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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 10:35 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, and the Legionnaires could also all travel through time with an invention of Brainiac-5's - but they had some explanation as to why they didn't do it just ALL the time.

And it was SuperBOY who was in the Legion, due to the restrictions as you described.

They kind of explained why Supergirl never grew up into SuperWOMAN in our 'timeline' as well - didn't she fall in love with Brainiac-5 and move to the future with him?
Jacobyak_boy on July 8th, 2004 03:00 pm (UTC)
Well, my discussion of SuperMAN at the start was seperate to my discussion of the Legion of Superheroes.

I actually thought the whole Superboy story-line was a really bad idea. Superboy lived on a whole different time-line in the past (in fact, in the reader's past, also, as Superman was set in the present). They could open up a timehole or whatever and he'd just fly on down it.

I can't remember what happened to Supergirl. But there are so many alternate comic-book time-lines that it's useless trying to explain one comic with what happens in another. There's no continuity, only retroactive continuity (retcon).

Also, all the Legionnaires could fly, with the aid of "flight rings". Presumably another Brainiac 5 invention.
Jacobyak_boy on July 8th, 2004 03:52 pm (UTC)
Huh.

It turns out that the reason Superboy was in the Legion was because the Legion was originally a once-off story idea in a Superboy comic!

Three Legionnaires come back in time to get Superboy to join, because the Legion was inspired by Superboy.

It became a recurring story in Superboy comics because the idea was popular.

Eventually becoming the comic known as "Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes" and on to become "The Legion of Superheroes".

I think most of the comics you bought were from the 70s (Wildfire didn't appear until the 70s).

Eventually they restarted the story and it's still in print as "The Legion".

I remember one comic with Wildfire getting really angry about his relationship problem and dispersing himself into space. Cool.

Chameleon Boy is still my favourite.