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What are the 6 superpowers?

Superpowers refer to extraordinary abilities possessed by some characters in fiction, particularly in comic books and movies. While the scope of superpowers is essentially limitless, there are 6 broad categories that cover the most iconic and well-known superpowers.

Superhuman Strength

Superhuman strength is likely the most common superpower. It refers to the ability to exert force and lift weights far beyond what is naturally possible for a human. Characters with super strength can lift cars, throw heavy objects incredible distances, bend steel, and defeat opponents who are much larger in size.

Some key questions about superhuman strength include:

  • How much can the character lift or press?
  • Can the character leap tall buildings or long distances?
  • Can the character easily overpower groups of grown men?
  • Can the character leave imprints or break objects with their strikes?

Notable super strong heroes include:

  • Superman
  • The Hulk
  • Wonder Woman
  • Thor
  • Hancock

Limits of Super Strength

While super strength has few limits, it does not necessarily confer invulnerability or enhanced durability. A super strong hero might be able to dish out devastating punches but still be hurt or killed by knives, bullets, or energy blasts. The level of strength also varies widely even among super strong heroes, with some able to lift cars and others able to shatter planets.

Superhuman Speed

Super speed refers to the ability to run, fly, react, and sometimes even think, much faster than normal humans. Super speed is a staple power of comic book speedsters like the Flash. It enables dodging bullets, racing across continents, and even time travel in some cases.

Key attributes of super speed characters include:

  • Running faster than the eye can see, often breaking the sound barrier
  • Lightning quick reflexes to dodge projectiles and attacks
  • Short bursts or full-speed running, sometimes for days on end
  • Quick learning and thinking to process information rapidly

Notable super speed heroes include:

  • The Flash
  • Quicksilver
  • Speed
  • Northstar
  • Dash

Limits of Super Speed

Like super strength, super speed does not automatically provide defenses against damage or rapid thinking. Speedsters can trip or run into objects at super speed and injure themselves. They can also be caught off guard by traps or ambushes. Super speed also requires enormous energy intake to fuel the metabolisms of these heroes.


Flight refers to the ability to defy gravity and propel oneself through the air at tremendous speeds and heights. Flight allows heroes to rapidly traverse great distances, engage airborne threats, and get an aerial view of situations.

Common attributes of flight powers include:

  • Self-propelled flight without reliance on technology or wings
  • Reaching speeds of hundreds of miles per hour
  • Maneuverability for loops, turns, and rapid changes of direction
  • Carrying others in flight

Notable flying heroes include:

  • Superman
  • Iron Man
  • Thor
  • Captain Marvel
  • Angel

Limits of Flight Powers

Flight does not guarantee invulnerability to attacks or grant abilities like superhuman strength. Fliers must also be wary of obstacles in their path of travel and are vulnerable to attacks from below or from surprise aerial foes. Sustained high speed flight often requires superhuman stamina or energy projection to maintain momentum.


Telepathy refers to the ability to read minds and mentally communicate with others over a distance. Telepaths can scan thoughts, download memories, and control minds if powerful enough. This grants insight into enemies plans and the ability to coordinate allies without speaking.

Key telepathic abilities include:

  • Reading thoughts within a certain radius
  • Projecting thoughts and communicating mentally
  • Scanning memories and knocking out enemies
  • Illusions, mental barriers, and blindness/deafness

Notable telepathic heroes include:

  • Professor X
  • Jean Grey
  • Psylocke
  • Martian Manhunter
  • Emma Frost

Limits of Telepathy

Telepaths are vulnerable to mental or psychic attacks from others. Their powers can also be disrupted by some technologies or magic. Large crowds or psychic barriers can dilute their powers. Telepaths rarely have physical powers so they remain vulnerable to direct attacks.


Telekinesis refers to the ability to move physical objects using only the mind, without physically interacting with them. This grants users both offensive and defensive capabilities to manipulate their environment.

Common telekinetic powers include:

  • Lifting and moving objects with the mind
  • Creating force fields and barriers
  • Enhanced strength by combining physical and mental force
  • Choking or causing pain by squeezing blood vessels

Notable telekinetic heroes include:

  • Jean Grey
  • Psylocke
  • Raven
  • Tatooine
  • Mob

Limits of Telekinesis

Telekinetics must be able to see or locate objects to affect them. Their powers can be interrupted by barriers that block their mental powers. There are also limits to how many objects they can manipulate at once and their overall size and weight lifting capability.


Phasing refers to the ability to pass through solid objects. This allows characters to move through walls, dodge attacks, or pass through the Earth itself. Phasing can be used for stealth, transportation, or direct attacks against enemies by phasing partway into them.

Common attributes of phasing powers:

  • Passing through any solid objects like walls or terrain
  • Disrupting electronics and technology by phasing through them
  • Becoming intangible and making objects “phase” partially or fully
  • Offensive uses like removing objects from people

Notable phasing heroes include:

  • Shadowcat
  • Vision
  • Phantom Girl
  • Ghost
  • Ethereal

Limits of Phasing Powers

Phasing requires concentration, energy, and can’t be maintained indefinitely. Users are vulnerable when tangible. Dense materials like lead may disrupt phasing. Users can also be attacked by intangible beings or have objects bound to them and then be rendered solid.


Superpowers take many forms but often fall into one of the 6 broad categories of superhuman strength, speed, flight, telepathy, telekinesis, and phasing. Each of these powers has almost limitless offensive and defensive applications, enabling superheroes to take on threats normal humans cannot. But all powers also have limitations users must be aware of to use their abilities effectively.

In the hands of superheroes, these superpowers can change the balance of power against otherwise unstoppable threats. But in the hands of supervillains, they can be incredibly dangerous tools that even teams of heroes struggle to overcome. Their fantastic nature makes superpowers incredibly intriguing and an enduring part of superhero fiction across all media.