ByFred Blunden, writer at
I've read way too many comics and watched too many movies to function in normal society.
Fred Blunden

When it comes to powerful artifacts, the various comic book universes are littered with them. If you want to rule the universe, go grab a Cosmic Cube to mess with reality or assemble the Infinity Gauntlet to become a god-like being. But these things aren’t weapons as such and often change hands quicker than an old car on eBay. Seriously, has ANYBODY held on to the Infinity Gauntlet or Ultimate Nullifier for any length of time?

Some superheroes almost become defined by their weapons. In fact, many just aren’t that super without them. What’s Iron Man without the armor? Well, he’s a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, but he can’t go toe to toe with Thor unless he’s wrapped up in the best tech money can buy. Some weapons are totally grounded in reality — The Punisher and The Red Hood carry conventional firearms, for instance.

But, what are the most powerful weapons? Which ones would you want to carry if your city was invaded by Parademons or The Chitauri? Taking into account their raw destructive power, sheer awesomeness, reliability, and the user’s skills in wielding them, here are the 16 most powerful superhero weapons, ranked (Not including prosthetics such as The Winter Soldier’s Arm, but just actual honest-to-goodness weaponry).

16. Captain America's Shield

[Credit: Marvel Studios]
[Credit: Marvel Studios]

While Cap has carried a few different shields in his adventures, it’s the circular, nearly indestructible one (although it gets broken all the time) that is his most famous and most powerful.

Originally fashioned by the scientist Myron MacLain in an attempt to create an indestructible metal alloy akin to the legendary Adamantine (Used by Hercules as the material for his Mace), Cap’s shield is one of a kind. MacLain used Vibranium, steel, and an unknown third element, but was unable to replicate the experiment due to the exhausted state he was in at the time.

In the hands of most men, Captain America’s shield is merely a frisbee, and one that would be ineffective in combat. In Cap’s hands, it can be thrown in a manner that makes it a superb weapon, often bouncing off several solid objects before hitting the target.

15. Spider-Man's Web-Shooters

When Peter Parker was bitten by the infamous radioactive spider that granted him his powers, he was already something of a scientific genius and on the path to becoming the next Reed Richards. He chose to augment his powers by crafting a set of wrist-mounted “web shooters,” principally to swing between the skyscrapers of Manhattan. In addition to their use as a mode of transport, Spider-Man began to use them to “web-up” bank robbers and the like, leaving them for the police to arrest once the webbing had dissolved.

Over time, Spider-Man has used his scientific mind to repeatedly augment the web-shooters. He has crafted webbing so strong that it can hold The Rhino, and has developed insulated webbing for battling Electro. His most recent web-shooters are even voice-activated, allowing him to alter their settings for a “web-barrage,” firing multiple strands of webbing at multiple or fast-moving enemies.

14. Wolverine's Claws

While Wolverine’s bone claws are a natural part of his mutation, they were coated in Adamantium by the Weapon X project and became a far more powerful weapon. Capable of cutting through almost anything (other Adamantium objects and Captain America’s shield are notable exceptions) Wolverine’s claws are a perfect close-range weapon. Originally, Wolverine’s claws were forged from pure Adamantium and were added by the Weapon X project, but this was later retconned (Because, comics) and Wolverine was seen popping his bone claws as a young man in Canada.

While having three tiny swords coming out of your hands (which hurt like crazy every time they are used) might seem less effective than a long-range weapon, Wolverine is by his very nature a brawler who prefers to be in the fight, not removed from it. A close-range weapon, and one that can pierce almost any armour, is instantly lethal to most enemies.

13. Green Arrow's AND Hawkeye’s Bows

[Credit: DC Comics / Marvel Comics]
[Credit: DC Comics / Marvel Comics]

While Green Arrow and Hawkeye may have different approaches to crime fighting, they both have a similar attitude towards archery. Instead of just using regular arrows — which would be ineffective against many superpowered foes — they both have a variety of specialist “trick arrows” that have an assortment of different uses. Green Arrow has famously used an arrow with a boxing glove on the end to knock out an opponent instead of killing them.

Each archer has used several different bows. Hawkeye once claimed recurve bows were “cheating,” but has since used them from time to time. As each archer has had their respective equipment broken from time to time, neither has one which could be considered the “definitive” article. And while the trick arrows set them apart from simply being mere archers, it’s the man using the weapon that is the true weapon. For instance, Green Arrow has fired two arrows simultaneously, each landing in the barrels of different guns, while performing a flawless backflip.

12. Star Lord's Element Gun

[Credit: Marvel Comics]
[Credit: Marvel Comics]

While more recent comic books have drawn Star-Lord’s gun to resemble the one he uses in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, his element gun is a thing of beauty. Initially, Star-Lord carried twin Kree submachine guns. In time, he became more famous for using the Element Gun left behind by his father, Emperor J’Sonn of Spartax, when J’Sonn left a pregnant Meredith Quill behind on Earth. As the gun was linked to J’Sonn’s DNA, only he or immediate family could fire it.

Star-Lord kept the weapon with him when he went into space as an adult (his comic book history is VERY different to his on-screen counterpart) and it became known across the universe.

More than a mere blaster, the Element Gun can fire lightning bolts, generate wind vortexes and high-pressure jets of water. When Star-Lord is in a more playful mood, he can dial down the ferocity of these effects and use the gun as a mere squirt gun. At full power, the lightning blasts have given even Thanos reason to dodge.

11. Wonder Woman's Lasso Of Truth

Originally named The Magic Lasso of Aphrodite, Wonder Woman’s lasso is also referred to as the Magic Lasso or Golden Lasso. Despite being created at a time when lie-detection technology was a real-world invention, the Lasso was actually created as an allegory for female charm and the way it makes men compliant.

The lasso is incredibly strong and can be used as an effective weapon on non-organic beings as well as its primary power of forcing anyone it captures to obey and tell the truth. In combat, Wonder Woman can use the lasso as an effective long-range weapon as it can lengthen to suit the user’s desires. It is so strong that Wonder Woman once used it to contain the explosion of an atomic weapon. It has also been shown to hold both Superman and Captain Marvel/Shazam, who both have god-like strength.

10. Ghost Rider's Chain

[Credit: Marvel Comics]
[Credit: Marvel Comics]

Like Wonder Woman’s Lasso, Ghost Rider’s Chain can change length in response to the mental commands of the user. While it shares many other similarities with Wonder Woman’s most famous weapon, including the ability to manipulate the mind and soul of anyone caught in its grip, it is also able to do many things the Lasso can’t.

Its primary offensive power is to be used as a flail. Ghost Rider uses his supernatural strength to smash his opponents but with the additional power of using “soul fire” to burn their soul as well as their bodies. The chain can also separate into multiple parts, each able to morph into shuriken-like weapons that can strike multiple enemies at once. It can re-form and harden into a staff that Ghost Rider can use to impale enemies as well as beat them. Perhaps the most brutal use of the chain is when Ghost Rider swings it so fast that it becomes essentially a saw-like weapon capable of cutting through vast swathes of enemies at once.

9. Silver Surfer's Board

[Credit: Marvel Comics]
[Credit: Marvel Comics]

In the hands of most people, a surfboard isn’t exactly a weapon. But then, The Silver Surfer isn’t most people. His board is composed of the same silver coating as the rest of his body as was part of the “gift” of the Power Cosmic bestowed upon him by his former master, Galactus. The Surfboard has a telepathic link to the Surfer and functions as an extension of the Surfer’s body.

The board allows the Surfer to travel at impossible speeds, far in excess of lightspeed, and can move through the fourth dimension of time. While the board is close to indestructible — and has been used as a shield (most famously in the "Planet Hulk" storyline) — it has been destroyed on a few occasions. At one time, the mutant Cable destroyed it using his immense telekinetic powers, but it was easily reformed by the Surfer.

8. The Witchblade

[Credit: Image Comics]
[Credit: Image Comics]

The Witchblade is a sentient weapon and the offspring of the primal forces of the universe, The Darkness and the Angelus. It can take many forms but typically appears as an armored gauntlet that can generate bladed weapons at will.

The Witchblade reacts to threats, and as such, isn’t always fully controlled by the wearer. Supernatural threats in particular make it behave erratically. Due to it being both alive, and male, it typically prefers female hosts to bond with and has had several women serve as its host over the years. It has existed since pre-history and boasts Cleopatra as one of its many hosts.

While inactive, the Witchblade can appear as a jewel-encrusted bracelet that then becomes either a gauntlet, or full-body armor depending on the threat it senses. It can form swords, shields and even wings. It has even demonstrated the ability to fire energy blasts and other projectiles. Like Thor’s Mjolnir, the Witchblade is only able to be wielded by someone worthy. In this case, it is the weapon itself that makes this decision. The Witchblade can even revive the dead and heal the wearer.

7. Iron Man Armor

Iron Man built his first armor out of necessity, as he was being held prisoner by terrorists in a foreign land. Upon saving himself and returning home, he refined his armor and became a superhero. More than a mere suit of armor — or prosthetic as Stark has occasionally claimed it to be — the suit is insanely powerful and has made the former weapons manufacturer able to take on gods toe to toe.

In addition to protecting the wearer from harm, the suit can fly at supersonic speeds (some versions can achieve space-flight) and possesses incredible strength. The primary offensive power of the suit comes in the form of the palm-mounted “Repulsor Blasts” — concussive-energy blasts that can punch holes in tank armor and take all but the most powerful of super-beings off their feet. Iron Man can often channel the suit’s power through the chest plate to fire a “Uni-Beam,” a more potent version of the repulsor weapons.

Some versions of the suit, in particular the “Variable Threat Response” or “War Machine” (later given to James Rhodes) armor, use conventional weaponry such as bullets and missiles.

6. Aquaman’s Trident

In the pre-New 52 continuity, the Trident used by Aquaman was granted to him by Poseidon as the rightful leader of Atlantis and protector of the high seas. Since the New 52, the Trident’s origins have been revised to be part of a set of weapons forged by the first king of Atlantis and is thought to be the most powerful of the seven (although this is disputed).

In either continuity, the Trident has more or less the same power set. It is completely indestructible and can pierce even the most powerful of beings, including Superman and even Darkseid. In fact, when fighting Darkseid, it was the only weapon capable of making the evil god bleed!

Beyond its power as a melee weapon, the Trident can manipulate water, fire bolts of powerful magical energy and act as a focus for other external magical sources of power. Aquaman himself wields it with unmatched skills and, in his hands, it is a potent weapon as well as a symbol of his authority.

5. Stormbreaker

[Credit: Marvel Comics]
[Credit: Marvel Comics]

All but identical in its power to that of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, Stormbreaker is an Asgardian weapon used by the Alien super-soldier Beta Ray Bill. Bill once fought Thor over ownership of Mjolnir, having proven to be one of the few beings worthy of lifting the hammer. He won, claiming Mjolnir as his prize. However, Odin stepped in and granted Beta Ray Bill Stormbreaker instead. A hammer capable of all Mjolnir can do — including manipulating the weather, generating vast amounts of lightning and bequeathing the user Thor-Like powers of strength — Stormbreaker is all but unbreakable.

Crafted by the Dwarf Eitri, Stormbreaker has all of Mjolnir’s powers, but none of the limitations. Like Mjolnir, it can only be lifted by those who are worthy, although only Bill, Thor and Odin have shown to do so.

4. The Eye Of Agamotto

Unlike the Eye of Agamotto seen in the 2016 Doctor Strange movie, the one from the comic books is not an Infinity Stone. It is, however, an incredible source of mystical power, and can only be used by the Sorcerer Supreme.

The Eye of Agamotto is one of the most powerful mystical artifacts in Marvel Comics, and one left behind by the first Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto. It is believed to be sentient, although it does not communicate its thoughts directly. It does, however, see everything, and confers this all-seeing ability upon its wearer. When Doctor Strange was no longer worthy of being the Sorcerer Supreme — having used too many dark spells for a time — the Eye abandoned him and chose Brother Voodoo as his replacement.

In addition to being able to see all things — including through mystical disguises and even the veil of time — the Eye can bestow upon its wearer powers akin to the most powerful of telepaths, allowing the user to create an astral form. It can also focus and magnify magical power to an unlimited degree.

3. The Helmet Of Fate

'Legends of Tomorrow' [Credit: Disney ABC TV]
'Legends of Tomorrow' [Credit: Disney ABC TV]

The Helmet of Fate is one of three mystical items crafted by the Lord of Order Nabu, alongside the Amulet of Anubis and the Cloak of Destiny. Worn together, the wearer is granted unlimited mystical power and becomes Doctor Fate, defender of the world from all mystical threats.

The helmet serves as a magical repository and, even without the presence of Nabu, is the most powerful magical artifact in the DC universe. It bestows upon the user near-unlimited power including: telekinesis, flight (via telekinesis), damage resistance, super strength, and sorcery-based powers of mystical energy projection, spellcasting, astral projection, and even dimensional manipulation.

In short, there’s little the Helmet of Fate can’t do. Only the purity of heart of the wearer, combined with Nabu’s influence, prevent it from being used as a weapon of mass destruction on a multiversal level.

2. Mjolnir

“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

While there have been several people found worthy — Steve Rogers, Beta Ray Bill, and Jane Foster among them, — is primarily associated with the God of Thunder, Thor.

Used primarily as a tool to bludgeon opponents with its awesome power, Mjolnir can be used to channel lightning as well as open dimensional portals. Forged in the heart of a dying star, the hammer is exceptionally dense and therefore incredibly hard to damage. It also has the enchantment that it can only be used by those deemed “worthy.”

As the inscription states, the hammer gives the user the power of Thor. This is due to the hammer possessing a portion of the Odinforce, greater than the Power Cosmic given to Galactus, making Thor more powerful than the Silver Surfer. This power has manifested as enhanced strength (class 100 plus), flight and dimensional transportation.

Due to the link between Thor and the Hammer, its greatest powers have only ever been used by him. The God-Blast for instance, and the Anti-Force are planet killers.

1. Green Lantern Ring

Often called “The most powerful weapon in the universe,” the rings worn by the Green Lantern Corps are fueled by sheer willpower and can be used for multiple effects. No upper limit to the ring’s power has ever been fully established, usually the limits are due to the wearer’s imagination and willpower. Whatever the wearer imagines, the ring constructs out of pure energy in the form of solid light. This can take the form of simple weapons such as swords or guns, to planes, tanks or space craft. It can even manifest as a simple, yet powerful, energy blast direct from the ring. When active, the ring encases the user in solid light, which can protect the wearer from harm as well as provide life support while in space or another inhospitable environment.

The rings are also highly advanced computers able to talk, translate and advise the user on a course of action and provide any information the Guardians of the Universe know, which is pretty much everything.

Got a favorite comic book weapon we haven’t mentioned? Maybe you think Silver Samurai’s sword deserved to make the cut? Let us know in the comments!


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