Watching the Netflix movie Bird Box the other day made me wonder: that was a world that was ripe for superheroes to save the day. But the catch would be that these superheroes would have to do everything blind, or there’s a high chance they would decide to off themselves too.
So, what are the heroes (or even villains) that could stand up to those deadly creatures in Bird Box? Why, those who can’t see in the first place, of course.
After some research, I found quite a few comic book characters who are actually visually impaired, or have problems with their sense of sight in one way or the other. However, for this list, I decided to go with characters who were already permanently blind when they made their debut, as opposed to characters who had their sight taken away midway through their existence.
Arguably THE most famous of all visually impaired heroes, Matt Murdock made his first appearance in 1964’s Daredevil #1, created by Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett.
When he was a child, he saved a man from an oncoming truck, but in doing so, a radioactive substance fell from the truck into his eyes, blinding him permanently. While it took away his sight, the radioactive substance also heightens his remaining senses, giving him a superhuman sense of hearing and the ability to use a ‘radar sense’ to gauge his surroundings.
Before he donned a costume and became the superhero called Daredevil, however, he trained to fight and to use his powers under…
A blind martial arts sensei created by Frank Millar in 1982, Stick is the leader of a martial arts enclave called The Chaste. Daredevil wasn’t Stick’s only student – Elektra trained under him as well, but was banished from The Chaste for her vengeful nature.
One of a new generation of X-Men, Ruth Aldine first appeared in Astonishing X-Men, (vol. 3) #7 and was created by none other than Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday.
Ruth wears a blindfold at all times to hide her facial features (she was born without eyes,a condition called anophthalmia), hence her code name ‘Blindfold’. She is a mutant with psychic abilities, but the true extent of her powers is still unknown. She has been known to have pre-cognitive abilities, as well as telekinesis, telepathy, astral projection.
Blindfold’s story is closely intertwined with one of the X-Men’s most formidable foes – David Heller, a.k.a Legion, the son of Professor X, and also a powerful telepath. In the 2014 mini-series X-Men: Legacy, Legion and Blindfold are involved romantically, but the story ends with Legion erasing himself from existence, but leaving an aspect of himself within Blindfold’s mind.
Created by Bob Rozakis and Jack C. Harris for a short story in 1980’s Secrets Of Haunted House #31, Mister E is a powerful sorcerer blessed (or rather, cursed) with an ability to ‘see’ evil.
As a child, Mr E (whose real name is Erik, last name unknown) was blinded by his abusive father with a sharpened spoon after he found out his perverted secrets.
In Neil Gaiman’s The Books Of Magic, Mr E joins Doctor Occult, John Constantine and the Phantom Stranger in the ‘Trenchcoat Brigade’ to teach young Timothy Hunter about magic. However, Mr E believed Tim was a threat to humanity, so when it was his turn to teach Tim, the sorcerer took the boy time-travelling to the end of the universe, where he attempted to kill him, only to be stopped by Death and Destiny from Gaiman’s own Sandman comics.
In the 2011 New 52 reboot of the DC universe, Mr E is a former superhero who turned villain after being tempted by dark magic.
Losing his eyes after a spell goes wrong, he goes on to become one of the most powerful magicians in the world, co-founding of the Cult of the Cold Flame of dark magicians, which pits him against Constantine.
Blinded when at age 15 after an explosion at the lab belonging to her father Jacob and Philip Masters (a.k.a the Fantastic Four villain Puppet Master), Alicia is probably best known as the girlfriend (and now wife!) of Ben Grimm, a.k.a. The Thing.
A talented sculptor, Alicia first crosses paths with the Fantastic Four when the Puppet Master forces her to help him infiltrate the team by impersonating Sue Storm.
Fortunately, she turns against him and becomes a friend of the FF, forming a particularly close relationship with Ben. They eventually got married in last month’s Fantastic Four #5, which was also the 650th issue of the title!
A relatively new creation, Reader is an Inhuman who has the ability to make anything he reads manifest into reality. If he reads the word ‘fire’, for instance, a fire will start around him.
He was blinded by his own people to stop him from using his powers, but these days, he carries around several ‘ability cards’ written in Braille that enable him to use his powers, such as ‘Away’ (teleportation), ‘Freeze’ (stops time), and ‘See’, which letshim see through someone else’s eyes, including his guide dog, Forey.
Kaname Tosen (Bleach)
The coolest-looking captain of the Gotei 13, with his braids and stylish shades, Tosen has been blind since birth, but honed his fighting skills to a remarkable level by relying on his other senses.
He betrayed the Soul Society together with fellow Bleach antagonists Sosuke Aizen and Gin Ichimaru, and actually regained his sight thanks to his ‘resurrección’.
However, he was killed because he relied too much on his new-found sight, thus neglecting his other senses and falling victim to an attack that he would have avoided easily when still blind.
Even if you don’t know Blind Al from the comics, you might be able to recognise Deadpool’s trusty housemate from the hugely popular movies.
Originally a target for Deadpool to assassinate, he captures her instead and keeps her ‘imprisoned’ in his home. Their ‘friendship’ is a weird one, as Deadpool constantly insults and plays pranks on Blind Al, even going so far as to put her in ‘The Box’ whenever she angers him.
But he also confides in her constantly, and even invites her to his wedding (though she got lost and ended up in a gangster’s funeral).