Power Bestowal (persons) – The ability to give powers to another being. The agent of power bestowal can be a person using magic and/or technology directly. The agent of power bestowal can be a person has appropriated magic and/or technology from another person. Person who gain powers via mutation or genetic inheritance do not belong in this article.
Shazam (DC) bestowed superpowers to Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2.
Galactus (Marvel) gave the power cosmic to the Silver Surfer in Silver Surfer V1 #1.
Blood is a common mechanism to bestow power. Perhaps this is a symbolic way of showing how our parents bestow their traits and “powers” through their blood which we now know has a genetic basis. The idiom “blood will tell” is one way this idea is expressed.
In Empire, Golgoth uses the blood of a Superman type character to create a highly addictive booster drug called Eucharist. Golgoth gives this drug to his ministers and it temporarily makes them more superhuman while also making them loyal due to the addictive effects of the drugs.
Superman was able to bestow his superpowers via a blood transfusion in Lois Lane V1 #17.
Siegfried drinks the blood of Fafnir the dragon and can understand the language of birds (animal communication) in The Ring of the Nibelung (Dark Horse). Sigurd is the earlier version of the tale and bathes in the dragon’s blood in order to become invulnerable.
Prometheus (Marvel) gives humans fire and from fire humans advance technologically and ultimately create atomic weapon. Atomic weapons testing creates background radiation that causes the activation of the X-gene placed in humans by the Celestials and the exponential rise of mutants i.e. children of the atom beginning in the 20th century. One could say in the Marvel universe that Prometheus indirectly bestows power to the mutants when he gave humans fire!
The formidable Gorgo (Love and Rockets) is made even more formidable by a spirit in a tree in The Collected Love and Rockets: Human Diastrophism, V5, (Fantagraphics).
Penny Century (Love and Rockets) receives the power to change the face of a penny presumably from Costigan, a billionaire with horns like a devil, but doesn’t realize what she has done to the penny in The Collected Love & Rockets: Penny Century, V8, (Fantagraphics).
In Legion of Super-Heroes Annual V4 #2, the Dominators have engaged in wholesale metagenetic engineering and Mon El suggests that those with powers segregate along power lines and act as a buffer between humans and the Dominators. This provides an explanation why there are so many human looking “aliens” that all come from one planet in which all the inhabitants of that planet have the same superpower in the 30th century. These aliens then become members of the Legion of Superheroes.
Gamma radiation accidentally gave Bruce Banner the powers of the Hulk but later gamma radiation was used to create several super powered characters on purpose including the Aberration, Axon, Abomination, Anti-Hulk, Betty Ross (Harpy and Red She-Hulk), Doc Samson, Flux, Grey, Griffin (Eliot Franklin), Hulk 2099, Leader, Mad Man, Mess, Mister Gideon, Morass, Prodigy, Ravage, Rick Jones (A-Bomb), She-Hulk, and Thunderbolt Ross (Red Hulk).
The Abomination (Marvel) was the first supervillain to become a Hulk doppelgänger in Tales to Astonish V1 #90.
MODOK uses gamma radiation to turn Betty Ross into the Harpy in Incredible Hulk V1 #168.
The Leader and Modok uses a combination of gamma rays and cosmic rays to transform Betty Ross into the Red She-Hulk and she first appeared in Hulk V2 #2 (2009).
In Incredible Hulk V1 #14, Doc Samson worries about the effect of gamma radiation on his mind and body but ends up a hunk rather than a monster.
The Leader gains super intelligence from a gamma radiation accident in Tales to Astonish V1 #63.
Thunderbolt Ross is turned into the Red Hulk through a combination of gamma rays and cosmic rays (Hulk V2 #23).
Bruce Banner thinks using his gamma irradiated blood for a blood transfusion is a good idea and the She-Hulk is created in Savage She-Hulk #1.
How about bestowing even more power to already powerful superheroes in order to shake things up?
In Hulked out Heroes several heroes become even more powerful (Fall of the Hulks #21).
In the Fear Itself plot line various super villains and super heroes received Mjolnir like hammers and kept their original powers plus Thor level strength. The characters include the Absorbing Man (Greithoth: Breaker of Wills), Attuma (Nerkkod: Breaker of Oceans), Grey Gargoyle (Mokk: Breaker of Faith), Hulk (Nul: Breaker of Worlds), Juggernaut (Kuurth: Breaker of Stone), Thing (Angrir: Breaker of Souls) and Titania (Skirn: Breaker of Men).
Power bestowal of a single power or set of powers on a large scale was a recurrent plot device in the Marvel series What If V2.
In What If V2 0#1, the Avengers lose the Evolutionary War and all humans and mutants are put through forced evolution.
In What If V2 #24, Wolverine becomes the lord of the vampires and turns mutants into vampires.
In What If V2 #25, The Marvel super heroes are turned into serpent men when they lose the Atlantis Attacks war.
In What If V2 #28, Captain America leads an army of super soldiers when the super soldier formula can be replicated.
In What If V2 #64, – Iron Man sells out and armor technology is out of control.
In What If V2 #071, a Gamma Bomb creates thousands of Hulks!
In Spider-Island, the inhabitants of Manhattan gain powers that are similar to those of Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man V1 #666).
Everyone in Earth X (Marvel) becomes a mutant and Reed Richards blames himself and has a discussion with Tony Stark on how to undo the mutation of the world (Earth X #2).
In the Great Darkness Saga, Darkseid (DC) turns three billion Daxamites into an army of super beings.
The premise of normalman is that everyone on his world has powers except him (Normalman the Novel TPB).
In Top 10 (America’s Best Comics) there is a police precinct that has a Hill Streets Blues vibe but is set in Neopolis and everyone in Neopolis has superpowers! The police enjoy a barbecue in Top Ten – Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1.
In New Super-Man #1 (DC), China in the future creates a brand-new Superman.
Some of the members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (DC) bestows their powers to Superman through unexplained means in Superman V1 #172.
The Supreme Intelligence (Marvel) transforms Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel V1 #16.
The Old Gods create the Young Gods (Marvel) in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual V1 #8.
Mercury (mythology) recruits a new god of luck in Bizarre Adventures V1 #32.
Starro (DC) empowers three lowly star fish in The Brave and the Bold V1 #28.