::Literate Blather::
Monday, April 21, 2008
10 Superheroes with the Coolest Powers

The Super Abilities that Would Enhance
Your Everyday Life

It’s obviously a burning question. If you could be any superhero – who would you choose to be?

Unfortunately, that’s not the right question.

Superheroes like Batman, for example, technically don’t have any powers. They are normal human beings – with exaggerated skill sets. So it’s easy for DC Comics to conveniently forget that Batman is just a guy – and have him do impossible feats anyway.

There are also those superheroes whose powers come with a lot of baggage (i.e. negative intangibles). For example, The Thing has superhuman strength, but who wants to be trapped inside his hard-as-granite body? The concept of the Hulk might be fun, but losing your temper would be out of the question. And some of those X-Men mutants would be out the question (hello, Beast).

We want powers – powers that we can utilize in everyday life (and powers that don’t make us a freak). So the real question should be: Which superhero has the coolest powers?

Lucky for you DaRK PaRTY has the answers:

(And for sake of argument – we’re not going to include Superman – who seems to have every damn power imaginable. And let’s face the facts: who really wants to be one of those heroes with super insect abilities like Spiderman and Ant-Man? Isn’t that kind of disgusting?)

The Vision

Secret Identity: Victor Shade

Creator: Timely Comics (later bought by Marvel Comics)

Origin: The android Vision was created by the robot Ultron from an android of the Human Torch (yeah, it’s complicated). Vision rebelled against his creator and joined the Avengers – later marrying Scarlet Witch.

Costume: Green and yellow tights with a flowing yellow cape. Vision has an orange face and a bald dome.

First Appeared: Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (November, 1940). First appeared as an android and a member of the Avengers in Avengers #57 (October, 1968)

Cool Powers: Vision can control the density and mass of his body – becoming as vaporous as steam to as indestructible as iron. As a result of this power, he can move through walls and fly. He possesses superhuman strength and the ability to shoot beams of energy from his eyes and a jewel fastened to his forehead. Vision is also a computer expert and certified genius.

Cool Factor: What’s not to love about changing the density of your body? Think about the bully wanting to punch you out and you get to change your body so it’s as hard as a diamond and he breaks his hand on your face. How about flying? How about never needing IT support? How about tackling that New York Times crossword puzzle? How about mixing with the steam in the girl’s locker room?

The Flash

Secret Identity: Jay Garrick (he was the first Flash, but there have been three others Barry Allen, Wally West, and Bart Allen)

Creator: DC Comics

Origin: Jay Garrick inhaled hard vapors to gain his powers, but there are three other origin stories. The best is probably for Barry Allen, a police scientist who accidentally bathed in chemicals and then was struck by lightning.

Costume: Red tights with a yellow lightning bolt on his chest, yellow boots, and yellow gloves. A face covering with small wings hides his eyes and forehead.

First Appeared: Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940)

Cool Powers: Flash is the fastest human being in the world (and lately even travels faster than Superman). He has the ability to run, move, and react at superhuman speeds. He can vibrate his molecules to walk through solid matter (like walls or bank vaults) and can even run so fast as to move backward in time.

Cool Factor: No more being late for meetings. And even if you do miss one you can simply run back in time. Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to run so fast that you can move across water (and even step across clouds)? Who needs a plane ticket to Costa Rica when you can be there in a matter of seconds? Want coffee in Seattle, breakfast in New York, lunch in China, tea in London, and then dinner in Paris? No problem!

Green Lantern

Secret Identity: Hal Jordan is the best known, but there have been many Green Lanterns including Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, John Stewart (no relation to the comedian), Kyle Rayner, and Jade

Creator: DC Comics

Origin: There are also various origin stories. But the Green Lantern is a member of an intergalactic protection squad known as the Green Lantern Corps – basically guardians of the universe. The Green Lanterns all have a power ring that gives them their powers. Sticking with Hal Jordan, he was a test pilot who was given the ring by an alien being that crash on Earth.

Costume: Green and black tights – with the torso in green and the black as the extremities. The Green Lantern logo adorns the chest. He also wears an eye mask.

First Appeared: All-American Comics #16 (1940)

Cool Powers: The power ring is the ultimate weapon and can give the bearer some amazing powers: flight (even at the speed of light), time travel, telepathic powers, language translation, force fields, become invisible, and firing plasma bolts. Basically the ring’s powers are only limited by the imagination of the user.

Cool Factor: The ring has to recharge on occasion and has limited abilities against yellow objects. But, hey, this is one cool piece of jewelry. Using its telepathic powers makes being a couch potato so much easier (and the ability to turn yourself invisible is handy when the wife walks into the living room looking for you to mow the lawn). And who wouldn’t want a force field to keep off the rain, walk across puddles, and tune out the boss at work?

Wonder Man

Secret Identity: Simon Williams

Creator: Marvel Comics

Origin: Originally a villain, Wonder Man was created by Simon Williams, a rich industrialist, tries to embezzle money from his failed company and ends up in prison. He blames Tony Stark (Ironman) and lets a super villain Baron Zemo transform him into an ion-powered superhero. In the end, Wonder Man turns on Zemo and becomes a member of the Avengers.

Costume: Red sunglasses, red and black tank top, and gray tights

First Appeared: Avengers #9 (October, 1964)

Cool Powers: Wonder Man is one tough customer with incredible superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and reflexes. But even better is that he has self-regenerating ionic energy that gives him immortality and the ability to live without needing to sleep, eat, or even breathe. Bonus – he can fly.

Cool Factor: In this age of 24/7 everything – who wouldn’t want to the ability not to sleep or eat? Think of how productive you’d be at work and at home without needing eight hours of forced interruption (known as sleep). Without sleeping and eating, you could finally finish reading “Moby Dick.”


Secret Identity: Eros (we’ll get to this!)

Creator: Marvel Comics

Origin: Eros is an Eternal, a super subset of humanity that left Earth and settled on Titan, a moon of Saturn, many centuries ago. Starfox is a laid-back adventurer with a thing for the ladies.

Costume: Red tights with a white triangle breast plate, golden metal wrist bands, and white calf-high boots.

First Appeared: Iron Man #55 (February, 1973)

Cool Powers: Starfox has superhuman strength, speed, and stamina. He can also fly. But we’re saving the best for last – his ability to slow aging and heal faster than normal are very cool, but his real showstopper is his psychic charm. Starfox can stimulate the pleasure centers in other people’s minds – making them very susceptible to his charms. He can make women become infatuated with him.

Cool Factor: High school would have been a breeze as Starfox. Think how fun it would have been to date the entire cheerleading squad. Think of how easy work would be as you convince your co-workers to do all your work for you as you charm your boss into giving you promotions, raises, and bonuses. Tax audit? No worries! Pulled over for speeding? Hello, officer! Feel like dating Kirsten Dunst or Winona Ryder? Good evening, ladies!

Echo (aka Ronin)

Secret Identity: Maya Lopez

Creator: Marvel Comics

Origin: Her father is killed by the super villain Kingpin – but ends up being raised by Kingpin (her father leaves a bloody handprint on her face – thus the below explanation for her odd costume).

Costume: Black jumpsuit with long leather gloves and white hand print on her face

First Appeared: Daredevil Vol. 2 #9 (December, 1999)

Cool Powers: While an amazingly gifted athlete, Echo has the very cool ability to perfectly mimic other people’s movements and skills. By simple observation, Echo can become a concert-level violinist, a black-belt in martial arts, paint a portrait worthy of Van Gogh, operate any kind of equipment, and even become a baseball pitching ace.

Cool Factor: Talk about impressing your friends! There would be no skill and no endeavor that you wouldn’t be able to master completely. Want to become a fencing champion? How about an Oscar winning actress? Feel the need to win the Indy 500? Maybe you can pen a bestseller in your spare time. And how saving boatloads of cash on contractors? No more plumbers, carpenters or electricians. You’ll be able to do it all.

Multiple Man

Secret Identity: James Madrox

Creator: Marvel Comics

Origin: He is a mutant and was born with his abilities.

Costume: Dark green tights with a cool atom like logo on his chest.

First Appeared: Giant Size Fantastic Four #4 (February, 1975)

Cool Powers: By harnessing kinetic energy (like clapping his hands or banging his feet), Multiple Man can create unlimited duplicates of himself (and even the duplicates can make duplicates). Multiple Man can also duplicate anything he is holding. Each of his copies can think on their own and have independent experiences. Once he reabsorbs the duplicates those experiences become that of Multiple Man.

Cool Factor: You could get a lot done as Multiple Man. Send one duplicate to work, have another mow the lawn, send a third to the grocery store, a fourth will mind the kids, a fifth can do volunteer work at the soup kitchen, the sixth can study and take classes for your MBA, and a seventh can watch cartoons on TV. There are really no limits to how many different lives and experiences you could have.

Captain Marvel

Secret Identity: William Batson

Creator: Fawcett Comics (later DC Comics)

Origin: Radio reporter Billy Batson was given the power to transform himself into a superhero by uttering the word “Shazam!” by the good wizard of the same name.

Costume: Red tights with a lightning bolt across the chest and a short white cape trimmed in gold.

First Appeared: Whiz Comics #2 (February, 1940)

Cool Powers: Captain Marvel may possess the coolest of powers – especially if you’re fond of Greek mythology. He has the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury (spell it out and you get SHAZAM). And, yes, he can fly, too.

Cool Factor: Tapping into the collective power of Greek gods and heroes at will would be a boon to anyone. Captain Marvel has great wisdom (which allows him to hypnotize people), his stamina means he doesn’t have to eat or sleep or breathe. He can lift anything. Hell, he even has the ability to use magic. What’s not to like?

The Phantom Stranger

Secret Identity: Unknown

Creator: DC Comics

Origin: DC has never revealed The Phantom Stranger’s origin, but has hinted at possibilities such as: he is a fallen angel, a citizen spared God’s wrath in biblical days, that he was a soldier who helped kill Jesus and now he helps society, and that he may be a being from another universe.

Costume: He looks a bit like the Phantom of the Opera. He wears a dark suit, a cloak, and a fedora that continually shades his face.

First Appeared: Phantom Stranger #1 (August/September 1952)

Cool Powers: The full extent of the Phantom Stranger’s powers is unknown, but he is immortal. He can travel great distances in short periods of time and can travel to realms such as heaven and hell. He’s also been known to time travel, dispel magic and illusions, and look into the future. He can also fire bolts of energy.

Cool Factor: The Phantom Stranger is basically a bad ass. His powers would be essential for any business man – zipping to and from meetings on both coasts, visiting colleagues and clients in hell, traveling back in time to make sure that this time you zip up your fly for those prom photos. And why not give the guy who cut you off this morning a burst of energy bolt?


Secret Identity: Thor has several identities: Donald Blake, Sigurd Jarlson, Jake Olsen and the bizarre Donar the Mighty

Creator: Marvel Comics

Origin: He is a Norse God – Thor the God of Thunder (how’s that for a cool sounding moniker?)

Costume: Ancient armor garbed with a steel helmet with wings, red cloak, and a really, really large war hammer.

First Appeared: Journey into Mystery #83 (August, 1962)

Cool Powers: Well, Thor is the Norse god of Thunder and Lightning. So he’s not to be trifled with. He’s not immortal, but close to it having lived for thousands of years. He’s the strongest Norse god and when he’s in combat his battle rage can increase his strength by a factor of 10x. His magic hammer, Mjolnir, helps him control weather, fly, and send out blasts of energy known as: The God Blast.

Cool Factor: How about showing up for a board meeting and howling “I AM THOR GOD OF THUNDER!” We bet that would shorten the question and answer period a tad. And really can there be a better pick-up line than telling a woman that you’re a Norse God?

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Blogger SQT said...
I'm usually all about being able to fly, but Echo is pretty darned cool.

But can she learn to fly?

Blogger Bybee said...
I'd like to be Mr. Fantastic because I could stretch my arm across the ocean into the library of my choice and pluck the book of my choice off the shelf and whisk it back to Korea. Then put it back and get another, as needed.

Blogger OutOfContext said...
I'd like to be Persistence Man or the Concentration Kid. I guess I'd settle for some decent regular human powers.

Blogger GFS3 said...
If we're talking about everyday abilities having the power to dust and vacuum the house instantly would be a great power.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
A few things here:
The Vision: "...as indestructible as iron"
Iron isn't anywhere near indestructible. Actually, it's rather brittle when unalloyed.

For Echo: "by simple observation, Echo can become a concert-level violinist." You can't become a concert-level violinist by mimicry. Being a great artist is more than simply mimicry. As Arthur Schnabel said, “The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes—ah, that is where the art resides.”

On Captain Marvel and being fond of Greek mythology: Solomon certainly was no Greek (and, presumably, not a myth). Mercury was, technically, Roman.

Anonymous Lenger01 said...
I think it would be cool to have Beast Boy's powers, I wouldn't even care if I was green/red. I could be any animal I wanted. I guess their aren't any daily activities I could use my powers for but its my opinion and I want his powers.

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