The thought from most fans is that superheroes are untouchable. Whether they are born, created or thrust into the role of a hero, there is no way that they can be defeated. The trope of comics is that the good guys usually prevail in the end, even when things look the bleakest. In modern times, this is normally the case with current MCU and DCEU films. However, comics have shown the bleakest times with some heroes, and this normally comes when their clock begins to run out.
Not every hero is created equal, and most begin to age with time. Not all heroes are able to stop the clock, and many begin to get older and step out of their hey-day. However, some remain lucky and maintain their strength and powers with age, with some getting even stronger.
The real question is, how do the best heroes wind up in the end? Here are 9 Old Heroes Who Crumbled With Age (And 10 Who Got A Lot Stronger):
19 Stronger - Thor
Considering that Thor is already thousands of years old by the time most fans have met him, he may have already reached his peak by some standards. However, the best of Thor is yet to come as far as most fans are concerned.
Known affectionately as Old King Thor, a much older son of Odin was unveiled in various stages of Marvel comics. While the Thor that fans grew to love was "young" and impulsive, this Thor is much wiser. This growth and experience has also made him all the more dangerous to his enemies, especially considering that he hasn't lost any of his strength over the years.
18 Weaker - Batman
While Batman's detective skills have not left him during his old age, his strength certainly has. At his core, Batman is still Bruce Wayne, who is a vulnerable human. While so many other heroes have mystical powers backing them up, Batman has only ever had gadgets, muscles and money at his side.
No matter how much money Wayne has, he has always been vulnerable to old age. Once that hit him, it was clear that he was no match for his former foes. The Dark Knight Returns shows exactly what an old Batman would be like, and his strength makes him almost a shell of his former self.
17 Stronger - Dick Grayson
Batman may struggle as he ages as a hero, but the Boy Wonder has always had youth on his side. Beginning his superhero career in his teenage years, Dick Grayson is one of the younger heroes in the DC universe, which has allowed him to grow up in front of his fan's eyes.
Whether he is the youthful Robin or Nightwing, Grayson has been groomed as a superhero since boyhood. Once he becomes an adult - as shown in Batman: Reborn - he is even mature enough to take up the mantle as Batman. If he had not grown up and become stronger, there would be no chance he could become his own version of the Dark Knight.
16 Weaker - Wolverine
Old Man Logan is an unfortunate way to see the X-Men's favorite son. Following decades of kicking butt and taking names as Wolverine, his mutant healing powers finally begin to run out. While these healing powers have kept him alive through many generations, his clock begins to tick.
While fans would have loved for Wolverine to stick around forever in his original state, it is very interesting to see what happens when superheroes age. For Logan, this means losing his original quickness and strength.
15 Stronger - Superman
While it is proven that even supernatural and non-human heroes will lose their powers with age, Superman is the exception to the rule. In fact, he may be the one hero who increases their powers the most by the time he has reached "old age".
In the Kingdom Come stories, Superman has spent decades in his Fortress of Solitude after becoming disenfranchised with Earth. However, upon his return he may have aged, but he has actually removed his main weakness. His time spent aging in his fortress was spent absorbing solar energy, which has removed his weakness to Kryptonite. Is there anything that could stop him?
14 Weaker - Captain America
Steve Rogers may be able to do this all day, but even his body will eventually give out. While he has not aged very much in conventional comics, Endgame did show what happens when Steve Rogers gets to spend his life away from defending the world.
Following his time travel adventure to the past, Steve elects to spend his life worry-free alongside the love of his life. While this means he is finally happy and at peace, it also means that everyone gets to see what their hero looks like in his 80s. He may still look like Steve Rogers, but he would not last very long in a battle against Thanos in this state.
13 Stronger - The Hulk/Maestro
Humans may age, but gamma radiation certainly doesn't. Following being exposed to significantly more radiation than before, The Hulk becomes infinitely stronger and completely sheds any humanity he had before. In fact, this version of The Hulk - known as Maestro - is no longer a hero or Avenger. He is one of the biggest supervillains in the galaxy.
This newfound strength and hatred for humanity makes Maestro incredibly dangerous. The humanity of Bruce Banner was what made The Hulk able to maintain his goodness, but Maestro has lost all sense of that, and has only become stronger over the years.
12 Weaker - Kitty Pryde
There are very few people who can say that they have literally grown up as a superhero, but Kitty Pryde is one of those people. Following being "accepted" into Professor Xavier's school at the age of 13, she has never known a life without the X-Men along her side. While she was certainly the "kid sister" for many of the adult heroes, she eventually grew up into a formidable leader.
Kitty even wound up becoming the leader of the X-Men for a period of time following their battle with the Inhumans. She was thrust into a leadership position and faired well in a high-stress role. No one could have predicted that while she was a much younger mutant.
11 Stronger - Shazam
To be honest, this teenager-turned-grownup-superhero had no where to go but up. When he first obtained his powers, he was a young kid who manipulated his powers for money and fame. However, once he was finally pitted against a foe, he crumbled due to his immaturity.
Yet, once Billy Batson finally matured into an adult to match his superhero powers, he also started to think with maturity. The mistakes that he made as a younger hero were all but erased, and he was finally able to operate as a real hero should - selflessly and without much error.
10 Weaker - Hawkeye
Hawkeye's calling card is very simple - he never misses. As a marksmen or archer, Clint Barton is one of the absolute best around when it comes to hitting his targets. Well, at least he was as a much younger man. As he begins to age into Old Man Hawkeye, his marksmen powers fail him.
As Barton gets older, he begins to lose his eyesight. While this is a relatively normal degeneration for most human beings, this is detrimental to someone known for their marksmanship. He tries to remain useful as a hero and helper to others, but someone who cannot even see their targets is much more of a liability as a hero than anything else.
9 Stronger - Professor X
Despite being one of the oldest members of the Marvel Universe, Professor Charles Xavier has been able to maintain his status as one of the most feared mutants. His abilities of mind control and telekinesis have only grown with age, and made him one of the only X-Men who Magneto has always feared.
Xavier may have let inexperience and a lack of control over his powers thwart his plans when he was younger. In fact, it was that inexperience which led him to become paralyzed from a rogue bullet. However, his age and experience has helped him considerably and he has been able to grow along with his powers to become the true leader of the X-Men.
8 Weaker - Green Lantern
The Green Lantern himself has a strange weakness which begins from his origin story - he cannot come into contact with anything that is made out of wood. That in itself does not make him a very strong hero, which certainly does not get any better with old age.
As one of the least popular super heroes in the DC archive, Alan Scott would certainly not get any stronger with age due to this unique weakness. Would he be able to walk through a forest to the old age home? Likely not, it would be far too scary for him to accomplish. Perhaps it is better that this super hero stay on the sidelines.
7 Stronger - Wonder Woman
Believe it or not, but Wonder Woman is much older than she appears. Due to growing on Themyscira, she does not age like regular humans do and is closer to 800 years old. Knowing this, it is spectacular to see what she can do at this age, so imagine what her growth has been like over the years?
Seeing how powerful the older "Amazons" are in her group, it is clear to see that Diana will not lose her powers with age. In fact, she will only get stronger as time goes on. Wonder Woman's second outing on the big screen is coming soon, so fans just how much she has grown.
6 Weaker - Kid Psycho
As a much older superhero from the 1960s, Kid Psycho does not get a lot of love in modern times. Perhaps it is because he was rejected from the original Legion of Super-Heroes and was rarely used in comics? Or perhaps it is because he was given the silliest weakness of all time.
Kid Psycho is unable to use his psychokinetic abilities without shortening his own life span. Each time he uses his powers, he shortens his life expectancy by one year. Hopefully it is not easy for him to accidentally use these powers, otherwise he may wind up losing an entire decade!
5 Stronger - Spider-Man
Spider-Man is usually portrayed as a teenager in high school who is still in the prime of his youth while moonlighting as a "friendly neighborhood" hero. However, anytime that Marvel decides to show what he is like as an adult, it is not very flattering for the webslinger.
When he returns as an adult to avenge Mary Jane in the Spider-Man Earth series, Parker is not able to compete at the level he used to be. Even more unfortunately for him, his foes have not lost their strength over time and are able to defeat him easily. In order to "win the day", he required reinforcements. Perhaps it is just better that some heroes leave the game completely.
4 Weaker - The Punisher
The big draw about The Punisher is that he has always been able to withstand anything life threw at him because he was incredibly tough. However, his strength is drawn mainly from his years of military training which made him a very dangerous weapon.
So when that knowledge starts to leave and his body begins to fail, he is unable to keep up against his much stronger adversaries. Alongside Old Man Logan, it is an unfortunate truth that he is not able to keep up and winds up losing the battle. It is sad to see him fail this way, but an unfortunate reality.
3 Stronger - Deadpool
Did anyone really think this wise-cracking degenerate would ever get any weaker with age? Due to the nature of his powers, it will always be difficult to take him out because he will always regenerate.
As a human, Wade Wilson is incredibly vulnerable. But, as Deadpool there are very few things that can impact him. Not to say that his mind wouldn't continue to deteriorate into insanity, which has never really been in a good state to begin with.
2 Weaker - Black Panther
There is no denying that King T'Challa is at the top of his game when he becomes the Black Panther. The Wakandan ritual which gave him his strength and the technology has made him a fearsome hero. However, Wakandan history tells us that there have been many Black Panthers over the years, which means that their time eventually runs out.
Even when compared to T'Challa's father - King T'Chaka - it is highly likely that his time as king will end. T'Chaka was taken out with a simple bullet, so it is fully possible that T'Challa's life can end just as quickly in old age.
1 Stronger - Martian Manhunter
As one of DC's older heroes, Martian Manhunter became very powerful as the last of his alien race. As a hero, he was as strong as any of the other DC heroes.
However, as he begins to get older that all changes. While other heroes have become more mature with age, J'onn J'onzz became much more arrogant with his powers. Ultimately, this lead to his weakness being exposed to Lex Luther, who was able to take him out.