Another #TAP10! Man, it has been ages, hasn’t it? Why? Let’s not even get into all that *puts away game controller*.
So with this edition of #TAP10, we’re powering through our list from beyond the thin film that lies beyond your world to list the greatest Supernatural superheroes of all known universes.
Whether they cast spells, shift between dimensions as easy as walking through a door or somehow syphon energy from ghouly wicked things that are paramount to bathing in a pool of used hypodermic needles, this list here is the reason we should probably spend that much more time reading up on and collecting spiritually-protective trinkets to ward off evil. Because if any of these guys were to come out against humanity, we’re surely toast. Like hellfire-in-a-barbeque-pit-infinity-squared toast.
If Jesus is the physical manifestation of God’s love on earth, then the Spectre is the physical manifestation of his wrath. He is a cosmic entity that is the literal embodiment of God’s vengeance on Earth. Permanently bonded to a human soul, he uses his near-omnipotent divine powers to punish the truly wicked, his victims spending their last days in horror whilst gagging on the ironic and crazy-creative ways they meet their demise.
He is able to transcend time, space and dimensions; a master of astral projection. And as one would expect, with such power can come a demeanor that looks a lot like indifference. And seeing the hosts of this vengeful entity usually don’t like to be tied down to fighting evil for millennia, there often is a conflict between the host and the spirit.
Jim Corrigan, a New York detective was most notable as the bearer of the Spectre mantle, but disgraced Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) also had the role for a while too.
Marvel may have Doctor Strange, but the sorceror-with-the-mostest over in the DC Comics Universe is none other than Doctor Fate. Many have held the mantle of Fate, notably Kent Nelson. Gifted by Nabu with the powerful Amulet of Anubis, the Cloak of Destiny and Helmet of Fate, Doctor Fate acts as agent for the Lords Of Order, battling the Lords Of Chaos.
The helmet has a bit of a leech effect, as the wearer tends to be forced into the role of Dr. Fate. No way out other than death. When Inza Cramer committed suicide and Nelson wanted to Ophelia himself to join her, Nabu would not allow Nelson to die until he found a suitable protege to take his place as the new Doctor Fate. Talk about a fucked-up blood contract.
Gone! Gone! — the form of man — Rise, the Demon Etrigan!
An incantation that would transform a lowly human into the prince of Hell. Jason Blood can’t catch a break. A peasant who essential was picked by Merlin of Camelot to unwittingly host a force of pure evil. An evil he summoned in a failed attempt to save Camelot and keep the powerful Eternity Book from the evil witch, Morgaine le Fey. What an asshole.
Now Blood lives through millennia playing host to an unruly demon even the devil himself branded to be too much of a handful. We’re talking wars with countless dead, carnage and destruction, where Etrigan even becoming awakened and killing Blood’s own troops in one incident. At the third battle of Ypres in 1917, Etrigan was summoned to defeat the Germans, but he brought his own demonic forces from the Pit that ultimately massacred all of Captain Blood’s troops along with his enemies. Blood almost went insane baring witness to the carnage, so Etrigan hastily cast a blanket spell to spare his host’s mind, only to erase the memories Blood’s entire past. And being a bit of a sadist, there’s no real way to punish Etrigan for being naughty.
But even with that, Etrigan has been know to fight on the side of the righteous, an alliance out of pure convenience rather than moral obligations. Because there is definitely no guarantees if Etrigan doesn’t get his full share of blood and mayhem.
Remember all those folk stories you heard that showed you it was a stupid, ill-informed idea to wager your soul with the Devil? Well, Johnny Blaze was obviously not paying attention, because he gave up his to save the life of his father. So anytime he is close to evil or just when it’s night time (let’s be honest, that’s when we do most of our evil shit) his flesh becomes consumed by Hellfire, his bike transforms into an unlikely bad as flaming bike and he becomes Ghost Rider. He’s also likely to have inspired the skull-on-fire tattoos everyone thought was cool in the 90’s. And who can forget the fashionable dress sense with the leather jacket and the chains with the kid-unsafe spikes. Could take someone’s eyes out with that.
The embodiment of the spirit of vengeance, he has the ability to harness the power of hellfire as a weapon, burning the soul without leaving a mark. Most noticeable of his powers is the “Penance Stare”, which we interpret as the guilt experienced going to a trillion confessions all at once to the point your guilt burns a hole in your soul. Catholic Priests would love this power. They’d likely have to avoid mirrors in case they “Penance Stare” themselves.
Fan of Harry Potter? Sure, let’s for argument’s sake say you are. Well, chances are if you were an avid comic reader and a fan of Neil Gaiman, you’d have scratched your chin a few times seeing Harry Potter on bookshelves and on cinema screens, taking note on how bizarrely similar he and Timothy Hunter is. Bespectacled. Losing their mothers to tragedy. A young gifted lad wielding in the arts of magic. All the way down to the pet owl. We’re not saying J.K. Rowling stole the idea… but one can’t deny the striking resemblances.
Hunter was born as a conduit of raw magic energies, whose deftness and potential was in league with Merlin himself. As an infant, he had the power to bring his imaginary friends to literal life, and literally created thousands of alternate worlds and alternate versions of himself via his subconscious thought. And seeing he’s in league and mingled with the likes of many of DC’s occult vets including Constantine, Zatanna and his mentor the Phantom Stranger, best believe he’s a powerful force to be reconned with. Hell, he’s been to hell and threatened demons. That’s major cajones.
He’s big, red, smokes cigars and packs a helluva canon and a gauntlet of stone. WHat’s not to love about Hellboy? Other than being the Harbinger of the Apocalypse and the end of all mankind. This guy is a former agent of the BPRD, an organisation formed to deal with supernatural oddities and anomalies that threaten to plague our world. talk about keeping your enemies closer.
But part of Hellboy’s quintessential look is his severed horns, a renunciation of his royal hellish lineage and destiny to bring ruin to the world. But for some reason, one can’t really ignore the fact he is the child of the demon Azzael and the witch Sarah Hughes. Or the fact, like the devil, Hellboy has a classical name that reads like it came straight out of the Bible – Anung Un Rama. Can’t say the name without sounding like you’re in the middle of a seance reading a powerful incantation.
Morpheus – or Dream – is as old as the concept of time. Hell, older still. Dream is one of the seven Endless – personifications of ideas and concepts that were tied to life, and were fated to fulfill their functions until the universe ended and all life disappeared from the cosmos.
Dream is both the lord and personification of all dreams and stories, including all that is not in reality (which, in turn, Dream may define by his existence). He possesses absolute control over sleep, dreams, nightmares, and even insomnia.
But this Sandman is more powerful than you could possibly imagine. He is also a shape-shifter, with the power to cast illusions, warp the fabric of dream and reality, telekinesis, conjuring dreams, teleportation, and magic. That’s a vast limitless list of powers. His only weakness? He can’t fall in love with a mortal human, lest the human’s life be ultimately destroyed as a result. So he doesn’t even physically suffer if he breaks this rule.
Not to mention Dream has a bit of a sadistic streak. Case in point – At one point in his life he fell in love with Nada, a Queen of an illustrious African paradise. But tragedy befell her and her kingdom was razed to the ground because she fell in love with Dream, despite knowing the risks. She ultimately blamed herself and committed suicide. Dream, however, appeared to her soul in the afterlife and offered to make her the Queen of Dreaming. She refused his offer, so jilted Dream did the manly thing and banished her to the lowliest depths of hell. Beyond a dick move. So remember that next time ladies when you reject that spindly emo weirdo in the club asking for a dance or offering you a drink.
There much to be said about a doctor – a profession rooted in science and any process steeped in a world of things observable and quantifiable – who becomes a divine master of the unknown and otherworldly. Stephen Strange is the ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ of the Marvel Universe. He draws his power from three primary sources: the invocation of powerful mystic entities or objects, the manipulation of the universe’s ambient magical energy, and his own psychic resources.
So, understandably, he has few tricks in his bag that will shatter anyone’s understanding of the material world and send them into an existential crisis. Energy projection and manipulation, matter transformation, animation of inanimate objects, teleportation, illusion-casting, mesmerism, thought projection, astral projection, dimensional travel, time travel and mental possession – all tools at the fingertips of Strange’s arsenal.
And while he may seem like a bit of a highly gifted lumbering dolt in Doctor Strange and still coming into his powers in Thor Ragnarok, rest assured he is a deft wielder of magics that extend far beyond Dynamo or some other parlor street magician.
Albert Simmons was a Detroit native and Lieutenant Colonel of the USMC. But on a mission to Botswana, he gets murdered by his own fellow mercenary (who needs friends like these, am I right). Turns out if you make a life and career out of killing people you go to hell. But once there, he makes a bargain to become Hellspawn for the chance to see his wife Wanda one last time. But when he returns to Earth for that last visit, 5 years have passed, he’s in a disfigured hideous shell of a body suffering some serious amnesia and his wife is now married to his best friend. Talk about royally screwed. But being Spawn comes with some advantages. He is almost entirely comprised of necroplasm – a substance that gives him superhuman strength, speed and durability. He heals pretty fast too, and has vast magical powers, though limited power supply to use them (all regenerative [bit of a plus-minus-plus there]). You just have to keep your eye on his counter. If it reads 9:9:9:9, all systems go.
Other powers include resurrecting the dead, firing blasts of necroplasmic energy, teleportation, flame-breathing, transmutation, manipulation of the elements, shape-shifting, flight, talking to animals, reading minds, invisibility, portal creation, time manipulation, soul manipulation, reality warping, regeneration, feeding off the evil sins and negative energy of others to augment his strength and increase his necroplasm counter, and curing the sick.
He has a chain-smoking habit and lung cancer. The two may be related. But he honestly doesn’t care much about that. It may because Hell is assured to him after death. His very soul is coveted by the demons of hell. Who are we talking about. Constantine. Musty-tan coat, Silk Cuts and trashy blonde hair marks the signature look of the master of the dark arts who stands infamous in hell as in heaven and all the plains betwixt.
He is, put simply, a “weirdness magnet”. Shit’s bound to go wrong for the people around him. And, understandably so, if you have the ability to exorcise evil spirits, astral projection, Golemancy (raising Golems), Oclumancy (mind-control), time and realm travel, summoning hellfire to attack enemies, and ‘luck’. Literally. Synchronicity Wave Travelling — Constantine’s signature magic. This allows him to make his own luck resembling probability manipulation. When supernatural nasties have yet to get their pound of flesh, it is obvious he had to have some ‘charm’ about him. Quite the arsenal to help him in his quest to solve life’s little mysteries whilst going up against outsmarting demons and celestial beings alike.
He’s one powerful person to know. Though you definitely would not want to be friends with him.
It seems most, no, all our superheroes’ roads have converged or diverged from Hell itself, traversing through the myriad of dimensions and otherworlds. The unknown has always captivated our imaginations and our fears, almost like Thanatos or fire, where witnesses stand terrified and mesmerised all at once. Some have the onus thrust upon them as an unwilling participant in the game of cosmic pinball. Others have had to live with the weight of their own decisions when faced with a future-shaping ultimatum. But if our #TAP10 Supernatural heroes can look into the darkness and ugliness and challenge it head on, and hell, doing good in the process, there may be a coded lesson for us mortals grappling with life beyond our little blue planet.