Despite the fact that Marvel comic books have often been the home of spectacular storytelling, the fact remains that many people enjoy their superheroes in large part due to their powers. After all, who among us hasn’t fantasized about wielding incredible abilities at one point in their lives? For that reason, a hero’s abilities can sometimes have as much to do with their popularity as the storylines they are a part of.
One thing that many casual Marvel fans may not realize is that many of the superpowers their characters possess have changed over the years. In some cases, Marvel superheroes have become more powerful as they got older while in others the exact opposite is true. With that in mind, it is time to a look at this list of 7 Marvel Heroes who became weaker with age and 8 who got stronger.
15 Stronger: Hawkeye
Best known for his eagle-eyed abilities with a bow and arrow, Hawkeye has always been simply incredible with his weapon of choice. Still wielding his trusty bow and arrow in the future timeline known as Old Man Logan, Hawkeye had become similar to Daredevil as he lost his sight but retained his marksman abilities.
14 Weaker: Spider-Man
During a storyline known as Reign, a future version of Spider-Man is devastated since Mary-Jane lost her life because of spending so much time with her radiated husband. Deeply depressed as a result, Spidey gives up wall-crawling for a long time and by the time he dons his costume once again his skills have greatly diminished.
13 Stronger: The Invisible Woman
During the early days of this famous costumed character fighting crime, it was believed that her powers were limited to being able to turn herself invisible. Since then, she has become wildly more powerful as she can now do things like create force fields, turn other things invisible, and she can even create invisible weapons as well.
12 Weaker: Deadpool
During the comic book Spider-Man/Deadpool #26, a peek at the Merc with a Mouth’s future showed him living at the same nursing home as his wall-crawling hero. Still wanting to get back to his old fighting ways, Wade donned his old costume again which led to him realizing that he had lost much of his strength and his reflexes had slowed down.
11 Stronger: Iron Man
Right off the hop, Iron Man belongs on this list because Tony Stark is brilliant enough that he has constantly been upgrading his trademark armors’ weapons for many years now. On top of that, during one future timeline in the comics, he trained tirelessly to become the Sorcerer Supreme which meant he’d mastered science and magic.
10 Weaker: The Black Panther
At one point in the comics, after battling a mind-controlled Iron Fist, The Black Panther suffered what was revealed to be an inoperable brain aneurysm which his powers helped him to survive. However, only 10 comic book issues later, T’Challa meets a future version of himself who is dying from the aneurysm which implies his powers were lessening.
9 Stronger: Hulk AKA The Maestro
In the early ‘90s, Marvel had The Hulk travel 100 years into the future where he discovered that the planet was being ruled by a being known as The Maestro. As it later became clear, The Maestro actually was Bruce Banner but he’d become even more powerful after absorbing the radiation emitted by a nuclear blast.
8 Weaker: Wolverine
As revealed in the comic book storyline Old Man Logan and the movie Logan, Wolverine’s incredible healing factor weakened over time to the shock of many fans. This meant that not only could others seriously hurt him during any fights he took part in but even letting out his famous claws had lasting consequences.
7 Stronger: The Punisher
Initially introduced as nothing more than an expert combatant who knew how to fight and was an expert marksman, The Punisher was one of Marvel’s most realistic characters. Since then, Frank Castle became something similar to Ghost Rider, he bonded with Venom, he was resurrected as an avenging angel, and he became a Frankenstein style monster.
6 Weaker: Groot
Typically portrayed as physically formidable, Groot may come across as peaceful most of the time but getting on his wrong side was an awful idea. However, during an Avengers comic book storyline that took the team into the future, they came across Groot but he no longer could move aside from saying his trademark three words.
5 Stronger: The Silver Surfer
In a future version of the Marvel Universe, Thanos became so powerful that he ruled supreme after dispatching almost all of the company’s notable heroes and villains. In fact, he’d even taken the life of Galactus. However, The Mad Titan feared The Silver Surfer in part because he was worthy enough to wield Mjölnir which gave him all of Thor’s powers.
4 Weaker: Captain America
First off, it could be argued that Steve Rogers belongs on this list because he started out as a weakling only to be injected with the super-soldier serum which made him a superhero. On top of that, that serum has been removed from his body against his will several times, which made him not only lose his enhanced abilities but also resulted in him aging decades all at once.
3 Stronger: Thor
Despite his rebellious side, in the comics, Thor eventually took his father's place on Asgard’s throne. As King Thor, he gained access to all of Odin’s vast powers and took control of “Rune Magic”. That meant he was functionally immortal, he could warp reality, minds were his to control, and he could manipulate energy, dimensions, and space-time.
2 Weaker: Dr. Strange
Unlike the other characters on this list that became weaker over time, Stephen Strange’s downgrade in powers came all at once and was of his own choosing. At one point forced to fight The Hulk, Dr. Strange tapped into a dark force in order to win. As a result, he came to realize he’d been corrupted so he gave up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and all of the powers that come with it.
1 Stronger: Jean Grey AKA The Phoenix
To say that this character became more powerful over time is such a huge understatement that it is laughable. Introduced as someone who could move things with her mind, Jean Grey then became linked to The Phoenix force which led to her becoming one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel universe.