Inspiered somewhat by watching Hellboy 2.
Liz Sherman doesn’t really control her heat power, in the way the human torch can.
Jean Gray seems to have varying degrees of control over her power.
Of course the big example is the Hulk, where Banner has little control over when and where he transforms, and very little control over what the Hulk does.
Any other examples of superheores who weren’t in complete control over their abilities?
Well, The Greatest American Hero lost the instructions for his super suit that the aliens gave him, so he had a lot of trouble figuring out how to work it while hilarity ensued.
*Rogue * of the Xmen. Her touch is deadly to everyone - not just the bad guys.
Would Scott Summers count, since he needed a device to control his ability?
Robby Reed (Dial H for Hero) got new powers every time, so he was always ‘learning’ how to use them.
Similarly Crenson Croyd (‘Sleeper’ of the Wild Cards) got different powers every time he woke up.
Probably not what you were after, but the first things that popped into my head reading the other responses.
All interesting answers. Feel free to interpret the question as broadly and freely as you want.
Rogue was someone I thought of, someone whose power is more a curse than a blessing.
Cyclops definitely would count.
Nexus might count. He got his powers from an alien who also wanted him to use those powers for certain goals. Nexus would be punished by nightmares until he followed those goals.
Would characters like the Thing or Concrete count? Their power was their bodies, which gave them super-powers but also non-human appearances. Both characters would prefer to be human.
Friendly Fire had the power to shoot powerful energy blasts from his hands, but mostly ended up hitting his own teammates.
If Scott Summers counts, then I suppose the Human Bomb counts, too.
Cloak (from the Marvel universe). He’s probably changed quite a bit since I last read comics in the 90s, but the darkness he could use then was more in control of him than he was of it, turning him into a junkie who needed life/Dagger’s light.
There was a minor character in 80s-era X-Factor comics who had a hard time dealing with her low-friction superpower. (Skids?) Come to think of it, plenty of mutants/hangers-on in the Claremont era had problems controlling their powers at some point.
In the failed New Universe line, there were a few such characters… one in DP7 (Blur?) was a Quicksilver/Flash-like speedster who couldn’t stop himself from vibrating at high speed, and whose metabolism was cranked so high that he needed to eat constantly to stay alive.
Did DC eventually get rid of the “her bracelets keep her from running amok” angle to Wonder Woman? There were some interesting stories in the 70s and 80s (some out of continuity) regarding WW becoming dangerous after having them removed for a period of time.
Wildfire of the Legion of Super Heroes. He’s essentially a great big ball of energy in a spacesuit. However, he once was a normal flesh & blood guy. Does that count as an uncontrollable power?
Also, I don’t know about the current incarnation of Spider-Woman, but during her original 1970s comic book, she suffered from an inadvertant side effect of her spider-powers, she emitted a pheromone that made people intensely dislike her.
Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, at least in the beginning. Johnny never understood what made the Thunderbolt appear,* so he never knew how to summon his power.**
*The magic words “Cei-u,” pronounced “Say You.”
**Johnny wasn’t all that bright.
Magma of the New Mutants had the power to move tectonic plates–a skill of dubious usefulness in a New York-based super team.
Animal Man’s power has gone berserk on him a couple of times, in his “Great God Pan” mode.
Banner loses it, & a raving force of primal rage & destruction appears.
IIRC, Superbaby/Supertot (Superman as a baby) had to learn to moderate his powers. In the Smallville TV series, Superboy had a lot of trouble with his heat vision.
Most super powered characters have at least had a story line where their powers went haywire.
Is Batman really in control of his ‘powers’? Could he stop being Batman?
No. This is why he does not get surprise parties or movie nights. He’s a detective 24/7.
Mister Immortal might count. Being a suicide who can’t die would be annoying.
I would submit the Impossibles from the Venture Brothers, even though they are intended as a parody of the Fantastic Four. Richard Impossible can stretch his body like Reed Richards, although if he is stretched too far, he seems to be unable to contract himself back to a normal size and shape. Sally Impossible’s skin has become transparent, exposing her muscle structure. She needs to expend all her concentration to make her skin visible. Her brother Cody is similar to the Human Torch, but spontaneously bursts into flame in the presence of oxygen. This state is painful to him, not to mention dangerous to bystanders, so he needs to be kept in a state of unconsciousness in an airtight chamber. And Ned, who is similar in appearance to Ben Grimm (the Thing) is less strong and also seems to be mentally simple. He appears to be a weaker version of the Hulk, except without any of his rage.
Unus the Untouchable, whose personal force field became so strong it repelled even air and he suffocated.
In the old New Universe Scuzz, whose body constantly produced acid, so his clothes were always ragged. He could concentrate it for combat purposes as well.
Mutator of the New Universe was always changing from one form to another, without control. There was also a character in the Wild Cards series with this power.
At one point the Black Cat of Marvel had uncontrollable bad luck powers.
Nuke of the Squadron Supreme body produced sufficient radiation ( without his knowledge or control ) that it gave his parents fatal cancer, as well as his team-mate Tom Thumb.
Jack of Hearts couldn’t fully control his explosive powers, and had to wear armor to contain it much of the time.