Superheroes and Villains Wiki

Types of superheroes[]

From Wikipedia

In superhero role-playing games, such as Hero Games' Champions, Green Ronin Publishing's Mutants and Masterminds, Cryptic Studios' MMORPG City of Heroes and Champions Online, superheroes are formally organized into categories or archetypes based on their skills and abilities. Since comic book and role-playing fandom often overlap, these labels have carried over into discussions of superheroes outside the context of games:[9]

  • Acrobat: A hero whose combat skills rely on their incredible acrobatic and gymnastic abilities (like Black Widow or Dick Grayson, and Spider-man, The Beast; not to be confused with the strong and durable Paragons or Bricks). Non-Powered types are usually also Martial Artists; it is often the primary power of super-types.
  • Aerials: A hero whose primary power is flight. These types fly either through physical means (wings like Angel, Falcon, or Hawkman) or through special means (levitation or energy propulsion like Nova, Banshee, or Cannonball). Many Heroes who are extraordinary flyers may also count as Aerials, but as a subset of their other powers.
  • Alien: The hero's abilities are just a standard aspect of their native race. Superman, Martian Manhunter, Invincible, the Skrulls, etc.
  • Armored Hero: A gadgeteer whose powers are derived from a suit of powered armor; e.g., Iron Man, Alcan foil-wrapped pork stock warrior, Steel, the Beetle, the Fixer, and Kamen Rider. Power Levels differ dramatically!
  • Artificial Intelligence: The hero is a free-willed artificial being of some sort, usually (but not always) with the Robotic trait, and often a Super-Genius/Gadgeteer. The Vision, Ultron, Red Tornado (original), and Brainiac fall under this trope.
  • Aquatic: A hero whose abilities either come from living underwater (like Aquaman, Namor, and Aspen Matthews from Fathom) or from being trained to adapt to underwater conditions (like the Sea Devils). Hydrokinesis (water control, like Mera) falls under Elementalist.
  • Artifact Wielder: The hero is empowered by a fantastically powerful mystical or cosmic item. The various non-Thor Corps wielding Mjolnir or their Weapons; the Green Lantern Corps, Quasar's Power Bands, the Nova Corps, Dr. Fate's Helmet, and the Moonstone are all examples of this type.
  • Avatar: The hero is empowered by a divine/magical/cosmic source and given great power. The Juggernaut, the Phoenix, and the Ghost Rider, along with Firestorm, Swamp Thing, and Red Tornado. Note that gods who empower themselves are not Avatars... although the members of the Thor Corps could be seen as Avatars of Thor via Artifact use of their Weapons/Mjolnir.
  • Blaster: A hero whose main power is an energy-based distance attack, usually a "energy blast"; e.g., Cyclops, Starfire, or Static.
  • Brick/Tank: A character with a superhuman degree of strength, invulnerability, and endurance and, for males, usually an over-sized muscular body; e.g., The Hulk, She-Hulk, The Thing, Colossus, The Tick, and Lobo. Almost every superhero team has one member of this variety, a point X-Factor's Guido Carosella noted when he took the code name "Strong Guy" at a reporter's suggestion that this was his role in the team.
  • Elementalist: A hero who controls some natural element or part of the natural world. Storm (weather), Magneto (magnetism), Swamp Thing (vegetation), the Human Torch (fire), Iceman (ice), Terra (stone), Mera (Water), Crystal (manipulation of classical elements) and Static (electricity).
  • Feral: A hero whose abilities come from a more bestial nature. This bestial nature could manifest itself either partially (like Wolverine), fully (like Beast), or through therianthropic dual natures (such as the supernatural werewolf Jack Russell, or the mutant werewolf Wolfsbane). Such characters commonly possess varying degrees of superhuman physical capabilities (strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes, healing, etc.), heightened physical senses, fangs and claws. Another commonality for a feral hero is a sense of self hatred of their bestial nature (Wolverine's "berserker fury" or Jack Russell becoming a mindless animal.)
  • Gadgeteer: A hero who effectively uses special equipment or weapons that often imitate superpowers, but often have no super powers themselves; e.g. Batman, Green Arrow's trick arrows, Iron Man, Steel, Moon Knight, Green Hornet, and Night Owl for non-Powered sorts, and Spider-man and the Wasp, for powered sorts.
  • Ghost: A hero with 'ghost' type powers: either invisibility (such as Invisible Woman); or intangibility (such as Kitty Pryde or Vision); or both (such as Martian Manhunter,  Deadman, Ghost, and Danny Phantom).
  • Government Agent: A hero (or sometimes antihero) who is recognized by his or her occupation as a government soldier, or special service agent of any agency on the planet such as Nick Fury, Black Widow, Men in Black, Maria Hill, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Phil Coulson - see also Registration Acts. This category can also include heroes who used to be an agent; e.g., The Punisher.
  • Healer: A hero who is able to quickly recover from serious injury; e.g., The Crow, Wolverine, the Hulk, and Deadpool. This may also be a hero whose primary ability is to heal others; e.g., Elixir.
  • Leech/Power Drainer/Replicator: Someone who can temporarily or permanently drain, steal, or neutralize the powers of others, and/or copy/take them for their own use. The most commonly seen users of this are Rogue of the X-Men and Superman's foe The Parasite, with The Mimic being the standard bearer for non-draining Replication. It is often considered one of the most broken and useful of powers.
  • Illusionist: This is a specific style that can be a subset of multiple other powers often used by villains, and so it stands alone. The character specializes in misleading illusions, hallucinations, or similar distractions as their primary power set. The primary examples are Mysterio and Mastermind, but often used on the magical side by the likes of Loki and many other mages, and many mentalists.
  • Mage: A hero who is trained in the use of magic; e.g., Doctor Fate, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Magik, Zatanna, Raven, Satanna, John Constantine. Harry Potter is sometimes also cited as an example of such.[10]
  • Marksman: A hero who primarily uses more mundane projectile weapons, typically guns, bows and arrows, or throwing objects with incredible precision and skill; e.g., Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Bullseye, and numerous gunfighter/knife-thrower types. Often crossed with martial artists (such as the Black Widow). Generic gun-users blasting stuff are not Marksmen; Gambit might qualify, but he actually uses his powers to make the cards a threat. Note that many heroes can throw things with great precision, but it is the PRIMARY form of attack for Marksmen.
  • Martial Artist: A hero whose physical abilities are sometimes related to some sort of martial art, e.g. judo, taekwondo, etc. rather than superpowers. Their hand-to-hand combat skills are phenomenal. Some of these characters are actually superhuman or empowered by an external source (Iron Fist and Captain America), while others don't have superpowers, but are extremely skilled and athletic (Batman and related characters, Black Canary, Shang Chi, Raffles the Gentleman Thug, Wildcat, and multiple characters from Watchmen).
  • Mastermind/Detective: A genius with combat/social/planning skills, Masterminds and Detectives are opposite sides of the same coins. Some can apply their genius to combat directly (running combat scenarios mentally), or can simply manipulate and control those around them, often likened to playing games of chess through others. John Constantine, the Batman (family), the Riddler, the Joker, The Kingpin, Captain America's ability to lead/plan, Sherlock Holmes, and so forth fill this category, using brains to perform or solve crimes, pull off schemes, and make the world dance to their designs.
  • Mecha/Robot Pilot: A hero who controls a giant robot, a subtype common in Japanese superhero and science fiction media; e.g., Megas XLR, Power Rangers, Big Guy, Mazinger Z, and Gilbert Ratchet.
  • Mentalist: A hero who possesses psionic abilities, such as telekinesis, telepathy and extra-sensory perception; e.g., Professor X, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Psylocke, and Martian Manhunter. Note that a pure Telekinetic is usually a Blaster; having telepathy/empathy is usually the defining trait of a Mentalist.
  • Molecular: A hero with the power to manipulate molecules, thus being able to alter the laws of physics (such as Doctor Manhattan, Firestorm, Molecule Man, Sersi, Silver Surfer, and Captain Atom). This is a very high-end and powerful ability.
  • Paragon/Flying Brick/Penultimate/Superman archetype: A hero who possesses the basic powers of super-strength, flight, and invulnerability. They are considered to be one of the most powerful of the superhero types: consisting of such heroes as the extraterrestrials Superman and Martian Manhunter, the magically fueled Shazam/Captain Marvel; the Sentry, Invincible, Supreme, etc. They are often considered the standard bearers of the superheroic age. Thor, Namor, and Silver Surfer are also Paragons.
  • Precog: A powerful subtype of mentalist, being someone who can predict the future, often in a limited time span. Destiny is one example, as is Chronos, and Madame Web. This can be used in a passive self-benefiting manner, or actively in combat, seeing what an opponent is about to do and pre-empting them.
  • Possessed: A hero who harbors another entity inside of him/herself; e.g., Etrigan the Demon, Ghost Rider, Spectre.
  • Rider: A hero who rides either a powerful vehicle, like Ghost Rider or the Silver Surfer; or rides a unique creature/pet, like Shining Knight. Johnny Thunder's T-Bolt effectively made him a Rider/Mage.
  • Robotic: A hero whose own nature and skills are derived from technology, with a physical edge. This category includes remote controlled robots (Bozo the Iron Man, XJ-9, Box), cyborgs (Vic Stone, RoboCop, Deathlok) and androids (The original Human Torch, Red Tornado, The Vision).
  • Screamer: A Blaster who can emit powerful sonic blasts through screams; e.g., Black Bolt, Banshee, Paul Atreides, or Black Canary. Sure, let's lump Klaw in there, too, although he doesn't scream.
  • Sensor: A specialized hero with expanded senses. Daredevil is the prime example, but The Sentinel on TV and many 'feral'-type heroes have this. Note that metaphysical senses, like Spider-Sense, ESP, or Clairvoyance, fall under Mentalism. This is just physical senses, with DD's radar sense considered an expansion.
  • Sentai Team: A style more commonly used in Japan, focuses more on a group of superheroes with the same/similar origin story rather than a single hero. Notable teams are Gatchaman, Super Sentai, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Shapeshifter: A hero who can actively manipulate his/her own body to suit his/her needs, such as stretching (Plastic Man, Mister Fantastic, Elongated Man), or disguise (Changeling/Morph, Mystique, Skrulls). Other such shapeshifters can transform into animals (Beast Boy), alien creatures (Ben 10), or inorganic materials (Metamorpho). Bodyswapping to a more powerful form (i.e. Shazam) is more Avatar or Transformer.
  • Size Changer: A hero who can alter his/her size; e.g., the Atom (shrinking only), Colossal Boy, Apache Chief (growth only), Hank Pym, The Ultramen, The Wasp.
  • Slasher: A hero whose main power is some form of hand-to-hand cutting weapon, either devices - such as knives or swords (Elektra, Blade, Katana) - or natural, such as claws (Wolverine, Sabertooth, Cheetah). Those able to form psionic blades such as Psylocke can be placed in this category.
  • Soldier: The hero has a broad set of abilities based on military service, often developed to an incredible degree. This ranges from using both guns and martial combat to command, tactics, vehicle usage, operating all types of military equipment, preplanning, and so on. Captain America, the Punisher, Peacemaker, Red Guardian, etc. They often end up in command of super teams because they know how to take and give orders.
  • Speedster: A hero possessing superhuman speed and reflexes; e.g., The Flash, Quicksilver, Northstar, Velocity (comics), and Dash Parr.
  • Super Genius: A hero possessing superhuman/superior intelligence or intellect regarding the sciences/engineering; e.g., Brainiac 5, Mister Fantastic, Tony Stark, The Fixer, The Wizard, Sivanna. Often crossed with Gadgeteer and Mastermind/Detective.
  • Teleporter: A hero who is able to teleport. Some teleport due to their own power (Nightcrawler), others via telekinetic energy (Blink and Mysterio II), others via unknown or mystical means (Vanisher).
  • Time Manipulator: A hero possessing either a natural, magical, or science-based control of time. This could be either time travel, like The Doctor or Waverider, the ability to make time stop like Tempo, or both, like Hiro Nakamura (who can also teleport), or The Brown Bottle.
  • Totemic: The character is the representative of a powerful primal entity who channels its power, in some ways its avatar. The various Spider-men, Animal Man and the various Beast avatars, and a Hawkman run all dipped into this area.
  • Transformer: A hero who can adopt a singularly more powerful second (or third, or forth) form with massively greater powers. The main difference from Shapechangers are that these forms are fixed and predictable in what they confer. The classic example is The Hulk, but any werewolves, Goku from Dragonball, Shazam, Ghost Rider, and Colossus are all examples.
  • Vampire: The hero has some or all of the classic powers of a vampire, and may or may not be a vampire themselves. Morbius and Blade are the most cited examples, with Dracula the classic on the villain side.

These categories often overlap. For instance, Batman is a master detective, super genius, martial artist, and gadgeteer, and Hellboy has the strength and durability of a brick and some mystic abilities or powers, similar to a mage. Wolverine fits into the slasher, martial artist, and healer categories, and Spider-Man fits into the acrobat, gadgeteer, and Totem groups. Very powerful characters—such as Superman, Thor, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Dr. Manhattan, Namor and the Silver Surfer—can be listed in many categories. Superman can be considered a "Paragon/Brick/Blaster" (using heat vision, arctic-breath and super-scream) and even a Supergenius in the Silver Age; Shazam is a "Paragon/Mage/Avatar" (the Power of Shazam), Thor is "Paragon/Elemental/Artifact Wielder" (weather manipulation) and Silver Surfer is a "Paragon/Rider/Molecular" (by the Power Cosmic), or perhaps even the Martian Manhunter ("Paragon/Ghost/Blaster/Shapeshifter/Size Changer/Mentalist/Mastermind"). The Fantastic Four consists of a Shapeshifter/Supergenius/Gadgeteer (Mister Fantastic), a Ghost/Mentalist (Invisible Woman), an Elementalist/Aerial(the Human Torch), and a Brick (The Thing).