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08 July 2004 @ 10:41 am
Super Heroes  
I really like the concept of super-powers.

Also, I think that a super-hero like Superman is the least interesting kind.
He's just too powerful.

Superman's power's (off the top of my head):

Flight (including space-flight, apparently).
Super strength.
Super speed.
X-ray vision.
Super hearing.

And, according to Mario Puzo and Richard Donner, the ability to reverse time.

The introduction of the last power, lauded by Robert McKee as great storytelling, literally ruins the character. Sure, maybe it's a great way to end a story, but if a character can fix any mistake he's made by turning back time, nothing is ever at stake.

Anyway, regardless of this last point, Superman's powers are too strong and too far-reaching. There's not much he can't do.

What I find interesting are the groups of superheroes that each have an individual power. Something narrow that only they can do.

Like the X-Men, I suppose, however Wolverine is a little too dominant.

Years ago,lukeii brought home a bunch of old Legion of Superheroes comics. I have no idea where he got them, but I guess he can answer that.

Anyway, they had a lot of hokey ideas, for instance all the Legionnaires had to be teenagers and you had to retire when you were too old, or if you got married(!).  Also, there was a stipulation that no two members could have the same super-powers - great for variety, but somewhat illogical (they couldn't think of any situation where they might need two people with super-strength?).

But, my point is, I liked these comics for the novelty factor of having a whole bunch of different super-powers, many of which were quite odd.



Cosmic Boy: Magnetism
Heh. He's like a good Magneto.

Saturn Girl: Telepathy & Thought Control
"Mental telepathy?" "Nah, mate. Mobile phone."

Lightning Lad: Shoots Lightning
This comic is set in the far future. So, surely they could duplicate this power with some sort of ray-gun. I mean, couldn't we already make a gun that shoots lightning?

Light Lass (Lightning Lad's twin): Anti-Gravity (sort of)
Yep, she makes heavy things light.

Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel: Splits Into Three/Two Bodies
Okay, so one of the bodies died. Anyway, this power would otherwise be useless except that she also has super-strength. Come to think of it, maybe super-strength was an exception they allowed more than one member to have (perhaps as long as they had other powers too).

Phantom Girl: De-materialisation
She can de-materialise her body to pass through walls and other solid objects. Nifty.

Chameleon Boy: Shape-shifting
This one was always my favourite. The ability to shift into any shape imaginable is incredibly useful and incredibly powerful. Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had this power, but didn't use it often enough (because he wanted to "fit in" apparently). If I had this power I would use it all the time. You could use it to eavesdrop (disguised as an inanimate object that's just lying around), you could use it in combat (by turning into something dangerous), you could use it for transport (by turning into something with wings or whatever), the list goes on. Also, Chameleon Boy was a nifty looking alien.

Colossal Boy: Super-growth
Er, you know, he could make himself big. Handy too was the corresponding increase in strength.

Invisible Kid: Invisibility
Again, amazingly useful. They put an interesting limitation on this power that meant it happened as slow fading. A great idea that meant he couldn't escape in an instant.

Star Boy:  Makes things super-heavy
The opposite of Light Lass. I wanna' see these two duel.

Brainiac 5: Super-computer Brain
Super-smart. He's apparently not an android, but an alien. He's sort of distantly related to the super-villain android villain Brainiac. Confused?

Shrinking Violet: Super-shrinking
The opposite of Colossal Boy (I think it's an odd coincidence that members with opposite powers tend to have opposite gender).  She can make herself really small.

Bouncing Boy: Blows Up Like a Balloon and Bounces
Yep, one of the weirder ones. When he uses his power he looks like the girl in Willy Wonka that becomes a blueberry, and he bounces around the place. Bizarre.

Anyway. That'll do for now. There are plenty more.
As I say, I really like the variety.
It must have been tough on the writers to have to come up with unique powers for every member.
 
 
 
Outlier Manlukeii on July 7th, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC)
You forgot:

Ferro Lad: could turn his body into living iron - but died sacrificing himself to destroy the sun-eater...

Wildfire: living anti-matter after an accident with an anti-matter-powered spacecraft engine. He had to wear a specially designed anti-matter containment suit, and he could mimic other heroes powers, or lift the face plate to deliver a massive blast of energy (his unique power). Unfortunately when he did this, it dispersed his "body" and it took him a little while to reform himself. He often had relationship dilemmas, in that he wanted one, but he no longer had a flesh and blood body with which to 'consummate' one. He was one of my favourite characters.


You forgot a whole heap more too... but those were two I remembered
Jacobyak_boy on July 8th, 2004 02:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, Wildfire was pretty cool.

He wasn't on the webpage that I was looking at (because he wasn't part of the original "Silver Age", I guess).

What, you thought I was pulling all that from the top of my head?

Anyway, I didn't "forget" any. I said I'd look at some. There's about a bajillion Legionnaires.

Oh, and it seems that the really powerful super-heroes didn't have to be unique.

Superboy, supergirl and Mon-El are all basically the same. Although Mon-El was raised on Krypton, he was an off-worlder there. He isn't affected by Kryptonite, but rather has a deadly reaction to lead (!). After he got a fatal dose of lead poisoning, Superboy sent him to another dimension where he remained in suspended animation until Brainiac 5 invented a cure.