Tag Archives: Super powers

These comic books don’t make any sense

I’m always thinking about comic books, about superheroes, and I know it’s really nerdy to ask questions, to point out inconsistencies, but sometimes I’m just like, I can’t take it any more, I need to bring this stuff up, I can’t enjoy the stories because these glaring problems are just stuck right in the center of my mind.

Like Spider-Man, right? Just try gettin past the fact that if he wanted to do some serious good, he could’ve sold his webbing device to a huge company, he could have made billions on his inventions. With those profits, he could have financed like a professional crime fighting operation. Think about what Batman did with his billions. He bought all sorts of ridiculous stuff. But Spider-Man’s always thinking small, just using his webbing to get from point A to point B, living in poverty, barely scraping out a living.


OK forget about that, just accept the fact that he’s this scientific genius that can’t figure out how to make any money. What about his wall-crawling powers? How are those supposed to work? Like, in the Spider-Man movies, it’s these little microscopic spider claw things that come out of his skin, which I don’t buy, because if I did buy it, what happens when he puts on his costume? Those micro-claws are supposed to be able to get through the material and then cling onto whatever it is he’s crawling up? Sorry, I can’t believe it. It doesn’t make any sense.

Let’s go back to Batman for a second. Don’t think he’s getting off just because I was commenting before on how wisely he spends his money, buying all of his bat-equipment, his bat-planes, and bat-mobiles, and bat-cycles, and bat-copters. My problem is, OK, sometimes the police are after him, like think about the second Batman movie. Right? And they’re like, “Who is Batman? Why can’t we figure this out?”

And I’m just like, are you serious? Get a police helicopter or a police plane or something, or call up the army and have them put one of those drones in the sky, right? And just point a bunch of cameras or satellites down at the earth, and the next time Batman takes his giant car or plane or experimental waterskis out for a spin, just follow it wherever it goes. It’s not that hard. We live in a really sophisticated world. The police could watch the bat-mobile driving away to some hole by the road. OK, now go check that road out. Now call for backup. There you go, that’s the bat-cave. It can’t be that hard.

Like it’s the same with the X-Men. Where the hell are you going to get some giant invisible supersonic airplane? And the air traffic controllers, what, they don’t see any blips on their equipment when they’re directing traffic? Cyclops, like what kind of flight training does this guy have? How come he’s never crashing into any other planes? And again, the military doesn’t notice these jets everywhere? You’d think they’d see it immediately and get on it, find out where it is, who owns it. Is it the Russians? The Chinese? Terrorists? No, it’s the fucking X-Men, but still.

And while I’m on the X-Men, come on, so Cyclops can blast laser beams from his eyes but what, his eyelids don’t get blown off? And Wolverine, whatever, you’ve got metal bones, you don’t age, fine. But what’s with that haircut? What kind of a person wakes up in the morning, sees that both sides of his hair stick straight up in these weird spikes, and thinks to himself, huh, OK, that’s a pretty good look. What, and then he designed his costume to make sure that those spikes stayed in place? What kind of a statement is he trying to make? I don’t understand.

I don’t get why the Green Lantern’s powers don’t work against the color yellow. Isn’t the color green just a mix of the colors blue and yellow? So how can green even work at all then if it’s really just half yellow? And what about orange? That’s half yellow also. What about when he has to pee, that’s yellow, does it hurt coming out? Does it take away from his powers? The sun’s yellow. How is he able to walk around outside during the daytime without getting hurt?

How is the Flash able to breathe when he’s running so fast? How are his shoes not wearing out every time he runs a couple of laps around the world? How is Mr. Fantastic’s costume able to stretch exactly like Mr. Fantastic stretches? What is it painted on? How come Ice Man isn’t soaking wet every time he de-ices? What, does it go from ice to air? How does it do that without going to liquid first?

And what about Superman? He never makes a mistake? He never gets bored, or lazy? What’s the super-equivalent of throwing a gum wrapper on the ground because nobody’s looking and you just really don’t feel like holding that wrapper anymore, looking for a garbage can, never finding any garbage cans? You don’t think he ever makes a mistake like that? Like, OK, I just saved this rocket from crash landing out of orbit, but I don’t feel like figuring out what I’m supposed to do with all of this debris. Do I have to bring it to the government? Are they going to ask me to just hold on a second while they figure out which branch of the military has to take care of this? Or is it more like, jeez, I’m tired, I just caught this rocket, and I’m really hungry, and I don’t feel like dealing with this anymore, so nobody’s looking, I’ll just toss it in the ocean. Come on, somebody make a story like that, give me something to relate to. Everything’s just so unbelievable.

Night vision goggles

I wish I had a pair of night vision goggles. I wish I could see in the dark, without night vision goggles. I wish I could see in the dark, without night vision goggles, without even having to open my eyes. I wish I could see everything, regardless of what time of day it is, without having to open my eyes, without even having to be in the same room as what I’m seeing. Also, I get to choose what I want to see. And I don’t have to be looking at it, obviously. I wish I could think of something and have it appear right in front of me, just by thinking about it. Or anywhere. I wish that I could think of anything, anywhere, and have it instantly appear right in front of me, or anywhere else. And not just one of whatever I’m thinking of. I wish that I could think of anything, in the dark or in the light, and then think of ten or fifteen or twenty places where I wish a copy of that thing would appear, and it would happen. Like night vision goggles. I wish that, if I wanted to, I could think about night vision goggles, and then think about twenty pairs of night vision goggles appearing instantly in twenty different locations. Or split up. What I mean is, like, fifteen pairs at one spot, and then three pairs at another spot, one pair somewhere else, and one pair for me. But that’s just an example, one way of divvying it all up. It could be any number of pairs of night vision goggles.

Actually, I wish that I could think of something, and then have it appear somewhere else, but then alter the timeline of the place around it, so it would be like that thing was always there, like it didn’t just appear there, but it had been there. Forever? Maybe not forever. I wish that, when deciding where I’d like to place an object, I can also place it anywhere in time. Five, ten, fifteen years ago. Or fifteen minutes ago. Or any amount of time ago, not necessarily in units divisible by five, I just keep suggesting units of five. Like I could make an object – any object – appear somewhere ten minutes ago. Or ten seconds ago. I’m really hung up on the fives. I can’t shake it. But rest assured, any number. Any non-five number.

Also, I wish that I could place anything in the future. Like a pair of night vision goggles ten years in the future. For me. Even though I wouldn’t need them, because I can see anything, anywhere. I won’t even need eyes. I wish. I wish I wouldn’t even need eyes. I can just see without them, wherever, however many things, in the future, in the past. And why would I have them in the first place? What would I do with the night vision goggles? If I can see in the dark, would it be in full color, as if there were a light source? Or would it be in just green and black, like a permanent night vision? And would I be able to shut it off? How would I be able to go to sleep if I were busy with a constant stream of visual stimuli?

I wish that everybody else had night vision goggles, everybody except for me, and while everybody else is stumbling around in the black and green dark – there wouldn’t be any other lights, there couldn’t be – I’d be free to look at the world as if the sun were out. As if it were high noon. And so, what would be the advantages? Do night vision goggles run on some sort of a power source? Maybe I’ve …

Maybe I just want the night vision goggles. Maybe all of that other stuff is a little much. The duplication powers. The time powers. What would I feel like with all of those powers at my disposal? Would I still be me? No. Probably not. I’d be corrupted. Very easily. I think probably just night vision goggles would be enough to corrupt me. With or without power.

I’d really just like super strength. Maybe a night vision monocle.

Please tell me more about how many languages you can speak

I think that probably the best ability any human being could ask for would be the power to understand and speak in any language, fluently. How awesome would that be? And you wouldn’t even need to have ever heard the language before you use it. You’d just listen to two people talking and you would know exactly what they were saying. You could jump in at any point in the conversation and just completely amaze whoever is talking with your grip on their own native tongue. And not only would you speak it competently, but you would be able to speak it better than the two native speakers having the conversation. You’d speak every language better than anybody else. You would be able to interrupt people mid-conversation and correct their grammar. It would be beautiful the way you would speak. It would be the most perfect speaking of a language that anybody has ever heard.

I can just imagine myself standing on the subway next to somebody talking to somebody else in some exotic language from a very faraway land. The language would be a very distant dialect of a very niche Creole spoken only by a few scattered communities throughout some very remote mountains in some place that’s really difficult to find, even if you have a map, a GPS, and five local guides that you’re paying way too much for, but, even though they’re ripping you off, the US dollar is so much stronger than their “currency,” so you can’t even tell that you’re being sold to at a disadvantage. And the two people on the subway are thinking to themselves, we have to be the only people in this city that speak this language. And, actually, they’re not thinking it, they’re saying it out loud. Because they are that sure that nobody has even a slight chance of understanding them, so they never think anything at all. All of their thinking is done by their mouths, because why not? They can say whatever they want.

But I’ll be standing right there, listening to them boast about their total anonymity, their freedom to express themselves and opine and make fun of everyone else without even having to worry about anybody else even making an effort to try and figure out the topic of their conversation. And I’ll just stare at them, right at them. Right at one them, right in the eyes. And I’ll hold my gaze until it gets really uncomfortable for everyone standing around us. The two of them will have stopped talking to each other, and the person’s friend might say something to me like, in English, “Hey buddy. What’s your problem?”

And I’ll answer back in his native dialect. “Nothing’s the matter. Nothing at all. Just listening to some friendly conversation. By the way, you should watch out for your reflexive pronouns. I’ve noticed you used them incorrectly three times in the past ten sentences.” And I’ll watch as the blood drains from both of their faces, as they stand there in shock. One of them will say, “But … how could you … that’s impossible … I … I,” and he’ll probably just pass out from the insanity of the situation. Because how would I be able to know their language? It wouldn’t make any sense. And I’ll just stand there and smile. And then I’ll just get off at the next stop and walk away. And they’ll probably try to follow me, “Wait!” they’ll shout, “We need to know! Who are you?” But I’ll lose them in the crowd, leaving them to wonder for the rest of their lives, to try to make sense of that random guy on the train that somehow spoke that crazy language better than they did.

That’s what I would do on my first day with this ability. I would have all of these other plans with what to do on my second and third days, but something is going to go horribly wrong, something I hadn’t considered before I had imagined myself acquiring this special talent. I’ll be walking down the street after I get off of the subway, and I’ll hear all of these whispers that, at first, don’t seem to make any sense at all. And the intensity and the volume of this babble will ebb and flow and so I’ll just try and brush it off and tell myself that, hey Rob, you’ve just evolved further than any other human being, just try to take it all in a little bit at a time. And that might calm me down for a second, but the whispering will get louder.

And then I’ll realize where it’s coming from. Every time I pass an ATM the noise gets stronger. Every time I’m standing too close to somebody’s cell phone or computer, I’ll pick it up loud and clear. And I’ll have realized all too late that when I had been granted the ability to understand any language, I’ll have forgotten that computer codes and binary and trinary codes consist of their own unique sets of languages. And it will be overwhelming. I’ll have a panic attack and I’ll feel like I’m actually going to die right there on the street so I’ll try to yell out for help, but it’s all going to come out like, “000111101011101101010010010010010010010!” and everyone will stop and look at my like I’m a lunatic. A group of people might form around me, asking me if I need help, thinking that I’m having a stroke or a seizure or an acute crazy episode but the group will be too diverse in origin, and I’ll be responding to a Chinese guy in Swedish and to a Lithuanian guy in Klingon and when the cops finally come and try to make sense of the situation, I’ll start babbling at them in HTML5, which, they’ll mistake as some sort of a terrorist message, and I’ll be arrested and locked up and held indefinitely without ever even being charged. And I’ll be in solitary somewhere, which, after the nonsense I will have went through on the street, will at first seem like a welcome moment of peace. But then I’ll hear it, faintly at first, but ever present as usual. And I’ll realize that the roaches in the corner of the cell are talking incessantly, not about anything intelligent, nothing I could make a decent conversation out of, but about crumbs of food and drops of water and shadows that they can hide behind. And they’ll just talk and talk and talk and they won’t shut up. And the lock that they use to keep me behind bars is computer controlled, and it keeps saying out loud, “system: locked; system: locked,” without pause.

And I’ll sit there and cry and pull the hair at the sides of my head and …

You know what? This doesn’t really sound like such a good ability after all. Except for the part in the subway. That would have been cool. But worth all of the resulting torment? I don’t think so.

This post is super good

For most of my life now, I’ve been preoccupied with a certain question: if I could have one super power, what would it be? This question is inherently difficult because there is always the argument over what constitutes just one super power. You might think it would be enough to say, “I’d choose the powers of Superman,” but what is Superman if not just a collection of various super powers? There’s the flying, the super strength, the ice breath. It’s a total copout. And that’s why Superman is just this huge loser. And that’s why all of the Superman movies are terrible. What about Spider-Man? He’s definitely got a lot going on, Spidey-Sense, wall-crawling, he’s kind of strong. But in this case I don’t think it would be fair to be limited to choosing just one of his kind of mediocre powers.

I think that in Spider-Man’s case, you could argue that his one power is a collection of weird spider-like attributes. All of his powers together make him a little more super than the rest of us. But then again, you have Superman, where any one of his powers would usually merit their own superhero. It’s obviously just a little too much. So when choosing super powers, I’m going to argue that it has to be something less than a god, but obviously more than a human. If you, after reading what you’ve read so far, say to yourself, “well I’ll just pick Batman, he’s pretty cool” then the joke’s on you, because Batman doesn’t have any powers. And if you really said that to yourself, and really didn’t know that Batman doesn’t have any powers, then something is wrong with you, because what, you’ve never seen a Batman TV show or one of the very successful Batman movies? Actually, Batman is super rich, which sounds about as realistic of a super power as any other.

My approach to the super power question has evolved as I’ve grown up. When I was little, it was enough for me to read Spider-Man comics and then wish that I could be Spider-Man. But he’s been around since the sixties, and after spending nearly two decades of my life following his many adventures, I’m just not sure that Spider-Man’s powers would be compatible with the kind of lifestyle I’m used to. Even if I were smart enough to invent my own web shooters, for example, which I’m not, I doubt that I’d have the balls to use them to jump off of tall buildings and swing around the city. What if I missed? I’d be dead. Maybe I’d sneak out of the second story of my house every now and then, but I probably wouldn’t, because there is absolutely no reason to. I’d most likely be more comfortable using the front door.

Now that I think about it, most of your classic super powers seem kind of just a little too much for what I would want in my life. I wouldn’t be able to pick anything too dramatic. What would happen if the media got wind of some guy that could suddenly fly or run at super speeds? The government would have that person confiscated and dissected very quickly. If I can fly, what am I supposed to do, fly away from a government fighter jet sent out to bring me in? I would need super speed on top of the flying, which would technically be picking two powers, which I already labeled as copping out. Also, if you could fly, and you didn’t have super strength, wouldn’t you have to keep yourself in ridiculous shape just to be able to go any significant distance? It’s like, everyone can run, but for how long can they keep it up? It has to be the same with flying. It just sounds like way too much work.

And then I think about the super powers that you could keep hidden, like mind reading, or invisibility. But I think that these powers would just suck the humanity out of me. If I could read everyone’s thoughts, I might not like what I’d hear. And unless I saw every movie or TV show before anyone else, I’d constantly have the endings of everything just totally ruined. And even if nobody saw anything before me, there would always be the chance that I’d run into one of the show’s writers, and then not only would that season be ruined, but all the potential ideas for any future stories would also be prematurely revealed. In the case of invisibility, I think that would turn anyone into a huge creep, because wouldn’t you have to be naked all the time? There are no easy answers here.

I think that what I’d like best is a really obscure kind of super power, one that would grab everyone’s attention as it was happening, but afterwards, everyone would just be kind of like, “eh, I’m over it.” I think I’d have to pick as my super power the ability to win at rocks-paper-scissors every single time. It’s the perfect supernatural gift for where I’m at in life right now. Just think about how many ridiculous chores or arguments I could completely avoid. “I don’t feel like taking out the trash either. Rocks-paper-scissor you for it?” And I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do more than to go out to a bar with a group of people and, after we’ve all had way too much to drink, making the announcement that I cannot be beat in rocks-paper-scissors. Everyone would object, thinking that I’m full of shit, and people would start lining up to prove me wrong. I wonder how many rounds I’d have to play before a hush would fall the entire bar, people slowly gathering around to see me beat the odds every single time, over and over and over again, and eventually someone starts clapping, until the whole place is going nuts and lifting me up on a chair parading me around the room chanting, “Rob! Rob! Rob!”