[Batman ziplines away]
The Joker: “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – Batman (1989)
Superheroes don’t always come with superpowers. Some aren’t lucky enough to fall into radioactive vats or get shot to another planet by their parents. Some discover an artifact or create some technological doodad that gives them powers.
So which superhero gadgets are the best? Let’s find out.
Skrull Queen: “In spite of all that you’ve done to our empire, He loves you.”
Spider-Man: “Uh… he who?”
Skrull Queen: God.
Nick Fury: “Yeah? [points to Thor] Well, my god has a hammer!” – Secret Invasion
Thor’s killer app is Mjolnir, a hammer made from the magical metal Uru. It helps Thor control lightning, smashes anything short of the Hulk, and its forging accidentally killed the dinosaurs. Even better, Mjolnir gives its wielder Thor’s powers on top of being a really strong hammer.
The Catch: Much like the Sword in the Stone, Mjolnir can only be wielded by those it deems worthy. Mjolnir would be much higher on this list if it wasn’t judgmental. Stupid god hammer, refusing to let me use it to smite my enemies.
4. Lantern Power Rings
[Explaining a rogue Lantern’s threat]
Green Lantern: “Did you know I can split atoms with this? [the League recoils] It wouldn’t take a lot of energy, just a lot of effort. The problem would be containing an atomic blast. But if you aren’t interested in containing the blast in any way…” – Green Lantern #132
A Lantern’s ring is incredibly powerful. They can create energy constructs, force fields, fire energy blasts, and possess advanced A.I. And that’s before you add in the various abilities the different Lantern Corps have in the rings bearing their colors.
Red Lanterns can vomit napalm-temperature blood. Agent Orange turns anyone he kills into an energy construct slave. Blue Lanterns supercharge Green Lanterns and can warp reality. The Indigo Tribe can channel other Lantern’s powers. Finally, Black Lantern rings turn their wearer into nearly indestructible zombies. Color me impressed.
The Catch: Lantern Rings only have so much energy and need to be frequently recharged. They can also abandon their wielder if someone more attuned to the ring’s emotion is present. The villain Sinestro once lost his Yellow Ring of Fear to Shaggy and Scooby Doo in a crossover.
3. The Venom Symbiote
Venom: Oh, you don’t need to wear a mask with us, Pete! We know all your secrets – because we were you.”
Spider-Man: “The Symbiote… but I destroyed it!” – Spectacular Spider-Man “Nature vs. Nurture” (Season 1, episode 13)
The Symbiotes are an alien race that bonds with a host, giving them the knowledge and powers of their previous hosts. A Symbiote bonded to Spider-Man during the story Secret Wars. It enhanced his powers, but grew obsessed with him. I’m talking Fatal Attraction levels of obsessed.
Spider-Man eventually realized the Symbiote was making him homicidal and seemingly destroyed it. Fortunately, the Symbiote survived and bonded to Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy in Venom), who also hated Spider-Man. The Symbiote gave Eddie all of Spider-Man’s powers and memories. The unlikely pair became Spider-Man’s deadliest enemy, Venom.
The Catch: Symbiotes feed on a chemical found in ridiculous amounts of chocolate… or human brains. Hard to be a hero when your choices are robbing Willy Wonka’s factory or eating literal brain food.
2. The Staff of One
Darkhawk: “Look at the Wicked Witch, with her black clothes and her dark arts.”
Nico: “Take another step, Tin Man, and I unleash a lot worse than flying monkeys.” – Runaways #21
The Staff of One is an ancient relic that can cast any spell once. Trying to recast a spell causes something random to happen, like teleporting the user to the Sahara or conjuring kittens. Or maybe blowing up the person next to you. So saying fireball three times won’t cause a series of attacks, but fireball, ball of fire, and Pyrofuego will.
Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano in The Runaways) stole The Staff of One from her parents after learning that they were evil. Originally limited to only casting a spell once, she soon learned the synonym recast trick. She is as overpowered as that sounds.
The Catch: Only Nico and her family can summon the staff. In addition, the summoner must bleed to call it. You probably won’t use it often.
1. The Infinity Gauntlet
Thanos: “I now hold omnipotence. What should I do with such almighty power? The answer to that is actually quite simple: anything I want.” – The Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet is the greatest superhero artifact and our number one choice.
This powerful artifact is a glove that holds the Infinity Gems. The Gems give their wielder control of space, time, power, the mind, the soul, and reality. Any one of the Gems makes the wielder an Avengers level threat. All six create a god.
Thanos killed half the Marvel Universe with a thought when he first got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet. He then defeated an army of superheroes and cosmic beings before fighting Eternity, the personification of the Marvel Universe. Thanos won and was only stopped because of narrative convenience of turning him into an idiot.
Is it any wonder that Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Gauntlet serves as the culmination of the MCU’s third phase in Infinity War?
The Catch: The Infinity Gems are given to the most powerful beings in the universe to prevent anyone from using them. You want the Gems, you gotta get through them first. And sorry multiversal conquerors, but the Infinity Gauntlet only works in its home universe.
What superhero gadgets are in your utility belt? Leave a comment.