Invulnerability (AKA Invincibility) is ability to be unharmed by virtually any physical circumstance.
Nature of the Power[edit | edit source]
Invulnerability is simply the inability to be harmed, usually it is in reference to physical invulnerability. It should be noted that there are very few characters that are truly invulnerable, with many characters who are dubbed "invulernable" are simply nearly invulnerable (the superhero the Tick makes sure the make the distinction, referring to himself as "Nigh-Invulnerable".)
This power usually means that they are unaffected by attacks that most average criminal or would try to inflict or to disasters that they would wish to defend others from.
History in Superhero Fiction[edit | edit source]
The first invulnerable superhero of note was Superman, who demonstrates it in his first appearance by being unharmed by many attempts to attack him. Though Superman was considerably less powerful in his initial appearances than he would become, he is still immune to bullets, heavy objects falling on him and many other threats that would harm average humans. Later, Kryptonite would be introduced (in the Superman radio series and later the Superman comic) that would allow Superman to be harmed.
With the rise in the popularity of superheroes, invulnerablity became a fairly common power for superheroes including such iconic characters as Captain Marvel, Thor, and Mon-El of the Legion of Superheroes. It also became a common power for supervillains such as the Juggernaut and Bizarro.
Weaknesses and Limitations[edit | edit source]
Most characters are not truly invulnerable as much as they are nigh-invulnerable, which is to say that there bodies are highly resistant to destruction and damage but not completely immunue. In addition, some stories demonstrate while that the body might be unbreakable from force, heroes can have more mundane weaknesses such as vulnerability to suffocation or can be neutralized without having to damage them.
In addition, the possessor of this power may have an achilles' heel that supercedes this ability.
Some notable vulnerablities from superhero fiction include:
- Superman - Kryptonite
- Mon-El - Lead
- Martian Manhunter - Fire
- David Dunn from the film Unbreakable - Water
It was often a narrative device that allowed powerful heroes to have a weakness for characters to exploit.