Having recently watched a series of superhero movies, including films like Watchmen, Spider-man, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, it got me thinking about what would be a good superpower to have. It’s a common question that gets asked a lot “If you were caught in a radiation leak/part of a malfunctioning science experiment/bitten by a genetically altered animal, what superpower would you have?”. It is interesting to note that the question is not about having the powers of a certain superhero, but on an individual basis. Having Superman’s great leaping ability, but none of his other powers. This renders a lot of problems due to the reliance some powers have on others. If you did have Superman’s great leaping but not his ability to withstand large forces and survive immense air pressure. One could leap over a building, but would become a jam paste if you tried to land on the other side. A lot of powers require other powers just to be semi-useful.
Also, what does constitute as a superpower? Is it anything the average human can’t do. Does the ability too perfectly cook 2 minute noodles in 30 seconds count as a superpower? Or is it being special in a certain area, like having the power of being luckier then most? “Stop thief, or I will stumble upon a very easy solution by total chance!” Doesn’t sound like the most exciting superhero to me, but that’s for another post. Then there are superheros like Batman and Iron Man who’s superpower is having money. If so, then I’d happily take being really really really really really really really incredibly rich as my superpower. Yes, there is also the fact that both are super-intelligant orphans that have some deep rooted need to amend their image, protect the people of their city, and wear spandex, but there are people out there with the same intellect being hired by people with the same fortunes to produce a variety of weapons, energy sources, vaccines, and Furrbies. Are they superheros? (Or, in the case of the Furrbies, supervillains?)
Just a side note, is having dead parents a requirement to be a superhero? Is that something they check for when going through superhero applications?
“Interesting Mr. Firebolt, you seem to have the right requirements to be a hero, just one last question. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being very and 1 being not at all, how dead are your parents?”
“Um, 1, although my father has a kidney stone, so maybe a 2”
“Oh that is a shame. Sorry but you can’t be a superhero. Come back when your parents have died, preferably violently, and then we might have a position for you. Goodbye”
Anyway, back on topic. Another problem that arises when deciding on a power is how noticeable it is. If you chose the popular choice of flight, ignoring the fact that due to air pressure, oxygen levels, g-force, and human effort you would only be able to hover a few meters over people’s heads at the same speed you can run, ignoring all that, it is such a noticeable power that it is bound to be a problem down the line. For starters, you would effectively be the first superhero the world had seen. Whilst it would pertain to certain benefits, after a while you would constantly be harassed by strangers begging you to help them in some way or another. Anything you did would be under the public’s and the media’s scrutinous gaze, and anything judged “Un-superhero-like” behaviour would be judged and ridiculed. You would become an unwanted role-model, like a football player, and be forever analysed and scrutinised by everyone else. That is, if the government don’t try to make you a 1) weapon, 2) science experiment or 3) mascot. And worst of all, you would have to watch Ryan Reynolds play you in a movie about you.
Then, if your power of choice has made it through the general issues, there are the specific problems with individual powers. For example, the power of X-ray vision needs to have a distinct limit to what it can see through, or else you are stuck looking at a void of nothingness as far as the eye can see. And if it’s name is taken more literally, what adverse health problems does it provide?
“With my X-ray vision, I can see that you are carrying a pistol in your jacket, have cocaine hidden in your body. Also, you are now infertile. Take that evil henchman!”
With the power of future-telling, not only would you see things that you would not want to see, but whenever you try and tell someone, they would just think you are a nutter. It also brings up existential problems with fate and destiny and free will. Also, you would forever ruin surprise parties for yourself.
That is the end of my little vent, if you managed to make it this far I applaud you. There should be a small, stuffed panda in the mail arriving for you in 5 to 10 working millennia. So, with that said, what superpower would you have?
May all your watches be correctly set and your whales well liked. Until next time, this is Ev signing out.