Everyone has dreamt of having superpowers at some point, specifically comic book fans who grew up dazzled and awestruck by the heroes on the page.
Everyone has dreamt of having superpowers at some point, specifically comic book fans who grew up dazzled and awestruck by the heroes on the page. Indeed, having superhuman abilities would be quite the cool thing, but humans tend to look at them through the lens of the comic book, as opposed to everyday reality.
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The question is whether those amazing superpowers would really be so great in one's day-to-day routine. Some might wear out their welcome pretty fast, while others could be the living embodiment of a horrible curse. There are many superpowers that many people think are cool, but would quickly lose their luster.
There comes a time when heroes and villains become so powerful that it borders on the boring, and many are guilty of it. Sure, it's fascinating to watch an invincible bad guy shrugging off nuclear explosions and using cosmic-powered blades as toothpicks, but without proper balance, it quickly grows clichd.
Superman is perhaps the most guilty offender when it comes to invincibility. Since the best humans can do is hurl insults, there's no real threat posed by anyone on the planet. A few like Lex Luthor have managed to elevate themselves to extreme-threat status, but not without the aid of otherworldly gadgets, technologies, or kryptonite.
Storm is one of the coolest X-Men in the Marvel Universe, but not because of her powers. Sure, the ability to control the weather is an interesting ability, Storm shines as a character because of who she is, and her own background and personality. That's precisely the issue at hand.
Controlling the weather seems cool, but it's a weak power nonetheless. The ability is nullified while indoors and underground unless there's some way to access the outside environment. Worse, such an ability could put innocent bystanders in danger, depending on how the weather was being manipulated. All in all, not the best ability to have.
At some point, everyone wanted to be Professor X for a day. In reality, that's about as long as anyone could handle his powers of telepathy. The ability to read minds and know what everyone is thinking would be overwhelmingly traumatic. It would mean accessing the inner thoughts of everyone around you, including their dark parts.
All of us harbor negative thoughts and emotions, but imagine receiving an unfiltered glimpse into everyone's mind, simultaneously. Even if one were able to control and weed out these thoughts by choice, the temptation to tap into the minds of colleagues, family and friends would be too great. This power would quickly lose its allure.
While the ability to see through objects seems like a nifty superpower, it does have its drawbacks. First, it's doubtful anyone would want to glance at the innards of a passerby.
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In reality, X-Ray vision simply wouldn't get used all that often. Think about how many times during the day such a power would be useful. While many could come up with a few answers, the basic truth is that it would get boring after a while, and the user probably wouldn't bother.
Everyone would love to lift a car up over their head with one hand, and pose with their chest out for the cameras. Similarly, it might be fun to get into a fight with someone much larger, knowing that you're going to emerge the victor each time. Super strength is the ultimate appeal to our own personal vanity, but it's kind of vapid.
Just like X-ray vision, super strength requires a daily application. How many times a day would the average person need to exercise this ability? There's an argument to be made for construction workers and other blue-collar jobs, but the average Joe or Jane isn't going to perform feats of superhuman strength all that much. Worse, being able to do things effortlessly will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction. Humans are meant to be challenged.
This superpower can seem alluring at first glance but, upon closer inspection, the ability to fly is littered with a series of real-world drawbacks that simply can't be ignored. First off, the power of flight would require the user to also have a form of invulnerability. Basic physics dictates that one would need it to resist extreme cold and friction at high speeds, which could be fatal.
Then there are other, less obvious drawbacks that people never think about until they're pointed out. Imagine soaring through the skies, free as a bird, only to look into a mirror and see your face plastered with the dead bugs you accumulated along the way.
Unless you're with the Fantastic Four, or you're part of a covert ops strike team, invisibility really holds no allure. First, it's kind of pointless. One would want to be seen by others, and remain active and social. In the comfort of one's own home, this power wouldn't be necessary, so its only application would be the outside world.
The amount of plausible applications for invisibility would be extremely limited. Only the nefarious would probably see it as a major benefit. It would allow people to rob others blindly (or worse), and it could prove to be a major security risk for the world at large. For the average good-natured person, it seems pointless.
This particular power is overrated due to how it's used in comic book stories. There's always a level of imbalance related to this power that just doesn't add up. It tends to see use as a convenient plot device, instead of a primary superpower. The reason is obvious - it solves too many problems, too easily.
A being gifted with telekinesis can effectively end fights before they start, depending on their level of power. Omega-level mutants, Metas, and cosmic beings always seem to hold back this power for the sake of making it appear as if lesser beings have a chance. In reality, telekinetic powers could rip them limb from limb without batting a lash. Telekinesis is either too convenient or too inconvenient. There's no middle ground.
Being immortal would only be a benefit if one had the opportunity to abandon it upon choice. If it was a product of their biology that could not be reversed, it would quickly escalate into a nightmare of horrific proportions. It's important to distinguish between the types of immortality out there, for comparison.
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The first kind of immortality involves a person living essentially forever, unless killed. Many immortal characters are vulnerable to damage, and can actually die if the wounds are too great. Another form of immortality is more cosmic in nature. The person in question simply cannot die, for any reason. It may seem fine, until a few billion years in the future when the sun expands, burns the Earth to a cinder, and leaves desolation in its wake. The fun doesn't stop there, however. Trillions upon trillions of years will pass before the universe finally ends. The question is, would you?
Imagine being able to snap one's fingers and emerge on a white sand beach in Jamaica. That's the premise of teleportation, and it takes on many different forms in the comic book realm. The question is whether its novelty would go for the long haul, or die off quickly.
In reality, teleportation would rob a person of the journey, which is more important than the destination. By instantly appearing between two points, one would miss everything in between, from social interactions, to sight-seeing. It might be handy in an emergency, but it's a hindrance in everyday life.
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Derek started writing about video games at age 14 and went on to write for GamePro Magazine and several other prominent outlets. He now brings his veteran pop culture XP to CBR, TheGamer and ScreenRant.
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