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Top 10 Best Ways to Get Superpowers

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
If only we’d known about these when we were kids! For this list, we’ll be looking at the most surefire methods of acquiring superpowers and other superhuman abilities – in fiction, at least. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Best Ways to Get Superpowers. Special thanks to our user mario2014 for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+ways+to+get+superpowers.

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Script written by Garrett Alden

Top 10 Best Ways to Get Superpowers

If only we’d known about these when we were kids! Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 best ways to get superpowers.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most surefire methods of acquiring superpowers and other superhuman abilities – in fiction, at least. We’ll be ranking our entries based on their likelihood, and we’ll be leaving off some of the more hazardous ways, like radiation exposure.

#10: Mutation

One of the simplest ways to get superpowers is to be born with them! Although mutation in the real world occurs often enough, it’s far more dramatic and beneficial in fiction. Mutants of the Marvel universe, as well as a host of other super powered characters, develop a wide range of special abilities. This usually happens around the time they go through puberty, making that already confusing period of their lives even more bizarre. Of course, counting on the genetic lottery is far from a sure thing, which is why it only barely makes our list.

#9: Be Bitten by a Radioactive Animal

Though direct radiation exposure is a risky proposition at best, indirect exposure to its fictionally prodigious superpower-granting properties is a bit safer. To that end, the most common means of transmitting superpowers this way is through the bite of a radioactive animal. This will, according to the logic of superhero stories, transmit the traits of the animal to the person being bitten. The most famous example is Spider-Man, who was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained many of the animal’s characteristics, but none of its appearance. Not all animals are as harmless as a bug though, so the animal involved and the size of the bite should be considered.

#8: Genetic Experimentation

Genetics are a lottery, but in some cases there are ways to fix the winning numbers or even steal the money that’s already been awarded. DNA is the source code of our bodies and our traits, so the alteration of it can often lead to superpowers - in fiction, at least. In some cases, this alteration happens before birth, but more often it’s through some kind of drug or gene therapy. Though effective, altering someone’s genetic code is still a far from certain thing and there are frequently dangers involved.

#7: Mystical Object / Artifact

Some artifacts and objects hold great powers that can be granted to those who wield them. Their origins can range from magical to alien, and acquiring such specialty items can prove challenging. They’re often bequeathed to those worthy of them, or as a reward for some deed of derring-do. While the powers granted can be formidable, there is a significant downside to utilizing a mystical object to get superpowers – they can be stolen. The danger of this can be mitigated if the item is wearable, but relying on powers that are tied to something beside yourself can be a risk.

#6: Read Books on Magic

Magical objects are fine and all, but as we’ve just mentioned, they can have some drawbacks. However, magic that is learned and personally absorbed is far more difficult to nullify. There are a plethora of fictional schools of sorcery that describe how to use magic powers in great detail, as well as books on the various disciplines. Like any skill though, magic can take a long time to master, so it’s not quite the instant superpower that some of the other entries on our list are. In addition, magic can also be an innate skill, depending on the rules involved, so its learnability is variable.

#5: Powers Bestowed by an Alien Entity

Aliens usually seem to be a step or a million ahead of humans, which can often allow them to grant special abilities to us Earthlings. Whether it’s through technological means, such as highly advanced machines (that hopefully don’t involve probes), or biological, which usually takes the form of some species-specific ability, aliens can frequently alter human abilities to superhuman levels. These superpowers aren’t without their own hurdles, as alien technology rarely comes with an instruction manual. Also, some of the biologically-granted abilities come at a price, like having to share your body with an extraterrestrial.

#4: Send Yourself Stuff from the Future

Sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke established three laws, the third of which states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (as well as the reverse). So one idea that not many seem to have tried is to send themselves technology from the future that would grant them superpowers, or at least something that resembles them. A few characters have traveled back to the past to use future tech to become superheroes, such as Booster Gold. We can understand why simply sending the items themselves is not as popular, given that the technology of today can be hard enough to understand sometimes.

#3: Be Rich

Money opens a lot of doors in life, and acquiring superpowers is no exception. Besides making the kind of lifestyle that goes hand in hand with superpowers that much easier, money also affords easier access to many of the previous entries on our list. The average Joe isn’t likely to be able to afford gene therapy, mystical artifacts, mechanical super suits, or cybernetics. Having a lot of dough to drop on such things substantially makes getting superhuman abilities easier. Of course, getting the kind of capital necessary to fund superpower acquisition is a daunting enough task for most of the population.

#2: Come from Another Planet

What’s more convenient than an alien giving you powers? Being an alien yourself! Many aliens have the appearance, or the ability to take the appearance, of humans, which often leads to people discovering they’re not from Earth when they display some kind of superhuman abilities. Some of these abilities are only noticeable upon travel to a different environment, such as Superman’s abilities being brought out by the sun’s radiation. Likewise, some aliens from a high gravity planet may experience greater strength or jumping ability in a lower gravity environment than they’re used to. Once again though, the odds of a person being an alien are astronomical in real life.

#1: Freak Accident

Oddly enough, the most common and likely way to receive superpowers is to get them from some kind of accident, whether it be scientific or extraterrestrial or magical in nature. There are ways to increase the likelihood of encountering a superpower-inducing accident, of course. Superpowers have a number of sources, many of which we’ve already listed, so being in proximity to some of them would no doubt increase one’s chances. From a narrative standpoint, accidental superpowers have remained so popular in stories because it’s always interesting to see what people do when they have “greatness thrust upon them,” as it were.


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