The reason why we love the superhero genre is that there are so many different characters with countless different superpowers – the possibilities are literally limitless. However, some superpowers tend to reoccur more often than others. For instance, telepathy and mind control is something we’ve seen over and over again, albeit in different forms and shapes.
Some characters use special gadgets to control others’ minds, while others have natural telepathic abilities. Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the top ten superheroes and villains with mind control abilities. The characters on the list might not just be the most powerful but also the most iconic, popular, or simply way too cool not to be included. Enjoy!
Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man, is a villainous mind-controller that first appeared as an enemy of Matt Murdock in Daredevil #4 in 1964. However, the worst things he had ever done weren’t done to Daredevil but to Jessica Jones. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve watched the Jessica Jones TV series where David Tennant plays Killgrave.
Killgrave is a highly skilled manipulator with strong mind-control abilities that last about twelve hours. After those twelve hours, the effects of his mind control wear off, and his victim regains a conscious mind. In the comics, he can control those around him because of the pheromones his skin produces – the more people around him, the more he can control.
Killgrave is a horrible person who used Jessica Jones virtually as a sex slave and made her kill a person before she was finally able to break free from under his command. Still, the experience with the Purple Man left her severely scarred and traumatized.
9. Poison Ivy
If you didn’t read DC Comics and only use the goofy Batman & Robin movie where Uma Thurman portrayed Poison Ivy, you’d probably think it’s just another silly, bad character with not much meat on the bones. You’d be wrong, though, as Poison Ivy is one of the best, we-known supervillains in DC Comics.
Ivy is a world-class botanist and biologist that grew disdain towards all human beings, turning to plants instead. She has a poisonous touch, but her most powerful ability is the mind control she can induce on just about anybody. She even showcased that talent in the horrible movie I’ve mentioned before, turning Batman and Robin against each other.
Poison Ivy’s ultimate goal is to eradicate humanity and live in harmony with plants. She came really close several times, but one of the biggest show-off moments of her mind control powers was in Batman #42 from 2016 when Ivy had control over every person on the planet except Batman and Catwoman. Pretty cool, right?
8. Jean Grey
Jean Grey is an awesome character and one of the most powerful members of the X-Men ever. However, it didn’t always seem like that was the case. In fact, Jean was widely considered one of the weaker members of the team before she eventually grew into one of the team’s leaders.
When she was young, Jean Grey had strong telepathic and empathic abilities, but she didn’t know how to control them. Soon, feeling the emotions and thoughts of all the people around her quickly became too much for Jean, so Charles Xavier put a mental block on that part of her powers.
Long story short, when those powers were eventually unleashed, Jean Grey proved to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the world, not just among the X-Men. She could communicate with people telepathically, manipulate their minds, influence their decisions, telepathically communicate with animals (a superpower I’d love to have the most), etc.
She could even enhance others’ superpowers by entering their mind. Oh, did I mention she once became the host of the Phoenix Force, becoming one of the most powerful beings in the universe? Jean also had cosmic awareness back then, but that’s a topic for another day.
7. Emma Frost
Another character in the X-Men lore, Emma Frost, was sometimes a hero, but more often, she was the villain. Although her name would suggest some sort of icy, frosty powers, Emma’s main weapon is actually her phenomenal telepathic skills.
At her best, she could overpower even the most awesome telepaths and mind-controllers she ever faced, like Kid Omega or Rachel Summers. And, the best part? Using telepathy is almost effortless for Emma. She can paralyze people, form a psychic bond with them, read minds, control others’ actions, thoughts, and intentions, influence their decisions, etc.
No, that’s not even the best part. The best part is that Emma Frost is quite invincible if she chooses to be. You see, she can transfer her consciousness into another body if she wants to, meaning, if her physical body fades away or dies, Frost can simply switch to another body. Luckily for everybody, she has a moral compass… albeit not a pretty strong one.
6. Rachel Summers
It seems like I’m focusing on mutants on this list, but the fact of the matter is, they have the most epic mind control abilities in comics. Another phenomenal member of the X-Men with telepathic skills is Rachel Summers. She is an omega-level mutant, meaning she can go head-to-head with characters like Magneto, Professor X, Legion, Storm, etc.
Rachel was also a Phoenix Force host once, but even without it, she’s an unfathomably powerful psychic. Her powers are so vast that they are, indeed, dangerous for the planet’s existence. Summers can alter not only one’s mind but their entire perception of reality.
For instance, she can appear invisible to others by altering their mind. Apart from mind-control, Rachel is a powerful illusionist and empath. Much like Emma Frost, Rachel Summers can transfer her consciousness into another body. Also, she can erase anyone’s mind and memories on a whim and paralyze them by changing their neurons as she sees fit.
The number of people she can influence at the same time is almost unlimited.
5. Scarlet Witch
I know Wanda Maximoff isn’t really considered a mind controller, as her powers manifest in countless different ways, but hear me out. Scarlet Witch has incredibly powerful reality-altering abilities, but she has also proven to have the ability to control others by whispering in their ears.
Now, consider what Scarlet Witch has done in WandaVision in the MCU or the House of M event in the comics. She changed the entire reality of a town/entire planet, controlling the minds of everybody there 24/7, inventing alternative lives for them, keeping them in their roles the whole time – all the while living a life of her own.
I mean, the physical and mental strength and concentration required for such a task are so immense that one has to consider Wanda as one of the most powerful mind controllers in comics. And, to add, it all happened when Wanda wasn’t even at her most powerful self.
If reality-warping includes warping people’s minds, then Scarlet Witch has awesome mind control ability.
4. Shadow King
Now, this particular character is something straight out of a nightmare – literally. The Shadow King came to be a byproduct of the first-ever nightmare a human had. The entity was a manifestation of the fear produced by the nightmare. That means the shadow King is practically as old as the first human being in the history of existence.
The Shadow King feeds upon negative emotions and hatred from all of humanity but can only manifest itself through a human host – which was, in this case, Amahl Farouk. Amahl had incredible telepathic and mind-controlling abilities before ever hosting the Shadow King – which is why he was an effective Nazi agent back in the 1930s.
Farouk was a villain who fed on the negativity of the people he controlled and then transferred all those negative emotions and tendencies to the Shadow King as they slowly became one. Of course, the Shadow King’s presence amplified the telepathic abilities of his host exponentially.
According to Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, the Shadow King is the second most powerful telepath on Earth, right behind the X-Men leader. Don’t worry; we’ll get there.
Many people call Darkseid the DC equivalent of Marvel’s Thanos. While the two are quite similar in many ways – physical strength, mental power, extreme durability, searching for cosmic artifacts to become more powerful, etc. – Darkseid is so much more than the Mad Titan. In fact, Darkseid is the thing Thanos strives to be – an incredibly powerful god.
Darkseid is so powerful that he can easily match and beat Superman. Hell, he matched the entire Justice League with his powers. Those powers, apart from what I’ve already mentioned, include laser vision, superhuman stamina, and one of the most powerful telepathic abilities in comics.
As a god, Darkseid can control millions of minds at the same time, reading every individual mind at the same time, learning about their thoughts and deepest fears, using those fears against them as torture. Apart from reading your mind and torturing you with your fears, he can literally make anybody do anything he wants. Good luck matching that, Thanos.
2. Franklin Richards
Franklin Richards is the first child of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, aka Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman, the two vital members of the Fantastic Four. Even as a small child, Franklin was considered the most powerful mutant ever to exist. He created pocket dimensions and shipped superheroes there – while he was still a toddler.
He’s an even more powerful reality-warper than Scarlet Witch – now, imagine what it would look like if Franklin were an adult. We’ve seen glimpses of it in alternate realities, and he develops into one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
Franklin Richards has immensely powerful reality-warping, reality-creation, telepathy, mind control, mind reading, astral projections, and precognition. Combine that with the incredible intelligence he inherited from his dad (not at Reed’s level, but still), and you get one of the most effective telepaths in the world – and mind control is just scratching the surface for him.
1. Professor X
As if the number one spot of characters with mind control could belong to anybody else. Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, is the most awesome telepath in comics history and widely considered the most powerful telepath on Earth (in the Marvel universe, at least).
Now, there may be other mind-controllers, such as Darkseid, who is more powerful than Professor X physically, but he’s the most well-known for his immense telepathic skills. Without Cerebro, his powers are unfathomable. He can erase people’s minds, implant or take away memories, control their bodies completely, including freezing them in mid-air, etc.
However, when he connects to Cerebro, Professor X connects his brain to the mind of every living being on the planet. Like, not every human, but every being. Every ant, bird, mutant, or not. The scale of such power is literally immeasurable.
If that’s not enough, just consider this – he can telepathically communicate with alien life across the universe. That’s how powerful Xavier’s mind control and telepathy are. He might be disabled and in a wheelchair, but when it comes to mind control and telepathic ability, nobody is a match to Charles Xavier.