Tommy defeats a future version of Gunfire by causing him to turn his own ass into a living grenade. Good times were had by all.
  • The Inhumans, genetic superhumans who have advanced technology and a civilization predating regular humans' by millennia, are done in by... pollution and germs.
  • Justice Society of America: Dr. Mid-Nite can only "see" in pitch black darkness and is otherwise blind without the specially developed goggles he wears. Dr. Mid-Nite II has enhanced enough hearing and smell that having the goggles snatched does not debilitate him in a fight.
  • Lanfeust:
    • In this setting, trolls are near-unstoppable hulking brutes with Super Strength. Their weakness? A crippling fear of water and getting wet. Since trolls are covered in coarse hair where live whole colonies of insects, and pride themselves of their flies, their stench and how dirty they are, the concept of getting clean terrify them. A mere drizzle will make them run like headless chickens in search of a shelter. Waha, the protagonist of the Troll De Troy spin-off, is a human reared by trolls and thus share this water phobia.
    • In the animated adaptation of Troll de Troy, there is also a flower whose smell instantly put trolls to sleep.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes
    • The Daxamites are almost exactly like Kryptonians when under a yellow sun. However, exposure to lead is fatal to them, even in trace amounts, and (especially true in the Silver Age) being moved away from lead doesn't cure them. Once the poison is in their system, it's not going anywhere. A notable instance of this example was when one of Superman's recurrent enemies/reluctant allies, Paragon, took out three Daxamites with a machine gun while they were distracted by a power trip. Brainiac 5 invented a cure for the lead weakness that's been given to both multiple heroic Daxamites and stolen several times by the villainous ones.
    • Daxamite vulnerability to lead becomes a plot point in The Great Darkness Saga when Element Lad transforms part of Daxam's atmosphere into lead to take an army of brainwashed Daxamites out.
    • Night Girl can only use her powers when she's not in direct sunlight as her powers are negated by the presence of ultraviolet radiation. This means she can be de-powered by a blacklight. There's a reason she was on the Legion of Substitute Heroes for a long time first.
  • Martian Manhunter: J'onn J'onzz and Miss Martian have a ridiculous amount of powers, yet they had a weakness to fire, making it quite easy to disable them. In the case of the older hero, this is because he saw his entire family — and species as a whole — die in a psychic plague that manifested itself as fire. He then buried the bodies of everyone on the planet. This makes his pyrophobia a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The first attempt to remove this weakness accidentally unlocked his Superpowered Evil Side. Though technically, it's not a weakness of fire, it's a fear of fire. In War World, Superman ignites the ground around J'onn and him to finish their brawl.
    Superman: My heat vision will ignite the carbon-laden ground around us, creating a ring of fire — the greatest weakness of all Martians!
    • In a likely reference to this, semi-obscure Marvel character Captain Ultra has a mess of Combo Platter Powers, but was introduced with pyrophobia so bad that he fainted at the sight of a cigarette lighter. He first appeared in a tryout for the Frightful Four, a group of Fantastic Four antagonists, which prompted a trapped Johnny Storm to advise them to keep him on—after all, when would they ever end up fighting someone with fire powers? Later appearances by him suggest he worked past it with therapy, leaving his main weakness to be that he's kind of an idiot.
  • The Mighty Thor:
    • Thor used to have a debilitating weakness: If he let go of Mjölnir for more than a minute, he turned into doctor Don Blake, who has a crippled leg (and presumably an acid tongue and a dry wit), and Mjölnir turns into a walking stick. Basically, House. This was removed years ago, which now makes Thor virtually invulnerable, though usually when Thor takes up a mortal guise, it comes back.
      • Other wielders of Mjölnir had this weakness restored to them. While Eric Masterson (later known as Thunderstrike) was a healthy human, Jane Foster was suffering from cancer and returning to normal lead to the cancer getting worse.
    • When he first appeared, Loki had one—he couldn't use his powers when wet/in contact with water. Against Thor, who could easily make it rain. No wonder this is ignored now.
  • Power Girl went through a single-issue Dork Age where she could be hurt by any "natural, unprocessed material", including the proverbial sticks and stones. This for a character who's on par with Superman and Supergirl. The negative reaction from readers caused it to never appear again. It was just that weak. During her JLE days she was also allergic to diet soda, causing fits of anger.
  • Another parody — Super-Ace, an alternate Ace Rimmer from a superhero universe appeared in one Red Dwarf Smegazine comic strip. While he had the full array of Flying Brick powers, his one weakness was... human flesh. So an ordinary Mook could punch him.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: The Nazi Vampire Gorilla is upset at the many weaknesses he has as a vampire: garlic, silver, religious symbols, sunlight. As a gorilla, he already finds it bad enough having to drink blood because gorillas are vegetarians.
  • Billy Batson/Captain Marvel says "Shazam!", the name of the wizard who granted him his powers, to change between his hero and civilian forms. This isn't really that bad, but his friend Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel Jr. has to say "Captain Marvel!" to transform—meaning that he not only has to be careful talking to Billy, but he can't even tell people his own code name without becoming powerless. He started going by "CM3" to fix this. In the first Titans Tomorrow storyline (which featured evil future versions of the Teen Titans), CM3 can also be depowered when a recording of his voice says "Captain Marvel!". This is played dead straight, as Batman (Tim Drake) uses a recording of CM3 revealing his secret identity to Tim to shut him down before CM3 can beat him into the ground.
  • The greater the power, the weaker the sauce! Marvel's latest and most prominent Superman pastiche is The Sentry, a "golden guardian of good" who's as powerful as he lets himself be. However, he's also agoraphobic — he can't stand being outside. If you also so much as remind him of his little Dark Side problem, he'll fly off to Saturn and cry. Or revert to human form. Or, if he's really unlucky, let the Void out — and suddenly things will look a whole lot better for the bad guys. One fancomic actually has him carrying around his entire living room whenever he wants to go anywhere. Iron Man once defeated him by forwarding his mail, more or less.
  • Obscure (and he's obscure for a reason) Batman villain the Ten-Eyed Man has eyes in his fingertips. (He was blind but his optic nerves were rerouted to his hands.'s a comic book, okay?) That means his weakness is TOUCHING LITERALLY ANYTHING. (He was originally defeated by being tricked into grabbing a potted plant. Not even a cactus like his Lampshade Hanging-filled cartoon appearance; there's pretty much nothing that it doesn't suck to have hitting your eyeball with any kind of force, after all.)
  • Spider-Man:
    • Venom. Weaknesses? Fire and loud noise. At one point, he's defeated with nothing more than a lighter (which raises the question of why Spider-Man doesn't just carry a $1.98 Bic lighter with him at all times). This varies Depending on the Writer. Carnage shares some of the same weaknesses.
    • Fan-favorite (yet sadly not used, ever) Toxin, Carnage's "child" however doesn't, what it does have is being very child like, (one point it refused to help its host because he yelled at it.)
    • All Symbiotes are vulnerable to intense heat and sound. The amount of their resistance varies depending on the Symbiote in question (Carnage's resistances dwarf Venom's) and, on a more meta-note, as mentioned Depending on the Writer.
    • Though it's actually justified in that the symbiotes come from a world with no atmosphere, and thus have no natural resistance to extreme temperature or noise because they'd never naturally encounter them. Even a few generations with them around and the weakness is bred away quickly.
    • Perhaps in response to claims of how silly his weaknesses are, the Ultimate version of Venom lacks the vulnerability to fire and sound. Instead, the only real threat to him is electrocution.
    • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus becomes almost completely helpless when his glasses get broken.
  • Static's nemesis Hot-Streak had the ability to conjure powerful fireballs which he could hurl at his opponents. The catch? His powers were friction-based, so he could only use them after running around (albeit at super-speed, which he possessed in his first appearance) and building up heat energy from his feet. Once Static realized this, he simply attacked from behind and immobilized Hot-Streak with metal fixtures from a playground, rendering him completely helpless. He was a much bigger threat in the cartoon adaptation precisely because the writers ditched the friction weakness.
    • Static himself gets completely shorted out if he is hit with water while powered up. He doesn't have this weakness in the comics.
  • In the Star Wars pastiche Steam Wars, the Quantum Dragoons (equivalents to Jedi and Sith) can manipulate probability to a variety of effects, most commonly teleportation- since there's a tiny possibility that they could instantaneously be somewhere else, they can manipulate probability so that tiny possibility becomes the most likely, and they instantly move to that position. When the Luke Skywalker Expy is locked in a prison cell, he explains that with the door locked, there's no possibility of him being outside the cell, so he can't just teleport out. You read that right, the only way to neutralise the teleporter is to lock him in a room!
  • Mr. Mxyzptlk is so powerful that he has no natural weaknesses. To make his fights with Superman more challenging, he gives himself one. Which one does he choose? Saying his own name backwards.
    • Superman: The Animated Series: Used hilariously, with an episode consisting of Superman using clever and creative ways of exploiting Mr. Mxyzptlk's "weakness", often without having to use any sort of super powers at all.
    • Post-Crisis it's a self-imposed weakness. In the Silver Age and Bronze Age, it was a natural aspect of fifth dimensional beings that saying their own names backwards sent them home. In the Golden Age, anyone (human or imp) who said Mxyztplk's name backwards would end up in the Fifth Dimension... or the Fifth Dimension attached to Earth-2, anyway.
    • Speaking of Superman, a cover of an underground comix subverted this trope for laughs. You see loads of bullets bouncing off him harmlessly...and a custard pie volley. Granted, it doesn't hurt him either...but his pride.
    • The Silver Age's Superman of the 30th (or possibly 24th) century, Klar Ken-T5477, was immune to Kryptonite, but vulnerable to seawater. This was apparently due to "a chemical residue left by a past atomic war", but later stories showed seawater on other planets had the same effect.
  • The first story of the 2011 relaunch of Swamp Thing features a kid villain named William Arcane. William's connection to the forces of Death (or The Rot) allow him to control all dead or decaying matter. This gives him immense power. The only problem is his fatal allergy to chlorophyll.
  • The sword in, umm, The Sword grants whomever touches it serious Super Strength, enough Super Speed to run on water and deflect bullets, and a powerful healing ability that can close gaping chest wounds and reattach limbs. Unfortunately, these only last for as long as the user maintains physical contact. Put it down to eat a sandwich or go to the bathroom and you're mortal again. At one point, protagonist Dara drops in the middle of a super-strength high jump (a natural reaction to being shot) and suddenly finds she's not landing, she's falling. Worse, go too long without touching the sword and any injuries it healed come back all at once.
  • "The Day Red Turned to Green", in Tales of the Unexpected #85 features giant mushroom-like aliens that can be harmed by anything red. The main character finds one of their "absorbo-sponges" while spelunking and anything red that he passes while carrying it turns green.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers G1 comic introduced the Scraplets, a race of small, mechanical pests that corroded any Transformers they infected. They can be defeated only by the "rare and legendary fluid" called water (which admittedly, was extremely rare on Cybertron - and they show up on Earth in the middle of the desert).
    • When it comes to weak weaknesses, you probably can't get any worse than Whirl from The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. As a victim of empurata,note  Whirl, despite being a former Wrecker and powerful fighter, was stopped completely in his tracks by an unlocked door simply because it had to be opened with doorhandles that his claws couldn't grasp. Cyclonus had to turn the handles for him.
  • Perun from The Ultimates is essentially a Thor wannabe... without the superhuman strength most Asgardians possess. Despite having a powerful hammer similar to Mjölnir, Perun is killed after an enemy sneaks up on him and quietly snaps his neck.
  • In The Umbrella Academy, Seance's powers only work when he's barefoot. He apparently collects shoes.
  • The best weapons to defeat WILQ – Superbohater are lame jokes, or lame words in general. He does whatever he can to prevent the villains from learning about this.
    • Wilq manages to disperse a leftist demonstration against the U.S. foreign policy by reading a few basic English sentences through a megaphone, finishing with throwing a hamburger sandwich at them.
  • X-Men:
    • Storm has complete control of the weather: in practice it gives her flight, superspeed, and the command of electricity, water, cold, and wind. So what's her weakness? Claustrophobia. If a writer wants to take her out of a battle, all they need to do is drop some rubble on her — and sometimes not even that much. In her early years, she had a Heroic BSoD when a villain only mentioned a word that made her think of enclosed spaces. (These days, trying to stick her in an enclosed space just makes her mad.)
    • Thanks to his adamantium skeleton, Wolverine cannot swim at all, causing him to just sink to the bottom.
  • Prism, a member of the X-Men villain group the Marauders, is a truly pitiful example that combines this trope with What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?. His mutant ability is that he is made of a crystal that can absorb and redirect light energy (like a prism) and is no more durable than glass. Yes, he is made of glass. His weaknesses include any sort of impact. Two of his four deaths (yes, he has died often) involve being thrown into a wall and being shattered by bullets.
  • Marvel villain The Absorbing Man can transform himself into anything he touches. He's also rather careless about how he uses this power. He's been defeated several times by becoming something that isn't very tough, such as water or glass.


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