Top 10 Superheroes with Disabilities
Ah, superheroes. We love them a big huggy bunch. One thing that makes the world of superheroes so neat is the range. There’s a great deal of diversity in the market nowadays (not that we couldn’t have some more diversity, but we’re moving in the right direction). Disabled and handicapped heroes are still on thin ground, however, possibly due to the inherent physicality of the genre. Anyone who has seen the Special Olympics should understand that this doesn’t have to be a barrier, and here are some superheroes who prove it.
10. Artie Maddicks
Quite often the mutants in X-Men comics have abilities that complement their personalities or limitations. Artie Maddicks is one of the youngest mutants in the series and either is unable or does not speak, but is able to communicate using his mutant power. He can create psychic images in the air for people to see. This leaves him communicating only with images, which leads to some creativity on his part. He’s a kind-hearted kid in spite of the challenges he’s faced running with the X-Men.
More of an associate than a full member of the X-Men, Forge’s ability to build any technological device he can imagine has given the team of mutants more gadgetry than they’ll ever have use for. It’s also served his own needs admirably following his injuries during the Vietnam War. While serving in the military Forge sought revenge on his fallen comrades by using his mystic powers to summon demons. Immediately regretting the decision he called in an airstrike on his own position to destroy the demons, resulting in Forge losing his right hand and leg. He built himself mechanical prosthetics to replace both limbs before returning to civilian life.
8. Nick Fury
Blind in One Eye
Possibly one of the best known names on this list due to his regular appearances in the cinematic franchise. Having been a feature of the comics for a long, long time, his perchance for secrecy means that few people know the reason for his signature eye-patch. During WWII he fought on the front lines with the Howling Commandos (also Captain America and Wolverine), and always brought his troops back alive. He himself took a grenade to the face at the end of the war, leaving his face scarred and blind in one eye. It certainly hasn’t slowed him down, as he went on to become the head of SHIELD.
7. Captain Marvel, Jr.
Not everyone’s origin story involves a villain named ‘Captain Nazi’ being punched into your fishing boat by a superhero, and yet…here’s Captain Marvel, Jr. Whilst on a fishing trip with his grandfather, young Freddy Freeman got hit with, well, Captain Nazi. His grandfather died and Freddy wasn’t expected to survive the night. Instead Billy Bastion, the human form of Captain Marvel, took him to the wizard Shazam. Although unable to heal him completely, Shazam did pass on some of Captain Marvel’s power allowing him to become a teenaged Captain Marvel. Whilst in human form, Freeman is reliant on a crutch but as Captain Marvel, Jr. he is able to walk.
Although they don’t hold the same status as The Avengers and the X-Men, Canadian based Alpha Flight have their fair share of fans. One of the original members is Eugene Judd, otherwise known as Puck. Initially written as a dwarf with exceptional strength and acrobatic abilities he was retro-actively turned into a regular man who was cursed with immortality and dwarfism. Puck has been fleshed out with an impressive backstory involving Ernest Hemingway and bullfighting. He remains a popular and iconic member of Alpha Flight.
Initially something of a controversial decision, leaving Barbara Gordon without the use of her legs was actually a measure to save the character. Originally introduced to the superhero world as Batgirl, Gordon was shot through the spine by the Joker during ‘The Killing Joke’ story line as part of a plot to drive her father, Commissioner Gordon, insane. Having survived the attack, Barbara Gordon was now confined to a wheelchair. She took on the name of Oracle and turned her substantial computer skills towards building a communications network for the Bat-Family, in addition to maintaining her martial arts training to physically defend herself when needed.
4. Agent Venom
Remember that dick-faced bully who picked on Peter Parker when he was in school? That was Flash Thompson and while he was a pretty two dimensional thug in the movies and early comics. He went on to be a more fleshed out character when he joined the military and went to fight in the Middle East, coming home without his legs. This didn’t end his career, rather he went the superhero route. Under the guidance of SHIELD, Thompson was bonded with the alien symbiote that Spider-Man baddie Venom gets around with. The suit provides him with legs, and as a team they then joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Vic Stone was an athletic teenager who often felt neglected by his parents. They spent their time deeply involved in their cybernetics work. When he visited them at their lab he arrives just as a mishap with a dimensional portal occurs, killing his mother and leaving Vic mutilated. Upon waking Vic discovered that his father had saved his life by equipping him with a series of robotic prosthetics. Replacing all of his limbs and a large portion of his face, Vic was initially horrified but eventually become a leading member of the Teen Titans and, later, the Justice League.
2. Professor X
During his run as a writer at Marvel Stan Lee enjoyed creating characters whose physical powers were in contrast to their personality or vice-versa. See the Beast, appearing as a savage creature while housing a scientific and caring mind or the timid Hulk becoming an uncontrollable monster. One of the clearest examples is Professor Xavier, leader of the X-Men, physically unable to walk but being the most gifted and powerful telepathic mind on the planet. Having his spine broken by the villain Lucifer as an adult, Xavier has often been bitter about his disability, seeking technological means to overcome his limitation, sometimes to his detriment.
Taking out the top of the list is one of the longest running heroes on the list, and one who has become a more household name thanks to a certain awesome Netflix series. Although Daredevil spends his time performing death-defying acrobatic stunts among the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen and battling mystical ninjas hand-to-hand he is completely blind. The accident that took his sight also grants him super-powered senses that allow him to get around with no troubles. Being blind also helps keep his hide his secret identity, as no-one is going to suspect the blind lawyer Matt Murdock is a vigilante ass-kicker by night.